Tuesday, September 29, 2020

                                                         September 29, 2020

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

Sampson County and the Defense of Western Civilization

 

Friends,

The absolute lunacy—the madness—now regnant on our college campuses and in college classrooms (and also in our public schools) should be obvious for all to see. But only in recent years have many “conservatives” really begun to examine the pitiful state of higher education in actual detail. Yes, there have been acute critics and excellent studies, detailing serious problems on campuses across the nation. Notable authors have documented the virtual take-over of academia by the frenzied leftist progressivists, and the practical result that true open inquiry and genuine debate have given way to a “single party” ideological authoritarian control worse than anything ever imagined in the old Soviet Union.

This is something we should have taken far more seriously fifty years ago. For now the “woke” descendants of the Vietnam-era radicals and the student graduates of the upheavals of 1968 have asserted near full control over our educational system.

Back in 1970-1971 I was in grad school at the University of Virginia, finishing an MA in history, and I knew and befriended some future PhDs whose own students would populate the faculties of some America’s most prestigious universities today. Their radicalism back then was strangely mild, even quaint, compared with the virus which has seemingly swept through academia in 2020. I had one friend, like me getting a Masters degree in history, who was passionately in favor of the Viet Cong, quoted Che Guevara, and actually gave me a copy of Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonialist The Wretched of the Earth—useful, as I had a seminar with a Leftist professor who prescribed it in his “social history” class, and I didn’t have to purchase it!  I don’t know what happened to my friend, except I heard he did earn a doctorate and then went on to teach impressionable minds at a major university. I think that became a pattern.

Later, doing my PhD in Spain, the student radicalism had not yet reached that country—in the early 1970s General Franco continued, if tenuously, to keep a lid on such things. Additionally, my university, the University of Navarra (one of two private universities in Spain at the time), was a very conservative Catholic institution, run by the Opus Dei order and heavily endowed. Even so, among some of my fellow students I detected how foreign publications and samizdat broadsides were certainly beginning to affect their thinking, and after Franco’s death that lid literally blew off. Still, for me the ability to discuss ideas and to have a superb (and very traditional) dissertation director were a special grace…I wonder how many grad students have that opportunity in Spain in 2020, or here in the United States?

For fifty years, then, the virus that began in earnest back in the early 1960s has basically been allowed to grow and metamorphosize. It is no longer just an advocacy of “third world liberation” or support for Communist and Marxist revolution; it is no longer just a rebellion against parts of the West’s moral code—on gender and marriage, especially; it is no longer resembles the older “civil rights” movement of the 1960s. It has gone far beyond those goal posts and far beyond what my Leftist classmate at Virginia espoused forty-nine years ago. It is, as my friend Dr. Paul Gottfried has called it, a “post-Marxism” which incorporates and owes much to a Marxist template, but incorporates far more into its, at times, amorphous ideology.

Whether it be the goons of Antifa or the rioters with Black Lives Matter and a host of other revolutionary groups, there is one principal tenet that more or less defines them. In slogan form it is: “Western Civ has got to go!”  Our inherited Western—and Christian—civilization of the past two millennia is defined, whether explicitly or not, as evil, the work and creation of “white oppressors” and “white supremacy,” and “gender discrimination.” “Historic systemic racism”: voila’ the problem! And since our culture and civilization owe their overall existence principally to Europe (and mostly white Europeans) and to the historic Christian faith, they must be destroyed or perverted beyond recognition.

It’s that simple…but it remains unrecognized by far too many of the supposed defenders of our culture.

Thus, not just Confederate symbols, but symbols, monuments, literature, music, art, language, everything that in any way smacks of the hated Western tradition must be uprooted and cast on the trash heap, even violently. And our supposed defenders? Those so-called “conservatives” and Republicans who have promised to defend our heritage and traditions? Many of them desert the battlefield ignominiously at the first sound of grape shot.

Take just one local case that exemplifies what is occurring all over the South and the nation: a few miles down the road from me in mostly rural North Carolina is Sampson County. Recently, the Sampson County Board of County Commissioners voted to relocate their Confederate monument which has stood in the county seat, Clinton, since 1916. Commissioner Jerol Kivett, one of three Republicans on the board had sworn up-one-side-and-down-the-other to acquaintances of mine, that he would never countenance such a move. But when the push to relocate the monument came, Kivett, going back openly on his promise, led the retreat, that is, like so many other Republicans he fled to the tall grass.

Not only that, but Kivett and the other board members flagrantly violated North Carolina’s Heritage Protection Act [HPA], the Monuments Law of 2015, which clearly states that only the North Carolina Historical Commission can approve relocation of historic monuments from State or “public property.” [N.C.G.S.100.2-1(b) and (b) (1)] And that under no circumstances can a relocated monument be placed in a museum. Yet, Kivett flagrantly proposed:

“I move that the statue previously located on top of the Confederate soldier monument … be relocated to the Sampson County History Museum; and that its accompanying base…be placed in storage with the contents of time capsule that may be located in the base, being relocated to the Sampson County History Museum.”

The vote was 5 to 0 to relocate.

Maybe Kivett (and his cohorts) believe that his cowardly actions will save him from being called a “racist” or “white supremacist,” or maybe he has pecuniary interests which he felt might be damaged by defending Sampson County’s veterans from 1861-1865. Or maybe his cowardice was really occasioned by the fact that all along he never was what he professed to be or to defend.

How many more Jerol Kivetts exist across not just the Southland, but across the face of the United States? Their number is legion, and their lack of courage and treason against our heritage and inheritance is reprehensible.

They do not seem to realize the age—the times—in which we live. They do not realize that taking down Confederate monuments is just the first step in an ever-widening campaign to denude our society, to cleanse it of anything which connects us to our past and the rich inheritance we have received as a trust. In effect, perhaps unwittingly, they participate in the destruction of two millennia that has given us life and sustained and enriched us, and they enable that inheritance to be replaced by the law of the jungle and sheer totalitarian barbarism.

