Last Empire: how Europe lost Africa

Mercenaries in Katanga

Mercenaries in Katanga

Last Empire: how Europe lost Africa

K R Bolton blames America

While the Portuguese armed forces were engaged in fighting Black guerrillas in Angola and Mozambique, to their rear they were being ‘stabbed in the back’ by a much more lethal enemy based in the U.S.A. The Portuguese territories in Southern Africa were the last vestiges of European colonial power that had previously spanned the world. The old empires had created self-contained trading systems, buttressed by an ethos that saw Europe as having a world civilising mission. The Congress of Berlin of 1884-1885[1] sought an agreement among the European powers for the colonisation and development of Africa, indicating the potential for a collective European arrangement. The U.S.A. on the other hand, represented an entity quite different, and still does.

The U.S.A. was founded as a rebellion against European imperial power. ‘Americans’ sought to cut their roots off from millennia of European tradition, even if they did try to hark back to Classical antiquity in their notions of republicanism.

With the increasing internationalisation of capital, or what we today call ‘globalisation’, the European empires had become anachronisms. Rather than facilitating trade they had become restrictive to the increasing world scope of a merchant class that steadily displaced the old aristocracies as the ruling elite. Concomitant with the rise of the merchant was the development of the economic doctrine of Free Trade, which was said to assure the continuing march of humanity towards a universal millennium of wealth and happiness for all of mankind. World War I struck a mortal blow to the Old Order of Europe and its empires, and saw the U.S.A. as the real victor. American President Woodrow Wilson ushered in the American millennium on the ruins of European empires, which had fought themselves to bankruptcy and exhaustion. Wilson, like all subsequent U.S. Presidents, was in a position to dictate to the world the terms for a ‘new world order’, as it is now called. Wilsonian doctrine, outlined in the President’s ‘Fourteen Points’, set the scene for world domination by plutocracy.

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

In 1918 President Wilson stood triumphantly on the world platform to announce his ‘Fourteen Points’[2] for the reorganisation of the post-war world, among which were the demands to remove economic barriers and establish ‘an equality of trade’ among all nations (III), the ‘adjustment’ of all colonial claims (V), and the formation of an ‘association of nations’ to guarantee territorial and political independence of all states’ (XIV), the latter a reference to Wilson’s dream of a ‘League of Nations’. The primary purpose of the ‘Fourteen Points’ was to create a new international order based on free trade led by the U.S.A., by eliminating the empires. Wilson, like his Bolshevik contemporaries, sought to create an empire in the name of ‘anti-imperialism’; an empire not of the old aristocrats and monarchs but centred on money. The ‘Fourteen Points’ refer to ‘the intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists’.[3]

The anti-European agenda of the U.S.A. was assisted by the new-found assertiveness of the colonial peoples who had seen the white world devour itself in the Great War. Oswald Spengler wrote of this:

“This war was a defeat of the white races, and the Peace of 1918 was the first great triumph of the coloured world: symbolised by the fact that today it is allowed to have a say in the disputes of the white states among themselves in the Geneva League of Nations – which is nothing but a miserable symbol of shameful things.”[4]

The remnants of the European empires were finished off by another devastating intra-European war that saw the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. emerge as rivals in entering the power vacuum created by the scuttling of the empires. Like the ‘Fourteen Points’, the ‘Atlantic Charter’ was intended to eliminate the imperial trading blocs and impose international free trade under the auspices of the United Nations Organisation, Wilson’s beloved League of Nations having been inadequate for the purpose. It was the brainchild of President Roosevelt and his advisers, which they imposed upon Churchill, the British ‘bulldog’ who had overseen the destruction of the British Empire because of his implacable hatred of the Third Reich. Roosevelt said to Churchill that, ‘Of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade. No artificial barriers….’ Roosevelt stated that imperial trade agreements would have to go, and remarked that the Third Reich’s incursion into European trade had been a major caused of the war.[5] Churchill spoke in despair, ‘Mr. President, I believe you are trying to do away with the British Empire. Every idea you entertain about the structure of the post-war world demonstrates it’.[6]

Imperial Scuttle

Most of the European colonial powers had been engaged in a suicidal war that left them materially and morally exhausted, and in debt to international finance. All that the U.S.A. had to do was to ‘push the falling,’ to paraphrase Nietzsche.

Portugal was an exception, wisely having maintained her neutrality during World War II, and continuing to develop her African territories. The Portuguese empire and the Christian corporatist ‘New State’ inaugurated by Professor Salazar, based on Catholic social doctrine, was a major obstacle to the post-1945 new order.

While the focus for superpower incursions into Africa and other decolonised territories was on the U.S.S.R., which trained its African puppets at Patrice Lumumba University, few realised that the major centre of subversion was the U.S.A. The first imperial powers targeted were France and Britain in West Africa, where Washington spent $94.7 million to displace the French and British.[7] While Patrice Lumumba University was established in 1960,[8] the U.S.A. had established the Africa-America Institute (A.A.I.) in 1953 to train their Black puppets for post-colonial Africa. We are told that the purpose was and remains to educate Africans to play leading roles in states, linking them ‘to the global economy’. The U.S. Government, corporations and foundations fund A.A.I. projects.[9]

Among the A.A.I.’s first programmes was the ‘U.S.-South Africa Leader Exchange Program’ set up in 1958.[10] In addition to the programmes directed towards getting the French out of Africa, during 1961-1983 the Southern African Student Program, funded by the U.S. State Department, was set up to eliminate white rule from the remaining European colonial geopolitical bloc in Africa. It is described as ‘an effort to provide educational training to students from South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, to provide a cadre of leadership in these countries which were transitioning into independent nations’.[11]

The purposes were obvious: to eliminate white colonies from Africa and provide the leadership cadres to take over after the departure of the European colonial administrators. The aim was to train a post-colonial leadership that would serve U.S. agendas and bring Africa into the world economy.

Although the regular army had uprooted FRELIMO in Mozambique in 1970 with Operation Gordian Knot, that organisation received funds from the Ford Foundation via the Mozambique Institute.[12] Black terrorists were provided with a refuge and training under the A.A.I.’s East Africa Refugee Program (1962-1971) and the Southern African Training Program (1971-1976).

Fernando Andresen Guimarães, a director of the U.N. Department of Peace Keeping Operations, stated that the U.S.A. gave support at an early stage to the murderous Holden Roberto:

“The Kennedy administration also acted beyond the United Nations and sought directly to support an anti-colonial movement against the Portuguese. Holden Roberto, the UPA (and later FNLA leader) had by the end of the 1950s established a wide range of contacts in the United States. Due to its prominent role in the anti-colonial uprising in northern Angola in 1961, the UPA was the Angolan nationalist movement with the most international exposure. Washington authorized the CIA to extend support to Roberto and UPA.”[13]

In 1959 Roberto travelled to Washington, where he met Kennedy. U.S. support to Roberto included a university scholarship programme for African students from the Portuguese colonies.

U.S. military assistance for Portugal was cut from $US 25 million to $3 million and a ban on commercial sales of arms to Portugal was imposed in mid-1961. The USA supported the prohibition on the use of NATO war materiel in Africa.[14] From 1965 the military aid was reduced to $1 million annually, and comprised mostly spare parts.[15] It was the usual tactic that the U.S. employs against its supposed allies such as Chiang Kai Shek [16], Batista in Cuba [17], Samoza in Nicaragua [18], and others: impose arms embargoes at the crucial moment, showing time and again that alliances with the U.S.A. are lethal.

In 1961 the U.S. State Department advised its Embassy in Lisbon what its line should be towards Salazar:

“Basis for US policies: … US believes change fact of life in our era. Changes in Portuguese Africa as inevitable as elsewhere in world, though Portugal still has power to decide whether they will take place with her or against her. We believe failure to respond now to self-determination aspirations of Portuguese Africans will result in changes detrimental to interests of United States and West as well as to Portugal. This is why US continually urges Portugal in its own interest to become champion of political changes which will take place in her territories and, being based on pragmatic principles, it is why US policies in respect this situation have not changed and should not be expected to change. …
You should also tell Salazar US gratified at indications certain African leaders interested in further talks with Portugal. We plan emphasise with FonMin importance these conversations and our concern that there be no prior conditions attached to them. We hope Portugal will adopt constructive attitude toward such meetings.”[19]

While Washington feared alienating Portugal during the Cold War, the U.S.A.’s support for Roberto continued nonetheless. The policy was typically duplicitous, and a classic ‘stab in the back’. Roberto’s adviser was John Marcum, an adviser to Averell Harriman[20] on the Portuguese colonies. Already in 1964 there was a close association between Americans in Leopoldville linked to the U.S. Embassy, C.I.A., Congolese political circles and Holden Roberto. ‘Later in 1975, this triangle was to be instrumental in formulating the context for the U.S. decision to provide covert support for the FNLA’.[21]

However, U.S. support to Roberto was more significant than indicated by Guimarães. Since 1969, Roberto had been on a $10,000-a-year retainer from the C.I.A.[22] Yet despite the U.S. support for the FNLA to supposedly counter the Soviet-backed MPLA, the official policy in fact was not to discourage the MPLA.[23] What is not stated in such analyses is that international power politics and Cold War rivalries were being played out over the corpses of White settlers. Roberto, as the ‘moderate’ option to the Soviet-backed MPLA, was later to recall that when his gang invaded from their base in the Congo in 1961, over-running farms, government outposts and trading centres, ‘this time the slaves did not cower. They massacred everything’.[24] The subsequent 27 year civil war between the FNLA and the MPLA resulted in 500,000 deaths.

Re-Colonisation

The A.A.I.’s initial programme for ‘refugees’ (fleeing terrorists) from Portuguese Africa was for the training of personnel ‘in anticipation of independence’. After Portugal’s departure from Africa the program was directed towards ‘Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, for employment in their countries of asylum with a later focus on the repatriation of trainees’.[25] This programme was continued through 1976-1981, with funds from USAID.[26]

In 1975, soon after the Portuguese departure from Africa, the A.A.I. established the Development Training Program for Portuguese-Speaking Africa (DTPSA) to establish the post-colonial leadership for the former colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe. This programme was also funded by USAID,[27] which serves as a means by which U.S. influence is extended world-wide via foreign aid.

As the European colonial administrators moved out of Africa, international corporations extended their own form of colonialism by entering into partnerships with the new Africa leaders. Behind the façade of nationalisation, global capital embarked on lucrative business arrangements under the protection of the post-colonial tyrannies. For example, the day that President Machel announced his nationalisation programme General Mining, linked with the Oppenheimer dynasty’s Anglo-American Corporation, negotiated with the new regime a deal for bulk-handling chrome loading equipment.[28]

The Portuguese Christian-corporatist ‘New State’ that had outlived all other such states from Europe to South America, was an anomaly in the ‘brave new world’ of post-imperialism. Salazar’s ‘New State’ subordinated economics to High Policy, which in turn was based on traditional Christian European values. Such a state could not be allowed to endure in a world that had to be reshaped on economic principles. Journalist and author Ivor Benson, who lived in Africa and knew the situation well, having been an adviser to the Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith, commented that ‘in Portugal politics has remained in power and has not become subordinate to economics… they have not made the Gross National Product their God. Therefore in Portugal economics is the servant, not the master’.[29]

Unlike most politicians then or since, the Portuguese statesmen were conscious of what they were up against. Dr. Franco Noguieira, Portuguese Foreign Minister, stated of the subterranean forces at work in Africa:

“Africa has been subjected to a regime that excludes European interests and African interests as well, neither being sufficiently strong to impose themselves. A form of autonomy and independence has been created which ensures the destruction of the old forms of sovereignty and permits the setting up of new forms of sovereignty so precarious and so artificial that it is an easy matter to dominate them. The result has been that the real autonomy and the real control are to be found outside the frontiers of the new political units. The aim is to dominate Angola and Mozambique and to include them in the spheres of foreign influences, to utilise their economic and strategic positions for the benefit of other Powers.”[30]

Mobutu, Weinberger

Mobutu, Weinberger

The scuttling of Portuguese Africa followed soon after the ‘Carnation Revolution’, the leftist army coup of junior officers in 1974 that toppled the New State; a revolution moreover that had been precipitated by years of strain on Portugal’s forthright maintenance of her Imperial principles. The war against the Soviet and U.S. backed terrorists had accounted for 42% of Portugal’s annual budget.[31] However, the new leader of Portugal, General Spinola, had nonetheless aimed to establish a Portuguese federation and keep the African territories within the Portuguese sphere, but Spinola was soon passé. The way was opened for the continuation of the onslaught against the final bastions of European rule in Africa: Rhodesia and South Africa.

