Neoconservative Prejudices

CAESAR
Julius Caesar

 

 

NEOCONSERVATIVE PREJUDICES
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Carl Schmitt (July 11, 1888 – April 7, 1985), the German catholic intellectual and legal theoretician who provided the irrational jurisprudence for the violent foundation of Hitler’s Third Reich, is one of the leading European influences on the current U.S. neoconservative movement, particularly in respect to its hidden identification with dictatorial or Caesaristic “democracy.” His work, although seldom publicly mentioned by neoconservatives in the United States, is of great importance today given the calls from radical intellectuals for the immediate overthrow of the Bush government and the purging of neoconservatives from high political office before they, as one radical said, “Dig the grave for the democratic republic of the United States.”

Schmitt’s famous concept of Dezisionismus (“Decisionism”) rationalized the arbitrary decisions of dictators or uncommanded commanders who considered themselves to be beyond relative good and evil, thus absolute legislators above the traditional law.

Decisionism was based on extremely conservative theological justifications of sovereignty under an ordinarily inscrutable personal “God” whose will is known only to his priests through their infallible pope, and whose authoritarian laws are set forth in infallible church doctrine. Decisionism is used to justify deeds in times of extreme crisis, when conservative authority is being seriously challenged by diabolical liberalism, which of course tends to subvert government and pervert social mores.

If the conservatives are not in power, a crisis may be provoked so that the right decisions may be made and the right deeds done according to the dictates of the dictator, who very well may be “democratic”. The dictator, who is never “wrong”, may be the militant incarnation of the democracy; his duty is to bring democracy to the world whether the world wants it or not. Only by means of extreme cases can the new or right way of concrete thinking and living be brought about; that might very well require a whole series of revolutions and wars.

Schmitt’s political conflict theory divided the world into friend and foe: either you are with us or you are against us. Politics serves the purpose of finding out who your friends and enemies are, so you can reward your friends and hunt down and capture or kill your enemies. Schmitt experienced the decadent 1920s as a crisis of liberalism; that demanded a total response from Germany both at home and abroad. All spheres of society must be identified with the totalitarian state. Enemies abroad must be opposed and order must be imposed at home; hence war and repression was the rule. But first of all a revolution was warranted. Intially, the revolution would be ostensibly within the law, although beatings and other methods of intimidation would be employed at street level.

Once power was obtained, the dictator would be confirmed by popular referendum. In turn, he would suspend the law indefinitely so that the total nation, the imperial world-power-state, could do the right thing; for instance, protect the nation from the liberal and communist terrorists encircling it. The right thing would of course be chosen according to his dictates, a decision based not on discussion, but on his prejudicial intuition. Inf fact, according to Schmitt, discussion is the antithesis of dictatorship, while democracy and dictatorship are quite compatible.

For instance, when Hitler, whose religion was a religion of one and whose god was absolute or omnipotent Power, assumed the highest offices – of Chancellor, President, and Commander-in-Chief – all conveniently combined in his person, soldiers did not swear to uphold the constitution, which had been indefinitely suspended, nor the folk-nation itself. Rather, they pleaded allegiance to Adolf Hitler: “I swear by God this holy oath: I will render unconditional obedience to the Fuhrer of the German Reich, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready, as a brave soldier, to stake my life at any time for this oath.”

Of course the democratic German nation decided by popular referendum that Hitler was its incarnation, hence he had all the political capital he needed to carry forward the mandate to subject Germany and the world to the right thing. Once he had that mandate, no further elections were necessary. There was need for only one party, the party of the people, the Nazi party. Those who had fervently believed in Hitler’s earlier professions of democracy would have to be eliminated along with independent unions and the like.

Schmitt praised Hitler’s June 30, 1934 massacre of over 400 persons, summarily executed without trial, on the pretext of putting down an alleged S.A. conspiracy – a ‘Second Revolution with Marxist implications, led by Ernst Rohm, its Chief of Staff. Rohm wanted to overcome the liberal Reactionaries, led by former Chancellor Franz von Papen, who had, ironically, helped Hitler gain power – von Papen survived the purge: two subordinates, substitutes, were murdered. The Reactionaries, backed by the Army, wanted to save Germany’s institutions from the Nazi revolution. On the other hand, Rohm spoke up for hundreds of thousands of disgruntled Nazis who had helped Hitler; they expected some payback along the lines of formal military power and certain commitments to democracy Hitler that had made to gain the support of industrial workers and their unions. Among other claims made on the revolution, small businessmen among the Nazis wanted protection from big capitalists.