They do not seem to understand that their temporizing now before the fanatical revolutionaries, their surrender to the mob and to mob opinion, will eventually catch up with them and will also effect the world they leave to their children and grandchildren. They have convinced themselves of their own sincerity and that they’re doing the right thing.

They may not understand yet, they may somehow justify what they do and have done. But they will stand severely accursed and accused by future generations of assisting, of being complicit, in the destruction of our civilization.

How then will you answer, Jerol Kivett?

Friday, September 25, 2020

 

September 25, 2020

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

The Real Revolutionaries That Seek Control and Power

 Friends,

I was appalled, but not really surprised by the coverage the local media (not to mention the national press) has given the results of the grand jury report concerning the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Here in central North Carolina the largest television station, WRAL, continuing its slide into outright propagandizing and turning every police action into an act of “police brutality” or “white racism,” flagrantly misconstrued both the events of Taylor’s death as well as the statements of Kentucky’s black Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron announcing the decision regarding the Louisville officers involved in the shooting. Only one of the officers was indicted, and that for reckless endangerment, not for murder. It was the correct decision under Kentucky law.

Additionally, despite the widely reported news that the officers had forcibly entered the apartment where Taylor resided under the state’s no-knock entry law, we have learned since that the three officers did knock and announced themselves, just before shots came from within the apartment. Here is how former Federal attorney Andrew McCarthy describes it:

…no charges were brought against Sergeant Jon Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, whose shots in the dark chaos struck Ms. Taylor only after the officers were fired upon by her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker — who himself may have been justified, in the confusion, in shooting at what he says he believed was an intruder. The cops were doing their job in executing a lawful search warrant at a location that was quite justifiably tied to a notorious criminal — Ms. Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.

This lawful and correct finding has been completely insufficient to satisfy the street mobs and rioters, or the pliant Democratic political leaders, who seem to believe their future success is dependent on the success of mob violence and the abject fear that it and the charges of racism engender among our political class. Even among supposedly “conservative” Republicans there has been a steady retreat to the “tall grass,” a giving in to the hysterical frenzy of the Black Lives Matter terrorists and their media protectors….The very night that Tucker Carlson on his 8 p.m. program on Fox News announced that the no-knock provision was not employed in the Taylor case, that the officers did knock and announce their presence, just an hour earlier, again on Fox, Martha MacCallum strongly implied that it was used…just like the continuing template on CNN, MSNBC, and the other major networks.

Like all so-called “moderates” or compromisers in violent revolutions, the temporizers usually end up devoured by the very radicals and radicalism they attempt to defend or justify. Only recall what happened to the “moderate” Girondistes during the height of the French Revolution (who opposed the ultimate terror of a Citizen Robespierre) or Alexander Kerensky and his Socialist Revolutionary government in Russia (done in by the Bolsheviks during the October 1917 Revolution). Both advocated and pushed for understanding and for compromise of one sort or another; both were swallowed up by the very same forces with which they attempted to deal and whose demands they tried so assiduously to satisfy.

But beyond the compromisers who would attempt to satisfy some, if not most of the revolutionary demands, there are those like the Wall Street capitalists who helped finance the Bolshevik Revolution, who see gain, profit and an increase in their power in such times of severe turmoil and disorder. It is oligarchs in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and on Wall Street, and Democratic Party honchos who bankroll the revolutionaries in the streets.

In 2020 the moneyed elites and billionaires in their gated mansions and luxury apartments, in upper class neighborhoods on the East and West coasts, hope that they can control and use the current revolutionary violence to advance their power and control over what is left of the United States. As Tucker Carlson has pointed out and documented time and time again on his nightly television program, and in detailed form in his book, Ship of Fools, the aim is a kind of globalism where those elites reign supreme without the restraints or opposition of such undesirables as those who live in Phillip Roth’s infamous “fly-over country” between New York and San Francisco (or Beverly Hills), those infamous “deplorables” who “cling to their guns and their Bibles” and believe in family and traditional morality.

Not just George Soros, but the gluttonous wealthy big wigs at Facebook, Twitter, and the hedge fund managers and international corporation giants, and those who depend on the generous largesse of the government, earnestly hope that the street revolution will assist them as they amass their increasing power and authority. They hope that it will impel citizens to select Joe Biden because, so goes the thinking, if he should be elected, then the violence will simmer down or subside. Certain “justified” demands (e.g., radical police reform, much more affirmative action, more “equality”) will be met...and the advance into a globalist, controlled dystopia will continue, as if the advent of the Trump presidency were simply a brief (and highly disagreeable) interregnum.

But controlling the revolutionaries, like in upheavals past, may be more challenging than our elites imagine or hope. For revolutions have a way of spinning out of control, of devouring their supporters and their sponsors. Thus, Joe Biden’s belated and somewhat half-hearted condemnation of the violence to his more radical supporters: “don’t get out of hand!” He did so only weeks after the Democratic National Convention said nothing but rather implicitly endorsed the raucous street terror, and its media minions continued to call it “mostly peaceful” (even with visual backdrops in the same reporting of private small business set to roaring flame by those same “peaceful demonstrators”).  

My mentor, the late conservative author Russell Kirk, once wrote that all societies desire equity, but before that may happen there must be order…order, socially, is primordial and comes before all else, before liberty and freedom, before justice. Like Spain in 1936, Chile in 1973, and Austria in 1933, society abhors disorder and violence. Add to this cauldron the very real possibility that the outcome of the November election will not be known for weeks after election day—and until after millions of mailed-in votes are counted (or miraculously “found”). And what we have is a recipe for sustained violence, endless legal action, even potential internecine civil war. 

