Articles

Friday, November 02, 2012

We Are Those Who Stand for the Day


We face two conflicts in the present day and against the present day. Both conflicts are being fought against ideologies dislocated in time, longing urgently for the past and the future.

Islamism is a reactionary ideology preaching a perfect world to be gained by stepping back to the 7th Century origins of its founding and seeks to recreate it by enslaving women and non-Muslims, making Mohammed’s false treaties with Christians and Jews, this time no longer in Arabia, but around the world, and then subjugating them to usher in an age of perfect peace.

Progressivism looks for its utopias not in the splendors of the past, but in the wonders of the future, its fanaticism fueled by the wonders of the emerging technologies of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries fused with the delusion that these material technologies could be matched by social technologies of equal depth and effectiveness, bringing forth both a technocratic utopia of physical technology and social technology.

Utopianism is a matter of faith and perspective. One man’s utopia is another man’s nightmare. And like many matters of faith, those who cannot be convinced must often be compelled.

The Utopianist is dislocated, feels born out of his proper age and fervently at odds with the tenor of the time.
For the Muslim, this is a matter of pure culture, for Islamic civilizations were left behind in the great rush of forward momentum experienced by Western civilization within the past centuries. The modern world is a Western creature and though it boasts many comforts and achievements, the Muslims who inhabit it can never feel fully at home in it. Unable to dream of a great future, they dream instead of a wonderful past that will sweep away the alien complexities that they could rarely learn to live without, and replace it with the purity of the desert and the simplicity of the sword.

For the Westerner, the dislocation is also cultural, it is the clash between the mechanical accomplishments of the civilization that he lives in and the decay of the spiritual and aesthetic values of its culture. The artist and the sculptor despaired of matching the engineer in the last century. The cleric feels a trembling in his bones when he sees the visions spun by theoretical physicists. Rather than exceeding themselves, the bearers of the cultural traditions of the West have often chosen to diminish themselves, fleeing into ugliness and unbelief, defacing and distorting the traditions they bear, rather than rising to face the challenge of their civilization’s material accomplishments and subsuming their fears of inadequacy in the expansion of their heritage’s possibilities.

The sensitive soul of the middle class child bemoans the industrial revolution without realizing that the only reason that there is a middle class and that he isn’t toiling in the fields and she isn’t at the mercy of any passing knight is the very materialistic technological revolution that the sensitive soul bemoans. For centuries, the dislocated Westerner has physically or philosophically attempted to retreat to a pastoral Eden, to the garden and the field tended by the Noble Savage, erecting complex theories to promote a new simplicity.

The dislocated Westerner finds in the form of the Noble Savage, a fellow dissatisfied soul rebelling against the constraints of civilization, and discovers too late the cost of savagery and the alternative to the new world of freedom that Newton’s Apple and the slide rule, and its rude children, the factory and the company have made. The Muslim is the latest in a long line of noble savages, fellow travelers on the road to a terrible Utopia that only one of them shall ever see.

Trying to synthesize a cocktail of the spiritual simplicity of the imagined past and the social technologies of the future, the dislocated Westerner invariably creates totalitarian horrors, monstrous bureaucracies and secret police forces who guard the efficacy of his philosophies, so that rather than escaping the factory, the life of men toiling in his utopias become the factory, slaving over flawed mechanisms of ideas, living as cogs in a broken machine that grinds up men and feeds their bodies to its own fallacies.

In this too the Muslim is his equal, resolving the contradiction between the comforts of the present and the purity of the past through an endless war whose irresolvable nature allows him to stand for the past while enjoying the comforts of the present.

The past was never pure and neither are those who long for it. It was always as flawed and marked by its mistakes as the present. And the future is no more pure than the present, it only appears pure because like a blank page, it is as yet unmarked by the disappointments and the crimes that have become a part of every era of existing history. Time cannot be rolled forward or backward at any pace but other than its own, its crimes and mistakes cannot be erased, only added to. The only better world that we can make is the one that we are making every day, not by tearing the world apart to form a new world, but by the laborious task of building up and holding up the world of the present day against its pressures and stresses.

In this task we are confronted by terrible forces, striving to tear apart our world, our civilization and our way of life, for the utopias of the past and the future, and against them we stand, the ordinary men and women of the present, not the children of the dawn or the night, but the happy offspring of the day who do not look to the sunrise or the sunset, but embrace the possibilities of the present.

We are the true moderates for we stand at the middle ground of the present day, respectful of the past and optimistic of the future, but refusing to sacrifice all we have in a mad dash for making another world.

The utopian is a fanatic, who at every opportunity informs us that he would rather die than go on living in this world, who makes a fetish of his revolutionary martyrdom, making his unreason into his crowning virtue. Like a stubborn child, he believes that his destructiveness and self-destructiveness will convince us to submit, when in actuality it convinces us only of the necessity to resist. He hoards his unhappiness and resists the world by making plans of how the world should be so as to make us as unhappy as him.

As the world trembles and civilization appears to be slipping away, as the sun darkens and the clouds throw back its sullen glare, the utopianists of both breeds and creeds have descended to bring on their terrible past or equally terrible future, tearing apart nations and civilizations, destroying knowledge and learning, killing in great number and deluding in equal number, for the fulfillment of their fanatical cause.

