Arktos Journal – Arktos https://arktos.com Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:24:46 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 Sing, Afrikaaner, Sing! https://arktos.com/2019/04/18/sing-afrikaaner-sing/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/18/sing-afrikaaner-sing/#comments_reply Thu, 18 Apr 2019 13:50:53 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6415

And by the way it is a curious thing, and just shows how blood will show out…

— H. Rider Haggard
King Solomon’s Mines

Gijs reflected on the stories he had been told about his great grandfather, who as a young boy had watched a Boer Commando riding out from Paardekraal in Krugersdorp to the west of Johannesburg. The Boers had gathered to fight for independence from the British Crown in their felt hats, leather jackets and riding boots. Mauser rifles cracking from the rifts, dropping the khakis as they marched on the plateau below. His great grandmother’s sisters had been seized and starved to death behind the British wires. Nearly twelve percent of the Boer population died in the British concentration camps. At home Gijs had been taught to quote Maria Fischer, a camp survivor, ‘We must leave our menfolk, children, fathers, brothers, sisters, house, everything, yes everything, and us — what shall become of us?’

And in the long evenings, with the sun slanting out over the veldt, he hummed Bok van Blerk’s song Afrikaanerhart to himself:

In fire and blood do I find myself now
As any Boer child and wife
A superior power now rules our land
Stand armed to the teeth
Its shadow falls like a dark cloud
Over the future of our people
And if we don’t fight we will vanish at Magersfontein
Do we draw the line?
Come Boer warrior, be heroes now
The day of reckoning is here
The enemy is running over our fields
Stand your ground against cannon fire
The English soldiers want to defeat our people
Promise pain and sorrow
But if you shoot, shoot through me
If you ask me, I will tell you
How the roots of my heart lie
If you ask me, I will show you
It’s my soil here in my fist
Even if all hell breaks loose behind us
And even if it falls down
Keep the line and stand like a man
It is here we can stop them
Stand firm South Africa!
Stand firm South Africa!

Twenty-two thousand British soldiers had died in South Africa, most from preventable diseases like typhoid. The Empire’s war machine seemed to have learned nothing from its dispute in the far off Crimea. Something like half a million mules and horses lay rotting from the Drakensburg to the muddy banks of the Tugela. Gijs had been taught to idolise those young Boers with flowers in their buttonholes, staring back at him defiantly from the now proscribed school textbooks. Those self-same men, guerrilla warriors like Jan Smuts, who the Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling admitted had given the Brits ‘no end of a lesson’.

Sing Afrikaaner Sing!
Let your voice be heard
Never let go of it
Ooh, Sing Afrikaaner Sing!

No mention of course was ever made of the causes of the war. The manoeuvring of Rhodes and the ‘gold bugs’, Alfred Beit and his partner Wernher of the Rand mining House, men eager to use patriotism and a blood-drenched Union Jack as a shield in order to advance their own private commercial interests.

‘The Boers could mobilise only 25,000 men,’ his grandfather would tell him, pausing only to fill his pipe before continuing, drawing figures in the air with the smoking mouthpiece. ‘And General Cronje warned Baden-Powell very clearly… It is understood that you have armed Bastards, Fingos and Baralongs against us — in this you have committed an enormous act of wickedness. Reconsider the matter, even if it cost you the loss of Mafeking. Disarm your blacks and thereby act the part of the white man in a white man’s war… but the British were driven on by a hatred that was not of their making. In that war the criminal Kitchener said… I do not want any incentive to do what is possible to finish… I think I hate the country, the people, the whole thing more every day… They burned our farms, poisoned our wells and built tin and concrete blockhouses to fence us in. After the disarmament at Slap Kranz it was all done and dusted.’ Then sitting back, puffing on his pipe he would quietly quote Kipling’s poem South Africa in an ironic tone:

Half her land was dead with drouth,
Half was red with battle;
She was fenced with fire and sword
Plague on pestilence outpoured,
Locusts on the greening sward
And murrain on the cattle!
True, oh true and overtrue!
That is why we love her!
For she is South Africa
And she is South Africa
She is our South Africa
Africa all over!

‘But it is not their South Africa, it’s ours!’ Gijs remembered shouting indignantly.

‘Well,’ his patient forebear would nod, ‘it is true that in 1652 the Dutch East India Company founded a shipping station at the Cape. But by 1795 we had lost this land to the British. Within a quarter of a century four thousand English speaking settlers came, they abolished slavery here like everywhere by an act of Parliament and took on the pillaging Zulus who were penetrating down into the empty ground of the north.’

‘Are you saying they were brave like us?’ Gijs asked naively.

The old man looked reflectively into the gloom. ‘They fell like stones at Isandlwana and a mere one hundred and fifty Welsh Borders saw off four thousand Zulus at Rorke’s Drift. Livingstone may have supplied the Bakwains and the Bakhatla with guns but he laid the groundwork for the incorporation of Nyasaland, Uganda and Kenya into the British Empire. So you could say they have earned their claim too!’ Then, reaching over to a shelf by the fireside, Gijs remembered he had pulled down an old leather-bound copy of G.A. Henty’s By Sheer Pluck – A Tale of the Ashanti War, passing it to the wide-eyed boy, ‘There,’ he said, jabbing toward the tome with his pipe, ‘that will give you a taste of it.’

Gijs’s own father had served in the notorious 32 Battalion in a war that was no less brutal. Clad in sandy camouflage with a Sterling Submachine gun in his hands he had ridden out with the South African Defence Force, an army of three thousand against forty-five thousand trained Russians, Cubans and their Angolan dupes. The bush war raged from Luanda to the Cucene River and lasted on and off for thirteen years. Gijs now realised that that is where his father had got his physical strength, mental will-power and the Honoris Crux medal which he kept in a sock draw at his house. His mother had never spoken about her husband’s actions at Bridge 14, but the history books said it all. It seemed that Willem too had been tested by a ruthless enemy in hand-to-hand combat at close quarters. Gijs looked once more at the loaded Mamba on the worn corduroy chair arm, then the half-empty bottle of Lambs Navy Rum on the table before him. Outside, the incessant drumming and caterwauling of the squatters resounded in the moonlight and he leaned forward, fingers tightening on the gun’s polymer handle.

He could hear the melody of Sing Afrikaaner Sing rising from somewhere deep inside him.

Sing Afrikaaner Sing!
Let your voice be heard
Never let go of it
Ooh, Sing Afrikaaner Sing!

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/18/sing-afrikaaner-sing/feed/ 0
The Corporatist Answer https://arktos.com/2019/04/17/the-corporatist-answer/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/17/the-corporatist-answer/#comments_reply Wed, 17 Apr 2019 14:31:31 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6409 When a state descends into chaos and bankruptcy, of either the economic or the moral kind, there can be a reaction by the remaining healthy parts of the people toward regeneration. Oswald Spengler referred in The Decline of the West to this epoch as a return of ‘Caesarism’ and the overthrow of plutocracy. While it is a reaction it is nonetheless revolutionary, because the state of decay is so far advanced that only a radical change, not just in the structures of governance, but in the psychology of the people, is required. It is literally a ‘revolution’, insofar as it seeks a return to origins.

In the epoch of decay of Western Civilisation – which has been proceeding via such transformations as the Reformation, including that of Henry VIII, the ‘Glorious Revolution’, the Cromwellian Revolution, the Jacobin Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, and the revolutions of 1848 – each step further undermined the social order and paved the way, usually in the name of ‘the people’, for an increase in the influence of commercial interests, until the stage of plutocracy (rule of money) is reached.

Role of the Bourgeoisie

The French Revolution of 1789 was pivotal and its impact has only increased over the world. From this revolution arose both liberal capitalism and the Left. They went hand-in-hand. The Revolution abolished the final vestiges of the Medieval guilds in France under the Chapelier Law of 1791. Even as these forefathers of ‘socialism’ enacted the free market, standards of production markedly declined and there began to grow a widespread dissatisfaction with such ‘liberty’. Such was the concern at this destruction of the guilds (or corporations) that the National Assembly in 1795 reiterated they would not be revived, and the prohibition became Article 355 of the Constitution, which meant that a constitutional amendment would be required to reverse the law. In the people’s utopia of Revolutionary France, the guild era was recalled as one of happiness and plenty. Lacking stability, fraternity (despite the ironic slogan of the Revolution being: ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’) and the higher purpose that the guilds offered, worker unrest was widespread. The supposed people’s representatives expressed concern at mounting worker ‘insubordination’. There was prolonged debate on the reconstitution of the guilds under Napoleon Bonaparte, but ultimately the laissez-faire radicals won.1

It is historically significant to note that the destruction of the guilds was initiated by the Left, as was free market economics.

It is historically significant to note (but not much understood by academics, journalists, and other hacks) that the destruction of the guilds was initiated by the Left, as was free market economics. When the ‘Right’ is today described as being synonymous with capitalism and free trade, this is nonsense. Karl Marx regarded Free Trade as ‘subversive’ and protectionism as ‘conservative’, and therefore supported Free Trade as a necessary phase of the historical dialectic towards Communism. Marx was particularly vehement about those he called ‘reactionists’ who aimed to re-establish the guilds. Marx noted that they included artisans, peasants, aristocrats, priests and burghers; a true social and class collaboration united against plutocracy. All these classes had a common enemy in unrestrained industrialism and the banks behind it, which had destroyed the rural economy, the village economy, dislocated the peasantry and artisans and resulted in overcrowded cities populated by an alienated proletariat, without bonds of Church, village and guild. None of this Marx wanted restored. To bring it back to life would be equivalent to halting the dialectical march of history towards Communism.2

Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto that ‘the bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part’, put an end to the feudal ‘idyllic relations’, ‘stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured’. The bourgeoisie cannot exist ‘without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production’.3 The Marxist calls this ‘progress’. So does the bourgeoisie, as the instrument of this disruption. The difference between the classic Liberal and the Marxist is that the Marxist aims to secure the bourgeois revolutionary role for the proletariat as the next phase of the historical dialectic.

The Right saw nothing commendable in this. One does not regard cancer as a desirable form of progress simply because it changes the cells of an organism. Class struggle is literally a cancer of the social organism. The physician aims to restore the health of an organism, not celebrate the cancer as desirable on account of the alterations it effects. The Right sought to restore the health of the organism. Elements of the Left realised that Marxism and Liberalism are born from the same outlook. To confront the crisis of the modern industrial age, they coalesced into what is generically called ‘Fascism’. That was why scholars such as Zeev Sternhell say that Fascism is ‘neither Left nor Right’. It was a synthesis; it aimed at transcendence.

It is apt that the resistance to the triumph of commerce over social order was started in France, where much of the rot of modern capitalism originated via the French Revolution. The workers attempted to reconstitute social bonds via trades unions, and the result was class war against those forces that had also been dislocated by the revolution. The added irony was that the workers turned to the Left which had helped to inaugurate the modern capitalist era, having adopted English Liberal doctrines, which are now assumed to be ‘Right-wing’.

Crisis of the Left

Sternhell makes a convincing case for ‘Fascism’ having been born in France, and among Francophones further afield (Neither Left Nor Right: Fascist Ideology in France, 1996). There were Leftists who regarded the Marxian and other such forms of socialism as inadequate, and historical analyses based on economic reductionism and dialectical materialism, as insufficient. They saw that such ‘socialism’ was an attempt to appropriate the bourgeois capitalist spirit for the worker rather than to transcend that outlook.

Henri de Man, leader of the Belgian Labour Party went so far as to welcome the German occupation as an answer to the bourgeois Zeitgeist of the prior century. De Man, despite his turn to ‘Fascism’, is still regarded as an important theorist of socialism and critic of Marxism, his ‘neosocialism’ (also known as ‘planism’) being a significant ideological factor among the Francophone Left that turned to Fascism. Marxism, De Man stated, reduces man ‘to the level of a mere object among the objects of his environment, and these external historical “relationships” are held to determine his volitions and to decide his objectives’.

The world war has led to so many social and political transformations that all parties and all ideological movements have had to undergo modification in one direction or another, in order to adapt themselves to the new situation.

For many socialists who rejected Marx, World War I was a seminal event in their outlook. Fascism arose among returning soldiers of all nations who wanted to continue the camaraderie of the frontline in peacetime, in what British Fascist leader, and former Labour Party notable, Sir Oswald Mosley aptly called the ‘socialism of the trenches’. De Man wrote in The Psychology of Marxian Socialism (1928):

The war, in which I participated as a Belgian volunteer, shook my Marxist faith to its foundations. It is war-time experience which entitles me to say that my book has been written with blood, though I cannot myself be certain that I have been able to transform that blood into spirit. The conflict of motives whose upshot was that I, an ardent antimilitarist and internationalist, felt it my duty to take up arms against Germany; my disillusionment at the collapse of the International; the daily demonstration of the instinctive nature of mass impulses thanks to which even socialist members of the working class had their minds poisoned with the virus of nationalist hatred; my growing estrangement from most of my sometime Marxist associates, who went over to the bolshevik camp – thanks to all these influences conjoined, I was racked with doubts and scruples whose echoes will be heard in this book.4

De Man had been one of the primary ideologues of Marxism. After the First World War he withdrew from politics for several years to reflect on his thoughts and life. He concluded that what was required was not merely to ‘revise’ or ‘adapt’ Marxism, but to liquidate it.5

In France, Socialist Party leader Marcel Déat, Anarcho-Syndicalist George Valois, and Communist party ex-Mayor of Paris Jacques Doriot were among the leaders of French Fascism. Sir Oswald Mosley had resigned as the up-and-coming star of the Labour Party due to the inaction of orthodox socialism and founded the British Union of Fascists in 1932, based on his proposals to revive Britain that had been rejected by the Labour government. Mussolini had been a leader of the Socialist Party, and many of his comrades in the Fascio founded directly after the war had come from the syndicalist Left. They did not leave the orthodox Left and join Fascism merely through a sudden fixation of wanting to establish concentration camps, suppress trades unions and install a military junta, as the stereotypical depiction of ‘fascism’ simplistically insists. Of this post-war situation for socialists, De Man stated:

It is not surprising that socialism is in the throes of a spiritual crisis. The world war has led to so many social and political transformations that all parties and all ideological movements have had to undergo modification in one direction or another, in order to adapt themselves to the new situation. Such changes cannot be effected without internal frictions; they are always attended by growing pains; they denote a doctrinal crisis.6

Marxism remained ‘rooted in the philosophical theories that were dominant during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, theories which may provisionally be summarised in the catchwords determinism, causal mechanism, historicism, rationalism, and economic hedonism’,7 De Man wrote. So far from the bourgeois being increasingly proletarianised due to the crisis of capitalism, as Marx had predicted in The Communist Manifesto, De Man saw that ‘the working class is tending to accept bourgeois standards and to adopt a bourgeois culture’.8 ‘In the last analysis, the reason why the bourgeoisie is the upper class today, is that everyone would like to be a bourgeois’.9 Today more than ever it is clear that the historical dialectic has not unfolded in the manner Marx predicted. The ‘cult of the masses’, was an invention of bourgeois intellectuals, including Marx, who were remote from the masses;10 a ‘relapse into the naivety of the outworn primitive democratic adoration of the crowd’.11 The Western masses are thoroughly bourgeois in temperament and desires.

In comparing the pre-capitalist guild era of the Medieval epoch with the capitalist era of production De Man pointed out that,

The essence of the charge brought by Marxism against capitalism is that the capitalist method of production has divorced the producers from the means of production. In actual fact, capitalism has done something much more serious; it has divorced the producer from production, the worker from the work. In this way it has engendered a distaste for work which is often increased rather than diminished by an improvement in the material circumstances of life, and cannot be cured by any mere change in property relationships.

Especially conspicuous is the contrast between the industrial worker of today and the medieval artisan who was a member of his craft guild. The handicraftsman of the Middle Ages might or might not be the owner of his house, his workshop, or his booth; his position might be a good one, financially speaking, or the reverse. But at least he was master of his own work. …

The craftsman of the Middle Ages took delight in his work; he lived in his work; for him, his work was a means of self-expression.12

It is this detachment of the worker from his work that the Fascist sought to redress by a return to the guilds or corporations; work had been seen as a spiritual calling during the Medieval era. In the corporatist constitutions of many states, from Italy to Brazil, the aim was to reconnect the worker to his work with the return of an ethos that had been obliterated by industrialism and the bourgeoisie revolutions. It was not ownership that was the problem; it was how such ownership was utilised. The corporatist constitutions stated that private property has a ‘social function’. Even the owner in the corporatist state remains a custodian of what he owns, and this can be forfeited by the State should he fail to serve the common interest. Yet the accusation against Fascism is that it was the ‘last resort in the defence of capitalism’. Spengler saw to the contrary that it is Marxism that reflects the spirit of money, that seeks to appropriate capitalism rather than to overcome it.

De Man dealt directly with the workers, and often through his own lack of understanding, was taught many lessons on the workers’ ethos that would be regarded as ‘reactionism’ by those too imbued with the bourgeoisie outlook, such as Marx, to understand. At one such point De Man alludes to the personal attachment tradesman had to their own old toolboxes, an ethos that goes beyond the comprehension of Marxian doctrine.13 Such realisation is the basis of corporatist thought. De Man stated that Marxist theories about working class solidarity lacked an ethos, and were mechanistic. They sought to build something merely on the basis of modes of production. This is the ‘economic man’, the ‘hedonist’ and ‘egoist’.14 The desire for solidarity was born not from this bourgeois outlook, but from the instinct that had existed during the Medieval era; one of Christian ethos; of ‘craft fraternity’ defended by the guilds.15 Socialism, said De Man, should aim to revive a social ethos that was instinctive, not mechanistic.16 De Man alluded to two postulates that serve as an ethical basis for a ‘new socialism’, that was also the foundation of the corporatist ethos: ‘1. Vital values are higher than material values; and of vital values, spiritual values are the highest. … 2. The motives of community sentiment are higher than the motives of personal power and personal acquisition.’17

An additional factor in the fallacy of Marxism was that especially since the First World War the proletariat had become more national and less international.18 Machinery and modes of production19 might indeed be international and what is today called globalisation shows that capital is internationalising as Marx predicted. But people are more than their modes of production, although orthodox socialism thinks otherwise. De Man saw the socialist movement as intrinsically national and the proletariat as more than a globule of putty to be moulded for the purposes of production, whether by Liberalism or Marxism:

The French revolution, which was the supreme struggle on the continent of Europe for the realisation of the political demands of the bourgeoisie, was (so thought the revolutionists) to culminate in a universal rising of the peoples against the despots, and to make the Declaration of the Rights of Man the constitution of the whole human race. The Goddess of Reason, in whose honour the revolution set up its altars, was to become the deity of all mankind.20

National sentiment is an integral part of the emotional content of the socialism of each country. It grows in strength in proportion as the lot of the working masses of any country is more closely connected with the lot of that country itself; in proportion too as the masses have won for themselves a larger place in the community of national civilisation. At bottom, this partial absorption of socialist sentiment by national sentiment need not surprise us. We have merely to recognise that it is the return of a sentiment to its source. Socialism itself is the product of the interaction between a given moral sentiment and a given social environment. It is not only the social environment which has a national character. The other factor, likewise, the moral sentiment, has primarily, in different peoples, a peculiar tinge, derived from a peculiar national past.21

Rise of Syndicalism and Corporatism among the Right

These were the sentiment not only of De Man, but of Syndicalists in France and in Italy. They wished to transcend capitalism not, like Marx, to appropriate it. The Italian Syndicalist Alfredo Rocco stated in 1914 that, ‘the Corporations [guilds], which were overthrown by the individualism of the natural rights philosophy and the equalitarianism of the French Revolution, may well live again in the social ideals of Italian nationalism. … In the corporations we have not an absurd equality, but discipline and differences. In the corporations all participate in production, being associated in a genuine and fruitful fraternity of classes’.22 Rocco became economic spokesman for the Italian Nationalist Association, which adopted a syndicalist policy. The Nationalist Association combined with the Fascist party in 1923. Rocco served as Minister of Finance in Mussolini’s Cabinet from 1925 to 1932, and drafted important Fascist legislation particularly on the Corporate State. In 1934 Rocco introduced the Bill for the ‘formation and functions of the Corporations to the Chamber of Deputies’, stating that the ‘key body’ in the Fascist economy ‘is the corporation in which the various categories of producers, employers and workers are all represented and which is certainly the best fitted to regulate production, not in the interests of any one producer but … but above all in the national interest’.

Abhorrence of the bourgeois Revolution is something that was shared by Syndicalists, Royalists and Catholics alike.

The Italian Nationalist Association, founded in 1910, a decade prior to the Fascist party, adopted the syndicalist doctrine in 1919, if not earlier, the same year the Fascio movement was founded. In the struggle between capital and labour, Enrico Corradini, the leader of the Nationalists, said that ‘nationalism is by definition a unifying force’. Corradini stated that Syndical organisation could unify all productive forces. He regarded the Syndical organisations as having transcended political parties. Therefore the Syndicates – Corporations – should become the representative bodies in parliament instead of parties.23

In France the convergence of the monarchist-Right and syndicalist-Left within Action Française established the foundations of pre-Italian Fascism. The primary spokesman of Syndicalism in Action Française, was Georges Valois, an ex-Anarcho-Syndicalist. Valois founded Le Faiscseau in 1925. He was the first in France to use the word Fascist to designate an organisation. Action Française, founded in 1898, twenty years before Italian Fascism, called its doctrine ‘Integral Nationalism’. As early as 1914 Valois said that ‘the syndicalist movement replaces the masses of individuals that the Republican state wishes to have under it with the professional groupings by which the traditional French monarchy was supported’.24 Henri de Man came to the same conclusion in regard to the monarchy; a monarch transcended class and party factions.

Catholic Social Doctrine

Catholic social doctrine was the other primary current that contributed to the new synthesis. This was particularly formulated for modern times by the papal encyclicals of Leo XIII and Pius XI. Significantly, these Popes addressed the same concerns about materialism, egotism, liberalism and industrialism that concerned the Right and heretical elements of the Left. They saw these factors as creating class conflict and delivering the working classes into the hands of atheistic Marxism. Leo’s encyclical Rerum Novarum was succinctly sub-headed ‘Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour’, making the corporatist intentions clear. Leo spoke of an era of great wealth and great poverty, of science and technology amidst moral degeneracy and social tumult. Leo outlined a ‘Christian constitution of the State’. Like the corporatists and syndicalists he referred to the abolition of the guilds during the prior century, without other protective organisations taking their place. ‘Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition’. The situation has been aggravated by ‘rapacious usury’,25 which the Church had traditionally opposed, but which was now the major factor in capitalism through the banking industry, and it might be added, with the help of the Reformation. Capital and the power over the working masses had become ever more concentrated into fewer hands. The socialist answer is to eliminate private property. However, the motive of work was to acquire property. Moreover the socialist proposal to reduce society to ‘one dead level’ of equality negates the inherent differences among man that are advantageous to all. Leo describes the ‘organic state’ using the analogy of the human body:

The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth. Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labour, nor labour without capital. Mutual agreement results in the beauty of good order, while perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and savage barbarity.26

The employer and the worker are counselled to respect each other in an honourable and just manner for their mutual benefit. On the duty of the State, Leo again alludes to the organic character of society, the State being the means by which the components of the social organism are maintained in healthy balance:

There is another and deeper consideration which must not be lost sight of. As regards the State, the interests of all, whether high or low, are equal. The members of the working classes are citizens by nature and by the same right as the rich; they are real parts, living the life which makes up, through the family, the body of the commonwealth; and it need hardly be said that they are in every city very largely in the majority.27

However, the state should remain as unobtrusive as possible in the affairs of a man’s home and family. In preference to State intrusion, Leo advocates a revival of the traditional order when the vocations organised for self-help in guilds, corporations or syndicates as they are variously called:

In the last place, employers and workmen may of themselves effect much, in the matter We are treating, by means of such associations and organisations as afford opportune aid to those who are in distress, and which draw the two classes more closely together.28

The most important of all are workingmen’s unions, for these virtually include all the rest. History attests what excellent results were brought about by the artificers’ guilds of olden times. They were the means of affording not only many advantages to the workmen, but in no small degree of promoting the advancement of art, as numerous monuments remain to bear witness. Such unions should be suited to the requirements of this our age – an age of wider education, of different habits, and of far more numerous requirements in daily life. It is gratifying to know that there are actually in existence not a few associations of this nature, consisting either of workmen alone, or of workmen and employers together, but it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous and more efficient.29

In 1931 Pius XI augmented Leo’s Rerum Novarum with Quadragesimo Anno, reiterating that contrary to Liberalism, the State has a responsibility to ensure the harmonious functioning of the constituent parts of the social organism. Pius clarified the social meaning of property: ‘It follows from what We have termed the individual and at the same time social character of ownership, that men must consider in this matter not only their own advantage but also the common good’.