Our elites play with fire, a dangerous game of brinkmanship for gain and authority. In the process they destroy the remnants of the country founded in 1787.

Monday, September 21, 2020

                                                       September 21, 2020

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

LewRockwell.com Publishes Another of My Essays

Friends,

On September 13, 2020, I offered a short essay in the MY CORNER series, “A New Age Is Upon Us and It Threatens To Devour Us.” With a few edits that piece was picked up by LewRockwell.com and published by his online journal on September 14. As published that essay has been one of the most read columns I’ve written in recent months. In that short piece I commented on the insights and conclusions of English philosopher John Gray, whose view of our contemporary age is, frankly, a negative one: we are, he seems to be saying, in the midst of a vast sea change, the end of the (failed) experiment in universalist (and largely secular) democratic liberalism which began in earnest in the late 18th century, now coming to a sputtering and inglorious end.

It is not just due to the unleashed (and uncontrolled) violence in the streets or the frenzied political and cultural fanaticism of our elites and in the media, it is the long-simmering quasi-religious, cultic perversion of our society, a true intellectual and social pandemic which has affected millions of people. It is, in effect, a form of madness, the dark and evil contrary of our historic Christian beliefs. Essentially, it percolates in our schools and colleges where the venom is inculcated into the tabula rasa minds of children of trusting parents who have been lulled into thinking that the key to success in society is a degree for Johnny or Mary from a “prestigious center of education.”

Those “prestigious centers of education” are hothouse centers of indoctrination. Yet, the demigod of what is called “a good education” (meaning graduating from a doctrinaire leftist college with an historically-esteemed reputation, e.g. Harvard and Yale) has been, certainly since the Puritans, an ideal that almost everyone, Democrat and Republican, buys into without reservation.

That needs to end. Now.

Rather than continuing to throw millions of taxpayer dollars at colleges where Critical Race Theory is intolerant of any other view on race, gender and class—rather than continuing to pay bloated salaries to lunatic “woke,” ideologically-perverted women professors who zealously wish (and pretend) that they are black—rather than blather on about the problem but very seldom put forward forcefully needed proposals for changes—rather than such gestures, so-called reformers must manfully stand forward. Truly radical measures are demanded if our nation, indeed our very civilization is to survive.

Certainly, there are efforts to encourage charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools. Such efforts need to be a priority. And on the level of higher education, it must be emphasized that public universities are not independent, self-governing entities but belong to the citizens of each state, and that the incestuous and oligarchic promotion of ideological avatars will end. Professors and teachers should be vetted by impartial review boards at the end of each academic year, just like the process that most professionals must undergo.

Back in October 2014 I authored an essay on the Post-War Between the States Southern writer/philosopher, Robert Lewis Dabney. For several years Dabney was engaged in a debate with Virginia’s first Superintendent of Public Education, William Ruffner. Dabney forthrightly opposed the system of free, public education which sought to impose an unnatural equality on all students. “If the State undertakes to countervail the legislation of Nature [and Providence] by leveling action, the attempt is wicked, mischievous, and futile,” he wrote. Indeed, Dabney questioned “whether the use merely of letters is not education, but only one means of education, and not the only means.”

And prophetically, he predicted the very real prospect that the new public schools would be used by “demagogues in the interests of their faction.” That prophesy, indeed, has come to pass, and with a vengeance. 

Perhaps his most serious indictment of public education is this: what happens to religious instruction if the state takes over the teaching of children and the natural, God-given rights of parents are denied? Given the status of post-war relations between church and state and changing constitutional interpretations, the state could not endorse one religious belief over another. State-sponsored education would be secularized. But if education were not Christian, Dabney asserted, then it would inevitably become anti-Christian. 

Dabney failed in his efforts. And in Virginia and the United States education became the worshipped Golden Calf, but also, effectively the Trojan Horse. For long ago the Marxist theoreticians of the 1920s and 1930s, the academic liberals of the 1950s and 1960s, and their progeny realized this. Education became the Achilles Heel, the means of infiltration and the cauldron from which Revolution would emerge. 

I recall my days in graduate school at the University of Virginia, and I remember my friends then already infected with the Left wing revolutionary virus, brandishing copies of Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonialist and anti-white text The Wretched of the Earth (1961), or spouting slogans manufactured in Communist Cuba and penned by Saul Alinsky. I now can see what their doctorates and MA’s have brought forth: Two more generations of post-Marxist theory—the rigid applications of Critical Race Theory and “gender egalitarianism”—and presently the cultic zeal and commitment to totally destroy Western Christian civilization and culture. 

But in so doing they have also exposed the weakness and corruption of the liberal democratic experiment and perhaps helped bring on its demise. This, then, is what John Gray observes. And his view, not a comfortable one perhaps, merits serious consideration. 

Here is that column:

 

LewRockwell.com anti-stateanti-warpro-market

A New Age Is Upon Us and It Threatens To Devour Us

 

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/no_author/a-new-age-is-upon-us-and-it-threatens-to-devour-us/

 

By Boyd D. Cathey
My Corner  September 14, 2020

The noted English professor and philosopher, John N. Gray, is controversial for his views expressed in a number of highly-touted books. If I can summarize one of his main contentions it is this: the experiment in universalist “democratic liberalism,” unleashed by the 18th century Enlightenment (and partially fulfilled by the American Revolution in conservative fashion, but by the Socialists and Marxists in a more radical fashion), is coming to a gagging and sputtering end. In a certain—if remote—sense, what Gray is saying is what the traditionalist Christian poet and author T. S. Eliot once famously wrote in his epic poem “The Hollow Men” (1925), written in the disastrous aftermath of the devastation, both intellectual and material, after World War I: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

 

In the following essay, Gray examines the current woke rebellion in the streets, but also in the ivory halls of academe and among our elite government and cultural classes. The Age of Enlightenment Liberalism, he asserts, is ending.

