History and the Historians
I’m posting another post because my last post had too much of my writing in it, and that I didn’t even proofread. It’s embarrassing. So I’m going to fill this one with Oliver in the hopes that no one notices the previous posts.
My theme today is Things Money Can’t Buy. Apple has most of the profits in the smartphone industry, and Microsoft has had tons of profits for over a decade. But you can’t just hire a bunch of programmers and tell them to make you an operating system. I mean, you can, but it’s going to suck.
Communists, and by communists I mean idiots who say things that other idiots want to hear, talk as if everyone is exactly the same, and anyone can be paid to do anything that someone has once done. Communism is cancer, the result of memetic mutations introduced by mattoid intellectuals, that spreads and develops the traits of communism because evolution.
Anyway. Here’s a story about the fall of Rome that you haven’t heard before. The reason you haven’t heard it before is that most historians before 1900 haven’t understood the importance of race, and most successful historians say what people want to hear, and no one wants to hear that this is how Rome fell.
Professor Frank C Bourne contributes to the volume a concise account of the” alimentary program” of the Roman Empire. This interesting institution had its inception in private benefactions comparable to the endowments that founded most of the colleges and universities in the United States, but in this case intended to provide for the children of poor parents food and clothing until they came of age, thus assuring the children of an opportunity to attend local schools instead of going to work, and indirectly encouraging the lower middle class and wage-earners to have large families. (If the Latin that you read in high school or college included letters of the younger Pliny, you may remember that he set up a foundation of this kind.)
Under Nerva (96-98 AD) the Welfare State assumed responsibility for children throughout Italy, intending at first, merely to supplement private benefactions, but soon and inevitably the imperial treasury took over the entire operation and converted it into a “program” far more ingenious and practical than anything thus far devised by our professional parasites in Washington. The governmental system not only (a) provided the sustenance of poor children, but also (b) tried to solve the Roman “farm problem” by making available to reputable cultivators loans at low interest for the improvement of their lands, especially lands of the kind now called “marginal,” thus (c) reducing unemployment in, and stimulating the economic life of, towns in “depressed” agricultural areas, and thereby (d) restoring prosperity to many municipalities and large parts of the countryside, and so (e) creating the conditions in which responsible people are willing to beget children. And the objectives of (e) are further fostered by (a), since the children are guaranteed sustenance and education in the event of the financial failure or death of their parents. The plan that combined these various pur- poses was not only ingenious but feasible. It was, furthermore, well administered by a judicious division of responsibility between the central government and local authorities, evidently designed to hold to a minimum the number of administrators; and Roman bureaucrats, unlike our own, appear to have been, on the whole, both honest and diligent. The plan worked for a hundred and seventy- five years, and the institutions thus established survived, despite occasional difficulties, until the revolving funds were extinguished by the great monetary inflation and concomitant catastrophes of the Third Century.
But the plan failed from the beginning – was doomed to failure by ineluctable forces which the Romans, who had before them so much less history than we, may be pardoned for not seeing. And Professor Bourne, although well disposed toward bureaucracies and economic planning (which he regards as the mark of a “mature civilization”), shows why the plan’s apparent success merely masked for a time a profound and inevitable failure. “While the alimentary institution, to judge from its hearty acceptance by land-owners, was a success in respect to the agrarian problem, and while it undoubtedly fed and clothed many children” it was essentially an extension of the Welfare State. “Generations of governmental support for hundreds of thousands of Italians, without requiring from them any tangible service, made it clear to them that they had rights on which they could insist, but taught nothing of commensurate duties.” Paternalistic government merely created “a social and political irresponsibility based on an arrogant and childish belief in ‘rights’ and confidence in immunity to danger.” The net result was a population whose “lack of vigor, and irresponsibility” doomed it to extinction at the hands of the barbarians.
This is a clear illustration of the operations of forces inherent in the very nature of society. As every student of politics (including, I suspect, our more intelligent “liberals” despite their artful verbiage) well knows, a Welfare State necessarily entails a totalitarian despotism – and despotisms, for obvious purposes of their own, foster “lack of vigor and irresponsibility” in their subjects. The economic price of a Welfare State is crushing taxation. The social price is national suicide.
In the Second Century a freeborn Roman citizen named C Sergius Alcimus buried his son and recorded the following facts – and only these facts – on the marble tombstone: the boy (1) died at the age of three years, three months, and three days; (2) got his handout from the public treasury on the tenth day of each month; and (3) got his handouts from Wicket No. 49. This particular inscription is No. 10,224-b in Volume VI of the great Corpus inscripiionum Latinarum, and you will find many other inscriptions of identical form on the same and adjacent pages of this volume and in other volumes of the Corpus – all proudly recording for posterity the unconscious debasement of their authors. But perhaps you will not find these inscriptions as significant as I do; I shiver when I read them.
An easy and superficial answer could be made in terms of contemporary persons and events. With few and brief exceptions, the empire was ruled by despots who ranged from ruthless pirates to mutton-headed fops, including such figures as the well-read and pious Theodosius II, who professed and probably felt, “Love of man-kind”, but, in the words of the contemporary historian, “lived in cowardice” and was “under the control of his eunuchs in everything … They beguiled him, to put it briefly, as children are beguiled with toys.” One can draw up a long list of battles lost by folly or treason, and ask why supreme command of the greatest naval effort of the century, equipped at a cost that had strained to the utmost the resources of a declining nation, was entrusted to Basiliscus, who appears to have been both a fool and a traitor.
But even in the first chapter an attentive reader will see a deeper cause as he notices with increasing wonder that most of the prominent figures on the Roman side are not really natives of the Empire. Strike out the names of mercenaries imported from across the border, or superficially naturalized barbarians, and of first-generation Romans: the pages of history are left almost vacant. You cannot read far without confronting the appalling fact that that vast empire is one in which irresponsibility and torpor have become virtually universal; it has a multitudinous population, great cities, a noble culture, a new and elevating religion, wheat, gold, iron… But it has to import the one thing that no nation can really buy – men.
When the Romans finally destroyed Carthage in 146 BC, they destroyed a powerful nation that had combined a high degree of civilization (in commerce, industry, scientific agriculture, navigation, and politics) with the terrible religious savagery evident in such institutions as the great bronze machine that was used on ceremonial occasions to shovel living children by the hundreds – including sons and daughters of the Carthaginian aristocracy – into the furnace that burned within the colossal idol of Baal. To the Roman mind, as to ours, the masochistic sadism of the Carthaginians was incomprehensibly alien and horribly inhuman. Yet before long – in less time than has elapsed since our Constitution was ratified – the Romans had set up a socio-political machine that was far more deadly – a machine, adorned with specious phrases and built, in part, with good intentions, for the sacrifice of their own children.
The machine devoured the Romans – almost all of the great families of the Republic were extinct by the time of Nero. It devoured the other peoples of Italy. It devoured the hardy provincials who had been brought into the imperium Romanum. It devoured whatever was virile and valuable in the descendants of the innumerable slaves that the Romans had recklessly brought into Italy and then set free with indiscriminate generosity. And when the machine had devoured the last manhood of an exhausted world, its work was done – and the empty husk of a dead nation collapsed of its own weight. (America’s Decline, page 214-219, Men and Dinosaurs, December 1961)
The other thing to note about this passage
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is that today, people say that those statues of the Carthaginians sacrificed children in did not exist, but the gas chambers with wooden doors that Germans put Jews in for a few minutes with pellets of slow-release insecticide did. The reason they claim that the statues didn’t exist is that they don’t exist now, even though Rome destroyed Carthage and sowed salt in the fields; while the homicidal gas chambers would presumably have been preserved as evidence, and the Red Cross was snooping around Auschwitz in 1944 to look for evidence of gassings.