And against all this, stand we, the men and women of the day who refuse to cede our lives, our liberties and our nations to their mad dreams and madder schemes. We refuse to be subjugated, oppressed and terrorized. We refuse to accept their creeds, their tortured logics and their terror networks as proof of their inevitability. And above all else, we refuse to concede that their battle is won and the day is done. We refuse to concede our pasts to those who scheme for the future and our future to those who scream for the past.

Our ground is the earth under our feet, the hard soil of the present day and its harder won accomplishments extracted by sweat and toil, by genius and tremendous accomplishment from the obdurate obstacles that have stood in the way of our forefathers and foremothers, of those who have labored for all the achievements of the present.

Theorists theorize of the titanic conflicts that sweep the world and fill volumes with their categorizing of class wars and racial wars, of conflicts cutting across and through various lines and forms, and yet the most elemental conflict is the one between those who want to keep the world as it is and those who are driven to change and destroy it.

This fanatical impulse for which they will die and kill is not driven by necessity, for who in truth has prevented the Muslim from going into the desert to hoard his wives like his camels and to stone one another to death over trivial offenses.

The Muslim who truly wishes to live this way need travel only as far as the nearest Bedouin village, convert his capital into commodities and beg for admittance. But the most devout of the terrorists never even consider this option. It is not so much that they wish to live in a cave, as they wish to force us to live in caves. Like all murderous utopianists, they only imagine that they are builders, when they are actually destroyers. What truly drives them is not a wish to live in the 7th Century way but the power to foreclose any other alternative in a theological feudalism that will destroy all other ways of living, while allowing them to live comfortably in villas, while they preach the destruction of the world.

And the Western sensitive soul can go back to the land any time he chooses. There are no shortage of plots of land looking for cultivators and if the Amish can go back to the horse and plow, there is no reason that he could not do likewise. And if it is the future he seeks, there is no stopping him from setting up any social system backed by any philosophy he chooses, so long as it does not involve the active abuse of small children. But such experimenters inevitably burn out and go back to their plans for forcing us to live in a way that they themselves have no desire to.

We have taken nothing from them, as they incessantly claim, but they plot, struggle and strive to take everything from us, not least of all things, the right to maintain our stand in the present, rather than be driven into the dark nightmares of their pasts and futures.

Now is the twilight of our era, we stand at the uncertain point between night and day, between the life of our world and its death. While those around us struggle to bring about a perfect world, chanting their slogans and sitting on their committees, blowing up their bombs and screaming in their cities, we fight to hold on to the present. We stand against the fall of night and maintain the day.

We are ordinary people and our mission is a simple one. We are the preservers of the present. Our task is to stand against the destroyers, the dislocated in mind and body, drawing up their plans for mutant civilizations, their distorted visions of the past and future set in ideological dogmas, for the plain and simple things of the present. While they seek to take away our nations, our beliefs and our children away from us, we fight to preserve them and to keep our world with us.

We have no grand schemes or manifestos, no glorious visions of caliphates and socialist republics, our vision is of our homes and our stores, our families and our friends, the communities that we have built and the small things that we have done every day of our lives for the sake of all these things. These small things, the little uncounted freedoms and the self-chosen responsibilities are our manifestos, they are our battle cries and they are what we fight for. They are our world and we hold them now in the light of day against the destroyers who would bring against us the fall of night.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Behind all our failure to find light is an unconfessed and possibly
an unconscious love of darkness."
~A.W. Tozer

I did not see it coming, Daniel. Just knocked me down.

~Leo

Hawkins1701 said...

Mr. Greenfield

Your writing is no less than a national treasure. In a sane world, it would be considered essential reading for all those who value freedom (and even for those who merely take it for granted).

In a sane world, your words would be entirely uncontroversial.

Pity that we do not live in such a world.

But thank God for men such as yourself who still soldier on in this societal insane asylum.

God bless you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Dear Daniel:
You word pictures are so beautiful to read. thank you, you do touch the soul.

May we gain wisdom from the past, live in the present and pray for a stable future.

May you words ever be as sweet and flowing. God Bless us All, Arlie

Jesterhead45 said...

Another way of describing the utopian visions of both is that a muslim's idea of Heaven on Earth is the world being turned into a post-human desert (based on the arab proverb that 'the further you go into the desert, the closer you come to God') while a socialist eco-mentalist’s idea of Heaven on Earth can be best described as a pristine post-human jungle (or for the less misanthropic a type of feudalistic agrarian Arcadia*).

In other words despite the visions of both being at opposite extreme’s, the logical conclusion or feature (rather than bug) of both anti-human destroyer movements leads directly towards the same end - a post-human future (whether by continuous conflict, deliberate extiction or inbreeding to the point of sterility).

*- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcadia_(utopia)

hierge said...

DG. You are perhaps the most brilliant political philosopher of this new century. Edmund Burke would be your closest pen pal. When you are on, you are on.

Anonymous said...

Some minor corrections here and there:

"Unable to dream of a great future, they dream instead of a wonderful past that will sweep away the alien complexities that they could rarely learn to live *with*, and replace it with the purity of the desert and the simplicity of the sword."

"Trying to synthesize a cocktail of the spiritual simplicity of the imagined past and the social technologies of the future, the dislocated Western*er* invariably creates totalitarian horrors, monstrous bureaucracies and secret police forces who guard the efficacy of his philosophies ..."