ENDNOTES

[1] Congress of Berlin, http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his312/misc/berlin.ht
[2] W. Wilson, ‘Fourteen Points’, p://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1918wilson.html
[3] Ibid.
[4] Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1934), p. 209
[5] Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946), p. 35
[6] Ibid. p. 31
[7] F. Pedler, Main Currents of West African History, 1940-1978 (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979), p. 96
[8] http://www.rudn.ru/en/
[9] The Africa-America Institute, ‘about AAI’, http://www.aaionline.org/about-aai/
[10] http://www.aaionline.org/about-aai/history/1950s/
[11] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/southern-african-student-program-sasp-1961-%E2%80%93-1983/
[12] B. Whitaker, The Foundations: An Anatomy of Philanthropy and Society (London: Eyre Methuen, 1974), p. 24
[13] F. A. Guimarães, ‘The United State and Decolonisation of Angola’, Lisbon, October 2003, http://www.ipri.pt/artigos/artigo.php?ida=5
[14] Ibid.
[15] U.S. briefing memorandum on military assistance to Portugal, from the Country Director for Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, and Uganda (Feld) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Moore), Washington, October 28, 1968. Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19–8 US–PORT. Secret
[16] See Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao – The Unknown Story (Cape, 2005
[17] Mario Lazo, American Policy Failures in Cuba (New York: Twin Circle Publishing, 1968)
[18] Anastasio Samoza and Jack Cox, Nicaragua Betrayed (Boston: Western Islands, 1980)
[19] Telegram from the U.S. Department of State to the Embassy in Portugal, Washington, April 16, 1964
[20] Harriman was a U.S. Establishment luminary, serving in numerous ambassadorial roles, and as assistant and under secretary of state, chairman of the Business Council, member of the Club of Rome, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and of the Yale old-boy’s network, Lodge 322
[21] F. A. Guimarães, op. cit.
[22] New York Times, 25 September 1975
[23] State Department Circular 92, 16 July 1963
[24] ‘Holden Roberto dies at 84, Fought to Free Angola from Portuguese Rule’, New York Times, 4 August 2007
[25] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/southern-african-refugee-education-project-sarep-1976-%E2%80%93-1981/
[26] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/southern-african-refugee-education-project-sarep-1976-%E2%80%93-1981/
[27] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/development-training-program-for-portuguese-speaking-africa-dtpsa-1975-%E2%80%93-1985/
[28] I. Benson, The Struggle for Africa (Perth: Australian League of Rights, 1978), p. 54
[29] I. Benson, This Worldwide Conspiracy (Melbourne: New Times Ltd., 1972), p. 73
[30] Quoted by I. Benson, 1972, ibid., pp. 70-73
[31] Marvine Howe, ‘Portuguese Find the Spirit of Salazar Still Dominant’, The New York Times, 20 August 1972, p. 16

K R Bolton is a Fellow of the ‘World Institute for Scientific Exploration’. He is a contributing writer for Foreign Policy Journal. His articles have been published in the Journal of Social, Political and Economic StudiesGeopolitica (Moscow State University); India QuarterlyInternational Journal of Russian StudiesInternational Journal of Social EconomicsInstanbul Literary ReviewIrish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies (Trinity College), etc. His books include: Babel Inc.; Perón and PeronismThe Psychotic LeftArtists of the RightGeopolitics of the Indo-PacificThe Parihaka CultRevolution from AboveThe Banking Swindle

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REPLAY: A Scanner Darkly

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder

REPLAY: A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly, 100 minutes, 2006, directed by Richard Linklater, script by Richard Linklater, based on the 1977 novel by Philip K. Dick. Cast: Keanu Reeves (Fred/Bob Arctor), Winona Ryder (Donna Hawthorne), Rory Cochrane (Freck), Robert Downey, Jr. (Barris), Woody Harrelson (Luckman)

Review by Mark Wegierski

It should be stated at the outset that this is a recently animated-over version of a live-action movie or television special that was almost certainly released quite a few years ago. A number of scenes in the movie (especially the end-scene) seemed instantly familiar to the reviewer. That one of the central tropes of the movie is the U.S. Government’s “War on Drugs” would point to its earlier provenance. One could suppose the attempt to portray the film as “new” is a sort of “Phildickian” joke on the audience, supported by the film’s publicity efforts, which many major media outlets and websites have been going along with.

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was one of the most prolific and interesting American science fiction writers, and a number of his novels and short stories have been turned into big-budget Hollywood movies, most prominently, Blade Runner (based on his 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Blade Runner (1982) directed by Ridley Scott, is one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made. Against the backdrop of an ecologically-wasted, future Los Angeles cityscape of almost perpetual black rain, a down-on-his-luck policeman has to take one last assignment to eliminate an escaped group of “replicants”, biological constructs who look like humans but have superior physical powers and intelligence, and whose built-in lifespan is four years. As he wanders through the hypermodern wasteland to carry out his grisly assignment, significant questions are raised about what constitutes the human and the natural in an environment where life can be artificially created, and nature has virtually disappeared from the Earth.

The plot of A Scanner Darkly is focused on the intrigues around an investigation of a prominent drug-dealer, by a determined policeman, said to be set “seven years from now”. It is complicated by the fact that in this future, the identity of drug officers is disguised from other drug officers, by using electronic screens. Illicit drug use has become endemic, and the situation is quite hopeless. It is also rumoured that the large corporation that runs some of the drug rehabilitation centres is in fact engaged in producing and selling illegal drugs, presumably for the sake of ever larger profits.

It is an interesting question why Philip K. Dick’s writings have struck such a chord with the audiences of the current-day period, and have been so eagerly adapted by Hollywood. Although PKD could certainly be seen as some kind of spiritual seeker, his religious views were extremely heterodox. (He was nominally an Episcopalian.) Hence he doesn’t have the current-day pop-cultural disadvantage of being seen as an orthodox Christian. Secondly, many of his writings could be seen as conducive to a kind of generalized paranoia about the nature of American society. In the 1950s and 1960s, this was usually seen as a critique emanating from the left or far left. Thirdly, because of his heavy involvement in illicit drug use (most prominently of LSD and amphetamines) he is seen as a “counter-cultural” figure of the 1960s.

While certain left-wingers in America have accused right-wingers of “paranoia”, some people on the left also espouse exaggerated views. For example, there has been a definite undercurrent of left-wing opinion adumbrating a “conspiracy theory” around “9/11” in various forms – for example, that George W. Bush had prior knowledge of the 9-11 plot and deliberately let it go ahead, because it would confer enormous political advantages on him.

In the 1950s to 1960s, deep suspicions about everyday American society probably served as a motor for revolutionary left fervor and “counter-cultural” activism. It should also be noted that PKD’s elaborate sense of suspicion of “normal American society” never strayed into themes that could be perceived as anti-Semitic or racist, which would have made things far more difficult for the friendly reception of his writings into the popular culture.

PKD’s view of reality could be seen as somewhat Gnostic. It is little understood today that some of the early Gnostics were decidedly more “anti-material” than orthodox Christians. The latter have actually not been as alienated from the physical world and the body as is imagined by some of their current-day critics. In his mind-bending fiction such as Ubik, PKD seemed to be saying that the actual physical world is utterly corrupt and is in fact prone to play out all kinds of “tricks” or “ensnarements” on the hapless individual. The inspiration for the Wachowskis’ Matrix movies, it could be argued, is clearly “Phildickian”.

Ironically, the world that has been created in the wake of the Sixties’ revolutions in America itself seems dystopic to the authentic traditionalist or conservative. Traditional views which were considered just “commonsense” a few decades ago, now often have the aura for their adherents of being based on some kind of “special insight” accessible to very few human beings – seemingly requiring a virtually superhuman, “Gnostic” perception. There is certainly no affirmation of them in “the mainstream media”, the academic world, the business world, or most workplaces. In some social contexts, the situation has reached surreal dimensions. In major sectors of America today, one gains great social approval from being seen as a gay activist and one is reviled for being seen as a critic of homosexuality. To take another example, to suggest that having children out of wedlock should be seen as socially irresponsible is now itself considered a disreputable notion in some quarters. It could be argued that we are living in an antinomian social and cultural environment characterized by the full-throated roar of the “transvaluation of all values”. Hence, especially for the more reflective traditionalist – who cannot simply disappear into the bliss of “unconscious” living — the degree of alienation from society, and of suspicion of “the system” may itself be approaching “Phildickian” levels.

At the time the movie was released in 2006, some of the left were cleaving to the view of George W. Bush as a virtual “fascist” – almost morally equivalent to Osama bin Laden — who was on the verge of creating an American “theocracy”. However, if America today is really living in a “new Dark Age”, it is clear that the real social contours and troubles of this incipient dystopia are much different than some on the far left imagine them to be.

A Scanner Darkly raises many important themes. For example, there is the issue of the extent to which a given individual may have to undergo extreme suffering in order to create a better society in the future. For a traditionalist critic of the system today, that could be an extremely poignant theme – especially since “the future” is conventionally said to belong to “progressives”, i.e., it will be – from the traditionalist standpoint — “more of the same – but only worse.” The movie is certainly directed toward adult sensibilities but its drug and sexual content is not overbearing.

The movie is said to be set “seven years from now” – when “America has lost the War on Drugs.” It cannot be doubted that illicit drug use is a terrible plague upon American society. However, the left rarely considers that it was something that was largely unleashed upon America in the aftermath of the Sixties’ ferment, typified, of course, by figures such as Timothy Leary. The rationalizations and justifications for illicit drug use have been around for decades now. What is also not often considered by the left is that illegal drug use can as readily arise from too much affluence, rather than poverty. The perception of a meaningless life (which can just as easily occur among very wealthy as less wealthy people) is arguably one of the motors propelling it. Ironically, American society is so consumerist and consumptionist that living a life that was once perceived as reasonably adequate is now seen as unbearably stifling and boring. The explosion of “crystal meth” use in the American heartland is a very bad portent. Instead of finding some kind of meaning in their lives by something as simple as, for example, reading for pleasure, many young people in rural areas find their lives irredeemably boring.

There has certainly been criticism of the large pharmaceutical companies as also “pushing” the selling of mood-modifying drugs, such as Ritalin and Prozac. Nevertheless, there are without doubt major differences between drugs whose main purpose appears to be calming and such substances which are from the outset narcotic, hallucinogenic, or agitating.

