Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Similar Hoax for Different Volks (2.02.11)

Yesterday we left off with the idea that the scientific and industrial revolutions created a kind of historical rupture or existential earthquake which continues to be felt today. In his book Modern Fascism, Veith discusses the deep alienation that resulted from the dramatic change from an agrarian, religious, hierarchical, and essentially timeless (or cyclical) existence to one that was suddenly ordered around the machine, the clock, democracy, and (small r) reason.

If we say that man appeared approximately 200,000 years ago, his life was essentially unchanged from then until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago. Afterwards, not a lot changed for the average Joe until the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century. So in the overall scheme of things, our current lifestyle is truly just a blip -- 300 years out of a total of 200,000. No wonder, therefore, that humans have such a strongly romantic and nostalgic streak. You would too if you were living in an alien environment and couldn't find your way home.

But some people are more romantic than others, no one more so than the late 18th and early 19th century Germans -- perhaps as a reaction to how suddenly they had advanced in the previous century. While they apparently represented the apex of "civilization" by the onset of World War I, that civilization was superimposed, so to speak, on some very experience-near collective memories of blood, soil, and mythology that were not just bubbling under the surface, but existing side by side with the advances.

Back to that idea in just a moment, but we can get a glimpse of the same phenomenon in our contemporary culture, in which, for example, the most cutting edge science exists side by side with the most primitive new age magic and mythology, a la Deepak and his ilk. Instead of seeing these things as opposed (i.e. scientistic fairy tales and new age mythology), perhaps we should see the new age as a kind of fascist revolt against the anti-humanism of modernity. In fact, if I am not mistaken, Jonah Goldberg makes this connection in his book on Liberal Fascism, but I could be wrong there.

In any event, as we shall see, the cultural matrix that gave birth to Hitler was a deeply "new age" one, with all sorts of books, movements, and secret societies exploring the occult -- seances, spiritism, chanelling, reincarnation, hidden knowledge, etc. This phenomenon was only ramped up in the wake of the catastrophic loss of World War I. For example, Van Vrekhem discusses how much interest there was in contacting the dead, given how many parents had lost their sons to the war -- some five million dead between the German empire and Austria-Hungary.

Veith writes that "fascism is essentially a response to the alienation that has been a part of the spiritual landscape of the West since the Enlightenment.... Science, technology, and the economic realities and environmental damage of the industrial revolution isolate the individual from nature. There has thus been a genuine yearning for community and for an organic unity with the natural world."

Living a life of cold logic is intrinsically alienating. There is nothing Rational about living a life of pure (again, small r) reason. But nor is there anything rational about abandoning reason altogether and living a purely instinctual life, which is clearly what occurred with Nazi Germany, but also to a lesser extent in the 1960s, not just in America, but all over the developed world.

I remember a particular patient who was maybe a decade older than I, and who was a young adult by the end of the '60s, whereas I was still a young teen. He was a deeply alienated man, and quite hostile to religion. Interestingly, he frequently articulated his alienation in the form of nostalgia for the 1960s, which, you might say he missed out on. He was more a witness than participant in the dionysian frenzy of that decade, which made him feel as if that is what was missing in his life. If he could only go back and relive the '60s, but this time do it right -- completely obliterate his ego and live some sort of communal life with no tension, instant sexual gratification, no boundaries, etc. For him, it was as if there had been this giant party taking place, but he was on the outside looking in. (The film American Beauty also explores this theme.)

But again, this was just a symbol for my patient's current alienation, which could only be resolved now, not by dreaming and fantasizing about the past. The blogosphere is a pretty sorry place, but some of the sorriest people of all are the ones like my patient, who are now in their 60s and posting on dailykos about how much they miss the 1960s, and how the Obamessiah is going to bring back that sense of community and oneness!

Again, this is anything but progressiveism; it is pure romanticism, which is always backward looking -- and not just backward looking, but backward to an idealized past that never existed to begin with. It is pure projection of present existential pain, and escapism into the past. No one is more conservative than a progressive. It's just that what they want to conserve is childhood and all of its privileges, i.e., irresponsibility, dependency, entitlement, rebellion against the grown-ups, polymorphous perversity, weak boundaries, etc.

Hey, who wouldn't? For someone who lives without any religious telos, the denial of impulses seems stifling and arbitrary, because it "leads nowhere," and merely becomes bourgeois respectability or rank hypocrisy. As Veith writes, "If objective knowledge is alienating, subjective experience is liberating and healing. Authentic experience comes from unleashing the emotions, cultivating the subjective and irrational dimension of life." So never ask why the left is so hysterical and irrational, because that is the whole point. It is a way of life. You will look in vain for the "rational end" they are seeking, because the emotional irrationalism is its own end. I am quite convinced that leftism is simply a "way of life" -- or, more precisely, a way of managing one's emotional life, of dealing with the pain and conflict of existence. It will be with us so long as alienation is with us, as an alternative to religion.

