Spoiled Children of the World, Unite!
Any form of metaphysical materialism is in an unstable state of "pre-fascism." This mental state is unstable because the materialist doesn't generally have the courage, consistency, or insight to draw out the implications entailed in his premises.
In point of fact, human beings can never actually escape the Ought, for even -- especially -- Nazis were quite certain that various things ought to happen -- things like genocide, world dominance, elimination of Judeo-Christian values. For them, man is fallen, so to speak, but the fall occurred as a result of a catastrophic turn from nature to idea, in particular, ideas that were at cross-purposes with the Will of Nature.
This reminds me of self-styled artists who depict this or that infrahuman reality on the pretext that it is "real," and who claim that the artist has the responsibility to tear away the masks and reveal reality in all its naked glory. Bad naked, not good naked.
Not only is this an excuse for anything, but it violates the prime directive of art, which is to liberate man from his existential prison, and to reveal the noetic light that radiates through bars of time and space. We do not need art to depict things that are readily apparent to our lowest capacity for knowing them. People defecate. What's more real than that? Why not paint it ? Oh, wait.
One of the touchstones of modern conservatism is Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, one of the consequences being that no form of metaphysical naturalism can be true -- or natural! -- for man. For if the world is intelligible and man is free -- the one entails the other like light and heat -- the materialist is irredeemably wrong.
The irony is that such parochial yahoos necessarily use the spirit to deny it, but who cares what the spirit says if it isn't real?
In placing matter over spirit, quality is reduced to quantity. But is quality just another quantity? Is meaning just another name for meaninglessness? Is man just an animal? Is the world just a brute fact?
For Weaver, this downward pull from mind to matter -- and the attraction is real, something we will be discussing later -- ultimately redounds to the end of ideational life altogether.
To paraphrase Weaver, where fact becomes the criterion of truth, thinking has been rendered unattainable: "Total immersion in matter makes man unfit to deal with the problems of matter" (say it again). The world shrinks down to our lowest mode of comprehending -- or let us just say "sensing" -- it. In the end there is only a purple haze of fleeting experiences superimposed upon this third stone from the sun. Are you experience? No, only the experienced, i.e., an object, not a subject.
Another relevant quote from Weaver before we dive into the feminine fascism of the 1960s: Every group regarding itself as emancipated is convinced its predecessors were fearful of reality. But once all the veils are stripped aside -- all the archetypal forms that serve as "ladders of ascent" -- there subsists "a reality of such commonplace that it is merely knowledge of death." (The downward ideational pull referenced above ends here. Afterwards there can be further "elaboration" but no essential progress, no evolution.)
Whereas the Nazi declares apocalypse, now!, one might say that the sextaphiliac (lover of the 60s) says paradise, now! -- which happens to be the title of Mendel's chapter on the 1960s. He writes that
"In midcentury, two decades after the defeat of fascism, throngs of Western youth flocked to a new credo that was, for opposite reasons, even more radically alien to Western civilization than fascism had been." Really? More radical than fascism? That's a bold statement! Explain.
Well, both involve turning aside from thought, and toward experience and feeling. They also involve a complete rejection of the existing social order, and with it, a transvaluation of values.
Again, in the case of Nazism, aggression came to the fore, whereas with the 60's generation it was sexuality. However, in the deep unconscious these two are inextricably linked -- the lustful sadism of the Nazis was quite obviously sexualized, while the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s was equally obviously a kind of blunt instrument with which to beat off detractors.
The latter were not merely "wrong," which was beside the point. Rather, they weren't enlightened, or "with it," or tuned in, or what have you. Thus, there was a clear gnostic element in the whole enterprise: authentic people in the know vs. all those phonies and hypocrites. The middle class goes from being the foundation of America to the final common pathway of a dreadful disease:
"Why sacrifice one's life to the impersonal and oppressive institutions" that "built and sustained" our civilization, e.g., "enslavement to time, work, success, 'delayed gratification,' efficiency, prudence, and the rest of the code. For the counterculture, it was all a vast hoax, a grotesque deception that had compressed their elders into dehumanized parcels of roles, functions, and skills" which "the young refused to accept as man's fate."
Rather, "they wanted here and now to make that leap into the realm of freedom" -- as if there is such a thing as abstract freedom outside the individuals and institutions that nurture and preserve it.
At this point I would like to quote some songs from the era, with the most pompous lyrics you could possibly imagine, but I don't have time. Well, here's one ridiculous but typical example -- Enter the Young, by the Association (note the apocalyptic overtones):
Here they come, yeah
Some are flying, some just gliding
Released after years of being kept in hiding
They're climbing up the ladder rung by rung
Enter the young, yeah
Yeah, they've learned how to think
Enter the young, yeah
More than you think they think
Not only learned to think, but to care
Not only learned to think, but to dare
Enter the young
Yeah, here they come
some with questions, some decisions
Here they come
Some with facts and some with visions
Of a place to multiply without the use of divisions
To win a prize that no one's ever won
Here they come, yeah
Some are laughing, some are crying
Here they come
Some are doing, some are trying
Some are selling, some are buying
Some are living, some are dying
But demanding recognition one by one
That's some ridiculous songwriting. But no less ridiculous than the influential wrongsighters of the era, such as Charles Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Normon O. Brown, et al.
One of them, Murray Bookchin, wrote of how this "revolution cannot end with the traditional goal of 'seizure of power'; it must culminate in the here and now with the dissolution of power as such," including the power of "parental authoritarianism over youthful spontaneity."
Come to think of it, that last one seems to be what it's all about. "Spoiled children of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but the reality principle!”
Uh oh. I think the revolution is here. Now what? Maybe our parents weren't so stupid after all...
Late, gotta run. To be continued.