And in reading and thinking about it, his short piece seems to go hand-in-hand with something I published recently both at The Abbeville Institute and LewRockwell.com. My essay titled, “Cancel Culture Comes South,” in a different version, was first issued in the MY CORNER series on September 6, as “Cancel Culture and the Religious Origins of the Revolution in the Streets.” I rewrote it to give it more emphasis on the effects of “cancel culture” in the South, and in that new version it was published…and it is that version that I offer today, immediately after Gray’s essay.

 

Gray compares the present day woke Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) to chiliastic millenarians—religious hyper-fanatics of the past—who attempted to overturn and in effect destroy the traditions of Western Christianity. Those movements, including the Cathares, Lollards, Puritans and Fifth Monarchy Men, and in particular, the Anabaptists with their supreme leader John of Leiden [AKA, Jan Bockelson], sought to either destroy those traditions, or, at the very least to completely re-invent them. And what followed was inevitably a period of social and political anarchy, and quickly the imposition of an authoritarianism more severe and brutal than anything established historic Christianity ever contemplated. They would bring on the thousand year terrestrial reign of the Deity, even if it took the massacre of every human life where they dwelt to do it.

Although there are striking parallels between those earlier millenarian movements and today’s zealots, there are also some significant differences. While both illustrate a kind of frenzied religious fanaticism, these latter day millenarians are mostly characterized by a dominant anarchism. Their religious zeal is secularized. Save for “defunding the police” and demands for total (but ill-defined) equality and reparations of some kind, much of their rhetoric betrays a lack of precision and deeper thought. And unlike earlier movements, our present SJWs are being funded and to some degree directed by our elites, ensconced many times in Silicon Valley, or Hollywood, and on Wall Street. It follows that those empowered elites wish to use the street warriors and the widely-diffused and praised Black Lives Matter campaign for their own purposes, their own well-being, and their own power. And, thus, they have literally cowed and shamed most of our political class into submission; who now dares criticize Black Lives Matter or the so-called demands for “equality” (and some form of reparations for “white oppression” and past “injustice”) without bringing down the wrath of the entirety of the media and most political leaders? And this includes Republicans and establishment conservatives who run as fast as they can to the tall grass.

Notice one more significant characteristic: many of the street terrorists are rich white kids, children of wealth and position, educated usually (and badly) at places like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, UNC, and Duke, and with families who can afford to live in gated communities, and who, in fact, in their insouciant and sneering liberalism, disdain and despise what the Jewish writer Philip Roth once called despectively, “fly-over country.” In other words, anyone outside of those centers of power and wealth who might possibly challenge their hegemony.  For them the SJWs are effective storm troopers…that is, as long as they don’t get out of control, or go into those posh neighborhoods where a Nancy Pelosi or Madonna live.

Or, if it seems that politically the street terrorism appears to get out of hand, maybe favoring President Trump politically. Ah, then those elites must offer their pro forma, generalized condemnations, just to be on record…despite their real encouragement of the revolution.

Never mind, Gray seems to say, the American faith in a secular universalist redemption and the myth that somehow we are a kind of New Jerusalem, that shining City of a Hill, is dying and we can hope only to pick up the pieces in the new age that is being born.

See The woke have no vision of the future and Cancel Culture Comes South.

 

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Copyright © Boyd D. Cathey

Sunday, September 13, 2020

 

September 13, 2020

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

A New Age Is Upon Us and It Threatens to Devour Us

 

Friends, 

The noted English professor and philosopher, John N. Gray, is controversial for his views expressed in a number of highly-touted books. If I can summarize one of his main contentions it is this: the experiment in universalist “democratic liberalism,” unleashed by the 18th century Enlightenment (and partially fulfilled by the American Revolution in conservative fashion, but by the Socialists and Marxists in a more radical fashion), is coming to a gagging and sputtering end. In a certain—if remote—sense, what Gray is saying is what the traditionalist Christian poet and author T. S. Eliot once famously wrote in his epic poem “The Hollow Men” (1925), written in the disastrous aftermath of the devastation, both intellectual and material, after World War I: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

In the following essay, Gray examines the current woke rebellion in the streets, but also in the ivory halls of academe and among our elite government and cultural classes. The Age of Enlightenment Liberalism, he asserts, is ending.

And in reading and thinking about it, his short piece seems to go hand-in-hand with something I published recently both at The Abbeville Institute and LewRockwell.com. My essay titled, “Cancel Culture Comes South,” in a different version, was first issued in the MY CORNER series on September 6, as “Cancel Culture and the Religious Origins of the Revolution in the Streets.” I rewrote it to give it more emphasis on the effects of “cancel culture” in the South, and in that new version it was published…and it is that version that I offer today, immediately after Gray’s essay.

Gray compares the present day woke Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) to chiliastic millenarians—religious hyper-fanatics of the past—who attempted to overturn and in effect destroy the traditions of Western Christianity. Those movements, including the Cathares, Lollards, Puritans and Fifth Monarchy Men, and in particular, the Anabaptists with their supreme leader John of Leiden [AKA, Jan Bockelson], sought to either destroy those traditions, or, at the very least to completely re-invent them. And what followed was inevitably a period of social and political anarchy, and quickly the imposition of an authoritarianism more severe and brutal than anything established historic Christianity ever contemplated. They would bring on the thousand year terrestrial reign of the Deity, even if it took the massacre of every human life where they dwelt to do it.

