YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

April 5, 2014

Standing up to bullying social democrats

 

FatCatArt.ru

FatCatArt.ru

I have been reading Peter Weiler’s biography of Ernest Bevin, a leading social democrat in early 20th century Britain, and it is a lucid guide to what social democrats (i.e., the moderate men) are and how they came to power. Weiler also explains populist antisemitism, which may be intrinsic to the social democratic world view. For labor reformer Bevin, socialism was all about controlling Shylock (p.74). (SD will be my shorthand for social democrats.)

The SD world view is this: they are not militants of the labor movement: their goal is not a worker’s state. Rather, they aimed for better wages, working conditions, and life chances for the once growing industrial working class. For the SDs, this would be accomplished through trade unionism and state power that would regulate capitalism, especially the financial sector. Professor Weiler calls this strategy corporatism or labourism. I call it proto-fascism. Many scholars refer to Italian Fascism as the “corporative state” or the “ethical state,” For the corporative state mediated between employers and workers, imposing harmony through state power. Many scholars compare the New Deal to the Mussolini solution to class warfare.

ENTER THE JEWS. As Weiler tells it, Bevin saw industrialists as natural allies to workers, whereas the money men were managing affairs in their own interests alone, cutting down profits for industrialists. Lowered profits meant that workers would have to take it on the chin, lowering wages so that fat cat financiers could maintain their outrageous life styles, while workers languished, unprotected and unloved. “Money” and heartlessness were ever associated with a fictional un-Christian animal called “the Jews.” Some major social theorists blamed “the Protestant spirit” for capitalism (e.g. Max Weber, C. Wright Mills), Protestantism being tinged with Hebraism and a particular love for the Old Testament. (See https://clarespark.com/2012/10/07/christian-socialism-as-precursor-to-orwell/.)

J. A. Hobson, a journalist, was read by “progressive” Brits and Americans alike (including Bevin), and it was he who was most aggressive in spreading the word that “the international Jew” not only was a cabal of money men, it controlled all newspapers and the media. (The Nation magazine in 1919 cited Hobson’s work: see https://clarespark.com/2009/09/19/populism-progressivism-and-corporatist-liberalism-in-the-nation-1919/. Also https://clarespark.com/2009/09/18/bad-sex-in-the-new-york-times/.) The widely circulated Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a hot item in the Arab world today) made the further claim that the cabal would urge their readers to rise up and overthrow their nationalist masters, so that “the Jews” could move in, attack religion, and thus control the world, as was their inheritance as the Chosen People. Reform Jews ran away from this stereotype and many are ready to cave into a “binational state” in Israel as a way of pacifying their SD rulers and the Muslim world.

What does this have to do with standing up to bullying social democrats? As long as our intellectuals look to the state or any other bureaucracy or tribal entity to enforce “social justice” we are doomed to an eternity of authoritarian rule. Human rights do not encompass the rights of the corporative state (a.k.a. the welfare state) to substitute for individual choice and individual responsibility. Human rights are about standing up to illegitimate authority, wherever it may be hiding in the nooks and crannies of our consciousness. This task is not as easy as it sounds. (For part two of this essay see https://clarespark.com/2014/04/06/standing-up-to-bullying-social-democrats-2/.) midwest-map

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September 8, 2012

What is a materialist?

What is a materialist? This question cannot be answered without asking what is an organic conservative.  See https://clarespark.com/2010/03/05/organic-conservatives-and-hitler/, in which I give examples taken from my book on the Melville Revival. That essay takes patience and time, so I will attempt a more accessible account below.

This blog focuses entirely on what we mean by materialists and materialism, since the meanings of this term have proliferated, and are frequently deployed in partisan propaganda, but rarely with a definition of what the term signifies.

As a term of abuse, materialism refers to the excessive consumption promoted by free market capitalism, often viewed as a self-serving innovation of “the International Jew.” Leftists, whether of the Democratic Party or of the hard Left, believe that the desire for Things has taken precedence over Love thy Neighbor, and produced a loathsome narcissism, and worse, “bourgeoisifying” what should have been a revolutionary working class. Such love of material comfort, it is alleged, has only served to place the “rootless” individual into the iron cage of materialism (Max Weber), for such a one has emptied herself of “spirituality”.

Minimalist architecture and design addressed the froufrou of excessive ornamentation with a return to simplicity, even austerity. And neoclassical austerity is the preferred style of communism and related ideologies interested in high quality mass production that would re-spiritualize the irreligious urban masses. (One branch of feminist art addressed such austerity as typical of the male sensibility, and produced in reaction, pattern painting. Some of its leading artists have been Miriam Schapiro and Joyce Kozloff, notwithstanding their liberal or leftist sympathies. I could have added Judy Chicago to this group, in her rehabilitation of painting on china or embroidery, once considered to be crafts practiced by women, and demeaned accordingly.)

Joyce Kozloff image

Materialism as empiricism, as a route to knowledge known to some Greek philosophers, was mostly a product of the Reformation and then the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, but even a materialist like Hobbes warned against the untrammeled search for truth as a dangerous “passion.” (Catholic scholars have pointed out that much science was developed by medieval monks, and they are right.)

The German Enlightenment of the 18th century was reactionary as it undermined “materialism” with its mystical notion of national character and Zeitgeist or “the spirit of the age.” Society was held together by mystical bonds of blood and soil, but Herder, the chief proponent of “national character” arranged his different societies in a hierarchy that favored Germans and ancient Greeks. See https://clarespark.com/2010/10/18/the-dialectic-of-multiculturalism-helvetius-herder-fichte/, and https://clarespark.com/2010/07/20/german-romantic-predecessors-to-multiculturalism/.