~Leo

Anonymous said...

Good article, but you seem to have missed something.

The utopian 'fanatic', is usually the reason why society actually does eventually progress.
All great changes are the works of fanatics or 'radicals'. Not to lighten the horrors of the USSR, but the fanatical communists dragged Russia out of a feudalistic and superstitious backward society, and made it an industrial and military superpower all within a century. It collapsed, true, but if the 'fanatics' didn't do what they did, Russia today would probably be a giant Christian version of Afghanistan. If the fanatical communists achieved anything, it was in modernizing Russia. The same could be said for Yugoslavia.

You say that progress can only happen at its own pace and that it is best to be a moderate, rather than a fanatic. It's not that I don't agree with you to a certain extent but you seem to dismiss the idea that sometimes a fanatic is needed, because if everyone is a 'moderate', we all become conservative and lethargic (i.e. resistant to change or accepting only very slow change), and the more than happens, the more the fanatic will appear radical. I leave you with a good quote.

"Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals."
from Mark Twain


-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

@Strahinja

> If the fanatical communists achieved anything, it was in modernizing Russia.

Wow, the concept of modernizing a country by means of subjugating and killing its people by millions is truly interesting and inspiring.

Surely such a country will have a bright future, something to behold.

~Leo

Larissa Scott said...

Mr. Greenfield,

Your words are eloquent and truly timeless.

@Strahinja...there's a great community organizer from Chicago I think you might enjoy following lock-step to your doom...

Richard L. Kent, Esq. said...

There is much you have written in other works that I find abhorrent, such as your full throated support for the Bosnian Serb genocidists, who exhibited the very spirit of violent utopianism you decry here.

Nevertheless this essay is excellent. More of this, less of that. Please.

Richard L. Kent Esq.

Richard L. Kent, Esq. said...

but if the 'fanatics' didn't do what they did, Russia today would probably be a giant Christian version of Afghanistan. If the fanatical communists achieved anything, it was in modernizing Russia.>>

The author of this astounding paragraph of nonsense needs to familiarize herself with the Dostoyevsky novel "Devils" ("Besy", often mistranslated as 'The Possessed'). It foreshadowed the 70 years of Soviet bloodthirst with stunning vision. The barbarians who became the rulers under Communism were born of twisted roots; their roots were twisted then.

Russia in its last 20 years of capitalism before WWI was a great train on the road of becoming America's great economic rival--had the Tsar's incompetence and the war not derailed it and allowed the communists to feast upon its casualties. A Christian Afghanistan? Hardly. Hardly.

Anonymous said...

@Leo: Carefully re-read what I wrote. Very carefully. I'm not going to spell it out again.

@Richard L. Kent: Before you start making stupid statements about Bosnia or Serbs, maybe you should familiarize yourself with the Serbian language, which if you did, you would realize 'Strahinja' is NOT a female name.
Secondly, are you a Christian by any chance? Forgive me if I'm wrong but you sound like a Christian fanatic -if you think Tsarist Russia was on its way to becoming an equal to the USA. You clearly know nothing about Orthodox or Slavic culture, which you have proved with your idiotic comments on the Bosnian war.

@Larissa Scott: I'm not an American so don't try put that Obama BS on me.


-Strahinja

Edward Cline said...

Whether it's the Islamic vision, or the Progressive, socialist, or the "humanitarian" vision, or even Obama's vision, they all share as an end Orwell's warning from Nineteen Eighty-Four:

"There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever. "

And that's Daniel's point, to oppose anyone wearing that boot and to define our own future, as free men who can do without the aforesaid visions, every one of which means, at bottom, death.

Anonymous said...

@Edward Cline: Isn't the USA based on ideas which were quite radical at their time? I mean America did itself have a 'revolution', let's not forget that. America wasn't born in white silk, it had its fair share of bloodshed as well. Don't get me wrong, I think the philosophy and principles the US was founded upon are probably the best we have seen to date anywhere, but it wasn't smooth sailing as some people claim. There was a lot of pushing and shoving involved too.

That's all I'm saying.

-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

America fought, yes, but it didn't kill off vast numbers of its own people, like the Communists killed off the Kulaks, and Russian farmers; nor did it ship its citizens off to gulags.

Whatever Russia would have become, we'll never know; sad fact is, it got taken over by those idealist "modernists" the Communists, who decided that in order to achieve true greatness, they needed to kill off millions of their own people; "You can't make an omelette without breaking a few. . . " blah,blah, blah.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Even "modernized", the Communists couldn't feed the Russian people.

Look at Russia, and Yugoslavia today; the Communists sure did a bang-up job with both countries, didn't they? Ayup, ayup, ayuyp! /Sarc.

And I suspect, Strahinja, you're one of those "Idealists" Sultan Knish is warning us about; no wonder you don't like his article!

/IguanaDonna

Anonymous said...

@Strahinja

> Carefully re-read what I wrote. Very carefully. I'm not going to spell it out again.

When people tell me what to do, I usually give them directions where to go.

You made it sound as if the "modernization" under communists in the former USSR was a good thing, perhaps as a side note and not your main point, but still.

I beg to differ.

~Leo

Anonymous said...

@IguanaDonna:

-Yugoslavia doesn't exist 'today'.