In the reviewer’s opinion, it is questionable to implicate the American corporations in the rise of the drug culture – which is one the main themes of A Scanner Darkly. The criticism can only be made insofar as the corporations contribute to a materially-driven, alienated social environment of “instant gratification.” It could be argued that it is the Hollywood entertainment conglomerates and the rock- and rap-music industries, which have, to some extent, glamorized drug use.

It may be surmised that America’s drug problems will continue as long as society is pervaded by anomie. However, the prospects of some kind of major social and cultural restoration which would hopefully lessen the aching existential emptiness that breeds drug abuse appear to be somewhat dim today.

Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth

Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based science fiction and film aficionado

      

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Iraq Liars & Deniers: we knew then what we know now

Bush_and_Blair_at_Camp_David

Iraq Liars & Deniers:
we knew then what we know now

Ilana Mercer is vindicated by history

“If we knew what we know today, we would not have gone into Iraq”: This is as good an apology Republicans vying for the highest office are willing to offer, 12 years after launching a war that was immoral and unjust from the inception, as some of us pointed out from the inception, cost trillions in treasure, tens of thousands of lives (American and Iraqi), and flouted America’s national interests.

The big reveal began with Jeb Bush, who told anchor Megyn Kelly that knowing what we know now about Iraq, he would absolutely still have invaded Iraq. Broadcaster Laura Ingraham was having none of it. With the benefit of hindsight, she had arrived at the belated conclusion that the invasion was wrong. Ingraham suggested that Bush III was insane for sticking to his guns about Iraq.

Next to disgrace was Sen. Marco Rubio, also in the running. Six weeks back, Rubio had been unrepentant about the catastrophic invasion. After The Shaming of Jeb, Rubio changed his tune.

The title of Judith Chalabi Miller’s “rehab book tour” is, “If we knew what we now know ….” Over the pages of the New York Times, Miller, the Gray Lady’s prized reporter had shilled for the Iraq war like there was no tomorrow. In her reporting, she channeled Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi conman who fed Miller with misinformation and lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The other conman was Bush II, president at the time. His administration assisted Miller—a woman already prone to seeing faces in the clouds—to tune-out and become turned-on and hot for war (also the title of a January 2003 “Return to Reason” column). No tale was too tall for our Judith; no fabrication too fantastic.

Miller’s “mistakes,” and those of America’s news cartel, are no laughing matter. But it took a Comedy Central icon to deconstruct her national bid for redemption. The fact that others were on board, Republicans and Democrats, is not exculpatory. Idiocy is bipartisan. Not everybody got it wrong. Miller and her ilk chose not to consult those who got it right.

Miller had company. The Fox News war harpies were certainly a dream come true for many American men. Who cared about honest reporting or basic fact-checking when a heaving bosom is yelling from the screen, “Sock it to Saddam, Dubya!”?

In any event, the meme, “If we knew what we know now, we would not have gone to war in Iraq,” is false; a lie. We most certainly knew what we know now as far back as 2002, which was when this column wrote:

Iraq is a secular dictatorship profoundly at odds with Islamic fundamentalism. No less an authority than the former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism office, Vincent Cannistraro, stated categorically that there was no evidence of Iraq’s links to al-Qaeda. Even the putative Prague meeting between Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of Sept. 11, and Iraqi intelligence, turned out to be bogus. … Iraq has been 95-percent disarmed and has no weapons of mass destruction, an assessment backed by many experts in strategic studies.

The column excerpted was published on September 19, 2002 in Canada’s national newspaper. On that day, the flirty notes and the gracious dinner invitations from America’s leading neoconservatives ceased.

Indeed, there were many experts, credible ones, who categorically rejected the contention that there were WMD in Iraq. But they were silenced; shut out by the media—the Hannitys, the Millers, the dissidents, their handlers and their followers—none of whom should be allowed to deflect from the intellectual and moral corruption it took to invade a Third World country whose military prowess was a fifth of what it was when hobbled during the Gulf War, which had no navy or air force and was no threat to American national security.

Eleven years ago, “What WMD”, courtesy of WND, documented the same old verities. No, not everyone was bullish about the Bush administration’s WMD balderdash. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei told the U.N. Security Council before the war: There were no nuclear-designated aluminum tubes in Iraq; no uranium was imported, and no nuclear programs were in existence. Between 1991 and 1998, the IAEA had managed to strip Iraq of its fuel-enriching facilities, tallying inventories to a T. In David Kay’s late-in-the-day assessment, “Iraq’s large-scale capability to produce and fill new chemical weapons (CW) munitions was reduced, if not entirely destroyed, during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Fox and 13 years of U.N. sanctions and U.N. inspections.” Kay was the former top U.S. weapons inspector who endeared himself to the media as an invasion enthusiast.

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), Congress in 1999 was privy to intelligence reports which similarly attested to a lack of “any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox (1998) to reconstitute its WMD program.” Accounts of this nature had evidently been available to Congress for years. These reiterated, as one report from the Defense Intelligence Agency did, that, “A substantial amount of Iraq’s chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions, and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998.”

“Kay’s news ought not to have been new to the blithering boobs in Congress,” I observed in 2004. The CEIP further bears out that in October of 2002, Congress was apprised of a National Intelligence Estimate, a declassified version of which was released only after the war. Apparently, entire intelligence agencies disputed key contentions that the administration—its experts, and its congressional and media backers—seized on and ran with.

While clearly pandering to policy makers, U.S. intelligence reports were still heavily qualified by conjectural expressions such as, “We believe Iraq could, might, possibly, and probably will.” The State Department and the White House, however, cultivated a custom of issuing Top Secret “fact” sheets with definitive statements from which all traces of uncertainty had been expunged.

Having categorically denied she possessed the analytical wherewithal to connect the dazzlingly close dots between terrorism and Arab men practicing their aeronautical take-off skills stateside—Condoleezza Rice was suddenly doing nothing but connecting disparate dots. She, Powell, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush never stopped lying about a reconstituted Iraqi nuclear-weapons program, chemical and biological blights, Scuds and squadrons of unmanned aerial vehicles streaking U.S. skies, and traveling laboratories teeming with twisted scientists. The language they deployed ignored the deep dissent in the intelligence community.

All the above information addressing pre-war knowledge has been culled from WND’s early, “Return to Reason” columns.

In 2003, “Bush’s 16 Words Miss the Big Picture” beseeched our readers to “see Bush’s sub-intelligent case for war for what it was”:

The administration’s war wasn’t about a few pieces that did not gel in an otherwise coherent framework, it wasn’t about an Iraq that was poised to attack the U.S. with germs and chemicals rather than with nukes—it was about a resigned, hungry, economic pariah that was a sitting duck for the power-hungry American colossus.

By all means, the column implored, “dissect and analyze what, in September 2002 I called the “lattice of lies leveled at Iraq: the uranium from Africa, the aluminum tubes from Timbuktu, the invisible meetings with al-Qaida in Prague, an al-Qaida training camp that existed under Kurdish—not Iraqi—control, as well as the alleged weaponized chemical and biological stockpiles and their attendant delivery systems that inspectors doubted were there and which never materialized.”

“But then assemble the pieces and synthesize the information, will you?”

“Rationalize with Lies,” moreover, dealt a blow to the creative post hoc arguments made to justify the unnecessary war the United States waged on a sovereign nation that had not attacked us, was no threat to us and was certainly no match for us. The argument:

“To say that Saddam may have had WMD is quite different from advocating war based on those assumptions. It’s one thing to assume in error; it’s quite another to launch a war in which tens of thousands would die based on mere assumptions, however widely shared. It was not the anti-war-on-Iraq camp that intended to launch a war based on the sketchy information it had. The crucial difference between the Bush camp and its opponents lies in the actions the former took.”

Second, it matters a great deal when during the last decade someone said Saddam was in possession of impermissible weapons. To have said so in 1991 is not the same as saying so in 2003, by which time Iraq had so obviously been cowed into compliance and was crawling with inspectors.

Naturally, at certain times during Iraq’s belligerent history, opponents of this war would have agreed Hussein had a weapons program. But by 1998, sensible people realized that Operation Desert Storm, followed by seven years of inspections, made the possibility of reconstituting such a program remote. President Jacques Chirac said as much to both Bush and Blair, who pretended not to hear.

To arrive at the correct conclusions about Bush’s undeniable delirium for war, it was necessary to employ facts and reality, Just War Theory developed by great Christian minds like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, the libertarian axiom which prohibits aggression against non-aggressors, the natural law and what the Founding Fathers provided:

“A limited, constitutional republican government, by definition, doesn’t, cannot and must never pursue what Bush and his neoconservatives were after: a sort of 21st-century Manifest Destiny.”

Republicans are still fond of presenting their opponents with the following false choice: “But what would you have done about Iraq?” they are in the habit of asking me. The assertion is intended to make you assume incorrectly that something had to be done about Iraq. However, “The burden of proof is on he who proposes the existence of something like WMD, not on he who claims that it does not exist.” That line was penned 12 years ago.

In the early days, Iraq had provided “documentary intelligence from Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD.” I recall the derision and mockery with which the Bush administration and its hangers-on greeted what turned out to be the only truthful document in the sad saga of Iraq.

ILANA Mercer is a US-based, libertarian writer. She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive, paleolibertarian weekly column, “Return to Reason.” With a unique audience of 8 million, the site has been rated by Alexa as the most frequented “conservative” site on the Internet. Ilana has also featured on RT with the “Paleolibertarian Column,” and she contributes to Economic Policy Journal (the premier libertarian site on the web), Junge Freiheit, a German weekly of excellence, as well as to the British Libertarian Alliance and Quarterly Review (the celebrated British journal founded in 1809 by Walter Scott, Robert Southey and George Canning), where she is also contributing editor. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Ilana is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (an award-winning, independent, non-profit, free-market economic policy think tank).

 

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Timbrell’s Yard, Bradford-on-Avon

Bradford-on-Avon

Bradford-on-Avon

Timbrell’s Yard
Bradford-on-Avon

Timbrell’s Yard is centrally located in busy and beautiful Bradford-on Avon, just by the river in one of the fine old buildings with cream coloured stone and appealingly wonky angles. The fact that the whole building leans back like an elderly gentleman relaxing into a favourite armchair adds to its charm. Inside we found a mixture of traditional and modern, with much use made of natural materials – lots of bare wood and stone – while distressed furniture, metal and industrial-style lighting add a contemporary spin. One enters through a flagstoned courtyard (nicely delineated with low barriers formed of railway sleepers – an idiosyncratic touch) full of tables of patrons lazily enjoying drinks, and so to the buzzing bar.

We found it a little difficult to find someone to take us through to the restaurant and thus our table, but once we had located a member of staff he could not have been more affable – an attribute which all the staff shared. Every waiter we encountered was extremely friendly and helpful whilst also being polite and professional, with only their rather informal dress (jeans and t-shirts) and worrying tendency to call us “guys” to detract (do we look like extremely combustible straw-filled dummies?). Rather incongruously, it was the slightly hippy-looking sommelier, whose looks and long locks intimated a more laid-back and casual attitude, who addressed us more correctly as “Sir” and “Madam”. Our waiter, though young, was excellent. He asked for feedback on the new item on the menu (the lamb) and duly passed it back to the kitchen. He also forgot about Tristan’s fish and when we reminded him apologised so profusely that we ended up apologising for reminding him. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard a waiter say “It’s entirely my fault”. Impressive.