In Hitler & His God, Van Vrekhem goes into considerable detail about the "volkisch movement" that was a big part of the appeal of Nazism -- or which Nazism co-opted, to be precise. At the root of this movement was the idea that Christianity was a foreign influence superimposed on a much deeper reservoir of primitive beliefs. Christianity unifies people through a common belief system, but "volk" indicates "a tribal unity of blood, unmodified by ideas of a common humanity. Religious in the intensity of their beliefs, volkists had had no real equivalent in other Western nations."

The concept is especially difficult for normal (non-leftist) Americans to comprehend, being that we are the first nation explicitly created around abstract and universal principles instead of more primitive modes of blood, soil, mythology, etc. But here again, we can see how the modern doctrine of multiculturalism is in reality a quite primitive reversion back to earlier ways of life. Multiculturalism is specifically a rejection of American principles, what with its obsession with blood and race instead of ideas. This is why when you criticize Obama's ideas, he accuses you of being a racist.

For Americans -- and for Christians -- "essence" is in the individual. That is, we are created in the image of God, so that our deepest personal essence partakes of divinity. But for the volkists -- and for the multicultural left -- essence is in the group: "Volk is a much more comprehensive term than 'people,' for to German thinkers ever since the birth of German romanticism in the late eighteenth century, Volk signified the union of a group of people with a transcendental 'essence.' This 'essence' might be called 'nature,' or 'cosmos' or 'mythos,' but in each instance it was fused to man's innermost nature and represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his individuality and his unity with other members of the Volk. The essential element here is the linking of the human soul with its natural surroundings, with the 'essence' of nature."

Now, why do you think that virtually all leftists are hysterical environmentalists and Ice Age skeptics? Here again, you need only scratch the surface of their irrational rhetoric to appreciate a reservoir of primitive, volkisch-like sentiments of "unity" with mother earth, of healing the planet, etc. Never mind that premodern humans were the worst stewards of the planet imaginable, in part because they were so fused with it that they didn't know the environment existed. Ironically, we only know about the environment because we have transcended it. But again, in the absence of a truly integral religious framework, this transcendence will be experienced as alienation, as if human beings are "suspended" above the earth, and need to come back down and re-merge with it.

For (non-left) Americans, the individual stands above the state, and derives his inalienable rights from the Creator. But for the volkist, the group is the supreme identity that stands above or behind the state. Truly, in Nazi Germany, there was only one individual, Hitler; but in turn, he was merely the "embodiment" of the volk, which is rooted in blood and soil. Thus, "it was the genius of Adolf Hitler to wed the volkisch flight from reality to political discipline and efficient political organization." Reminds me of someone....

To be continued....

58 Comments:

Anonymous Niggardly Phil said...

Would it make me a leftist to affirm that the common good is greater than the individual good?

I might be a leftist...

8/20/2008 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

Your friendly neighborhood lurker here...

First up -- excellent and insightful post, as usual. You have a way of illustrating thoughts and concepts that I've kicked around, but never really been able to fully integrate or articulate.

Last night I stumbled onto Reality Sandwich, which is sort of the Daily Kos of the Burning-Man/PoMo-acidhead crowd. On the blog of Gary Lachman, the former Blondie drummer who's become an insightful occult scholar (albeit a political naif), I read an argument between psychedelic-moonbat Daniel Pinchbeck and this guy, who's sort of like a cross between a mean-spirited version of Ray, and a more vituperative Charles Johnson.

Reading his backstory, I was struck by the parallels he had with you: over-45, rock/jazz musician, former-leftist-turned-moderate-rightist, oneline-wiseass. Yet the man's harder-than-hardcore atheism is such a stark contrast to your philosophy. (To be fair, he saves his worst wrath for "New Age" phonies, and pseudo-"Buddhists" who want to enhance their own sybaritic lives with saucer-shallow misunderstandings and non-applications of the Eightfold Path.)

I'm meeting more newly-hatched Righties like him all the time -- self-proclaimed atheists whose newfound conservative ideologies seem to be reactions against young adulthoods spent as lefties, absent of any real understanding or embracing of the vertical principles that undergird and animate Western classical-liberal thought. A lot of it also seems to be based on a total lack of any sense of humility, and a macho posturing against the perceived fuzziness of non-hard-science ways of knowledge (the title of his blog is revealing).

What say you, O Gagster? Have you noticed this type of mentality growing more common on the starboard side of the political spectrum? Or am I just conflating the LGF mentality into a far bigger force than it really is?

8/20/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

"No one is more conservative than a progressive. It's just that what they want to conserve is childhood and all of its privileges, i.e., irresponsibility, dependency, entitlement, rebellion against the grown-ups, polymorphous perversity, weak boundaries, etc."

This reminded me of what PJ O'Rourke wrote in the introduction to his book "Give War a Chance". He was talking about basic freedoms such as religion, commerce, education, etc, then added:

"But liberals aren't very interested in such real freedoms. They have a more innocent - not to say toddlerlike - idea of freedom. Liberals want the freedom to put anything into their mouths, to say bad words and to expose their private parts in art museums."