But, lack of evidence is lack of evidence. So let’s look for inconsistencies in a growing narrative to find out which atrocity stories are hoaxes. For example, the crematoria are said to have produced oily black smoke, which does not happen with functioning crematoria; and there were not enough crematoria to burn all the corpses. Auschwitz had a hospital with a maternity ward, despite the talk of daily ‘selektions’ in which the sick were forwarded to the gas chambers. Rudolph Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, signed a confession in English to having murdered three millions of Jews; the plaque at Auschwitz claims that one and a half million were killed there. There are no such inconsistencies regarding the Baal stories, and there was no law against questioning the Baal stories.
Anyway. I said I wasn’t going to put my unproofread words here. Back to Oliver. I agree with him regarding
In the spring of 1963, I planned, in agreement with the editor of American Opinion, a long article, to be published in six installments, designed both to raise the intellectual level of the journal, by suggesting to all readers the need to consider contemporary events in the perspectives of history and ethnology, and to relieve the growing monotony of the standard phrase “International Communist Conspiracy” that was used, more or less indiscriminately, to designate the effects of Jewish activity and influence throughout the world, whether direct or indirect.
Really, Oliver is my idol. He says the things that I want to say, and does it better than I could; in a sense, every minute that I spend reading him is a sacrifice, but maybe I can find something bigger to sacrifice to him so he will save us all. Okay, my real name: James Russell of Ashtabula, OH. In the name of Hitler Thorsson and His prophet. Let’s see if this works.
(It is also possible that if our race recovers its lost vigor and ascendency, a future religion may recognize Adolf Hitler as a semidivine figure. The potentiality of such a religion may be seen in the works of a highly intelligent and learned lady of Greek ancestry, Dr. Savitri Devi, especially her Pilgrimage (Calcutta, 1958). Dr. Eberhardt Cheyn in Los Neo-nazis en Sudamerica (Liverpool, West Virginia, 1978) reports that National Socialism, having attracted the devotion of many women, has become the New Evangel, preached in modern “catacombs” as is made necessary by Jewish terrorism, observing the birthday of Hitler with ceremonies that are distinctly pious, and computing dates in the New Era that began with his birth. The veneration of Hitler as a heros[ed. this appears to be the Greek word for a lamb sandwich with mint sauce] is not surprising, but worship, I think, would require the elaboration of a notion that he was an avatar of some superhuman being – a development that would require a century or more.) (page 120)
So. Let’s raise the intellectual level of the neoreactionaries by quoting Oliver’s History and the Historians, sort of like the way Anissimov posted all those retarded Evola quotes, but different because Oliver is smarter than Evola, and also doesn’t say stupid things in the proven-vain hope of convincing apes to smash other apes. Also, instead of serializing, I’ll just copypaste parts that I think are interesting, because Nick B. Steves has expressed interest in Spengler, and because the entire thing spans 100 pages of America’s Decline from 228 to 328.
HISTORY AND THE HISTORIANS
A conservative is essentially a man who is willing to learn from the accumulated experience of mankind. He must strive to observe dispassionately and objectively, and he must reason from his observations with a full awareness of the limitations of reason. And he must, above all, have the courage to confront the unpleasant realities of human nature and the world in which we live. That is why history, the vast record of human trial and error, is a discipline for conservatives. It necessarily lies beyond the emotional and intellectual capacities of children, savages, and “liberal intellectuals” who instinctively flee from reality to live in a dream-world in which the laws of nature can be suspended by the intervention of fairies, Witch-doctors, or “social scientists”.
History is a high and arduous discipline in which it is always necessary to collect and weigh complex and often elusive data, and in which, as in so many other fields of research, we must frequently content ourselves with a calculation of probabilities rather than a certainty. And when we try to extract from history the laws of historical development we find ourselves calculating the probability of probabilities – as difficult and delicate a task as the human mind can set for itself.
Fortunately for us, in the practical affairs of this world prudence and common sense (though somewhat uncommon qualities) are an adequate guide and do not depend on answers to the great questions of philosophy. A man may learn not to buy a pig in a poke without finding a solution to the epistemological problem that Hume posed so clearly and that yet remains unsolved. We can learn much from history without answering the ultimate questions.
Our minds, however, by their very nature desire a coherent philosophy that will account for the whole of perceived reality. And we live in a time in which we are constantly confronted by claims – some obviously mere propaganda but others seriously and sincerely put forward – that this or that development must take place in the future because it is “historically necessary.” Furthermore, we live in a time in which all but the most thoughtless sense that our very civilization is being eroded by vast and obscure forces which, if unchecked, will soon destroy it utterly – forces that we can identify and understand only if we can ascertain how and why they are shaping our history. And here again we are often told that those forces represent a destiny inherent in civilization itself and therefore irresistible and inescapable.
That is why the development of a working philosophy of history is the most urgent, as well as the most difficult, task of Twentieth Century thought.
It will be obvious that in this brief article I can do no more than offer a few comments on the nature of the problem and on some books that deal with it.
…long digression that is not politically sensitive ellided…
THE HISTORICAL MIND
It is not at all astonishing that the two Egyptian writers, with no precedent or record of comparable human experience to guide them, did not see in the cataclysm an intellectual problem. Nefer-rohu was right when he said, “What has never happened has happened”. But it seems that at no time in their long existence as a nation did the Egyptians think in terms of historical cause and effect. They compiled chronologies, but they never wrote history. They kept careful record of the sequence of events, but did not try to explain them. Some years brought national misfortune, just as the Nile in some years did not rise to its normal height and the fields consequently bore but a scanty harvest. Such things happened; if they had a cause, that cause lay in the mysterious and perhaps capricious will of the gods, far beyond human understanding.
History as the reasoned reporting of political and social change was the product of the Greek mind. Indeed, it could be argued that the capacity for history in that sense is the exclusive property of the Western culture that the Greeks created and we inherited – but it would be a fairly long argument. We cannot indulge ourselves in it here, any more than we can undertake a survey of ancient historians. But we should observe that the two basic conceptions of the historical process between which the modern mind must choose were both formed in Classical antiquity. I merely mention two historians who illustrate the contrast.
If we consider his almost superhuman dispassion and objectivity, the intellectual power that enables him to extract the essential from great masses of detail and so write concisely of highly complex events, and his lucid presentation of the evidence unclouded by theory or thesis, we must regard Thucydides as the great historian of all time. With perfect precision he tells us what happened and how it happened; he sees reality with an eye that is never blurred by a tear for his country’s fate; and the implacable lucidity of his intellect is no more perturbed by a theory to be demonstrated than it was perturbed by the temptation, which no other writer could have resisted, to add at least a few words to explain or defend his own conduct as a general or to mention his own misfortunes. We cannot read Thucydides without deep emotion, but the emotion is ours, not his; we cannot read him without pondering the lessons of history, but they are lessons that we must draw from the facts, not accept ready-made from the writer.
The future will always resemble the past because human nature does not change; men will always be actuated by the same basic desires and motives; the limitations of human reason and of human willingness to reason constitute a kind of fatality, but the events of history are always the result of human decisions, of wisdom or folly, in dealing with matters that can never be calculated with certainty in advance because the result will to some extent depend on chance – on factors that cannot be predicted. Nations, like men, must suffer the consequences of their own acts – consequences often unforeseen and sometimes unforeseeable – but there is no historical force which compels them to decide how they will act: they are subject, therefore, to no fate, other than that inherent in the limitations of their physical, mental, and moral resources. History is tragic, but it is tragedy in the strict sense of the word, the result of human blindness. That conception of history contrasts strongly with another, which may be described as either more cowardly, since it does shift responsibility, or more profound, since it tries to account for decisions. The elder Seneca, writing his history of the Civil Wars after the fall of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the Principate, was certainly influenced by the Stoic conception of a universe that operates by a strict mechanical necessity in vast cycles from one ecpyrosis to another, endlessly repeating itself. Seneca saw in the Roman people an organism comparable to a man and under- going, like men, a kind of biological development. Rome spent her infancy under the early kings; adolescent, the nation established a republic and, with the indefatigable vigor of a growing organism, extended its rule over the adjacent parts of Italy; with the strength and resolution of maturity (iuventus), Rome conquered virtually all of the world that was worth taking; and then at last, weary and feeling the decline of her powers, unable to muster the strength and resolution to govern herself, she in her old age (senectus) resigned herself and her affairs into the hands of a guardian, closing her career as she began it, under the tutelage and governance of a monarch.