The informal air is continued through to the tables, which are undressed, with no tablecloth, just a single candle in a basic candleholder and the correct glasses and cutlery. The wooden chairs are mismatched between the tables, giving an air of slightly studied casualness. Lighting is provided by a large ceiling light, somewhat industrial in tone; and the walls a light-ish honeyed grey, with the railway sleepers in the courtyard echoed in the vertical, slightly rough wooden panelling.

We found the fact that there was no music incredibly refreshing. In fact, a rather attractive light jazz was playing in the lavatories, which would have been pleasant in the restaurant as well, but the lack of popular music was an absolute joy and showed a confidence in the establishment and the pleasures offered by the food and drink. In fact, the only negative point of a “comfort” nature arose from the fact that whether by some vagary of airflow from the front door or because of (slight) leakage round the edges of the single glazing, wafts of cigarette smoke found their way from time to time into the restaurant: singularly unpleasant to non-smoking diners, and especially those concerned that their young children aren’t subjected to health-damaging fumes.

Timbrell's Yard

The menu itself isn’t too extensive (a too-long menu is always a dangerous sign), yet still offers a good range of options, with starters broken into three sections of three items – “little things”, ”small plates and starters” and salads – the latter as either starter or main sizes. There are then a good range of nine main course choices, with a focus on meat but with some fresh fish and also more-interesting-than-usual vegetarian options. The sides all sounded extremely homely, comforting and tempting. The back of the menu lists suppliers – all very local, with meat from Bristol, fish from Poole, vegetables from Wiltshire and organic dairy products from near Frome. Bread and cakes are from Bath’s famed Bertinet Bakery, and Timbrell’s Yard make their own ice-creams; honey and most dry goods are local, while others are fair-trade. This all seemed jolly impressive, even before we tasted the goods on offer.

The wine list, on the other hand, was just slightly disappointing in that it doesn’t offer descriptions so appears rather basic, and although there are a reasonable number of red and white choices it would have been nice to see, for example, Gewurztraminer or some slightly more unusual grape varieties or locations.

We went for a bottle of Bogle Zinfandel, which was beautifully rich and powerful; dark purple in colour, with deep, ripe black berry fruits on the nose and a dark, suave and sophisticated taste of forests, with a tiny hint of sweetness tempering the blackness. A gorgeous wine that went very well with our food.

For starters both my husband and I went for one of the light bite options. My cauliflower and smoked Dorset red croquettes were excellent; with a spicy bite (I detected the inclusion of chilli), and a very strongly cheesy smoked flavour, these were gorgeously fluffy and light on the inside and beautifully crunchy on the outside with a perfectly-done breadcrumbed exterior. They were served with a creamy mayonnaise which was needed to cut through the salty smokiness and worked extremely well. Mr Marshall-Luck’s venison chipolatas were richly and darkly flavoured and, although they were not numerous, their intensity rendered the whole very satisfying, whilst leaving plenty of room for the steak to follow. The accompanying mushroom ketchup could have answered the venison more in piquancy, but was nevertheless well textured.

The following steak was superbly flavoured and cooked: some might find it a little on the fatty side but we found that this enhanced the flavour. Not only was it a generously sized steak, especially for the price and the cut, but it was accompanied by hand-cut chips – deliciously crunchy on the outside; melting within – and a simple rocket salad, which complemented the other items perfectly, being slightly peppery in flavour, and therefore holding its own against the steak, whilst in no sense overpowering it.

My lamb, cooked with pearl barley and spinach, was the only slightly disappointing dish: the meat was not particularly flavoursome, and the texture could have been firmer and more cohesive. The pearl barley was fine, but didn’t particularly help to lend flavour, and there could have been more presence in the spinach, too. Overall, we felt a little more work was needed on this dish.

Tristan, though still only a year old, nevertheless had the fillet of sea bream from the children’s menu. This came (served with rocket and a few chips) beautifully fresh and unadulterated by breadcrumbs (a pleasing touch), and was wolfed down with the greatest of relish.

We followed the main with a cheese course – one has a choice of two out of five English cheeses. We opted for the White Lady from Glastonbury and the Dorset Blue Vinny. The White Lady was the perfect goats’ cheese – a soft, creamy cheese coated in ash and with a delicate flavour and just slightly crumbling texture. I could have sat and eaten it all evening! The Blue Vinny was also excellent – a soft, creamy cheese with a piquant bite; these two were complemented by a deliciously fruity apple chutney, thinly sliced apple and celery, all of which, together with the accompanying savoury biscuits, made for a very satisfying course.

I couldn’t resist a glass of the Noble Wrinkled from Australia – a beautifully golden colour, sublime nose of fat, sun-drenched sultanas and a slightly dark, very rich and honeyed taste of citrus fruits tempered by lashings of honey and nectar. It worked beautifully both with the cheeses and with the following dessert. This, the chocolate and sea-salt caramel tart, was very well done, except that (an all-too-frequent complaint in British restaurants) the pastry was a little on the tough side. The chocolate, however, resisted the temptation to be too sweet and the sea salt brought out the flavour well. It was accompanied by extremely sticky honeycomb; a tried-and-tested combination with chocolate which brought an extra dimension to the dessert. The ice-cream, with a slight lemon flavour, was a little more incongruous but by no means unpleasant.

We also ordered a vanilla panacotta for Tristan. I cannot comment on this, as Tristan ate every last morsel, including with the very (and naturally) sweet rhubarb that it came with –but I think we can take this as a definite sign of approval.

We finished with tea and coffee and even this impressed. Tea was Clipper’s organic English Breakfast and very good it was too, whilst the coffee tended more towards the Germanic / Austrian end of the beverage – that is to say that it met my husband’s extremely high expectations, in being actually drinkable by him and not something that could pass for tepid dishwater. No petits fours – but, to be honest, these weren’t necessary and perhaps would have been slightly incongruous in the setting and with respect to the tone of the meal.

By the end of the meal we had managed to stay a good couple of hours later than intended (making for a relaxed evening of a good four-odd hours) – but we were never made to feel that we had out-stayed our welcome; it ended being one of the most enjoyable review meals we’d had for some time. Warmly recommended.

Em Marshall-Luck is QR’s Restaurant and Wine Critic

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Savouring Hillary’s Vow of Silence

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

Savouring Hillary’s Vow of Silence

Ilana Mercer waxes prophetic

The national media are sulking. Hillary Clinton won’t speak to them. But what is it about this power-hungry dirigista that the media don’t already know?

Prior to taking a vow of silence, Mrs. Clinton promised to make President Obama’s legislation by executive action with respect to immigration seem like child’s play; a “DREAMers” delight, if you will.

Where’s the mystery there?

Big Media know full well about—and have just about forgiven—Madam Secretary’s habit of conducting state affairs via private server, later scrubbed clean of unflattering or incriminating communications.

The same press corps knows that the Clinton Foundation, in which Mrs. Clinton is mired, is awash in funds from foreign governments and likely beholden to these patrons. Those so inclined can check out Charity Navigator. For all its billions, the Clinton Foundation doesn’t rate a mention by the eminent Charity rating service. “In 2013, a measly 9 percent of the money went to charity!” “Repulsive,” avers John Stossel.

Making community college “free” was another of Hillary’s brain infarcts, voiced in Monticello, Iowa, in March this year. “There’s something deeply wrong about students and their families needing to go into debt to finance a college education” were Mrs. Clinton’s semantic strokes of genius, disgorged during her first meet-and-greet, with members of the press (mainly).

What’s there to miss?

Didn’t we have The Same Talk (in the same place) back in April of 2012, about America’s next financial bubble in search of a pin, the $1 trillion student-loan debt? Campaigning in Iowa, Obama promised America’s mis-educated Millennials to keep the student-loan bubble from bursting. During his State of the Union address of January 2012, Barry Soetoro Frankenstein vowed to mandate yet more loans at fixed prices.

When it comes, will the media react with wonderment at Hillary’s “fresh” take on educational central planning and price fixing?

Not content with acquiring wealth through the dishonest, predatory process of politics (to contrast with the honest, productive, economic means of earning a living)—Hillary Clinton and husband have protected their ill-gotten gains from the taxman through trusts. These are “common among multimillionaires, and help shield some of their estate from the [inheritance] tax that now tops out at 40 percent of assets upon death.” “Among the tax advantages of such trusts,” attests BloombergBusiness, “is that any appreciation in the [asset’s] value can happen outside their taxable estate. The move could save the Clintons hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes. …”

The height of Hillary’s hypocrisy, however, is that while she shields her own fortune from it, she recommended, during her last campaign, that estate taxes be further raised on Americans who’ve managed to amass more than $3.5 million.

“… Clinton supported making wealthier people pay more estate tax by capping the per-person exemption at $3.5 million and setting the top rate at 45 percent, a policy Obama still supports. Congress decided to go in the other direction and Obama went along as part of a broader compromise. The per-person exemption is now $5.34 million.”

A “wealth tax” is how Clinton has characterized the estate tax.

Clinton’s express “inspiration” as a future president is to “ensure that granddaughter Charlotte and her generation are provided equal opportunities to live up to their potential.” She said as much in April.

How do you imagine that will be accomplished, if not by the use of every illiberal power-tool in the leftist toolbox? Taking by force from some to give to others, creating new, unelected, oppressive agencies to carry out the new potentate’s plans, raising armies to march on noncompliant nations, on and on.

Hillary Clinton and her armory of future, repressive laws should be properly dubbed illiberal (stupid, too).

“A ‘rationale’ for running,” gushed one particular tele-tart named Poppy Harlow. She was raving about Mrs. Clinton’s “brilliant” plans to weave her tangled web for Charlotte.

To say you want to be president for the good of your granddaughter’s generations is not a rationale. Rather, it’s of a piece with the standard statement made by the low-IQ beauty queen: “I want to make the world a better place.” Except that a pretty girl with no ship-of-state to steer is far more likely to spread peace and happiness than a power-hungry, illiberal, brutal battle-axe like Hillary Clinton.

If only a woman with the wicked wit of a Margot Asquith—countess of Oxford, author and socialite (1864-1945)—were around to put slobbering Poppy Harlow in her proper place.

When asked by American actress Jean Harlow how she pronounces her first name, Mrs. Asquith quickly retorted: “The ‘t’ is silent, as in Harlow.”

For now, let us savor the silence from Hillary and her media harlots.

ILANA Mercer is a US-based, libertarian writer. She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive, paleolibertarian weekly column, “Return to Reason.” With a unique audience of 8 million, the site has been rated by Alexa as the most frequented “conservative” site on the Internet. Ilana has also featured on RT with the “Paleolibertarian Column,” and she contributes to Economic Policy Journal (the premier libertarian site on the web), Junge Freiheit, a German weekly of excellence, as well as to the British Libertarian Alliance and Quarterly Review (the celebrated British journal founded in 1809 by Walter Scott, Robert Southey and George Canning), where she is also contributing editor. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Ilana is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (an award-winning, independent, non-profit, free-market economic policy think tank).

 

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The Law of Civilisation and Decay

Roman Coins

Roman Coins

The Law of Civilisation and Decay

K R Bolton considers culture pathogens

There are many causes given for the death of Civilisations, including environmental, moral, racial, economic, and dysgenic. However, those who reject political economy whether of the English Free Trade School or its Marxian and other socialist derivatives, give too little attention to the central role of materialism in the decline and fall of civilisations. Indeed, it can be contended that the latter is a primary cause of cultural etiolation, with other factors being symptoms of a prior culture-pathogen. For it is the way money is regarded as a culture-symbol that reflects the state of a Civilisation.