In order to continue the Nazi revolution as he conceived it, Rohm demanded military status for his organization, the numbers of which would have overwhelmed the Army and undermined its command structure. President von Hindenburg was about to declare martial law. Hitler’s hand was forced: he had to decide, and his decision to resolve the emergency favored “good businessmen”, although though they might not be National Socialists, and, of course, to the Army – all the above could be repressed later. Mussolini, an ex-socialist who hated Communism and liberalism, had warned Hitler to get rid of the Nazi left-wing. And Hitler was not inclined to go Marxist after having fought the Marxists for so long. Wherefore the S.A. would have to be radically downsized and castrated. Of the 400 or so persons murdered or who “committed suicide”, the majority had no ties to the S.A., but were rather the victims of personal vendettas.

“They became revolutionaries who favored revolution for its own sake…. For us the Revolution is no permanent condition,” said Hitler. But why were the accused not tried in the regular courts before being executed for treason? “If anyone reproaches me and waks why I did not resort of the regular courts of justice, then all I can say to him is this: in this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the Supreme Justicias of the German people…. And every must know for all future time that if he raises his hand to strike the State, then certain Death is his lot.”

And in a September 15, 1941 talk, he said, “Lawyers cannot understand that in exceptional times new laws become valid.” Further, on December 1, 1942, in respect to subversives and terrorists: “This has to be hammered into everyone’s head, whatever leads to success is right in the conduct of anti-guerilla operations. That’s the point of departure. If someone does something not exactly in accordance with regulations, but achieves complete success, or if someone is faced by an emergency, he can deal with in the most brutal way, he’s entitled to use and measure that guarantees success. The goal must be the annhilation of these groups and the restoration of order.”

Carl Schmitt, in a 1940 article entitled ‘The Leader Protects the Law’, said that the massacre of large numbers of people without due process of law signifies the creation of a new world order of law and justice. The crimes against humanity are not really crimes, at least not according to Schmitt’s legal theory of Decisionism, which legitimizes such acts with the excuse that extreme situations or emergencies call for exceptional deeds. Hence the legalization of extra-legal methods; to wit, the decisions of the leader, decisions made according to the supreme principle of militant leadership – the basis for Hitler’s Fuhrerprinzip.

Now the individual per se, the little man, is not to have the ultimate power of decision. The heroic sovereign must decide, because only he is in the right position to respond effectively to the emergencies which he has for the most part provoked in the interest of his perpetual revolution – perchance in the name of god or Hegel’s world spirit. At the bottom of this “ideology” there is really no ideology at all: decisions are arbitrarily made to take advantage of opportunities to gain more power until absolute Power is achieved. The term “pragmatism” is often used to the same irrational end nowadays. Wherefore people even today can be massacred or held in camps without benefit of due process of law in order to liberate the people and to save the world for democracy whether the world wants to be saved for that kind of democracy or not.

Hitler reiterated his democratic roots in a November 8, 1944 Munich speech: “In fifteen years, I have slowly worked my way up together with this movement. I have not been imposed by anyone upon this people. From the people I have grown up, in the people I have remained, to the people I return. My pride is that I know no statesman in the world who with greater right than I can say that he is the representative of the people.”

Thus old tyrants appear in new clothes. They might be the elected leaders of “democracies.” They speak much of democracy to get elected; there are discussions, debates; people vote; then the people had better get out of the way or be accused of being unpatriotic or traitors and the like.

Well, it is said by way of apology, at least the elected dictator’s term is limited. Then he proceeds with his agenda, hidden under various pretexts. His lawyers rationalize abuses by reference to those legal “theories” Schmitt called Decisionism. His acts are irreversible. If something goes wrong, all one can say is that it is of no use to discuss the past since it cannot be changed, hence another decision must be made in order to be consistent, to stay the course hidden by the pretexts. In the final analysis, almost anything can be done by the Caesaristic dictator despite the fact of his election – would you not do what you want to do if you had only four years to live and you had the power of the state at your disposal to write your name big on world history?

And yes, the people might be omnipotent over the election, but once elected, they are impotent because it is their “representatives” who initiate the political process. Further, the selection of candidates is made by a tiny minority of a minority.