Unfortunately, the surviving fragment of Seneca’s history does not tell us how soon he thought decrepitude would be followed by death. We cannot even be certain how strictly he applied the fatalism implicit in the analogy; he seems to have believed that nations, like men, could in their maturity a little hasten or retard the onset of senility by the care that they took of themselves. But at best, human will and wisdom can but little affect the biological necessity that carries all living things to the inexorable grave. Seneca was thinking of Rome, rather than of Classical civilization as a whole, but his analogy anticipates the essentials of what we now call the organic, or cyclic, conception of history.
THE MODERN DILEMMA
Modern history begins with the Renaissance, an age which thought of itself, as the name indicates, as a “rebirth” of Classical antiquity. For a long time, men’s energies were concentrated in an effort to ascend to the level of high civilization represented by the great ages of Greece and Rome. The most common metaphor described cultural change in terms of day and night: Civilization had reached high noon in the age of Cicero and Vergil; the decadence of the Roman Empire was the gloaming that preceded the long night of the Dark Ages; and the revival of literature and the arts that began with Petrarch was the dawn of a new day – the return of the sun to illumine the earth and rouse the minds of men. This metaphor was intended to mark contrasts, not to draw an analogy. Culture did not come to the world as the sun rises and sets, independently of human effort; on the contrary, literature, philosophy (including what we now call science), and the arts were the products of the highest and most intense creativity of the human mind. It followed, therefore, that civilization was essentially the body of knowledge accumulated and maintained by the intellect and will of men. This sense of constant striving precluded a cyclic or deterministic conception of history, while the awareness that the thread of civilization had been all but broken during the Dark Ages precluded a facile and unthinking optimism. From the dawn of the Renaissance to the early years of the Twentieth Century men thought of the history of civilization as a continuum that could be reduced to a line on a graph. The line began at the bottom somewhere in pre-history before the time of Homer, rose steadily to a peak in the great age of Athens, dipped a little and then rose again to the Golden Age of Rome, fell steadily towards zero, which it almost reached in the Dark Ages, rose a little in the later Middle Age, and with the Revival of Learning climbed sharply toward a new peak. History thus conceived divided itself into three periods: Ancient, Mediaeval, and Modern. That linear conception of history was simply taken for granted by historians. Guicciardini, Juan de Mariana, Thuanus, Gibbon, and Macaulay differ greatly from one another in outlook, but they all regard the linear conception as apodictic.
That conception of history has an implication that we should not overlook: The history of civilization is the history of the West. What had happened in Egypt, Assyria, China, India, and Islam might be picturesque and interesting, but was not really significant except at the points at which the Orient had impinged on the Occident. The history of the Oriental empires was alien to our history. Furthermore, those empires, however wealthy and powerful, were barbaric. That was the only adjective available to describe them, for “civilization” was not a word that could be used in the plural: it was a word that specifically meant the culture of the West. And we should note that that use of the word, although it implies a fundamental difference in quality, did not spring from an assumption of superiority. Europe was long inferior in both numbers and resources to the adjacent Mohammedan nations, and down to the Eighteenth Century there was a real and ever present danger that the multitudinous armies of Islam might overwhelm and capture the whole of the Christian West. And for many years after 1683, the West stood in awe of the wealth of –
Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold.
The Nineteenth Century brought to the West the assurance of military superiority over all the other peoples of the world. It seemed certain that the white man, thanks to his technology, would forever rule the globe and its teeming populations. And from this confidence sprang a mad-cap euphoria – a bizarre notion that progress was inevitable and automatic; that civilization, instead of being a precious and fragile creation that men must work very hard to maintain and even harder to improve, had become self-perpetuating and self-augmenting; and that the line on the graph, having risen higher than the highest point attained in antiquity, was destined to move upward forever and forever. That childish fancy, to be sure, did not impose on the best minds of the century (eg Burckhardt), but like a heady wine it intoxicated many writers (eg Herbert Spencer) who passed for serious thinkers in their day. And it did serve to suggest to reflective minds the question whether or not there was a destiny inherent in the nature of the historical process itself as distinct from the wisdom or folly of decisions made by men.
Toward the end of the century, deep misgivings that could no longer be repressed found expression in such works as Theodore Funck Brentano’s La civilisation et ses lois, Brooks Adams’ The Law of Civilization and Decay, and Henry Adams’ The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma. No one thought of doubting the supremacy of the West or its perpetuity, but men began to wonder whether civilization was not falling to a lower level. And to find an answer, they sought to establish a “science of history” – what is now called historionomy in English and metahistoire in French – which would ascertain the natural laws that govern the development of civilization.
On the eve of the First World War, a few remarkable minds, prescient of the coming catastrophe, formulated the historical question in more drastic and fundamental terms: Was the civilization of the West mortal and already growing old? Would a traveller of some future and alien civilization meditate among the mouldering ruins of New York and London and Paris as Volney had meditated among the ruins of Babylon, Baalbec,and Persepolis – and perhaps, like Volney, soothe himself with illusions that his civilization could endure, although all its predecessors had left but heaps of broken stone to attest that they had once existed?
THE CONSUMPTION OF CULTURE
We must understand that the grim question thus posed was at that time, and remains even today, entirely a question of internal decay – of a sickness or debility of the Western mind and will. It was not then, and has not yet become, a question of strength relative to the rest of the world. The power of the nations of the West was, and is, simply overwhelming.
In 1914, men debated whether or not Russia was part of the Western world. Assuming that it was not, it was obvious that there were only two non-Western nations on earth that possessed the military and industrial capacity to offer serious resistance to even a medium-sized nation of the West. And neither Russia nor Japan could have hoped to defeat a major Western power except by forming an alliance with another major power of Europe or America. And despite all the efforts of the West to destroy itself in fratricidal wars and by exporting its technology and its wealth to other peoples, that remains in large part true today.
The retreat of the West has been self-imposed, and we must not permit the screeching of “liberals” to distract our attention from that obvious and fundamental fact. Great Britain, for example, was in no sense compelled to relinquish India as a colony. During the great Indian Mutiny of 1857, fifty thousand British troops cut their way through the whole of the Indian sub-continent, and in little more than a year reduced to complete submission its population of more than one hundred million. And this, nota bene, was done at a time when the only basic weapon of warfare was the rifle, so that a man with a rifle on one side was the match of a man with a rifle on the other side, except insofar as discipline and individual intelligence might make some difference in the use of the common and universally obtainable weapon. In 1946, Great Britain, with all the weapons of modern warfare at her disposal, including tanks, airplanes, high-explosive and incendiary bombs, poison gas, and other weapons that are by their very nature a monopoly of great nations, could have snuffed out in a few weeks the most formidable revolt that Nehru and his gang could conceivably have instigated and organized.
The power is still ours. The greater part of the globe lies open for our taking, if we as a nation resolve to take it. Despite all the frenzied efforts in Washington to sabotage the United States for the past thirty years, it is still beyond doubt that if we were so minded, we could, for example, simply take the whole continent of Africa, exterminate the native population; and make the vast and rich area a new frontier for the expansion of our own people. No power on earth – certainly not the Soviet that we have so diligently nurtured and built up with our resources – would dare to oppose us. To be sure, there are good reasons for not annexing Africa, but if we are to think clearly about our place in the world, we must understand that lack of power is not one of them.
