YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

November 25, 2016

German Romanticism, Hitler, Herder, and multiculturalism

foreskinmanAs I start this rumination, the disappointed liberals and their media are pointing fingers and yelling about the nefarious influence of Richard B. Spencer (a white racist and anti-Semite, who had nothing to do with the proposed Cabinet picks) on the incoming Trump administration. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_B._Spencer).

This web post aims to review the connections that I see between German Romanticism, the Third Reich, and the all-controlling progressive ideology of multiculturalism. I have gone through this material constantly, but my research may have been too abstruse for some readers. What follows is a systematic account of some disturbing history that is not widely known: ‘cultural studies,’ (like comparative literature) will come out as either proto-fascist or simply neo-Nazi.

J. G. von Herder was an 18th century Protestant theologian, celebrated now as the founder of cultural anthropology and its offshoots. As a German nationalist, he rejected all French influences (such as the ‘mechanical materialist’ French Enlightenment).

There was a Herder revival during the Nazi period. (I found this out when the UCLA library still publicized the dates of Herder publications; not surprisingly the professoriate in cultural studies and comp lit professors appear to ignore this renewed interest in Herder during the period when Nazis burned books of ‘dangerous’ writers).

What Herder did that earned him Nazi kudos was his invidious distinction between (good) rooted and (bad) rootless cosmopolitans (who probably represented money, materialism, and the mercantile principle—all alleged ‘Jewish’ sins).

American progressives also admired Herder as well as his fellow German Romantics. Woodrow Wilson’s internationalism can be seen as indebted to Herder and his counter-Enlightenment followers. (The German Enlightenment—Aufklärungcannot be conflated with such developments as the scientific revolution of the 17th century. Aufklärung was rather a reactionary move by organic conservatives, and it is the source of multiculturalism and one type of internationalism in the early 20th century. https://clarespark.com/2013/09/17/the-illusion-of-national-unity/.) For more on Herder’s nationalism and his followers, see https://clarespark.com/2010/10/18/the-dialectic-of-multiculturalism-helvetius-herder-fichte/. For the introduction of German Romanticism in progressive America, see https://clarespark.com/2010/07/20/german-romantic-predecessors-to-multiculturalism/.

Paris, June 28, 1919 Wilson in top hat

Paris, June 28, 1919 Wilson in top hat

What is the difference between a rooted cosmopolitan and a rootless cosmopolitan? This is a crucial distinction! Both Hitler and Stalin loathed ‘finance capital’ or the rule of money. These (grasping, uncompassionate) moneybag ‘Jews’ were rootless and indifferent to the plight of ordinary persons, it was held by the earthy and loving ‘rooted’ nationalists. (Both National Socialism and Soviet socialism would affix roots to the unpredictable wanderers of the working class.) The concept of the Volk or ‘people’s community’ was constantly promoted by the Hitler party.

How was the concept of rootedness carried forth in Hitler’s ‘secret’ book (1926)? The future Leader envisioned a world federation of volkisch states, each faithful to her group character, but all subordinated to the superior German people’s aims and objectives. (Here, the notion of der Führer-imposed state worship comes in.) For more discussion of this conception see https://clarespark.com/2015/06/13/hitlers-second-book-1928-his-war-aims-and-multiculturalism/.

It should be obvious now that multiculturalism, with its talk of ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity,’ in practice is the racist concept of rootedness. Multiculturalism is either fascist or proto-fascist in its implications for society. Upper-class Americans traveled in Germany during the late 19th century (after the onset of German nationalism culminating in Bismarck–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unification_of_Germany), and were perhaps impressed by the Iron Chancellor’s co-optative management of the red specter that had been haunting Europe during the Age of Revolution.

So when the pseudo-proletarians of the scribbling ‘Left’ media (such as the staff of Rolling Stone) sneer at the ‘white working class’ that voted for Trump, they are writing with the example of Nazi Hitler’s supposed compromise between capitalism and communism: the Third Way.

Does not all this sound like the dark meanderings of social democracy to you?

diversity and inclusion Wilsonian style

‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ Wilsonian style

 

June 4, 2016

Multiculturalism: the missing term in the Trump ‘fiasco’

Branco cartoon in Conservative Daily News

Branco cartoon in Conservative Daily News

Time will tell if Donald J. Trump has damaged his campaign by referring to the American judge presiding over his Trump University fraud case as “Mexican.” Such prestigious Fox commentators as Charles Krauthammer have clucked over this [allegedly horrendous gaffe] without mentioning that the hyphenated Americans are primarily identified through their “ethnicity” or “race.” (“I thought I married an Italian!” says Ancestry.com, not even bothering to hyphenate Italian-American.)

