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Under the Command of a Corpse – Part 2

Olavo de Carvalho explains why Liberation Theology is alive and well in Latin America.

II.

Read Part I here.

If the child and even its name came ready-made from the KGB, that does not mean that its adoptive parents, Gutierrez, Boff, and Betto have no merit whatsoever in spreading it throughout the world. On the contrary, they played a crucial part in the victories won by liberation theology and in the mystery of its survival.

The three of them, but mainly the two Brazilians, have always acted on two different levels at once. On the one hand, they produced artificial theological arguments for the consumption of the clergy, the intellectuals, and the Roman Curia. On the other hand, they spread sermons and popular speeches and intensely devoted themselves to the creation of a network of activists which would become well-known as “basic ecclesial communities”[i] and would make up the seed of the Workers’ Party, which has been governing Brazil since 2002.

In his book And the Church Became People (E a Igreja se Fez Povo)[ii], Boff confesses that the whole thing was a “bold plan,” hatched according to the strategy of the slow and subtle “war of position” advocated by the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci. The strategy consisted in gradually infiltrating all the decisive positions in seminaries and lay universities, in religious orders, in the Catholic media, and in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, without making much noise, until the time was ripe for the great revolution to come into view.

John Paul I, soon after the 1978 conclave that elected him pope, had a meeting with twenty Latin American cardinals, and he became astonished at the fact that most of them overtly supported liberation theology. On that occasion, they informed him that there were more than 100 thousand “basic ecclesial communities” spreading out revolutionary propaganda in Latin America. Until then John Paul I had known liberation theology as a theoretical speculation only. He was far from thinking that it could have been transformed into a political force of such dimensions.

In 1984, when Cardinal Ratzinger began to dismantle liberation theology’s theoretical arguments, four years had already passed since those “basic ecclesial communities” were transfigured into a mass political party, the Brazilian Workers’ Party, whose members and activists definitively do not know anything about any theological speculation, but can swear that Jesus Christ was a socialist because that is what the party leaders tell them to believe.

In other words, liberation theology’s feigned theological argumentation had already done its job of being food for debate and undermining the Church’s authority, and was functionally replaced by overt preaching of socialism, where the apparently scholarly effort to bring Christianity and Marxism together yielded the right of way to the peddling of cheap clichés and slogans in which the mass of activists neither looked for nor could find any rational argumentation, but only those symbols that expressed and reinforced their sense of belonging to a group and their fighting spirit.

The success of this second enterprise was proportional to the failure of the trio in the field of theology. In the United States or in Europe, an opinion-maker who aspires to be a political leader may not survive his own discredit, but in Latin America, and especially in Brazil, the mass of activists is leagues away from any intellectual concern and will continue to find their leader credible as long as he is backed up by his party and has enough political support.

And in the case of Boff and Betto, they received nothing less than formidable support. When the guerrillas which the Latin American Organization for Solidarity (OLAS, founded in 1966 by Fidel Castro) had spread throughout the subcontinent failed miserably, left-wing activists took refuge in non-military leftist organizations, which were putting into practice Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about “cultural revolution” and “war of position.” Gramsci’s strategy made use of massive infiltration of communist agents in all institutions of civil society, especially in the educational system and the media, to spread punctual, isolated, non-labelled, communist proposals so as to produce, little by little, an overall effect which could not be identified as communist propaganda, but through which the Party, or similar organization, could end up mentally controlling society with “the omnipresent and invisible power of a divine commandment, of a categorical imperative” (sic).[iii]

No other instrument could better serve that purpose than the “basic ecclesial communities,” where communist proposals could be sold with the Christianity label. In Brazil, the overwhelming growth of those organizations resulted, in 1980, in the foundation of the Workers’ Party, which initially presented itself as an innocent pro-labor union movement of the Christian left, and which only gradually revealed its strong ties with the Cuban government and various guerilla and drug-trafficking organizations.  The greatest leader of the Party, President Luís Inácio “Lula”da Silva, has always acknowledged Boff and Betto as the masterminds of both his organization and of himself.

Born in the bosom of the Latin American communism by means of the “basic ecclesial communities,” the Party would not take long to return the favor by establishing, in 1990, an organization under the anodyne denomination of Foro de São Paulo (São Paulo Forum) whose purpose was to unify the many leftists currents in Latin America and become the strategic headquarters for the communist movement in the subcontinent.

According to Frei Betto’s own testimony, the decision of founding the São Paulo Forum was made in a meeting between Lula, Fidel Castro, and Frei Betto himself, in Havana. For seventeen years the São Paulo Forum had grown in secret, having a membership of nearly 200 organizations, and mixing together legally established political parties, kidnapping groups as the Chilean MIR, and drug-trafficking gangs as the FARC— which denied having anything to do with drug trafficking, but traded, every year, 200 tons of Colombian cocaine for weapons that Brazilian drug-dealer Fernandinho Beira-Mar smuggled from Lebanon.

When Lula was elected president of Brazil in 2002, the São Paulo Forum had already become the largest and most powerful political organization that had ever been at work in the whole Latin American territory. Its very existence, however, was totally unknown to the Brazilian people and cynically denied when a researcher would blow the whistle about it.

The general concealment of the São Paulo Forum, an operation to which the entire Brazilian mainstream media contributed for seventeen years with exemplary obstinacy, is one of the most curious and depressing episodes of the history of the press in the world. From that episode one can have an idea of the power that the pool of left-wing parties associated with the Workers’ Party exerts over the entire class of opinion-makers in Brazil. But the curtain of obsequious silence extended far beyond Brazilian national borders: in 2001 during a panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., two “experts in Latin America,” Kenneth Maxwell and Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, openly denied the existence of the São Paulo Forum.