If the hidden agenda of the dictator is revealed, it is not to be challenged, for its principles are unimpeachable. There should be no real discussion. Schmitt observed that democracy, in terms of individual participation and rational discussion, is not really applicable to mass society. Parliaments just do not work. Debate and discussion do not define voting behavior. In fact the very antithesis of “democracy” is discussion. Sure, there are discussions in assemblies, there are public debates; yet in the end the subtleties are lost on people and they wind up voting by the means organized for mass politics: they tend to vote according to their party affiliations.

The conservative parties on the right are good and the liberal and socialist parties on the left are evil and should be destroyes as soon as possible. In order to get elected, and to get the right thing done thereafter, it is perfectly all right, and in fact it is explicitly recommended, to lie to the people. The rationale for lying is attributed to Machiavelli, and to Hobbes’ view, cited by Schmitt, that law is not based on truth but on authority.

Today it is often difficult to tell the left hand from the right hand, for the candidates will say anything that the polls indicate is popular, then will fulfill their hidden agenda after taking the oath of hypocrisy, which specifies that they renounce their partialities and do the general will of the whole people. The general will of the people, however, can only be known to the select or chosen few.

It certainly behooves us to consider applications of Schmitt’s neoconservative philosophy, which is, in sum, a model for authoritarian hypocrisy and prevarication: arbitrary decisions must be made without sincere debate and discussion in order to provoke emergencies with perceived enemies and thereby obtain total power in the name of democracy, freedom, and human rights, while defying those liberating in actual practice, because the liberals are in fact the enemy.

Schmitt often worried himself about the distinction between a “criminal” and an “enemy.” He feared that enemies would be classifed as war criminals and be prosecuted under some concept of “political universalism.” He reasoned that war could be considered as an “honorable duel” between great-power members of a common civilization of martial law, hence their combatants would not be considered as war criminals. As for those who are not great powers, those who are not members of the club, those who may not even have uniforms or states….

By supreme authority of the President George W. Bush of the United States, a U.S. military commission was convened in Guantanamo, Cuba, to hear the cases of four “enemy combatants” suspected of committing “war crimes.” Guantanamo became possession of the United States during the first regime change it imposed on Cuba; at present, the United States wants to impose another regime change in Cuba, and is accusing the Cuban government of human rights violations while the U.S. is allegedly violating human rights at Guantanamo and elsewhere after killing nearly 100,000 people to date, according to a recently expert;s estimate, in the Bush regime’s second war on Iraq. Complaints of various human rights violations including being shipped to Egypt for torture have been made by Guantanamo prisoners.The four suspects to be “tried” by the commission had been held in solitary confinement for a year, and were only allowed to talk to their guards and “personal representatives” appointed by the Pentagon.

President Bush’s military commission could at best be called a “kangaroo court.” It comprises two civilian commissioners and a millitary commissioner. One civilian commissioner ruled that the tribunal can declare “terrorism” to be a war crime even though ‘terrorism’ is a general descriptive term and is not on the books as a specific crime. He reasoned that the court at Nuremberg had declared, for the first time, that “genocide” was a war crime, therefore his commission could declare, for the first time, that terrorism is a war crime. Hence the very thing the English-hating, French-loving democratic faction of the Founders of the United States abhorred, judge-made law, was absurdly resorted to, and worse, without the benefit of a careful education in the common law of nations and of international law. Incidentally, one of the U.S. civilian judges in Cuba declined to be informed by qualified counsel on the law until he decides what he does not know about the law.

U.S. District Court judge James Robertson ruled that President Bush had exceeded his constitutional powers when he set up the military commissions at Guantanamo instead of resorting to normal military and civilian courts, wherefore the Pentagon halted the sessions on October 12, 2004 pending appeal. A quick appeal was sought. The appellate brief read, in part:

“Those rulings… represent an unprecedented judicial intrusion into the prerogatives of the President…. The executive attempting to protect this nation through the use of military force would become entangled in a morass of litigation, brought by enemy detainees and POWs, about the implementation of the Geneva convention.”

Besides the military commission, we find another extra-legal body at Guantanamo. As of November 12, 2004, 357 “combat status review tribunals” – a review tribunal is an absurd sort of preliminary hearing to determine whether or not the 550 prisoners at Guantanamo are “enemy combatants” – were held. Thus far, the tribunals had decided 131 “cases”, releasing only 1 prisoner.

