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Re: Reply to all and sundry

Reader comment on item: Christianity Dying in Its Birthplace
in response to reader comment: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Submitted by Reuben Horne (Australia), Sep 21, 2005 at 00:53

Dr Pipes,
Well what a can of worms I have opened.

For Kierkegaard my reply is - history has become a lot more than a users manual in recent times and has become the weapon of ideologues who dominate the departments in which the discipline is taught. For those of us who are unfamiliar with the works of Georg Lukacs I would recommend them simply on the basis of their providing some clarity as to the nature of what has gone wrong in the west. Georg, a propogandist during the Second World War, was also a Marxist and just so happens to be the architect of political correctness in the west as well as modern education theory, multiculturalism as we presently understand it and a number of other maladaptive things too numerous to mention. He was in fact an extremely prolific writer and this worked to his good advantage since he would have had a great deal of trouble marketing his ideas if he had to distill them down to a few pages. In a serendipitus moment whilst researching a preliminary thesis a cold chill ran down my spine as I walked between two shelves in the University of Queenslands Social Science and Humanities Library and I found this mans (Lukacs) collective works - I opened up his book on the "Historical Novel" where the great Charles Dickens was lambasted for being disingenuous in his portrayal of the adverse social conditions of his era (or in other words not a communist like Lukacs). Lukacs caught a ride on the 1960s when the numerous student groups and associations were attempting to form an Antiwar movement in the US Lukacs caught the wave and gave the students a philosophical framework for their movement - he even provided them with the catchcry "Free Love!"

Just as the Islamists central concern is to account for the failure of Islam the central concern of Lukacs was to account for the failure of communism and address the shortcomings of the movement so far. It seemed inexplicable to Lukacs that the workers would reject a philosophy that would place them on top of the political food chain. He reached the conclusion that it was western civilisation which constituted the stumbling block. His solution was a radical inversion of the social order and attempt to destroy western civilisation and create the new Marxist man. He also understood that somehow controlling language was a pathway to his achieving this (the parallels with George Orwells 1984 "Newspeak" and modern political correctness are not coincidental). Another aspect of his philosophy that is pertinant to this discussion is the fact that his plan involved using the western tradition of critical thought to destroy the west - to lock us into endless analysis and reanalysis of our own actions. Perhaps the most insidious aspect of his philosophy was the sexual-political component in which he planned to market a form of relativism in which all sexualities were equal called polymorphic perversity. Reform in this arena started with the quite acceptable proposition of ending legal persecution of homosexuality and ended in the formation of groups such as NAMBLA which advocate the decriminalisation of paedophilia. If you doubt that discussion of this isn't gradually becoming more acceptable then you only have to walk onto a University Campus and open your ears.

This process concerning these matters however has been largely invisible - a far more significant and relevant example of Lukacs philosophy at work can be found in its attack upon organised religion. You might be aware of the happenings in Ontario Canada where the muslim community was evenly split over whether to introduce sharia law to family law tribunals for Muslims and as a consequence of this the suggestion was scrapped. I had assumed that the status quo would be preserved as a result of this decision - the intellectual progeny of Lukacs instead decided to go one further and pass a law banning all forms of religious arbitration in family disputes. In the light of this I was forced to admit that my glee was premature - however I always had some doubts pricking the back of my mind that this the most politically correct of nations would ever do something that I might consider sensible. In fact this trend is almost universal across organisations in the western world - with respect to religion its ban one therefore ban all in the name of fairness. Another completely incongruous example from an Australian microcosm can be found in a taxi company which hired a series of pro Islamist antisematic cab drivers who proudly brandished the flag of one or another Middle Eastern dictatorships in their cabs. People found the tone and content of their conversations with these maniacs to be objectionable and complained - the cab companies response was to ban all religious symbols from the cabs (national identity was left untouched of course - somehow this became a religious rather than a political problem but the two are often confused where Islam is concerned). "The first to go will be the St Christopher Medal's" they said.

A conspiracy theorist would have a nocturnal emission over this stuff and one really does wonder whether the inclusion of so many incompatible Islamic people in our society is merely an attempt to bring all religion into ill repute. If it is it's working. The shift in dialogue in common conversation when Islam is brought up slides away from Islam itself and onto the horrors that all religion has worked upon the world. This takes historical events in Christianity and compares them to Islams contemporary face, failing that people fall back on the sexual scandals that have recently rocked both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church in Australia and elsewhere. Notable is the absence of discussion of the absolute opposite of a society which found its foundation in religion - the atheistic socialist states have killed more people over the last 100 years than all the religions combined. The notable absensce of this insight flags for me the fact that the followers of Lukacs - themselves neosocialist Marxists - are winning their war.

