Dueling Twins

Civilization

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The 'Dueling Twins'

In history the way of annihilation is invariably prepared by inward degeneration, by decrease of life.
Only then can a shock from outside put an end to the whole
Jakob Burckhardt

Counterpoint:

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Agoraphobia
 
James Hall, From the Left

Could Sartre be unaware that pagan philosophy, art, and culture are major threads in our Western Civilization, an inseparable part of its warp and woof?  That the founding fathers admired and adopted the common law of their pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, going back to the mists of time?  That they admired the art, architecture, laws and philosophies of the Romans, from whom they took the notion of their Senate and Republican form of government, and of the Greeks, from whom they took the idea of democracy and the architecture that graces the nation's chief buildings--its Capitol, its Lincoln and Washington Memorials and Supreme Court?  Whose ideas for the disciplines of science became the basis of the West's technological progress and superiority?  Try to tear out these threads from our nation's cultural cloth, and you would rip it to shreds.

The very organization of Western culture illustrates the fruitful melding of pagan and Christian ideas--just as Christians combined their religious practices with Jewish forms and traditions in the early church.  The earliest Christian Bibles were written in Greek (the Septuagint), Christian churches were designed after Greek and Roman temples, and even the church organization, with its structure of deacon, priest, bishop, and pontiff was ordered along the lines of the Imperial Roman hierarchy.  Our Western civilization has benefited from the impact of many other "pagan" cultures, deriving gunpowder, guns, cannons, and rockets from the Chinese, an efficient mathematics from India through the Arabs, and nutritious foodstuffs like corn and potatoes from north and South America--raising living standards in America and Europe.

What this melding demonstrates is that interaction with the world creates change that is sometimes chaotic, but very often beneficial to us.  As conservators of the old traditions, people like Sartre naturally fear change and argue against it.  But change is impossible to stop; it can only be shaped as we choose what is good for us and what is not.  John Locke, whose "A Letter Concerning Toleration" is the definitive word on understanding and tolerating that which is different from us, argued that the world is a marketplace of ideas, where competition guarantees that the most effective ideas and philosophies survive.

Those who fear this marketplace of ideas naturally want to limit or curtail it altogether.  But this agoraphobia--"fear of the marketplace"--is a disease to be treated, not a national policy to be implemented.  It's a strange fear, too, when one considers the huge influence of America and its institutions, cultural, economic and political, around the world.  Far from being swamped by foreign influence, American influence is preeminent around the world--Amercan products, culture, and American democracy on the rise everywhere one looks.

The vast majority of immigrants to America come to learn from us, to become Americans themselves.  But we've heard Peter's cry of "Wolf" before with waves of immigrants coming to this country. In the 1840s, Americans protested the influx of Irish immigrants, calling them people of loose morality, disease-ridden, and Roman Catholic to boot, their religion sullying the purity of American Protestantism.  In the 1890s groups of non-English-speaking Italians, Slavs, Greeks and Jews, were feared and despised because they were so different from the Anglo-Saxon majority.  Japanese and Chinese-Americans entered the country in large numbers from 1850-1910.  Each time there were cries that America would be swamped, and each time America adjusted and became stronger.  What's different now?

Occasionally other societies have given in to their fear of 'cultural pollution' and closed their borders to the outside world--usually with disastrous results.  Tokugawa Japan did this and only the threat of the West's modern military might observed in Commodore Perry's visiting armada compelled the Japanese to resume trade and contacts.  Imperial China faired worse when it closed its doors to all outsiders, building the Great Wall, and slowly stagnated, becoming an easy target for exploitation by the modern industrialized nations of 19th and 20th Century Europe.  The Iron Curtain, meant to keep out the infecting cultural ideas of the West, instead choked the economy of the Soviet Union and its client states to death.

We shouldn't fear the future.  If our ideals, values, and institutions are worthy, they will survive now as they have done before. Competition is one thing the American culture thrives on.  As Jesus said, if our house is built on rock then it will survive; if it is built on the shifting sands, it deserves to sink into the waves.  I am confident that the American way of life--with its intertwined pagan and Judeo-Christian roots--is a house built on rock.