-Socialism (the real one, not the American version) actually helped modernize Yugoslavia. It would do you well to stop thinking of all socialist countries as being copies of the USSR. Yugoslavia while it existed REJECTED the Soviet model. To further that note, the alternative to socialism in Yugoslavia were the royalists -people rejected by the British. The British favored the Partisans for some reason. Either way, yes, socialism did do 'well' for Yugoslavia. What blew it apart was ethno-religious tensions. Socialism wasn't perfect but it was better than anything else available at the time.

-Nothing excuses the mass murder of civilians in Communist states, but that's not the issue I'm talking about. The fact that millions of people died does not cancel out the fact the Communism DID modernize Russia. They are two separate issues. And I know what Russia would of become. It would of become a traditionalist Orthodox theocracy. The thing it is becoming now.

-I am not an idealist. I just get annoyed when people take issue with people who want to make change happen, while benefiting from the change that happened in the past.
I am sure you enjoy the benefit that cars bring us. Someone a long time ago wasn't 'happy' with the 'status quo' of horses and carriages, so because they were 'dislocated in mind' they made cars.
I just find it comically self-unaware when people decry change whilst at the same time enjoying the benefits that change in the past has brought.
I repeat what I said in my original comment, all change comes from 'radicals'. People who are sincerely happy and content with the status quo have nothing to offer.

America is the result of people UNHAPPY with what Europe was like. I guess if they were sane they just would of shut up and put up with Europe.

You're mistaken in your assumption that I'm an idealist. I just find it absurd that people decry idealism when all things, good and bad are the work of someone's idealism. Some people seem to ignore the fact that nothing 'always existed'.

-Strahinja

Dennis Latham said...

What it boils down to in all society or beliefs is money, power, and sex. That's it. Those three things are the end motivation for everything that exists. Even in the poorest of nations or centers of religion, someone in power has the money, and money means power and sex. All the other utopian beliefs are just a means to attain money, power, and sex.

Anonymous said...

@Leo: The issue of the brutality aside which is not what I'm talking about, communism did modernize Russia. It was superstitious and backward, and irrelevant of your views on Marxism, it was the first intellectual program that existed in the country that didn't have the stench of Tsarist-Orthodoxy. It opened the primitive mind of the country a bit to new ideas, and moved it into the modern world, one bloody body at a time.

I want to make it clear I'm not excusing the crimes of communism. I'm simply pointing out that IF COMMUNISM DID ANYTHING GOOD, it modernized Russia.

And, that radical ideas are what create change. Not always good, but sometimes they are. Like the radical idea of using a plane instead of a ship. Jesus Christ man cannot fly! If he was meant to fly God would of given him wings!

-Strahinja

Edward Cline said...

Anonymous (or Strahinja): Yes, the ideas behind the American Revolution were indeed radical, and unprecedented, and based on reason. They were the high point and climax of the Enlightenment. At the same time, Immanuel Kant's revolt against reason and the Enlightenment (in his several "Critiques") was beginning to make headway in Europe, and his successors began to develop their systems of skepticism (as an offshoot of Hume, Kant's favorite philosopher), subjectivism, and the outright mysticism of a variety of European philosophers. But they all depended on Kant to develop and refine their own attacks on reason, individual rights, and a knowable universe.

These ideas were picked up by American intellectuals, who began to corrode American philosophy and its pro-reason sense of life. But even after the U.S. had won its independence, philosophical clashes ensued between men of varying political visions, e.g., between the Federalists (exampled by Hamilton and John Adams) and the Anti-Federalists (exampled by Jefferson and Patrick Henry). Important issues were never resolved, such as the slavery issue. The U.S. paid the price for that postponed resolution with the Civil War, which Jefferson himself predicted must happen.

I don’t know what you mean by "a lot of pushing and shoving," however, unless it's what I've described here.

Anonymous said...

I sense a bit of the flare of Kafka in your words Mr. Rush.
For the anon that agued that the Bolsheviks brought Russia into the 20th Century. I would argue that they were a resultant of those advances already occurring and the managed to freeze the Russians in a perpetual transition state that much of the rest of the world went through circa 1900-1920. By your argument, one would be able to say that the Nazi's did good for Germany by wiping away the last vestiges of the feudal republic that Weimer had been and allowed the establishment of an all powerful central government.

Anonymous said...

@Edward Cline: By pushing and shoving I was only referring to the American Revolution and Civil War.

People died in those wars as well. No where near as many as under Communist regimes, but this isn't about numbers, its about principle.
Like I stated earlier, change only comes from 'radicals' or whatever you want to call them.

I'm curious though, why was it so easy to 'corrode American philosophy' in the first place?

-Strahinja

careyrowland said...

You have hit the nail on the head. One other small thing that we cultivators of the present desire to retain--our simple belief in G_d as Creator.

Anonymous said...

Edward Cline: though the ideas of the American Revolution were most definently radical, possibly the most radical ever, when compared to much of the established order in Europe and around the Globe at that time (and even today), what I find interesting (and often overlooked) is that the American Revolution was about maintaining what The Colonist had already been practicing for 100+ years. So from an American view point the Revolution was a war to conserve what already was, at least in the Colonies.

Anonymous said...

@Anonomous: If the Nazi's stopped short of starting WW2 and beginning their genocidal campaign, then yes, it would of been an improvement over the Weimar Republic. Unfortunately though, not unique to Nazism, but mass movements usually don't know when to quit. They go on and on until they either collapse or cannibalize themselves. (or in Nazi Germany's case provoke the world into obliterating them).

