Skip to comments.A Philosophy - If You Can Get One (repost)
Posted on 06/13/2008 8:09:52 AM PDT by Noumenon
A Philosophy - If You can Get One
The Germans of the Weimar period were increasingly frustrated, angry, disgusted with the system, and ready for change. So are Americans. The Germans, following their intellectuals, were disgusted with what they regarded as reason and freedom, and they were ready for Hitler. The Americans are disgusted with unreason and statism; but they are directionless. Without intellectual guidance, they do not know what went wrong with their system or how to prevent the countrys disintegration and collapse.
Thus, by default despite the profound differences between Americans and the pre-Hitler Germans the similarities between the two nations, the similarities between their intellectuals and the social trends they shape, are growing. The most ominous aspect of the trend is that, if it is not reversed, it will ultimately change the character of the American people. It has already begun to do so.
The philosophy that shapes a nations culture and institutions tends, other things being equal, to become a self-fulfilling prophecy: by creating the conditions and setting of mens daily life, it increasingly establishes itself as an unquestioned frame of reference in most peoples minds. A society shaped by altruism, for instance a society of chronic, politically enforced man-eat-man policies in the name of the public welfare leads many of its victims to feel that safety lies in flaunting public service, that selfishness (the selfishness of others, who are draining them) is a threat, and that the solution is to urge and practice greater selflessness. A society shaped by collectivism, in which the only effective means of survival is the group or the state, leads many to feel that the ideas and the personal independence appropriate to an individualist era are no longer possible or relevant. A society shaped by irrationalism a society dominated by incomprehensible crisis and inexplicable injustice and the constant eruptions of a senseless, nihilist culture leads many to feel that the world cannot be understood, i.e, that their own mind is inadequate, and that they need guidance from some higher power.
Thus, corrupt ideas, once institutionalized, tend to be continually reinforced (the same would hold true of rational ideas); and the unphilosophical men, however decent their own unidentified premises might be, eventually succumb. Across a span of generations they gradually relinquish any better heritage. In part, they are yielding to the explicit ideological promptings of their teachers and the universities. In part, they are adapting resignedly to what they have come to accept from their own experience as the facts and necessities of life.
The American spirit has not yet been destroyed, but it cannot withstand this kind of undermining indefinitely. If the United States continues to go the way of all Europe, the peoples rebellion against the present intellectual leadership will be perverted, and re-channeled into an opposite course.
Nonintellectual rebels cannot challenge the fundamental ideas they have been taught. All they can do by way of rebellion is to accept a series of false alternatives urged by their teachers, and then defiantly choose what they regard as the anti-establishment side. Thus, the proliferation of groups that uphold anti-intellectuality as the only alternative to todays intellectuals; mindless activism as the alternative to moderation; Christian faith as the alternative to nihilism; female inferiority as the alternative to feminism; racism as the alternative to egalitarianism; sacrifice in behalf of a united nation, as the alternative to sacrifice on behalf of warring pressure groups; and government controls for the sake of the middle class, as the alternative to government controls for the sake of the rich or the poor.
The type of mentality produced by these choices activist, religionist, racist, nationalist, authoritarian would have been familiar in the Weimar Republic.
If it happens here, the primary responsibility will not belong to the people, who still reject such a mentality and are groping for a better kind of answer. The responsibility will belong to those who banished from the schools all knowledge of the original American system, and who would have finally convinced the nation that mens only choice is a choice of dictatorships.
No one can predict the form or the timing of the catastrophe that will befall this country if our direction is not changed. No one can know the concatenation of crises, in what progression of steps and across what interval of years, would finally break the nations spirit and system of government. No one can know whether such a breakdown would lead to an American dictatorship directly or indirectly, after a civil war and/or a protracted Dark Ages of primitive roving gangs.
What one can know is only this much: the end result of the countrys present course is some kind of dictatorship; and the cultural-political signs for may years now have been pointing increasingly to one kind in particular. The signs have been pointing to an American form of Nazism.