Finally, 63 of the 550 detainees have filed for writs of habeas corpus – in June 2004, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the consideration of those filings.

Attorney General John Ashcroft, the top attorney of the United States, who along with the President and other elected officials is sworn to uphold the law, complained on November 12, 2004 that the decisions of federal judges are threatening national security. But the stability of United States as a democratic is in large part due to its system of conflict resolution, to the willingness of citizens and others to, first of all, to submit their conflicts to the many courts constituted for the purpose of providing due processing of their claims, and, after a disciplined discussion of the merits of their cases, to abide by the decisions of the court whether they agree with them or not.

Yet Attorney General Ashcroft would skip the submission process and rid the President, who is not supposed to be above the law, of his duty to abide by due process of law. He described the court decisions granting legal rights to detainees, many of whom were sold to the United States by bounty hunters, as “dangerous.”

“The danger I see here,” said Ashcroft, in his disgust for the rule of law, “is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at resit the very security of our nation in a time of war. Our nation and our liberty will be all the more in jeopardy as the tendency for judicial encroachment and ideological micro-management are applied to the sensitive domain of national defense…. To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is clear: Your tactics only aid terrorists.” In other words, the President alone hould decide these cases by setting up the extra-judicial means to decide them; there should be no discussion in the courts of law; anyone who disagrees with that view is aiding terrorists – hence, according to the President’s stated policy, is a terrorist.

That is not all: there are many more instances of the gradual subversion of the laws of the United States by the neoconservatives, who count on the media to keep the public ignorant of their irrational “anti-ideological”, “anti-intellectual” subversion of the democratic republic of the United States and the consequences that the smothering of the “Revolution within the American revolution” will have if Liberty dies. We can understand why those who are aware of the historical underpinnings of the neoconservative seizure of the White House feel that a purge is in order, for there is virtually nothing that can be done to stop the President and his backers from doing whatever they want him to do during the last four years he is in office – the effects that would be felt for many years to come, and could very well constitute “the grave” of this great nation of ours.

But purges and assassinations are not the American Way. The U.S. Constitution provides for the impeachment, trial and firing of the President, for his political malfeasance endangering the nation. And until he is fired by the Senate, the President and 34 U.S. Senators can run roughshod over the United States and the world, and there is nothing short of violence than can be done about it. At present, there is little chance of impeachment proceedings being brought, for the Congress itself is in the grip of neoconservatives on both sides of the aisle, and it has given the President a blank check to be a tyrant.

On November 17, 2004, the press reported that an “independent terror panel”, convened to investigate the violation of civil liberties, marked the Congress absent on the issue, allowing the President to “operate in a vacuum.” The panel affirmed that only the President should authorize harsh treatment of prisoners. Panel member Phil Heymann said that the Constitution would not have to be radically altered to that end. That is certainly not a very comforting statement for the usual suspects who are hated by the neoconservatives – the liberal-minded citizenry.

That little example of Schmitt’s influence on the neoconservative movement being given, we shall soon move on to discuss the religious underpinnings of his totalitarian philosophy.

KANSAS CITY 2004

Neoconservative Anarchism, Atheism, Liberalism, and Communism

 Bakunin

BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

A confession from the Devil’s Advocate is overdue here. Satan, who loves his Himself so much that he hates humankind, is in fact the slanderous demon, the traditionally disobedient, deceptive, sophisticated “adversary.” Indeed, postmodern neoconservatives call him the (expletive-deleted) Liberal. If the neoconservative believer has not already done so, it might behoove him at this point to set aside the present discussion lest he be perverted and proceed to live a dissolute, decadent, corrupt, liberal life.

On the other hand, if the reader understands that we merely speak of irreligion and atheism, of false religion and gods posing as true religion and deities, what follows shall leave him secure in his faith: For those who have true faith do not fear for it, nor do they need any more of it. Anxious John Calvin knew that. He would have been much happier at Strasbourg, but fate made him suffer the cross at Geneva; he was moved to honestly observe that he was “in danger of being unjust to God’s mercy by laboring with so much anxiety to assert it, as if it were doubtful or obscure.”