It is the responsibility of the State to define social duties, while upholding the right of inheritance.30 Critiquing the economic laws of the ‘so-called Manchester Liberals’, Pius wrote: ‘Property, that is, “capital”, has undoubtedly long been able to appropriate too much to itself. Whatever was produced, whatever returns accrued, capital claimed for itself, hardly leaving to the worker enough to restore and renew his strength’.31 In attempting to rectify this workers have turned to socialism. The Church’s answer is not to abolish private property but to ensure its wider distribution: ‘Therefore, the riches that economic-social developments constantly increase ought to be so distributed among individual persons and classes that the common advantage of all, which Leo XIII had praised, will be safeguarded; in other words, that the common good of all society will be kept inviolate’.32 Co-partnership should become the practice of enterprises: ‘Workers and other employees thus become sharers in ownership or management or participate in some fashion in the profits received’.33 Pius reiterated the organic – corporate – character of society:

It is obvious that, as in the case of ownership, so in the case of work, especially work hired out to others, there is a social aspect also to be considered in addition to the personal or individual aspect. For man’s productive effort cannot yield its fruits unless a truly social and organic body exists, unless a social and juridical order watches over the exercise of work, unless the various occupations, being interdependent, cooperate with and mutually complete one another, and, what is still more important, unless mind, material things, and work combine and form as it were a single whole.34

These encyclicals by Leo and Pius were a significant factor in the development of corporatist states throughout the world; particularly in Brazil (Vargas), Portugal (Salazar), Spain (Franco), France (Petain) and Austria (Dollfuss). The Church social doctrine provided a nexus around which the Syndicalist-Left and the traditionalist Right could unite. To the Catholic-royalists of Action Francaise, for example, the syndicalist doctrines of Georges Valois et al, were accepted as the means of re-establishing the traditional social order that had been ended by the 1789 Revolution. Abhorrence of the bourgeois Revolution is something that was shared by Syndicalists, Royalists and Catholics alike.

Conclusions

While Fascism as a national and social synthesis had its time and place, its reaction to the legacy of Liberalism and its Marxist offspring through a return to the organic community, via what was called ‘corporatism’ across the world, remains intrinsic to the Right. The organic state is not something confined to time and place; it is the perennial method of social organisation. Fascism was its manifestation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, answering the crisis of social dislocation engendered by Liberalism and Marxism; literal social cancers. The corporate state revives the social organism by returning to the traditional mode of social relations. Corporatism re-establishes the Right as inherently anti-capitalist while highlighting the connection that exists between Liberalism and Marxism.

References

1See: Michael P. Fitzsimmons, ‘The Debate on Guilds under Napoleon’, The Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, Vol. 36, 2008.

2Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848), ‘Bourgeois and Proletarians’.

3Marx, ibid.

4Henri de Man, The Psychology of Marxian Socialism ([1928] New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1988), 12.

5Henri de Man, ibid., 14.

6Henri de Man, ibid., 19.

7Henri de Man, ibid., 23.

8Henri de Man, ibid., 25.

9Henri de Man, ibid., 103.

10Henri de Man, ibid., 35.

11Henri de Man, ibid., 36.

12De Man, ibid., 65-67.

13De Man, ibid., 75.

14De Man, ibid., 127.

15De Man, ibid.

16De Man, ibid., 131.

17De Man, ibid., 189.

18De Man, ibid., 303.

19De Man, ibid., 313.

20De Man, ibid., 321.

21De Man, ibid., 325-326.

22Alfredo Rocco, Idea Nationale, 23 May 1914, quoted by H. W. Schneider, Making the Fascist State (Oxford University Press, 1928), 150.

23Enrico Corradini, ‘Nationalism and the Syndicates’, speech at Nationalist Convention, Rome, 16 March 1919.

24Georges Valois, La Monarchie et la Classe ouvrière (Nouvelle Librairie Nationale, 1914), 4; quoted by Zeev Sternhell, Neither Left Nor Right: Fascist Ideology in France (Princeton University Press, 1986), 62.

25Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 1891.

26Leo, ibid., para. 19.

27Leo, ibid., para. 33.

28Leo, ibid., para. 38.

29Leo, ibid., para. 49.

30Pius, Quadragesimo Anno, para. 49.

31Pius, ibid., para. 54.

32Pius, ibid., para. 57.

33Pius, ibid., para. 65.

34Pius, ibid., para. 69.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/17/the-corporatist-answer/feed/ 0
Some Basic Questions About Change https://arktos.com/2019/04/15/some-basic-questions-about-change/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/15/some-basic-questions-about-change/#comments_reply Mon, 15 Apr 2019 11:58:10 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6393 We tend to be very good at identifying problems. We can tell anyone what is wrong, and it is quite a list: democratic institutions are failing, and they are no match for the power of global corporations and organizations; these institutions also cannot deal with the mobility of the postmodern world and its attendant technologies; there is too much materialism and we are nothing but consumers with no spiritual integrity; we are individuals and no longer feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We know what the problems are.

But we are less able to state how we can deal with these problems. We are less capable of providing viable solutions. I believe the reason for this is because we underestimate the complexities that are involved in change. So, in this brief paper, I wish to explore some of these complexities. My point is essentially that we do not merely have to state what change we might wish to see and so work towards, but we also have to be aware of the nature of change itself. We do not merely have to be concerned with a particular end-state, but with the means by which we seek to attain it and the possible consequences, intended and unintended, that may be involved.

When we consider change, I would suggest there are three basic questions that we need to address. First, there is the obvious question of where do we want to be? What is our goal or our end-state? What is the sort of society or community we wish to create? Without this we can get nowhere.

The next question is equally obvious: How do we get there? What route do we have to take? What do we have to knock down and what do we have to build? What do we have to take with us and who do we need to help us? In other words, we need a plan.

The third question is perhaps asked less often, or its answer is simply assumed to be a simple positive. We need to ask ourselves: are our ends and plans, in any real sense, achievable and realistic? We need to understand the obstacles that stand in our way and the likely level of opposition we would face. We need to appreciate just how difficult what we are attempting actually is. It is all too easy for us to lose sight of these difficulties in the glow of our righteous indignation at the wrongs of the world, or in the heady moment of the idealistic pledge to do whatever it takes to secure victory. We are not the only ones seeking to change the world, and others who are also trying to change it may have a contrary diagnosis to ours and seek to take us in the opposite direction. Also they may currently be stronger than us, with more support and better-defined aims.

Allied to this question is a further one, namely, why should we assume that there is a solution to our problem at all? There may be some questions and riddles that are so complex or so paradoxical that they are just impossible to answer. Indeed, we have to remember that we are not the first ones to have pointed out the particular problems mentioned above, and nor are we the first ones to have attempted to solve them. If others in the past have not succeeded, then why should we succeed in the future? In what ways are we better equipped than those who went before us? Perhaps they misdiagnosed the problem, and maybe we know better, but are we sure?

Furthermore, even if there is an answer, we should not assume it is straightforward and direct. In all likelihood it will not be just a matter of changing one thing and leaving everything else as it is. Likewise, it may be that there is more than one possible solution to the problem, and we will have to decide which one to take. Do we want a gradual approach that causes only limited disruption, or do we go for the short, sharp shock, the radical approach, that gets us to where we want to be quickly even if the ride is not so comfortable?

This last point takes us to what I believe are two constants at the very centre of any understanding of change. First, we need stability to survive and flourish. If we are to formulate plans and carry them out, we have to be able to take much of our world for granted. We have to assume that all the essential programs are running in the background, allowing us to focus on the task in hand. In other words, we need to have certain levels of confidence in and complacency towards our everyday environment to allow us to focus on our aims.

However, the second constant presents a challenge to this confidence and complacency. This is the necessary awareness that change is inevitable and unavoidable. In consequence, we have to be both prepared and able to respond to change. The problem we have, however, is that change is often unpredictable. It will almost inevitably be outside of our control, and that will be the case even if we are formally to blame for a situation’s changing: we can set certain things in motion, but not necessarily control them from there on. Going along with this lack of control will likely be a lack of understanding: we will not necessarily know what is happening and why.

It ought to be obvious that these two constants clash and they do so continually. We need a level of stability if we are to flourish. But we cannot take this stability for granted. Indeed, it would be much better for us if we were to expect no stability at all!

But there is a further complication. When we are looking to develop a plan, we will only have limited resources. All we have is what is here and now. We can only start from here, from where we currently are, and we can only use what we have now in front of us. We cannot wish away our current situation or assume that certain problems do not exist. We may have developed an elegant and lucid theory about how the world works and how it can be made to change, but this is only useful if it works in the real world and in real time.

This understanding of where we must start from is also significant in a further way, in that it tells us that what are perceived as the problems of our current situation – the institutions, policies and practices that we wish to be rid of – will have to form the basic raw materials for our solutions. We can only use those tools that are readily available to us. The only alternative is to pray for divine intervention.

There is one final issue that we need to consider here too. We should remember that here and now is an accumulation of many things, and a lot of them are worth preserving. In ridding ourselves of the bad, do we really want to throw away the good? Or is it inevitable that we have to lose some healthy tissue to rid ourselves of the cancer that is killing us? So we have to think carefully about the consequences of our actions and whether what we are prepared to sacrifice is worth it for prize at the end.

My aim in this short essay has been to ask questions and not to offer any solutions. This is not because I do not wish for any change, nor because I wish to stop anyone from acting in the way they see fit. Rather what I hope to have done is to set some of the groundwork for a discussion on what it means to change, and to offer, as it were, a checklist for anyone starting out with the aim of dealing with those problems that beset us.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/15/some-basic-questions-about-change/feed/ 0
Right-Wing Love for Israel and the Anti-Zionist Left https://arktos.com/2019/04/12/right-wing-love-for-israel-and-the-anti-zionist-left/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/12/right-wing-love-for-israel-and-the-anti-zionist-left/#view_comments Fri, 12 Apr 2019 12:43:15 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6382 Anyone who has dealt with the New-Right structures in online social networks in recent years cannot avoid having observing a special, at first sight somewhat perplexing, paradox: supporters of the New Right, Western nationalists and even users with one foot in right-wing extremism, all of whom really care about Israel and Zionism. At the same time one notes as a counter-event, so to speak, persons associated with the left who do not seem to be able to align themselves fast enough with Palestine and pan-Arabic ideas.

The fact that the left has degenerated into the proverbial ‘useful idiot’ for an ‘avant-garde’ which actually pursues completely different geopolitical goals, is consistently ignored.

As far as anti-Zionism and Pro-Palestine sentiments on the left are concerned, this is nothing new. Especially in German-speaking countries, this phenomenon has a certain history: after all, Red Army Faction (RAF)1 terrorists were trained in the camps of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and then, among other things, issued a statement in November 1972 full of praise for the “Black September” conflict.2 There they wrote:

The Arab peoples have been mobilized by the action for the anti-imperialist struggle, they have celebrated the revolutionaries as heroes, their will to fight has been immensely encouraged.3

A few lines later, they scourge ‘Israel’s Nazi Fascism’. By today’s standards, the radical left was progressively relaxed with this accusation, considering that ‘Nazi Fascism’ refers to a massacre of Jews on German soil – even moreso in the former NSDAP bulwark Munich. A few years later, German left-wing extremist terrorists of the ‘Revolutionary Cells’ at Entebbe Airport were to segregate Jewish passengers in a hijacked Air France machine – something that sparked much debate within the left-wing scene and the public in general. Not only historically but also with regard to the current left, it is therefore amusing to find in the same text insults against the ‘Students of Marx’s Bible’ and ‘the stupid left’. One should know that the fighting ‘city guerrilla’ of the RAF had a glowing hatred for the ‘leftist mock heroes’ and ‘intellectual armchair revolutionaries’. Of course, hardly anyone in socialist nomenklatura today would dare to say such things openly, but the romantic idea of the ‘third world peoples as an anti-imperialist, revolutionary avant-garde’ has largely survived over the decades. The fact that the left has in truth degenerated into the proverbial ‘useful idiot’ for this ‘avant-garde’, which actually pursues completely different geopolitical goals, is consistently ignored. Among the current prominent representatives of this policy is the British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is still in the spotlight on account of his anti-Israeli commentaries and cliques. At the same time, the socialist social democratic and green parties of Europe are being pushed through by Muslim migrants, who are still fueling these efforts considerably. Furthermore, many Neo-Linkes consider their solidarity with the Palestinian people as a logical continuation of their own victimhood in the context of their identity politics – the political, religious and ethnic reasons of the oppressed police state. If you look long enough, you will always find an underdog to identify with, and Palestine is as likely a victim as any.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, there has been a strong tendency on the part of the right in recent years to support Israel. What seems surprising at first glance is on closer inspection easily enough understood.

Israel is per se considered to be sacrosanct in the international community. Criticism of Israel – even if this criticism concerns only the state, its deeds or its agents – is often dismissed as ‘anti-Semitic’. Ergo, Israel can easily be used as a bolster for unpopular demands or decisions in the West, which Israel itself has succeeded in effecting. Two popular examples are the comparison between the wall in Israel and Trump’s border wall (which seems to remain in the realm of electoral promises), and the restrictive deportation policy against refugees and illegal immigrants in Israel and the United States respectively. European nationalists are especially attracted to the second of these points; here, they can submit their demands with reference to a real example, and the system press cannot protest against it, without opening itself to charges of anti-Semitism.

Another motive is the harsh Israeli attitude towards Palestinian extremists and (political) Islam. Israel has been in the hostage of Hamas and other Islamist-Palestinian groups for decades and vice versa (I deliberately refrain from discussing any background information here), and barely a month passes without a bomb exploding, shots being fired, or stabbing incidents – followed by military action against Palestinian areas. Therefore, it is not surprising that Israel is pursuing a ‘zero tolerance policy’ and, if in doubt, makes short work of it (the left-wing media unsurprisingly likes to talk about attacks by the Israeli army abstracted from any greater context of provocation and reaction). At least since the wave of refugees in 2015, this same form of terror has arrived in Europe permanently; but the demands for more protection and more uncompromising deportations in many countries faltered for a long time and were swept away with globalist, liberal persistence slogans. Some countries, such as Germany, Sweden or France seem to persist indeed. Therefore many right-wing protesters seek to compare the current situation of Europe with that in Israel and to demand a similar crackdown.

Our interference in foreign questions wastes a lot of energy, which would be much better invested and much more effective on the home front.

The third – and perhaps in many cases the most unconscious – reason for growing right-wing support of Israel is owed to the fact that Israel is an ethnostate.4 Israel is an unabashedly Jewish state through and through, and becoming a non-Jew citizen is equivalent to winning the lottery: Israel is literally a nation born out of ‘blood and soil’. At the same time, it is easily possible for Jews from all over the world to become Israelis and create a possible retreat for themselves in case of desire or need. This option was made known to a wider audience by a protagonist in Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission. There are only a few states in the world that are so ethnically self-contained – Japan and North Korea are two further examples here – and that, of course, is very attractive to the European nationalist, to whom any public approach to patriotism is already subject to a potential blizzard of attacks and accusations. The extreme, dedicated defense and support of Israel in cyberspace can therefore be seen here as a substitute action. Here all the taboos can be broken, from outrageously radical slogans (a Zionist proxy ethnonationalism so to speak) to the ‘natural right of Israel’ (in Germany, this goes so far that the unconditional defense of Israel is part of the official raison d’etat) to anti-Islamist and racist attacks – all, of course, as long as it is in the service of the Israeli narrative.

Seen in this light, the rightists here – as the leftists have been for a long time – become useful idiots in a conflict in which they should really not (any longer) interfere at all. Our interference here wastes a lot of energy, which would be much better invested and much more effective on the home front. Granted, many of these pro-Zionist activists are also active in and for their own countries, but often in a much tamer way. Their engagement with Israel would be more understandable if the Israel vs. Arab world were truly a proxy conflict, but it is not. Israel does not care about the well-being of Europe; on the contrary, if it had been left up to them, they would have unhesitatingly simply forwarded their unwanted refugees to Europe,5 thereby exacerbating the European situation even more.

An important step in the fight against a globalized world is to stop shouldering global responsibility. You do not have to comment on everything, do not have to take sides everywhere, do not constantly have to offer a solution to each problem that arises on the global stage. It is good and important to have an overview, but that is as about as far as it should go. One should take the old adage to heart: ‘Swing the broom at your own doorstep’. Europe would thank you.

References

1This was a leftist and extremist militant organization formed in the 1970s which were involved in several acts of terrorism until their dissolution in the 1980s.

2This was a conflict in Jordan between the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, in which most of the action occurred in the so-called “Black September” of 1970.

3Rote Armee Fraktion: ‘Die Aktion des Schwarzen September in München – Zur Strategie des antiimperialistischen Kampfes’, Deutschland, 1972.

5Israel Scraps Plan to Send African Migrants to West, BBC, April 3, 2018. Accessed March 12, 2019.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/12/right-wing-love-for-israel-and-the-anti-zionist-left/feed/ 1
Why Automation Does Not Concern Me https://arktos.com/2019/04/10/why-automation-does-not-concern-me/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/10/why-automation-does-not-concern-me/#view_comments Wed, 10 Apr 2019 09:45:36 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6377 There is much talk of our automated future. Robots and machines of ever-increasing power gradually eliminating the need for busy human hands. Driverless cars and trucks, crops and fields harvested by fuel-burning advanced appliances, all culminating in an assembly line of processed food and goods delivered via unmanned vending machines and drones. A complex robotic dance that will supposedly take the human touch away from the process we call modern survival. The dream-future culmination of the larval and perpetually seated ‘last man’. While this undesirable, plasticized, and labour-free future is spoken of in hushed whispers on the right and left as though it were inevitable and necessary, I do not believe that any of it will come to pass. Or, if it comes to pass, it will do so only to a certain degree and only for a short duration, and then only in some farcical programmed accompaniment to disintegrating neoliberal social routines.

My reasons are as follows.

Overconfidence in Technology

Firstly, I would point to the mistaken faith in technology, the failure to understand what technology is, and where it comes from.

There is no mechanical replacement for the nuances of the organic human touch in any craft or techne, in any type of creation from the simplest to the most monumental.

What is it? Derived from the Greek, the root of the word, τέχνη, is often translated as ‘craftsmanship’, ‘craft’, or ‘art’. Technology is the artful and functional answer to philosophical questions posed in the spirit of experiment and curiosity. It is not a ‘commercial’ exploit, and its social benefit in any sense is generally incidental. It is the pursuit of knowledge; it is Fleming discovering penicillin and Galileo the telescope; it is derived from the combination of imagination and ingenuity not found outside of European peoples. Despite all the revisionism which plagues our modern textbooks, it is not produced by an ability universal to the human race.

What is the functional point of a driverless car over a train? The driverless car faces many variables requiring the organic deftness of a human hand (to avoid the almost limitless random accident possibilities). If it is a matter of perpetually following a single route, what is the advantage of the expensive and intricate technology required to keep the road filled with insentient automatons? And how is their use then practical when it merely displaces a human work force that is then either dangerously mass-impoverished, or in need of state benefits to survive? At what point does the locally grown and made become less hassle than the super-complex system?

Additionally there is the ongoing conundrum of the ‘robot’ as a concept. Robots require enormously expensive, technical, highly trained assemblers and maintenance systems, simply to create a less functional facsimile of a creature (a human worker) you can create by making love to a woman. As there are abundant humans about, and as their creation is an intricate aspect of our lives and purpose, and as, furthermore, they require employment and fulfilment and meaning, the creation of a less capable, high-maintenance machine to clumsily imitate and supposedly replace them seems irrational. The ridiculous plastic sex dolls of contemporary ill repute come to mind – a totally pointless carnival trick for the truly pathetic. Only by the spoiled American values of luxury-increasing and wilful idleness (an anti-Greek notion) can we rationalize the creation of bordellos of plastic sex dolls which are themselves inferior even to one’s unaided imagination. It is that feeble techno-excitment of the latest iphone, the convenience-culture mob frenzy for the latest ease-increasing knick-knack. Which itself only sets an already declining culture along a new axis, replacing abundant old jobs with fewer much more specialized ones, all to attain a pathetic democratic pipe-dream that cheapens life for everyone on the seemingly bottomless ride from quality to quantity.

But every ride comes to an end.

Better to have every piece of usable technology made by human hand, than the illusory techno-culture excitedly peddled by our hidden oligarchy, as the chaotic brainwashed hordes bolt randomly through their lives like rats in a maze.

Like the sterile and overly fluid CGI ‘blockbusters’ we blandly endure, a lifeless process is set in motion, where the illusion of an improved system results in a miserable re-organization of labour toward a lifeless and often dysfunctional end result. The work of human hands is a paramount requirement of true art. It is organic change, with its errors and random twists, which increases complexity and heightens virtuous challenges. It is the spreading, dividing branches of the upward-growing tree.

We Are the Technology

We are transitioning from the master class to the slave class, and our technology will fade away as we retreat. Where does technology come from? Obviously, techne is the work of European peoples. It springs from their history and unique worldview, and the apparatus of their combined imaginations, forged in familial united labour, and furthered under a normal functioning society beneath their stewardship. It is the transmitted knowledge of tradition, handed down from fathers to sons, advanced incrementally by each new generation since recorded history dragged us out of plant-like ice-age animism.

The very purpose of the automated society will fade, as everything fades in the false shadow of a culture which no longer sees its future in the faces of its children.

But the true technological age is at least partially over, because the men who produced it have lost control of their society to foreign powers and to women, and the remnant fire of the technology they created is currently maintained only by a very faint pragmatic flame, itself kindled by the necessity that these men feed their families. Yet they are trapped in a civilization removed from their stewardship, and for this reason both it and they are failing. When all the high technology that is their creation (and which in a natural scenario would be theirs to do with as they see fit) is officially peddled away to hostile aliens, that technology will not maintain itself. It will lose purpose, it will evaporate in a cloud of cultural confusion. It may morph and alter purpose, so as to survive for a time, but its very impetus, its kinetic energy, must alter as surely as different races of men have unique racial drives and diverging goals. Thus, when we go, so does our creation. The liberal hysteria-dream that creative power is universal, and that only happenstance and cruelty gave European men any advantage, will be left naked in its deceit. Smooth technological ballets of driverless cars and intricate robotics (requiring impossibly utopian low-crime and riot-free environments) will not exist when Western countries are officially ruled with an iron fist by entitled lesbians, Sino-Levantine corporate conglomerates, and gangster-rapping mayors. These systems will increase in tension and dysfunction and eventually collapse. We will not be able to run so much as a bus service, let alone some naïvely optimistic Jetsons-world of conveyor belt idleness.

And yes, we will be displaced, and we will be suffering, before it is all over, because the average man was too cowardly to face his cognitive dissonance. But in the cycle of things great sweeping changes are as inexorable as the wind.

If the goal is to put most of us out of work, with the remainder literally enslaved to keep the machine turning for foreign masters, this too is perhaps an irrational religious mistake on the part of our media-and-market-tweaking overlords. They overestimate their own abilities, and the nature of the disparate groups they are flinging together. A peaceful and intact global shopping-mall world of their imagining is a foolish dream which over-optimistically ignores the chaotic laws of entropy, parsimony, and tribalism.