8/20/2008 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

"I'm meeting more newly-hatched Righties like him all the time -- self-proclaimed atheists"

There are plenty of atheists and agnostics who also proclaim themselves to be political conservatives, but this is only because they have not thought out their philosophy to the end. Without God as a first principle, conservative political philosophy is incoherent. (So is every other philosophy, by the way, but that's another story....)

8/20/2008 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger lance said...

I am wondering about the common good vs the individual good as well. Where/How do we/I find that balance in a world that increasingly seems more corrupt on a daily basis? It doesn't seem to matter who or what political party hack is running for office they all ultimatly seem to be looking out for their individual good and not for the good of their constituents.

8/20/2008 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Multiculturalism is specifically a rejection of American principles, what with its obsession with blood and race instead of ideas."

Which is why I do question the patriotism of leftists - because they are not patriotic towards the same Nation (not country, Nation) that I give allegiance to, America, which exists primarily in its ideals and only then, within those who hold them, and the borders they live within.

The leftist feels patriotism towards the mud, blood and bone they wish to have power over, to cultivate and 'raise the conscience' of the volk within its confines.

They are, in the most real sense, anti-American.

8/20/2008 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Fairy Tale
a traumatized ghost
creeps along the forest floor
looking for its head

8/20/2008 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

I never did understand the German Angst, or feeling of Alienation. Now I see where there getting it from. They have been raised above nature, but given up on God, so going back down to nature is seen as the only path to transcendence. Makes sense and the idea can be summed up in one or two sentences. Unlike say, Jugen Hambermas, who writes volumes on the subject of alienation that no one understands. Hopefully, they will wake up soon.

8/20/2008 09:42:00 AM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Bob said:
"Never mind that premodern humans were the worst stewards of the planet imaginable, in part because they were so fused with it that they didn't know the environment existed. Ironically, we only know about the environment because we have transcended it."

Just try to imagine todays population and, let's say, a thousand years old agriculture technology. Oh, the horror!

8/20/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Lance said "I am wondering about the common good vs the individual good as well."

The true Beauty of what the American Founders accomplished, was to establish the idea and governmental structure where the "common good" and the "individual good" are not only not in opposition to each other, but complement each other, because a rational, Reasoning Individual, with the Freedom to act within your political Rights, and not infringing upon the Rights of others, you can choose what to do, and what not to do, without conflicting with the choices of others, and strengthening the common good at the same time.

That does have requirements. You need to recognize and respect Reality, you need to understand Right from Wrong, and you would do best to be as Moral a person as possible.

That was the requirement which the Founders agreed was necessary, and which we have been so busy conversely proving by the negative for 100 years. Jefferson made the statement that "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.", but 'Educated' most certainly is not the same thing as 'schooled', and through a series of proregressive equivocations, we've gave away the first, which was somewhat difficult to attain, in exchange for the second, which is so much more easily distributed and awarded.

It took us a century to get where we are, and it'll take a century to get us back out. From when we begin working towards it, that is.

Highly recommended reading, Richard Mitchell's Propositions Three and Seven, from his The Graves of Academe, in which he takes that statement of Jefferson's, and expands upon it, taking you along through the painful glare of what an actual Education might have shown,

"…Omitting those propositions that seem impossible or meaningless, we are left with:

1. We can be ignorant and free in savagery.
3. We can be ignorant and unfree in civilization.
6. We can be educated and free in civilization.
7. We can be educated and unfree in civilization.

And, of those four, Propositions 1 and 6 are explicitly Jefferson’s, while 3 and 7 are implicitly Jefferson’s. They describe conditions not only perfectly possible but perfectly real. Unfreedom, the forced submission to constraints beyond those mutually admitted by knowing and willing members of a civilization, is not unheard of. Indeed, it is, in greater or less degree, the current condition of all humanity."

I hope you’ll pardon an extended slice off the top of Propositions Three and Seven,

"IN THE COUNTRY of the blind, the one-eyed man is, as we all know, king. And across the way, in the country of the witless, the half-wit is king. And why not? It's only natural, and considering the circumstances, not really a bad system. We do the best we can.

But it is a system with some unhappy consequences. The one-eyed man knows that he could never be king in the land of the two-eyed, and the half-wit knows that he would be small potatoes indeed in a land where most people had all or most of their wits about them. These rulers, therefore, will be inordinately selective about their social programs, which will be designed not only to protect against the rise of the witful and the sighted, but, just as important, to ensure a never-failing supply of the witless and utterly blind. Even to the half-wit and the one-eyed man, it is clear that other half-wits and one-eyed men are potential competitors and supplanters, and they invert the ancient tale in which an anxious tyrant kept watch against a one-sandaled stranger by keeping watch against wanderers with both eyes and operating minds. Uneasy lies the head.