The towering genius of Western historical-philosophy, Oswald Spengler, detailed this culture-problem in his epochal Decline of the West nearly a century ago.[1] Even prior to Spengler however, the American Brooks Adams wrote a masterful study on the role of money in the decline of cultures in a no less remarkable book, The Law of Civilisation and Decay.[2] For here, as with Spengler, we have the diagnostic method of culture-pathology and the possibilities of a cure once the cause is known.

It was for this reason that Ezra Pound, who was committed to overthrowing the money-power, enthusiastically recommended Brooks Adams’ book as essential reading.[3]

Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

The Law of Civilization and Decay was published in 1896; that is, several decades prior to Spengler’s Decline of the West. Like Spengler, Adams traces through the analogous epochs of Civilizations the impact these epochs have upon the Culture in its entirety, from architecture to politics, focusing on the economic influences. He shows, like Spengler, that Civilizations proceed through organic cycles. Spengler used the names of seasons to illustrate the organic character of culture-life, going through the stages of birth (Spring; Culture), youthful vigor (Summer, High Culture), maturity (Autumn, Civilization), old age and senility (Winter), with an intervening era of revival – a dramatic final bow on the world stage – ending in death due to the primacy of money over spirit.

Adams first noted the ‘law of civilization and decay’ in the differences in architecture between the city-states in Civilizations that had maintained their cultural ethos, or what Spengler referred to as the culture-cities, and those that had been founded as centers of commerce. In the commercial cities such as Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Florence, of the early Western Medieval epoch, ‘the religious idea,’ expressed elsewhere in the Gothic style (which Spengler identified as one of the purest Western – Faustian – culture forms, epitomized by the Gothic Cathedral)[4] was not defined. Adams wrote of this, like Spengler several decades later:

Furthermore, commerce from the outset seemed antagonistic to the imagination, for a universal decay of architecture set in throughout Europe after the great commercial expansion of the thirteenth century; and the inference I drew from these facts was that the economic instinct must have chosen some other medium by which to express itself.[5]

Adams concluded that a ‘mercantile community’ would instead express itself through its type of coinage. Another primary factor, Adams concluded, was that men act through impulse and instinct, and only rationalise their actions once they have attained their aims. Characteristics, states Adams, are inherited through familial generations, but as changes occur, and the inherited characteristics become redundant in new circumstances, families fall from fame to obscurity. ‘Particularly has this been true in revolutionary epochs such as the Reformation; and families so situated have very generally become extinct.’[6]

There is a dichotomy that utilises a stored collective energy, either impelling great achievements or dissipating that energy. This is based on two drives: fear that prompts feelings of religion, imagination, the metaphysical and priesthood; and greed that ‘dissipates energy in war and trade.’[7] These two primary drives as we might call them today, fear and greed, equate, I believe, with the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter epochs of Spengler’s morphology of cultures respectively.

‘Fear’ equates with a religious instinct. This should not be seen as having negative connotations, as Marx and other materialists, rationalists and atheists would insist. Rather, it is that primal quality of feeling of cosmic awe that Spengler saw in the Spring of a High Culture, where great art and great adventures are played out to a Culture’s ‘glory to God’ or Gods. That this religious instinct is transformed into a new pseudo-religious form in the Autumn and Winter epochs of a Civilisation can be seen from the use emerging economic classes – the bourgeois – made of Puritanism and Calvinism.[8] Such forces were at the foundation of the USA.

Adams’ theory of energy seems akin to C. G. Jung on the ‘canalisation’ of psychical energy (libido);[9] with the two primary drives, fear and greed, in Adams’ theory, being the means by which what Jung called ‘canalisation’ manifests. In both Adams’ and Jung’s theories, instinct is at the base of this energy activation. Likewise with Spengler, instinct is at the base of the flowering of a High Culture in its Spring epoch, before ossifying into ‘reason’ in the Late or Winter epoch.

Like Spengler, Adams states that the formative stages of a High Culture, still based on ‘fear’, that is to say, the imaginative qualities, produce a culture that is ‘religious, military, artistic.’[10] Adams states that, ‘as consolidation advances, fear yields to greed, and the economic organism tends to supersede the emotional and martial.’[11] Hence we arrive with Adams at the same place as Spengler, where money dominates at the late cultural epoch; and energy is expended on material gain at the expense of the founding spiritual ethos. Energy that is not expended is stored. Again we come to the theory similar to the libido of psychology. This surplus energy might be stored as wealth. Eventually conquest for booty or empire, still undertaken under the impress of the founding spiritual ethos, is displaced by the ‘greed’ impulse manifested as economics. Adams writes of this process:

“However large may be the store of energy accumulated by conquest, a race must, sooner or later, reach the limit of its martial energy, when it must enter on the phase of economic competition. But, as the economic organism radically differs from the emotional and martial, the effect of economic competition has been, perhaps invariably, to dissipate the energy amassed by war.”[12]

The next passage by Adams is remarkably suggestive of Spengler in describing the cycles of decay:

“When surplus energy has accumulated in such bulk as to preponderate over productive energy, it becomes the controlling social force. Thenceforward, capital is autocratic, and energy vents itself through those organisms best fitted to give expression to the power of capital. In this last stage of consolidation, the economic, and, perhaps, the scientific intellect is propagated, while the imagination fades, and the emotional, the martial, and the artistic types of manhood decay. When a social velocity has been attained at which the waste of energetic material is so great that the martial and imaginative stocks fail to reproduce themselves, intensifying competition appears to generate two extreme economic types, – the usurer in his most formidable aspect, and the peasant whose nervous system is best adapted to thrive on scanty nutriment. At length a point must be reached when pressure can go no further, and then, perhaps, one of two results may follow: A stationary period may supervene, which may last until ended by war, by exhaustion, or by both combined, as seems to have been the case with the Eastern Empire; or, as in the Western, disintegration may set in, the civilized population may perish, and a reversion may take place to a primitive form of organism.”[13]

Here the primary elements of Spengler can be identified in Adams in terms of materialism giving rise to scientism or the ‘Age of Reason’ as it is called in the Western epoch, on the ruins of faith and an intuition of one’s place in the cosmos. The latter is replaced by a rootless struggle for economic existence or power, as approvingly observed by Marx in The Communist Manifesto. The intellectual replaces the priest, the banker replaces the aristocrat, and the proletarian replaces the craftsman and peasant. After the death of the Civilisation, the peasant reverts to his former existence outside of history, fellaheen as Spengler terms him in a post-civilisation, as in Egypt and India. Very close to the passage from Adams above, is the following from Spengler:

“At this level, all Civilisations enter upon a stage, which lasts for centuries, of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms, and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile, at the last. Only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its strongest and most promising elements. This residue is the Fellah type.”[14]

According to Adams, the law of civilisation and decay shows that energy is expended on economic competition to the point of culture exhaustion. The prolonged inertia that Adams refers to where the survivors of the dissipated old Civilisation exist devoid of vigour is analogous to the Fellah type described by Spengler. Both refer to the exhaustion of vigour expended for economic motives.

The evidence, however, seems to point to the conclusion that, when a highly centralized society disintegrates, under the pressure of economic competition, it is because the energy of the race has been exhausted. Consequently, the survivors of such a community lack the power necessary for renewed concentration, and must probably remain inert until supplied with fresh energetic material by the infusion of barbarian blood.[15]

Where that fresh blood is to be found to reinvigorate a decaying West is problematic, given that culture-pathology has spread to every corner of the globe through international commerce, and is perhaps even exported as a world control mechanism to break down traditional barriers.[16] Spengler suggested, even in 1919, regardless of Bolshevism, that the fresh blood and new ethos might come eventually from Russia.[17]

As both Spengler and Adams state, the Late (Winter) epoch, i.e. the epoch in which we are now living, is based on Money and commerce, with the usurer, as Adams states, being the highest incarnation of Late Civilisation. The Late epoch makes literature, theatre, art and music, commodities like any automobile or refrigerator, as a quick turnover for profitability, and designed for quick obsolescence. Power is exercised through money, loans, international finance, and the power centres of the world are the money centres: New York and The City of London.

Money rules during the closing epoch of a Civilisation, until overthrown by an internal resurgence of authority and faith, or by invasion. Adams points out that decay soon set into Rome because the land-tiller-soldier was not equipped to deal with the rise of a mercantile elite, and the whole edifice became debt-ridden. The patrician class became money-lenders and shaped policy according to their interests. Debtors or their children often became slaves of the money-lenders. ‘The stronghold of usury lay in the fiscal system, which down to the fall of the Empire was an engine for working bankruptcy’. Although one thinks of Rome primarily as ruled by a stern martial ethos, Adams shows that at an early period ‘Romans had been bred destitute of the martial instinct’.

The Roman spiritual ethos was reasserted when the oligarchic families were overthrown by Pyrrhus, who saw Rome’s strength in her farmers. However, with Roman greatness and her imperial expansion came the conquest of populations that had already succumbed to decay, ‘and their cheap labour exterminated the husbandmen of Italy’, writes Adams. This passage from Adams cogently expresses the problem:

By conquest the countries inhabited by races of a low vitality and great tenacity of life were opened both for trade and slaving, and their cheap labour exterminated the husbandmen of Italy. Particularly after the annexation of Asia Minor this labour overran Sicily, and the cultivation of the cereals by the natives became impossible when the island had been parcelled out into great estates stocked by capitalists with eastern slaves who, at Rome, undersold all competitors. During the second century the precious metals poured into Latium in a flood, great fortunes were amassed and invested in land, and the Asiatic provinces of the Empire were swept of their men in order to make these investments pay. No data remain by which to estimate, even approximately, the size of this involuntary migration, but it must have reached enormous numbers, for sixty thousand captives were the common booty of a campaign, and after provinces were annexed they were depopulated by the publicans.[18]

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire - Destruction

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire – Destruction

Where there were slaves imported from the subject peoples, long since etiolated, filling an Italy whose population was being denuded, there is today an analogous process in an analogous epoch: that of immigration from the ‘third world’ into the Western states whose populations are ageing. Oligarchy constituted the core of the Empire. Nobility became defined by wealth.

Just as Spengler notes how the cities suck the country and form a proletarianised mass, Adams relates that the same process took place in Italy. Free trade with Egypt caused the destitution and proletarianisation of the Italian farmers. Does this not seem very ‘modern’, very present-day?