The Human Hand Does It Better

People need rewarding employment, not increased luxury and lethargy. There is no mechanical replacement for the nuances of the organic human touch in any craft or techne, in any moulded and intricate invention, in any type of creation from the simplest to the most monumental. The assembly-line process and its supposed time-saving fruits benefit only the profiteers amid the economy-manipulators, the materialist bosses and the nefarious middle-men, all of whom are concerned only with wealth-accrument for its own sake, and work-avoidance as spiritual credo. Materialism and gold-collecting were once considered vices and not virtues. In this sense it would be better to have open slavery, and not wither as a shrinking violet at that concept. For there is no world without slavery of some sort, and we ourselves are already in a situation of early enslavement – albeit undeservedly, as we have enslaved ourselves. Sanctimonious manufactured outrage over slavery as a concept is unnecessary to the true realist. Quite the opposite of being ‘inhuman’, the practice of mass forced labour of enemies is affirmation of the superior abilities of the human, in the validation of an end goal that inspires and exhilarates. Pyramids and Pantheons. Nothing can change the reality that dictates that in terms of final product it remains better to use human hands, in employment or labouring under whatever motivation and in any medium, than to seek recourse to the lifeless work of machines. We have no work end-goals today of any value, and pat ourselves on our backs for our freedom-values which are fed to us by an inferior caste, red with vengeful envy that nature did not make them masters.

There is no replacing a human hand for a machine, for the ‘human touch’: that is, the exciting and baffling nuances of eccentricity, of excellence-in-the foibles, of creating things that resonate with spiritual value as well as utilitarian. There will never be a purely technical replacement for the human being, who will do a better job or who will dream up purposes that require jobs to begin with.

In summary, in my opinion the automated future will simply not come to pass for the stated reasons: Because we are better off using human capital, and we can create humans by natural reproduction; and this human, who emerges naturally, can hopefully feed himself most his life without a machine’s maintenance cost, not to speak of the fact that he always has the potential to become his own wealth generator. There is no hidden potential within a machine lying beyond its explicitly designed purpose. And should the naturally created human face the choice of slavery or death, it is best not to be distressed by this fact, but to hope that he will spend his time in some worthwhile endeavour. We today have had easy lives but no proper purpose. But the creation of life is the affirmation of life, and whatever nature’s plan, we must seed our plot and strive ever upwards, never shirking from the duties imposed by life’s harsh necessities.

Automation will not happen because complex machinery has additional limitations and drawbacks in terms of unpredictable accident-creation (due to cognitive reaction limitations). It will not happen because of its pollution, its fuel-necessities, its expensive high-tech upkeep, the aftermath unemployment for the humans it replaces, and the new lower-ability unemployed who will have neither the ability nor the interest to maintain it. Parsimony is built into existence, and increased complexity is very rarely the easiest or best route to any pragmatic result.

And if none of those reasons are convincing, then finally and most importantly, automation will not happen because technology is above all the artifice of European men, and is gradually now in decline along with him, and will fail completely when he is removed absolutely from its preservation and husbandry. The very purpose of the automated society will fade, as everything fades in the false shadow of a culture which no longer sees its future in the faces of its children.

Nothing at all of any value will happen until we once again have our own space to breathe freely. All grand predictions and projects will be half-hearted and futile, even those that are planned toward further suppressing and dissolving us, for all non-European peoples sincerely believe themselves to possess our abilities.

They do not.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/10/why-automation-does-not-concern-me/feed/ 1
Tribe and City: The Merchant of Venice and the Ethnic Question – Part 2 https://arktos.com/2019/04/08/tribe-and-city-the-merchant-of-venice-and-the-ethnic-question-part-2/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/08/tribe-and-city-the-merchant-of-venice-and-the-ethnic-question-part-2/#view_comments Mon, 08 Apr 2019 14:47:13 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6368 We began this essay with a consideration of the supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ of The Merchant of Venice. The simplest response to the charge of ‘anti-Semitism’ against Shakespeare himself is that, whatever light Shakespeare might have cast on Shylock (and we have seen good reason to suspect it was not so ruddy a light as we are sometimes led to believe), he seems to have cast nothing but rose hues on Jessica, the daughter of Shylock.

This already from the name itself. Three names are given to male Jews in this play (Shylock, Tubal and Chus), and one to a female (Jessica), all of which are taken or derived from the Old Testament.1 Three of these names (Tubal, Chus and Jessica) were perhaps even inexistent in England in Shakespeare’s day. Shylock, on the other hand, was an English name of some dispersion in England at the time of the play. It is a name, that is to say, which is shared in common between the Hebrew and the Christian traditions. For some reason it fell into desuetude in England, but its contemporary commonality in Shakespeare’s society brings one to wonder what it might suggest to us regarding the problem we will be confronting in this second part of our essay – namely, the problem of how Shylock’s strife-riven position with respect to the city, which we have considered in the first part of this essay, is to be resolved. The name Shylock appears to offer a kind of bridge between the Hebrew Old Testament and the Christian society current to Shakespeare’s day; there is a suggestion that, despite his apparent intractability and refractory character, he might, through his persona or through his fate, form a point of meeting between these two disparate worlds. Be this as it may, Shylock likely is derived from the Old Testament Shalah (Shelach in the Hebrew),2 but not without considerable alteration of the original to render it easier on the English tongue and ear.

The strife which the liberal society would eliminate, has rather been sown by it into the flesh itself.

The names Tubal and Chus are adopted without intervention and indeed, to an English ear and eye, have something decidedly alien about them; they ring strangely, and perhaps might even be considered ugly names. The name Jessica, on the other hand, is like ‘Shylock’ altered considerably from its original Iscah or Jiska. Shakespeare rendered this name beautiful – singular proof of which is the fact that we have no earlier reference to the name Jessica anywhere in the English language, which suggests that its continuing use to this day might be owed to nothing else than Shakespeare’s introduction of the name itself. But if we have really found the origin of this name, then its subsequent popularity would have been impossible if it were not comely and the character to whom it was attached not sympathetic. There have been multiple cases throughout history of a popular work of art altering the use of names in its day,3 and in each case this is owed to the power or persuasiveness of the character that bears it. Shakespeare drew his Jessica very sympathetically indeed; but any good anti-Semite (by the absurd caricature of this fantastical creature which is proposed to the consumption of thoughtless men) would surely have painted her in somewhat more garish colours. More, she is evidently regarded well by the very men who loath her father. Jessica is the daughter of the detested Shylock, and the tribe to which he belongs, but Jessica marries a Christian; and as if to indicate the importance of this for the play, the name Jessica itself is a Westernized version of the Jewish original.

True, there is doubt as to whether her father is indeed Shylock. Shylock insists several times that she is ‘my own flesh and blood’ (III.i 33 and 37) but his very fervency suggests that there might be a doubt in his mind, or even that he is attempting to conceal the truth. The clown Launcelot is the pin round which these doubts spin, for he is constantly playing on this theme: ‘[I]t is a wise father that knows his own child’, he says to his own father (II.ii 76–77); subsequently, ‘murder cannot be hid long; a man’s son may, but in the end truth will out’ (79–80, emphasis mine). He also most suggestively (given his tendency to blunder with the language) says to Jessica, ‘if a Christian do not play the knave and get thee, I am much deceiv’d’ (II.iii 11–12), in obvious reference of course to Lorenzo, and in jest no doubt that Lorenzo might have got her with child; but perchance also with a suggestion that some other Christian played the knave and beget her.4 Lorenzo himself makes a somewhat ambiguous statement about Jessica, ‘That she is issue of a faithless Jew’ (III.iv 37), which again is most obviously reference to Shylock, to his simultaneous faithlessness in the sense of his being a ‘pagan’, and in the sense of his being cut-throat; but might it in fact not refer to Jessica’s mother, a Jew who was faithless to her husband?

Launcelot once again states the matter openly, in what he refers to most poignantly as a ‘bastard hope’: ‘[Y]ou may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter’ (III.v 10-12), and Salerio makes a striking comment on the difference between Jessica’s flesh and blood and Shylock’s. Shylock in the immediate sequel to this comment, though responding to a different issue (regarding Antonio), states, ‘There I have had another bad match’ (III.i 38–44). The question naturally arises: what was the first? Was it between him and his daughter, or between him and his wife? Or was the ‘match’ referred to in fact another match altogether, not Shylock’s match with such and such a person, but rather the ‘match’ of his wife with another man? Thereafter follows a return to the question of why Shylock should take the ‘flesh’ of Antonio, rather than something that would really profit him; might his vengeance against the Christian, his seeking of a pound of Christian flesh, be in some way the bond he himself must pay on his own daughter, who is not his own? Might that be the weight of the flesh that was owed him at the birth of his daughter, by the Christian who cuckolded him?

Supposing for a moment that all this is so, one must ask why it should be upon Antonio’s head that his rage should fall. And the question naturally emerges: might Antonio be the father of Jessica?

We are emboldened to this rather extraordinary suggestion by a number of evidences, albeit mostly circumstantial (nonetheless, ‘Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk’)5. To wit: the fact that the speeches of Shylock regarding his daughter’s flight inevitably intertwine with news on Antonio and his escalating expressions of desire to be revenged (consider, for instance, the entirety of III.i in Shylock’s dialogues with Solanio and Salerio on the one hand, and Tubal on the other); or the fact that Jessica trades the ring that her mother had given to her father for a monkey, symbolizing perhaps the dignity of that marriage, at least in the mind of its offspring; or the fact that Antonio, at the culmination of the play, shows mercy on Shylock by taking half his money, but promising it all to Jessica’s husband, and thus to Jessica herself: to ‘the gentleman/That lately stole his daughter’ (IV.i 385–386, with the ‘lately’ suggesting, moreover, that perhaps another had ‘stolen’ Shylock’s daughter previously).

There is moreover a curious play of numbers. The initial bond proposed to Shylock was three thousand ducats for three months; three for three is nine, the number of months of pregnancy. As if to insist upon this, Shakespeare mentions the three months three times (Shylock even forgets, or pretends to forget, that number so as to force the second and third mention). Antonio makes reference to ‘thrice three times the value of this bond’, again pressing emphatically upon the nine. Toward the end of the trial, Shylock requests the court give him thrice the bond (IV.i 318), namely, nine thousand ducats, a thousand ducats, as it were, for each month of the pregnancy – price which was mentioned, nor by Antonio nor Bassanio, but by Portia under guise of the ‘learned judge’ whose justice is praised by all present. Just before that, to Bassanio’s offer of six thousand ducats, Shylock said he would not accept even six times as many – thirty-six thousand, or a thousand for each week of the pregnancy.6

This interpretation would explain the depth of the conflict between Antonio and Shylock, a conflict which stands already between them on account of their ethnicities, and is exacerbated, one is tempted to surmise, by some more personal fact. We recall as well Shylock’s continual appeals to justice. He appears to have a made a kind of wager with his loan to Antonio; it appears he was hoping that Antonio should be unable to pay it, but as a shrewd businessman he of course would have recognized that the chances of Antonio’s default, given the number and distribution of the merchant’s vessels, would be nigh to naught. Has Shylock given this issue up to his God, to let Him show out the truth of the matter? Does his wager amount to this – that if Antonio was guilty of cuckholding him, on which matter he very well might have only suspicions, God would show Antonio’s guilt in the issue of his argosies?

Be all this as it may, it seems evident that Antonio is expected to pay for Shylock’s daughter; and whether he must do so because he had ‘disgrac’d’ the Jew (III.i 54), or simply because he is the scapegoat to his own ‘tribe’, to the Christians, is beside the material point, which is simply that Shylock feels he has been intolerably offended by this Christian, and seeks restitution from him for the offense. Jessica at any rate does not seem to doubt her heritage, but says most intriguingly that though she is ‘daughter to his blood, / I am not to his manners’. One is tempted then to see in this but another statement of Shakespeare’s prejudice; Shakespeare, it might be claimed, almost seems to want to salvage the Jewess Jessica by removing her from the Jewish stain. But he would of course have known that Judaism, by its own tradition, passes via the mother’s and not the father’s line, so that one way or another Jessica must be a Jewess.

Let us return from this apparent digression. The problem of the Jew is the problem of a stranger in a foreign land, who however has no homeland of his own to which he might return. His condition is identical to that of the exile of old. We, who have abandoned the laws of exile, forget its meaning – the horror and the shame of being banned from one’s fatherland, and made to wander amidst peoples alien to one for the remainder of one’s earthly existence, amidst tongues one does not comprehend or does not comprehend to natural perfection, amidst customs which are strange and in many cases repellant – forced to speak and walk with men, but forbidden from eating, drinking, or praying with them. Exiling was once even taken as a substitute for capital punishment, in some cases as an even stronger penalty than capital punishment. The Jew in Shakespeare’s day found himself permanently and irremediably in this bitter state. His single recourse against his enemies (all those in whose company he finds himself are, in a certain sense, bound to be or to tend to be his enemies) was to the law – fact to which Shylock makes recourse in his attempt to force Antonio to pay his pound of flesh. ‘I stand here for law’, Shylock proclaims during the trial (IV.i 142).7 But the law is not neutral and ecumenical; the law is made for the protection of its citizens, and its citizens are always a certain people of a certain stock or faith, a certain kind of human being – not the Jew. Shylock’s forceful interpretation of the law, his attempt to bend it to serve him, is in vain; the law is built to protect Venetians, not Jews, and it snaps back in his hand and cuts him.

Skylock, the Jew, by Shakespeare’s own portraiture, by the hand of this Elizabethan ‘anti-Semite’, thus finds himself in an unbearable position, in which he is damned to suffer the outrages of his worst enemies without any way of defending himself against them, and certainly with no way of striking back (cf. III.i 70–73). The Jew thus becomes, inevitably and almost through no fault of his own, a dangerous element in society, a man who must seek to protect himself as he can, through extra-legal means if necessary, by altering the face of his society to make room for his special case. This is the nub of what was called the Jewish Question in elder times.

There were in those times, before two modern developments which we will have occasion shortly to consider, but two solutions to this problem from the point of view of any sovereign people that might host Jews.8 The first was that undertaken by no other state than England in the thirteen century – expulsion – which state of affairs held as well in Shakespeare’s day. The Jews were driven out of England for a variety of reasons we shall not dwell on here; they remained banished until well into the seventeenth century, being officially allowed reentry some fifty years after the penning of the present play. Yet Shakespeare chose to write a tale of a Jew for an English audience that had no or little immediate knowledge of Jews; and despite all the ways in which Shylock must be regarded as a spiteful and subversive character, he is shown mercy at the end, and is not driven from the city, nor even hanged (as Gratiano insists he should be). As for Jessica, she is married directly to a Christian. Shakespeare tacitly rejects expulsion as a solution to the Jewish problem.

The other solution, the solution to which Shakespeare’s resolution points us, was known as assimilation. Through conversion (which was, to be sure, in many cases foisted upon unwilling Jews) and intermarriage, the Jewish way of life was to gradually be melded with that of its host people, until such a point as it was no longer visible or had vanished altogether. As is indicated at any number of points in the dialogue, any Jew who becomes a Christian, and especially a Jew born to the marriage of a Christian and a convert, might cease to be a Jew. Now, Antonio suggests that the Jewish nature itself is intractable and inalterable, which would imply that it should be passed down generation to generation:

I pray you think you question with the Jew:
You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf
Why he hath made the ewe bleak for the lamb;
You may as well forbid te mountain pines
To wag their high tops, and to make no noise
When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do any thing most hard
As seek to soften that – than which what’s harder?–
His Jewish heart!

Yet this would seem to be belied by Jessica herself, who by her own proclamation, as well as that of other characters, has inherited her father’s blood but not his manners; the blood passes on necessarily generation to generation, but does not necessarily carry the manners.

It is interesting to note that the possibility of assimilation is not open, or not open to the same extent, to the other non-Venetian or non-Italian character considered by the play: namely, the Moor. The Moor, we are reminded, is of a certain hue (Portia states that she does not want any man ‘of his complexion’, II. vii 79); we are invited to imagine what the product of a Christian and Moorish match would be. The Moor bears his blood on his skin, as it were, and so can never be perfectly assimilated.9 Shakespeare however suggests that this is not only a problem from the point of view of the observer of the dark-skinned man, but from the very perspective of the dark-skinned man himself: the Moor, who introduces himself with the plea, ‘Mislike me not for my complexion’ (II.i 1), demonstrates through his act that he is – perhaps on account of his very ‘complexion’ – overly concerned with ‘likenesses’; he is the man who chooses the golden casket, saying that ‘never so rich a gem [Portia’s portrait] / was set in worse than gold’ (II.vii 54–55). The heritage of Moorish blood cannot be erased or concealed by a simple change in manners; and almost as if to insist upon this fact, Shakespeare, in the scene following the very introduction of the Moor, has Launcelot in a dialogue with his father: Launcelot’s ‘surname’, as it were, is ‘Gobbo’, Italian for hunchback; there is evidently some physical deformity in this man which he has inherited from the Old Gobbo, his father; his heritage cannot be doubted. ‘Jewishness’, on the other hand, can theoretically be shed, while Jewish blood remains.

To be sure, one wonders to what extent this might occur with an old Jew like Shylock: Shylock is hard. Many in our day will recall with horror his proclamation, which we are wont to view as being clear product of Shakespeare’s ‘anti-Semitism’: ‘I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear! Would she were hears’d at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin!’ (III.i 87–90); and to be sure, those are heinous utterances. But let us not forget that they are the cries of a man enraged beyond reason, who has not only lost his daughter, but has been betrayed by her in the way that most touches him. One must not forget that Jessica in fleeing her father has at once broken the solemn filial trust, and has moreover robbed a good sum from him in ducats and jewels, and even in a ring gifted to Shylock by his deceased wife (III.i 118–119). Indeed, she returns a second time to ‘gild myself/with some moe ducats’ (II.vi 49–50), suggesting that she has more of her father’s manners than everyone believes. Wretched words are Shylock’s – but they are perhaps less detestable than Bassanio the Christian stating he wishes his own wife were dead so as to save the life of Antonio (the disguised Portia indeed utters here ‘Your wife would give you little thanks for that’), or Gratiano’s yet more gratuitous proclamation that he would have his wife dead in heaven, in order to pray God to change the nature of the Jew.

Secularism is not, despite all its pretences to the contrary, a merely legal condition, by which men are permitted to worship as they see fit; it exists indeed to train and discipline that worship.

Gratiano, indeed, strikes us as a real and authentic ‘anti-Semite’, if ever any such elusive beast makes appearance within this play. This is the same Gratiano who does whatever he can to see Shylock hanged; who, with comic regularity, cries out the word ‘Jew’ as if it were some intercalary during the trial. Here we have a vengeful man (recall that Shylock states that he learned revenge from the Christians – III.i 69–71; note as well that Shylock and Gratiano use the same phrase in referring to their respective vengeances: they have their enemies ‘on the hip’, see I.iii 46 and IV.i 334), who owns a deathless mistrust of an entire people, who really has a grudge against them for being Jews, as Shylock accuses Antonio of doing, and wishes to see his his passion meted out in law and punishment. But the just Portia ignores his pleas; Portia grants mercy to Shylock, indeed restores him a half of his goods at Antonio’s request, and forces him to convert, the same fate which awaits Jessica, and by which, as she herself states it, ‘I shall end this strife/Become a Christian and [Lorenzo’s] loving wife’ (II.iii 20–21). Shakespeare thus suggests that the only right solution to the Jewish problem is assimilation – the viability of which solution, from the point of view of the city, is noted in the single comical protestation made to it by the clown Launcelot, that it shall raise the cost of pork (III.v 21–25).10 As for the Jewish view of this solution – let it be recalled that, for right or wrong, the Jew is a stranger in Venice.

Yet this last observation leads us naturally at last to one of the modern solutions to the ethnic problem: the liberal solution. One way of resolving the problem of the nationless people, is to make their host nations become their own. The laws are altered by altering the idea of justice itself, and of the state in consequence; no longer do the laws protect the interests of the citizens of this or that special nation, but rather the rights of humankind as such; Venice becomes a city not only for the benefit of the Venetians, but for all men everywhere, the Jews included. One replaces the local and localized justice of the city with ecumenical or universal justice, to which all men, and not only blood citizens, might have recourse.

Liberalism, however, in its solution to the problem we have been considering, resolves but its legal aspect; no longer does a Shylock risk having the law turned against him for his lack of the proper blood (it is no accident that it is precisely to Venetian blood that the key law refers, which resolves this drama). Yet as Shakespeare reminds us, the law qua law is not sufficient to any end. The law is transcended and completed by what might be called Christian mercy, and without which the assimilation of Shylock and Jessica would be impossible: justice, as Portia states it in her justly famous speech, should be ‘seasoned’ by mercy (IV.i 197), that man reveals himself the image of God. By Venetian law alone, Shylock should indeed have been hanged, as Gratiano desired; there is wanted something more.

Christian mercy, as the play demonstrates, is the prerogative of Christians (cf. II.ii 24–31; III.iii 1 and IV.i 240–242). But the Christian and the Jew, as the play reminds us on more than one occasion (there are countless references to dining, constant allusions to dinners in which various things must be discussed or decided), cannot break bread together, cannot share in worship. The tension between the Jews and the Christians – or more generally between persons of vastly different customs and beliefs – is not resolved by any merely legalistic manipulation.11 On the contrary, it is even aggravated by the same; for what should have become of Antonio, had the Venetian law not intervened to preserve him? He would have been brought under the knife: but how should such an outcome have conduced to any ecumenical idea of justice? The liberal society, as much as the non-liberal society, is wont to degenerate into ethnic factions; except that in the liberal society, for its very ‘impartiality’, the law, the humanitarian, egalitarian, ecumenical law, transforms into a weapon in the hands of the craftiest or most influential of these factions or ethnic groups, to be wielded against their enemies. We are seeing the emergence of this difficulty with crystalline clarity in our day, in which ‘lawfare’ has become a real and potent weapon brought against some groups by others.

The liberal legal order, then, if it is to completely address the ethnic question, must be supplemented by a liberal ethical or religious order: enter here the secular solution. Secularism is not, despite all its pretences to the contrary, a merely legal condition, by which men are permitted to worship as they see fit; it exists indeed to train and discipline that worship. Beneath the secular order, men themselves are to become secular; the ethnic conflict, in its religious aspect (which the Enlightenment thinkers took to be the fiercest and most recalcitrant aspect of ethnic conflict), is to be eroded and finally effaced: all men are to live in a secular fashion, by secular principles – no longer as Christians or Jews or Muslims, but rather as ‘human beings’ whose primary interactions are the economic.

But the secular order cannot persist without supplementing the theistic urge. If private men disagree fundamentally on the meaning, say, of the story of Jacob and the rams and ewes, they will divide against one another; this not to speak of disputes deeper yet. Rousseau saw this very clearly, when he suggested ‘brotherhood’ as the third fundamental principle of Enlightenment revolutionary thought, alongside equality and freedom.12 Brotherhood, the humanistic religion of mankind itself, was to replace the belief in this or that godhead, this or that limited, superstitious, and essentially provincial faith. The assimilation of certain ethnicities into certain other ethnicities is replaced then by a general assimilation of all ethnicities into ‘humanity’ itself; all ethnicities must disappear, must wane and finally vanish, until all that remains is the naked human being in its unitary individuality, all equal to all and all equally subject to an identical set of political and economic laws.

Yet there is an evident difficulty here: we of today do not speak of brotherhood with the same frequency and emphasis with which we speak of equality and freedom; equality and freedom have kept their conceptual centrality to our regimes, while ‘brotherhood’ has slipped from the discourse and lexicon of late modernity. Ethnic particularities have had an enormous recrudescence in our day in the form of identity politics. Many have lamented the rise of identity politics, as if in its absence the liberal order would somehow work smoothly, or at any rate better than it presently does – as if this ‘identity politics’ were but a rash upon the face of that order, which might have been obviated as well as not.