That the Western world, with its virtual monopoly of the instruments of power, should slavishly cringe before the hordes for which it felt only contempt when it was less strong than it now is, is obvious proof that our civilization is suffering from some potentially fatal disease or decay that has deprived us – temporarily or permanently – of the intelligence and the will to live. Every philosophy of history, or, if you prefer, every system of historionomy, is simply an effort to diagnose our malady – to tell us, in effect, whether the debility and enervation of the West is the result of a curable disease or of an irreversible deterioration.
We should also note that the historical question can, except in its most immediate aspects, be partly separated from the problem posed by the International Communist Conspiracy. That band of criminals was so well hidden in 1914 that no one suspected the extent of its secret strength or anticipated the almost incredible growth of that strength in subsequent decades. Many philosophies of history simply ignore, and others barely notice the existence of the conspiracy whose capture of governments and the organs of public opinion in the West is the obvious cause of the paralysis from which we are now suffering.
There is nothing new about the Bolsheviks except the scale on which they operate. History provides many examples of criminal conspiracies to capture entire nations: the Catilinarian Conspiracy is an obvious example and many others could be cited. Every race and nation has produced throughout its history depraved creatures animated by a blood-lust that we regard as inhuman, and these fearful animals have sometimes formed conspiracies whose motivation was simply the joy of killing, with no thought of profit or political power: One of the clearest examples is provided by the biped beasts described by Louis Zoul in his excellent Thugs and Communists (Public Opinion, Long Island City: cf. American Opinion, January, 1962, pp. 29-36). The only innovation that the Communists have made is their success in organizing the depraved and the degenerate throughout the world, and their determination to capture the entire globe instead of a part of it.
But the members of the Communist Conspiracy are never more than a tiny fraction of the populations they subjugate; they are a small gang that could in any country be handled by the local police force in a merely routine operation. The terrible power of the unhumans is entirely obtained by their ability to deceive and manipulate human beings.
So the historical question remains. What sickness of our civilization has so paralyzed us that we permit the vermin to swarm over us? What stupor prevented us for so long from recognizing them? What has palsied our hands so that we make no move to rid ourselves of the infestation?
Many of the criminals are almost impenetrably disguised as “liberal intellectuals”. The nature of the “liberal” has been clearly and brilliantly analyzed by S E D Brown and Taylor Caldwell (see American Opinion, October, 1961, pp. 35-44: March, 1963, pp. 29-41), and we can only marvel that such weak, ignorant, and irrational little men, bearing a secret and morbid animus against the civilization that nurtured them, should have been able to occupy the positions of intellectual prestige and influence in our society. How does it happen that we have the herds of “liberal intellectuals” among whom the members of the Criminal Conspiracy can so easily and effortlessly conceal themselves?
The Communist Conspiracy is therefore a proof that there is something seriously wrong with our civilization. If that were not so, the Conspiracy would be helpless. As we all know, everyone is daily exposed to tuberculosis and many other potentially lethal infections, but healthy bodies simply throw off those infections automatically. All societies will always have criminals in their midst, but a healthy society will automatically keep those ever-present germs of evil and death under control, partly by the exercise of police-powers, but mostly by the social pressures that are generated by the refusal of individuals to countenance subversion and crime.
If God in His Mercy were to remove from our globe tonight every member of the International Communist Conspiracy, we would rejoice wildly in our liberation. But within a century – perhaps in half a century – we should find ourselves in our present plight once again, unless we developed powers of resistance to infection that we obviously have not yet developed.
None of that isn’t already known to us
Before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, three important theories of historical development were formulated by their authors, although they were not published in book-form until later. C H von Méray’s Weltmutation (Zürich, 1918) is an elaborate system that subsequent events have made largely obsolete, but it is still worth the attention of the student who wishes to explore the intellectual ambience represented by it.
One of the most lucid and penetrating of all analyses of the historical problem was made by the American scholar and economist, Correa Moylan Walsh, in a work which was published both as a unit of three volumes and as separate books, of which the first was entitled The Climax of Civilisation, the second, Socialism, and the last, Feminism (New York, 1917). For decades I have been discussing the numerous modern philosophies of history with anyone who seemed interested in the subject, but in all that time I have encountered only one man who had read or even heard of Walsh’s unique formulation of a cyclic theory that is not fatalistic. Americans, I suppose, just take it for granted that Europeans are brighter than they. I hope to discuss Walsh’s interpretation in some future issue, but I can here do no more than remark that the three volumes, published on the wrong side of the Atlantic, seem to have had no influence whatsoever on later writers.
The third and magisterial work conceived before the War was, of course, Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Munich, 1918). Read in this country chiefly in the brilliantly faithful translation by Charles Francis Atkinson, The Decline of the West (New York, two volumes, 1926-28), Spengler’s morphology of history was the great intellectual achievement of our century. Whatever our opinion of his methods or concl usions, we cannot deny that he was the Copernicus of historionomy. All subsequent writings on the philosophy of history may fairly be described as criticism of the Decline af the West. Spengler, having formulated a universal history, undertook an analysis of the forces operating in the immediately contemporary world. This he set forth in a masterly work, Die Jahre der Entscheidung, of which only the first volume could be published in Germany (Munich, 1933) and translated into English (The Hour of Decision, New York, 1934). One has only to read this brilliant work, with its lucid analysis of forces that even acute observers did not perceive until twenty-five or thirty years later, and with its prevision that subsequent events have now shown to have been absolutely correct, to recognize that its au thor was one of the great political and philosophical minds of the West. One should remember, however, that the amazing accuracy of his analysis of the contemporary situation does not necessarily prove the validity of his historical morphology.
I should, perhaps, explain why the work is incomplete. As we all know by experience, when cats see a dog they spit and arch their backs; when “liberals” see an inconvenient fact, they spit and devise a lie. Our “liberals” have so assiduously peddled the story that Spengler was “the philosopher of National Socialism” that even some Americans who should know better have come to believe it. The facts of the matter are that the Hitlerian regime soon after it came to power in Germany quietly forbade its captive press to mention Spengler, saw to it that the first volume of Die Jahre der Entscheidung was suddenly “out of print,” and declared that the second volume must never be published. Even Spengler’s great Untergang des Abendlandes, which had been in print since 1918, suddenly disappeared from the market and new copies were not again available in Germany until 1950. It is not clear whether Spengler, confronted by the Hitlerian prohibition, did not finish the second volume of his last work or the completed manuscript was destroyed. Spengler devoted the few remaining years of his life to a study of the second millenium BC, of which he completed a few chapters.
These facts are well known, and are admitted by cautious “liberals” (eg H Stuart Holmes, in his covertly hostile Oswald Spengler, New York, 1952), but our journalistic lie-machines operate on the assumption that the general public can be made to believe anything. And in the case of Spengler, they have generally succeeded, by constant repetition, in conveying the impression that the great philosopher was somehow the favorite or ally of the little tyrant who silenced him. One effect of this denigration of Spengler was the exaltation of Toynbee, whose work we shall consider in a future article.
The publication of Spengler’s first volume in 1918 released a spate of controversy that continues to the present day. Manfred Schroeter in Der Streit urn Spengler (Munich, 1922) was able to give a précis of the critiques that had appeared in a little more than three years; today, a mere bibliography, if reasonably complete, would take years to compile and would probably run to eight hundred or a thousand printed pages.