By 22 AD Tiberius was trying to address the matter of how to return the Romans, who had become obsessed with opulence, to a simpler life. A trade imbalance in the pursuit of luxury items from the East brought Italy to ruin, with a financial crisis culminating in 33AD. Rome to maintain any military vigour, was obliged to recruit or press gang from its Germanic subject tribes. ‘This military metamorphosis indicated the extinction of the martial type, and it extended throughout society. Rome not only failed to breed the common soldier, she also failed to produce generals’. In a passage particularly reminiscent of Spengler, Brooks Adams provides what might be regarded as a summary of the condition of Roman Civilisation:

This supremacy of the economic instinct transformed all the relations of life, the domestic as well as the military. The family ceased to be a unit, the members of which cohered from the necessity of self-defence, and became a business association. Marriage took the form of a contract, dissoluble at the will of either party, and, as it was somewhat costly, it grew rare. As with the drain of their bullion to the East, which crushed their farmers, the Romans were conscious, as Augustus said, that sterility must finally deliver their city into the hand of the barbarians. They knew this and they strove to avert their fate, and there is little in history more impressive than the impotence of the ancient civilization in its conflict with nature. About the opening of the Christian era the State addressed itself to the task. Probably in the year 4 AD, the emperor succeeded in obtaining the first legislation favouring marriage, and this enactment not proving effective, it was supplemented by the famous Leges Julia and Papia Poppsea of the year 9. In the spring, at the games, the knights demanded the repeal of these laws, and then Augustus, having called them to the Forum, made them the well-known speech, whose violence now seems incredible. Those who were single were the worst of criminals, they were murderers, they were impious, they were destroyers of their race, they resembled brigands or wild beasts. He asked the equites if they expected men to start from the ground to replace them, as in the fable; and declared in bitterness that while the government liberated slaves for the sole purpose of keeping up the number of citizens, the children of the Marcii, of the Fabii, of the Valerii, and the Julii, let their names perish from the earth.[19]

We come now to the present, when the pre-eminent world-city is New York as a symbol of the much-heralded ‘leader of the Western world,’ the USA. Here we see in the USA not the beginning of something new and vigorous, but the outgrowth of the most decayed elements of Western Civilisation: a dichotomy of Europe’s late Enlightenment Deism, and of English Puritanism. The latter sanctioned money-making as a divine commandment, and culture as a devilish waste of time.[20] It is an ethic that worked against the development either of an American High Culture or America as the custodian of Western High Culture. For example, at the founding Puritan American Colonies, music was excluded as a profession[21], while Puritan functionalism worked against the development of a significant Puritan visual art.[22] While, as Adams states, the Reformation of Henry VIII paved the way for the dictatorship of money,[23] the impetus was given by the English Puritan Revolution of 1642-1648. Adams stated of this that but for the hostility of The City, Charles the First would never have been vanquished, and that without the help of The City, Charles the Second could scarcely have been restored.[24] The establishment of the Bank of England in 1688, facilitated with the usurpation of the Throne by William III of Orange signified the subordination of the Throne to the money-lender.

Hence, the dictature of money in the West was formalized in 1688 after several centuries of conflict between tradition and money. The world money centre shifted from London to New York in recent times in the same way that it had shifted from Amsterdam to London during the 17th Century. The reasons and consequences of these historical dynamics are perhaps no better explained to the Anglophone world than by Brooks Adams’ Law of Civilization and Decay.

[1] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (London: Allen and Unwin, 1971)
[2] Brooks Adams, The Law of Civilisation and Decay (London: Macmillan Company, 1896), https://archive.org/stream/lawofcivilizatio00adam#page/n6/mode/1up
[3] Ezra Pound, (1942) A Visiting Card (London: Peter Russell, 1952), 8-9
Pound (1944) America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War (London: Peter Russell 1951), 8, 13, 16
Pound (1944) Gold & Work (London: Peter Russell 1951), 6
[4] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West, op. cit., Vol. I, 396: ‘The character of the Faustian cathedral is that of the forest… the architectural actualising of a world-feeling…’
[5] Brooks Adams, vi
[6] Ibid., vii
[7] Ibid., ix
[8] Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1950)
[9] Calvin S. Hall and Vernon J. Nordby, A Primer of Jungian Psychology (New York: New American Library, 1973), ‘Canalization of Energy’, 76-80
[10] Brooks Adams, ix
[11] Ibid
[12] Ibid., x
[13] Ibid., x-xi
[14] Oswald Spengler, op. cit., Vol, II, p. 105
[15] Brooks Adams, xi
[16] Ralph Peters, ‘Constant Conflict’, Parameters, US Army War College, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14, http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/Articles/97summer/peters.htm
[17] Oswald Spengler, ‘The Two Faces of Russia and Germany’s Eastern Problems’, 14 February 1922, Politische Schriften, Munich, 1922
[18] Brooks Adams, 12-13
[19] Brooks Adams, 42
[20] F. J. Bremer, The Puritan Experiment: New England Society from Bradford to Edwards (New York: St. Martins Press, 1976)
[21] R. Crawford, (ed.), America’s Musical Life: A History (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005)
[22] F. J. Bremer
[23] Brooks Adams, 233
[24] Brooks Adams, 292-293

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Mongolia, a Retrospect and Prospect

3G3C4346Mongolia, a Retrospect and Prospect

The Ethnic Conflict Information Centre analyses Mongolia’s balancing act

Mongolia is one of those semi-imaginary places that, like Timbuktu or the far side of the Moon, conjure up mental pictures of extreme remoteness and desolation. Of course, Mongolia is in reality very much a real place. Once the largest landlocked country in the world (a title it lost to Kazakhstan in 1991) modern Mongolia has only two neighbours. That these are Russia and China gives some indication of why Mongolia may become of significant geopolitical interest in the future.

Mongolia is an independent, democratic republic of some 604,000 square miles, but with a population of only 2.9 million. Around a million of these are nomadic, so the country has one of the lowest settled population densities in the world. It comprises those regions which, in Chinese nomenclature at least, were regarded as ‘Outer’ Mongolia: Inner Mongolia has tended to be less well defined politically, but can be taken to be those southern and eastern regions of Mongol inhabitation that lie closer to the Chinese centre.

The early Mongols were nomadic herders, horsemen and traders who periodically banded together into immense marauding confederations, with China being the traditional target for their depredations. China’s response to these attacks, including its construction of the Great Wall, is a recurring motif in Chinese history. In the 13th century, under Genghis Khan, the Mongols carved out the greatest land empire the world has ever seen. Khan, whose reputation has undergone a significant rehabilitation in recent years, bequeathed to the Mongolian people a code of law, a written language and a sense of national identity that endures to this day. His successors, however, were unable to maintain the unity of his empire and the subsequent history of Mongolia has generally been one of decline and a gradual sapping of military and political strength. During the 17th century what remained of independent Mongolia crumpled and in 1691 the whole country fell under the sway of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, which ruled until its collapse with the Chinese revolution of 1911 and the creation of the Republic of China.

For nationalists throughout the Chinese empire, the demise of the Qing Dynasty opened up the possibility of creating independent states. In Outer Mongolia, a confused period of fighting eventually saw the emergence of the Communist People’s Republic of Mongolia in 1921. Mongolian independence was generally recognized in 1924, but in reality the Mongolian state was a satellite barely distinguishable from a full Soviet republic and political development closely followed the Bolshevik pattern of forced land collectivization, the suppression of religious worship, and the liquidation of dissidents who favoured a line independent from that imposed by the Kremlin. An estimated 30,000 were murdered in 1936-7 as Stalin’s purges reached Mongolia.

Meanwhile, events in the nominally Chinese Inner Mongolian territories were greatly influenced by the overall weakness of the central Chinese government and by Japanese aspirations. Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria in north-eastern China, establishing in 1931 the puppet state of Manchukuo, while in 1936 the Inner Mongolian potentate Prince Da Wang declared the provinces under his control independent as ‘Mengjiang’. Japanese imperial policy favoured the establishment of a string of ‘independent’ client states on the Asian mainland that could be moulded into an ‘East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’ with their economic life geared to Tokyo’s needs. Da Wang’s Mengjiang fitted well into that strategy, and potentially offered the basis for further expansion into Outer Mongolia. To this end, a ‘Mengjiang National Army’ was created with Mongolian men and officers under the direction of the Kwantung, the autonomous Japanese army command that ran Manchukuo as virtually a private fiefdom.

Manchukuo Imperial Army

Manchukuo Imperial Army

Tensions soon flared between the Japanese and the USSR over the demarcation of the Manchukuo/Mongolia border, with the Japanese claiming that the Khalkhin Gol River represented the border, while the Mongolians and the Soviets argued that it lay further east. In May 1939 a Mongolian cavalry unit entered the disputed territory, where they were attacked by Manchukuoan cavalry and forced back across the river. Matters speedily escalated. In June the Kwantung staged an air strike against Soviet air bases in Mongolia (an action apparently not authorized by Tokyo) and at the end of the month launched a full assault. Fierce fighting ensued, but it became clear that the Japanese had severely overstretched themselves as well as suffering from defective intelligence concerning the scale of Soviet deployments. The Japanese were decisively defeated on 31 August 1939 – just a few hours before Germany, far to the west, invaded Poland.

Khalkhin Gol, Soviet offensive

Khalkhin Gol, Soviet offensive

Almost wholly forgotten in Western histories, Khalkhin Gol had profound implications for the course of the broader global conflict. Since the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese war, a significant divergence of opinion had emerged within the Japanese military as to the correct course of imperial policy. The first group, the ‘Strike North’ faction, favoured consolidating the gains of the 1904-5 war and envisaged the eventual subjugation of China, Mongolia and much of Siberia, securing vast swathes of territory rich in resources. This view remained in the ascendency in the 1930s as Japan successfully invaded and occupied first Manchuria and then parts of China proper, but as the decade progressed, hardening Chinese resistance and the massive costs of the colonial war raised increasing doubts as to its sustainability. The defeat at Khalkhin Gol put a decisive end to the Strike North policy and truncated the Kwantung’s prestige and influence within imperial strategy circles. Japan never again seriously threatened an attack on the Soviet Union. This meant that it was Germany, rather than the USSR, that eventually faced a war on two fronts. Equally importantly, the demise of the Strike North policy led to the adoption of the Navy’s rival ‘Strike South’ maritime strategy. Japan initially scored significant successes against the British and Dutch in the East Indies, but the fatal consequences of Japanese over-extension and the attack on Pearl Harbour are well known.

In the dying days of the Second World War, the USSR used Mongolia as the jumping-off point for ‘Operation Autumn Storm’ – its attack on Japanese occupied China. In August 1945 over 1.5 million Red Army troops crashed into Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, routing the Japanese. Soviet conquests did not, however, lead to the widespread annexation of territory, either by the People’s Republic of Mongolia or the USSR that might have been expected. Instead, in a spirit of solidarity with their Communist allies, the territories were handed over to the nascent People’s Republic of China, which consolidated its Inner Mongolian holdings into an Autonomous Region in 1947, forming a rough crescent around southern and eastern Mongolia.

In 1949 the People’s Republic of China formally renounced all territorial claims over Outer Mongolia, but Mongolia was unsuccessful in its attempts to maintain a neutral stance as Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated in the 1960s. Instead, Mongolia witnessed a massive build up of local Soviet forces, with the Mongolian armed forces becoming little more than an extension of the local Soviet command, and the mass expulsions of Chinese from the country. (Ironically, many of the Chinese had moved to Mongolia under Communist-sponsored ‘friendship and reconstruction’ programmes in the early 1950s.) Perestroika and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union had much the effect on Mongolia that it had among the Soviet republics themselves. A managed transition from Communism to a multi-party market economy took place and a new constitution was introduced in 1992.

It will be seen from this canter through the regional history of the past 700 years that Mongolia has often been a key geopolitical concern to its neighbours. Equally, the ability of Mongolians themselves to sustain a genuinely independent foreign policy has been severely circumscribed by the relative strengths and ambitions of their neighbours. Today, Ulaanbaatar needs to keep a close eye on developments in Beijing and Moscow, while both China and Russia retain an acute awareness of their common far eastern border, the scene of tensions and actual clashes during the Sino-Soviet Cold War.