There is actually a book called 'The True Believer' by Eric Hoffer who discusses this. He says that mass movements offer a stagnant society an injection of energy, but unless that energy can become 'normalized', it can become destructive and then it ruins itself, which Nazi Germany did by starting WW2 and trying to wipe out all non-pure nations.


-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

Russia was already becoming a industrial power. All the commies did was murder millions of people and destroy the educated. This notion that you need radicals for change is flawed. People will strive to improve there life and drive progress. Violence and control only retardation that force

Anonymous said...

@careyrowland: That 'simple' belief has MASSIVE implications, including to people who do not share that belief.

When was the last time any genuine progress came from that 'simple' belief?

'Cultivators of the present'? Thats a nice way to put it. Incase you didn't know, the present doesn't actually exist. It's always moving. Time doesn't stand still (except in the middle east). So replace 'cultivating' with 'fossilizing'.


-Strahinja

careyrowland said...

The progress is personal, and eternal.

Anonymous said...

Very eloquent and succinctly put.

Anonymous said...

@careyrowland: I understand the words but not the sentence.


-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

Last paragraph of the post: We have no grand schemes or manifestos, no glorious visions of caliphates and..."

Oh but you do.

The Torah/Bible and the Quran can all be considered manifestos.

They explain the cause and reason of all things, the final destination,
and perhaps most importantly, what to do in the meantime.


-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

Why are the dates of the posts in the European format?

Richard L. Kent, Esq. said...

All I know is that it is the automatic default setting for Serb Nazis to refer to anyone who tells the truth about them to call them Muslims. Well, madam, sieg hiel to you. Christ knows me for who I am. He also, alas for you, knows you. I suggest deep repentance and long term silence.

I saw what the Serbs did with my own eyes and helped (in a tiny way) to bury the dead they left behind.

And yes, I know Serbian. Perhaps you are familiar with the English tradition of calling a male a female to imply naked cowardice? (And shooting 5000 people with their hands tied behind their backs is naked cowardice....)

Anonymous said...

@Richard:

You believe in Jesus, and you side with Muslims, over the Christian Serbs, who were actually the anti-Nazi's in WW2 and were fighting AGAINST the former Nazi allies during the Yugoslav war?

You actually deserve to be crucified by Muslims for being a filthy ingrate.

Jebi si picko. jebe cu ti sunsa iz neba drkadzija jedan. idi umri. isus hrist te mrzi. gori ces u pakao u muhamad ce da te jebe i zakolji. etc.

Fuck you.

-Strahinja

P.S: I'm no longer going to respond to your Serbophobic fascistic shit. You might as well be an anti-semite while you're at it.

Anonymous said...

@Strahinja,

That is a popular idea, but yoou are mistaken. Russian reform and modernization were retarded, but had taken off, and during the last two decades before WW I, Russia experienced not only the beginnings of painful political liberalization and weakening of autocratic power, but also saw the beginning and growth of a modern insdustrial base. Had it not been for the war and revolution, Russia would have caught up with the modern world a full generation earlier than it did. Lenin's bolsheviks destroyed and murdered more than did the great war itself, and then delayed recovery.
-Rurik

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: I'll grant you that. You very well good be right about the bolsheviks actually retarding progress by not letting the liberalization of political power continue. I could be wrong on that, but what you say makes sense. The example of communism I used might of been a bad example, but its besides my point because my point is that:

It is the 'radicals' who make change happen, not the 'worshippers of today'.
I don't even like calling them radicals or utopians, perhaps 'reformer' is a better term. Someone who realizes that the way things are, are not necessarily good, or that they can be better.

I just agree with Daniel Greenfield in his assertion that those who push for change are 'dislocated in mind', and that its best to 'stand for today'.

I say that change comes from those who are 'dislocated in mind', and that it is hypocritical to criticize reformers when the conservatives (today-worshippers) are enjoying the benefits of the work of reformers of the past. I gave examples of the plane vs the ship, the car vs the horse and carriage, and the revolutionary USA vs old Europe.

Furthermore, with the example of Russia again, even if the communists were retarding Russia, the Tsarist-Orthodox forces were no better. They held onto the 'today' just as much as religious fanatics in our time do.
The Tsarist-Orthodox forces had nothing new at all to offer, except the same stories and icons that have existed for centuries. The same as 'today-worshippers' right now, usually backed by religion.

I'm just saying reformers are good for society, and blindly being conservative, refusing tomorrow, sitting down in a today and fossilizing, is just as stupid as blindly chasing a 'permanent tomorrow', which the utopians are doing.

I hope that makes my view more clear.

-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

*disagree with Daniel Greenfield's assertion

(spelling error)

Anonymous said...

Is it remotely possible for all of you very smart intellectual people-- to stop squabbling and pissing over words and the way they are used in your posts? The real questions is what to WE (USA) do now?

Bill in AZ said...

Just finished this and, for some reason retrieved my dusty copy of Ferlinghetti's
A coney Island of the mind"
to re-read "I Am Waiting". I don't know why.

Anonymous said...

Strahinja, anybody can be a "Reformer". The Nazis claimed to be reformers. The communists claimed to be reformers.