If the political trend remains unchanged, the same fate collapse and ultimate dictatorship is in store for the countries of Western Europe, which are farther along the statist road than America is, and which are now obviously In the process of decline and disintegration. (The Communist countries and the so-called third world have long since fallen, or have never risen to anything.) A European dictatorship need not be identical to an American one; dictatorships can vary widely in form, according to a given peoples special history, traditions, and crises; in form, but not in essence. Most of the East is gone. The West is going.
A German intellectual made the following statement after the Nazis fell from power.
In the early days of Hitlers regime, he recalled, anyone troubled by the Nazi practices and concerned about Germanys future was shrugged off as an alarmist. And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you cant prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you dont know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic.
One can know, or surmise the end by knowing what cause produces what effect, i.e., what factor determines the fate of nations.
Today, the only nation still capable of saving itself, and thereby the world, is the United States. It can do so only by one means.
The Constitution cannot stop the trend. A constitution, however noble, cannot stand the death or eclipse of its animating principle.
Religion cannot stop the trend. It helped to cause it.
The demonstrated practicality of the original American system cannot stop the trend. Practicality as such does not move nations.
The profound differences between America and Germany the differences in history, institutions, heroes, national character, starting premises - cannot stop the trend. After a century, a crucial similarity began to develop between the two countries, the similarity of basic ideas; and this one similarity is gradually overriding, subverting, or negating the differences, and consigning their remnants to the dead end the unappreciated, the undefended, the historically impotent.
There is only one antidote to todays trend: a new, pro-reason philosophy. Such a philosophy would have to offer for the first time a full statement and an unbreached defense of the fundamental ideas of America.
The same German intellectual quoted above, looking back at Hitler's rise to power said,
"Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about - we were decent people - and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies', without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?"
, Milton Mayer, U of Chicago Press, pp 167-68.
Who indeed wants to think? And in case you don't, try reading a little of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag to get an idea of how far we have yet to fall. Who wants to consider the fundamental premises and ideas necessary to a free and a just society? Evidently, most of us don't think it's worth the time, if we even bother to think that much.
Peikoff's words should haunt you - the evidence and the proof of his premises is written in the historical record - and its playing itself out right in front of the dazed and bemused eyes of the walking dead who think they're free Americans.
As Peikoff said - "There is only one antidote to todays trend: a new, pro-reason philosophy. Such a philosophy would have to offer for the first time a full statement and an unbreached defense of the fundamental ideas of America."
The foundation of this nation lay in the assumption that we were wise enough to control our own lives. Everything that the Founders wrote reflects this underlying assumption. They believed, without exception (even those with strong religious beliefs) that the Church should play no role in the conduct of government because of the Church's tendency to manipulate or otherwise usurp control of the populace's lives in ways the Founders found abhorrent. They were strongly pro-gun; firearms made it possible for a citizen to protect himself from encroachments upon his liberty, even by his own government. They desired a free press because they believed that as individuals, we were wise enough to make decisions that would ultimately be beneficial to the larger community. In short, the Founders produced the first nation ever in the history of the world based upon an idea a philosophy, if you will - of freedom. Sadly, we are witness to its fall.
Now, the despicable and contemptible lot of political whores that we have voted and applauded into office speaks of party loyalty when they should be speaking of liberty.
They speak of unity when they should be speaking of independence and self-determination.
A mere handful uphold and defend a set of values necessary for a free and a just society.
Most of them are willing to compromise their principles for the sake of "getting along."
Virtually none of them demonstrate an understanding, much less a passion for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - or the philosophical, metaphysical, and epistemological fundamentals upon which those documents are based.
Virtually none of them uphold the ideals of the Founding Fathers: individual freedom and the right to own the products of ones labor based upon the rule of law - the only logical and proper conditions for a just and free society. Why? Because they don't believe in them! And they don't understand them!
Once a nation such as ours loses sight of the philosophical principles upon which it was founded, it is lost. A man without a firm grasp of unbreachable and intransigent moral principles based upon reason is a man disarmed. We are a nation disarmed - morally, ethically, and philosophically. The silence of our alleged representatives concerning the encroachment on our fundamental rights speaks more eloquently than anything I can write. Don't you suppose that the real reason for the 'silence of the damned' is simply because they have nothing to say?