We have previously discussed certain simple notions put forward by Carl Schmitt, one of the fathers of the modern neoconservative movement, which we have elsewhere traced from Nazi Germany to the White House, one notion being that the reason for politics is to discover whom your enemies are so that they may be eliminated forthwith, usually by provoking a crisis to be dealt with by extra-legal means. The provocation may be justified by use of pretexts and outright lies. All those who disagree are “not with us” but are “against us,” hence are “traitors” or “terrorists,” wherefore violent, antidemocratic means are necessary to make the world safe for “democracy.” Protestors must be kept several blocks away, if not indefinitely imprisoned in blockhouses at undisclosed locations without benefit of counsel or trial.

Furthermore, we have learned that the neoconservative ‘principles,’ if one may call them principles, must not be the subject of serious discussion. Obvious contradictions are referred to an unseen, unknowable Arbitrator, just as Luther, when questioned about the absurdity of his propositions, referred to “God’s mysteries.” Hence neoconservative principles, derived from the justification of brutality by religious racial prejudice, may be practically deployed today, not only for shocking and awesome, pre-emptive blitzkriegs against select foreign enemies under pretext of bringing their own brand of democracy to the world whether it wants it or not, but also to destroy liberal democracy at home, usually by much less blatant, stealthier means, although, for the most part, neoconservative tactics rely on base motives such as fear and greed.

For instance, neoconservative President Bush has provoked a perceived crisis in the Social Security program, one that he and his neoconservative allies pretend to have the solution for: the partial privatization of Social Security, a move that would require enormous current borrowing under the false and unsound pretext that borrowing more and more today will enable the government to pay its debt tomorrow.

President Bush follows the neoconservative line that liberal government is evil, that its non-military social welfare programs must be dismantled. Tax cuts for the rich, increased military expenditures are used to destroy the surplus. The deficit mounts hence a crisis requiring further cuts is provoked, but the wealthy and their comfortable emulators are not to be bled – they are to be further fed by the lion’s share of government welfare.

We recall in this context the political agenda of President Reagan, who, despite what his adulators say, was in fact selected by frustrated neoconservative leaders for his consummate acting skills. Reagan was their response to the defeat of Barry Goldwater, who had provoked the break from the liberal consensus that had made America so great. Goldwater, we recall, besides advocating that the decision to use tactical nuclear weapons be left up to field commanders, besides saying that North Vietnam should have been nuked to defoliate the country, proposed that Social Security be made “voluntary,” which would allow higher earning young people to opt out, naturally leaving the elderly poor in the lurch. President Bush now relies on the fear and greed and ingratitude of youth, who would at least in part opt out of their duty to fund the benefits “guaranteed” to the workers who made their own prosperity possible.

Neoconservatives of course hate “liberals” because they fear for their private property, particularly their gentlemen’s ranches in God’s Country. Of course everyone wants to be liberated from something or the other, and to that extent is a liberal, perhaps even a “liberal conservative.” But the L-word has become a dirty word yet again. Liberty, meaning power over one’s circumstances, is something we enjoy among a few equals, whose democratic and often dissolute company we enjoy very much, but spreading power too thinly, too democratically among the masses, who are not ready for it, places its concentration in our hands at risk and threatens the mores of society at its roots in the highest power. We have discussed the religious roots of neoconservatism elsewhere: we noticed – despite the occasional protest of some Protestants – the hierarchical structure of orthodox Judeo-Christianity. Judeo-Christianity worships absolute Power; its politics distributes Power from the top down. That is, the “kill” is distributed in a sort of pecking order, from the “head ape” on down—his highest priests would get a share of the best parts, the rising, herb-scented smoke going to the tribal deity.

Now a liberal politic such as that represented by Lyndon Johnson, although feared hence hated by neoconservatives, is not a flat or communistic distribution: every “ape” gets something if not a fair share; any surplus is handed around the communal table. This alone gives us cause to suspect the motives of neoconservatives who despise “Liberals.” Liberalism is not communism, although liberals might allow a communist party in the national polity.

Note that liberals may be theists or deists or atheists or humanists, and so on, while non-spiritual communists are avowedly atheists. Liberals as such are not the worst enemy of neoconservatives. However, as far as they are concerned, liberalism smacks of leaderless anarchism and dictatorial communism, of the possibility of some sort of impossible chaos or totalitarian flatland.