Liberalism protects the rights of all men to their beliefs and their diverse ways, even while living in a kind of pious hope that they will accede one day or other to becoming themselves liberal; but this pious hope is belied by reality itself.

To keep within the purposes of this essay, it suffices here to observe that anyone who so thinks neglects the lessons of Shakespeare. The problem of the Jewish community, of a Shylock or a Jessica, might be resolved by assimilation; the ‘strife’ thereby can be ended; but does this suffice for all ethnicities? A Jew may convert and have children with a non-Jew; in the arc of several generations, the Jewish heritage of that family line will be all but forgotten. A Venetian Christian might forego his faith and turn to his merchandise, and in the arc of several generations might reveal himself no longer as a Venetian so much as a member of that much broader and barer species Homo oeconomicus. But a black Muslim, for instance, who converts, resolves only the question of consuetude, and not that of race; his race passes on to his offspring in a visible sign.

Shakespeare points us to this difficulty again and again: consider in this light once more Salerio’s comments to Shylock at III.i 38, particularly given the suggestions that have been made of Jessica’s being a natural child; there is no way of knowing whether her father was a Christian or a Jew. Had her father been black, however, this difference in the flesh would be evident and indisputable. A black line requires sufficient generations and intermixing before it might appreciably vanish. In the meanwhile, the intermixed son of black and white parents, no longer being of an unambiguous ethnicity, must come to terms with what we have learned to call his ‘identity’, and is wont to lean toward that ‘identity’ which is most visible and obvious. The Liberal solution then must be turned on its head; it is not the black minority which must be assimilated to the white majority, since this is difficult if not impossible: then let the white majority be assimilated to the black minority. For, from this reversed perspective, in the arc of but a single generation, the offspring of a white and a black parent indeed bears visible sign of that mix. Then the entire world must become, not indeed ‘black’, but ‘brown’; that is the single way of keeping the global Liberal order solid on its fundaments. Yet the Liberal order itself is the original invention of societies which were ethnically European; thus the mixed children of white and black marriages, who will tend for reasons we have outlined to cleave to that part of their ethnic heritage which traces to their black ancestors, confront eternally the question of whether they are not acquiescing to a society which is in the last analysis a foreign imposition on them. The strife which the liberal society would eliminate, has rather been sown by it into the flesh itself.

Moreover, the solution of brotherhood itself requires, as one of its most fundamental and unstated axioms, the will of whites, Jews, blacks, Muslims, Chinese, Arabs, etc. etc., to assimilate into ‘humanity’, to shed their local and limited customs and to become ‘human brothers’. Yet many groups are unwilling to forget their origins. Liberalism protects their rights to their beliefs and their diverse ways, even while living in a kind of pious hope that they will accede one day or other to becoming themselves liberal; but this pious hope is belied by reality itself – that cruel, devious reality of human relations, whereby the conflict of ethnic factions does not merely vanish, simply because one sees in its vanishment the easiest resolution of the very problems to which it gives rise. Wishing it out of existence shall not annihilate it.

It is only to be expected that those who cannot be ‘assimilated’ into the ‘sea of humanity’ will group together and look out for the interests of their special minorities. The Jews, for whom ‘suff’rance is the badge of our race’, as Shylock has it, have perhaps found no other nation so open to their assimilation than the United States (in Israel, of course, they are not required to assimilate at all); and in that country more than elsewhere many of them seem to have regrouped around their ethnicity and sought by all the powers at their disposal to insist upon the ‘multicultural’ qualities of the United States, in a clear and comprehensible urge to protect their own customs and continuance. They have concentrated upon the greatest ‘suff’rance’ of their history, the Holocaust, which they have used to constantly remind, not to say mortify, all gentiles of the precariousness of their position. A Shylock born in New York rather than in Venice, we might say, would perhaps be less needfully greedy; but what of the other primary trait Shakespeare gives to his spirit? His pitiful cry, toward the end of his own trial, ‘Shall I not have barely my principal?’ is an evident play on words for a work which is meant to be recited and not only read. Today, the principle is given, and given not ‘barely’ but in full, to all the descendents of Shylock; but have the tensions to which Shakespeare pointed us for that reason abated?

The very fact that we are so wont to hurl the charge of ‘anti-Semitism’ against the living and the dead would suggest decidedly otherwise.

Nerissa, the lady-in-waiting of Portia, has a peculiar name, one which might indicate, via the Latin, ‘black-haired’. The question of this particular feature, given the considerations to which Shakespeare leads us above, and its connection in particular with the colour black which is associated in the play with all non-Venetians, cannot help but raise in our minds a string of questions. Might she be a Jewess, well assimilated? Might it be that Gratiano, the ‘anti-Semite’ par excellence, has married unawares into the very race he so mislikes? Might it be that Nerissa is the product of successful assimilation, so that she to Shakespeare has resolved in her very flesh the fundamental difficulty, and answered the ethnic question (she and Portia dine together, drink together, pray together)? And might that proclamation of Gratiano’s, with which the entire play closes, that he shall mind nothing so much as ‘keeping safe Nerissa’s ring’, in a work which has used rings again and again to signify betrothal and secrecy and friendship and blood all bound together – might this proclamation indicate that he himself shall, by fathering the children of this woman’s womb, unwittingly keep the secret of her blood, even as the chests of Portia contained their truths beneath their skins?

We emerge from Shakespeare’s play, as is only fitting, with a broader perspective and a host of novel and prickling questions. Far from detesting the Jewish race, as the censurers and censors of this play somehow believe it teaches us to do, we find ourselves rather asking due and inevitable questions about the nature of the city and its law with regard to men of vastly different tribe – different origins, beliefs, customs, etc. These questions demand redress, not ignorance, and they demand it today more than ever on account of the advent of the multicultural or multi-tribal city in which these questions take flesh and produce, out of prickly theoretical difficulties, rending practical problems. They require, not the facile use of our obscurantist terminology, but rather the most careful consideration and the most delicate reflection. Not the paltry and tendentious question of Shakespeare’s ‘anti-Semitism’, but the ubiquitous and fractious ethnic question itself demands our investigation. But we have made ourselves blind, mute and dumb to that question, have smothered our senses in newfound words and diaphanous concepts, and cut ourselves off from the right understanding of our situation, and our very roots thereby.

So, in a turn of plot worthy of the Bard himself, we find that this Shakespeare, whom we have sought to set before the bar of our justice, has rather all the while had us before his own. Our perspective of haughty, historicist and moralytic superiority has been adjudicated for the farce and costume that it is; the tragedy has become a comedy, as we clownlike stumble about the stage, maundering on ceaselessly about unlikely matters, our eyes blindfolded and our ears plugged even as our mouths vomit up their proclamations. Shakespeare’s justice would have us open the first two and halve the third, if not stop it up altogether. Thus we open our ears and eyes boldly to what the Bard has to teach us, risking albeit that we might be converted by him before all is said and done. But likely ’tis true that any man among us who cannot produce a work of the calibre of The Merchant of Venice should be its pupil before he will be its judge.

References

1For Tubal, see Genesis 10:2, for Chus Genesis 10:6 and for Jessica Genesis 11:29. We will have cause to turn to the last of these further on; as for the first two, As for Shylock, see the following footnote.

2Shylock, as opposed to the other names, is etymologically ambiguous, which reinforces the point made above about Shylock’s being in some way a point of meeting between two worlds. His name might as easily derive from Old English roots, originally meaning ‘bright or silver lock of hair’ (for which it would share its origin with the name Sherlock) as from Hebrew roots. In the latter case it is thought to derive from Genesis 10:24, from the original Shelach. Yet it appears to me (matter about which, incidentally I would be happy to receive refutation or confirmation from men better versed in this field) that another possible source for this name might be Shelah, son of Judah, who makes appearance in Genesis 38:5, 11, 14 and 26, and 46:12. The which would be of interest to the question of Shakespeare’s Shylock, insofar as the Biblical Shelah is denied marriage with a widow and so apparently dies childless, which would have noteworthy ramifications for the interpretation offered of Shylock’s cuckholdry in the present essay.

3These continue up to the present; an amusing case, though one relatively unknown in the Anglophone world, is the name Furio in Italian, which promptly fell into disuse after the appearance of a homonymous character in the film Bianco, Rosso e Verdone by Carlo Verdone. The Furio of that film takes Italian men roundly and hilariously to task for a number of their more salient vices in a way which would have been unforgivable in any other context – in a way, that is to say, that only a comic artist is ever able to do, and then often enough only with respect to his own people. The classic paragon of this is Aristophanes.

4The Second Folio is even more suggestive on this score: it substitutes did for do.

5Thoreau, Henry. Journal, November 11, 1850.

6This of course by the ‘naïve’ calculation of four weeks per nine months, and not by the scientific average, which is rather about 40 weeks.

7The question of a stern kind of justice and its relation to Judaism could certainly be broached here. This relation is recognized even by Westerners who have little knowledge of the Jewish faith in the commonplace sentiment that while the God of the New Testament is the God of love, the God of the Old Testament is God the Father – the God of justice. It is worth recalling here that Shylock is reported as having cried ‘Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!’ (II.vii 17) when Jessica fled him, which at once indicates his preoccupation with law and also might be taken as an interesting commentary on his priorities.

8We leave aside, of course, the commoner ‘solution’ of simply isolating the Jewish community in this or that ghetto, which in the end was not a solution to the problem so much as its precondition. We also deliberately omit the pogrom, which with but few exceptions has been primarily the result of a temporary reduction of the social order to mob rule and a loss of control on the part of the ruling classes, rather than a conscious scheme of the same.

9 De Tocqueville, too, noted this problem. See Democracy in America, Volume One, Part Two, Chapter Ten ‘On the Three Races that Inhabit the United States’ (Chicago. The University of Chicago Press: 2000). The entire Chapter is worth reading for its relevance to many modern events; but the present question is addressed in particular toward its center, on pages 342–343.

10However, it is not at all superfluous to recall here the etymological root of Portia’s name (as we are invited to do by the constant reminder in everything having to do with Portia of the difference between appearance and reality, by the reminder not to rest at a beautiful exterior): no Jewish man will seek a gentile bride. To assimilate the Jew might mean to soften the vice of greed which is attached to his station. What would a less avaricious Shylock, who yet preserves Shylock’s wit, have done before the three caskets?

11Cf. Aristotle, Politics, Book III, Chapter 16.

12See Rousseau, On the Social Contract, Book IV, Chapter VIII ‘Civil Religion’.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/08/tribe-and-city-the-merchant-of-venice-and-the-ethnic-question-part-2/feed/ 2
Tribe and City: The Merchant of Venice and the Ethnic Question – Part 1 https://arktos.com/2019/04/05/tribe-and-city-the-merchant-of-venice-and-the-ethnic-question-part-1/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/05/tribe-and-city-the-merchant-of-venice-and-the-ethnic-question-part-1/#comments_reply Fri, 05 Apr 2019 16:04:20 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6346 Perhaps none of William Shakespeare’s plays is harder for us of today to decipher than The Merchant of Venice. This, not on account of its technical difficulty, its archaic or inventive turns of phrase, its elusiveness of meaning, or its complexity of characterization and motivation, but rather because it has been veiled in controversies which fundamentally do not concern it, and which impose on modern readers the obligation of peeling away layers entire before so much as the skin of the play itself may come into view. Yet for that reason precisely – precisely because it is so difficult for us to approach it, precisely because it seems to forbid our entry – this might be one of the Shakespearean works most needful for us to comprehend.

The controversies which enfold this play are indicated decisively by the judgement passed on this play by no lesser authority than the renowned critic Harold Bloom, who (despite his extremely high opinion of the work as such) thought fit to submit the following remarks: ‘One would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to recognise that Shakespeare’s grand, equivocal comedy The Merchant of Venice is nevertheless a profoundly anti-semitic work’.1 Under the weight of this and like assessments, the debate over the quality, the intent and indeed the morality of this play has never ceased in literary criticism, with some rushing perennially to the Merchant’s defence and others ready from the first to castigate it, if not to cast it into the very flames. The Merchant of Venice, it would appear, stands before the present age as a defendant at trial, alongside it, maybe, the man who penned it, and perhaps even – who knows? – we ourselves. Alas, but there is reason enough to wonder whether its judges are capable any long of mercy, or even of fairness, when the ugly question of ‘intolerance’ raises it head – particularly given that we would evidently ‘have to be blind, deaf and dumb’ not to see perceive that same quality rife within it.

Precisely because it is so difficult for us to approach it, precisely because it seems to forbid our entry, The Merchant of Venice might be one of the Shakespearean works most needful for us to understand.

Yet at the risk of showing ourselves so poor in our senses, we would dispute what appears to us both an obstructionist and indeed an evasionist interpretation of a play whose real bounty is robbed, and whose true profundity concealed, by an all-too-facile use of these late neologisms.

In equal measure, however, we must also avoid another easy temptation presented by the current hermeneutics, one which often enough makes its appearance precisely here, before this very tribunal, in an attempt as it were to get the defendant off lightly. The work is sometimes shielded from the charge of anti-Semitism with a judgement which reduces more or less to the following logic: ‘Shakespeare, too, great man that he was, was child of his time; Shakespeare, too, was so far immersed in the biases of his day that he surely could not see far beyond them; his treatment of Jews and Jewishness in The Merchant of Venice was but a symptom of the times, and should be excused him’. Thus, one quite literally pleads insanity and has done with the matter.

Since we contemporaries, even the most dwarfish among us, are evidently so gifted with a historical insight that our vision compasses even that of Shakespeare, it must come as no surprise that the reading of literature and the study of our past should have fallen out of fashion; if there is nothing to be gleaned from reading books like this other than some comprehension of how far their writers were our inferiors, it really takes a special kind of mind to occupy itself with them. But any one who really goes digging in the depths of Shakespeare’s earth is certain sooner or later, volente o nolente, to come across jewels innumerable, whose integral beauty and hard crystalline lucidity are not liable to be consumed, nor even so much as scratched, by these maggots of time. Shakespeare lived in his epoch and wrote to his day; to that extent we are entitled – nay, obliged to take his ‘historical context’ into consideration. But there is nothing in this fact to demonstrate, and countless of the aforementioned gems to dispute, the claim that he himself blindly, deafly and dumbly believed as his time believed.

Indeed, to assume as much, far from proving Shakespeare’s prejudice, is to confirm our own.

A Note on the Term

We are forced to begin, then, by trying to get our hands around ‘anti-Semitism’, though it is eel-like and will doubtless slip our grip, no matter how tightly we attempt to hold it. In the first place, it could be noted that to label a man of the seventeenth century with a term which was invented from the wholecloth in the nineteenth, is somewhat anachronistic not to say unjust, and once again suggests that the thinkers who are truly bound and blinded by the special beliefs of their historical epoch are not the men of the past, but precisely we ultra-moderns. But alas, nullum crimen sine lege is a principle which we have seen transgressed on more than one celebrated occasion in the past hundred years, and so not even this observation can turn the trial to Shakespeare’s favour.

Then let us attempt to clarify the use of this term. Is it anti-Semitic of Shakespeare to introduce a Jewish character into his works? Or to introduce one who does not flatter the Jews? Or is it anti-Semitic, perchance, to put into the mouths of so many other characters ‘anti-Semitic language’ which is certain to have been commonplace among men in those times and those places? Or is it rather – as seems a more justifiable basis for these accusations – that Shylock’s peculiar vices appear to be attached to certain ideas, commonplace in Shakespeare’s day, regarding the nature of the Jewish community as a whole?

Until we have understood Shakespeare’s intent with the play, we cannot assess the question of Shakespeare’s view of the Jews.

Yet what then? If an artist portrays a Jew who happens to bear traits which have traditionally, whether rightly or wrongly, been associated with Jewishness, is that in and of itself anti-Semitic? Are we to suppose that there has never been a Jew who cared inordinately for gold? Or that there have been such, but that to present them dramatically is beyond the pale? Then we must hold it against Shakespeare, surely, not only that he made the evident vices of an invented character coincide with the supposed vices of a people entire, but that he did so with such power. For Shylock, whatever else one might think of him, is surely a powerful character, perhaps the most powerful of the entire play aside from Portia. Evidently, an artist – even, or perhaps especially, one of the rank of Shakespeare – is simply not permitted to step upon certain stretches of the wide domain of artistic creativity. Why, and where lie the precise borders of this terra prohibita?

No one would call Shakespeare anti-Italian for his Iago, or anti-Scottish or mysogynist for his Lady Macbeth. The question of anti-Semitism here is connected necessarily to the question of that people against whom it is supposed to be directed. Now, in Shakespeare’s time, the Jews had long since been expelled from England, and those few that remained were forced to live to all visible and outward signs like Englishmen. The Jews acquired in their absence, and by the inevitable rumours brought back to England by sailors and travellers, an almost fantastical reputation, fact which was exploited by many poets and writers to great popular effect. Yet Shakespeare – as opposed to, for instance, Marlowe with his Jew of Malta or even Chaucer with his Prioress’s Tale – did not advantage himself of this situation so as to plant a monster or a devil in the place of a man. Shylock is wholly human, if an incomplete or lopsided human. He is so wholly human indeed that one must inquire as to what it is that causes his incompletion or his lopsidedness.

We refrain from sparing ourselves the hard labour of this inquiry by swallowing that little soporific which has ‘anti-Semitism’ scrawled upon it. Then let us turn to the surface. The play, as we have noted, is rife with denunciatory speeches against the Jews. The hatred which several characters of Shakespeare’s play so clearly bear towards Shylock for his being a Jew thus furnishes the prime evidence for Shakespeare’s own anti-Semitism. Yet Shakespeare speaks nowhere in his play; only his characters speak. Are we to identify Shakespeare with his characters? Very well: but his characters contradict one another, and one of them is Shylock himself. Then which is to be regarded as the spokesman (spokeswoman?) of the author, and on what grounds?

There is no term analogous to ‘anti-Semitism’ to indicate the feeling of Shylock for the Christians surrounding him;2 on the face of it, there is no outward indication of what Shakespeare thought of Shylock’s harsh judgement of the Christians, or of what he thought of the Christians’ harsh judgement of Shylock. This mutual hatred of the characters is the focal point of the play; it is the tense centre around which the whirlpool revolves; but nowhere are we furnished the author’s assessment of its antipodes. True, things end ill for Shylock; but does that indicate necessarily that justice has been done? On what grounds can we claim as much? Because the characters of the play believe it has? But here again we are thrown back on the same problem: for certainly, Shylock, who more than once calls upon justice and the law to sustain him, does not believe that justice has been done. Until we know what Shakespeare thought of Shylock, we cannot know what Shakespeare thought of the judgement passed on Shylock. Until we have understood the play and Shakespeare’s intent with the play, we cannot assess the question of Shakespeare’s view of the Jews. ‘Anti-Semitism’ cannot be the starting point of our investigation, but at the very most its ending point.

And indeed, a more commonplace defence of Shakespeare runs thus: though Shakespeare certainly was playing to certain ‘stereotypes’ of his time3 with an eye as ever toward the rabble that formed the larger part of his audience, nonetheless he also presented Shylock in such a way that careful viewers or readers cannot help but sympathize with the man’s plight. Did he not put into Shylock’s mouth that most famous plea against bigotry ever written (‘Am I not a man?’), which to this day is used (sometimes thoughtlessly) in condemnation of the grosser kinds of racism? Did he not indicate that Shylock had been the victim of injustices, insofar as Antonio had been abusing and defaming him about the city, costing him money; insofar as his own daughter had abandoned him against his paternal will for a gentile, and withal robbed him of a goodly portion of his wealth; insofar, finally, as by the supposed justice of the city itself, to which he sought such emphatic recourse, he was dispossessed and denatured, forced to choose between his being and his well-being, and at last made even to betray his faith?

We hear and duly weigh this defence, but we make the following note upon it: the fact that one is forced to defend Shakespeare in such terms before this modern tribunal, or even to accuse him in such terms before the same, has already put one into wholly artificial relation with his work. One already approaches Shakespeare as an advocate of one kind or another, displaying in its full false glory that quality which is dreaded by contemporary man more perhaps than any other malady of the mind: namely, prejudice. If ever we are to grasp Shakespeare, or any pre-modern thinker, with any clarity at all, we must cure ourselves of this moral paralysis, this moralysis, from the start, turn away from the arbitrary laws that ring us in, and shed off a few of our modern prejudices.

We return. We make the attempt to look at Shakespeare from fresh eyes, no longer judging him, neither the one way nor the other, until we have likely reason to do so. We ask the simplest and most obligatory question, putting ourselves into a standing with this author such as should be nothing more than our natural position vis-à-vis the great men of our history: what does Shakespeare have to tell us regarding the situation and character of the Jew of Venice?

Note on the Title

Let us begin again from the beginning.

The title of this work is The Merchant of Venice. The word ‘merchant’ throughout the play is used almost exclusively in reference to Antonio, a wealthy and powerful nobleman of some standing in the city, who is engaged in trade across the globe and has ships bearing his merchandise in every corner of the world (I.i 42–44; III.ii 268–269). His combining the merchant and the nobleman in one figure is significant for Shakespeare’s time, if not for our own; for in Shakespeare’s England there was a blurring but still neat distinction between the noble class and the mercantile class – as has held, incidentally, in most noble times and climes. The person of Antonio, then, reminds us of Venice’s special position as a port city, a city which gained its greatness on the back of its trade. By a term which is at once newer and older than Shakespeare’s day, we might say that Venice was a thalassocratic city. It was normal, then, that that which brought the city’s glory and power should be localized in her ruling classes.

The central concern of The Merchant of Venice is the ethnic question.

But this makes for a problem. To be a merchant means to care decisively about the increase of one’s wealth, while to be a nobleman imposes an instinct toward the virtue of liberality, viz. the free and generous use, not to say squandering, of one’s wealth. Bassanio, whose virtue is proved through the plot itself, is introduced to us in the play as a young man who has far ‘disabled [his] estate’ (I.i 123), thus propelling the story. Antonio’s response to his friend’s plight is to ‘unlock’ his ‘purse … person … [and] extremest means’ (I.i 138–139); i.e. he proves his liberality, his munificence. The word ‘unlock’ which he uses here is of great interest, not only because it obviously points to the trope of the three locked chests by which Portia’s marriage is secured by Bassanio (the man who discards greed and appearances), as well as the locked chest which Jessica steals from her father, but also because it rings so clearly against the very name of the play’s other central protagonist, Shylock himself – he who is shy about his locks – that is, who altogether lacks the virtue of liberality or of munificence.

Shylock, it might be said, is neither a free merchant (for the city of Venice put certain strictures on the business in which Jews were allowed to participate) nor certainly a nobleman (from which rank his heritage prohibited him). He is first and foremost a lender of money. Antonio too is a lender of money, but this very parallel indicates as well a difference, which is originally a difference in the customs of the two men: Antonio does not lend with interest. On the other hand Shylock is the only other character of the play indicated to be a merchant: Salanio greets him once with the cry, ‘How now, Shylock! what news among the merchants?’ (III.i 24), and Shylock, when speaking to Tubal of Antonio, says, ‘were/he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I/will’ (III.i 128) employing the word ‘merchandise’, which is used but three times in the play, once here and twice in Antonio’s mouth; but he is a merchant primarily, it would seem, on other people’s wares, making his money by financing them at a rate. Nonetheless, the reflection between these two characters remains, and even Portia, in the guise of the judge, most pointedly asks of the court: ‘Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?’ meaning primarily that these two are to be singled out to her from the crowd, but perchance indicating as well another sense: namely, that Shylock has been a merchant, and Antonio for his part has atimes played the Jew.