Spengler naturally stirred up swarms of nit-wits, who were particularly incensed by his immoral and preposterous suggestion that there could be another war in Europe, when everybody knew that there just couldn’t be anything but World Peace after 1918, ’cause Santa had just brought a nice, new, shiny “League of Nations.” Such “liberal” chatterboxes are always making a noise, but no one with the slightest knowledge of human history pays any attention to them, except as symptoms.
Unfortunately, much more intelligent criticism of Spengler was motivated by emotional dissatisfaction with his conclusions. In an article in Antiquity for 1927, the learned R S Collingwood of Oxford went so far as to claim that Spengler’s two volumes had not given him “a single genuinely new idea,” and that he had “long ago carried out for himself” – and, of course, rejected – even Spengler’s detailed analyses of individual cultures. As a cursory glance at Spengler’s work will suffice to show, that assertion is less plausible than a claim to know everything contained in the Twelfth Edition of the Britannica. Collingwood, the author of the Speculum mentis and other philosophical works, must have been bedeviled with emotional resentments so strong that he could not see how conceited, arrogant and improbable his vaunt would seem to most readers.
It is now a truism that Spengler’s “pessimism” and “fatalism” was an unbearable shock to minds nurtured in the Nineteenth Century illusion that everything would get better and better forever and ever. Spengler’s cyclic interpretation of history stated that a civilization was an organism having a definite and fixed life-span and moving from infancy to senescence and death by an internal necessity comparable to the biological necessity that decrees the development of the human organism from infantile imbecility to senile decrepitude. Napoleon, for example, was the counterpart of Alexander in the ancient world. We were now, therefore! in the phase of civilizational life in which constitutional forms are supplanted by the prestige of individuals. By 2000, we shall be “contemporary” with the Rome of Sulla, the Egypt of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and China at the time when the “Contending States” were welded into an empire. That means that we face an age of world wars and what is worse, civil wars and proscriptions, and that around 2060 the West (if not destroyed by its alien enemies) will be united under the personal rule of a Caesar or Augustus. That is not a pleasant prospect.
The only question before us, however, is whether Spengler is correct in his analysis. Rational men will regard as irrelevant the fact that his conclusions are not charming. If a physician informs you that you have symptoms of arteriosclerosis, he mayor may not be right in his diagnosis, but it is absolutely certain that you cannot rejuvenate yourself by slapping his face.
Every detached observer of our times, I think, will agree that Spengler’s “pessimism” aroused emotions that precluded rational consideration. I am inclined to believe that the moral level of his thinking was a greater obstacle. His “fatalism” was not the comforting kind that permits men to throw up their hands and eschew responsibilities. Consider, for example, the concluding lines of his
Men and Technics (New York, 1932):
“Already the danger is so great, for every individual, every class, every people, that to cherish any illusion whatever is deplorable. Time does not suffer itself to be halted; there is no question of prudent retreat or wise renunciation. Only dreamers believe that there is a way out. Optimism is cowardice.
“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.”
Now, whether or not the stern prognostication that lies back of that conclusion is correct, no man fit to live in the present can read those lines without feeling his heart lifted by the great ethos of a noble culture – the spiritual strength of the West that can know tragedy and be unafraid. And simultaneously, that pronouncement will affright to hysteria the epicene homunculi among us, the puling cowards who hope only to scuttle about safely in the darkness and to batten on the decay of a culture infinitely beyond their comprehension.
That contrast is in itself a very significant datum for an estimate of the present condition of our civilization. When a student of history undertakes an objective examination of Spengler’s great architectonic construction, he finds that, as he expected, it would be possible to argue almost endlessly over details. To begin with, an ordinary book of history, which purports to do no more than tell us what happened in a given country within a stated period, is, as we all know, necessarily like a map, which can show only as much detail as is indispensable for its purpose and proportional to its scale. A useful map of a state cannot record the curves in highways or the streets of towns. A useful map of the United States must omit most of the towns and rivers. Even in orthodox narrative history, the same kind of drastic selection must be made, but the difficulty of selecting is much greater; only an extraordinary genius, such as Thucydides, can keep everything in perfect proportion to its importance. To this must be added, of course, the difficulty that there is so much in history, both remote and recent, that we cannot ascertain for want of adequate records. It is unlikely that we shall ever be able to decide whether or not the founders of the First Dynasty in Egypt were native Egyptians, or to identify positively the persons who arranged for the assassination of Lincoln (cf. Otto Eisenschimi, Why Was Lincoln Murdered?, Boston, 1937). There is in both cases a possibility, of course, that new evidence may come to light, but in the meantime, at least, there will be blank spots on the historical map.
Spengler, in his great analytic and synthetic work, has to start from the narrative histories of the many nations that were parts of the civilizations that he studies. He assumes, so to speak, that we have a world-atlas before us to which we can refer, if any point in his discussion seems obscure to us. Hence more opportunities for argument. Spengler’s dating of the early dynasties of Egypt, for example, differs from both the so-called “longer” chronology of Professor W M Flinders Petrie (who was, by the way, himself the author of a very interesting theory of civilization) and the “shorter” chronology which I, following the more recent computations of Professor Wilson and others, used when I wrote the phrase, “approximately five thousand years ago” near the beginning of this article. Neither chronology is certain; it would take twenty pages to summarize the reasons for the disagreement; an Egyptologist could write a fairly long book on this one question; and if, in the end, he was able to prove that one computation was necessarily correct, that conclusion would not really affect, one way or the other, the validity of Spengler’s morphology.
Criticism of Spengler, therefore, if it is not to seem mere quibbling about details, must deal with major premises. Now, so far as I can see, Spengler’s thesis can be challenged at three really fundamental points, viz.:
(1) Spengler regards each civilization as a closed and isolated entity animated by a dominant idea, or Weltanschaaung, that is its “soul”. Why should ideas, or concepts, the impalpable creations of the human mind, undergo an organic evolution as though they were living protoplasm, which, as a material substance, is understandably subject to chemical change and hence biological laws? This logical objection is not conclusive: Men may observe the tides, for example, and even predict them, without being able to explain what causes them. But when we must deduce historical laws from the four or five civilizations of which we have some fairly accurate knowledge, we do not have enough repetitions of a phenomenon to calculate its periodicity with assurance, if we do not know why it happens.
(2) A far graver difficulty arises from the historical fact that we have already mentioned. For five centuries, at least, the men of the West regarded modern civilization as a revival or prolongation of Graeco-Roman antiquity. Spengler, as the very basis of his hypothesis, regards the Classical world as a civilization distinct from, and alien to, our own – a civilization that, like the Egyptian, lived, died, and is now gone. It was dominated by an entirely different Weltanschaaung, and consequently the educated men of Europe and America, who for five centuries believed in continuity, were merely suffering from an illusion or hallucination.
Even if we grant that, however, we are still confronted by a unique historical phenomenon. The Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Hindu, and Arabian (“Magian”), civilizations are all regarded by Spengler (and other proponents of an organic structure of culture) as single and unrelated organisms: Each came into being without deriving its concepts from another civilization (or, alternatively, seeing its own concepts in the records of an earlier civilization), and each died leaving no offpsring (or, alternatively, no subsequent civilization thought to see in them its own concepts). There is simply no parallel or precedent for the relationship (real or imaginary) which links Graeco-Roman culture to our own.
Since Spengler wrote, a great historical discovery has further complicated the question. We now know that the Mycenaean peoples were Greeks, and it is virtually certain that the essentials of their culture survived the disintegration caused by the Dorian invasion, and were the basis of later Greek culture. (For a good summary, see Leonard R. Palmer, Mycenaeans and Minoans, London, 1961). We therefore have a sequence that is, so far as we know, unique: Mycenaean ⑧ Dark Ages ⑧ Graeco-Roman ⑧ Dark Ages ⑧ Modern. If this is one civilization, it has had a creative life-span far longer than that of any other that has thus far appeared in the world. If it is more than one, the interrelations form an exception to Spengler’s general law, and suggest the possibility that a civilization, if it dies by some kind of quasi-biological process, may in some cases have a quasi-biological power of reproduction.