Unfortunately, most people are born with two eyes and even the propensity to think. If nothing is done about this, chaos, obviously, threatens the land. Even worse, unemployment threatens the one-eyed man and the half-wit. However, since they do in fact rule, those potentates have not much to fear, for they can command the construction and perpetuation of a state-supported and legally enforced system for the early detection and obliteration of antisocial traits, and thus arrange that witfulness and 20-20 vision will trouble the land as little as possible. The system is called "education."

Such is our case. Nor should that surprise anyone. Like living creatures, institutions intend primarily to live and do whatever else they do only to that end. Unlike some living creatures, however, who do in fact occasionally decide that there is something even more to be prized than their own survival, institutions are never capable of altruism, heroism, or even self-denial. If you imagine that they are, if, for instance, you fancy that the welfare system or the Federal Reserve exists and labors for "the good of the people," then you can be sure that the minions of the one-eyed man and the half-wit are pleased with you.
..."

8/20/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Looks like there isn’t a description of the book on Amazon, but there is one here.

Finally saw Dark Knight this weekend and have to say that after reading the description of this Hitler book and how he “came out of nowhere” reminded of the new and improved joker.

Bob, how did you find out about this book?
…having read the author’s other books?

8/20/2008 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

warren: great quote from O'Rourke. It's kind of a guy in the street, net version of GB.

As pointed out, the left and right mean different things by patriotism... the left looks at it like Europeans do... land, blood, volks... and have summarily rejected as the cause of war. When BO whines about those questioning his patriotism, he doesn't even understand the question.

All of this comes from what you believe is the foundation of life and the cosmos : God or matter (both really but which one rules). I keep going back to the original heresies and how central the definition of who Jesus was is to a proper understanding of who we are and how to view the world. The church councils weren't just debating esoteric doctrine but a core issue that continues to plague us today.

8/20/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob,

As to how you view your relationship to "the environment-"

Certainly you don't want it despoiled; if only for your son's sake. That is obvious.

However, you have a certain lassaiz-faire attitude about our current potential for environmental damage that I think reflects your reactivity to the left, but not necessarily reflecting common sense.

In other words, your distate for the left's overblown evironmental claims has clouded your judgment, perhaps.

Come back to the middle, my good man. Identify some environmental problems that you think COULD use some work and lead the raccoons to a sensible position.

Where you are now ideologically sounds like suspiciously like land-fill city; let the economy rip and damn the torpedoes kind of thinking; let the tree-huggers and their trees yield to another Best Buy outlet. That is unworthy or our Master's land. We are the stewards or His body so why shouldn't we take care of it properly?

Think it over.

8/20/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

anambyninny said "Identify some environmental problems that you think COULD use some work"

cyber-space is a bit pollyouted by aninnymouses... perhaps Raccoons could form a Superfund clean up site? Everyone could haul their old anony garbage out to insinerate in the furnaces?

'Course... OC is already here...

8/20/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"...and lead the raccoons to a sensible position."

Guess we'd better get our nose-rings cleaned-up & ready so we can be led.

Certainly, all this volkisch talk has me yearning for Dear Leader to exert his Power & take way my confusion about what it is to be a good steward of the earth. In ignorance, I was so looking forward to plenty of despoiling. Thankfully, Anon stepped in just in time to save the day.

Now, if Anon will clarify the sensible position, Dear Leader will know just where he went wrong, can correct course and lead us all to the Promised Land.

8/20/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Memo:

Feel free to ask questions, but I won't really have time to address them unless it's in the context of the next post or two. Except Rick: yes, I've read all of Van Vrekhem's books, but I just found out about this one. And I can't tell you how many margin notes I have in the book that tie it all into Batman, which I only saw for the first time a month ago! There is no question that Batman is working with the theme of transcendence from above vs. from "below." In fact, there were many parallels between the training Bruce received from League of Shadows and some of the occult Nazi teachings. We'll get into more details later, but the League of Shadows is very much like the SS.

8/20/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:36,

Your posts are so feckless, shallow and detached from the actual subject that you are ging even the most mundane of our ranks a bad name.


Think it over.

8/20/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ging = giving

8/20/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In fact, after I read Van Vrekhem's biography of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, I thought to myself, "Hmm. Pretty weird book. I'll bet they'd even publish mine." Now you know the rest of the story.

8/20/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

A tad bit off topic... wish it was more off topic, but today's headlines in Georgia and Poland make that unlikely,

"Russia's Foreign Ministry said the U.S. missile shield plans are clearly aimed at weakening Russia, calling them part of growing "U.S. efforts to change the strategic balance of power in its favor."..."It is clear to us — and the U.S. leadership does not deny this — that the ... U.S. anti-missile defense in Europe will be broadened and modernized. In this case Russia will be forced to react, and not only through diplomatic demarches," the statement said."

From yesteryears headlines, Thucydides's The History of the Peloponnesian War, end of Chp. 1 - every bit as new as today's NEWS, and far more relevant:

"To the question why they broke the treaty, I answer by placing first an account of their grounds of complaint and points of difference, that no one may ever have to ask the immediate cause which plunged the Hellenes into a war of such magnitude. The real cause I consider to be the one which was formally most kept out of sight. The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable. Still it is well to give the grounds alleged by either side which led to the dissolution of the treaty and the breaking out of the war."