For many years, based upon extensive documentation gathered by Brazilian attorney José Carlos Graça Wagner, I denounced the São Paulo Forum’s activities. But I was the only columnist of a major Brazilian newspaper to do it, and all kinds of pressure and threats were made against me to prevent me from doing so. I even published online all the minutes of the Forum’s general assemblies since its foundation, but even in face of such irrefutable proofs the slavish self-censorship of the Brazilian journalistic class did not yield even an inch in its obstinacy in denying the facts.

The media blockade reached its peak of intensity when, in 2005, Mr Lula, already President of Brazil, made a detailed confession about the existence and the activities of the São Paulo Forum. His speech was published on the Presidency of the Republic’s official website, but even so, the mainstream media in full force insisted on pretending that they did not know anything about it.

Finally, in 2007, the Workers’ Party itself, feeling that the cloak of protective secrecy was no longer necessary, came to trumpet the feats of the São Paulo Forum to the four corners of the earth, as they had always been obvious, banal, and well-known. Only then the newspapers allowed themselves to speak about it.

Why could the secret be revealed at that point? Because, in Brazil, all the ideological opposition had already been eliminated, and what remained as “politics” was only electoral vying for offices and denunciation of corruption scandals coming from within the left itself; whereas, on a subcontinental scale, twelve countries were already ruled by parties that belonged to the São Paulo Forum. The “basic ecclesial communities” had risen to power. At that point who would be concerned with theological debates or ethereal objections made twenty years earlier by a cardinal who took the literal sense of the writings of liberation theologians in a serious manner, but barely scratched the political surface of the problem?

The Workers’ Party, throughout its twelve years in power, managed to expel all the conservative opposition from the political scene while it shared the political arena with some of its more radical allies and a soft center-left opposition, governing the country by means of bribery, murder of inconvenient people, and systematic appropriation of funds of state companies to finance the growth of the Party. The rise of kleptocracy culminated in the Petrobrás case, where the siphoning of funds from state companies reached the level of billions of dollars, becoming, according to the international media, the largest case of business corruption of all times. This succession of scandals brought about some discomfort within the left itself and also constant complaining in the media, which led the Workers’ Party’s intelligentsia to rally in full force to defend their party.  Mr Betto and Mr Boff have been busy with this kind of activity for more than a decade, and theology, in their business, is only an occasional supplier of figures of speech which they design to adorn the Party’s propaganda. Liberation theology, at last, embraced its true calling

 

To be continued.

Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

 


[i] The mass of activists, as distinguished from their leadership, is called, in communist technical language, “base.” Not by coincidence liberation theology uses that word to name its “basic ecclesial communities.” The flock had to become “base” so that the shepherds could become political commissars.

[ii] Boff, Leonardo. E a Igreja se Fez Povo. Eclesiogênese: A Igreja que Nasce do Povo (São Paulo: Círculo do Livro, 1988.),  especially chapters XII and XIII.

[iii] Olavo de Carvalho, A Nova Era e a Revolução Cultural: Fritjof Capra & Antonio Gramsci, 4th ed. (Campinas: Vide Editorial, 2014).

 

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Cardbox Coffins: That’s What Venezuelans Can Afford to Bury Their Dead

According to report by several news sources, in Venezuela, the poor can no longer afford wooden coffins and are burying their dead in card box coffins.

Nicolas Maduro’s nephews have admitted to drug-trafficking in partnership with the FARC

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s nephews have admitted to drug-trafficking in partnership with the FARC, according to news report by El Nuevo Herald: http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article91491757.html

 

 

A Good Fight: The Political Journey of David Horowitz

David Horowitz is a political thinker and cultural critic who enjoys challenging leftist shibboleths. His main contribution to contemporary political discourse is a passionate commitment to an outspoken, unabashed, myth-breaking version of conservatism. If communism was the triumph of mendaciousness, he argues in this poignant collection of writings, conservatism cannot accept the proliferation of self-serving legends and half-truths.

This makes his public interventions refreshingly unpredictable, iconoclastic, and engaging. He is a former insider, and his views have the veracity of the firsthand witness. Horowitz knows better than anybody else the hypocrisies of the left, the unacknowledged skeletons in its closet, and its fear to come to terms with past ignominies. He is an apostate who sees no reason to mince his words to please the religion of political and historical correctness. His masters are other critics of totalitarian delusions, from George Orwell to Leszek Kolakowski; in fact, Horowitz’s awakening from his leftist dreams was decisively catalyzed by the illuminating effect of Kolakowski’s devastating critique of socialist ideas. Unlike his former comrades, however, Horowitz believes in the healing value of second thoughts.

Vilified by enemies as a right-wing crusader, Horowitz is, in fact, a lucid thinker for whom ideas matter and words have consequences. His break with the left in the late 1970s was a response to what he perceived to be its rampant sense of self-righteousness, combined with its readiness to endorse obsolete and pernicious utopian ideals. Born to a Communist family in Queens, Horowitz flirted with the Leninist creed as a teenager but found out early that the Communist sect was insufferably obtuse and irretrievably sclerotic. He attended Columbia, where he discovered Western Marxism and other non-Bolshevik revolutionary doctrines. From the very beginning, he had an appetite for heresy.

He joined the emerging New Left and went to England, where he became a disciple and close associate of the socialist historian Isaac Deutscher, author of once-celebrated biographies of Stalin and Trotsky. Thanks to Deutscher, Horowitz met other British leftists, including the sociologist Ralph Miliband (father of the current leader of the Labour party). Consumed by revolutionary pathos, he wrote books, pamphlets, and manifestoes, denounced Western imperialism, and condemned the Vietnam war.