The exception becomes even more remarkable if we, unlike Spengler, regard as fundamentally important the concept of self-government, which may have been present even in Mycenaean times (cf. Palmer, op. cit., p. 97). Democracies and constitutional republics are found only in the Graeco-Roman world and our own; such institutions seem to have been incomprehensible to other cultures (see American Opinion, April, 1961, pp. 21-29).
(3) For all practical purposes, Spengler ignores hereditary and racial differences. He even uses the word “race” to represent a qualitative difference between members of what we should call the same race, and he denies that that difference is to any significant extent mused by heredity. He regards biological races as plastic and mutable, even in their physical characteristics, under the influence of geographical factors (including the soil, which is said to affect the physical organism through food) and of what Spengler terms “a mysterious cosmic force” that has nothing to do with biology. The only real unity is cultural, ie the fundamental ideas and beliefs shared by the peoples who form a civilization. Thus Spengler, who makes those ideas subject to quasi-biological growth and decay, oddly rejects as insignificant the findings of biological science concerning living organisms.
It is true, of course, that man is in part a spiritual being. Of that, persons who have a religious faith need no assurance. Others, unless they are determined blindly to deny the evidence before us, must admit the existence of phenomena of the kind described by Franz F Winkler, MD, in Man, the Bridge Between Two Worlds (New York, Harper, 1960), and, of course, by many other writers. And every historian knows that no one of the higher cultures could conceivably have come into being, if human beings are merely animals.
But it is also true that the science of genetics, founded by Father Mendel only a century ago and almost totally neglected down to the early years of the Twentieth Century, has ascertained biological laws that can be denied only by denying the reality of the physical world. Every educated person knows that the color of a man’s eyes, the shape of the lobes of his ears, and every one of his other physiological characteristics is determined by hereditary factors. It is virtually certain that intellectual capacity is likewise produced by inheritance, and there is a fair amount of evidence that indicates that even moral capacities are likewise innate. Man’s power of intervention in the development of inherited qualities appears to be entirely negative, thus affording another melancholy proof that human ingenuity can easily destroy what it can never create. Any fool with a knife can in three minutes make the most beautiful woman forever hideous, and one of our “mental health experts,” even without using a knife, can as quickly and as permanently destroy the finest intellect. And it appears that less drastic interventions, through education and other control of environment, may temporarily or even permanently pervert and deform, but are powerless to create capacities that an individual did not inherit from near or more remote ancestors.
The facts are beyond question, although the Secret Police in Russia and “liberal” spitting-squads in the United States have largely succeeded in keeping these facts from the general public in the areas they control, But no amount of terrorism can alter the laws of nature. For a readable exposition of genetics, see Garrett Hardin’s Nature and Man’s Fate (New York, Rinehart, 1959), which is subject only to the reservation that the laws of genetics, like the laws of chemistry, are verified by observation every day, whereas the doctrine of biological evolution is necessarily an hypothesis that cannot be verified by experiment.
It is also beyond question that the races of mankind differ greatly in physical appearance, in susceptibility to specific diseases, and in average intellectual capacity. There are indications that they differ also in nervous organization, and possibly, in moral instincts. It would be a miracle if that were not so, for, as is well known, the three primary races were distinct and separate at the time that intelligent men first appeared on this planet, and have so remained ever since. The differences are so pronounced and stable that the proponents of biological evolution are finding it more and more necessary to postulate that the differences go back to species that preceded the appearance of the homo sapiens. (See the new and revised edition of Dr Carleton S Coon’s The Story of Man, New York, Knopf, 1962)
That such differences exist is doubtless deplorable. It is certainly deplorable that all men must die, and there are persons who think it deplorable that there are differences, both anatomical and spiritual between men and women. However, no amount of concerted lying by “liberals,” and no amount of decreeing by the Warren Gang, will in the least change the laws of nature.
Now there is a great deal that we do not know about genetics, both individual and racial, and these uncertainties permit widely differing estimates of the relative importance of biologically determined factors and cultural concepts in the development of a civilization. Our only point here is that it is highly improbable that biological factors have no influence at all on the origin and course of civilizations. And to the extent that they do have an influence, Spengler’s theory is defective and probably misleading.
One could add a few minor points to the three objections stated above, but these will suffice to show that the Spenglerian historionomy cannot be accepted as a certainty. It is, however, a great philosophical formulation that poses questions of the utmost importance and deepens our perception of historical causality. No student of history needed Spengler to tell him that a decline of religious faith necessarily weakens the moral bonds that make civilized society possible. But Spengler’s showing that such a decline seems to have occurred at a definite point in the development of a number of fundamentally different civilizations with, of course, radically different religions provides us with data that we must take into account when we try to ascertain the true causes of the decline. And his further observation that the decline was eventually followed by a sweeping revival of religious belief is equally significant.
However wrong he may have been about some things, Spengler has given us profound insights into the nature of our own culture. But for him, we might have gone on believing that our great technology was merely a matter of economics – of trying to make more things more cheaply. But he has shown us, I think, that our technology has a deeper significance – that for us, the men of Western civilization, it answers a certain spiritual need inherent in us, and that we derive from its triumphs a satisfaction analogous to that which is derived from great music or great art.
And Spengler, above all, has forced us to inquire into the nature of civilization and to ask ourselves by what means – if any – we can repair and preserve the long and narrow dykes that alone protect us from the vast and turbulent ocean of eternal barbarism. For that, we must always honor him.
So there you have it. Rejected by Hitler, rejected by the West. Bizarre cyclic view of history instead of giving the laws of psychohistory as Asimov wanted. So what’s the point? I’m not convinced to read Spengler, far from it. Back to Instauration for me.
Part II: Arnold Toynbee
The most fashionable and widely publicized philosophy of history today is undoubtedly that of Arnold J Toynbee, whose massive and imposing Study of History was only recently brought to completion with the publication of His twelfth and final volume, Reconsiderations (Oxford University Press, New York, 1961; 740 pages). Mr Toynbee has enjoyed a success perhaps never before attained by a writer on a subject that is necessarily complex and, in some of its aspects, abstruse. Thirty years ago he was virtually unknown. No one remembered a book which, although widely circulated many years before, had quickly become obsolete and had, by general consent, been completely forgotten. A few persons in England knew that a man named Toynbee was somehow connected with an umbratile Institute of some kind and with its even more obscure periodical. That was all.
THE DUAL DOCTRINE
When the first volume of A Study of History was published in 1934, Mr. Toynbee, like Byron, awoke to find himself famous; unlike Byron, he also found himself universally respected. The learned journals reviewed his work with scrupulous attention; periodicals of mass circulation, such as Time, quickly made his name a household word. And for a quarter of a century his fame increased with each new volume that came from the press of the world’s most venerated university. The twelve volumes have sold widely. An abridgement of the first ten volumes stood high on “best seller” lists. And the Oxford Press’s republication of the whole work in paperback form, now in progress, will bring Toynbee into the hands of many thousands who previously knew him only by reputation.
Mr Toynbee, unlike other writers on the subject, was not content to formulate just one philosophy of history. He has given us, of his abundance, at least two. With the publication of Volume I in 1934, he embarked on the presentation of a cyclic theory of history that could fairly be described as a revision of Spengler’s. He adopted the Spenglerian conception of world history as the record of several different civilizations, each a discrete entity fundamentally different from all others and having a Weltanschauung, or conception of reality, irreconcilable with theirs. These diverse civilizations were similar, however, in that they all naturally passed through the same stages of growth and decline; and Mr. Toynbee, adopting the Spenglerian term, undertook to study their morphology.