In the first Stationer’s Register to list this play, the entry notes it as ‘a book of the Merchant of Venice, otherwise called the Jew of Venice’; it would appear Shakespeare was undecided on the title up to the last moment. This fact is taken to suggest that Shakespeare was uncertain as to which of the two protagonists to make central to a first glance or to the vulgar view, and that he settled finally on Antonio over Shylock. We rather suggest that he settled on the ambiguous title over the clear and evident one.

It is no accident that this play is not named clearly for any of its protagonists, as are many of plays commonly considered to be Shakespearean tragedies: and yet, at the same time, it is neither named for some obvious thematic element of the play, as for instance The Taming of the Shrews or Much Ado About Nothing, as are most of the Shakespearean comedies, amongst which Merchant has traditionally been located. It is one of four Shakespearean plays that contains in its title the name of a city; only one of these (Timon of Athens, one of the histories) includes as well a proper name. The two remaining, apart from The Merchant of Venice, indicate two individuals and the city to which they belong: Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Merchant of Venice thus appears to stand alone, insofar as it seems to indicate but a single individual and a single city; yet in the ambiguity we have just outlined, the title is shown in fact to indicate two men. These three plays then form a natural group within the Shakespearean oeuvre. Their titles might be said to indicate some problem within the context of the city, i.e., within the context of social life. What problem does the present play then address?

The ‘merchant’, we have said, might be Antonio and might be Shylock; yet the other half of the title seems to resolve the question. Antonio is indeed the merchant of Venice; he is Venetian by birth, he belongs to the city, as is emphatically proven by the denouement of the play. Shylock is not of Venice; he is a Jew living in the original ghetto; he is divided from the city. The similarities between the work of the two that we have outlined above are heightened by their differences, which are owed to the communities from which these two men arise. The ambiguity of the title points us to this difference in their birth, in their heritage. Indeed, more yet can be said; while Antonio is respected and even loved by his kinsmen the Venetians, Shylock’s relations to the city seem to be relations of mistrust not to say open hostility. Yet the play ends with a forced reconciliation between the Jew Shylock and the city of Venice through his conversion to Christianity; he becomes himself a Venetian, a ‘merchant of Venice’, in a fuller way – though naturally this can never address his private opinion with regard to the city, and in point of fact cannot even address his customs themselves. The tension between the city and a man born to a people not of the city remains.

The central concern of The Merchant of Venice, as indicated by the title, is the relation between the city and the laws of the city on the one hand, and the customs of individual citizens and noncitizens on the other. The question, we might say, employing a current terminology, is the ethnic question.

‘The Jew of Venice’

Shylock is a Jew. To be a Jew at any time following the fall of the Temple and before the founding of the modern state of Israel (and in many cases even before the fall and after the founding) betokens that one dwells in a foreign land amidst foreign men and foreign customs. One is the member of a tribe without a nation; one belongs, strictly speaking, to a homeless people. Wherever one goes on the wide face of this globe, one remains a stranger.

Shylock, in the very scene which introduces him, states this matter in great simplicity, while speaking to the Venetian Bassanio: ‘I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you’ (I.iii 36-38). His relations with the men surrounding him – those who do not belong to ‘his tribe’, as he calls it – are restrained to the merely quotidian, businesslike and economic: he cannot break bread with them (how does one sit brotherly at table with those who gorge on forbidden foods?), cannot revel with them (how make merry with those who do not reverence what one reverences, who are liable to offend or make light of what one holds sacred?), nor sit by them in prayer (how join a man in reverence, who worships an idol or demon, or an imposter deity?).

The justice of his judgement on the Venetians, on first glance so parochial, is demonstrated by the fact that he himself goes to dine with the Christians on one occasion in this play, and it proves the trap which costs him his very daughter, not to say a sizeable portion of his wealth. The course of the play itself shows that he is right to approach the citizens of Venice in the light of what they can give to him or take from him exclusively, and not in the manner of friends or brothers.

Shylock’s relation to Venice is pressed upon him by birth. His situation as an indigenous foreigner casts him into the maws of a contradiction, and his need to defend what is his and what others seek constantly to endanger or take from him, goads him to acrimony and enmity. Shakespeare presents him, according to the inevitable popular estimation, as a cold-hearted and cruel man who would squeeze any human being for a ducat; yet this is shown to be but the measure of his relations with the Venetians, and not with those of his kind: certainly, he does not appear in this ill light when he speaks to Tubal, nor even to Jessica (when she is still in his home). What is the bearing then of his infamous avarice?

He calls Antonio a ‘good man’, and much is made of the fact that he does not indicate Antonio’s virtue with this sentence, but rather only his financial solvency; yet in what measure is he supposed to judge those who do not belong to the Hebrew faith and kind? He cannot expect of them that they will deport themselves as Jews, by the standards of his people or his faith. It would be worse than useless to rail against them as wicked men because they do not follow the Jewish custom; to speak of no other difficulties here, this would mean castigating and denouncing the whole of the nation within which he lives, which would be futile if not foolhardy. But he must nonetheless believe them wicked or misled.

Shylock can count on the bounty of heaven and his own cleverness to fill his purses; can he count on the city to protect them?

Yet if the men around him are perforce wicked, and if he is forced nonetheless to live side by side with them and to treat with them on a daily basis so as to derive his merest living, then he can have no dealings with them but those which pay; and the measure of their ‘goodness’ necessarily becomes the economic – a state of relations which is not so very different, incidentally, from that imposed upon us by our ‘multicultural societies’, or even our ‘open society’ itself. It is no mere irony when Shylock states that, by attempting to offer Antonio reasonable terms on the loan he is to give him, he is extending an offer of ‘friendship’; this does not represent the shallowness of Shylock, but only the necessary falsity of the relationship standing between any two sincere, faithful, and devout men, divided by birth. Friendship, between men of different kind, can mean nothing more than this, save in circumstances too special to consider here.4

In the very passage in which Shylock offers this kind of ‘friendship’, suggestion of our interpretation is most distinctly given in a Shakespearean play on words:

I would be friends with you, and have your love,
Forget the shames that you have stain’d me with,
Supply your present wants, and take no doit
Of Usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me.
This is kind I offer. (I.iii 138-142)

Bassanio immediately misinterprets this, and responds, perhaps even enthusiastically, ‘This were kindness’. But Shylock was not presuming to offer kindness, which indeed would be impossible between two such men. He was suggesting that he would treat with Antonio, on the economic level, as he would with one of his own tribe, his own kind. High concepts, like friendship and goodness, are necessarily reduced to these material terms in his dealings with the Venetians. He can at best strike a bond of that most limited and artificial sort of friendship, in order to set matters right between him and the ‘good’ Antonio in the one ground they share in common: the mercantile.

Antonio himself, toward the closure of the same scene, states: ‘The Hebrew will turn Christian, he grows kind’ (I.iii 178) – this because Shylock has not demanded a usurer’s rate, but has instead rather stipulated the forfeiture of the pound of flesh, which Antonio (and thus Shylock as well) must be almost certain he shall not have to pay. That is to say, he has dealt with Antonio as a Christian would. And this line comes from the man, of whom it is said by Salerio, ‘A kinder gentleman treads not the earth’ (II.viii 35, emphasis mine).

Yet while friendship is necessarily limited to these workaday interactions, hatred is not; there is nothing to stop two men of diverse kind from loathing one another to the bone. ‘I hate him for he is a Christian’, says Shylock of Antonio (I.iii 42). For a man who is loyal to his people, who must live among other men loyal to their own, no greater justification for hate is wanted. As he says in the trial itself: ‘Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?/No, not for Venice’ (IV.i 228-229); he is not Venetian, for he owes his loyalty to his tribe before his city.

The importance of this hate is not to be underrated, as is clearly shown in an exchange between Bassanio and Shylock:

Bass. Do all men kill the things they love?
Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
Bass. Every offense is not a hate at first.
Shy. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice? (IV.i 66–69)

This hatred, as has been indicated, is largely requited by several of the characters in the play. Shylock himself seems to attribute Antonio’s hostility to it: ‘You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, / and spet upon my Jewish gaberdine’ (I.iii.111–112). More explicitly, in the introduction to what is perhaps, together with Portia’s soliloquy on mercy, the most famous speech of the play (placed, most pointedly, in the mouth of the Jew): ‘[Antonio] hath disgrac’d me, and hind’red me half a million, laugh’d at my losses, mock’d at my gains, scorn’d my nation, thwarted my bargains, cool’d my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew’ (III.i 54–58).

We are thus returned to the primary question with which we began, but which we can now begin to address in a saner manner: what is the cause of hostility toward the Jews on the part of the Venetians? Part of the hatred of the Jews is owed to the practice of usury – practice which Shylock justifies by way of Scripture, in the tale of Jacob and the ewes and rams (I.iii 71–90). The passage is of interest, because it indicates that the Jewish view of usury, according to Shylock, was not the taking advantage of loaners or the establishment of unfair rates, as the Christians of the play would have it, but rather the favour of heaven itself; the wealth of a man shows the blessing of God. ‘This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;/And thrift is a blessing, if men steal it not’. Whereas the Christian or Venetian interpretation (shared by the classical philosophers) is that usury is identical to theft. Shylock makes reference to a book which ought to be common between him and his interlocutors, being as it is a holy book to both the Jews and the Christian Venetians; he refers to the only possible point of transcendent or theological agreement they might have. This employment of their point of community, and its clear and evident failure as an argument in the context of Venice, emphasizes once again the abyss standing between them.

The dramatic representation of that abyss is Shylock’s greed. Shylock’s greed is palpable, indicated by any number of instances within the play which it would be tedious to recount here, so well recalled are they; indeed, the only passion which is shown to have its better in his soul is his lust for revenge. The fact that this man, in some ways representing the tribe of the Hebrews to the theatre of Shakespeare’s day, should be so portrayed is often taken as a sign of the prejudices of the writer against the Jews. But does Shakespeare not indicate the greed of the common Venetian (let us recall again that Venice was a port city, a mercantile city par excellence) most vividly in the very speeches which open the play itself, between Salerio and Solanio, among other places? The difference appears to be rather this: the greed of the Venetians is incidental to them, and stands in some ways chastised by their faith and their customs (consider again the scene of Portia’s three chests, or the tension indicated above between mercantility and nobility), while the greed of the Jew is seen to be somehow essential to him, insofar as it stems directly from his tribe. What account can be given for this?

In what are almost the last words of Shylock in this play, almost his parting words to us, Shylock makes a strong statement regarding his wealth, which he is on the brink of losing to its last coin: ‘You take my house when you do take the prop / that doth sustain my house; you take my life / When you do take the means by which I live’ (IV.i 375–377). In another man, this might have been hyperbolic; but in the case of Shylock? Who will aid this man, once he has fallen? He has no social standing, no place in society; he is friendless and kinless in Venice qua Venice; he is an outsider to the city, a stranger to its citizens, and without his wealth as a porcupine without its spines. The only help he can count on then will come from those of his kind, other Jews, some Tubal of his tribe, who themselves are hemmed in by the law even in terms of that portion of the city within which they are permitted to live and to deal. We are speaking of a man who is surrounded by foes and envy, and must defend himself as he may. The wealth that he can make, that he can in his way even draw out of nothing, is the only security he can have in such a place, amidst such men; it is his one and only means of self-reliant sustainment.

The city exists by and for the sake of justice. Justice means giving to each man what is his due. But the city is not the city of every man under the sun; it is the city of its citizens. The justice of the city means giving to each citizen what is his due – nor not even what is really their due, but rather what is their due according to the special customs beneath which they dwell. Shylock can count on the bounty of heaven and his own cleverness to fill his purses; can he count on the city to protect them? What recourse has he then when his cleverness or that bounty fail? Or when a man speaks slander, as he insists that Antonio has done? Or when his daughter flees his house with his jewels in her purse? In such cases, what is this nationless man to do, and to what standard of justice can he possibly have recourse? If he stands beyond the justice of the city on account of his very tribe and creed, does he not stand opposed to the city — and is it not then inevitable that he and the city shall sooner or later come to strife?

References

1Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books. 1998, p. 171. Lest we forget that in a day like ours a mere handful of syllables like ‘anti-Semitism’ can bend or mar the fate of works of literature, not to mention of human beings, it is worth recalling that this play has been as good as bowdlerized in many so-called ‘educational institutions’ of the United States and Canada, which, beginning back as far as the second decade of the past century and continuing in some cases up to the present, have banned it from their libraries.

2One might reply that this is because the Jews have always been an endangered minority, and thus are more in need of such armour than are the Christians; but as of this moment, Christians are the most persecuted people in all the world, and despite this, of course, no like term in their case has arisen.

3One would, however, have to explain precisely what a stereotype is – no mean feat.

4Consider the friendship between Ishmael and Queequeg in Moby-Dick, and most especially consider the conditions under which it is shown to be possible by Melville.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/05/tribe-and-city-the-merchant-of-venice-and-the-ethnic-question-part-1/feed/ 0
Nationalism and Folk Identity https://arktos.com/2019/04/03/nationalism-and-folk-identity/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/03/nationalism-and-folk-identity/#view_comments Wed, 03 Apr 2019 14:53:00 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6326 Today in the West, we find ourselves on a dangerous precipice. Many of us see our nations changing in ways that are destructive if not terrifying for the direct threats currently leveled at our ethno-culture. We find our means to speak out in defence of our very ethnic existence curtailed by social factions pushing the notion that recognizing our own unique status as an ethnic group and wishing to preserve and protect our ethno-culture is somehow racist. As is natural, a reactionary movement has burst onto the scene, known in America as the ‘Alt Right’ (a social phenomenon); in Europe, meanwhile, any individual or group that bears any semblance of ethnic pride or nationalist leanings is labelled ‘far-right’. Any time a group of people is singled out and marginalized, unless the domineering force has managed to subdue and subjugate the group entirely, there will be a reactionary rebellion.

Recognition of the need for nationalism is growing throughout the West on both sides of the Atlantic. The election of Donald Trump demonstrated that ethnic-Europeans in the United States very much reject the liberal direction our country has taken. Some level of nationalistic revival has occurred here in the States, demonstrated by Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan. However, the second half of the 20th century saw Western nations overrun with cultural Marxist ideology that have eroded the cultural continuity that America once had. And, while conservative Americans look at liberal Europe with disdain, America’s situation is every bit as precarious due to demographic shifts thrust upon us by cultural Marxist social engineers. Now that the emotional outburst of the reactionary Alt-Right has broken onto the scene, it is important to dig deeply into cultural histories to evaluate who we are as a people and what it is that we want. For, a movement based solely on reactionary emotion will be hollow and can fizzle out as quickly as it began. Thus, it behooves us to look closely at the Age of Nationalism in Western history to find grounding and direction.

A movement based solely on reactionary emotion will be hollow and can fizzle out as quickly as it began.

My biggest criticism of the Alt Right is that it seems largely rooted in emotional reactivity. It arises in a generation of individuals rightly rebelling against the liberal indoctrination which demonizes them, but they themselves lack any grounding in the ethno-culture they claim to be standing up for. In fairness, this is not necessarily the generation’s fault. Our societies have seen a steady decline in cultural identity ever since the mid-20th century. Hollywood, news media, and academia seem to be dominated by, essentially, a cabal of Bolsheviks who are hell-bent on tearing down Western cultural foundations. These people have used their positions of influence to bring corrosive messages to impressionable young adults and manipulate them into thinking that ethnic-displacement is somehow ‘social justice’. Therefore, we’ve now got a fresh crop of young ‘white people’ who recognize the injustice of the liberal attacks on whites, but who lack the grounding in their own history, heritage, and culture that ancestors had just two or three generations ago. Looking toward the nationalist movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries can give us guidance on how to proceed. For, in many ways, we are currently living in a dystopian nightmare brought on by the Marxist demolition of European ethnic-nationalism.

The Romantics’ Rejection of Urban Values

In order to understand what ethnic-nationalism means, we must look back in time to the 19th century. Remember that the prior century had seen the overturning of the traditional order. The American and French Revolutions at the end of the 18th century forever crippled the institution of monarchy in the West. The Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century drastically changed life for a majority of Westerners. Where the economy had traditionally been largely agrarian-based, mechanization meant that fewer hands were needed to run farms. Simultaneously, the boom of machinery meant that factory work became a mainstay of working class employment. In addition, locomotion became much easier with the railways making long distances more easily traversable by land, while steamships made transatlantic crossing quicker and more affordable. Those physically able to go where the work was, did so. Thus, urban centers boomed in both Europe and the Americas.

The Romantic Movement was a reaction to, and in many ways a rejection of, the values of the Enlightenment and industrialization. Urbanization had brought with it filth, poverty, crime, squalid living conditions – the poor standards of living highlighted by Charles Dickens in his novels. But the movement to cities and emigration abroad was affecting European society in another way. Observers today often note that mass migration adversely affects the home countries of migrants due to what is called ‘brain drain’. This is effect on a home-nation where its talent is lured away to other countries and put to use overseas instead of at home. A different but comparable phenomenon affected Europe in the 19th century. The depopulating of the countryside meant that Europeans were no longer engaging in age-old customs that had previously gone on since time immemorial. Agriculture-based societies are always much closer to both nature and their ancient root culture. Thus, many beliefs and practices that had been ongoing since the Pagan Era were still in place in rural Europe. In many ways, these beliefs, practices, traditions, customs, stories, and songs are what had always made up the national character of Europeans.

The Romantic Movement was comprised of people who saw the value in rural life and recognized that something beautiful was on the verge of being lost. Thus, creatives like poets and painters poured their energy into celebrating the beauty of nature and of their own ethnic heritage. In the midst of this momentum came the birth of the discipline of Folklore. Recognizing that it was the people who carried on the culture, and that these people were losing what had previously been thought to be unloseable, many individuals took it upon themselves to traverse the countryside and record the beliefs, customs, and stories of their own folk before they were lost forever.

The Building of Nations

Although sense of ethnic identity and loyalty to one’s folk is nothing new, the concept of ‘nationalism’ in the modern sense was born in the 19th century. As mentioned, revolutions of the prior century (and yet more that would ensue) overturned the traditional order of monarchy. Medieval Europe consisted of kingdoms, duchies, principalities, and at times, of empires. These terms for a country are obviously built upon the old hierarchy of nobility, wherein one’s direct allegiance was to the noble overlord – a remnant of the medieval model of feudalism. While some modern nations, like the United Kingdom, can claim a centuries-old establishment, other European nations like Germany and Italy are very new. In those regions, kings of smaller states, dukes, princes, barons, etc., still held autonomous control over their land. The unifications of Germany and Italy were momentous events, and they did not occur quickly or without controversy. Indeed, Bavaria, as an autonomous kingdom of its own, did not wish to join the new state of Germany. And, to this day there are cultural dissidents in Northern Italy who see themselves as culturally distinct from Southern Italians. This is why regional independence movements spring up around Europe here and there even now – which is not to say that unification was a negative thing, but simply that, like all political events, it was not completed without controversy and arguments both for and against.

In an age where certain agendized factions have used their cabal over academia and media to repeat the messaging that ‘we are all one race’, is it any wonder that no concept of ‘the folk’ exists anymore?

In addition, many nations that we now think of as culturally unique and autonomous had long been subjugated to other nations. For example Finland is ethnically distinct from other Scandinavian countries that have a Norse mytho-linguistic background (in the Teutonic branch of the Indo-European language family), whereas Finland is of the smaller European language family, the Finno-Ugric language group, which is not of Indo-European origin (it is related to the Saami and Hungarian languages). Many Westerners today forget, or simply do not know, that Finland was a vassal state of Sweden for some 600 years until it won independence at the outset of the 20th century. Likewise, the nation of Norway had been under Danish rule for over 400 years, only gaining independence in the early 19th century. But, even more people are not aware of the important socio-political role that folklore played in the establishment of these and other nations.

Returning to the example of Germany, the socio-political climate surrounding German unification of the 19th century has been forgotten in recent years. German speakers in these disparate smaller kingdoms and duchies sought to unite into one nation for the kind of protection and other benefits that a nation-state can offer. So while Finland and Norway were seeking to separate from a neighbouring governing entity, Germans were seeking to unite ethnic Germans into a single state. These political initiatives were occurring simultaneously with the cultural movements discussed above. And, unlike today, politics, culture, and ethnic identity were not seen as mutually exclusive. Thus, the culture of the ‘folk’ was celebrated and used to remind people that they possessed a unique ethnic identity worthy of distinction and autonomy. In Finland and Norway, this conception was used to differentiate them from their powerful neighbors as their own unique cultures deserving of their own governing authority; while in Germany, celebration of folk culture was used to remind German-speakers in many small states that they do, indeed, share one unified German culture.

Nurturing Folk Identity

One important aspect of nationalism is the concept of ‘folk’. In an age where certain agendized factions have orchestrated the planned demographic change of Western nations and subsequently used their cabal over academia and media to repeat the messaging that ‘we are all one race’ and ‘white people have no culture’ to the point of mass psychological conditioning, is it any wonder that no concept of ‘the folk’ exists anymore? But, in the past, there had been a recognition that people who share genetic and cultural similarity to oneself were their own folk. This is an extension of the conception of ‘kith and kin’ and ‘clan and tribe’. Modern historians have tended to look unfavourably on ethno-nationalism and to deride it as somehow ‘racist’, when these are the very concepts by which virtually all East Asian nations and Arab nations, not to mention Israel, understand themselves today. It was the goal of reviving and celebrating their own folk that was the impetus for Finns and Norwegians to cast off others who sought to rule them; and recognizing shared folk culture allowed small German states to unite into modern Germany.

The original European nationalists held a worldview that is in direct opposition to all forms of modern ethno-masochism.

Intentionally produced disconnect from identity, culture, and heritage, has rendered a generation of ethnic-Europeans who lack an interest in their ethnic culture while it has been replaced by various surrogates like vapid materialism or various American cult-like religious sects which, like Islam, place a universalist ideology over ethnic identity. While European society was largely Christian in the 19th century, the mindset of Europeans was far less ethno-masochistic than what we see today. Whereas European nationals are socially conditioned with very liberal values, European-Americans are conditioned to view history with a revisionist lens that disparages indigenous European ‘pagan’ culture. The original European nationalists held a worldview that is in direct opposition to both of these forms of modern ethno-masochism.

In his article ‘Norwegian National Myths and Nation Building’, Dag Thorkildsen explains that the very concept of a nation is ‘related to birth and descent’ and ‘the classic idea of a homeland’, and explains that, unlike today, that in the 1800s ‘patriotism was a virtue of the inhabitants’, (p. 263). He discusses the ‘ethno-symbolic’ view of nationalism which ‘stresses the importance of symbols, myths, values and traditions in the formation and persistence of nationalism’, (p. 264). But, when looking at European nationalism with even a cursory glance, we find it is the ancient, primal symbols of European culture that are always the images used in any successful nationalist movement. And, likewise, the myths always used to encourage ethno-national identity are always indigenous European myths and legend that originate in the land of the folk themselves; i.e. European pagan mythos and symbolism are always drawn on to revitalize our folk spirit. Indeed, the European nationalist parties and movements with the greatest momentum today are still using ancient European runic symbols and imagery.

But the area that was especially useful in engaging the hearts and minds of the folk, uniting them in their shared heritage, and infusing energy into political nationalism was the cultural emphasis on indigenous European folk culture. Thorkildsen says that while the political movement was underway, ethnologists and folklorists ‘searched for folk legends, fairy tales, folk songs and folk music’, (p. 266). Thoskildsen explains that in order for it to be viable that ‘Christianity needs to be national’, and that, rather than a homogenizing of world cultures under a universalist form of Christendom, Norwegian nationalists rather believed that ‘the spirit of the Creator manifests in the spirit of the people’, (p. 267). In other words, the indigenous ethno-culture of a folk-group should not be rejected by Christians, but rather the Christians should see the value in their own pre-Christian culture because the manifestations of their own culture are valid a manifestations of the divine. Therefore, we see European Christians in the 19th century embracing a synthesis of distinctly European culture (rooted in our pagan past) with Christianity – whereas today’s would-be nationalists in the United States have been recruited into a problematic version of Christianity that shuns and rejects our indigenous European roots. By the same token, many modern European nationals often seem disconnected from both ethnic-identity and any semblance of spirituality whatsoever.