Once back in the United States, he became the editor, with Peter Collier, of Ramparts, the New Left’s most influential publication. In later books, Horowitz engages in soul-searching analyses of his attraction to the extreme radicalism of the Black Panthers and other far-left groups. Under tragic circumstances—a friend of his was murdered by the Panthers—he discovered that these celebrated antiestablishment fighters were fundamentally sociopaths. What followed was an itinerary of self-scrutiny, self-understanding, and moral epiphany. He reinvented himself as an anti-Marxist, antitotalitarian, anti-utopian thinker.

Obviously, David Horowitz is not the first to have deplored the spellbinding effects of what Raymond Aron called the opium of the intellectuals. Before him, social and cultural critics (Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Nathan Glazer, to name only the most famous ones) took the same path; Bertolt Brecht’s Marxist mentor, Karl Korsch, broke with his revolutionary past in the 1950s. Even Max Horkheimer, one of the Frankfurt School’s luminaries, ended as a conservative thinker. As Ignazio Silone, himself a former Leninist, put it: The ultimate struggle would be between Communists and ex-Communists.

In Horowitz’s case, however, it is a struggle waged by an ex-leftist ideologue against political mythologies that have made whole generations run amok. Like Kolakowski and Václav Havel, Horowitz identifies ideological blindness as the source of radical zealotry. He knows that ideologies are coercive structures with immense enthralling effects—indeed, what Kenneth Minogue called “alien powers.” Putting together his fervid writings is, for him, a duty of conscience. He does not claim to be nonpartisan and proudly recognizes his attachment to a conservative vision of politics. But he is a pluralist: He refuses the idea of infallible ideological revelation, admits that human beings can err, and invites his readers to exercise their critical faculties. He does not pontificate.

Judith Shklar once wrote about a liberalism of fear, a philosophy rooted in the awareness that the onslaught against liberal values in totalitarian experiments inevitably results in catastrophe. Horowitz’s conservatism is inspired by the conviction that utopian hubris is always conducive to moral, social, and political disaster. It is not an optimistic conservatism, but a tragic one. Horowitz confesses that he is an agnostic, yet he realizes that liberty, as a nonnegotiable human value, has a transcendent legitimation in religion. In the absence of a moral ground, individuals are suspended in a moral no-man’s land: Rebels become revolutionaries and exert their logical fallacies to eliminate deviation from a sacralized ideology.

For Horowitz, the main battle is now related to cultural hegemony. He understands that political rivalries are directly linked to clashes of values. Refusing to be pigeonholed into a formula, he combines themes belonging to classical liberalism, Burkean conservatism, and neoconservatism. His social criticism is a response to what he perceives to be the collapse of the center in American politics and the takeover of the liberal mainstream by proponents of refurbished leftist fallacies. He regards anticapitalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Zionism as ideological mantras meant to camouflage a deep contempt for human rights.

The Black Book of the American Left is an illuminating contribution to our understanding of what Hannah Arendt once called the ideological storms of the 20th century. It shows how American radicals partook of the same romantic passions and redemptive fantasies as their European peers. The philosophical languages were different, of course, but the electrifying desire to negate the existing order, no matter the human costs, was the same.

Vladimir Tismaneanu is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was originally published on TheWeeklyStandard.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

35,000 Venezuelans Cross the Border With Colombia Escaping Economic Crisis

Last Sunday, July 10, 2016, Nicolás Maduro opened the borders and the result was a mass exodus to Colombia. Venezuelans crossed the border to buy food and supplies in order to escape Venezuela’s Socialist Paradise crisis.  See reports by Al-Jazeera and PanamPost.

 

 

The Crisis Part II: Good and Bad Leaders

The wise leaders that Carlyle believed necessary are the only possible palliative. But such men, in truth, are reticent and timid – not eager for the limelight. After all, being a leader of fools is dangerous business.

Alas, our noble men of genius, Heaven’s real messengers to us, they also rendered nearly futile by the wasteful time; – preappointed they everywhere, and assiduously trained by their pedagogues and monitors, to ‘rise in Parliament,’ to compose orations, write books, or in short speak words, for the approval of reviewers; instead of doing real kingly work to be approved of by the gods! Our ‘Government,’ a highly ‘responsible’ one; responsible to no God that I can hear of, but to the twenty-seven million gods of the shilling gallery.

-Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets, 1850

 

Part I of this series touched on the politicization of education through a dumbing-down of students and through the denial of human nature in the social sciences. Considering today’s educational system from a strategist’s standpoint, it appears to be an attempt to subvert the larger society, perhaps even to destroy it. Such a system could only have been created by an enemy. This enemy’s trick has been to disable human instinct, denying the very existence of instinctual things. We no longer accept that there are two sexes. We are taught to deny what is noble.

Our internal enemy has attempted to paralyze all those moving parts within the human psyche that make reason possible. And he has made a school that is, in fact, a concentration camp for the child. He has encircled our children with a fence and he calls roll every hour to make sure that none have escaped. It is important, at the outset, that the students find themselves institutionalized. To expose the child to something brilliant, to something interesting, to something inspired, is forbidden. One must accustom the child to the most mediocre thinking, to the most uninspired ideas – to profound boredom from which only an entertainment culture can offer escape.

The new teaching refrains from laying a foundation; for the new educator, as revolutionary, is a destroyer who seeks to annihilate everything. He seeks to eradicate the past, to eradicate man and woman, to eradicate the parent, to eradicate both the nation and the patriot – and finally, to eradicate God. This is the work of today’s education. It is a work of disorganization, disintegration, and hatred. The revolutionary seeks a blank canvass upon which to paint in whatever color he chooses. The chosen color, of course, will be red.  Those countries already submerged by the nihilist dictators are arming themselves. They are getting ready to unleash a wider destruction. Like all psychopaths they are motivated to find victims wherever they can. The consumption of victims is their mode of self-affirmation.