"I heard no mention of the loss of personal freedom... Apparently this was not much of a sacrifice. They couldn't have cared less."
William Shirer, "Hitler and the Third Reich: First Impressions", from The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940 (Little, Brown, and Co., 1984)
You are evading the truth if you deny the reality of the systematic abrogation of the rule of law and the destruction of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the hands of the mainstream press and the two major American political parties. Once it has become apparent that the rule of law no longer applies to the common man; once the application of existing law has become arbitrary and outcomes subject to the amount of money one can apply; once laws are made and applied in such a way that it becomes virtually impossible to exist without violating them - the party's over.
Some of us are willing to acknowledge the indisputable and incontrovertible evidence that the rule of law is all but dead, and that the political process as it now exists is irretrievably corrupt. The rest of you cling to the fiction that the rule of law still governs, and that the first principles of human freedom upon which our nation was founded are honored and upheld, much less understood. And that's the dirty secret, isn't it? Too many of us are willing to look the other way, to deny the evidence, to pretend that it doesn't matter. The loss of our freedom is akin to the crazy uncle locked up in the basement - we all know he's there; we just won't talk about it. But I will. I will remind you all from time to time of the good work your favorite - and not so favorite representatives are doing in the service of tyranny.
Time for Atlas to shrug - and pick up a gun.
We don’t need a philosophy, that is an old German Romantic concept. Disaster follows automatically when a philosophy is adopted, that is history. We should learn how to philosophize.
It never became more evident as to what is at work here since the election of President Bush.
They were out to destroy him and this nation. There was to be NO evidence other than THEIR evidence.
My mother who lived through the Nazi era, told me to be alert, even told me to change parties because, ‘They’re back’ They were never destroyed. The type of ideology that means to control the population never dies.
Is history repeating itself or just following suite?
About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage “
I’d say we’re on #6 some people are already at #8.
The title of the article is, “A Philosophy - If You Can Get One.”
You arrive at a particular philosophy by philosophizing, as you say. You become a philosopher every time you make a distinction between right and wrong, good and bad.
No one is calling for the intellectual - and soulless - rigor mortis of the systems of thought offered by the likes of Hegel and Spengler. And neither is Peikoff.
The problem is that by refusing to think, or philsophize, we arrive at the likes of Obama followers-worshippers. They’re all willing to hand it over to him - to hand over their own intellectual and spiritual soveriegnty. History is very clear on the outcome.
They’re looking for Utopia. What they’re going to get is hell.
One has a philosophy whether one wants to or not or knows it or not. Choosing not to adopt one is also a philosophy -- albeit a foolish one in my opinion.
Maxims are not philosophy.
Bookmarking for an in-depth read later...
History itself has no volition. But men do. There are aspects of our nature that have remained more or less constant for thousands of years. As Margaret Thatcher once said,
“Freedom is not synonomous with an easy life. There are many difficult things about freedom. It does not give you safety, it creates moral dilemmas for you; it requires self-discipline; it imposes great responsibilities. But such is the nature of man and in such lies his glory and his salvation.”
This is what the Obamanations want to take away from us...
The Brown Shirts are already agitating in the streets. Up to August we’ll probably see a steady increase of thuggery, and afterwards, who knows? Sorry about the folks in Denver.
Knife and gun are my constant companions.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised it received such little response, even here on FR, where the daily fluff gets many times the traffic. Sad testament I suspect.
As for your last line, I'll be doing that this afternoon. Found a sweet little used Sig at my local dealer.
Call it my personal celebration of Heller.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
Thanks for the ping!
Thanky Meek. I think it’s an exemplary article; maybe I’m too easily impressed...
This is a pretty good description of the minds of most young people today. Freedom means nothing - it's a mere abstraction, and many are actually hostile to the notion. This is, after all, what they've bee ntaught in detail by their schools, their parents and most of all by popular culture. They've heard the mantra of self-sacrifice, altruism and socialism from their teachers, from their pulpits (if they bother to go) and from their cultural icons. Who wants the responsibility? Who wants to think?
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