Such are the wages of the phony version of assimilation known as “multiculturalism,” now hegemonic in the world thanks to the triumph of Wilsonian internationalism—the enemy of nationalism, but thanks to the Left and even “moderate conservatives”, now de rigueur in all the hip universities as a weapon against “white supremacy.” See https://clarespark.com/2011/03/28/index-to-multiculturalism-blogs/.

(Only a few internet folk nail “multiculturalism”: such as Robert Spencer and various writers for Gatestone Institute, but alas, even these learnèd writers fail to mark the contrast between the “rootless cosmopolitan” [see Stalin on Jews] and the [preferred] “rooted cosmopolitan” celebrated by German Romantics reacting to the dreaded [materialist] Enlightenment.)

Krauthammer and others on Fox might have looked into the associations of Judge Gonzalo Curiel with Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the Democratic Party, but then CK originally worked for the Carter administration (but is said to have experienced disillusion with the LBJ’s war on poverty during the 1980s). He has made his reputation as a “board certified psychiatrist”… “open to empirical evidence” but not as a footnoting, archive-sleuthing historian or political scientist.

See this apparently researched article for contrast with CK’s rejection of Trump’s alleged bigotry. http://spectator.org/rigged-the-trial-of-trump-university/. I don’t agree entirely with this article, for the so-called Left will say that it is understandable that Latino and Latina lawyers should band together on the grounds that they are “oppressed” and “marginalized.” Forget that many aspire to be hired guns on behalf of Big Government.

Such are wages of multiculturalism, which emphasizes race/ethnicity and gender, but not “class.”

Many a conservative, along with much of the Left, don’t want any workers in their clubs. So much for national unity and/or Milton Friedman.

were-different-were-the-same

May 14, 2016

The difference between communists and social democrats

technology dominating nature; painting by Bansky

technology dominating nature; painting by Bansky

I have just finished reading Isaac Deutscher’s much criticized biography of Josef Stalin. Although it has been criticized as an attempt to rehabilitate the Soviet dictator, I learned (or reviewed) a lot about Stalinism, especially as viewed by a Marxist-Leninist. (For a long but comprehensive essay in opposition to Deutscher see (https://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/1950/09/deutscher-stalin.htm. I don’t agree with Schactman here; Deutscher’s notion of Stalin’s revolution from above was in response to the failure of communist revolution in the West. )

I am writing this blog because it is often difficult for conservatives unfamiliar with the USSR and generally down on progressivism, to tell the difference between different factions of “the Left” and the mass media won’t touch this subject, lest they reveal their own covert (?) “moderation” that places themselves in the sane middle, while their opponents are nuts.

Thus Bernie Sanders can pass himself off as a “democratic socialist” and run with the progressives, while implicitly denying that he is any kind of “extremist.”

No person educated in the basics of Marxism or Leninism would fall for this charade. I should not have to say this again, but Big Government is an elitist ploy by former laissez-faire capitalists to adapt to Red “proletarian internationalism” by a sharp move to the [populist] Left. See the explicit program of such as The Nation editor Oswald Garrison Villard in 1919, while Europe was in revolutionary turmoil. (https://clarespark.com/2012/07/19/communist-ideas-go-mainstream/, and https://clarespark.com/2009/09/19/populism-progressivism-and-corporatist-liberalism-in-the-nation-1919/.)

The communists of the 1930s were largely Stalinists, believing that capitalism was oppressive and would inevitably be overthrown by the (conscious) industrial working class, led by the USSR. They were underground, professed to be pro-technology, anti-racist and anti-capitalist (but not always anti-American), and were deeply shocked by Krushchev’s “revelations” of Red hanky-panky during the Stalin era (which Deutscher pooh-poohs as an attempt to elevate Stalin’s successors).

ecofeminism

All that changed with the turn toward agrarian nostalgia in the Maoist New Left, which elevated peasant revolts and was anti-imperialist. It is thus no accident that today’s Red/Pink Greens have seized upon the ostensibly bourgeois assault upon “Nature” as the centerpiece of their ‘revolutionary’ program, a program that Sanders (like Obama) endorses, for their anti-urban sentiments allege that the big, bad bourgeoisie were out to dominate Nature, and that “Nature” hath decreed that our species should be “rooted”.

Image by Hannah Yata

Image by Hannah Yata

Nothing worse than a “rootless” cosmopolitan; and here their “multicultural” argot agrees with post-WW2 Stalin about to embark upon a second Holocaust. The only point where today’s social democracies agree with communism (Russian style) is in their ever more obvious anti-Semitism.