The Revolution, called down upon us by the Left, has been with us a long while. It marches from victory to victory. The long retreat of civilization has been happening before our very eyes, by a slow and almost imperceptible process. Our educational system proves to be a revolutionary success, for the experiment has not been turned back. It has been turned up like the burner of a stove on which we are all being cooked. The majority is indoctrinated, their evaluations contaminated by revolutionary lies, so that they do not even know they have been brainwashed. And yes, on every news channel you hear but different variations on the same political message. The message always includes a dash of feminism, multiculturalism, socialism, and the celebration of polymorphous perversity. Our enemy has attempted to indoctrinate our children with these themes. They socialize the young to accept their revolution. They educate and organize. They shape the public’s mentality. They give out the ideas that will carry them forward – and it isn’t long before the process takes on a life of its own. After a few generations, when the old teaching has been forgotten, the leaders of the new generation will have only one lexicon, only one vision, and freedom will be dead. In its place will come a new tyranny, sold as a new and higher form of morality in which the chief sins are (1) sexism, (2) classicism, and (3) racism.

See how adept the revolutionary teachers are at carrying forward their new teaching – as morality. Thomas Carlyle once observed that “man never yields himself wholly to brute Force, but always to moral Greatness.” But men, being stupid, sometimes yield to a counterfeit moral Greatness. That is what we have today. As a prime example, consider the moral outrage expressed by our political and media elites in response to Donald Trump’s desire to curtail Muslim immigration. By the most ancient and time-tested standards of morality, this suggestion was not immoral. He did not break the Ten Commandments in uttering it. Yet it is taken as proof of Trump’s moral depravity. Those within the Republican Party who did not denounce the racism of Trump’s remark nonetheless judged him guilty of a “ridiculous position” (Chris Christie), or of being unserious (Jeb Bush), or of “being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric.” (Lindsey Graham.) Carly Fiorina said that Trump’s “overreaction is as dangerous as Obama’s under reaction.” John Kasich called Trump’s proposal “outrageous.” Former New York Governor George Pataki said Trump’s remarks “are idiotic, next thing we will be banning loudmouth, racist billionaires.” Marco Rubio said that Trump’s “habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.” Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore said that “Trump’s fascist talk drives all minorities from [the] GOP.” And, of course, Hillary Clinton vilified Trump by saying, “This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.”

Here is a great example of the revolutionary ideology at work. A simple, common sense statement, uttered by someone seeking a leadership position, is likened to Hitlerism. The new teaching has taken hold. It predetermines the mentality of the ruling class, which now consists of the persons whose thinking has been pre-programmed by our national enemies. In saying what he said, Donald Trump did not deprive anyone of their rights under the Constitution. He did not vilify anyone. He is not a hater, or an advocate of racist theories, or an advocate of genocide. How has it come about that he is slandered as such? Of course, we know perfectly well that he has transgressed. Should we publicly agree with Trump, we might also suffer ostracism; and feeling alone in our agreement with him, we are afraid.

The instinct that remains undestroyed in us knows that Trump is right. His concerns are patriotic, perhaps even “patriarchal.” We shudder at the political incorrectness of it. But deep down, we feel something contrary, something counter-subversive. We have been indoctrinated to believe that everyone is equal when everyone is different. We have been told that a Muslim is interchangeable with a Christian, that the populations of the Middle East are interchangeable with the populations of Europe – as if humanity were a bottle of milk that must be homogenized. When Trump says that his own Muslim friends agree with him, the journalists disbelieve him. He must be demented or insane, they say to themselves. He is not to be taken seriously. It is some kind of “stunt.” Trump tries to explain that he is motivated by considerations of safety and prudence. The elite sneer. But the public, still possessing a shadow of its old instinct, twitch with buried feelings that are breaking through to the surface.

Trump did not say Muslims are bad people. He did not say “all Muslims are enemies.” But everyone instinctually knows there is a risk associated with admitting thousands or millions of Muslims into a non-Muslim country. Common sense therefore begs the question: “Why take an unnecessary risk?” For why is it necessary that thousands of Muslims immigrate to the United States? If there is a risk associated with this immigration, why should it continue? What is to be gained?

This great example of Trump’s statement on Muslim immigration reveals the kind of leadership we have today – in the media and in government. We do not have leaders, in fact, but – as Thomas Carlyle noted – “assiduously trained by their pedagogues and monitors, to ‘rise in Parliament,’ to compose orations, write books, or in short speak words, for the approval of reviewers; instead of doing real kingly work….” Consider the kind of men and women we have in positions of leadership today. For such a large percentage to denounce Trump, when he has only made a common sense recommendation, suggests that these men and women are frauds; that they are the creatures of Leftist groupthink, lacking the moral courage required for independent thought. It could not be more clear what this example shows; namely, that our own leaders – excepting Mr. Trump – deny that we have the right to defend our sovereignty and our culture. They imagine that such a defense is racist.

One might ask what else they imagine?!

The Left dreams of a world without America on the assumption that America is the fountainhead of sexism, racism and war. The United States, under the control of Leftist politicians like President Obama, slowly commits suicide. Instead of an instinct for survival, our leadership of today shows us that theirs is an instinct for self-destruction. Merely listen to Mr. Trump, then listen to the nonsense of the elitsts who denounce him. These have no vision for distant things, no power of thought – mere dummies to some unseen ventriloquist. The reader should ask: Would George Washington have opened the United States to Muslim immigration in 1795? If this was such a good and glorious thing to do, why didn’t he think to do it? The idea of allowing masses of Muslim immigrants into the United States in 1795 would have been judged crazy by all educated Americans of the time. (And were they not better educated than we are now?)

Why do the “educated” of today think Muslim immigration so necessary? It cannot be that today’s leaders are so much wiser, or possess better character, than George Washington.