Seven years ago, the 'Axis of Evil' speech had their attention. But followed by so much diplomatese, internal angst over iraq, Putin has been reading up on the how-to’s of the emboding of the volk, and its roots in blood and soil and oil. The volkisch flight from reality to political discipline and efficient political organization and now nothing but talk over Georgia and gleeful over his military driving our stolen Humvee's… with two service age kids, I sure wish History had played a bigger part in the last 50 years of our 'educational' systems.

One of the one-eyed bear is getting nervous at our bleary two eyes attempt at focusing.

8/20/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

So about this Batman thing. I've become intrigued about this movie, but I'm ambivalent about whether to go to see it. I'm not at all clear how evil travels, what its vectors are, and I hear tell that poor Keith's demise was possibly precipitated by his immersion in that role. Now, it sounds like he may well have suffered a drug-induced or affective psychosis and that's why he never broke character on the set (if that's even true). But is it not possible that the archetype or "phantom" embodied in that role was causative, at least in part? If so, do I want to experiment with exposing myself to such a possible contagion?

I'm not concerned that I'll go nuts and off myself, mind you, but that I might suffer some kind of unforeseen subtraction of who I am and/or can be.

I remember when I was young, there was a horrible incident in Boston, where I was living at the time, where a group of young men ran up behind a young woman, doused her with gasoline, and burned her to death. I guess so many Life Magazine pictures of self-immolating monks later I'm kind of desensitized to such things, but I was haunted by that story for months.

Some things, I guess I'm saying, are better left repressed, are they not? I'm not sure exposure to evil, even vicariously, doesn't diminish us in some way.

8/20/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Meanwhile, not that everyone who comes here doesn't also go to American Thinker, but there is a Bruce Walker piece that dovetails with some of the things in today's OC post and comments here

8/20/2008 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maineman, your comment holds alot of truth.

The ordering and sifting of one's internal psychic environment is of paramount importance in your personal well being and course of your life journey.

Controlling/limiting input of an objectionable or even potentially objectionable nature is a good move.

Whether or not the Batman movie deals in vertical transcendence or not is of paltry importance in your life. The side-contamination you would recieve by viewing it is hardly worth the goal of evaluating the film.

Focus on that which brings you lightness, freedom, joy. Fine paintings, immersion in the natural world, the enjoyment of beautiful person, quality sex, well-prepared foods, writings of an exalted nature such as bobsblog, these are the kind of ordered inputs that I reccomend.

Salud, maineman.

8/20/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Aquila said:
Or am I just conflating the LGF mentality into a far bigger force than it really is?

Good afternoon gang. I've been stuck in lurk mode myself for quite some time, now. Mud wrestling with mind parasites and all that... But your comment comes close to a thought that's been haunting me for a while. I look at LGF as a pretty fair sample of the center-right as a whole. In the broad pattern, 9/11 was the shock that galvanized the center right, and pulled a lot of peoples' heads out the sand. LGF was the big tent under which we gathered. But not everyone saw the same thing on 9/11/01. I remember what I saw even though I did not recognize it for what it was: Satanic Evil. A force that would unmake civilization, that would destroy or enslave everything we hold dear. It was like those silly pictures from the old Weekly world News- "Satan's face seen in inferno". That's exactly what it was. Exactly what some of us were shown. For me, and for many like myself seeing that face in the inferno was the/a step that would ultimately cause me to come to belief in the Christ. But that isn't putting quite right either. Something in the horror of that day magnetized me- caused a pull inside that drew me into this thing.
But that was not everyone's experience. I think that a lot of very secular people did not see the face in the inferno, and post 9/11, they found themselves rubbing elbows with a lot of people of Faith. Given time, the discomfort with religion began to assert itself, and soon enough the LGF jihad on 'Creationists' successfully laid out the un-welcome mat to Believers. I am still somewhat amazed to find myself in this camp. But I can, in retrospect, see the links in the chain of events that brought me here. It was no accident. I don't know- it almost feels like the Richard Dreyfus character in Close encounters making a mountain out of his mashed potatoes. (sorry- no cornball metaphor about gravy)
;)

JWM

8/20/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

My Brother sent me an article a bit ago that hits the subject obliquely, What Bush and Batman Have in Common By Andrew Klavan. I wish that it was just the obamaniacs, the press, wackademics and all those concerned with raising our collective consciousness, who were the only ones saying things like war and civilized evil doers are things which have "...have no place in 21st century..." if they just overlook it, but Bush, Condi and McCain have been saying the same things recently. It's only those concerned with the Vertical, and with classical history and with the mythological archetypes such as writers of fantasy, sci-fi and comic book super heroes, who seem to be the only ones who gno better.

I just finished reading Bruce Thornton's (Victor Davis Hanson's compatriot) "Decline and Fall: Europes slow motion suicide" (well worth the price), and in it he notes that the last time that diplomats were so sure that modern economic ties and cultural relations had made war and tyrants obsolete... was in the years leading up to WWI.