Although there are striking parallels between those earlier millenarian movements and today’s zealots, there are also some significant differences. While both illustrate a kind of frenzied religious fanaticism, these latter day millenarians are mostly characterized by a dominant anarchism. Their religious zeal is secularized. Save for “defunding the police” and demands for total (but ill-defined) equality and reparations of some kind, much of their rhetoric betrays a lack of precision and deeper thought. And unlike earlier movements, our present SJWs are being funded and to some degree directed by our elites, ensconced many times in Silicon Valley, or Hollywood, and on Wall Street. It follows that those empowered elites wish to use the street warriors and the widely-diffused and praised Black Lives Matter campaign for their own purposes, their own well-being, and their own power. And, thus, they have literally cowed and shamed most of our political class into submission; who now dares criticize Black Lives Matter or the s0-called demands for “equality” (and some form of reparations for “white oppression” and past “injustice”) without bringing down the wrath of the entirety of the media and most political leaders? And this includes Republicans and establishment conservatives who run as fast as they can to the tall grass.

Notice one more significant characteristic: many of the street terrorists are rich white kids, children of wealth and position, educated usually (and badly) at places like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, UNC, and Duke, and with families who can afford to live in gated communities, and who, in fact, in their insouciant and sneering liberalism, disdain and despise what the Jewish writer Philip Roth once called despectively, “fly-over country.” In other words, anyone outside of those centers of power and wealth who might possibly challenge their hegemony.  For them the SJWs are effective storm troopers…that is, as long as they don’t get out of control, or go into those posh neighborhoods where a Nancy Pelosi or Madonna live.

Or, if it seems that politically the street terrorism appears to get out of hand, maybe favoring President Trump politically. Ah, then those elites must offer their pro forma, generalized condemnations, just to be on record…despite their real encouragement of the revolution.

Never mind, Gray seems to say, the American faith in a secular universalist redemption and the myth that somehow we are a kind of New Jerusalem, that shining City of a Hill, is dying and we can hope only to pick up the pieces in the new age that is being born.

 

The woke have no vision of the future

Like medieval millenarians, today's SJWs believe all that needs to be done to bring about a new world is to destroy the old one

https://unherd.com/2020/06/the-woke-have-no-vision-of-the-future/

 

BY JOHN GRAY       June 17, 2020

John Gray is a political philosopher and author. His books include Seven Types of Atheism, False Dawn: the Delusions of Global Capitalism, and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and The Death of Utopia.


As some conservative commentators have observed, there are striking similarities between woke militants and the Bolsheviks who seized power in 1917. But what is unfolding, in the US and to a lesser extent in other countries, is at once more archaic and more futuristic than a twentieth century revolutionary coup. The current convulsion is an outbreak more closely akin to the anarchical millenarians movements that raged across Europe in the late Middle Ages, whose vision of redemption from history was shared by America’s founders, who carried it with them to the New World.

Nevertheless, Bolsheviks and woke militants do have some things in common. In late nineteenth century Russia, under the influence of their progressive parents, a generation of educated young people was convinced of the illegitimacy of the Tsarist regime. Dostoevsky’s Demons (1871) is a vivid chronicle of the tragic and farcical process by which progressive liberals discredited traditional institutions and unleashed a wave of revolutionary terror. Not only Tsarism but any form of government came to be seen as repressive. As one of Dostoevsky’s characters put it, “I got entangled in my data…Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism.”

The woke generation have learned a similar lesson from their elders, this time about the failings of American democracy. Rejecting old-fashioned liberal values as complicit in oppression and essentially fraudulent, they extend their power not by persuasion but by socially marginalising and economically ruining their critics. As in the show trials orchestrated by Lenin’s disciple Stalin and Mao’s “struggle sessions”, woke activists demand public confession and repentance from their victims. Like the communist elites, woke insurgents aim to enforce a single worldview by the pedagogic use of fear. The rejection of liberal freedoms concludes with the tyranny of the righteous mob.

Yet the impulses that animate the woke uprising are different from those that energised Lenin or even Mao. For the Bolshevik leader — an authentic disciple of the Jacobin Enlightenment, or so he always insisted — violence was a tool, not an end in itself. In woke movements such as Antifa, on the other hand, violence seems to be mainly therapeutic in its role.

One may abhor the type of society Lenin aimed to construct as much as the methods he adopted to achieve it, as I do myself. Tens of millions were enslaved in forced labour camps, executed or starved to death in pursuit of a repellent fantasy. Even so, Lenin attempted to fashion a future that in his view was an improvement on the past.

Woke activists, in contrast, have no vision of the future. In Leninist terms they are infantile leftists, acting out a revolutionary performance with no strategy or plan for what they would do in power. Yet their difference from Lenin goes deeper. Rather than aiming for a better future, woke militants seek a cathartic present. Cleansing themselves and others of sin is their goal. Amidst vast inequalities of power and wealth, the woke generation bask in the eternal sunshine of their spotless virtue.

The key scenes in the woke uprising that followed the killing of George Floyd are rituals of purification in which public officials have washed the feet of insurgents, and acts of iconoclasm in which public monuments have been destroyed or defaced. These are symbolic actions aiming to sever the present from the past, not policies designed to fashion a different future.

The only concrete measure proposed has been to defund and disband the police. As some of the insurrectionaries’ placards have proclaimed, there will be no more police violence when there are no more police. Once repressive institutions have been methodically dismantled, a peaceful anarchy will prevail. As could have been foreseen by anyone with a smattering of history, outbreaks of mass looting in Chicago and other cities have not borne out this confidence.

New, ‘transformative’ systems of law enforcement will confront problems not unlike those faced by the police forces that have been dissolved.  ‘Autonomous zones’ of the kind that have been announced in Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis will need to resolve disputes and enforce their decisions. Local warlords and prophets — some of them no doubt armed — will become arbiters of public safety. When they overreach themselves and fail to protect even minimal levels of security, vigilantes and organised crime will fill the void. Where this proves costly or unstable, federal government may step in and impose order. In other cases, cities may be abandoned to become zones of anarchy.