I believe that President Washington, if he could speak to our generation, would pour such abuse upon our present leaders, that it would ring in their ears ever after. And for them, in response, to reproach Washington as a sexist or racist, would illicit such fiery contempt from the great man, that they would be forced to own their shame. For are they not all feminists? Are they not all multiculturalists? – that is to say, advocates of national suicide? These mock leaders who raise the banners of so many mock faiths are yet the destroyers of their country. Yet there they stand, condemning Mr. Trump.

The real leader and the mock leader are here side-by-side. The one is concerned for the safety of his country while the other feigns concern for Islam. Where is the concern which is owed to Americans? Cannot we glimpse, behind it all, that common theme of hatred for what is good and normal, and a sick preference for what is harmful and abnormal? Is this not the malice of the inferior man – the malice of the demagogue, usurping high office with a sack of clever lies?  Our modern age, with its mass media and mass politics, has aroused the envy of the inferior to a fever pitch. This envy has organized itself through political self-hatred, turning malevolence into a science. The irony appears at once, as the man who loves America is denounced as a hater by those who are the real haters; that is, haters of America. Of course, some of those denouncing Trump are the puppets of political correctness – sad shills who have no business leading anyone. But hatred is at the bottom of it.

Notice how the inferior man, as leader, must always pretend to be a champion of humanity. Even in this, he is a faker. He has no dignity, but gives himself airs. His own mind is numbed by the facile nonsense that passes his own lips. Reality does not register with him. Only when a great tragedy has occurred, does the shock of the moment lay bare the feeble human being that is struggling to emerge from beneath the ideological garbage dump of a clouded mind. The terrorist attacks on France offer a rare example of clarity breaking forth from one such “leader.” On the day following the attacks, President Francois Hollande made a speech in which he said: “Fellow citizens, what happened yesterday in Paris and Saint Denis near the Stade de France was an act of war.” But the President of the United States, in his press conference, affirmed the altruistic duty of every Christian country to take in Muslim refugees. He denied that Christianity and Islam have stood opposed to one another for over a thousand years, that the principles of Islam are as obnoxious to Christianity as the principles of Christianity are to Islam. Obama effectively denied that admitting millions of Muslims into Europe is a recipe for civil strife. Even more, he suggested that the integration of Muslim and Christian (under the auspices of safeguarding Muslim refugees) is a solemn moral obligation.

The international demagogue who styles himself a champion of humanity turns out to be the enemy of his own country. How can he be a champion of humanity when his own people are so disregarded? Take Hillary Clinton as a further example. This regrettable deviant has been heralded as the most brilliant women in America. But she doesn’t have an original bone in her body; neither is she distinguished for her scholarship, or her contributions to science. She is an intellectual nullity. Her thinking is taken from leftist ideological tracts. Her moral courage consists in parroting the latest politically correct ideas. She does not regard private property as sacrosanct. She does not accept that marriage is between a man and a woman. She does not believe in the nation state. Her politics is that of Robin Hood, a famous bandit whose motto was to “rob from the rich and give to the poor.” On the subject of same-sex marriage and gay rights, Secretary of State Clinton made the following extraordinary statement:

I will never forget the young Tunisian who asked me, after the revolution in his country, how America could teach his new democracy to protect the rights of its LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered] citizens. He saw America as an example for the world, and as a beacon of hope. That’s what was in my mind as I engaged in some pretty tough conversations with foreign leaders who did not accept that human rights applied to everyone, gay and straight. When I directed our diplomats around the world to combat repressive laws and reach out to the brave activists fighting on the front lines … I changed State Department policy to ensure that our LGBT families are treated more fairly.

Here we see Clinton openly advocating U.S. interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries. Here is an American homosexual imperialism that not only flies in the face of American diplomatic tradition, but flies in the face of traditional American folkways. The greatest U.S. Secretary of State is generally said to have been John Quincy Adams. In 1821 Adams asked what America has “done for the benefit of mankind?” As our greatest and wisest Secretary of State, Adams said that America “has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth” to the nations on the virtues of liberty and justice and equal rights. Adams stated:

She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of … the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….

How different we find the policy of Secretary of State Clinton, who initiated a global campaign supportive of sodomy. Is this now our banner – our sacred cause among the nations? In the annals of imperial ambition God and man has never seen the like. According to Secretary Clinton herself, it was (in effect) the policy of her State Department to combat all those local laws and government edicts which forbade homosexual activity. Clinton not only engaged in “some pretty tough conversations with foreign leaders,” she directed “our diplomats around the world” to engage in a new form of warfare. Under her guidance, U.S. representatives in 70 countries (where sodomy is yet illegal) were to act as “change agents.”

In other words, American resources and personnel were deployed in support of sodomy. Whatever the reader may think of sodomy, let us objectively consider the policy repercussions. Was this in the best interests of the United States? Most curious of all: Is there not a declaration of war against Islam in Mrs. Clinton’s policy? Yet this declaration of war is not seen or acknowledged as such, though it is certainly there. The unreality of Clinton’s worldview allows her to advocate diametrically incompatible policies. On the one hand she provokes Islam. On the other hand, she wants millions of Muslims to immigrate here. From the strategist’s point of view, this policy is entirely obvious. Yet our pundits and political observers see nothing. They have no idea there is a game, and could never guess that someone stands to gain from it.

While homosexuality is allegedly widespread in the Muslim world, it is nonetheless forbidden by traditional Islamic teachings. In a collection of Mohammad’s sayings, set down by Abu ‘Isa Muhammad ibn ‘Isa at-Tirmidhis around A.D. 884, we learn that Muhammad cursed sodomites and recommended the death penalty for men involved in homosexual acts.