September 26, 2014

What is critical thinking?

critical-thoughtEmbedded in the sharply polarized debates between political parties is a great slugfest on the teaching of US history. Many on the Right want a “patriotic” curriculum, while the Left insists that the Right is determined to abolish “critical thought” that the Leftists believe they uphold, without blemishes.

Neither Right nor Left is monolithic in its ideology, so this blog will focus on “critical thought”—how it is defined by the contemporary “Left” and how some elements of “the Right” feed into the most damaging “leftist” fantasies about a presumably monolithic “cowboy” Right mostly located in the Midwest (Texas) and the still wild, wild West, by which they mean Utah and Arizona, not of course the famously “Left Coast.”

By “critical thought” the Left, inspired by German philosophy, means negative critique of what is common institutional practice in the bourgeois West (i.e., the capitalist countries: the US, Western Europe, and Russia). The US is singled out for especially harsh criticism: deploying the categories invented by progressivism and the New Left version of Marxist-Leninism, our country is essentially imperialistic, racist, sexist, patriarchal, and ecocidal. Hence post-60s textbooks, influenced by identity politics, focus on those aspects of Western expansion: industrialization, and urbanization that exterminated and otherwise bullied non-whites, workers, women, and unspoiled Nature herself. (Think the references to Zinn and Chomsky in Good Will Hunting). Their remedies range from class struggle to the band-aids of progressivism: statist regulation, welfare statism, and conflict-resolution techniques to prevent the more drastic remedy of socialist revolution. Gone are the days when ‘liberals’ called themselves moderate conservatives or conservative reformers. ‘Liberals’ do not want to be confused with their “fascist” enemies: the Republican Party, even as many ‘liberals’ ape the most elitist and reactionary ideologies in the history of Western civilization, through multiculturalism, eschewing anything so gross as the rootless cosmopolitan, at home wherever s/he wanders.

By contrast and sometimes in reaction to this mandated negativity about the American past, many elements of the Right glorify the Founders and the original Constitution, resist the notion of a “living Constitution” that social democrats (‘liberals’) prefer, and campaign for school vouchers that will fund religious schools. Charter schools are dicey, for they may be covers for “secular progressivism” that some conservatives mistake for communist infiltration/atheism, all the while insisting that the Constitution was divinely inspired, and anyone who denies that is leading our children to perdition.

So much for our polarized competing ideologies as the election season looms upon us. What follows is my own definition of critical thought, gleaned from experience in graduate school, from interacting with a broad public on the radio, and on social media.

First of all, it is very hard to separate ourselves from family, friends, or peer groups in school or in the workplace. Most of us would prefer to preserve existing attachments, no matter how damaging to our understanding of ourselves and the increasingly dangerous and impenetrable world. Hence Obama’s appealing promise of “transparency” of government under his administration. That is a hot button to push, for it resonates with our deepest wishes to develop our individuality—without drowning.

Second, it takes a long time to figure anything out. Most of the problems facing the electorate and our children take years of close study to comprehend without a large dollop of prejudice or wish-fulfillment. Only an independent income and a willingness to stand alone yields the time and will to seek the truth. So we escape into sports, easy to comprehend conspiracy theories, or reliance on celebrities in academe or in the media to do our research for us, and we follow them, happy to have found a community of the  well-informed and like-minded, no matter how bogus.

But let us assume that we are so ‘monomaniacally’ driven (like Captain Ahab) as to solve problems for ourselves, to have our own perspective, that we actually make time and renounce some mindless activities that divert our attention.

My own approach to critical thought entails figuring out those “facts” that are in dispute. This is no easy task, when most people are captives of ideology where all controversies are settled, and where “facts” and “opinions” are mistaken for each other. When queried on this point by a Facebook friend who denied that facts were in dispute, I gave as examples, 1. the insistence by some “moderate men” that “extremists” (i.e., abolitionists and ‘fire-eaters’) caused the Civil War; and 2. That American Cold Warriors exaggerated the Soviet military threat (this was a claim of the Stalinoid Left). The reader will supply her own examples from everyday life, for whether or not there is a “war on women” is a hot subject today.

More often than not, differences in what facts are real, and what are factoids, are resolved through “virtuous expediency” to preserve social cohesion. This world is “soaked in lies” said Melville speaking through one of his narrators in his novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852), and condemning the moderate men and his own family secrets. (See https://clarespark.com/2011/06/12/call-me-isabel-a-reflection-on-lying/.)