By drastically lowering the standards for determining what constitutes a civilization, MrToynbee increased the number of cultures to be compared and studied to the astonishing total of twenty-one, but he undertook to examine each of these as an essentially closed system in conformity with the Spenglerian model, although in terms of his own conception of historical causality.
Along the course thus charted, Mr Toynbee sailed steadily enough, secundis ventis, through four volumes. In the fifth, his more attentive readers noticed an odd vacillation, as though the hand on the wheel had become unsteady. And then, at the mid-point in his voyage, the skipper suddenly threw his helm hard-a-port and veered away on a study of “universal” religions. Before long, it became apparent to his astonished passengers that he was heading back toward some notion of universal progress. He was in fact, steering with ever increasing excitement and exaltation toward the “One World” of contemporary anti-Western propaganda.
nothing we haven’t seen before…
We could examine such points as the claim that Alexander the Great had a “vision” of the “Unity of Mankind,” and we could review in thirty-five or forty pages the evidence that shows that Toynbee (and Sir William W Tarn) were dreaming when they saw that vision in Alexander’s mind. But even if we proved our case to everyone’s satisfaction, we should have dealt with a detail that is insignificant when one considers the scale of the Study as a whole. If we examine Mr Toynbee’s discussions of historical causes, our objections at many points will deal not so much with what he says as with what he does not say, the alternatives that he does not consider. It is as though we were reading the first part of a detective story in which the victim dies after drinking a cocktail, but the sleuth does not think of questioning the butler. To correct the omission, however, we have to rewrite the story.
Okay, Spengler isn’t racist, but Toynbee is anti-racist, which is even less racist, and so he’s chosen. Spengler accused of being Hitler’s historian. No one likes a moderate, Spengler.
Toynbee is still writing in the 1950s:
When Mr Toynbee’s The World and the West was published in 1953, readers who respected him could not believe that he really thought that the budding civilization of Soviet Russia had been affrighted in its tender soul by the ruthless aggressiveness of Europeans and Americans. They accordingly assumed that the book was merely a journalistic tour de force designed to tickle “liberal” reviewers in the proper places and so win a wider audience and better income for Mr Toynbee.
Few who made that charitable assumption in 1953 knew that Mr Toynbee had for the past thirty years been a senior member of the salaried staff of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and that Mrs Toynbee had been on the same payroll for an even longer time. In fact, according to the information that Mr Toynbee has volunteered (Vol. X, p. 241), the Study was written “under the auspices” of the Royal Institute, which paid for much, if not all, of the time that was devoted to its composition. That is worth noting, for the Royal Institute of International Affairs is the British counterpart of our tenebrous and recently exposed Council on Foreign Relations, having been established by the same international clique at the same time for the same purpose (d. Dan Smoot, The Invisible Government, p. iv).
And unfortunately, few who read Mr Toynbee’s silly little book also read an important work by Paul W Shafer and John Howland Snow, The Turning of the Tides (The Long House, New Canaan, Connecticut, 1953; new edition, 1962). They could have learned from that book that the Rockefeller Foundation – which is virtually a subsidiary of the Council on Foreign Relations (see Dan Smoot, op. cit., pp.161-8) – had, according to its annual reports, subsidized Mr Toynbee’s work to the extent of $200,000.00 in 1946,and of $50,625.00 in 1947. An examination of later reports would probably show that the Rockefeller Foundation did not abate its eagerness to help Mr. Toynbee study history. And the Foundation’s cheque-writing affection for Mr Toynbee is particularly significant when we note that, according to Messrs Shafer and Snow (pp. 116.), the Foundation simultaneously subsidized a publication designed to counteract “prejudice” in favor of the continued existence of the United States – a project also described by Mr. Smoot op.cit., pp. 164f.), who observes that its express purpose, thinly veiled in a little double-talk, was so to falsify the historical record that Americans would go on believing the sleazy lies fabricated by the Roosevelt gang and its criminal allies before and during the Second World War.
Since those facts were generally unknown, many reader continued to respect Mr. Toynbee until he produced a combined travel-book and supplement to the Study entitled East to West (Oxford Press, 1959). Even readers who had been thus far dazzled by Mr Toynbee’s erudition and affectations had to reconsider after perusing that screed. In the Study, the author had with fair consistency appeared in the role of an historian engaged in expounding the meaning of ancient and recent events, and his admirers could always point out that it was not his fault, any more than it was Spengler’s, if his prognosis of our future seemed dismal to us. But in East to West, Mr. Toynbee injudiciously spoke in propria persona and thus disclosed what was either a strange tropism of his own mind or a conscious intent to impose on his readers.
Toynbee, for example, visited Australia; his comments show that he perceived and appreciated the many admirable qualities of the Australians and especially of those who live in the regions that correspond to the American frontier of a century ago. But he speaks of them with the melancholy resignation with which we speak of a friend who is suffering from an incurable and fatal disease. The pullulant mass of barbarians commanded by Sukarno wants Australia, so, as a matter of course, the Australians will have to be butchered and liquidated to make way for that avid and feral horde. So far as we can tell, it never occurred to Mr. Toynbee that the British or Americans could or should help Australia resist, the coming invasion – or, at least, desist from financing Sukarno and supplying him with the weapons that he and his savages will use to exterminate the Australians. Now, had Toynbee considered that possibility and come to the conclusion that cowards or degenerates or traitors in London and Washington would permit or contrive massacre of the Australians, we should have to regard him as either a congenital pessimist or an observer who shrewdly foresaw in 1958 the policies Macmillan and Kennedy are obviously, and almost admittedly, pursuing in 1963. But there is no slightest hint that such a consideration ever presented itself to the Toynbean intellect, which evidently just found it unthinkable that white men and Occidental civilization should not be abolished whenever and wherever a horde of prolific bipeds from the jungle covets land that generations of Western men, by their sweat and blood, redeemed from wilderness and desert.
That was but one of many indications that there were short-circuits in the high-voltage mind. In Burma, Mr. Toynbee was delighted to find that at any moment “a mob of [Buddhist] monks may suddenly fling off the yellow toga and start fighting with staves, swords, revolvers, or even hand-grenades.” If I remember correctly, every military man who has reported on guerrilla operations in Southeast Asia has remarked that the garb of Buddhist mendicants is the favorite disguise of Communist agents; and many detectors from the Communist Conspiracy (most recently, Aleksandr Kaznacheev in Inside a Soviet Embassy, which we reviewed last November) have made it clear that the international criminals have penetrated Buddhism as deeply as they have penetrated the National Council of Churches in the United States. Now if Mr Toynbee, perhaps out of consideration for the Rockefeller Foundation (which was, of course, standing by with its cheque-book and financing his globe-trotting) had simply clapped his hands over his eyes and ears with a resolve to see no Communists and hear no Communists (whatever he might think), we could understand and even forgive him. But he was enraptured by what he saw. He perfervidly assured us that the monks’ high-jinks with revolvers and hand-grenades were evidence of “the spiritual light that is radiating from Burman minds” – and that these effulgent minds were determined “to give something precious to the World.”
kung fu is cool lol
The earlier books, though very significant, left us unprepared for Mr. Toynbee’s latest, America and the World Revolution (Oxford University Press, New York; 231 pages). This brings us to the end of the story, and much that was obscure has now become clear.
For one thing, we learn at last exactly how Mr Toynbee, as a superhistorian, evaluates historical sources. He repeatedly quotes as “authoritative” the blatant propaganda about Latin America manufactured by the notorious Herbert L Matthews, who lied so brazenly on behalf of his pal, Fidel Castro, that even the New York Times felt obliged to suspend him from its staff – an event as noteworthy as the expulsion of a man for creating an unpleasant odor in a glue factory. Other authorities on eternal truth invoked by our macrocephalic historian are Adlai Stevenson, Kennedy’s speech-writers, and the like.