If the central principle of Islam is that “there is one God and Mohammed is his Prophet,” the words of the Prophet on this matter are highly significant. To show that traditional Islam is far from homogenized into the Unitarianism that has supplanted Christianity in the West, a Muslim cleric in Hungary recently stated [JihadWatch.org], “These homosexuals are the filthiest of Allah’s creatures. A Muslim must never accept this disease, this terrible depraved thing.” To show that this was hardly an isolated instance, a Muslim cleric in Uganda has threatened to organize death squads against homosexuals. In Great Britain Christians have been unsuccessful in opposing pro-homosexual education in schools; but two primary schools in Bristol have shelved anti-homophobia storybooks in the face of local Muslim “fury.”

In 2007 an Iranian MP, Mohsen Yahyavi, told British officials that, “According to Islamic law, homosexuality is a grave crime.” Yahyavi explained that homosexuality is only tolerated if done behind closed doors. If this behavior becomes public, the offender “should be put to death.” It is, indeed, against traditional Islam that Hillary Clinton’s homosexual imperialism wages a peculiar kind of war. Yet Hillary says that Trump is divisive for suggesting a temporary suspension of Muslim immigration into the United States! At the same time she would deny that any seed of enmity has been planted against Islam by her campaign of promoting homosexual activism in Islamic countries. Inexplicably, during last month’s Democratic presidential debate, when asked whether we are at war with radical Islam, Mrs. Clinton said the following:

I don’t think with we’re at war with Islam…. I think we’re at war with jihadists. I think we’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries and have them be part of our coalition. If they hear people running for president who basically shortcut it to say that we are somehow against Islam – that was one of the real contributions, despite all the other problems, that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said, after going to a Mosque in Washington, we are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and repression; and yes, we are at war with those people. But I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.

Is Hillary Clinton such a fool that she doesn’t know what Islam teaches? If the leaders of various Muslim countries hear a tough-talking U.S. Secretary of State actively subverting traditional Islamic law, they are unlikely to see her as a genuine ally. Here, Clinton is not merely playing the usual political game of having her cake and eating it. In this context one needs to appreciate the ingredients of this cake; for every cake is made from a recipe, and every recipe has been carefully devised to produce specific culinary effects. One has to ask if this pro-homosexual policy was purposely designed to alienate traditional Muslims and incite further jihadist activities against the United States. Was that her real purpose in advancing the homosexual agenda in the Muslim world?

To understand the game of putting two scorpions in a bottle, one has to look beyond the madness of the stated agenda. Why would cynical people, concerned mostly with their own power, make use of the LGBT issue in the first place? For that matter, why is the forcible integration of Muslims into Europe and America so important? The answer is simple. Hillary Clinton and others of her ilk, who believe themselves figures of destiny, are advancing a hidden agenda. Does Hillary Clinton know whose agenda it is? We may doubt that she fully understands. Failing to look within, she never finds herself out. Lacking personal integrity, honor, and compassion, there is no real organ of discernment left to guide her. She is mere appetite, representing a desire for power and self-aggrandizement. There is nothing genuine or good in her. There is nothing of lasting value in what she does. She and her ilk are, as Carlyle said, “windy Counterfeits” who seek to take the place of better men. In our egalitarian stupor we are confused about the differences between the fraudulent and the authentic, between true and false, between hollow and full. To get ourselves out of this mess, noted Carlyle, it will require that

the few Wise will have, by one method or another, to take command of the innumerable Foolish; that they must be got to take it; – and that, in fact, since Wisdom, which means also Valor and heroic Nobleness, is alone strong in this world, and one wise man is stronger than all men unwise…. That they must take it; and having taken, must keep it, and do their God’s Message in it, and defend the same, at their life’s peril, against all men and devils. This I do clearly believe to be the backbone of all Future Society, as it has been of all Past; and that without it, there is no Society possible in the world.

Carlyle was born of humble origins in 1795. He was against, as he explained, “INSINCERITY in Politics and in Life, DEMOCRACY without Reverence, and PHILANTHROPY without Sense.” In this we find a more nuanced position, more precise in the warning it offers us. He saw the growth of insincerity, irreverence and muddleheaded altruism – and he sounded an alarm. Today his message goes to the heart of the present leadership crisis.

It may be observed that we choose leaders who espouse shallow optimism, not realizing how dangerously insincere they are. Notice how our political debates are peppered with irreverence and cynicism. To top it off, we soothe ourselves with a promiscuous philanthropy tending toward national bankruptcy. Is this so hard to see? The wise leaders that Carlyle believed necessary are the only possible palliative. But such men, in truth, are reticent and timid – not eager for the limelight. After all, being a leader of fools is dangerous business. The wise man sacrifices his peace of mind when taking up political office, while the mediocrity sacrifices nothing (having neither peace nor mind worth saving). As the fool is nothing, the attainment of office means everything to him. He overruns the state in his eagerness for power. He shouts down the wise. It is what he calls “democracy.”

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published at jrnyquist.com . The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Anti-Marxist Revolution in Brazil?

In recent weeks and months, we have been flooded with news about the Syriza “miracle,” about how the Greek leftists will manage to pull the country out of the state of decay in which it languishes. The Greek Finance Minister was placed high on all pedestals of European and universal glory, as if he were John Maynard Keynes and Hegel himself combined into one. Propagandistic nonsense has reached its utmost peak. Too little or even nothing at all is said, however, about how the house of cards built by revolutionary Dilma Rousseff – a former combatant in the urban guerrilla organizations – is coming down. Mature and responsible, the country’s civil society is not the prisoner of leftist myths. It refuses to go on a wild goose chase, as it happens in so many other places.

Millions of people are out demonstrating, asking for president Dilma Rousseff’s resignation. The endemic corruption of the leftist regime is being denounced by the masses that have taken to the streets, but largely ignored by the media elites, which are connected to those neo-Bolshevik channels financially supported by the Putin autocracy and its friends. The Sao Paulo Forum with its radical exhortations continues its maneuvers of hypnotizing the public opinion. Lies abound, but are starting to not be believed anymore. Protesters are being slandered as “American agents”, “spies”, “fascists” etc. Yet, less people than ever buy into these slanders.