Then there is the laborious task of sorting out competing narratives, noting which arguments are based on documentary evidence (which may also be misleading, not only forged but subjective, such as letters and diaries). I have been reading a compendium of Nazi institutional practices, defending the authors’ notion of the Third Reich as a “racial state” to which all was subordinated to protect the notion of a [purified Aryan] “people’s community.” What makes this book The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945 by Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann (UK: Cambridge UP, 1991) so helpful to critical thought is its detailed account of changing social policies and its awareness of competing narratives on the same subject. The chapter on women in Nazi Germany was especially revelatory, with some painful comparisons between Nazis practices and conservative religious groups that were “anti-Nazi.”

German-Family

Armed with concrete facts and precedents in actually existing authoritarian societies, the reader may see through the demagogic politicians who will represent themselves, in true knightly fashion, as the rescuers of women, non-whites, nature, and the school curricula. [For Wikipedia’s classification of types of criticism, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varieties_of_criticism. I find many of these examples ideological, but feel most comfortable with “scholarly criticism” though the example of Mike Davis as an exemplary scholarly critic is hilarious.]

June 17, 2011

The famed “Jewish vote”

Peter Bergson, born Hillel Kook

Roger Simon, Pajamas Media CEO, interviewed members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Los Angeles, and posted a short video of his sampling (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/pjtv-could-obama-lose-jewish-voters-in-2012/).  Interviewees included such prominent Republicans as Andrew Breitbart and Frank Luntz. At one point, Roger Simon asked one person if voting Democratic was “in our DNA?” Luntz, in a different interview, opined that Jews in Florida, Nevada and Ohio could sway the next election, implying that a majority of Jews did not have to switch parties to change the outcome of the election of 2012.

This blog is about the conception of “the Jewish vote” and an historical suggestion as to the apparent loyalty of a majority of “Jews” to a political party that is now openly hostile to Israel.  In no particular order:

The very conception of “the Jewish vote” is ideological and often racist in its assigning of a collective identity to “the Jews”.  For instance, Truman’s famous de facto recognition of Israel, barely beating out the Soviet Union’s recognition in May 1948, is sometimes  attributed to the concentration of Jews in New York City, and the importance of that constituency to his campaign for president. Or sometimes, his old Jewish friend and business partner Eddie Jacobson gets the credit for swaying Truman into accepting a meeting with Chaim Weizmann—an encounter that is said to have revitalized Truman’s sympathy for the plight of the stranded displaced persons who wished to emigrate to Israel, and who had incurred his wrath as overly pushy in their American representatives (Peter Bergson or Abba Hillel Silver).   What is left out of such narratives is the Cold War and the strategic position of Israel, a new state that was being ostentatiously wooed by the Soviet Union, and which could not have beaten its enemies without arms shipped secretly from Czechoslovakia.  (On the ever-expansionist Soviet Union: it expected Israelis to lead the Arab lower classes into revolution against the U.K. and its cooperating Arab elites.)

The bad part about predicting that Jews may switch parties because of Israel and its growing unpopularity among academic elites is this: it buttresses the antisemitic notion that Jews have dual loyalties, that they are indeed “ a people apart,” the Wandering Jews (rootless cosmopolitans) who never put down roots but adhere to tribal loyalties and the directives of their domineering, militaristic, and angry Jewish God as represented in the (Christian) Old Testament.  The irony is that few if any American presidents (relying on the Arabist State Department) have put the interests of Israel above the national interests of the U.S., notwithstanding the allegedly omnipotent “Jewish lobby.” (See https://clarespark.com/2009/09/11/oil-politics-and-obamas-view-of-israeli-history/.)

The second point is the long memory of Americans who are allegedly “Jewish” and who are liberal or Marxists through cultural (not biological) inheritance.  It is true that Tikkun Olam is a critical component of the Jewish faith and “Jewish” cultural identity (though its meaning is disputed, with many arguing that personal repentance and reparations, not a broad social activist mandate was intended), but possibly more important as a factor influencing “the Jewish vote” is this:  the vast majority of Americans of Jewish descent look back to grandparents and great-grandparents who were of Eastern European origin, and who made their way in America as workers and small businessmen.  They were often greeted by the nativism of WASP elites, or the antagonism of rival ethnic groups (Irish, Italian, Polish) in the tough neighborhoods where the penniless immigrants landed. Since many WASPs and progressive Catholics occupied powerful positions in the professions and in government, playing ball with the progressives was a route to assimilation and escape from the ghettoes. As for the famous Jews of Hollywood, whatever their personal feelings may have been, they catered to the populism of the American majority, which was profitable if masochistic, since populists have always hated “the money power,” a force that is unmistakably “Jewish,” as repulsive and aggressive as the “Jewish” God. And populism is more palatable in the Democratic Party, where successful persons of Jewish descent can continue to fight for the underdog and the outsider.

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