To conclude this short blog, a materialist historian looks at the evidence of this world, although with a skeptical eye, for we understand that we are capable of misreading primary sources, and that primary source materials are themselves sometimes wrong or distorted by diarists, the records of courts, etc. (Or primary source materials may be hidden by secretive tyrants, an ongoing problem for historians and the better journalists.) We also tend to look to similar material interests as a route to social solidarity, not to mystical bonds that are posited by the organic conservatives (e.g. populists/progressives asserting “the public interest” over the ever-selfish “individual”). And the latter mystics are found all over the political spectrum.  To see “things as they are” is no easy matter, and beware of those experts who abuse “evidence” to please a client or an institution or a political party. For more on this point, see (https://clarespark.com/2013/12/13/culture-wars-religion-and-the-neurotic-historian/.)

Note: My use of the Bauhaus and its neoclassical underpinnings (mystical) are derived from Barbara Haskell’s essay in the catalog to the recent exhibition of Lyonel Feininger’s career in Germany and America. See  http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/LyonelFeininger. Haskell explains that the Bauhaus (Feininger was a member) attempted to revive the medieval unity of arts and crafts, i.e., as a restoration of spirituality. This was a powerful insight for me.

June 3, 2011

Neo-isolationists and the Jewish Problem

Here is a comment from a Pajamas Media reader, responding to Debra Glazer’s article (6-3-11)  regarding an Orange County, California Jewish organization that has been  funding anti-Israel propaganda:

[Comment from “Nickel”:]  “It is time for the Jewish community to clean its’ own house before the looming war in the Middle East asks thousand(s) of young Americans to die fighting to help protect Isreal [sic]. The majority of Americans are willing to fight to defend Israel but not if those that are funding and organizing the destruction of Israel and the destabilization of the entire Middle East are also part of the recognized Jewish American community. Communism is not a religion it is a mental disorder and it is about time the Jewish community world wide purged its members.”

Here is the comment I left in response to this one and to another one that referred to “Jew-haters” among Jews:

[Clare:] Not all American Jews are “Jew-haters.” Recall that the major period of Jewish immigration to the U.S. lasted a short time, starting in the last few decades of the 19th century and stopped by the 1924 Immigration Act, a law that reacted to presumably communistic “Polish Jews.” Many immigrants were poor and lived in tenements and worked in sweatshops. Their descendants, thanks to the Jewish tradition of respect for education, experienced astonishing upward mobility, but that mobility was limited by a WASP elite, so that Jews were successful in the professions and in the new culture industry (radio, film, television) that WASPS spurned. In order to succeed many assimilated to the populist-progressive movement and its attendant statism (including the legitimating of labor unions), while others (especially during the Depression) became activists on the Left. The situation is now changing as the Islamic threat is obviously making headway. I hope that the comments above are not repeating common antisemitic tropes, such as the belief that Jews are a people apart. There is no “world wide” Jewish community or “Jewish Americans” with the power to purge its members. Jews are scattered, and often at odds with each other. Here is one of many blogs that takes up these matters: https://clarespark.com/2011/05/20/the-mentalist-melville-blake-and-israel/. [end comment, slightly corrected]

To elaborate on these points: the comment I quoted reiterated common antisemitic tropes,  that could be applied to collectivist rhetoric in the description of other minority groups. There is no such thing as a world-wide Jewish community. The phrase “Jewish Americans” is part of the ethnic nationalist/ multiculturalist project that separates out the hyphenated Americans from regular Americans. (On assimilation see https://clarespark.com/2011/06/02/glossary-to-some-terms-in-dispute/) now retitled “The Mass Culture Problem.”

The notion that Jews are so organized that they can purge their “communist” members reflects the myth of the all-powerful  International Jew.” Moreover, and most importantly, persons of Jewish descent who become communists renounce any ties to a Jewish identity and marry themselves to proletarian internationalism. The fact that they are still considered to be Jews is an example of “scientific racism.” “The Jews” remain defined by others because of a widespread  belief in the inheritance of racial character.

After decades of genteel antisemitism, finally, there are Jews in the Republican Party. Upper class Americans, until the Shoah, excluded all but a few Jews from their corporations, playgrounds, and secret societies in the Ivy League, not to speak of the imposition of race-based quotas in the better colleges’ admission policies. And while the “progressive”  patricians invented the New Deal and multiculturalism (with the aid of useful assimilating Jews), they neglected to put antisemitism in their reformed civil rights-inspired curricula, though a few schools sponsor “Holocaust Studies” while at the same time, further peace studies and conflict-resolution, ignoring all irreconcilable conflicts, especially those between Israel and its Arab and Iranian neighbors.

My last observation on “Nickel’s” comment: he is almost sounding like Patrick Buchanan, Ron Paul, or earlier, Charles Lindbergh in his famous America First speech, delivered on September 11, 1941 in Des Moines. “Lindy” was arguing against American involvement in a world war to save the Jews.*  Similarly, the Nazi propaganda campaign emphasized world war 2 as started by “the Jews” who were out to exterminate the German people.

“Nickel” has not gone that far, but in his racialist assumptions, he has made a disturbing linkage between the existence of Israel and all the other tumults in the Mideast, either caused or aggravated, one might assume, by the existence of the [expansionist?] Jewish state. Has Israel asked for Americans to sacrifice their lives to save them? Was the second world war an enterprise through which Americans saved the Jews of Europe? I don’t think so.

* [excerpt from Lindbergh’s speech:]”It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race. No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.

Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.

Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to  involve us in the war.

We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.” [end Lindbergh excerpt]

Did you get that, gentle reader? Jews and the New Deal [a.k.a. Jew-Deal] are alien and unassimilable to the true America.

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