Lukacs has been so successful we don't even understand our own culture it seems - I must contradict alot of earlier statements by persons quoted by Dr Pipes which implied secular law is not the product of divine or higher law. The natural justice based trials of war criminals in Japan and Germany post WW2 in the absence of jurisdictional legitimacy illustrates a more practical example of law being derived from a higher source being applied. But to clarify the point of my digression secular law is merely an attempt to prevent divine law which is always at its core from being abused. For these reasons it has been forced to adapt to changing circumstances. If you want another example of divine law being imported into the western legal system take the example of the "neighbor law" from civil negligence cases a direct reference to Jesus Christ's religious principle of "Loving thy Neighbor." The difference if at all between the western legal tradition and the Islamic one is that we acknowledge that as imperfect beings we may administer the divine law imperfectly and so therefore we require rules of fairness in its administration which include paths of appeal and flexible doctrines like the law of equity. In sharia law whether it is expressed or not there appears to be an implicit assumption that the divinity of the law and its source carries forward into the edicts made in interpreting and applying it. This stagnates the entire system, it makes it easier to administer and simpler, but not better. This critical misperception of the wests legal system is at the core of Islamic derision for it. Such removal from the community, professed divinely granted moral superiority to our laws and enforced closed mindedness is at the core of the Islamic criminality within our society at the moment. It motivates both the car thief in Sydney and the terrorist in Melbourne.

The west is bundle of social and ideological misunderstandings and dead ends at the moment and the best that we can hope for in many respects is simply that those who define themselves as our enemies will catch some of the diseases we have. Perhaps the only good thing that has come out of Ontario is a signal that this is occurring - that we've conned the Muslim community into being as stupid as we are. As for Kierkegaard being an ultra relativist I was not ascribing that label with any manner of permanence to him - merely contextualising his position in this one particular essay as being that of an ultra-relativist. It is politically convenient to label people and so it is something I assiduously try to avoid but to put my remarks in perspective I am sure there are at least a dozen other philosophies one might ascribe to Kierkegaard some of which might even be utterly antithetical to relativism in editorials he has written in the past. To make the comparison of Christianities past to Islams present however stinks of Lukac's proposed exploitation of the western self effacing tradition of critical thought about ones society. My response to an idiot liberal significant other of a girl I knew when he said "There's nothing wrong with self criticism" was: "There is when it grows to the extent that it paralyses you and you become a neurotic." Western society has picked up a clinical case of neurosis and is in dire need of rehabilitation.

The danger of such a position is that it rationalises inaction when action is necessary and provides a way out when necessary action might be undesirable. Dr Pipes - rare though my criticisms of him are exhibits such a philosophical malaise when he suggests that to accept certain truths about Islam would be to reach the conclusion that we would be forever at war with it and so therefore we should formulate different truths in order to reach a more desirable conclusion. You can't simply reorder your reality in order to avoid unpleasant tasks - of course you can find more pleasant ways of carrying them out. Conflict cannot be avoided sometimes and the dialogue that would be required to avoid the coming conflict with Islam would need to be approached by both parties in an even handed and honest manner. Honesty is however sadly lacking from the Islamic religion - the doctrine of Al-takiyya illustrates this - the discrepancy between the public and the private face of the clerics that preach the religion. The response of the west to blanket Islamic insincerity with regards to peace has been much in the manner of Dr Pipes to fish for examples of positive discourse and signs from the region to create for ourselves an unrealisitic picture of the politics of our enemy. On a domestic level we have also adopted the policy of giving positive press to Islam which is undeserved and unearnt to simply preserve the illusion we have created for ourselves that all is hunkey dory. The few examples of this illusion being stripped away are treated as anomalous discontinuities in our seemingly drug induced stupor. Muslim youths revealing their true attitude towards Anglo-Australian women in a viscious series of gang rapes across Sydney in which their recorded language revealed a subculture very different and very hostile to the host. It were as though by their very religious identity they were entitled to treat the women as less than human. The comfortable illusion continues however a few months later and it is accepted without dissention at a public forum the proposition put forward by a Muslim cleric that the boys involved were not muslim at all - well phew! That's a relief.