What they actually accomplished was war, and the butchery of millions.

Some reform.

Every ghastly tyranny in the 20th Century started out by promising to reform something, or help a certain group of people (the Aryans, the Proletariat, etc.), or to achieve some worthy goal (equality, "Racial purity", etc.)

Better "fossilization" (whatever THAT means!) than some bold, wonderful, splendiferous new reformation, that results in concentration camps, and the deaths of millions.

Reformers are not always good for society.

/IguanaDonna

Anonymous said...

@IguanaDonna

Since you jumped from 'reformer' to Nazi's in a single step, I'll do the same in expaining what fossilization is.

You get a supposed revelation from Allah in the 7th century. Then for the next couple of centuries you expand your knowledge as much as possible in-line with Allah's revelation, and then in the 11th century you forbid absolutely any new knowledge, progress, reform or innovation, and literally freeze society. You set it in stone. It becomes a living zombie.

That is fossilization. If that is what you prefer, why don't you go live with the Amish, or even the Muslims. They prefer fossilization to progress as well. Allah/God forbid we make any changes to anything!


-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

Liberal-progressives are good at word games.

Call something you dislike or reject "archaic", "backward", "fossilized", "superstitious" - and suddenly you are a cool dude, fighting for "social progress", breaking "societal chains", or admiring those who do, praising "radicals" etc.

Call some group of reasonable common-sense people "reactionaries against progress" or "mad dogs which must be exterminated", or and suddenly it is much easier psychologically to murder them en masse.

Conservatism is the idea that centuries of human wisdom should not be thrown out the window for the sake of "change".

I am not sure who coined this expression, I suspect the roots may go deep in time, and I personally would replace "centuries" with "millennia", but that's beyond the point.

The point is that I believe when Daniel talks about "preserving the present", he means exactly that, and not any sort of "conservation" per se.

The cool dudes, talking about their disdain of "fossilization", belong to those ideologically driven Western progressives, mentioned in Daniel's article, whether they realize it or not it's another story.

~Leo

Anonymous said...

It has always struck me that conservatives are at an inherent political disadvantage. The default ethos modernity is to "do something." The idea of abstaining from action, particularly political action, of behalf of a purported "problem" or the oppressed grievance group du jour, barely registers. As Daniel mentions - and I want to add emphasis here - it is the conflation of technical know-how and social/political "science" which fuels the utopian fire. The technological ability to manipulate physical matter which radically improved the standard of living for billions, is staggering and awe-inspiring.

Unfortunately, this success has also engendered the belief that technocratic means can be successfully applied to societies in order to perfect them. This hubris among our so-called elites fuels the utopian impulse, so well described by Daniel. This belief is impervious to empirical evidence, and so must be categorized as a religious faith. Some might think that the Soviet experiment is sufficient proof of the bankruptcy of this faith. An even fuller refutation can be found in most history books or "Death by Government" by R.J. Rummel. I wish I could be as optimistic as Daniel that "it won't happen here." Are you aware that various agencies of the federal government (including the Social Security Administration!) recently purchased about 500 million rounds of hollow point ammunition? As these rounds are outlawed for warfare, for whom are they intended?

Anonymous said...

@Leo:

How funny, on facebook people say I'm too conservative, on here people call me a liberal.

Dude, I'm not even a westerner. Don't apply your crappy left/right labels to me. I despise both of them.


I'm still really annoyed at th face that you don't realize how hypocritical you are. Christianity is the religion of choice for conservatives, yet did you forget how radical it was at the time of its inception?
Or was the world fundamentally screwed up before jesus came along?

It's just lame, that 'conservatism' in the western sense is inherently tied to Christianity. I bet if you were an Arab you'd say Islam has served us well for 1400 years so why ruin that.

You don't realize the principle behind what I'm saying; you get caught up in the specifics.
I never said ditch what works. No idea where you got that from.



-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

@Strahinja: I don't understand why are you so irritated or disappointed. I did not play word games, did not praise "modernization" in the former USSR, did not admire "radicals" of all times, did not mention Christianity or another religion - you did.

So, it would be hardly a stretch for me to assume some sort of association or alignment with marxist-socialist-communist-liberal-progressive ideas or methods on your side.

Conservatism in the western sense is tied not only to Christianity, but to Judaism too. So what, what makes you so unhappy about that?

I don't mind learning more about your principles, if you care to explain. And yes, I don't really realize how hypocritical I am, perhaps you can explain that too.

~Leo

Anonymous said...

@Leo: Part 1

I'm irritated because you seem to think anything to do with reform or progress is inherently something that stems from marxism or liberalism-progressivsm. So I'll put it this way.

Utopianism = the belief in a perfect world. A paradise. All we need to do is destroy absolutely everything we have now, and this paradise will arrive tomorrow.
-This, i explicitly REJECT. I do not accept any sort of utopianism.
I know it is impossible, and trying to create a paradise on earth will only create a hell on earth. Nazism and Communism are two shinning examples.
But, take Christianity and Judaism. Christianity offers a utopian vision of an afterlife. Sure, it's not 'on earth', but it still has a utopian promise.
And both Judaism and Christianity offer a utopia that will occur on earth after the end times.
Nazism and Communism wanted a utopia on earth, and they wanted it as soon as it could be arranged.
Christianity offers a utopia as soon as you are dead, and Judaism and Christianity both offer a utopia in some distant future that will arrive on its own.