Doesn't that make the current quotes by Bush, Condi and McCain sound comforting?

(sorry to be so cheerful today)

8/20/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I remember reading, years ago, about the utter humiliation of Germany after WW1 making possible the rise of German Nationalism with Hitler. The people could only take so much abuse and self-flagellation.

The difference was that the majority of the scorn heaped upon Germany really did come from the international community. Today, the U.S. is not so vilified around the world as the press would have us believe, but the scorn comes from within. Perhaps a deadlier recipe, perhaps a scenario more easily escaped.

Knowing this about Germany's history has given nothing but credibility to those who fear a sense of "national pride" and incorrectly label as fascism the patriotism among those who love the truly Good things about their nation. Such are vilified as Jack-booted thugs and lock-stepping goons if they dare salute the flag.

In the Left's haste to distance itself from its false fears, it has become the true Fascist element, the control freakish, freedom-fearing and conformist arm of political thinking in our country. As such, it is no longer a difference of political philosophies born of one Ideal, it has become a contrary and dangerous Ideal, self-separated from the original.

And FWIW, the Common Good cannot exist apart from the Individual Good. And neither can exist apart from the Absolute Good.

8/20/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Excellent take on the racism of the left by Taranto. Just amazing how retrograde these progressives are.

8/20/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan said "And FWIW, the Common Good cannot exist apart from the Individual Good. And neither can exist apart from the Absolute Good."

Bingo!

8/20/2008 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

ah, I see contaminationanon is visiting again. Was pretty sure that was you earlier @ 10:36 too. Kudos on loosening your usual format & hiding the elements better than before.

What? No Gates this time?

8/20/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Hey! There's our provost. (Dr. Veith)

8/20/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous lurker uncloaking said...

Maineman said…"But is it not possible that the archetype or "phantom" embodied in that role was causative, at least in part? If so, do I want to experiment with exposing myself to such a possible contagion? … I'm not concerned that I'll go nuts and off myself, mind you, but that I might suffer some kind of unforeseen subtraction of who I am and/or can be. … Some things, I guess I'm saying, are better left repressed, are they not? I'm not sure exposure to evil, even vicariously, doesn't diminish us in some way.”

I think you’re on to something here. A looong time ago, as an aspiring cartoonist, I became interested and involved in “Underground Cartoons”. It’s taken decades to scrub some of the images I saw from my mind… (See ‘Spain’ Rodriguiz for example.) In the long run, I’m not sure if my art was improved or damaged by the influence.

8/20/2008 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ximeze has cleverly smoked me out. I'm an individual who writes many different things in many different styles here, but Ximeze seems to Grok the similarities.

Anyway, X, I'd like to know more about you. Would you care to talk?

8/20/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger lance said...

Van: Thanks for the book leads.
I know that I will not always get an answer from Bob but it seems like there is always someone around to help fill in my gaps when I have a question. I get what you are saying about being a moral person when it comes to looking out for others or for society in general.

8/20/2008 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

JWM - Felt compelled, did you? Perhaps even appointed? Some call it irresistable grace. Sort of a close encounter of the eternal kind.

8/20/2008 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"...we can get a glimpse of the same phenomenon in our contemporary culture, in which, for example, the most cutting edge science exists side by side with the most primitive new age magic and mythology, a la Deepak and his ilk. Instead of seeing these things as opposed (i.e. scientistic fairy tales and new age mythology), perhaps we should see the new age as a kind of fascist revolt against the anti-humanism of modernity."

Today's example (via Vanderleun).

8/20/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Contrasted with this (also via Vanderleun).

8/20/2008 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/20/2008 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

On the Batman/Joker issue. There is a difference between Batman, which properly presents the struggle involved to do what is right in a dark world, the Hero's dogged, deliberate, effort to continue on making the hard choices, the sacrifice of fine things and pleasures and wealth in order to step forward for what is Right and Good and True. Even recognizing (as in the first during his training) that his efforts have been misplaced, and require him to call a halt to them - to see that he was wrong, correct his course, and continue on forward.

In that context, it shows the what makes that all worthwhile and worthy of our admiration.

On the other hand, it also shows the schemes and plots and actions of the Joker. The Joker does no less planning, no less thought is put into his schemes, as well as wealth, friends, etc... but for what? It makes it very clear the absence of virtue, value, soul... the consuming black hole of a soul behind such actions, thoughts and desires.

There is education to be had there, though just watching the movie is unlikely to draw much of it out, simple discussion can, and much more.

Here, and I caution you against actually watching it beyond the first few seconds, is the polar opposite. Absolute unredeemed or redeemable, evil - clothed in the guise of what passes for sweet innocent childrens fare. My 15 yr old sat me down to watch this..."Dad, you gotta see this, it's awful, you're gonna hate it, but it's funny...." Happy Tree Friends - snip snip hooray! has what is intended to be a sweet innocent child critter, sitting in a high chair, and its dad attempting to cut its hair, and in the process hacking off one of its ears, shredding its scalp, and finally swallowing the electric shears to gouts of blood, and dying.

ha-ha.

