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Monday, March 24, 2008

Civilization and the Noble Savage

What causes a culture, a people, a nation to hate itself? This is a viral question for those of us living in First World countries threatened by the rising tide of Islamic terrorism and migration because it is readily apparent that the growing threat we face would not exist were there not an active liberal and left wing agenda to encourage the destruction of entire nations and appease and apologize for their terrorist acts.

Understand that mindset requires understanding the evolution of national and cultural self-hatred in the West. Where did it originate and what drives such a nakedly self-destructive mindset?

Traditionally dissatisfaction with a country was a personal dissatisfaction due to a sense of being oppressed or deprived. This was a selfish yet practical approach, as the individual is best suited to determining the ways in which the system of government has failed to live up to his expectations.

It was the reformers of the 19th century who turned the equation upside down. These men and women emerged from the privileged classes with a passionate interest in the plight of the poor and the downtrodden. Their focus however was not on private or public charity but on changing the system itself that they felt was responsible for causing poverty and oppression. Such ideas were not new but the widescale adoption of them by members of the privileged classes was. While many of them did indeed mean well, the practical consequence of this mindset was a way of thinking that held society and the government accountable for all the evils that occurred in its midst.

The match was struck in the 18th century as the fundamental gap between the American and the French revolutions exemplified the difference between two worldviews. The American revolution settled for opening up the process on the basis of political equality and allowing people to find their level accordingly. The French system by contrast turned to an endless pursuit of revolutionary justice with the aim of creating an ideal society free of oppression and social ills only to give way to the inevitable bloodshed in the name of insuring dogmatic purity. The left wing revolutions that would continue for centuries afterward had this in common with the revolution of the reformers. Whereas the American revolution had sought an end to unjust laws and embraced minimal government, the ideologues of the French revolution viewed the establishment of an ideal government and ideal laws as the proper aim of mankind.

In the 19th century as social revolution brewed in Europe and immigration transformed American cities virtually overnight, the hour of the reformers came and political machines and ideologies grew strong. The reformers of the privileged classes went out to the poor and the newcomers seeking to aid them. Sometimes their work of the reformers genuinely improved life for a few but in the meantime, social aid and social reform were becoming their own religion, particularly among liberal Protestants.

The 19th century had a growing Bohemian class that made for a perfect breeding ground for political activists and the growing free time possessed by upper class women yet balanced against the restrictions placed on them and fused with the worship of the feminine as spiritually purer and nobler than the masculine unleashed the social reformers. Out of this heady brew came many turbulent ideas but above them all was a growing sense of the wrongness of the society and the nation. And in place of patriotism came a perpetual other-directed sense of outrage toward countries and societies that are directly reflected in the liberal and left wing mindset today, stocked by the theological and political grandchildren of those activists and reformers.

What made this mindset particularly explosive was that it was other-directed. Frustration with governments has always existed throughout history but what began in the 18th century and exploded in the 19th century was that sense of two countries and two classes of people, the privileged and the oppressed with no room in between. For the first time in history, a sizable section of the upper classes had come to hate their own countries on behalf of the oppressed. But who were the oppressed?

For the sons and daughters of upper and upper middle class wealth the oppressed were not simply disadvantaged people, they were an ideal, grimy and yet innately noble, violent and explosive because of their native openness of spirit, childlike and yet possessed of great simply wisdom. The oppressed were mysterious and tantalizing, exotic in their alienness and compelling in their foreignness, for the oppressed were the noble savage. There is no way of knowing to what extent this was not merely a political response but a sexual one as well, as youthful rebelliousness often is, but it set the template, the double standard that would hold the country accountable for everything and the oppressed for nothing. After all when reform failed to achieve a full ideal state of being, revolution was the only way and violence was all that could be reasonably expected from the oppressed.