In fact, Marxists believe that the hard-won liberties of the bourgeois “classical” or economic liberals will backfire on them in such a way that an equal share of Liberty realized in material form will eventually be distributed to every good communist. And that is precisely what neoconservatives are afraid of; and we do not blame them, for only a total police state would be necessary of the execution of the distribution. By the way, neoconservatives also fear the immoral consequences which they associate with liberalism; they lose a great deal of sleep over sodomy and adultery, for example, which they invariable scapegoat the (expletive deleted) liberal for.

Carl Schmitt and other authoritarians of the old conservative order were disgusted by the liberal Weimar Republic that tried to govern in the interlude between the Great War and Hitler’s rise to power. Schmitt, a Catholic, borrowed several of his leading notions from the arch-conservative Catholic, Donoso-Cortes. Donoso-Cortes, whom we have quoted at length elsewhere, specifically attacked the ideas put forward by the leading anarchist of his day, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon was born in the same year (1809) as Donoso Cortes. Proudhon is best known for his atheistic repudiation of the Lords self-declared right to hoard land: “Property is theft.”

Mikhail Bakunin (b. 1814), another leading anarchist of the nineteenth century, knew Proudhon well. Bakunin spoke out against the irrational authoritarian principle, which had been so eloquently espoused by Donoso-Cortes that the pope incorporated it in his argument in the proclamation of papal infallibility. According to the atheists, the unprincipled principle was at bottom absurd, for the highest authority, God, did not exist. Or, if you wish, God was dead, or, at most, is an absurd figment of the human imagination, a narcissistic projection or fiction that, by virtue of the hateful and unjust provocations of its superstitious advocates, had plunged humanity into a miserable history of violent crises and mass murders.

The Church or the State might be “infallible” or pure of form, but what of the fallible persons who fill the offices? The god they rely upon to justify their actions all too often resembles the selfish satan who laid the curse of death on man and kicked him out of paradise. Bakunin compared the Church to a “Heavenly tavern in which people try to forget about their daily grind.” But when they cannot forget, they might head to the back rooms of a worldly tavern for a clandestine meeting with their revolutionary cell. Wherefore Bakunin, a great organizer of secret cells, took the conservative prejudice that what is older is better to task:

“The antiquity and universality of the belief in God have become, contrary to all science and logic, irrefutable proofs of the existence of God…. Indeed, there is nothing more universal, more ancient, than absurdity; it is the truth, on the contrary, that is relatively much younger, always being the result, the product of historical development, and never the starting point…. Hence it follows that the antiquity of an idea, far from proving anything in favor of it, should on the contrary raise our suspicions.”

The essence of religion, said Bakunin, “is the feeling of the absolute dependence of the ephemeral individual upon eternal and all-powerful Nature.” Prominent Christian theologians have said the fundamental feeling of religion is the feeling of awe. We might add that our reaction to this feeling of dependence, on the awesome power of Nature over us, is to raise ourselves up and to eventually claim that it is the world which is ephemeral, and that our immortal individual souls and their projected essence, God, are all-powerful over Nature.

Bakunin noted that wild animals live in a constant state of shyness or fear, and that the human equivalent to such fear might be called the “dread of God.”

Man, unlike animals, has the power of reflection, with which he creates an ideal world, a world of ideas. As he develops the notion of his personal power to move himself and other things, and their corresponding power to move him, he imagines that all things likewise personally motivate and are motivated. Not understanding the intermediate instruments between a certain cause and its effect, he resorts to sorcery and magic, thereby attempting to defend himself psychologically. Primitive fetish-religion and related idol-religion, perceived to be obsolete, eventually gives way to the creative abstraction of imagined gods from the things they were thought to have resided in; perhaps to the grand gods who move the planets, and, eventually, to the one-god or One, the Unity who moves the Universe. Wherefore the pure idea of unity under one highest god is gradually abstracted from the mental reflections of our experience of Nature.

“God is then the absolute abstraction,” says Bakunin, “the product of human thought itself, which, like the power of abstraction, has passed beyond all the known beings, all the existing worlds, and, having divested itself by this act from all real content, having arrived at nothing else but the absolute world, it poses before itself, without, however, recognizing itself in the sublime nudity, as the One and Only Supreme Being.”

Bakunin might had better named the sublime nudity “Nothing.” If the god of unity in which we have were Nothing, that non-denominational Nil might be more appealing to us than the character of which Bakunin complains:

“The character of the divinity begins to take on some outline: it is egotistical and vain… it cruelly persecutes and punishes…. Did there ever exist in the world a being more atrociously jealous, vain, and egotistical than the Jewish Jehovah… God, the Father of the Christians?”