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Final Word:

Mr. Sartre, stop your whimpering and look at the facts for a change.  Trying to pin the emblem of Imperial America on liberals is wrong.  The destructive "paganism" that Mr. Kaplan teaches is actually an artifact of Machiavelli and Bismarck known as realpolitick.  Realpolitick as it is practiced in America is the child of the right, not of liberalism, a policy carefully nurtured by Nixon and Kissinger, Reagan and Schultz, Bush and Baker.
 
Liberals have long supported instead the foreign policy of President Wilson--based upon the Christian Golden Rule--the treatment of all nations as equally sovereign, the submission of disputes to third-party negotiation rather than war, the support of liberal democratic values and human rights throughout the world.  These Wilsonian values directly contradict the harsh imperialism of realpolitick, and their goal is to spread American and Western values around the world, not to submit to being swamped by antiliberal values such as Kaplan's.
 
Liberals like John Locke, whose ideas served the founders so well, believed that the ideals essential to this country--the guarantee of inalienable rights, liberty and justice for all--could easily withstand comparison and competition from abroad.  They have outlasted the once-powerful ideas of Monarchism, Colonialism, Fascism, and Communism, and they will now withstand the idea of Globalization, Mr. Sartre's fears notwithstanding.  If Mr. Sartre had the same faith in the marketplace of ideas as he professes to have in the marketplace of goods and services, he would be confident that American and Western values will survive, despite waves of immigration and the fires of debate.
 
If ideas do fall by the wayside, it's because they're no longer worthy of the American spirit and American values.  Slavery, the states' right of secession, abolition, segregation, poll-taxes are all values once enshrined by the constitution or tradition and found to be unworthy of America today.  Change is a fact of life, and Americans in the future will deal with things we can only dimly conceive of.  Still, we have a system that guarantees a vigorous competition of ideas, and the truth will out.
 
James Hall, From the Left

Point:

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Who Is Destroying Western Civilization?

For those of us who champion the Judeo-Christian values of Western Civilization, it is disturbing to comprehend the message in the Robert D Kaplan book, Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos. In essence Mr Kaplan argues that our heritage in traditional values, needs to be relegated to "personal virtues", and should not underpin our foreign policy. He lauds Tiberius as a model for Roman Imperialism, and commends Machiavelli for his pragmatic social advice. Hardly the finest examples of enlightened achievements in our cultural legacy. If this is the best model to shape our world view, just how civilized are we to begin with?

So it comes as little surprise when Newt Gingrich showers praise and applauds for this notion of Imperium. Newt's comments: "He offers intelligent insights into America's role in the world, the inevitable nature of third world violence in the next half-century and the challenge of creating effective responses and sustainable strategies and institutions." What we have is another justification of the 'Third Wave' style for a course in world policy, that gives lip service to moral principles, while practicing harsh and punitive conflict. We know that Gingrich and Tony Blair have a common mentor and share the same wavelength, now we have Newt abandoning the very tenants of his "Renewing American Civilization" course. Is Gingrich a closet pagan?

The answer resides within the amoral values that Kaplan argues - hardly the utilitarian version of 'what works' found in John Stuart Mill or Jeremy Bentham. If American self interest requires the domination of any foe, what is left of our Judeo-Christian beliefs?

Hobbes may be correct on the natural condition of man, but the essence of our entire heritage seeks to answer the question: "What do we do about this corrupt nature?" Kaplan's response is to out do - the evil doers, with more effective hostility.

Now consider the thesis of Pat Buchanan in his latest book, The Death of the West. Using U.N. population statistics and U.S. census figures, he documents an undeniable trend in demographics. The conclusion is clear! Their significance is what needs to be examined. Can any objective person claim that Judeo-Christian Western Civilization are the standard cultural values of those who are invading Europe and America? With exploding birth rates and reluctance to assimilate or accept our traditional values, our civilization is doomed.

The threat is not the shades of color from a rainbow; but one from hordes of opposing values, cultures and customs. Without a willingness to adopt, accept and respect our civilization, our society will collapse from within. Would you deny the consequences of forfeiting our system of social order and be willing to relinquish your culture to an amalgamation of alien and clashing beliefs? Defending such a fate, would be irrational.