It did not take long for the oppressed to migrate from merely being the domestic poor to the ultimate noble savages, the third worlders being colonized and forcibly civilized by their nations' militaries. The same attitude continued to hold as the oppressed were virtuous regardless of what they did and the government and the military and the nation was at fault for the innate evil of its ways. At the core of the dichotomy between civilization and the noble savage was the idea that only civilization embodied in governments and nations was a free actor while the noble savage had been left devoid of choices and options, a theme clearly repeated throughout 19th century and early 20th century literature.

The double standard treated the noble savage as childlike and unable to do anything but lash out in return. Even his violence, his rapes, his murders and massacres, was 'innocent' because it lacked guile and free will. The noble savage like a dog backed into a corner could not be expected not to bite, even when the targets were completely innocent, even when they included the same reformers and activists who had come to help them. The noble savage had become the antithesis of civilization's original sin, that of daring to exist and to perpetuate itself through oppression, greed and war and as such his crimes were virtues, his terrorism a fight for freedom and any action taken against him was criminal and brutal because it only further repressed him and lowered his condition.

If all of this sounds familiar today, it should. This is the mindset of the left and the double standard in the face of the Jihad. It is the same mindset that treats war and the imprisonment of terrorists as unjustified while viewing the terrorists attacks themselves as justified by the actions of the country itself. The noble savage today comes wearing a bomb belt and demanding compliance with his beliefs, but to the above mindset, this is his right. Even if his religion is crude and his tactics brutal, his cause is just because he is a member of an oppressed class downtrodden by Western civilization.

As the youthful radicals became adult liberals, the mindset slowly percolated and became the dominant view, especially once liberals were forced to compete with radical Anarchist and Marxist movements and in the process slowly took on a pale imitation of their views and policies. And the West walked the slow road toward self-hatred as its artistic, political and academic elite became comprised of men and women who despised their own civilization and revered the noble savage. Once that was accomplished, they became the teachers and the leaders who taught children, set policy and created the entertainments that furthered this same meme into the mainstream. And that is where we are at today.

To resist a trend, it is important to first understand it. Know your enemy is the foremost commandment not only of war but of political and intellectual struggle. To understand why so many millions think the way they do, is the first step to changing them.

4 comments:

LemonLimeMoon said...

Anthropology had a good deal to do with the supposed equality of all cultures and the noble savage idea.
Even when faced with some of the vilest of cultures and the most blood thirsty of people their made up code of ethics forced a non judgemental approach and an equalizing of all things.
It did not lead to equalization , though, but instead to a denigration of themselves in order to be able to accept the awful things they see in other cultures.

joseph-e said...

SK quote "What causes a culture, a people, a nation to hate itself?"

When its leaders criticise not Islamists bully(sm) and instead submit to dhimmitude , and comply to Islamist extortions under terrorists threats ,

Bat Ye`or talks a lot about that .

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/stories/s1250346.htm

http://www.dhimmitude.org/archive/by_lecture_10oct2002.htm

http://www.dhimmitude.org/d_bycv.html

Check Pat Condell
in
Europe's cultural suicide: Appeasing Islam

http://www.dotsub.com/films/appeasingislam/index.php?autostart=true&language_setting=en_3100

More demands from Islam
at
http://www.dotsub.com/films/moredemands/index.php?autostart=true&language_setting=en_1618

Joseph.E @ Givatayim-Israel

LemonLimeMoon said...

The photo in this piece is another set up shot. The faces are all so melodramatic. And Rage Boy does a bang up job as usual!

Cond0010 said...

Yea. This self-hate permeates our society - if not Western Civilization - to its core.

Ironically, I just read (okay, several days ago...) a snippet off of Instapundit (Was an email from a reader to Glenn Reynolds) that also muses on this self-hate/emabrace-thenoble-savage viewpoint.

It takes a different tack than you did, yet adds an addtional dimension to your already well-rounded viewpoint.

I thought you might be interested of this perspective. I would have thought it a great comment to add to your post:

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit-archive/oldarchives/2001_12_02_instapundit_archive.html#7601556

I hope you like the link, Sultan.

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