To further emphasize the point, Thorkildsen explains that loyalty to national identity ‘does not primarily stem from religion, but from the nation’s heroic and glorious history, from the people you are related to, and from the emotions – in other words, the love of country and nature. The role of Christianity is reduced to a part of the historical and cultural heritage’ (p. 270). This is important because, as he asserts, ‘cultural nationalism cannot be held separate from political nationalism; they are entwined one with the other’, (p. 270). Yet, here in the United States, there seems to be an emphasis by political elites to drive home a universalist religious identity intermixed with American conservative politics rather than any emphasis on our ethno-cultural roots – and European politicians are now denying that Europe has any ethnic identity at all.

In the case of Finland, we see that indigenous Finnish culture played an integral role in Finnish nationalism. In his book, ‘Folklore and Nationalism in Modern Finland’, William A. Wilson asserts that Finland likely would not have achieved independence at all had it not been for the publication of the Finnish mythic epic, ‘The Kalevala’. Wilson gives us some quotes by others who have studied Finnish nationalism:

  • ‘Finnish nationalism as a purposeful doctrine was formulated largely under the inspiration of folklore studies’.
  • ‘The Finnish nation was conceived in and born of folklore’.
  • ‘The Kalevala has been and still is the abode of the Finnish national spirit’.
  • ‘[The Kalevala] can be called the independence book of the Finnish nation’. (Wilson, ix)

But, what may be even more revealing about the processes behind their nationalist awakening is the cultural conditioning that Finns were subjected to. As explained above, Finns descend from a completely different ethnic background than other Scandinavians. Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians share a Norse-Teutonic cultural background with closely related languages and mythos. The Finns hail from a Finno-Ugric mytho-linguistic group and are genetically distinct from Norse. Under Swedish domination, educated Finns were conditioned to speak Swedish and even identify ethnically as Swedes. According to Wilson, Finns began to speak in terms of ‘we Swedes’ and ‘our ancestors, the Goths’. The Goths were a Norse-Teutonic ethnic group, neighbours to the Finns but distinct from them. This is essentially the same kind of erasure of identity that we see elites pushing on ethnic-Europeans today. Today we see conditioned drones parroting ‘we are one race, the human race’ and ‘I am a citizen of the world’. But, this is nothing new. Prior to this, our students have had it droned into their heads that ‘European culture has Greco-Roman origins’, and that our values are ‘Judeo-Christian’. As scholar Stephen Flowers points out in his ‘The Northern Dawn: A History of the Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit’, Northern European culture has its own distinct culture; moreover American government is based on English common-law which has Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, origins. The notion that Northern European culture (and thereby, the colonies founded by Northern Europeans) owes its existence to other cultural origins is not only incorrect and ethnically offensive, but it is an example of this kind of cultural conditioning that attempts to erase an ethnic group’s identity in order to brainwash a population into loyalty to the dominant cultural colonizer.

A Way Forward

The missing element that is essential for a true ethnic-revival is to follow in the footsteps of the original nationalists and promote cultural revival alongside our political struggle. This is, of course, much easier for European nationals who are still living on their ancient home soil. Europeans have inherited a landscape dotted with ancient sacred sites, cultural folk festivals still appear throughout the year far and wide, and regional cultural practices still thrive. Americans, and others in former European colonies, do not have such so easy a path to a meaningful ethno-culture now that our national demographics have been so drastically altered. But all is not lost.

European nationals must assert their right to embrace, preserve, and protect their indigenous cultures just as East Asians and other ethnic groups do today.

Revisiting the points above, it is important to elevate the status of ethnicity. Americans have been led down a destructive path of ethno-masochism which demonizes and belittles our European cultural origins. There must be a concentrated effort to understand that the divine is manifest in the culture of the people and therefore a syncretic fusion may occur between the Christian mindset and our indigenous European roots. European nationals seem to have no problem with this understanding. Americans must take a hard look at the version of religion that has been pushed in this nation and start questioning the motives behind it.

But what to do when a nation such as the United States does not share one unified cultural origin? Scholar Jennifer Cash discusses the role of folklore in nation-building in her book, ‘Villages on Stage: Folklore and Nationalism in the Republic of Moldova’. Although she seems to make every effort to take the typical liberal academic approach which seeks to separate folklore from ‘the bad kind of nationalism’, her thesis focuses on the role that folklore played in the building of national identity for the new nation of Moldova. The reasons for a ‘multi-ethnic’ society in Moldova are different than those bringing about the same results in the West today. Cash explains that ‘in the past 250 years alone, the Ottoman and Russian empires, Romania, and the Soviet Union have all governed portions of the territory now encompassed by Moldova’s borders’, (p. 23). We know that the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union both made excessive effort to acculturate the regions they subjugated. Moldova’s crossroads location, history of foreign domination, and status as a new autonomous nation all created a unique problem for identifying what is Moldovan cultural identity.

Cash reminds us that ‘folklore, in its guises as academic discipline, subject matter, and performance genre, has been implemented in nation-building and nationalist movements since the eighteenth century. During the twentieth century, states of all political orientations used folklore … to build images of the nation. … Folklore, as is especially visible in folkloric performance, identifies the content of national identity, asserts dominant values, constructs relations with other nations, defines boundaries for including social groups within the nation and excluding them from it’, (p. 12). Well, this is very revealing considering that the West today lacks any cultural interest in our own folk culture and is concurrently grappling with lack of cultural identity whilst being simultaneously told that borders are racist and all groups are welcome. In the case of Moldova (and other examples in history), a cohesive sense of ethnic identity was encouraged by a ‘state-wide system of folkloric festivals’ which are ‘responsible for constructing relations of hierarchy between the village, the region, and the nation’, (p. 18). Therefore, Moldovans dug deep to find distinctly Moldovan culture and then made the effort to celebrate it, thereby distinguishing and elevating their own ethnic identity.

America’s holiday traditions were largely based on ancient European folk customs. Today our town squares have to fight for our Christmas trees, a direct attack on European Yuletide folk custom. We see less and less town-sponsored Easter-egg hunts. And, in my formerly 90% ethnic-European suburban neighbourhood, the decimation of the presence of white children (while the demographic prevalence of non-white children has greatly increased) has rendered Halloween trick-or-treating virtually non-existent. One hundred years ago, most American towns and cities still erected May poles at May Day. Now the occurrence is near-extinct. All of the examples listed here stem from Northwestern European cultural origins and were so widespread in the United States due to the truth that we were once essentially a Northern European ethno-state. Now that the ‘melting pot’ has done its job, our identity has literally been melted away, and it shows in the erosion of our own folk-culture.

If we, ethnic-Europeans, wish to survive, it is crucial that we double down on our ethnic identity. European nationals must assert their right to embrace, preserve, and protect their indigenous cultures just as East Asians and other ethnic groups do today. For ethnic-Europeans in the colonies, the roadmap may be more difficult – especially in the United States where ‘white identity’ is simultaneously co-opted by a both liberal aggression and problematic form of religion which intentionally severs us from our ethnic-European origins. Americans and other colonials must do some serious soul-searching. European culture clubs and social groups should become a mainstay in white-American society. We must reject cultural Marxism on both sides of the Atlantic, and American Christians must seriously consider how they can synthesize their faith with our ancient ethnic heritage. Self-hate and erasure of culture is how ethnic-genocide is completed, and it has been long underway in the West. The answer is a double-fisted grasping-on to our indigenous European ethno-cultural roots, just as all ethnic groups should do, and nurturing a love and celebration for our own unique ethnic identity. As the first nationalist movement demonstrates, our ancient heroes are ready and waiting to sound the trumpets of ethnic revival! All we must do is look to our own past, embrace it, celebrate it, and let the voices of our past guide us toward the future.

Bibliography

Blanning, T. C. W. The Romantic Revolution: A History. New York: Randomhouse, 2011. Print.

Cash, Jennifer R. Villages on Stage: Folklore and Nationalism in the Republic of Moldova. Zurich: Lit Verlag, 2011. Print.

Flowers, Stephen. The Northern Dawn: A History of the Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit. North Augusta, NC: Arcana Europa Media LLC , 2017. Kindle Book.

IHMS, M. Schmidt. ‘The Brothers Grimm and Their Collection of ‘Kinder und Hausmarchen’’. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 45 (1975): 41–54.

Thorkildsen, Dag. ‘Norwegian National Myths and Nation Building’. Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte 27.2 (2014): 236–276.

Williamson, George S. The Longing for Myth in Germany: Religion and Aesthetic Culture from Romanticism to Nietzsche. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Wilson, William A. Folklore and Nationalism in Modern Finland. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976. Print.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/03/nationalism-and-folk-identity/feed/ 2
Deconstructing the Left – Part 1 https://arktos.com/2019/04/02/deconstructing-the-left-part-1/ https://arktos.com/2019/04/02/deconstructing-the-left-part-1/#view_comments Tue, 02 Apr 2019 13:51:22 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6317 Introduction

The relatively recent and quasi-ironic rise of ‘NazBol’ highlights an important phenomenon: the (re-)appropriation of historically left-wing analytical tools by Third Positionist (and, to some extent, even strictly right-wing) discourse. This was likely an intellectual-historical inevitability. Since at least the 1990s, left-wing ‘thought’ has been little more than an undifferentiated slurry of name-checks: Marx, Freud, Adorno, Foucault, Derrida, Butler, etc. As a result, the idea that there might be serious and important and perhaps even irreconcilable ideological differences between these figures – for example, and not to put too fine a point on it, the idea that Marx might have had serious reservations about the presence of Jews in European society1 – would doubtless come as an enormous shock to the virtual totality of Leftists, from those wearing Che Guevara t-shirts to those wearing Antifa balaclavas.

To ‘deconstruct’ is only to demonstrate the manner in which a text may, and perhaps at some level must, betray its author.

To be clear, the descent of left-wing analysis, from ideas (such as Marx’s) that needed to be taken seriously even if they were seriously wrong, into pure rage at the mere existence of majority-white societies, is a large topic that deserves its own extended discussion. My only point in bringing it up here is to note that the mark of a serious idea is its wide and unpredictable applicability, the double-edged cut of its blade. For example, Slavoj Žižek, steeped in Lacanian psychoanalysis and Marxist theory, has come out swinging against ‘degenerate’ bourgeois vegetarianism2 and the presence of ‘transgender’ biological males in the women’s room.3 One need not agree with Žižek in every particular to realize that much of what he has to say, particularly regarding what we would call ‘Woke Capital’, is true.

Thus, at the risk of being branded overly sympathetic to those who evidently want us and our children erased from the face of the Earth, I would like to suggest that – in the same way that Marxist class analysis of the economic structure of American society can illuminate the networks of ethnic nepotism responsible for much of its social division and material inequality – so, too, can Derridean deconstruction be made to work for us rather than against us. Of course, this point is subtle and requires careful clarification. The term ‘deconstruction’ is often used by both Left and Right as a kind of catch-all, referring to a general process of subversion: the Gramscian ‘march through the institutions’ as applied to the reading and analysis of texts, most particularly the seminal texts of the Western canon. On this account, to ‘deconstruct’ Aristotle or Shakespeare means to hunt, like a truffle pig, for the whiff of a real or imagined slight against Equalism, at the expense of any meaningful engagement with the actual content of these (hopelessly ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, etc.) texts.

I would like to suggest, on the contrary – without endorsing wholesale everything the Jewish Algerian Derrida had to say – that ‘deconstruction’ is an in-principle non-ideological analytical tool. To ‘deconstruct’ is only to demonstrate the manner in which a text may, and perhaps at some level must, betray its author. That is to say: the greater the disconnect between the author’s agenda and the truth of the matter, the less stable the equilibrium of the text’s internal rhetorical forces, and so the more the text will work against both itself and the author. Careful attention to detail will disclose these ways in which the text escapes the author’s intention, revealing realities that the author had consciously or unconsciously meant to keep hidden.

This may seem hopelessly abstract. What does this mean, in practical terms? Let us turn our attention to the first case study, Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Race, Genes, and Human History (2014).

I. A Troublesome Inheritance

Molecular biologists and human population geneticists are in an impossible situation. Prior to the advent of the microcomputer and the sequencing of the human genome, it was epistemically possible for cultural anthropologists – who were, by the mid-20th century, spearheaded by the Jewish chair of the anthropology department at Columbia University, Franz Boas, who dictated the terms of humanistic inquiry to everyone else – to assert, boldly and without empirical evidence, that human populations differed only in their learned behaviours. Within the academy, the victory of this Blank Slate Equalist view, held by the cultural anthropologists and their heirs in the various grievance studies and social ‘science’ departments, as well as the still-rapidly metastasizing ‘diversity’ bureaucracy, was complete. And, to the extent that academicians set the cultural agenda for American society as a whole, most saliently with respect to the national mass media and corporate human resources departments, this view still holds enormous sway. The slightest hint of disbelief in or insufficient enthusiasm for the wonders of ‘diversity’, ‘equality’, and ‘inclusiveness’ can reduce even the most productive members of society to penury, as we are all too well aware.

What interests me about this text is the (failed) strategy that Wade chose to use in order to inoculate himself against charges of ‘racism’ – both for what it reveals about the truth of the matter, and for what lessons its failure may teach us.

The problem, of course, is that molecular biologists and human population geneticists have known with increasing certainty since the 1990s, to the extent that as of 2010 it was simply taken for granted, that there are quantifiable biological differences between human population groups. Moreover, as of 2019, researchers have just within the past few months begun to identify some of the individual genomes responsible for complex polygenic traits such as height4 and intelligence.5 Most scientists, deathly afraid of the Eye of Soros casting its gaze upon them, keep their head down and obscure the implications of their work in a thick mass of impenetrable acronyms (cf. the studies cited above). A few, like professor emeritus of neuroscience Richard Haier, are old enough and distinguished enough to get away with placing their hope in genetic-therapeutical interventions6 aimed at raising the average intelligence of Africans; for others, like James Watson, even a Nobel Prize awarded for discovering the chemical structure of DNA ultimately provided no defence against the ravening hordes of his intellectual inferiors7 come to devour his reputation and his legacy, because he committed the cardinal sin of being honest about what the data show.

It was against this backdrop, with the empirical ground falling out from beneath the feet of those who would deny the biological reality of race, that in 2014 Nicholas Wade wrote what is still today probably the single best work8 of mainstream science journalism on the topic. Carefully summarizing the current state of scientific research, answering all objections with facts and logic, arguing in measured tones, Wade thoroughly dismantles the leftist cultural-anthropological consensus view that ‘there is no genetic basis for race’.

But what interests me about this text is not the historiography in which it is embedded, i.e., the fact that the formerly august and well-respected Wade (editor of The New York Times science desk from 1982 to 2012) was immediately made a pariah within the journalistic establishment; nor is what interests me the fact that his detractors could not find errors of fact or interpretation in his work, and so were forced to resort to the same tired and baseless smears with which we are all so familiar. Rather, what interests me is the (failed) strategy that Wade chose to use in order to inoculate himself against charges of ‘racism’ – both for what it reveals about the truth of the matter, and for what lessons its failure may teach us.

The failed vaccination is delivered at the outset, all at once, through a massive injection of weapons-grade anti-racism, in the second chapter entitled ‘Perversions of Science’. The opening sets the tone for the chapter as a whole (Wade 2014, 16):

Ideas about race, many of them generated by biologists, have been exploited to justify slavery, to sterilize people deemed unfit and, in Hitler’s Germany, to conduct murderous campaigns against innocent and defenseless segments of society such as Gypsies, homosexuals and mentally ill children. Most chilling of all was the horrific fusion of eugenic ideas with notions of racial purity that drove the National Socialists to slaughter some 6 million Jews in the territories under their control.

These ritual incantations are the essence of the defence, and ultimately its most salient feature, but the chapter is structured as a series of point-and-sputter non-arguments. For example, Wade repeatedly rails against what he terms ‘racial purity’ while downplaying historical fears about ‘racial degeneration through interbreeding’ (19), noting that ‘racists are concerned about intermarriage (“the purity of the blood”) lest it erode the basis of their race’s superiority’ (17). What about people (racists?) who don’t believe their race is ‘superior’ to any other, whatever this might mean, and who furthermore recognize that in biology as in life there is nothing that is entirely pure, yet who are nevertheless opposed to intermarriage because they wish for their race to maintain its cultural and biological distinctiveness, to continue to exist as it has existed for thousands or tens of thousands of years? Wade doesn’t say. Such people, who make up the vast majority of ‘racists’ I personally know (including my own ‘racist’ self), are apparently invisible to him. Of course, as we will later address, this also raises the question of certain well-known religious groups that have strict rules and scriptures aimed at maintaining their ethnic homogeneity.

Wade attacks both Joseph-Arthur Comte de Gobineau and Samuel Morton for their belief that ‘the various human populations [represent] not just different races but different species’ (20). In this connection he favourably cites Charles Darwin’s assertion that the races ‘graduate into each other’ (23). However, in what will soon become a pattern, Wade’s own words from a different section of the text betray the abortive attempt at anti-racist inoculation, infecting him despite his best efforts (68):

Consider the following statement. … ‘It is increasingly clear that there is no scientific basis for defining precise ethnic or racial boundaries’, writes Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute in a review of the project’s implications. This form of words, commonly used by biologists to imply that they accept the orthodox political take on the nonexistence of race, means rather less than meets the eye. When a distinct boundary develops between races, they are no longer races but separate species. So to say there are no precise boundaries between races is like saying there are no square circles.

The problem, of course, is that different species also ‘graduate into each other’, and (depending on how closely related) can even interbreed to produce viable offspring, perhaps the most famous example being the viable offspring of humans and Neanderthals that were the ancestors of many European populations to this day. ‘Species’, like ‘race’, is a linguistic construct insofar as it denotes a statistical rather than a metaphysical reality. The boundary between ‘species’ may be more difficult to cross than that between races or sub-species, but it is no more precisely delineable in ultimate, definitive terms. This is why, rather than imprecise and at least partly subjective terms like ‘species’ or ‘subspecies’ or ‘race’, actual practising scientists typically prefer to use objective empirical assessments, such as the ‘fixation index’ (FST), a relative measure of the percentage of the genome held in common between two populations. The fixation index between Africans and Europeans is approximately 0.153, the same as that between wolves and coyotes.9 Does it really matter whether wolves and coyotes are the same species, or different races of the same species? Of course not, and Wade is smart enough to know all this, which is why his invocation of Darwin on this point must be read as a propagandizing strategy rather than a meaningful argument.

Similarly, and surely not by accident, at the point when Wade attempts to draw a more precise connection between American eugenicists and the ‘slaughter [of] some six million’, the text entirely ceases to be intelligible as dialectic. One of Wade’s chief villains in this recounting of how early American population biologists have blood on their hands is the Harvard-educated professor of biology Charles Davenport, whose comments on immigration (disapprovingly cited by Wade, without any further comment) are too delicious not to reproduce: ‘Can we build a wall high enough around this country so as to keep out these cheaper races, or will it be a feeble dam… leaving it to our descendants to abandon the country to the blacks, browns, and yellows and seek an asylum in New Zealand?’ Plus ça change, indeed.

In fact this kind of uncritical moral indignation – as though the prescient declarations of these men of learning, who did indeed know what they were talking about and were furthermore proven right by history, were damning of their character (if not their powers of prognostication), and thus sufficient on their own to demonstrate the moral defectiveness of their utterers – is repeated throughout ‘Perversions of Science’. Wade represents the views of the lawyer and conservationist and proto-anarcho-primitivist Madison Grant10 as being beyond the pale, tut-tutting (32):

Grant’s beliefs were starkly racist and eugenic. He considered that Europeans, based on the skull and other physical traits, consisted of three races, which he called Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. The Nordics, with their brown or blond hair and blue or pale eyes, were the superior type, in part because the harsh northern climate in which they evolved ‘must have been such as to impose a rigid eliminate of defectives through the agency of hard winters and the necessity of industry and foresight in providing the year’s food, clothing and shelter during the short summer’.

The amusing thing about Wade’s citation of Grant here, and the main reason why I have framed this essay as a ‘deconstruction’, is that despite his obvious and dripping disdain for the man, in fact Wade substantiates Grant’s central (‘starkly racist and eugenic’) claims. The races are indeed physiologically different from each other, not only with respect to skin colour, but indeed precisely in terms of skull shape, a fact that Wade already documented earlier in ‘Perversions of Science’, during his brief overview of the Jewish evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s disastrously failed attempt11 to refute this scientific reality (19–21). And later on (70), Wade furthermore acknowledges that ‘by taking just a few measurements, physical anthropologists can tell police departments the race of a skull’s former owner with better than 80% accuracy’. In terms of contemporary statistical population genetics, the European branch of the Caucasian race may be subdivided into Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean elements.12 Most amusingly of all, however, in his subsequent account of the exit of modern Homo sapiens from Africa approximately 40,000 years ago, Wade writes (76–77):

To get away from one another and find new territory, bands started moving north into the cold forests and steppes of Europe and East Asia. The evolutionary pressures for change on these small isolated groups would have been intense. Those migrating eastward faced new environments. Living by hunting and gathering, they would have had to relearn how to survive in each new habitat. The groups moving northward from the equatorial zone of the first migration would have encountered particularly harsh pressures. The last ice age did not end until 10,000 years ago. The first modern humans who moved northward had to adapt to conditions very different from those of their tropical homeland and develop new technologies, such as making tightly fitting clothes and storing food for the winter months. The climate was far colder, the seasonal differences were more pronounced and the problems of keeping warm and finding sustenance during the winter months were severe.

You don’t say?

Continuing his ritual denunciation of Madison Grant, Wade invokes the poem associated with the Statue of Liberty by way of thematic contrast (32–33):

Emma Lazarus saw the United States as a beacon of hope for the refugees from Europe’s savage wars and hatreds. Grant had a less expansive vision to offer: ‘We Americans must realize that the altruistic ideals which have controlled our social development during the past century, and the maudlin sentimentalism that has made America ‘an asylum for the oppressed’, are sweeping the nation toward a racial abyss. If the Melting Pot[13] is allowed to boil without control and we continue to follow our national motto and deliberately blind ourselves to all ‘distinctions of race, creed, or color’, the type of native American of Colonial descent will become as extinct as the Athenian of the age of Pericles, and the Viking of the days of Rollo’.

What is most noteworthy here is Wade’s refusal to do anything except object to the ‘moral’ side of the question. Of course Grant’s claim is self-evidently true. If even a small fraction of the 1.5 billion Africans currently alive (to say nothing of the projected 5 billion by 2100, let alone the Mesoamericans and Asians) ‘migrate’ to Europe and the United States, the white race will vanish within a few generations. In fact the white race may already be doomed to genocidal extinction, at least in the United States, even without any further ‘migration’ of ‘refugees’. All of this is patently obvious to anyone with a 5th-grade understanding of mathematics.

If even a small fraction of the 1.5 billion Africans currently alive ‘migrate’ to Europe and the United States, the white race will vanish within a few generations.

But Wade does not connect these dots. White people, in the rhetorical world of his text, are not allowed to have interests. On the other hand, he begins and ends ‘Perversions of Science’ with ritual denunciations of ‘anti-Semitism’, which are repeated periodically throughout the rest of the text. Interestingly, however, he does seem to be at least dimly aware that the vehement opposition to recognizing the biological reality of race mostly originates with a certain ethnic group:

The politically driven distortion of scientific views about race can be traced to a sustained campaign from the 1950s onward by the anthropologist Ashley Montagu, who sought to make the word race taboo, at least when referring to people. Montagu, who was Jewish, grew up in the East End district of London, where he experienced considerable anti-Semitism. He was trained as a social anthropologist in London and New York, where he studied under Franz Boas, a champion of racial equality and the belief that culture alone shapes human behavior. He began to promote Boas’ ideas with more zeal than their author. Montagu developed passionate views on the evils of race. … In the postwar years, with the horror of the Holocaust weighing on people’s minds, Montagu found ready acceptance of his views. These were prominent in the influential UNESCO statement on race, first issued in 1950, which he helped draft. He believed that imperialism, racism, and anti-Semitism were driven by notions of race and could be undermined by showing that races did not exist.