Perhaps what disturbs me the most about this particular essay of Kierkegaard's is the assymetric nature in which the people who hold such views apply their political inertia. Such views pacify the Christian and western secular communities but make very few inroads into the Islamic one. By placating one community with fictions and relativities - this "broader picture" (or users manual) in practice our goals are suppressed whilst Islamic ones are furthered. In the absence of a military option what option do we have? Sun Tzu the famous humanist Chinese general was astoundingly antiwar but he could envision circumstances in which the suppression of the natural phenomenon of conflict could create more injustice than it would produce. Tibet and the Dalai Lama's order not to resist the Chinese invasion would be a good example of pacifism producing injustice - shortly there will probably no longer be a Tibetan people as a result of his "big picture spiritual perspective". To my mind this observation reflects our present situation. Islam is driven by the singular goal of dominance. It has politically transformed nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia within a very short period of time and not for the better. Within the west it seeks a similar dominance and in the absence of any true capacity to effect this outcome in an overt military manner (wait until the US is a little weaker though) it seeks to do it covertly through incremental immigration/demographic ethnic clensing and clandestine terror tactics. Add Lukacs people who seek to infect and destroy both the Muslims and us to this political mix and it is very difficult to see who is in the driving seat of the western world at the moment.

In conclusion Kierkegaard's "users manual" is of very little use to us if it is written by Georg Lukacs or his bastard intellectual progeny. The predominant revisionist history in which we are the bad guys is driven by the desire to ideologically transform society in a manner at least as objectionable as the manner in which Islamists would have it change. Sadly with very few exceptions this revisionist history dominates the discipline - it would be a mammoth task to rewrite everything Lukac's people have already rewritten but an acknowledgement at least that it is the product of an ideology and not a search for objective truth would be a start. Lukacs followers however do not see themselves as ideologues or the product of an ideology but as being impartial and objective. In order to demonstrate this impartiality they feel the need to constantly exhibit an all pervasive disloyalty to the civilisation and culture that they have inherited. See the massive protests they launch at Fox Networks daring to simply air conservative commentators and to seek a balance with liberal commentators.

For Daisy: Well yeah there was some bad grammar involved in my missive but I think my meaning was conveyed. The Gettysburg Address might have been one of the most magical aye indeed almost religious statements of belief by an American President but it contained a number of propositions that were not true. The statement "All men are created equal" is a valid enough statement if it is to be construed from a rights based perspective of how we are going to manage a just society. However people are not equal they differ in intelligence, constitution physical strength, attractiveness etc etc. It is the dream of every humanist romantic that the deficiencies of one human being are more than compensated for by hidden talents. In fact I think that was the central premise of that Tom Hank's film "Forest Gump." Francis Galton an innovator in statistical theory, actuarial assessment and all around eccentric made a few startling discoveries in his attempts to legitimise the rule of the aristocracy in England. He discovered that they instead of being superior were in fact inferior to the people they sought to govern along many dimension (fitness, intelligence etc). This was a troubling discovery he called the "regression to mediocracy" and it was apparently getting worse over time. His discovery was that the children of remarkable parents tended to be closer to the average human being along the dimensions in which their parents excelled. Attempts to eugenically keep the bloodlines pure by marrying other aristocrats had produced a class of people who were to a degree at least inbred. A similar pattern of behaviour brought down the Ancient Greek military power Sparta. These examples illustrate the fiction of the permanantly rigid "entrenched elite" model of society - they dispel the notion that anyone by race or birth has the right to lead. However to assume the extreme opposite model of the great chain of being divine/genetic right to rule paradigm - that everyone is completely equal is something that I have seen abused in Australia by Lukacs people to elevate mediocracy. We have tech college educated heads of Justice Departments (people without law degrees in law degree prerequisite roles) and even a chief magistrate who was a legal secretary before her appointment (I don't think she had a degree either). The fact remains if we base egalitarianism on the equality of humans along all of the dimensions on which they are measured then we are practicing a fiction - a comforting one - but a fiction nonetheless.

What does all of this mean? Well it seems to indicate that we live in a society that will always be stratified to one degree or another. Socialist attempts to artificially invert the order have thus far proven disasterous and if Lukacs is any indication may yet prove the end of us. The best that we can hope for is a dynamic, changing and adaptive class of elite that those who have the potential to join can do so without undue difficulty. By no means am I challenging the "Equality" proposition's implications for rights in the west - we are all equal before the law and equally entitled to education etc etc without elucidating on my own idea of what should constitute a bill of rights. It is also apparent that attempts to create a ruling class through selective breeding as Galton has illustrated above have invariably ended in disaster. Even if there are logical paradoxes and fictions inherent in the western democratic ideal we at least exist in a system where we are free to examine them - and one that works awfully well despite them. I for one am thankful that we do not entertain the delusion that our system, or society, or religion is perfect - which seems to be the central thesis of Islamism and Islamic fundamentalism. In fact our acknowledgement of imperfection might well be what takes us a step or two closer to achieving a perfect society than our Islamist cousins. However as I have illustrated above our predeliction towards critical thought just like any doctrine can be turned against us - it like everything else in life is a balancing act.

I hope that clears the mess up - God Bless America, Australia and the UK!
Reuben Horne.

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