The history of the medieval millenarians illustrates this process. They were antinomians, heretical believers who anathematised the Church and considered themselves released by divine grace from any moral restraints. While asserting their superior virtue, their signature practice was self-flagellation. Forgiveness — whether of themselves other others — was notably absent.

As Norman Cohn writes in his seminal study The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages (1957), “in Germany and southern Europe alike flagellant groups continued to exist for more than two centuries.” Probably originating in Italy in the mid-thirteenth century, the flagellant movement reached a peak in Germany in 1348-9 when it was inflamed by the Black Death. There, as in other parts of Europe, the flagellants turned on sections of the population they accused of conjuring up the pestilence, particularly Jews, many of whose communities were wiped out.

Two hundred years later, the Anabaptist prophet Jan Bockelson seized control of the city of Munster, turning it briefly into a communist theocracy in which forcible baptisms and public executions became daily spectacles. Bockelson’s rule ended when, after a long siege, the city fell to armies acting for the Church. He was tortured to death in the town square.

For Cohn, the study of medieval millenarians was an essential part of understanding modern totalitarianism. It is also useful in understanding the woke movement. Medieval flagellants and woke militants combine a sense of their own moral infallibility with a passion for masochistic self-abasement. Medieval millenarians believed the world would be remade by God when Jesus returned after a millennium of injustice (millenarians are also known as chiliasts, chiliad being a thousand years), while the woke faithful believe divine intervention is no longer necessary: their own virtue will be sufficient. In both cases, nothing needs to be done to bring about a new world apart from destroying the old one.

There are some differences between the two movements. Mediaeval millenarians attracted much of their support from illiterate peasants and poor urban workers. The woke movement, on the other hand, is mostly composed of the offspring of middle class families schooled in institutions of higher learning. Like their medieval predecessors, woke activists believe themselves to be emancipated from established values. But, possibly uniquely in history, their antinomian rebellion emanates from an antinomian establishment.

The rise of the woke movement has not occurred as a result of a takeover of American institutions by a dictatorial government. Key American institutions have overthrown themselves, while Trump’s attempts to assert governmental power have so far been ineffectual. It may be that the scenes of anarchy that are part of the uprising will work in Trump’s favour in November. At least a third of the American population is opposed to woke values, a number that could increase substantially the more the uprising involves public disorder. Equally, Biden may prevail by promising a more peaceful future and find himself compelled to rein in the insurgency in order to preserve some degree of public order. Either way America will remain more or less ungovernable.

The foundational crimes of the American regime — black slavery and the seizure of indigenous groups’ lands that followed the War of Independence—are real enough. But so, in its continuing formative influence, is the mythology from which America was born. A Lockean fusion of Protestant religiosity with an Enlightenment faith in reason was the founding American religion.

Throughout most of American history Lockean liberalism has reflected the realities of power. Locke himself helped draft constitutions for Carolina that legitimated slavery, and argued that indigenous peoples could be suppressed on the ground that they had not cleared the wilderness and made their land productive. On occasion — as in the Rooseveltian settlement that followed the Second World War and made possible the civil rights movement in the Fifties and Sixties — America’s divisions were partly transcended. For the most part a redemptive myth has gone hand in hand with repression. The record suggests this will continue. Icons will be smashed and antinomian passions ventilated, while social and racial antagonisms remain brutal and intractable.

More than the faux-Marxian musings of postmodern thinkers, it is the singular American faith in national redemption that drives the woke insurgency. The self-imposed inquisitorial regime in universities and newspapers — where editors and journalists, professors and students are encouraged to sniff out and report heresy so it can be exposed and exorcised — smacks of Salem more than Leningrad. Saturated with Christian theology, Locke’s Enlightenment liberalism is reverting to a more primordial version of the founding faith. America is changing, radically and irreversibly, but it is also staying the same.

America’s ungovernability is morphing into a distinctive pattern of governance, with power shifting to institutions that are dismantling their traditional structures. Universities have become seminaries of woke religion, while newspapers are turning into sermonising agitprop sheets. At the same time mass unemployment and accelerating automation are stripping workers of what remained of the bargaining power they exercised before the neoliberal era.

The system that seems to be emerging is a high-tech variation on feudalism, with wealth creation concentrated around new industries and most of the population disenfranchised and dispossessed. While this metamorphosis gathers speed, the American media are manufacturing fictional narratives of national redemption.

America is on the way to becoming a semi-failed state. Its soft power has collapsed, probably irrecoverably. Yet it does not follow that it will cease to be a globally powerful actor. In a competition with totalitarian China, an American regime that mixes authoritarian control with zones of anarchy may have a comparative advantage. Classical totalitarianism is as obsolete as classical liberalism, and American mercantilism may be more resilient and innovative than Chinese state capitalism. A ruling elite shaped by figures like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk may prove more capable of deploying new technologies than a communist emperor who has put China into a deep freeze. One of the most surreal moments during the insurrection occurred when Musk’s SpaceX, almost unnoticed, launched astronauts into space.

As the woke movement spills over into parts of Europe and the UK, it should be clear that this is no passing storm. Here, as in the US, woke militants have few, if any, definite policies. What they want is simply the end of the old order. The paroxysm we are witnessing may be remembered as a defining moment in the decline of the liberal west. Perhaps it is time to consider how to strengthen the enclaves of free thought and expression that still remain, so they have a chance of surviving in the blank and pitiless world that is being born.

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Cancel Culture Comes South

https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/cancel-culture-comes-south/

 

By Boyd Cathey on Sep 10, 2020

These violent times in which we live are in some ways unparalleled. For Southerners we have seen monuments memorializing and honoring our past heroes and history—monuments and symbols which have stood for a century—torn down and smashed by frenzied mobs, unrestrained in too many cases by a compliant or spineless government.

Various writers and commentators have attempted to describe the reasons and motivations behind this uprising in the streets and near madness in the media and among our political class. In many cases, these authors reach back into history for analogies or comparisons. But ongoing history never offers the same event repeated exactly.