Anonymous said...

@Leo: Part 2

Point is, all four of them are utopian in their thinking. The only difference is that the secular two (Nazism and Communism) claim it can be achieved on earth through human effort.
While the other two claim it will happen on earth by God's will (not human effort), and Christianity at least claims it already exists in the after life (i.e. heaven).
But all 4 are utopian, although the nature of their 'utopia' is different.
But, as I said, all 4 are utopian.

Which is why I find it absurd to be a Christian or a Jew (or a Muslim for that matter), and decry any form of utopianism (such as the liberal-progressive one we have today), when utopianism itself is such an explicitly religious urge, and all secular ideologies offering a utopian future are merely degenerated and secular versions of the religions that proceeded before them.
Is it any surprise Marxism emerged from a Christian culture? Hardly.
I reject ALL forms of utopianism, secular and religious.

What makes me 'unhappy' about western conservatism being tied to Judaism and Christianity?

Apart from the utopian elements ingrained in both (as I explained above), also the fact that they are both actually wrong about the claims they make about reality, and the very core of both of them is submission and obedience to God.
My main issue is actually with Christianity and Islam, and less so Judaism, because even though Judaism gave birth to both Christianity and Islam, it is actually the latter two that have caused the most miserly and damage. Judaism is kind of irrelevant IMO.
This idea of obedience and submission to a higher power, when translated into a secular variant, is exactly what allowed the Nazi's and Communists to rise to power.
Replace the Church with the State.
Replace the Clergy with the Party.
Replace the Pope/Patriarch/Tsar with the Leader.
Replace 'God' with whatever other absolute has been found, whether it be dialectical materialism, scientific socialism, or scientific racialism or whatever.

Anonymous said...

@Leo: Part 3

It is the underlying mentality and philosophy inherent in all 3 Abrahamic religions which I have an issue with. Not only are all 3 utopian, but all three have an obsession with obedience to a higher power. And, they are all actually wrong about what they claim. They are just not very intelligent philosophies.

So to call me a progressive liberal is out of place, because I do not believe in a utopia of any form, nor do I believe in blind obedience to a higher power, nor do I expect to place my belief in something that is divorced from this world. The marxists/liberals/progressives of the world are all nothing but secularized Christians/Jews.
The underlying philosophy of both is pretty much the same.

To me, Judeo-Christianity and Marxist-liberal progressivism are part of one package. Two sides of the same coin. And I reject both of them.

As for keeping the wisdom we have acquired through centuries/millennia whatever you want to call it, you'll have to explain what you mean by 'wise'. What exactly you are referring to.

Whatever in Judaism/Christianity is wisdom, is true because it is simply true, not because it came from Judaism or Christianity.
It would still be true if you rejected Judaism and Christianity.

I brought Christianity into the discussion because it is impossible to have this discussion without it. Both 'the right' and 'the left' are offspring of the philosophy underlying Christianity (and Judaism).
The right and left are brothers.


Finally, I don't understand why you seem to be afraid of change. I made it clear in this comment that I reject all forms of utopianism, but not change.

And you are hypocritical because the 'present' you are defending was at a time itself extremely radical against the order it was offering itself as an alternative to -but you seem to not realize that.
You seem to think western conservatism/Christianity existed since day 1 when it didn't.


Put it this way dude, if I walked into a room, and on the table in the middle of the room, there was a bunch of books, say the Torah, the Bible, the Quran, Mein Kampf, the Communist Manifesto, Hindu scriptures, etc etc.
I wouldn't pick one and claim it is the truth against all others.

I'd read them all and see what they are all about because I'm just a naturally curious person.

I sincerely believe that reality cannot be fully captured into one 'system of thought'. It's like trying to put all of reality into a bottle and tightly shutting the lid.


It's why I don't like being called a progressive-liberal, because I despise them as much as I despise their Christian and Islamic versions.
To me they are literally the 'same shit, different smell'.


-Strahinja

lemon lime moon said...

There is only one Abrahamic religion. One.
And no one on this earth save a few righteous souls were ever 'obsessed' with obeying a higher power.
If they did obey a higher power, we would not be in the mess we are in.

Anonymous said...

@lemon lime moon:

Abrahamic religion = Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahai faith.

I'm not interested which one has the 'legitimate' claim to Abraham. Religious theological sectarianism is of no importance to me and I don't care who believes they are the 'right religion'; they all claim the same descent and they all offer the same underlying philosophy and they all produce the same results, albeit in different degrees, and that is all that matters.

Your attitude is EXACTLY the problem.

Your last sentence makes no sense.

"If we did obey a higher power, we would not be in the mess we are in."

Thats the problem, obedience. How that point eluded you is a mystery to me.


-Strahinja

Anonymous said...

@Strahinja

> you seem to think anything to do with reform or progress is inherently something that stems from marxism or liberalism-progressivism

No, nothing of the kind.

> You seem to think western conservatism/Christianity existed since day one …

No, your assumption is unfounded.

> I don't understand why you seem to be afraid of change

Wrong again. I am not afraid of change, as long as it does not come by force from some delusional fanatic, from his bright past (Islam) or from his bright future (progressivism), or from any other source for that matter, claiming he knows better, and to that end deluding, deceiving, brainwashing, subjugating, murdering people. "Hope and change" of that kind usually quickly mutates into "hype and chains" (what else it can possibly mutate into). So, there are different types of "change". Which is, incidentally, one of the main points of this article.