It is not remarkable that Mr. Toynbee once again rebukes the crass and crude Americans, who are all so rich and so corrupted by their wealth that they want to own whatever property their masters in Washington permit them temporarily to retain. We boors have long known that if only we were properly irradiated with” spiritual light,” we would be ashamed of ourselves for wanting to keep some part of the fruit of our labor when the world is full of cannibals, pygmies, and other superior beings, who want to be given Lincoln Continentals, goldplated beds, and similar civil rights.
What is noteworthy is that the book at last discloses the full perspective of world history, as seen by Mr Toynbee, and we can now see to the end of the vista. For the philosopher explains our own history to us, and exhorts us to be true to the ideals of our great forefathers. And here, for your information, is our history in a nut-shell.
As we all know, it was at Concord Bridge that the embattled proletarians fired “the shot heard round the world.” And the sound of that shot has been rolling around the world ever since. It inspired the exhilarating massacre known as the French Revolution. And then it went on rolling round and round until it inspired the true successors of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – Lenin and Trotsky – to raise Hell in Russia. And the sound went on rolling until it roused true American Ideals in the noble breast of Mao Tse-tung in China. And now the sound has come rolling back to us, for it has exalted the heart of the new George Washington, who made Cuba a base for Soviet missiles, submarines, and troops.
Mr Toynbee admits that there are a few minor details that disturb the beautiful simplicity of that historical panorama. There were some Americans, such as John Adams, who were so bigoted that they disapproved of the French Revolution. (That, I know, is hard to understand. Prudhomme, who witnessed a good part of it, calculated that during the Reign of Terror, which was but one phase of the Revolution, the French idealists butchered 1,022,351 human beings; and one would suppose that the odor of that much blood would suffice to set any true ‘liberal’ slavering for social reform.) Adams, Mr Toynbee concedes, would have disapproved of even the Bolshevik take-over of Russia. And even today there are Americans so benighted that they disapprove of Castro, despite the fact that, as Mr Toynbee wistfully remarks, “Fidel is really a rather beautiful name if American lips could pronounce it dispassionately.”
As a fair-minded man, Mr Toynbee grants that even Bolsheviks have some shortcomings. Although he does not bring up the question, I feel certain he would not deny that Khrushchev, when he murdered millions of people in the Ukraine and elsewhere, was guilty of a certain gaucherie – was, in fact, downright rude. I am sure Mr Toynbee would not deny it, because he does admit – reluctantly – that the “generous-minded vein in Communism” is marred by something much worse, a tendency toward “nationalism.” But even that is no excuse for failing to see that Communism “does stand in principle for winning social justice for the great majority of mankind.” If our gross and earth-bound minds had not become insensitive to spiritual light, we piggish Americans would all see this – and we would not be troubled by a bit of indecorum with machine-guns now and then.
It is true, however, that there is some friction between the United States and the Soviet. You see, we have let the Bolsheviks get ahead of us and take over “America’s historic role as the revolutionary leader of the depressed majority of mankind.” But there is still hope for us, provided we heed the Voice of History. We can take the lead again by just becoming more Communist than the Soviet. It’s as simple as all that.
Mr Toynbee might have told us more about the spiritual aspects of killing and looting, had he not been distracted. But he remembered the Atomic Bomb and so, of course, he started yammering. “If we are to avoid mass-suicide, we must have our world state quickly,” he cries. But he is more frank than most of the One-Worlders who plant boob-bait on behalf of the ” United Nations.” Mr Toynbee says that “parliamentary institutions” just won’t work in One World – there isn’t time. So, if we do not want to be frizzled with sizzling neutrons, “we have to start building a world-slate NOW on the best design practicable at the moment.” Why say more? Even earth-bound minds may be able to figure out that the only alternative to parliamentary institutions is a dictatorship. And the world’s most experienced and successful technician is fortunately available for the job. You will find him in his office in the Kremlin – unless, by the time this appears in print, he is back in the United States with his arm around an elected President and his eye on us.
THE PRICE OF THE HEAD
And so, after thirty years of coy cavorting, Mr Toynbee has brought his Dance of Ishtar to a climax, and the last of the Seven Veils has fallen. What is disclosed will, I trust, charm no one.
It is now obvious that:
(1) To absorb Mr. Toynbee’s wisdom, you need not trouble your head about what happened in history. Just toss the twelve volumes of the Study in the waste-basket and go around to the nearest church in which a crypto-Communist is administering the “social gospel” to the drowsy members of his Sunday Morning Club. Or, if you prefer a little less hypocrisy, read the Worker or the People’s World.
(2) The vistas of American history disclosed in Mr Toynbee’s latest book are, as we can now see in retrospect, the port towards which he has been steering on a calculated course ever since he executed the hard-a-port maneuver mid-way in his Study of History. To be sure, if we go back to Volume I, we find no hintof his ultimate destination. I cannot help reflecting, however, that if Mr Toynbee had not begun as a scholar engaged in a revision of Spengler, he would never have been taken seriously as a philosopher of history. Had he begun as an irradiator of his brand of “spiritual light,” his audience would have been limited to the little coteries of would-be Illuminati who frequent “Temples of Understanding” and play religious charades.
It is a rule of our basically kind and generous society that a man’s early lapses must be ignored and unmentioned, if he seems to be “going straight”. But a recidivist is another matter. I deem it proper, therefore, to point out that Mr Toynbee began his public career as an intellectual prostitute. According to H C Peterson (Propaganda for War, Norman, Oklahoma, 1939), Toynbee was a member of the original staff of Lord Bryce’s famous lie-factory, and served in the division that specialized in duping Americans.It was in this capacity that he produced his first widely-circulated book, The German Terror in France, An Historical Record, “by Arnold J Toynbee, Late Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford,” published in New York in 1917. Our great historian’s “historical record” was a tissue of malodorous mendacity couched in the language of scholarship. It was, in the words of S L Mock, “especially crass and unreliable propaganda.” It belongs with the famous photograph of loaded coal cars on railway sidings outside a German foundry which, when Lord Bryce’s experts got through with it, showed cars loaded with dead soldiers outside a soap factory. It was a job done by an expert to deceive the people whom his employers wished to manipulate.
With that accomplishment to his credit, Mr Toynbee became the highest ranking employee of the British half of the organization that operates in our country as the Council on Foreign Relations. In this capacity he was, by his own admission, paid to work on his Study of History, and there are rumors that he was provided with a staff of busy bees to collect erudition for him. He received munificent subventions from various subsidiaries and affiliates of our Council on Foreign Relations. And I venture to suggest that in the forty-five years since 1917 the aging leopard did not change a single spot.
Every good neoreactionary already knows about the CFR, and knows that, as Henry Ford said, history is bull, but hasn’t read Oliver, because Oliver is anti-Semitic and almost comically racist. Neoreactionaries commenting on American cultural history also ignore the data in The International Jew. Why? Parochialism, I must assume, in every sense of the word.
Well anyway, I’m bored, and copying and pasting is hard. Oliver’s Section III is about some writer who thinks the West is one unit marching towards its destiny under God, and then some orientalist who sounds kinda like Spandrell in saying weird stuff about how the oriental mind is incomprehensible, and then he gets to Yockey, who he thinks is pretty cool, and has written some other essays about but doesn’t matter because his passport was confiscated and when he snuck into the US anyway he was suicided in a jail, and his book was only printed by Noontide Press, which also published The International Jew. and Onward Christian Soldiers, two of the other most important books of the 20th century.
Section 4, History and Biology, is already on the Internet, and there’s really no cutting to be done to it. It’s pretty short, and racist enough to keep my attention.
Sections 5 and 6 were never written.
Iff you made it to this point, your intellectual level has been raised 🙂