Not in anyway due to its internal construction or intent, we had a long discussion about what has been lost to us to make such comediporn possible, what he has been robbed of, to not be appalled by this. Not surprisingly, he anticipated and grasped it. But is really horrifying, is that supposed adults conceived this, others approved it and sold it, others broadcast it and or put it on youtube for all to see.

The fact that the shock and comedic timing might actually evoke a laugh is not surprising, the fact that we will see the humor in it, is deeply depressing.

I've said it before, comedy, the ability to make you laugh, snicker and giggle at what should be admired, revered respected or horrified over... is the most dangerous tool in the arsenal arrayed against us.

Seriously.

[big copy paste error first time, deleted and reposted]

8/20/2008 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Maineman,

I know what you mean. I considered what you are concerned about before going to see Dark Knight as I am about most things I allow in the noggin or in the house these days. In fact I’ve written about the same concern in the first part of my "book". If we were talking about a Tarentino or Freddie Kruger or Prom Night-type movie I would not give it 5 seconds of my attention. Similar to what JWM said, so many things are different since 9/11 and there’s actual evil out in the open to find any entertaining in some stupid movie. I was never one of those people but it amazes me that so many still are.

But this movie, like say The 300, is not one of those. The violence or evil is in there because it must be in there. It’s a warning. A very serious warning that Evil does exist and what he looks like walking down the street. I’m not talking about thugs, crooks or psychos – who are also in this movie and I believe are placed there intentionally so that you can see the difference. The thugs, crooks or psychos can certainly tell the difference between themselves and the joker. Even they are scared. In other words, he is not some two-bit thug or slave to his psychotic needs.

With all due respect to Keith and his acting, it was the idea to write the joker character the way it was that deserves the most credit. If I’m right about whom the character was supposed to be, then Keith was no match for it. Especially without a true religion to protect him, if that was also the case with him. I considered too if the rumors remained to build hype. Either way, it was the writing that convinced me that there was more to this movie than just another of those meaningless disgusting slasher-for-the-thrill-of-it movies. If you’re going to write about evil, The Evil One, then a “Lex Luther” makes a mockery of the seriousness of fallen man. Finally a superhero movie that rises and descends to both end points of the subject matter. Except with this movie it may be unfortunate that the joker is the most intriguing of them all including Batman. But only perhaps because the joker character is carried closest to his end level. I’m not sure about Batman. The joker’s intensity tends to eclipse Batman’s. And this can certainly be confused with the joker being the most “entertaining”. It depends who goes to see the movie and how vulnerable he may be. If he is a lost soul he won’t notice or won't care that he is attracted to the joker. If he's not, (like you) he will be fine and on his guard as always. Or like many, somewhere in the middle. I’m hoping, as I believe the writers do, that this movie will do more good than harm. No one should want to be the joker at the end of it.

It’s not the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but there are parts I’ve never seen before in a movie. And what I enjoyed most maybe was their accuracy.

8/20/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Nomo:
Dang.
link like blowgun dart.
phhhhhhhhhhoh...
Thp!
Ow!

So now what?

JWM

8/20/2008 07:36:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Van:
When I saw the first Happy Tree Friends from your link, I thought it was some pretty sick sh*t. But I had to watch about seven or eight more (all right- almost all of them) just to be sure.
Yep.
Pretty sick all right...
And I sent links to some friends so they could hate it too.
;)

JWM

8/20/2008 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JWM,

I know, I know...
It's probably a Dad thing... but my immediate reaction was as if I'd just caught a raincoated fiend peering one of my kids windows. Wouldn't surprise me a bit, if right as I drove my sword into his gut he managed to croak out "Whyyy so serious>"

(Psst... Ricky, it's 'Heath')

8/20/2008 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Anon 4:54
remember: no matter where you go...
there you are.

8/20/2008 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky,

Yep to all you said.

"...If you’re going to write about evil, The Evil One, then a “Lex Luther” makes a mockery of the seriousness of fallen man..."

Not withstanding the numerous lousy episodes last season, there were still a few gems, or fragments of them in Smallville. It's managed to portray just that Fallen quality in it's Lex Luthor character... the continual choices between doing what is Right and Vertical, and what is Flatly power based, the sly willingness to be led astray in pursuit of 'the greater good' (actual term used).

One of the exchanges last season between Clark who still hadn't quite given up on his onetime friend Lex, says something like "But it's Lex, he can't be... Evil", and the other friend asks "You've said it yourself, Lex has become completely devoid of Love... how else would you define Evil?" - or another scene as Lex makes the final move to the fully dark side... a sort of dream sequence, where the child that Clark still knows to have been in him, pleads with the grown Lex 'you can't do this... I won't let you' and Lex says "You make me weak, I want you - to - Die!" and presses him down to his inner death in the roaring fireplace.