The protests are being organized by a grassroots initiative with an openly liberal (non-leftist) orientation – the Free Brazil Movement (MBL). Signatures are being gathered for Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal. It turns out that philosopher Olavo de Carvalho’s anti-totalitarian ideas have taken root in Brazil. Olavo, a remarkable social thinker execrated by the Left, knows a great deal about Marxism and revolutionary utopianism in general, at any rate a far greater deal than Dilma and her followers. He is familiar with the famous 11th thesis on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” The world is changing in Brazil.

The hyper-corrupt bureaucracy of the Workers’ Party, so outrageously obvious during the World Cup in 2014, is coming face to face with a resurgent civil society. What is being foreshadowed, it seems, is a peaceful, non-violent revolution. Marxist revolutions are explosions of violence. But not the anti-totalitarian ones. It is now clear that millions of Brazilians feel the need to expose twaddle, nonsense, irresponsible foolishness, cynical demagoguery masquerading as a springboard for collective bliss.

Dilma and her crowd may not be Marxists in a traditional, strictly ideological sense, they accept and even profit from some liberal economic principles, but, when all is said and done, they still share, subliminally, the Marxist anti-capitalist and “anti-imperialist” revolutionary delusions, expectations, and fever. Therefore, their enduring affinities with the continental far left, including Hugo Chavez’s heir, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The protests are directed against the acute institutional, social, economic, and moral crisis that has dramatically worsened over these past few months. I do not know if a revolution to the full extent of the term has begun crystallizing as of right now, but this is certainly a revolutionary situation as defined by Lenin himself: “Those at the top cannot govern by using the old methods, those at the bottom, the great masses, beyond social divisions, no longer accept them.”

A fool’s tongue is long enough to cut his own throat: in this case, a Marxist one turned upside down! The great historian Robert Conquest’s dream is gradually coming to life–a united front against radical fallacies. It is high time these chimeras were exposed for what they really are: myths, legends, delusions, fantasies of salvation, ideological fairytales with pernicious effects.

 

Vladimir Tismaneanu is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was originally published on FrontPageMag.

This essay was translated from Romanian into English by Monica Got.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

The Intellectual Roots of the American Left’s Emerging Totalitarianism

A recent incident in Wallingford, Connecticut, not far from where I grew up, caused VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow to comment: “Cultural Marxist totalitarianism is coming to an America near you.” A complaint was lodged with the local police that “hate” merchandise— Nazi and Confederate memorabilia—was being publicly exhibited and sold at a popular flea market. Following a police investigation, an Anti-Defamation League official named Joshua Sayles expressed the view that “It’s unfortunate that under the law people have the right to sell these things; but it doesn’t mean they should sell these things. It’s not a crime but I would call it hate…”[Wallingford police look into complaint about Nazi, Confederate items sold at flea market, by Mary Ellen Godin, Record-Journal, July 10, 2015].

Chillingly, the assistant regional director of the Connecticut ADL thus unmistakably indicated he was deeply disturbed that a “right” to deal in what he considered “hate” was still allowed. Presumably, in a more sensitive world, no one would be allowed to exhibit or sell either Nazi or Confederate memorabilia. Needless to say, no moral distinction was made between Nazi Germany and the Confederate States of America. They both stood, or so the ADL official implied, for pure “hate.”

Peter properly suggests if such hate-inspectors get their way, we will be living in a condition of almost Stalinist oppression. We might not be shipped off to gulags(yet), but the control of speech and thought that these professional sensitizers would impose would be reminiscent of the worst examples of Leftist tyranny. I say “Leftist” intentionally—because rightist or non-leftist regimes have never tried to control their subjects’ minds as systematically as the Left.

Even Adolf Hitler’ s Nazi regime largely lost interest in mind reconstruction. It closed up universities as an unnecessary expense by the early 1940s, left the economy in private hands except for those businesses it expropriated, and tolerated a surprisingly wide range of intellectual dissenters. Of course, this had nothing to do with being nice. It was simply that the Nazis, aggressive thugs as they were, had no interest in the worldwide indoctrination program dreamed of by the universalist, conversionary and egalitarian zealots of the true Left.

In contrast to the Nazis, the Left has regularly used every means at its disposal to reconstruct the human personality in accordance with its world vision. Perhaps even more significantly, for the last seventy years the Left has imagined itself as a brave force of resistance against a supposedly implacable but entirely fictitious and shape-shifting enemy— the great evil of “fascism.” As I document in my forthcoming book, Fascism: Career of a Concept, the Left’s eternal enemy of “fascism” is variously depicted as racism, Christian fanaticism, European nationalism, or even opposition to Israeli foreign policy.

Curiously, the post-war Italian fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano was fervently pro-Israel as well as pro-NATO. But Jewish “antifascists” can’t be bothered by such details.

The popular concept of fascism also identifies all forms of the European-wide fascist movement with Hitler, who was actually influenced far more by Stalinist totalitarianism than Mussolini’s ramshackle, not particularly repressive government. “Fascist” is arbitrarily equated with both Nazi genocide a nd anything the cultural Left disapproves of at the moment.

This propagandistic sleight of hand is so blatant that, unless one grasps the current political landscape, it is almost impossible to understand how it works every single time. We are looking here at interlocking political, corporate, and cultural elites when we search for who maintains the system. And there is a unifying doctrine, which for want of a better and more up-to-date name we shall have to call “Cultural Marxism.”

Cultural Marxism‘s central teachings go back genealogically to the Institute for Social Research in interwar Germany. Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and their radical Leftist colleagues attempted to fuse Marxist economics and Freudian psychology into a critique of bourgeois society. The synthesized result had less to do with serious Marxism than with attacking “repressive” and “patriarchal” family life and offering utopian alternatives.