For Moscow, the problems of defending or economically developing the vast territories beyond the mountains surrounding Lake Baikal remain immense. For Beijing, the reverse is the case – the region is perilously close to the economically vital Chinese eastern seaboard, and modern China, with its land borders to the south and west relatively secure, is well aware of its historical weakness to invasion from the north – whether by the Mongols, the Japanese or the Russians. However, since the end of the Cold War and the economic rise of China, the balance of power in this region has drifted inexorably in Beijing’s favour. China enjoys a massive demographic advantage, and has actively encouraged the settlement of Chinese communities on the Russian side of the far eastern border, building up a potential client population buttressed by economic investment. Pessimists with long memories – and there are plenty of those in the Kremlin – may see in this process an echo, under Beijing’s auspices rather than Tokyo’s, of the imperialist strategy of the 1930s. In July 2008 China and Russia signed a regional agreement that reflected this imbalance. In addition to protocols on economic co-operation and development, Russia undertook to return to China the Yinlong Dao and Heixiazi Dao riverine islands, which Russia had held since 1945 and over which China and Russia had fought in 1968. As real estate, the islands are insignificant. But it is virtually without precedent for the Russians to voluntarily surrender any territory – particularly over which blood has been spilled – and their willingness to do so on this occasion clearly demonstrates Moscow’s growing vulnerability to Chinese pressure.

It may also be significant that Moscow received only lukewarm support from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the security and development group linking Russia, China and the Central Asian states, for its 2008 recognition of the breakaway South Ossetian and Abkhazian republics in Georgia. ‘Separatism’ is one of the ‘three evils’ (the others being terrorism and extremism) that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization specifically opposes. In Chinese Inner Mongolia, a number of small groups exist calling for independence and there are undoubtedly also irredentist supporters who favour unification with ‘Outer’ Mongolia. (There is even at least one internet group that favours the restoration of Manchukuo.) As in other outlying territories of China, such as Tibet and Xinjiang, these factions argue that Beijing’s rule is essentially colonial, involving the exploitation of local resources and the in-migration of economically dominant Han Chinese settlers to create client communities and undermine local culture. The proportion of ethnic Mongolians within Inner Mongolia is only around 14%, but the Mongolian population of China in total considerably outnumbers that of Mongolia itself, and Beijing certainly does not want them to start drawing any inferences from the South Ossetian precedent.

Faced with the challenge of maintaining independence while sandwiched between two of the world’s great powers, neither of which have shown themselves in the past to be over-encumbered with scruples surrounding the rights of sovereign nations, the Mongolians have played the limited cards at their disposal with some originality and subtlety. Economically, Mongolia’s strongest ties are inevitably with China and Russia, but it has also courted investment from Japan, South Korea and the United States, and in 1997 was admitted to the World Trade Organization. In international diplomacy, Mongolia has similarly sought a balanced and pro-active approach in pursuit of the Government’s aim of an “independent, open and multi-prop (sic) foreign policy”. Central to this strategy is the ‘third neighbour’ policy under which Mongolia carefully nurtures its relationships with countries other than Russia and China. So, while retaining cordial relations with both its geographical neighbours, with each of whom it has signed aTreaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation’, Mongolia unequivocally condemned the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and supported the subsequent US-led ‘war on terror’. In 2003, Ulaanbaatar hosted the Fifth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, at which over a hundred countries were represented. In the following year, Mongolia was invited to become a partner nation at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, while also becoming the first observer nation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Mongolia’s leaders also see the military as a resource for bolstering the country’s overall international standing. Looked at from a purely defence standpoint, it is clear that no conventional military build-up would ever be sufficient to counter or seriously deter an aggressor. But Ulaanbaatar has consciously used its armed forces in other ways: to modify Clausewitz, Mongolia has developed a doctrine that peacekeeping is diplomacy by other means. Mongolian forces have contributed to internationally sponsored peacekeeping activities in Ethiopia/Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Liberia, Kosovo, Georgia, Western Sahara, Darfur, Congo, Chad, and, most recently, a self-standing operation in support of the UN in South Sudan. Although the actual numbers of troops deployed is of necessity quite low, this is nonetheless a very impressive record. Indeed, apart from the ‘usual suspects’ of the larger NATO states, it is unlikely that many countries have been involved in more international interventions. Nor is Mongolian involvement mere tokenism; the robustness and professionalism of the Mongolian solider has earned them the respect of representatives of much larger powers and, for example in Afghanistan, the very obsolescence of Mongolia’s Soviet weaponry was turned to good advantage as the Mongolians proved to have unique practical experience in keeping operational the vintage Warsaw Pact kit used by the Afghan army.

A highlight of the ‘third neighbour’ policy is Mongolian sponsorship of Exercise Khaan Quest, a grandstand event in the US-managed Global Peace Operations Initiative. At the inaugural event in August 2006, held at Ulaanbaatar and the Five Hills Training Area in Tavan Tolgol province, forces from six nations received training in peacekeeping operations, including tactical operations designed to test international communications, interoperability, and their ability to respond to humanitarian and civil infrastructural needs. Successfully participating units were awarded ‘Training Recognition’ by the United Nations. Six hundred and fifty Mongolian soldiers participated, supported by around 500 troops from other nations, around half of them American. Apart from its practical benefits in the training of international peacekeeping forces, Exercise Khaan Quest, which is now an annual event, undoubtedly contributes beneficially to US/Mongolian diplomatic relations.

Whether Mongolia’s diplomatic balancing act proves adequate to the task of preventing the nation being sucked into the orbit of one or other of its neighbours remains to be seen. Current Kremlin strategy in Georgia and Ukraine looks very much like an attempt to re-create, however incompletely, the system of buffer states that defended the old Soviet Union. This in turn may lead Moscow to cast a renewed and covetous eye on Mongolia as a potential lever in its relationship with Beijing. Equally, the failure of the United States to protect its Georgian or Ukrainian allies does not set a comfortable precedent for Mongolia’s ability to call on practical support from Washington should Moscow – or Beijing – seek to re-assert its hegemony. That aside, the Mongolian military’s current role, of enhancing national standing while seeking to positively contribute to international security, is surely an honourable one for any soldier. Whether Genghis Khan – a shrewd diplomat when the circumstances demanded – would approve we cannot judge, but Mongolia’s very modern experiment in military diplomacy surely deserves sympathetic attention.

Ethnic Conflict Information Centre (www.ethnic-conflict.info)

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ENDNOTES: From first to last night

Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle

ENDNOTES: From first to last night

Stuart Millson looks forward to the Proms

ENDNOTES, June 2015

In this edition: BBC launches its Proms programme for 2015 * Sir Andrew Davis conducts the enigmatic Charles Ives * Tasmin Little soars in Schubert * Simon Callaghan records Preludes and Variations by a lesser-known English composer * Leon McCawley performs Rachmaninov.

The April launch of the BBC’s Proms prospectus is always a much looked-forward-to event. My own Proms programmes (preserved in cardboard boxes and plastic folders) go back as far as 1981 – and I fondly recall their old design: a humour-filled illustration of the Royal Albert Hall, with Beethoven and his ear-trumpet, and Wagner peering at us from beside the Hall. The great Berlioz operatic work, The Trojans, was performed in 1982, which prompted the programme illustrator to include the legendary Trojan Horse on the cover, being pulled into the hall by a line of straining prommers. Today, the programmes have a softer, perhaps more surreal style of artwork – the idea being to let one’s imagination run riot, and (to quote the old slogan of BBC Radio 3), to “3 your mind”! Proms 2015 certainly achieves this, with a theme of music for all – a very important idea in this age when so many people, young people especially, have little or no exposure to classical music. (A strange thing, given the instant availability of music of all kinds, across so many media.)

The Proms season runs from July until September, culminating in the famous Last Night, which this year sees the return of Marin Alsop, the Baltimore-based conductor who became the first woman to raise a baton at an event often perceived as a bastion of old traditions and avuncular conductors – who try to keep (to some degree) a lid on the uproarious, cathartic grand finale. But for the final night to mean anything, the whole season has to be savoured, and there are – what promise to be – many exciting evenings ahead, with visiting orchestras (the Vienna Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius), and symphonies by Sibelius, Mahler and Bruckner. Attempts have been made to reach out to people who would not normally go to the proms, a process which began in previous years with an “urban prom” (something which does not necessarily engage the core audience) and an evening with the 1980s’ pop group, The Pet Shop Boys, who, it must be said, did write for the Proms an original and creative “serious” work, The Man from the Future.

Despite raising some eyebrows and provoking accusations of “dumbing down”, the inclusion of non-classical music is, in fact, nothing new. In the Glock era, Soft Machine played at an experimental prom, and in 1983, I attended an all-night concert of Indian music – which followed a performance by Bernard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, which the composer dedicated to God. Although separate concerts, the Bruckner (which ended at about 9.30pm), and the Indian “Rags at Midnight” (which concluded at about seven the next morning) proved that music can bring a common, universal spirituality. But there must be a definition to life, and the BBC needs to think carefully: is the all-important need to reach out offering some factions in the artistic establishment the chance to blur the distinction between classical (broadly Western, and mainly “serious”) and styles of music which offer their audience a quite different type of experience? “It’s all music, it’s all valuable…” argue the egalitarians. It would be a pity, if at some point in the future, the Proms became simply a platform, or mash-up for all styles of music. After all, jazz, heavy metal, Rock, rap et al define themselves strongly by name and style: classical music (an imprecise, but still useful term) does the same for us. Long may Sir Henry Wood’s statue look down upon the platform at the Royal Albert Hall – at orchestras, choirs and opera companies… with the occasional foray into something quite different.

From his debut in Verdi’s Requiem at a Prom in 1970, to his famous bow at the end of his tenure with the BBC Symphony Orchestra some 30 years later, Sir Andrew Davis has become one of those Proms elder statesmen – joining the gallery of other musical knights, Sargent, Boult, Groves, Mackerras, Pritchard. (Nor must we forget the non-knights of the recent Proms past: Norman Del Mar, and that great Scot, James Loughran – who, with his wit and true stage-presence, was one of the best Last Night master of ceremonies we have ever had.)

Sir Andrew Davis returns to the Proms on occasions, and these days is increasingly associated with the Chandos Records catalogue. For one of his recent releases, Sir Andrew is in Melbourne, with the city’s very fine-sounding orchestra; bringing to life the music of that enigmatic American semi-amateur composer, Charles Ives (1874-1954) – on this CD, his first two symphonies. Ives seemed to belong to the world of small-town America – white weatherboarded houses in towns with wide thoroughfares and leafy avenues. Perhaps his most famous composition is Three Places in New England; a haunting score which goes far beyond any picturesque tone-painting, and takes us into a sound-world of shadows and unexpected tonalities. Ives could almost be the American Mahler – as spectral landscapes give way to the crashings and bangings of marching bands, which in turn disappear into what might be an almost religious limbo of unanswered questions.

Church and Autumn Leaves

Late-19th and turn-of-the-century America – presided over by that venerable academic and organist – Horatio Parker, had yet to develop a truly local or national style; Parker being a firm believer in the solid certainties of the European romantic movement. (It was Parker who thundered out on the Yale organ Land of Hope and Glory, in honour of Elgar’s United States visit, and who felt that even the all-American Ives should write as if he were at the Queen’s Hall or Cologne). But we should not complain about Parker’s solid old-world style, for in the Charles Ives symphonies, their compelling moments of drama and generally flowing feel (yes, reminiscent of Bruckner or Schumann) a new-world school of music is in the making. Hints of the Ives that we know are also present in the scores, as one Brucknerian ending seems almost disrupted by the sudden arrival (an out-of-step percussive march) of an over-enthusiastic town band. The listener can almost “see” the American hearties in their baseball caps and boaters on the Fourth of July! As always, the Chandos sound is exceptional. This is a recording that is well worth exploring.