In point of fact, the mythology attached to the Holocaust (including the term itself) did not develop until the 1970s – but this is of course beside the real intent of this passage, which is for Wade to vaccinate himself against accusations of ‘racism’ and ‘anti-Semitism’ so that he might eventually handle the otherwise toxic question of the relationship between Jewish genes and Jewish behaviour. To his credit, Wade devotes an entire chapter (‘Jewish Adaptations’) to the genetic profile of Jews. Unfortunately, he is unable or unwilling to critically analyze his own words (198):

Until the era of rapid DNA sequencing, it could be surmised that Jews were a distinct population because of religious laws that frowned on marriage outside Judaism. But no one knew for certain because in the absence of genetic evidence it was impossible to estimate the amount of intermarriage that might nevertheless have occurred throughout history. DNA analysis shows that Jews are a definable set of populations and that Ashkenazi Jews, at least, can be distinguished genetically from [Europeans]. With each Jewish community, there has been some intermarriage with local populations but at a very slow rate. This neatly explains the observation by Jewish anthropologists that Jews from all over the world resemble one another yet also resemble their host populations.

A sharper critical faculty might have led him to ask: does this well-documented behaviour of Jews, of insisting on remaining a ‘distinct population’, by enforcing ‘religious laws that frowned on marriage outside Judaism’, and as a result only interbreeding slowly if at all, not constitute a certain – how to put it – a certain preoccupation with the ‘purity of the blood’? Is this not precisely indicative of a fear of ‘racial degeneration through interbreeding’, à la Gobineau? An even sharper critical eye might have trained itself upon the strange (very, very strange) coincidence that the three intellectuals whom Wade singles out as the most vociferous champions of the idea that there is no biological basis for race – Franz Boas, Ashley Montagu, and Stephen Jay Gould – were all Jewish. Why would a people who so stridently insist upon remaining a distinct biological population, deny with equal or even greater vehemence that human populations are in any way biologically distinct?

Wade, like any author acceptable for publishing by a mainstream imprint, is thoroughly incapable of understanding – far less asking – this question. Instead, he digresses into the easily and thoroughly debunked canard14 that the average Ashkenazi IQ is a full standard deviation above the European norm, and asserts that this – rather than, say, ethnic nepotism as encoded in the same religious laws that ‘frowned upon marriage outside Judaism’ – is the reason that (212)

Like Chinese immigrant communities, Jews have brought enormous benefits to the economies in which they worked [ed.: citation needed]. Unfortunately their success, like that of the immigrant Chinese, has in many cases elicited not gratitude but envy, followed by discrimination or murderous reprisals, a response that reflects more strongly on the greed than the intelligence of their host populations.

Rather than asking why, as he notes in ‘Perversion of Science’, ‘anti-Semitic statements mar the writings of leading German philosophers, even Kant’ and Wagner, Wade shrugs his shoulders and chalks it up to greed and envy. Wade apparently embraces the idea that the Germans achieved the height of cultural and scientific sophistication, spontaneously began hating Jews for attainments they had no reason to envy, then quietly went back to their normal high-minded sophistication – just like the English, the French, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Hungarians and the Arabs.

But these questions – among the most critical questions facing Western civilization – practically leap off every page. They cannot help but reveal themselves as questions, because Wade is for the most part honest enough to accurately represent the current state of scientific knowledge. Again, despite these and related problems, A Troublesome Inheritance is very much worth reading, and, in no small part due to its philo-Semitism, quite appropriate as a gentle introduction to race realism for those who are unfamiliar with it or unreflectively averse to it. Consequently, my aim here is not simply to criticize this text, but to ‘deconstruct’ it – that is, to demonstrate the ways in which it inadvertently reveals the truth, despite the best efforts of its author to obscure this truth in those places where it might prove dangerous. Unlike Wade, however, we should be more bold. There is no reason to hide from the truth, no matter what it might be; as somebody famous once said, the truth will set you free.

References

1Marx, Karl. ‘The Jewish Question’.

4Edge, Michael D. and Coop, Graham. ‘Reconstructing the History of Polygenic Scores Using Coalescent Trees’, Genetics, January 1, 2019.

5Plomin, Robert and von Stumm, Sophie. ‘The New Genetics of Intelligence’, Nature, January 8, 2018.

6Haier, Richard. ‘No Voice at VOX: Sense and Nonsense about Discussing IQ and Race’, Quillette, Jule 11 ,2017.

8Wade, Nicholas. A Troublesome Inheretance: Genese, Race and Human History (Penguin Press: 2014).

9Hunter, West. ‘Fixation Index’.

10Madison Grant’, Wikipedia.

11Wade, Nicholas. ‘Scientists Measure the Accuracy of a Racism Claim’, The New York Times, June 13, 2011.

12Sailor, Steve. ‘Reich’s Laboratory’, Taki’s Magazine, March 28, 2018.

13Vox Day. ‘The Melting Pot is No Paradise’, January 27, 2017.

14Vox Day. ‘The Myth of Jewish Intelligence’, April 22, 2018.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/04/02/deconstructing-the-left-part-1/feed/ 3
Cant Overtakes New Zealand in Wake of Mosque Shootings https://arktos.com/2019/03/29/cant-overtakes-new-zealand-in-wake-of-mosque-shootings/ https://arktos.com/2019/03/29/cant-overtakes-new-zealand-in-wake-of-mosque-shootings/#comments_reply Fri, 29 Mar 2019 14:33:37 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=6308 While liberal cant remains latent in New Zealand and manifests periodically but quickly subsides, the shooting of 100 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 March 2019 by an Australian ‘white supremacist’ has infected probably at least 90% of the population and will have enduring effects.

From a Rightist viewpoint, the ‘Right’, hardly existent in New Zealand, was just beginning to manifest in an embryonic, albeit ideologically immature, manner. There were expressions in particular of disquiet on the United Nations Global Compact on Migration. Now any discussion on migration, meagre as it was, has been delegitimised. There are demands for the introduction of ‘hate laws’ to supplement long existing race relations and human rights legislation. Ironically, a coalition partner of the Labour Government is the xenophobically named New Zealand First Party, a long-running party whose reputation has been based primarily on limiting immigration.1 Indeed, until recently NZ First Members of Parliament have criticised Muslims in ways that would in the current climate be regarded as ‘white supremacy’ and ‘right wing extremism’, two terms that are being bandied about with the darkest of implications. In 2017 NZ First Party leader Winston Peters, now foreign minister who signed up to the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, was calling on New Zealand Muslims to ‘clean house’ and speak up against Islamic terrorism, warning of potential Muslim terrorist threats here:

When you have people saying these people are lone wolves, they always say these people are unhinged, and the third thing they always say – ‘we didn’t know about it’ – what? The whole family, every friend of a certain group didn’t know about this?2

Dr. Paul Spoonley, sociologist, who wrote a thesis decades ago on the ‘extreme Right’ in New Zealand, published as a book called the Politics of Nostalgia,3 is trotted out as the media’s academic-in-waiting for any commentary on ‘racism’ that requires a scholarly façade, however banal and outdated. As is his wont, over the past decades, Dr. Spoonley insists that the threat of ‘white supremacy’ is dire and ever-present. He was even able to cite three examples of skinhead murders over the course of decades, albeit one based on homophobia rather than racism. Does this mean that race-based gangs such as the Mongrel Mob, Black Power and Killer Bees can be described as having committed multiple acts of ‘hate crime’ in their long histories of violence? Spoonley alluded to the ‘extreme Right’ in New Zealand having around several hundred followers, but did not name a single group.4

For liberalism no suppression can go far enough in eliminating dissent.

The other major factor in this is the demand that social media censor ‘racist’ material. As is well known by anyone at least halfway informed on such matters, the corporate elite that runs social media has been draconian in its censorship of any dissident material, and one does not have to say much at all on Facebook, for example, to be banned or suspended. My book Zionism, Islam, and The West, having just been translated into Arabic by Algerian scholar Dr. Mahmoud Braham, was banned without explanation by Amazon, along with two books on banking, also published by Black House Publishing, by a former director of the South African Reserve Bank, Stephen Goodson.5 But for liberalism no suppression can go far enough in eliminating dissent, and in this case it is said that Facebook did not act fast enough in suppressing the film footage of the gunman. New Zealand’s chief censor has ruled that to even have a copy of the film footage is a criminal offense.6

As it is, the only two ‘Right-wing’ groups in New Zealand that defended White interests, have promptly shut down. The New Zealand National Front existed primarily as an anti-migration webpage, bereft of policy, ideology, organisation, or strategy. The leadership was intelligent and articulate, but the feedback that was permitted onto the page was of the most inane type, and the obsession was with migrant crime. Frankly it is no loss. What is a loss is that The Dominion Movement self-obliterated the very day of the Mosque shootings with the final comment on their website that the atmosphere this would generate would make their work impossible to continue. Ironically, just a few weeks before, they had celebrated their first anniversary, bringing together 50 delegates from around New Zealand, and as a guest at their social event I was able to confirm my previous impressions: that every single one of these folk of the younger generation was articulate, intelligent, well-informed and responsible. Their nefarious activities had included tramping, boxing, camping, cleaning beaches, and scrubbing out graffiti. The articles on their website had comprised exceptionally well-researched material on New Zealand history. The quality of membership and the depth of thought had not been seen in New Zealand for decades. It was New Zealand’s branch of the Identitarian movement. That is an irreparable loss,7 but it is not certain that their closure will be permanent.

Zionist Neocons Fund Islamphobia and Bogus ‘Right’

What remains on the supposed ‘Right’ in New Zealand are websites which have been critical of Islam, while upholding Israel as the ideal of what a nationalist state should be, and defining their version of ‘Right’ as capitalism and libertarianism. We have seen the same among so-called parties of the ‘Right’ such as that of Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, whose party combines Classical Liberalism with pro-Zionism, and the antics of the Zionist-funded Tommy Robinson, who is building a fan base in New Zealand.8 Islamic State Watch – New Zealand, remains intact and unmentioned amidst the mass hysteria, and has a relatively significant following of over 1,700.9 There also remains Right Minds – NZ, libertarian and pro-Israel. This is not Alt Right.

It has become an anti-White frenzy, and befuddled liberal Whites roll over and take it with masochistic delight.

When Robinson, formerly organiser of the English Defence League, whose demonstrations featured Israeli flags, was jailed in May 2018, a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ campaign was launched with funding from a pro-Zionist ‘neocon’ organisation, the Middle East Forum (MEF), whose president is Daniel Pipes. Unlike any ‘right-wing extremist’ or ‘white supremacist’, Pipes has actual influence. He had also given funding to Geert Wilders for legal matters in 2010 and 2011. MEF commented of this:

The Middle East Forum (MEF) is helping Robinson in his moment of danger. It does so in the context of its Legal Project which since 2007 has defended activists, journalists, politicians, et al. who face harassment, fines, or imprisonment because of their views concerning Islamism and related topics.

MEF is sponsoring and organizing the second ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ gathering in London on July 14. MEF previously provided all the funding and helped organized the first ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ event held June 9 in London.

MEF, along with a coalition of UK advocacy groups and international figures will assemble to advocate for Mr. Robinson’s release and demand greater protections for freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the United Kingdom. MEF is arranging for U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar (Republican of Arizona) to travel to London to speak alongside the Dutch political leader Geert Wilders, and others.

The Middle East Forum is aiding Mr. Robinson’s defence in three main ways:

Legally – By using Legal Project monies to fund his legal defense.

Diplomatically – By bringing foreign pressure on the UK government to ensure Mr. Robinson’s safety and eventual release.

Politically – By organizing and funding the 25,000-person ‘Free Tommy’ London rally on June 9 and now the July 14 protest, also taking place in London.10

Why are the New Zealand Muslim clergy and other Muslim spokespersons in New Zealand mute on the actual perpetrators of Islamophobia, and why have they invented a bogus ‘white supremacist threat’ to the world? Among Daniel Pipes’ credentials, he has taught at the ‘U.S. Naval War College; currently he is an affiliate professor at the University of Haifa. He served in five U.S. administrations, received two presidential appointments, and testified before many congressional committees’.11 MEF aims to defend U.S. interests and the values of Western Civilisation in the Middle East. Hence it aims to see the subordination of the region to outside interests. This is not a Right-wing goal; it is the doctrine of American liberal-internationalism of the Woodrow Wilson type, and the MEF/neocon perception of ‘Western Civilisation’ is that of Late Western liberal doctrine, which we are told by neocon ideologues, will result in the ‘end of history’ once its global hegemony is achieved. It is nonsense to see anything ‘right-wing’ in this.

Hypocrisy

The event generated mass hysteria that shows no signs of dissipating, and it has been politicised not only by the liberals and communists but by the Muslim leadership. What struck me immediately in regard to the hypocrisy, was that Muslims had been undergoing atrocities on a regular basis for over seventy years, first at the hands of the Israelis, later joined by the USA and others. How active were the mass of hand-wringing New Zealanders, and especially the politicians, in ever condemning this? Now the slogan suddenly becomes ‘we are one’, ‘they are us’, and we are all united in love – ‘aroha’ (Maori).

The New Zealand Jewish community expressed its profound grief; hypocrisy run rampant. The NZ Jewish Council stated in a press release:

Together with Rabbis from Auckland and Wellington, Auckland-based NZ Jewish Council spokesperson Juliet Moses visited Christchurch on Tuesday to convey Jewish sympathy and support towards the Muslim community devastated by the massacre and ascertain how the Council could best assist those families affected.

The New Zealand Jewish Council is committed to consulting and working with the Muslim community to ascertain their immediate and longer-term needs and how we can assist. We have begun that dialogue, but in the fullness of time we will have a better understanding of where we can best channel our funds.12

A cynical interpretation could view this as bribery. It is interesting how ‘liberal’ such organisations of Diaspora Jewry can be when dealing with migrant issues in all states – other than Israel. For example Israel voted against ratifying the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, Prime Minister Netanyahu stating: ‘We have a duty to protect our borders against illegal infiltrators. That’s what we’ve done, and that’s what we will continue to do’.13 Furthermore, there is presently a move to expel African ‘refugees’ coming into Israel, the Israeli state rejecting their claims to ‘refugee’ status.

The Africans, mainly from war-torn Sudan and dictatorial Eritrea, began arriving in Israel in 2005, through its porous border with Egypt, after Egyptian forces violently quashed a refugee demonstration in Cairo and word spread of safety and job opportunities in Israel. Tens of thousands crossed the desert border, often after enduring dangerous journeys, before Israel completed a barrier in 2012 that stopped the influx. While the migrants say they are refugees fleeing conflict or persecution, Israel views them as job-seekers who threaten the Jewish character of the state.14

While opponents of the U.N. Compact and related matters are described routinely as ‘right-wing nutjobs’, Netanyahu seems to have been overlooked in the application of such descriptions.

A mass rally of mourning that was held in Christchurch had some attendees questioning whether it was rather a political rally, as they left the event. The New Zealand Herald, not a paragon of Right-wing views, commented:

Was it a vigil, a political rally – or both?

Speeches calling out racism, colonialism and white supremacy at an Auckland vigil for victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks had some attendees leaving early, saying it was ‘too soon’ for such discussions.

But organisers and speakers have defended what some called a ‘political’ tone of the Jummah Remembrance vigil held at Auckland Domain on Friday, saying they were ‘hard truths’ Aotearoa needed to address.

Thousands attended the vigil, where official speakers strongly challenged the rallying cry that last week’s atrocity that killed 50 Muslim worshippers and injured dozens more was ‘not us’.

Muslim and tāngata whenua speakers covered experiences of everyday racism and violence they face, and spoke to New Zealand’s white settler history and colonial violence.

Sharon Hawke, of Ngāti Whātua Orakei, said hatred existed in New Zealand. ‘White hatred is its foundation.’

She spoke of atrocities committed against Māori throughout New Zealand’s history, including at Parihaka, and even Okahu Bay in Auckland in the 1950s, where the Auckland Council burned down her hapū’s village.15

As indicated by the Herald article, the event has been manipulated as part of an anti-White agenda. Why were Maori given a special place to declaim against ‘Pakeha’ New Zealanders, with their skewered interpretation of historical events such as Parihaka?16 It has become an anti-White frenzy, and befuddled liberal Whites roll over and take it with masochistic delight. One might have thought that the subject of Zionist colonialism in Palestine, or U.S. neocon colonialism in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq would have been more relevant than a regurgitation of Maori grievances. The Mongrel Mob gang acted as security at several events.17

Islamic Leaders’ Bolshevik, Feminist, and LGBT Bedfellows

The Auckland rally was organised by ‘Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism’. The rally spokesman is Joe Carolan. He stated:

In contrast to the picture of ‘a peaceful, harmonious, tolerant’ society painted over the past week, Aotearoa for too long has seen the scapegoating of migrants and refugees, with mainstream politicians blaming immigration for our housing and economic crisis.

This has given confidence to fascist elements here and overseas, culminating in last week’s tragic and harrowing outcome. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is himself guilty of perpetuating the myth that mosques conceal a fundamentalist underbelly which poses a threat to Aotearoa. We utterly reject and condemn this anti-Muslim rhetoric.18

Carolan is head of the Trotskyite group Socialist Aotearoa. Since when has Trotskyism been in sympathy with any religion? The beliefs of Islam and the ideology of Trotskyism are antithetical. Even during the early period of Bolshevism, the Bolsheviks sought to use Islam for its own ends. But Trotsky declared the Bolshevik Islamophobia:

Even today we can still observe in the East the rule of Islam, of the old prejudices, beliefs and customs but these will more and more turn to dust and ashes. Just as a rotting piece of cloth, when you look at it from a distance, it seems to be all of a piece, all the pattern is there and all the folds remain but a movement of the hand or a puff of wind is enough for the whole cloth to turn to dust. And so in the East the old beliefs which appear to be so deep are actually but a shadow of the past.19

The actual belief of the Trotskyites is that Islam is a ‘rotting piece of cloth’. An individual prominent in the New Zealand Muslim community commented on the Auckland ‘peace rally’: ‘One notes with alarm the huge “Socialist Aotearoa” slogan at the anti-racism rally in Auckland today. Where is that leading!?’20 This Muslim had e-mailed me previously on the manner by which the atrocity was being manipulated for sundry political agendas:

Frankly I am most alarmed. I don’t want to sound alarmed but I am. I feel like some Russian civilian in 1920. All I see and hear is a loud, overwhelming Left Wing ‘Analysis and Conclusion’ that aims to push some weird Utopia, perhaps the Crystal Palace that Dostoyevsky warned us about. Does nobody else see and hear the Marxist thought, the Neo-Marxism and Post-Modernism? Apparently not. You are right. There is an element of posturing by parties and factions, and I ask myself ‘where is this leading?’ Precisely, where is this leading? I suspect there will be a concerted effort to restrict Free Speech and have some Committee of Virtue decide what we should all see and hear in future. This is not good. I worry.21

The suppression of genuine dissent is a major part of the agenda of the present Muslim leadership, along with their liberal, Communist, Zionist and other allies. They have been pushing for ‘hate laws’ for several decades, which will, like the present race relations and human rights legislation, be aimed specifically at White dissidents. The mythic ‘white supremacist’ bogeyman has to be maintained.

Do New Zealand Muslims, in aligning with their Communist associates, support feminism, abortion liberalisation, and homosexuality?

The Herald article states that, ‘Other groups associated with the rally included Unite Union, Socialist Aotearoa, Auckland Unitarians, Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa, NZ Palestine Solidarity Network and Organise Aotearoa’.22 Unite Union is Trotskyite-influenced, Organise Aotearoa is a Communist outfit that does not define its faction.23 Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism sells merchandise that features the ‘gay’ rainbow colours depicting clenched fists and the words ‘Socialist LGBT’, rainbow flag tee-shirts proclaiming ‘pride, not police’; a rainbow-coloured ‘pride’ clenched fist.24 Ibrar Sheikh of the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ was on the rally platform with Comrade Carolan, and presumably surrounded by rainbow-fist symbolism. What type of Islam is this? The news media reported on the Auckland rally, yet there was no comment on the leadership by ‘Left-wing extremists’.

Do New Zealand Muslims, in aligning with their Communist associates, support feminism, abortion liberalisation, and homosexuality? Conversely, do these Communists support those beliefs in Islam which would in any context among Whites be condemned as ‘fascist’? Again, it is the politics of cant and manipulation.

As indicated from the Herald article, some were not pleased by the cynical political exploitation of the Muslim deaths:

Zainab Mussa attended the vigil with her two young children but they left early partly because of the ‘uncomfortable tone’. ‘Even being non Pākehā, I did feel uncomfortable at times with the continued mentions of white extremism and white terrorism.’ While she said she understood the need for a conversation about racism and white supremacy, she felt a week after the attacks was too soon. ‘I think there was too much mention of “white” and colonial times. To me that wasn’t a remembrance of the victims and not the way to push for unity’.25

The event has been used to define the ‘Alt Right’ as ‘white supremacy’, neo-Nazism and the usual gamut of smears. This is perhaps best represented by journalist Philip Matthews.26 He mixes the libertarian Canadians Molyneux and Southern27 (‘alt-right provocateurs’); Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik; pro-Zionist Right Minds – NZ; the libertarian ACT Party (founded mainly by renegade Labour Party stalwarts) the New Conservative Party, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; Greece’s Golden Dawn; Donald Trump; Australia’s One Nation Party; Daily Stormer; American gunman Dylan Roof; and ‘Unite the Right’ at Charlottesville, into one worldwide poisonous brew. Matthews could not define the ‘Right’, and hence the ideological muddle of the examples given; the one sufficient denominator apparently is scepticism over immigration reaching critical mass. If such ideological and historical conflation is legitimate then might we regard the Labour Party as directly associated with Bolshevism, Mao, and Pol Pot, or might we consider the obsessive liberal dogma that pervades New Zealand as the legacy of the Jacobin Terror?

Muslim Hypocrisy

What is more disturbing, indeed disappointing, is the reaction of the leadership of the Muslims in New Zealand. This was perhaps first noticeable in 2004 when the Islamic Federation jumped aboard an ad hoc organisation called Multicultural Aotearoa, founded by anarchists and Trotskyites, to stop a ‘defend the New Zealand flag’ rally being held by the NZ National Front. Among the notables at the founding-meeting was David Zwartz of the NZ Jewish Council, joining up with Muslims (who had never been critiqued by the NZNF at that stage)28 and members of the Wellington Palestine committee.

Perhaps there had been a shift in the leadership of NZ Muslims since around 2004. Certainly, the response of the Muslim leadership now is to jump on a liberal bandwagon and regurgitate the hypocrisy of Western liberalism from which Islam has been largely immune. Actual Islamophobia has not come from the Right, with its historical sympathy for Palestine and Arabs, betrayed for the past 100 years, since the Sykes-Picot Agreement and Balfour Declaration,29 by those very organisations that the news media and Left dishonestly call ‘Right’. This bogus ‘Right’ condemns Islam precisely because the religion runs counter to Late Western Classical Liberalism. Hence, certain ‘gays’ for example, have become prominent in such parties, because of ‘homophobia’ in Muslim communities. Hence the involvement of Pym Fortuyn in the Netherlands, and presently Ann Marie Waters of the For Britain movement. ‘For Britain believes in a free market and capitalist economy’ as one of the founding principles.30 That and other such parties called ‘Right’ by journalists, academics, and other idiots, base their opposition to Islam31 on issues with which Islam and the actual Right would find agreement.