I know... I'm a sucker for Myth... but I'll wade through the shlock if there's the hint of a promise of it.

8/20/2008 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze said "Anon 4:54
remember: no matter where you go...
there you are."

Given who it is that will be wherever he goes... that's gotta be... really... scary.

8/20/2008 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Van: I understand about the kid thing. I wouldn't want a youngster looking at Tree Friends. What kind of cracks me up, though, is that I had a very similar idea for a cartoon myself back when I was in my cynical twenties. Mine was going to be a fuzzy duckie who ended up like Kenny from South Park at the end of every episode- chainsaws, garbage grinders, power tools- the works.
What can I say?

JWM

8/20/2008 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Van,
I said Keith so Maineman would know who I was talking about :-)

RE Lex, I was referring to the Gene Hackman version. Haven’t seen Smallville.

I’m a sucker for Myth too…these days anyway.

BTW, The Watchmen trailer looks incredible visually. Hope there’s a good story.

8/20/2008 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van - Ren and Stimpy good...Happy Tree Friends bad.

Ray (Dr. Lizardo) - "Laugh while you can, monkey boy!

Ximeze - "Don't be mean."

JWM - Now you grow.

And, in case anyone's wondering where the B'ob acquired his incredible sense of style, humor and music...where east truly meets west....

8/20/2008 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky said "RE Lex, I was referring to the Gene Hackman version. Haven’t seen Smallville."

Ah... gotcha, yep, with ya on that one too.

8/20/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Joan said "And FWIW, the Common Good cannot exist apart from the Individual Good. And neither can exist apart from the Absolute Good."

Rght on, sista Joan, right on! :^)

8/21/2008 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"But here again, we can see how the modern doctrine of multiculturalism is in reality a quite primitive reversion back to earlier ways of life. Multiculturalism is specifically a rejection of American principles, what with its obsession with blood and race instead of ideas. This is why when you criticize Obama's ideas, he accuses you of being a racist.

For Americans -- and for Christians -- "essence" is in the individual."

This also explains why character is so trivial to a leftist.

Of course they get around this by redefining character...good character to mean "nuance", "compassion", and other crappy buzzwords they pervert the meaning of and distort.

In fact, that's the only way they can justify anything in their ideology.
For without that distortion, truth begins to shine through and their whole universe falls apart.

Therefore they must Lie...for the greater "good".

8/21/2008 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"For (non-left) Americans, the individual stands above the state, and derives his inalienable rights from the Creator."

The only alternative to this is tyranny.
This is why the needs of the one outWay the lusts of the many.
Although the leftist many believe their lusts to be needs.

But try as they might, they can never replace G-d.
They can, however, substitute the Devil in the details.
For the greater "good" (re: evil).

8/21/2008 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

JWM,
Your 9/11 experience is almost exactly the same as mine. I saw the evil and new what it was, scared straight to the right and into God where I've been exploring ever since. It did not take long for the Sullivans and the LGF's to splinter and loose their bearings. I've long since left those types.

The ones that concern me now are the extreme Paleos who are obseesed with race and an ideolized anglo/saxon culture. Paleos hate the concept that America is founded on an idea. At the extreme they don't sound much different than the extreme left.

I watched my ex brother in law go from angry Paleo to nutty lefter to totally incoherant rage and disfunction...which is why he is now an ex.

8/21/2008 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Nomo - Ren and Stimpy are ick-poop as well... but Buckaroo Banzai! Now there's something!

8/21/2008 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van - I refer back to early R&S breaking so much new ground - twisted, but sweet, fairly inoffensive, and very funny.

As to BB, my kids and I watched it so many times, some of the lines became ingrained in family culture. I'm still waiting for the sequel.

8/21/2008 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Nomo said "I'm still waiting for the sequel."

Yes!

The funny part is that Buckaroo, Peter Weller, is now a history professor at Syracuse University. Talking about jumping the shark!

8/21/2008 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

phil g says:

"I watched my ex brother in law go from angry Paleo to nutty lefter to totally incoherant rage and disfunction...which is why he is now an ex."

Impressive.

That sounds more directly psychiatric/psychological than political.

8/21/2008 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Bob, I had a weird revelation today. Answering a call on my phone in the car, I had to unplug it from my stereo so I could do 2-way for the call. When the call ended, the Windows Media Player re-activated automatically, but was not connected to the stereo. The sound came out tinny and small. But all it took was plugging it into the aux plug and suddenly the tinny sound transmuted into a full sound.

A notion rich with 'ore', perhaps, is that when we get plugged in, that is, pierced through the heart by the One, then our transmitter and receptor becomes hooked up, not to our own tinny speakers, but to the Ground, and man that sub can thump, ya know? But there are pseudo grounds, like this blood and soil of the Volk, that give one a loud and powerful sound, but it can not beat the sound system of the Spirit in the sky, as it were. The Spirit of Heaven, perhaps.

For an energy, which is 'en' - 'ergon' we ask, what does it do?

By their fruits ye shall know them!

8/21/2008 08:25:00 AM  

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