So are you willing to employ the pattern and practices advocated by Mr Kaplan? If it is operationally efficient to accept the advise of Thucydides, Sun Tzu and Livy, as Mr Kaplan suggests; why are you unwilling to use such methods to preserve your own heritage? Do you cherish our Judeo-Christian ethics, more than the 'realpolitik' of the power politics of a Bismarck or Stalin.  If you did, you would recognize that the kind of 'incursion' that Mr Buchanan warns about, comes from cultures that share more in common with Mao Zedong, than Washington or Jefferson.

The lesson that most refuse to learn is that the continuous disintegration of Western Civilization, lays at the hands of the Kaplan's, Gingrich's and Blair's; just as much as the influx of barbarians. Our own leaders have renounced the essential values that have separated the West from the rest of the world. Accepting the mindset "it's the economy stupid!", has driven the mass culture to self implode. Preaching the 'PC' benefits of open borders, results in fresh votes for collectivism. And repudiating traditional morality for secular relativism, rationalizes this cultural suicide.

Somehow, I doubt that the liberal partisan detests the collapse of our institutions and heritage. It seems that their quotient of civilization, approaches the common denominator of the illegal alien, they assist in breaking our immigration laws. They welcome the lowering of standards, because they intellectualize that their new found retainers will show loyalty towards them. Only a lamebrain would sacrifice their inheritance for the apparition of a homogeneous society, of unlimited diversed humanism.

If this vision is supposed to be the strength of our civilization, we no longer have anything left to preserve. The pagan ethos is Man at his worst. Keep your condition of perpetual denial intact and one day you will wake up to the sound of  "We Are The World", with no mention of your place in it. Ignore Buchanan's warning at the risk of losing all that has been achieved in the West. Accept Kaplan's mores and wage continuous warfare. Follow Gingrich and Blair 'Third Wave' and you will find yourselves living in a real brave new world. Explain if you can, this willingness to obliterate our culture? Just how much of civilization are you willing to destroy to satisfy your goal for humanity? The clock it ticking and time is running out. When it stops, all we know will disappear and no long exist.

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Rebuttal:

Since the 'Commissar of Collectivism' wishes to avoid the point, let's make it clear, even to him. Western Civilization's triumph is the recognition that the value of each person is sacred. How nice that this Wiccan of paganism defends the practices of Baal. Just what is next? Does your open-mindedness include the likes of Aleister Crowley and the Marque de Sade? Tolerance becomes perversion when you seek to accept those who will never respect the essence of our cultural achievement. Even lost souls have the potential for redemption, but their atonement obligates acceptance in principles of worth.

No one wants fundamental change that requires radical action more than I. Failing to acknowledge that your 'progress' actually destroys the nature of Civilization, demands that you reduce standards of purpose to accommodate the barbarian into your perverse marketplace of relativism. Agoraphoria correctly refers to a fear of open spaces. Nothing obliterates human stability more than abandonment of morals values. Couple the herding of strays and deviate cultures that reject and refuse to accept your tradition, and you have all the ingredients for collapse of the society. One that eradicates all open spaces.

Ideas need to be vigorously debated, but false philosophies need not be accepted. Our shared duty is to preserve our cultural heritage; not smash it from within by quislings, or from without, by allowing foreign conquerers to delude our principles. When people confuse their 'roots' with their achievements, we are in trouble. Anyone can accept the moral values of civilized life. But not all have that objective as their goal. When a disease is infecting the body politick, the organism requires treatment. For James, change  equates with commingling into a cauldron of collectivism. Many colors, aromas and flavors; but all diversity placed under One RULE.

The Hindu god Vishnu pronouncement "destroyer of worlds" applies to more than Oppenheimer's horror of the atomic era. It aptly applies to the disintegration of our Western Civilization by the twin forces of cultural regression. Druids like yourself dissolve the fabric of our heritage with egalitarian dribble, while infidels breach our culture in the hope of replacing it. Each person has intrinsic value, but each is not equal. This principle also applies to specious philosophies and occult cultures.

T S Elliot had it right in his visionary poem: The Hollow Man "This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper"

Sums up your 'cultural pollution' quite nicely . . .

James Hall - 'The Right'


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Equality, in a social sense, may be divided into that of condition, and that of rights. Equality of condition is incompatible with civilization, and is found only to exist in those communities that are but slightly removed from the savage state. In practice, it can only mean a common misery.
  James Fenimore Cooper

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