When liberalism seeks an alliance with Islam in the name of multiculturalism things become problematic. To what extent is homophobia existent within Muslim communities?

The imams in New Zealand are preaching ‘love’ and ‘peace’ and brotherhood. It would be superfluous to mention the religious conflicts among Muslims, such as between Sunni and Shia. Perhaps we have been spared that in New Zealand because most are Sunni? When liberalism seeks an alliance with Islam in the name of multiculturalism things become problematic. To what extent is homophobia existent within Muslim communities? This month Muslims in Birmingham took their children out of a Birmingham primary school and protested outside the school against the intention of the assistant head teacher to teach children about homosexuality and transgenderism, with books entitled Mommy, Mama and Me, and King & King. It was going to be done under the slogan ‘No Outsiders’, which seems to be just as banal as the slogans adopted in New Zealand by Muslim leaders and their new-found liberal friends.32 Slogans by the Muslim parents included: ‘My children, my right’; ‘Exploiting children’s innocence’; ‘Let kids be kids’; ‘My child, my choice’. It all seems a tad exclusionary; not really ‘we are one’; somewhat Alt Right.

Neither is there any need to enter into a prolonged discussion about women and Islam. Feminist issues have long been used by liberals against Islam. Even the attractive hijab headscarf is regarded as repressive by Western and Muslim feminists and liberals. When the zombified packed into Hagley Park, Christchurch on 22 March to observe the mourning for the Mosque victims, were there any looks askance by the mass of liberals at the segregation of male and female audiences? This is not intended to slight Islam, but to question the sincerity of those exploiting the deaths with slogans about equality and onehood.

Hijab and Feminists

In particular New Zealand women are encouraged to where the hijab as a mark of solidarity. This very question of solidarity was raised by two Muslim feminists, Asra O. Nomani and Hala Arafa, in the USA in 2016:

As mainstream Muslim women, we see the girl’s headscarf not as a signal of ‘choice’, but as a symbol of a dangerous purity culture, obsessed with honor and virginity, that has divided Muslim communities in our own civil war, or fitna, since the Saudi and Iranian regimes promulgated puritanical interpretations of Sunni and Shia Islam, after the 1970s Saudi oil boom and the 1979 Iranian Revolution.33

Of particular relevance to the New Zealand situation, are the many New Zealand women donning the hijab, and in particular our Prime Minister Jucinda Adern, whose hijab adornment has propelled her to world fame as the ‘princess of peace’ meriting the Nobel Peace Prize. Ms. Nomani and Ms. Arafa continue:

Today, well-intentioned women are wearing headscarves in interfaith ‘solidarity.’ But, to us, they stand on the wrong side of a lethal war of ideas that sexually objectifies women as vessels for honor and temptation, absolving men of personal responsibility. … This purity culture covers, segregates, subordinates, silences, jails and kills women and girls around the world.34

Narrow Escape

The scenario could have been quite different. In 2018 an eighteen-year-old convert to Islam was convicted, but not jailed, for planning an automobile attack on random Christchurch residents, after which he intended to proceed with knifings. A media report states:

A Kiwi teenager radicalised online planned to ram a car into a group of people in Christchurch and then stab them. The teenager wrote a goodbye note to his mother, then started a violent incident, but has since told a psychologist when it began he ‘decided not to hurt anybody because he did not have the means to kill enough people’, Crown prosecutor Chris Lange told the Christchurch District Court at sentencing on Thursday. ‘The reason no-one was hurt was that he did not have access to knives,’ Lange said. But there was significant premeditation, and hostility towards non-Muslims.35

Although the plan had not been completed there was an incident, the character of which does not seem to have been reported:

The youth’s name is suppressed and the details of the offending cannot be published. He has admitted eight charges. People were frightened by his actions during the incident last year, and damage was done, but no-one was hurt before he was held until the police arrived. Lange said even though the youth had been treated for months by the youth forensic psychiatric team, he was still seen as a high risk of reoffending, and a risk to family members and members of the public. … Pre-sentence reports indicated he had the potential to act more violently than what happened.36

Had the youth succeeded would there have been collective hysteria condemning Islam as a danger to all of humanity that must be suppressed, and its beliefs subjected to ‘hate laws’? No. Rather the reaction would have been that one cannot generalise against all Muslims on the basis of the actions of a few fanatics. Yet the Muslim leadership, Zionists, liberals, journalist, academics, and Communists are quick to label the gunman, Tarrant, as representative of the Alt Right, which hence becomes a ‘danger to all humanity’; and by means of this they thereby demonise all critics of multiculturalism. This indeed was the attitude of the Islamic leadership in response to the threat in 2017:

The president of the Federation of Islamic Associations, Hazim Arafeh, said from Christchurch that his organisation ‘completely condemned any violence towards any community and that will never change’. The risk of young people not well informed about Islam becoming radicalised online would always be present and the federation fully co-operated with the authorities. ‘If you look at the statistics just about all of them are low lifes who have no family, no achievements and no qualifications. It’s easier to recruit people who are misinformed about Islam.’37

I am not interested in countering Mr. Arafeh’s insistence that this is not genuine Islam. I merely wish to point out again the hypocrisy in the blanket condemnation of the Right, and the demonisation of anyone who dissents from the Establishment lines on immigration and multiculturalism. What is it that makes this youth an aberration of Islam who needs helping, while Tarrant is supposedly a typical manifestation of the Alt Right? Nothing but a double-standard.

In 2016 the first person jailed in New Zealand for ‘circulating objectionable material related to extreme violence’, was sentenced for ‘distributing and possessing videos depicting cruel violence perpetuated by terrorist group Isis’.38 Why should all Rightists be tarred with the same brush, any more than Muslims? What makes one stereotype any more legitimate than another?

Shadism

Christchurch imam Gamal Fouda immediately called on anyone who is speaking for Muslims to either refer always to ‘white supremacy’ and ‘right-swing extremism’, or not speak at all. As the keynote speaker at the Hagley Park service on 22 march Imam Fouda stated:

The terrorist tried to tear the nation apart with evil ideology. Instead we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. And that the world can see injustice an example of love and unity. … We are determined to love one another and to support each other. This evil ideology of white supremacy did not strike us first, yet it has struck us hardest. But the solidarity in New Zealand is extraordinary. … We call on governments around the world, including New Zealand’s and its neighbouring countries, to bring an end to hate speech and the politics of fear. … Last week’s events are proof and evidence to the entire world that terrorism has no colour, has no race and has no religion. The rise of white supremacy and right wing extremism is a great global threat to mankind and this must end now.39

Imam Fouda politicized his speech. He used it as a plug for the ‘hate laws’ which, we are told by Muslim spokespersons (women have now become conspicuous), the Muslim community has long sought. Imam Fouda focuses on ‘white supremacy and right wing extremism’ in his talk, which was supposedly to mourn the dead, calling these ‘a great global threat to mankind’. With respect, what nonsense. How many ‘white supremacists’ and ‘extreme right-wingers’ control banks, newspapers, television networks, Hollywood, armies, states, or weapons of mass destruction? It is not ‘right wing extremists’ who invaded Muslim lands, bombing them into submission, causing the refugee crisis. What a betrayal of Muslims to come up with a red herring as lame as ‘white supremacists’ and ‘extreme right-wingers’ as ‘a great global threat to mankind’, apparently so that some Leftist agenda might be served.

Are the Muslim communities exempt from racism and discrimination? Is the NZ Muslim community? Are they all ‘one’? As in many societies with ethnic differences, there is a spontaneous hierarchy of colour. ‘Racism’ within Muslim communities, otherwise known as ‘colourism’ and ‘shadism’, has been discussed among Muslims recently. On the website Mvslim the question was posed ‘Are we really one?’ Mr. Ibrahim wrote:

The Muslim community is a global community of diversity, variety and color. We are taught to accept every Muslim (and non-Muslim) with complete disregard to their color, nationality or ethnicity. Yet somehow black Muslims (and Muslims of color in general) experience racism from our brothers and sisters in Islam. Every attempt to tackle these issues has been swept underneath the rug with the phrase ‘One Ummah brother, we accept no racism in Islam’. How can you explain the feeling of superiority towards black and brown people? Why are we still finding excuses on anti-blackness in the Muslim community? When we are not willing to accept the problematics beforehand and try and solve these blatant issues proactively.40

Mr. Ibrahim pointed out that Muslim women are particularly affected by Arab exploitation including rape, and the plight of Muslim black women is particularly dire. Muslim black women have tried to raise the particularly disheartening widespread abuse from other Muslims, one writing on a female Muslim website:

I’m sure it is commonly known by now that an individual can be ostracized for what they believe in. As absurd as that sounds, yes, many Muslims are targeted due to their beliefs. But beliefs can change – skin color cannot. One would imagine, because we share this frightening reality, that Muslims would band together against outside hate, right? Unfortunately, the Muslim community has its own stomach-wrenching issue with racism, but even more than that, an issue of Arab supremacy.41

She alludes to Arab Muslim clerics regarding Muslims with black skin as ‘reverts’, and this being a widespread attitude. Being of Nigerian descent, she comments on her experiences at London Mosques:

I can clearly recall that when I was growing up, I attended Friday prayers in a mosque frequented by Nigerians, and they would talk about issues facing ALL Muslims, not only black Muslims. And yet when I would attend other mosques around London, issues spoken about would only pertain to South Asian Muslims or Arab Muslims. No talk about Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Gambia, etc. It was as if black Muslim communities didn’t exist.

I can say without flinching that the issue of racism within the Muslim community enables the wider prevalence of racism and Islamophobia in mainstream society. It is an exhausting issue that many of us are choosing to ignore for peace of mind. However, it is neither practical nor fair to pretend that the only enemies amongst us are outside the Muslim community. 42

Another Muslim woman, Aishasaleh, refers to a campaign to address ‘colourism’ within Islam, called darkskinnedhijabis, started by Hodhen Liaden:

Liaden recognizes two important things worth noting to the reader: (1) There is a history of racism and colorism that can easily be found within Muslim communities around the world, and (2) That racism and colorism can easily be found in our present, meaning that after centuries worth of exclusion and discrimination, change has not been achieved. I would go so far as to claim that the Muslim community on the whole has not even put an effort forward to change, and in fact could potentially be accused of ignoring that the problem exists at all.43

Another Muslim woman alludes to the lack of ‘dark skinned Muslim women’, ‘whether Black or Asian, in the small Muslim fashion industry. ‘Forgive my silliness but I genuinely went through quite a few reasons in my head to justify the absence of dark-skinned Muslim women. … As a community and as an Ummah, we are still dealing with deeply entrenched issues of colourism and anti-blackness’.44

Aside from noticing the erasure of dark-skinned models (black and Asian) from Instagram pages and websites in general, my first sickening exposure to colourism within the industry was while I was watching Dina Torkia’s BBC Three Documentary, “Muslim Beauty Pageant and Me,”. The documentary was based on Dina’s journey as a contestant on the International Muslim pageant – World Muslimah, a two-week boot camp for contestants to prove their credentials as good Muslim role models. Imagine my shock as I witnessed one of the organizers give the African/ dark-skinned contestants lightening creams! I had to rewind and pause the scene just to let the irony of the moment sink in as well as the glaring hypocrisy that the contestants were being judged on ‘Islamic Values.’

So far I haven’t mentioned a specific community within the ummah, because I genuinely think the issue of colourism, while more prevalent in some cultures and communities, spans across Muslim communities worldwide.45

Is the liberal paradise of New Zealand devoid of ‘colourism’ or ‘shadism’ in the Muslim community? An influx of migrants seems to have been as problematic among New Zealand Muslims as anywhere else, and might account for a change in leadership that seems to be inclined towards the Left. Abdullah Drury, a White convert to Islam, who has served as a media spokesman for the Islamic Federation, as a secretary of the Muslim Association of Canterbury (where Christchurch is located), as a guest lecturer on Islam at Waikato University, Hamilton, and editor of the university’s Waikato Islamic Studies Review, wrote in 2006:

Most of the problems facing Islamic institutions in New Zealand reflect the cultural inability or intellectual unwillingness of incumbent mosque leaders, frequently new migrants, to consider the experiences of their predecessors: their hearts, minds, rationale and prejudices are still firmly rooted in their home countries.

More than one North Island critic has stated that some Canterbury Muslims think they’re still living in Africa or the Middle East. That neatly encapsulates the problem, although South Island Muslims frequently retort that Indian migrants are monopolising the North Island mosques.

(The South Auckland mosque in Otahuhu, for example, notoriously gives sermons exclusively in Urdu – a language only spoken by people from the Indian subcontinent and totally meaningless to the countless Arabs, Albanians, Malays and Somalis resident there).

One Arab immigrant, who has been here nearly 10 years, recently said to me indignantly outside the Canterbury Islamic Centre: ‘The language of the mosque is Arabic!’

It isn’t. The lingua franca of mosques up and down New Zealand is English. The language of the Koran is Arabic (classical – not vernacular).

This is an English speaking country and all the immigrants and refugees speak English as their common language, not Arabic or Urdu.

However, by stating this idea my friend has betrayed the sentiments felt by many immigrants: the mosque is the last vestige of their homelands and they want it to remain that way, even if that leads to tension or conflict with other ethnic or sectarian groups within the New Zealand Muslim community.

These tensions have inevitably led to a proliferation of smaller Islamic centres in Auckland where more than 20 different groups currently operate outside the established, older Muslim institutions and indeed, outside the national Islamic Federation.46

Mr. Drury was referring to the former leadership of a unified Muslim community under Mazhar Krasniqi, an Albanian Muslim, who founded the Federation of Islamic Associations, and is regarded as one of the top 100 Muslims of the 20th century. Mr Drury refers to subsequent ethnic factionalism:

What has happened in 25 years since Baba (uncle) Mazhar brought all the Muslims together? Why are things falling apart now?

The most significant contribution stems from the massive and poorly planned influx of immigrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East in the 1990s. Nobody in the local Muslim community ever anticipated or planned this. …

The pioneering Muslim families who established Islam in this country have been effectively overwhelmed: swept out of office by the superior numbers of the new faces, or entrenching themselves and encouraging newcomers to set up their own Islamic prayer arrangements. …

Now there is a substantial bloc, often Arab or African, with considerably poorer education than their predecessors, with vastly different language skills and cultures to those this country has traditionally absorbed.

This has exacerbated community differences along ethnic, linguistic or cultural lines inside mosques from Christchurch to Auckland. … Very quickly they use their disproportionately larger numbers to vote in their own leaders.

Consequently a fair number of mosques in New Zealand are currently being administered or dominated by people and groups who have arrived in this country within the last 10 years, some substantially less. …47

As for the present, a well-placed Muslim has commented: ‘The factionalism is still rife if quiet. There will be one funeral in Auckland. He is a member of the Fiji Indian community and they want him buried in “their” Muslim burial plot’.48

Traditional Connection between Islam and the Right

The Right, hitherto in conflict with Zionism because of the inherent character of the doctrines, now often has not only an anti-Muslim position motivated by opposition to Third World immigration, but also combines this with a growing sympathy for Israel. It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. Well, this situation is downright perverse. It seems that often the swarthy and even black faces of many Muslims and the fair complexions of many Israelis are sufficient for Rightists to define their positions on the Middle East, Islam and Zionism. Those on the Right who claim to stand for Western resurgence are not going to succeed by aligning themselves with the architects of the West’s cultural and social decay.

Those on the Right who claim to stand for Western resurgence are not going to succeed by aligning themselves with the architects of the West’s cultural and social decay.

The French Nationalist Dr. Christian Bouchet, who served with the supposedly Islamophobic Front National and other movements of the Right, commented:

Whoever browses the catalogues of nationalist bookstores, whoever reads nationalist newspapers and magazines, whoever visits Internet forums where young and not-so-young activists of the nationalist right express opinions will immediately notice that rabid anti-Islamism reigns. The cause would seem clear: Islam is the enemy of the French nation and of European civilization, and therefore of the nationalist movement. But beyond ‘the obvious,’ and beyond appearances, is it reality? An objective approach to the facts calls for a reply in the negative: Islam was not always looked upon negatively by nationalists, and at present, hostility toward it is not absolute in the ranks of committed rightists.49

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the Front National, so far from embracing Islamophobia, pointed out that the globalists are seeking a compliant Islam that will not resist globalisation. Le Pen stated in an interview with Arabies, issue 98:

They’re provoking French fears of what is commonly called ‘Islamism’ or ‘Moslem religious activism’. The ones who provoke or manipulate these fears, not hesitating to grossly distort Islam’s message to make it better fit their conceptions, do it from a very precise standpoint: that of the globalist utopia and the ideology of Human Rights which assumes the destruction of cultural identities and the rejection of transcendence. Their dream is of a sterilized Islam rendered harmless.50

Le Pen further explained to the journal of the youth wing of Front National:

It’s this [American] hegemony which is in large part hostile to the national idea in general and nations in particular. Among themselves nationalists share a body of values common to civilizations whether Christian or even Moslem. These values go from patriotism to respect for the past, from attachment to the soil to love of family, and to all values that flow from them: fellowship, charity, honour, devotion, sacrifice, etc.51

In Italy in 2003 the media reported that Hassan Bendoudouh, professor of Islam and an official of the ‘post-Fascist’ National Alliance led by Giofranco Fini, stated: ‘I am a partisan of Fini and Allah. Islam is a religion of the Right, in that it honors family values and respect for parents and the ancestors’.52 Likewise France’s Front National has included Islamic officials, such as Le Pen’s adviser on Islamic affairs, Sid-Ahmed Yahiaoui, and electoral candidates who see no complication in being French and Muslim.

Dr. Bouchet, explains the rise of Islamophobia among the Nationalist Right as the result of the propaganda of ‘the Evil Empire, the pro-American and Zionist networks’:

As is known, it’s favourably viewed in certain nationalist and French nationalist circles to refer, in a manner reminiscent of ‘the clash of civilizations, to the confrontation between Islam and the free world. That helps sell newspapers and has the enormous advantage of furnishing a simple explanation of the world’s complexity, one easily accepted by a movement looking more for conspiracy theories than political or geopolitical thought.

Now, ideas must be put back in their historical context. The source of the ‘clash of civilizations’ theory goes back to 1990. The Soviet Bloc’s collapse took away the U.S.’s role of defender of the free world; there was danger for the U.S. in the multipolar world which they saw replacing the bipolar one. Therefore a replacement adversary was needed so that America could continue in its role as world policeman. The office of U.S. Secretary of State switched therefore from its ‘red’ theme, namely, Moscow is orchestrating a worldwide terror network consisting of Third-World revolutionary Marxist groups, to its ‘green’ theme, namely, there is a worldwide terror network consisting of revolutionary Islamist groups. At the same time, the U.S. Secretary of State adopted the Lake doctrine of ‘rogue nations,’53 the majority of which, as if by some strange coincidence, are Moslem.

… As for these intellectuals who have theorized about the ‘clash of civilizations,’ you know them both: it’s Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington. Both insist on the importance of the Zionist Entity to the West’s resistance. And that introduces a second level of understanding of the anti-Islamist phenomenon, i.e. supporters of the Zionist Entity have grafted their struggle onto that of the American party. By developing a gigantic amalgam of Islam/Islamism/violence-in-North-African-neighorhoods/obscurantism/attacks-on-women, etc., they try to make ordinary Frenchmen believe that in Paris as in Tel Aviv the troublemaker, the killer, the terrorist, the one favouring a return to the Middle Ages is the same: the Arab and the Moslem.54

Hence, factions of the Right, having moulded a career out of following the U.S. pied piper of anti-Sovietism, supposedly in defence of Western Civilisation, have exchanged this mantle for that of anti-Islamism. Bouchet explains: ‘They were militant anti-communists when the U.S.A. had to justify its occupation of our continent by citing the “danger of the Red Army”, now they’re militant anti-Islamists when the U.S.A. has to justify its worldwide ambitions’.55

References

1 Bryce Edwards, ‘Political Roundup: NZ First’s “Virtue Signalling” Against Immigrants’, NZ Herald, 2 October 2018.

3 Paul Spoonley, The Politics of Nostalgia (Palmerston North, NZ: Dunmore Press, 1987).

4 Spoonley interview with Corin Dan, Q&A, TVNZ, 18 March 2019.

5 Stephen Goodson, A History of Central Banking, and Inside the South African Reserve Bank (London: Black House Publications, 2014).

9 See here.

11 MEF, Staff Bios.

12New Zealand Jewish support for Christchurch’, Press Release: Jewish Council, 22 March 2019.

13U.N. Ratifies Migration Pact; Israel and US Among Five to Vote Against’, The Times of Israel, 19 December 2018.

14 ‘U.N. Ratifies Migration Pact’, ibid.

16 See: K. R. Bolton, The Parihaka Cult (London: Black House Publishing, 2012).

19 Leon Trotsky, ‘Perspectives and Tasks in the East’, speech on the third anniversary of the Communist University for Toilers of the East, 21 April 1924.

20 E-mail to the writer, 24 March 2019.

21 E-mail to the writer, 20 March 2019.

22 ‘Christchurch Mosque Shootings’, op. cit.

24 For some examples, see here.

25 Michael Neilson, ‘Christchurch Vigil or Political Rally?’, op. cit.

26 Philip Matthews, ‘Radical Losers and Lone Wolves: What Drives the Alt-Right?Stuff, 23 March 2019.

27 When these two arrived in New Zealand in August 2018 to be greeted with less than New Zealand’s supposed friendly embrace, TV interviewer Patrick Gower was sent to give them the hard questions that were supposed to expose them to ridicule and humiliation at the hands of an experienced paragon of journalistic liberalism. If they are ‘losers’ then what should one make of Gower? Even I felt embarrassed for him. See: ‘Full video; Patrick Gower interviews Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux’.

28 Indeed, the attack that did take place at this time was on a young man wearing an NF t-shirt, who was beaten by two Somalis. In keeping with the mentality of the police, it was the victim who was tried, twice, unsuccessfully. His being beaten by Somalis became a cause celebre of the Left, an act of revolutionary courage.

29 See: T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (London: Black House Publishing, 2013). Introduction by Bolton.

30 See here.

31 For Britain’s ‘Statement on Islam’.

33 Asra O. Nomani and Hala Arafa, ‘Wearing the Hijab in solidarity Perpetuates Oppression’, The New York Times, 29 December 2016.

34 Asra O. Nomani and Hala Arafa, ibid.

36 David Clarkson, ‘Kiwi Teenager Radicalised’, ibid.

37 David Clarkson, ‘Kiwi Teenager Radicalised’, ibid.

38 Kelly Dennett, ‘Men Sentenced for Islamic State Propaganda’, Stuff, 23 June 2016.

40 Mansour Jamal Ibrahim, ‘Racism in the Muslim Community: Are We Really One?’, Mvslim, 18 May 2017.

41 Sassy Telaa, ‘A Black Muslimah’s Perspective on Anti-Blackness in Our Community’, Haute Hijab, 8 June 2018.

42 Sassy Telaa, ‘A Black Muslimah’s Perspective’, ibid.

45 Myrihla, ‘Where are the Dark-Skinned Models?’, ibid.

46 Abdullah Drury, ‘Home Country Doctrine Splits Once-Unified Muslims’, NZ Herald, 11 July 2006.

47 Abdullah Drury, ‘Home Country Doctrine’, ibid.

48 E-mail to the writer, 20 March 2019.

49 C. Bouchet, ‘The Nationalist Right and Islam’, Voxnr, 2 June 2011.

50 Cited by Bouchet, idid.

51 Cited by Bouchet, idid.

52 Cited by Bouchet, ibid.

53 See: Alex Miles, U. S. Foreign Policy and the Rogue State Doctrine (New York: Routledge, 2013), p. 142. Anthony Lake was President Clinton’s National Security Adviser.

54 C. Bouchet, op. cit.

55 C. Bouchet, ibid.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2019/03/29/cant-overtakes-new-zealand-in-wake-of-mosque-shootings/feed/ 0