> This idea of obedience and submission to a higher power, when translated into a secular variant, is exactly what allowed the Nazi's and Communists to rise to power.

It maybe so, but still seeking a higher power is inherent to human nature, whether you like it or not. And changing or moaning about human nature is not my favorite pastime.

> To me, Judeo-Christianity and marxist-liberal progressivism are part of one package. Two sides of the same coin. And I reject both of them.

And, having rejected literally everything in sight, I guess one still needs something to hold on to, something better that the urge to prove his point by claiming unfounded superiority or moral high ground, talking down to people etc. I just fail to see what that something might be.

> As for keeping the wisdom we have acquired through centuries/millennia, you'll have to explain what you mean by 'wise'. What exactly you are referring to.

I am satisfied with the sum of well known and widely available definitions. I hope you can be too.

> Judaism is kind of irrelevant IMO

Oh yes, what they understand, those fellas. Just survived six great civilizations and still standing. Move on people, nothing to see here.

~Leo

Anonymous said...

@Leo


I said: This idea of obedience and submission to a higher power, when translated into a secular variant, is exactly what allowed the Nazi's and Communists to rise to power.

You said: It maybe so, but still seeking a higher power is inherent to human nature, whether you like it or not. And changing or moaning about human nature is not my favorite pastime.

My reply: The fact you so easily dismissed the fact that this 'religious thinking' can and does give rise to totalitarian movements is actually rather frightening.
Furthermore, you say it is part of human nature. Well I say it isn't because I and many other people do not need or seek a higher power.

But suppose you are right though, but by your own definition seeking a 'utopia' and ruining the world to create it is also part of human nature.

So now what?



>And, having rejected literally everything in sight, I guess one still needs something to hold on to, something better that the urge to prove his point by claiming unfounded superiority or moral high ground, talking down to people etc. I just fail to see what that something might be.

If you don't see anything else to 'hold on to' other than religious or utopian delusion (both totalitarian by nature) then that is your problem and speaks more about you than it does about me or anyone else.



-Strahinja







-Strahinja

Leo said...

Oops. The style and substance of some fellow commenters bear troubling similarities to trolling.

~Leo

Leo said...

DG: "We have no grand schemes or manifestos, no glorious visions of caliphates and socialist republics, our vision is of our homes and our stores, our families and our friends, the communities that we have built and the small things that we have done every day of our lives for the sake of all these things."

Houston, we may have a problem here. Just follow my logic:

One side is totally peaceful, all about love and compassion and tolerance. It has no grand schemes or manifestos or visions, just homes and families and friends. Fair enough.

But, the other side (one or more groups) is quite different. It is all about grandiosity. It is arrogant audacious nasty militant. It is about winning no matter what. And it keeps pushing.

The question is, by the time the Overton Window (set of publicly acceptable policies) shifted so far to the left - will there be any significant part of the traditional society still standing?

Yes, I remember the good news, that in 2-3 generations the brave new regime will inevitably crumble (surprise-surprise). But I also remember the bad news, that by that time the societal degradation is likely to be irreversible.

This is where not having grand schemes or manifestos part seems to contradict survival logic and instincts and common sense. And kind of glorifying the virtue of not having them too.

Anonymous said...

@Leo

Very lame dude. I'm actually trying to have a conversation here, and you brush of my entire comment with an 'Oops'.

You're like a right wing version of a liberal.

Even though you decided to totally ignore my comment, I won't ignore the one you aimed at Daniel Greenfield because I actually have things to say -my mind doesn't go blank.


>One side is totally peaceful, all about love and compassion and tolerance. It has no grand schemes or manifestos or visions, just homes and families and friends. Fair enough.

Ok, if you are NOT a practicing Christian, then I'm shocked. I'm not going to compare the 'Christian right' in the US to the Muslims in the Islamic world, because the Muslims are way worse, but, to call the Christians benign is a joke. They are anything but tolerant, compassionate and loving. True that they are peaceful, but that doesn't hide the fact that they have absolutely abhorrent views, and nothing will convince me that if given a lot of political power, they will very quickly become 'non-peaceful'. History has shown that religion and politics ALWAYS creates bloodshed one way or another.
As for no grand schemes or designs...lol dude, have you even read the Bible? It is just as 'grand scheming' and 'grand designing' as the communist manifesto, if not even more.
(If you're not a Christian you might be Jewish?)



>This is where not having grand schemes or manifestos part seems to contradict survival logic and instincts and common sense. And kind of glorifying the virtue of not having them too.

The best way to fight fanaticism is with reason and intelligence.
This is a case of when fire cannot be fought with fire.

Though you (and your side) have clearly shown you have neither reason nor intelligence. Probably a factor in why your side is losing. If the idiotic left is winning, I shudder to think how idiotic the right must be.



-Strahinja

Leo said...

Daniel, your article Game Called on Account of Darkness answers my poorly formulated point perfectly, thank you.

"A movement needs a deeper sense of passion. It must be fueled by a certainty that it holds the answer to the problems of its society and its civilization. It must believe that its existence would be necessary even if the left did not exist. And it must be willing to do anything to win."

Post a Comment