A major aspect of this emerging self-described “Critical Theory,” particularly after the rise of Nazism and the transfer of the Frankfurt School to the US, was describing and combatting “fascism.” This mission became integral to Critical Theory, together with a continuing crusade against anti-Semitism, which, by a certain internal logic, always accompanied the supposed fascist threat. Since the Frankfurt school theorists were mostly Jewish leftists, these facile associations suited them and their followers rather well.

However, in their interpretation, the ominous fascist threat lurked where you least expected it. Middle-class, churchgoing goyim, even those who professed to like Jews and supported women’s rights and labor unions, could not be trusted. Those who did not resolutely break from the existing order slipped easily into such evils as “latent anti-Semitism” and “pseudo-democracy.”

The_Authoritarian_Personality_(first_edition)[1] These psychic and social dangers were described by Horkheimer, Adorno, and others in their massive anthology The Authoritarian Personality, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee after the Second World War and published in 1950, as part of a much larger “Studies in Prejudice” project. [American Jewish Committee News, March 15, 1950.] While in the US, Adorno also created the F-Scale (F for “Fascist”) in social psychology testing, supposed to determine someone’s degree of propensity to subscribe to the hated ideology.

It’s important to remember Critical Theory isn’t a weapon of revolution. It’s a weapon of repression. And it was quickly and thoroughly Americanized. It’s ridiculous to treat it as an exotic import: it took root in American society and culture almost immediately after it was introduced.

Critical Theorists not only found a congenial home in the US, but some were even sent back to “reeducate” the Germans, who had been supposedly corrupted by their “authoritarian” families and “pseudo-democratic” experiences.

Although the Critical Theorists were mostly soft on the Communists, Cold War liberals like Seymour Martin Lipset and other contributors to Commentarystressed the usability of the Frankfurt School’s form of analysis for investigating all enemies of “liberal democracy,” including the Soviets.

The Soviet enemy, in this analysis, were defenders of patriarchal repression and “authoritarian personalities” that stood in the way of democratic progress.

Lipset was also concerned about “working class authoritarianism,” a focus very much present in the work of Adorno and Horkheimer [Political Man, by Seymour Martin Lipset, by Andrew Hacker, Commentary, June 1, 2015]. Communists, fascists and all the benighted simpletons toiling in factories potentially opposed American pluralism. Since we were engaged in a struggle to preserve our democratic, pluralist identity, we also had to be sure that young Americans were instilled with the proper attitudes about tolerance and equality.

One can find in the call for war against “un-American” prejudice beginning in the 1950s the tendency toward Leftist totalitarianism. One major change since then: the number and variety of supposed victims of “prejudice” continue to grow, together with the repressive measures that must be taken to intimidate possible dissenters.

There has also been a collapse in effective opposition to the Leftist Social Justice Warriors. Recent events in the South indicate even many descendants of Confederate soldiers are unwilling to defend their ancestral heritage against hysterical detractors.

The cultural Left, and no other political force, can put gigantic, screaming crowds into the streets in any American city on the spur of the moment. The official Right, by contrast, stays home watching Fox News.

In the absence of real opposition, the cultural-social Left is free to bully and lie as much as it wants. Media-empowered anti-anti-Semites, like ADL officials, freely equate the Confederacy with the perpetrators of the Holocaust, treating both as violent haters and sources of hate for later generations.

Our bogus Conservative Establishment happily rallies to Leftist social positions. No one on the Left sounds as unhinged as “conservative” journalists like Max Boot [Furling the Confederate flag is just the start, Commentary, June 22, 2015]. Or for that matter, Jeff Jacoby [The Confederate flag is anti-American, Boston Globe,July 9, 2015]. Republican congressmen and governors have been at least as zealous as their supposedly more Leftist opposition in calling for the obliteration of Confederate symbols and names.

One also discovers from the Beltway Right press that homosexual rights, including homosexual marriage, is a basic Western value and that European leaders like Victor Orban and Vladimir Putin don’t really belong to the West because they don’t welcome gay activists into the political and educational process [The Authentic Right vs. The Neocons, by Ilana Mercer, WND, December 21, 2007].

Even the relatively isolated, belated complaints of Donald Trump about the crime caused by Third World immigration have elicited frenzied attacks on bigotry from such GOP stalwarts as Linda Chavez and Jeb Bush [Trumped Up, Townhall, July 10, 2015]. Chavez, we might note, has taken valuable time out from bashing the Confederate Battle Flag to deal with the anti-immigration bigots on the right [Linda Chavez: No defending the indefensible, Daily Local News, June 28, 2015].

The Cultural Marxist threat isn’t an epidemic coming from outside: It is raging among our make-believe conservatives, who now often sound as radical as the Frankfurt School.

The critical difference, or so I’ve been told, is that our politicians are usually not self-described socialists, whereas the Critical Theorists were. But even that distinction may no longer be important. Our government and that of other Western countries has grown enormously and now interferes in our social and commercial life far more than it did eighty years ago. Moreover, the major thrust of Cultural Marxism has never been toward the nationalization of productive forces and other classical socialist schemes. It has always been cultural—toward the smashing of bourgeois values, Christian families, gender roles, and what was viewed as a repressive political culture. Government control of the economy was merely an instrument for moving toward the social-cultural goal that the Frankfurt School set for us.

And the social goals of Cultural Marxism are portrayed as the only alternative to a dark night of “fascism” that the ADL, the SPLC, and other like organizations are ostensibly protecting us from.

Yet the specter is never banished. The “Far Right” threat always remains. And as an ever greater number of people find themselves marginalized as “haters,” the actual tyranny taking shape in America could indeed be something even worse than the fevered “fascist” nightmares of the Left’s imagination.

Paul_GottfriedDr. Paul Gottfried is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was oiginally published at Vdare.com on July 21, 2015.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.