Bakunin, like the neoconservatives who self-righteously hate Bakunin and others like him, apparently did not recognize the fact that the Jewish god, whether real or fictional, becomes much kinder and loving as he matures. Still, we speculate that if only faith in Nothing would have been good enough, perhaps the earth would not have been watered by so much human blood over the centuries. Were fundamental Buddhists of the atheistic Hinayana school less warlike than Jews and Christians? Were they wealthier or more impoverished? But never mind, for Nothing reminds too many busy and anxious people of what they dread the most, Death, and they are accordingly terrified and proceed to organize evil concepts and structures to deny it by exercising their power to kill. Indeed, they may think they need to be terrified.

“Even little chicks do not gather under the wings of their mothers unless they are troubled and afraid….. If we did not know we are in danger, we would behave like straying animals.” Calvin

Calvin was horrified by the ‘abyss’ of ‘nothingness, meaninglessness. For him dread was an especially good thing when recorded in scripture: “Scripture inspires terror because it is useful to be known, for our worldly security needs sharp stimulants, but which we may be driven to fear the Lord.” At the same time, scripture fences terror in and provides one with some security against it. With what shall we fill empty space? Life? And then, what should we do? Calvin states, “We take nothing from the womb but pure filth…. All human works… are nothing but filth and defilement.”

Why not then have faith in Nothing and leave it at that?

According to Bakunin, religion fills the emptiness with fallible human qualities. Man the creator reverses himself and become the created. Man bows down to his created object:

“Thus the respective roles of man and God underwent a change: the Thing created became the presumed and true creator, and man took his place among other miserable creatures.”

This created emptiness, called God, is, in effect, a “robber” of man’s goodness, leaving him with original sin. “God is a robber…. He is naked and null like nothingness itself. And as he fills and enriches himself with all the realities of the existing world… he appears to the religious fantasy as its Lord and Master…. Heaven… is nothing but a crooked mirror which sends back to the believing man his own image, in a reversed and swollen form.”

In other words, Man makes the one-god in his own egoistic image, and that god steals man’s love and justice. The more he loves that god, the less he loves that sinning worm and bag of filth called man. The more he depends on God’s justice, the less just he shall be.

“Man’s love… transmuted into divine love and religious charity, forthwith becomes the scourge of humanity. All the bloodshed in the name of religion from the beginning of history, and the millions of human victims immolated for the great glory of God, bear witness to it…. Justice itself, the future mother of equality, once carried over by religious fantasy into celestial regions and transformed into divine justice, immediately comes back to the earth in the theological form of divine grace, and always and everywhere siding with the strongest, it sows among men violence, privileges, monopolies, and all the monstrous inequalities consecrated by historic rights.”

Whereas Donoso-Cortes the Catholic would violently keep the current social and political order pending the spiritual reform of human beings from the top down, Bakunin the atheistic anarchist would violently destroy the social classes and political and religious structures, then perchance build a federation of cooperative producers from the bottom up—the coordinators at the top would have a few specifically defined functions.

“The passion for destruction is a creative passion,” quoth Bakunin. After the “hurricane” of terrorism destroys the causes of terrorism—the ruling elite—Socialism will fully express, in all its equality, human goodness. The liberals will of course perish in the end, for their revolution was merely bourgeois, a revolution of greedy merchants, or so he thinks.

Bakunin, as we see, threw out the baby with the dirty bath water. If god is a figment of the imagination, perhaps a better figment is called for. Human beings, to be human, seem to need their gods or ideals, including a universal god or ideal for their unity.

Schmitt recognized that political ideologies are virtual religions. An honest assessment of the ideals of the devoted Marxist-Leninists demonstrates that they stood on high moral ground, much higher in its humane ends than the liberal tycoons of the day. As a consequence, we are a lot better off today with our “welfare capitalism.”

However that might be, might is not right, whether applied from the left or the right. Fortunately for humankind, the god of liberalism, who is not only interested in the fair distribution of the means of survival but also in civil rights for everyone, is very much alive. But even “he” must not be trusted, for ideologies are structures of evil erected on base motives bound to make a hypocrite of everyone in the final analysis.

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