Of course, the riots of 1968, ostensibly over the Vietnam War, figure in these historical comparisons. On a literary level, we recall the works of George Orwell on the growth and results of totalitarian Communism and collectivism (Nineteen-Eighty-Four and Animal Farm) or the late Jean Raspail on the very real peril of mass immigration which would overwhelm our civilization (The Camp of the Saints, 1975 and 1995). And there are other examples which come to mind, especially on the infiltration and perversion of academia and of our entertainment industry.

But none of these literary classics or historical analogies can measure or describe fully what we are witnessing today. It is unique.

A film that I own came to mind recently, and in so many ways I think it encapsulates as no other artistic or literary work has the period we are passing through. No, I am not thinking of the destruction of monuments or the riots and the looting: they are, I would suggest, a derivative, a by-product of the mentality that reigns today nearly everywhere, in our politics, in our media, in entertainment, and most particularly in that most critical element of society (and its continuance), education. There are reasons behind those frenzied and unhinged “mostly peaceful” demonstrations, and those reasons are not just the financial largesse of a George Soros or of Hollywood and Silicon Valley mega-millionaire elites.

That movie is a Russian opus, Burnt by the Sun (1994), directed by the Russian anti-Communist (and monarchist) Nikita Mikhalkov. It is set in 1936 more or less at the height of the Stalinist purges, and its main character is Comrade Sergei Kotov, a devout Communist, a hero of the Russian Civil War, an “Old Bolshevik.” But Kotov commits one small sin: as Soviet tanks on maneuver are about to trample the wheat fields that belong to the local village collective, with his senior status in the Party he orders them to halt. A family friend, Mitya, arrives; Mitya is working with the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, and because of Sergei’s action he denounces him based on a trumped up charge of treason. A black car with NKVD agents arrives and whisks him away. Sergei is forced—indeed, does so willingly in the name of the party and the ideals of Communism—to confess to his “crime” and is executed.

Comrade Kotov’s mental attitude is indeed very much like that of our modern-day revolutionaries. What the party, what the movement commands must be obeyed willingly, even joyfully, even if the target is some symbol previously praised by the party or…oneself.

If the monuments to Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson were originally the targets—the “low hanging fruit,” as it were—of the radicals, more easily attacked, they were only a first step in the revolutionary project. Now, ironically, if the movement defines monuments to Frederick Douglass and the Abolitionists as “racist,” then they must go also, they must be brought down. If a textbook says faintly favorable things about John C. Calhoun, then it must be purged or “corrected.” Then on to the next level, to Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, and to every facet of our culture. Thus, the film Gone with the Wind henceforth will be shown with disclaimers about slavery and racism (after being pulled temporarily by WarnerMedia), and perhaps any number of John Wayne movies need to be contextualized as well.

The sweep of this destructive vision is immense. It shapes and determines the mindset of millions, bending them to its will, even for those who are entrusted ostensibly with the very defense of our civilization. Those defenders cower in silence or fear, if not going along with the Revolution.

This vision, as Mikhalkov underlines in Burnt by the Sun, is motivated essentially by a type of religious fanaticism, a kind of Anti-Christianity, with its own emblematic symbols, sacred teachings, parables, saints (and sinners), a confessional (and repentance) system, and accompanying manufactured history.  In that sense, it mirrors in a very dark and evil way the traditional faith which for two millennia has informed and annealed our civilization. It is that civilization—Western and Christian—which is the target, and no manner of half-measures on the part of our supposed conservative opposition can stem or defeat it.

That civilization has had its most persistent defenders in the South.

In previous essays I have called those who now rampage not just in the streets but intellectually and culturally, “Insaniacs,” that is, those possessed—and that indeed is the proper word—of an outlook and vision that is antithetical to the traditions and heritage of our civilization, the opposite of “normal.” They are to quote G. K. Chesterton, “insane,” in the sense that they reject the living reality and foundations of our history. They are indeed outside reality, and, thus, they feverishly attempt to create a new “reality” which is disconnected from the laws of Nature and the past, and owes almost nothing to two-thousand years of Christian tradition. They are driven by an all-consuming madness—it is impossible to reason with them, it is impossible to compromise with them. No act, immoral or vicious as it may be, is beyond their use in their quest to destroy. Everyone, including their own adepts, must bend to the will of the Insanity. For it is a new paradigm, a new religion far more insistent, demanding and dogmatic than any church of the past.

Just like Sergei Kotov, very recently a major left wing political activist (devoted to rooting out racist “imperialism and colonialism”), Jessica Krug, a professor of African-American Studies at The George Washington University (Washington, DC), came clean. For years she had claimed that she was black, but now blubbering, she has admitted her “sin”—Krug confessed that it was all a lie: she is actually white and Jewish. She had been prevaricating for years: “I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” Krug wrote tearfully. “I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.” She continues: “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.”

At first it was her zealous desire for this new form of “salvation” (and possible advancement)—she would become black or a minority, which in the new religion is equivalent to a kind of reserved sainthood, a special and elevated place of predilection for the Elect. But now, recognizing her immense “sin” against the new faith, comes her abject “confession” and public announcement about engaging in multiple lies, her guilt, which like Kotov and any number of those Bolsheviks shot in 1936-1937, she accepts with the same zeal as those victims of Stalin’s purges exhibited as faithful and dutiful party members.

“You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself,” she cries, perhaps seeking some form of expiation. But unlike in traditional Christianity, with its loving and forgiving God, Krug may not get forgiveness from her progressivist allies.

She illustrates in a certain very disturbing manner what we face: it is not just the destruction of monuments to heroic Confederates—it is not just the unchained violence and looting in the streets—it is not just an unhinged anti-Trumpism politically in the media or in academia. In a way Krug is emblematic of the age-old spiritual war between the Children of Faith, the inheritors of our civilization and culture entrusted to them by their ancestors, and those programmed minions, those dark demiurges out of Hell itself who answer not to God but to the Evil One.

This, then, is the conflict we find ourselves in, and just like our Crusader ancestors and the Heroes of 1861 we must answer the Call. Failing that, we shall perish and future generations will curse our names.

Continue reading about Jessica Krug and Cancel Culture here.

About Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations. His book, The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage (Scuppernong Press) was published in late 2018.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

 

September 10, 2020

 



MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

LewRockwell.com Features Column on Tucker Carlson

 

Friends,

I pass on another column which was picked up and—with a few edits—published by LewRockwell.com. And once again, it focuses on a monologue by Tucker Carlson from over a week ago that merits re-hearing and continued meditation. By far, Carlson is the most fearless and most acute pundit/commentator on any major television network (how he manages to survive is another question!). 

Of course, no on-air essayist is always perfect, and I would fault him just a bit for his acceptance of what I might call a “Neo-Reconstructionist” view (if not really that salient) when it comes to the South. But, then, admittedly I place a very high bar on that question, as I consider (and I think correctly) that one’s position on the historic South and the Confederacy and those larger, constitutional and philosophical issues surrounding the “late unpleasantness” (and in particular the role of Abe Lincoln), shapes eventually how one comes out in the midst of the revolutionary maelstrom we find ourselves in today: bad history may get you part of the way, may get you to some sound conclusions…but will not offer you a full picture.

Nevertheless, Tucker Carlson is the best thing going, the “vox clamantis in deserto”—“the voice crying the wilderness,” to cite Matthew 3:3 (and other passages). And we should applaud that and him, as well as encourage our friends and relations to watch him…and also read his phenomenal book, Ship of Fools.

 

LewRockwell.com  anti-stateanti-warpro-market

Tucker Carlson Nails It: The Violence, Lies, and What’s At Stake

And More on George Floyd and Kyle Rittenhouse

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/no_author/tucker-carlson-nails-it-the-violence-lies-and-whats-at-stake/

By Boyd D. Cathey   My Corner    September 2, 2020

Tucker Carlson has, once again, done a great service for the American citizenry—if only more of us could have seen and heard his memorable seventeen minute monologue (with accompanying video segments) from August 31.

In few words Carlson summed up where we are exactly in the current maelstrom of violence—the unhinged and frenzied radicalism and revolution unleashed in America.  And in so doing he pinpointed with precision (and at times irony) the dire situation that this country finds itself in and the supreme importance of the upcoming November election.

He began with an acute and powerful on-air critique of Joe Biden. But Carlson went far deeper, focusing on the underlying forces at work which are feverishly laboring to not only defeat the president, but dramatically and completely root out and destroy the traditions and culture that have shaped both America and Western Christian civilization.

As is their practice, the Democrats and the Mainstream Media, including some on Tucker Carlson’s own network, Fox News, have been engaged in a form of intellectual projection. That is, if you are guilty of something, then you accuse your opponent of being culpable of that very same thing. Thus, Joe Biden in Pittsburgh (August 31), accused President Trump of causing the riots and looting, of being responsible for the violence in dozens of Democrat-controlled cities: Shift the guilt, and then if the newly-accused “culprit” complains or resists the charge, call him a racist. And too many times—and with too many Republicans—it works.

 

Then, there is the willingness of many in the media (including some at Fox) to assume the worst—without the evidence—if in a violent confrontation a policeman or white Trump supporter is involved.  On Fox’s “America’s Newsroom,”  September 1, without any challenge, the Fox journalist allowed a Democrat spokesman to outrageously distort the narrative of the recent situation involving young (and white) teenager Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

 

Rittenhouse, according to court documents (conveniently never cited by nearly the entirety of the media):

 …is the 17-year-old who drove to Kenosha with a shotgun where he helped defend local businesses from rioters and even offered medical assistance to far-left rioters who were hurt during the protests. He’s also the young man who shot three people during the riot, and while the media has gone into overdrive condemning him as a white supremacist murderer, court documents suggest it was actually self-defense.

 

Tucker Carlson interviewed Rittenhouse’s attorney, again on the August 31 program. Here is the short video interview as it appeared on the Carlson program. You won’t hear about this on CNN, on MSNBC, or at NBC, CBS, ABC, or in The New York Times or Washington Post…or on your local media outlets. In other words according to the fake media Rittenhouse is guilty—the evidence that exculpates him be damned—time to string him up and execute him (actually, Antifa/Black Lives Matter militants are apparently now trying to find where he is being held on “murder” charges so they might go and do just that…Where are our law enforcement agencies?).

 

And another word about the George Floyd death (excuse me! I mean “racist police murder”). Columnist Ilana Mercer has done an excellent job of dissecting that claim, and I pass on a link to her must-read column here.  Moreover, newly-released court documents strongly indicate that, unlike what we hear every day on every network, Floyd died due to “fatal levels” of the drug fentanyl in his system:

 

…a law enforcement interview with Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, say[s] Floyd had 11 ng/mL of fentanyl in his system. ‘If he were found dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD. Deaths have been certified with levels of 3,’ Baker told investigators. In another new document, Baker said, ‘That is a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances’.”

 

There is so much more, so many more incidents and events—mostly not covered or downplayed like the recent CNN headline that the violence and looting in dozens of cities was “fiery but mostly peaceful” (with the background of an incinerated building torched by “peaceful demonstrators”?).

Here is the opening monologue for Tucker Carlson Tonight (August 31). It lasts for about seventeen minutes, but it is worth that amount of your time. Please view it and encourage others (including any liberal friends, if you still have any) to watch it.

 

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                                                June 11, 2021   MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey     The Battle for the West is Also a Cult...