Another Chandos artist of great note (and notes) is Tasmin Little. This column has celebrated her work many times, not least her definitive recordings of Elgar, Britten, Moeran and Walton. I would venture to say that her version of the Walton Violin Concerto is the best on record. But this time, we find Tasmin in the chamber world of Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Her accompanists are Tim Hugh, cello, and pianist, Piers Lane – who play the sublime Sonata, D 821 ‘Arpeggione’ of 1824, and join Tasmin in the posthumously recognised and numbered Adagio Op. 148, (written in the last year of the composer’s short life). The cerebral, sweet-sounding music of Schubert is made for the intimacy of small-scale settings – the pathos and good nature, and perfect tunes, of his sonatas finding their ideal interpreters in the Chandos performing team. Listen carefully in the second movement of the Sonata No. 1, Op. 137: here is music, which whilst not being exactly melancholy, generates a feeling of rest and reflection – the sun on a summer’s day obscured by misty clouds – only to be reinvigorated by the third movement, which seems to start immediately, with a new view and mood, carrying you away back to purpose and a jollier frame of mind. Chandos records the sounds of the instruments, almost as if being able to bottle spring air or capture reflected light from cut-glass crystal. Effortless performances (this may be a clichéd phrase) but the CD generates a mood of wellbeing; using three musicians who simply have to spin the potter’s wheel in order to create out of nothing, something of great beauty – including those earnest and bold phrases of Schubert which are often found in his symphonies. Not even these moments sound forced or hard-edged.

Recorded at the Old Granary Studios, Suffolk in the late August of last year, pianist Simon Callaghan – very much a new figure, and force, in recording and performance – has sought out, not easy repertoire or a name we know, but the complicated and almost unknown figure of Roger Sacheverell Coke. (Regular readers may recall our review of Coke’s music on the English Music Festival label, EM Records.) Coke was born in 1912, his family claiming lineage to the Plantagenet dynasty. His social position, whilst not exactly aristocratic (although semi-upper-class) was unencumbered by the usual demands of making money or earning one’s keep, and so Coke devoted himself to music – even producing a Shelley-based opera, which was decried by the musical press. The poor reaction to his work, his heavy-smoking, depression and accompanying disorders all combined to undermine this artist, and bury him in the far-flung reaches of musical history. Although achieving a measure of recognition at some points in his career, this essentially gloomy romantic found himself buried by the post-war musical establishment, keen as it was to embrace the continental, the avant-garde, the decidedly atonal. Not for them the two sets of 24 Preludes (Opp. 33 & 34) and 15 Variations (Op. 37) which Simon Callaghan has recorded for Somm: a testament to Coke’s very real and vivid creative strengths – an intense, often nocturnal inward-looking impressionism – which might lead the listener to think that an English Rachmaninov has been rediscovered.

There is a famous photograph, taken in the Proms days of Sir Henry Wood, of the conductor shaking hands with the original, wholly Russian Rachmaninov, after what must have been a dazzling performance before the London prommers. (Let us not forget that Wood brought Debussy, Delius, Berg and Rachmaninov to our concert-halls – the modern music of its day.) A romantic and an exile from his beloved homeland, Rachmaninov’s music seems to breathe the cold winds of Russian forests and lakes, and a sense of heartache, of loneliness, of a man longing for something which cannot be put into words – only music. His famously sad, lyrical but embracing Vocalise; the endless heartfelt depths and storytelling of the mighty Second Symphony; the strange, midnight atmosphere of the Symphonic Dances; the Gurrelieder-like opening of his canata, Spring – all contain the essence, or at least, a side of the composer’s character.

Written at different times of his life, Rachmaninov’s Preludes (24 in total) are an exploration of all the possibilities of the musical keys, and are – in piano form – a clear summation of everything for which the composer stands. In other words, if all the symphonies and the piano concertos were lost for all time, the 24 Preludes would still give the listener in some future barren world a connection to the heart of the Russian romantic master.

The international prize-winning pianist, Leon McCawley (also a Leeds prize-winner) has given us – via the recording facilities of Somm Records – one of the finest interpretations of Rachmaninov anyone could wish for; making the listener feel as though the Preludes were a single sequence, written at one time – such is the integrity and cohesion of McCawley’s interpretive vision and dedication. It could be said that the over-exposure of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, or his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, has taken us away from the “pure” essence of the composer – something which the Preludes seem to embody and exude. Perhaps, as a result of the achievement of Leon McCawley, audiences and CD buyers may be able to see another facet of a figure with whom we thought we were familiar.

Leon McCawley

Leon McCawley

As a final point, I would like to quote a small part of Robert Matthew-Walker’s immensely informative programme notes (for the Somm CD of Sacheverell Coke). It has a great deal of relevance for us, bringing together a view of the reputations of two romantic composers, and illustrating why “musical correctness” and the official view may not always serve the truth about the work of so many composers…

“…by the dawn of the 1960s the tide had turned against late-romanticism which Coke’s musical language maintained – one has only to consider the deplorable entry on Rachmaninoff [their spelling] one of the notable disfigurements of the fifth edition of Grove’s Dictionary of 1954 – and the time could not have been worse for the unveiling of the magnum opus of a composer [Coke] who was perceived to be eminently backward-looking and not even fully competent in his technique.”

The Quarterly Review would like to pay tribute to the life and work of Brian Couzens (1933-2015), the founder of Chandos Records. Launched in 1979, this proudly independent label came to prominence in the early 1980’s with its recordings of British music. A memorial service in Wivenhoe, North Essex, commemorated the passing of this remarkable and dedicated figure, who pioneered so much within the recording industry.

STUART MILLSON is the Classical Music Editor of Quarterly Review

Next time – we bring you reviews from the ninth English Music Festival, and of many distinguished new CD releases.

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Pamela Geller offends ‘Sharia’ media

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller offends ‘Sharia’ media

Ilana Mercer defends the WND columnist

Sandhya SomethingOrAnother is a “social change” reporter for The Washington Post. (Yes, the WaPo has such a beat.) Ms. Somashekhar (her surname copied and pasted) implied that WND columnist Pamela Geller ought to repent for staging a Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas, an event that was briefly attended by two, uninvited ISIS-Americans. Sandhya must have been angry because she called Geller, in error, “a housewife from Long Island.” Progressives don’t much like housewives.

Like most Geller haters, Somashekhar (her name copied and pasted) cited the Southern Poverty Law Center as her “scholarly” source for Geller’s hatefulness. The SPLC is a “leftist vigilante group,” explained Paul Gottfried, a real scholar. It is “unmistakably totalitarian in the drive to suppress and destroy deviationists from the party line on race, gender, and ‘discrimination.’” The southern-poverty-law-center is as dodgy in its financial dealings as it is in its strong-arming tactics.

“Stupid,” ruled a less obscure enforcer of political correctness, Bill O’Reilly, on Geller’s event. Also at Fox News, host Martha MacCallum suggested Geller ought to have explored kinder, gentler ways of protesting Islam-imposed restrictions on expression.

Pantomime, perhaps?

The left-liberal Jon Stewart took the safe route. The idiotic urge to kill over any annoyance was the object of the satirist’s spoof. Stewart’s Thou Shall Not Kill skit was hardly cutting-edge comedy. So he livened up the tired shtick with a curtsy in the direction of the Prophet’s avengers. Geller’s group, The American Freedom Defense Initiative, was about hate speech, warned Stewart.

The biggest clown in the media circus, however, was TV anchor Chris Cuomo. While Geller staged her vital challenge in private, Cuomo, a lawyer, flaunted his “smarts” in public. He tweeted that “hate speech” was unprotected by the Constitution. Not everyone was speechless. Another of CNN’s commentators, Alisyn Camerota, stood squarely in the corner of the victims: those poor ISIS-Americans whose descent into hell was hastened by a guard at Geller’s Garland cartoon contest

It was difficult to tell what it was about Pamela Geller’s position on impolite and impolitic speech—echoed in the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights—that so puzzled Camerota. Brow furrowed, she battled to score points against Geller, in an exchange that was more amusing than the Mayweather-Pacquiao match. Camerota came short.

ISIS and its local, low IQ Abduls have since vowed to kill Pamela and anyone who shields her. Duly, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren worried about the welfare of … law enforcement. Greta accused Geller of jeopardizing her security detail’s safety. How’s that for ridiculous? First, it is not Geller who is endangering the police; it’s those who would kill her for the words she mouths. Second, protection of an innocent citizen’s life, liberty and property is the one legitimate function of government. Besides which Geller’s organization paid thousands out-of-pocket for protection.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

Easily the most contemptible of Geller’s critics was a fellow called Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a film critic for the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

When Islamists hit Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters, slaughtering a dozen of its cartoonists, the world, left and right, came out in support. When two ISIS-Americans stormed the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland this month Jean-Baptiste, however, came out post-haste to distance the Hebdo from the Geller cartoons.

From his affected conversation with broadcaster Charlie Rose—Jean-Baptiste is French and has little to no English—one gleaned that he believed the sexualized, infantile, witless depictions of the Prophet, produced by the Hebdo crowd, were clever. Conversely, Geller’s exhibit was unintelligent. Or so this fool implied.

Anyone who’s been made to watch a French film, serious or satirical, knows that the French have no sense of humor or irony. The last truly funny comedian to have made merry in France lived in the 17th century. He, too, was Jean-Baptiste: Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, aka Molière. To get a feel for what has since become of French comedy, watch Louis de Funès, whom the French consider a comedic giant. Even your typically humorless Hebdo cartoon—take the one in which the contours of Muhammad’s turban resemble his bare buns, accompanied by the caption, “And my butt, you like my butt?”—is wittier than Louis de Funès’ oeuvre.

Alluding to the intelligence with which Hebdo does commentary, Jean-Baptiste and pal Gerard Biard rejected any parallels between Charlie Hebdo’s defiance of Islamic blasphemy laws and Geller’s defiance of the same laws.

French cerebral agility is clearly as keen as French humour.

THE RED CONNECTION 

During the communist era, certain, ever-accreting categories of people were deemed unworthy of personhood.

True right wingers—members of the ancien régime, the clergy, the aristocracy, the bourgeois, the business and professional communities—they were “taken out of circulation” early on in the Bolshevik Revolution. Once the Right had been eliminated, during the Great Terror (1936-38), “right-winger” became synonymous with Communists who harbored too great an affinity for the peasantry (in other words, were insufficiently enthusiastic about collectivisation, and might have overseen the recrudescence of capitalistic practices (namely, making a living).

Maoist society, as “The Black Book of Communism” illustrates, promoted the “binary division between ‘red’ categories, such as workers, poor peasants, medium peasants, party cadres … martyrs of the revolution; and ‘black’ categories, such as landowners, rich peasants, counterrevolutionaries, ‘evil elements,’ and right-wingers. The labels stuck no matter what one did later. Even after an official rehabilitation, a right-winger would remain a target for mass campaigns and would never have the right to return to the city. … ” (P. 486)

Broadly speaking, American civil and political society privileges radical left-liberalism. To be of the Left is to be in the cool kids’ corner. Distilled, the double standard toward what is perceived as rightist speech (Geller’s) and left-wing freedom of expression (Hebdo’s) is, in my opinion, a holdover construct of communism.

ILANA Mercer is a US-based, libertarian writer. She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive, paleolibertarian weekly column, “Return to Reason.” With a unique audience of 8 million, the site has been rated by Alexa as the most frequented “conservative” site on the Internet. Ilana has also featured on RT with the “Paleolibertarian Column,” and she contributes to Economic Policy Journal (the premier libertarian site on the web), Junge Freiheit, a German weekly of excellence, as well as to the British Libertarian Alliance and Quarterly Review (the celebrated British journal founded in 1809 by Walter Scott, Robert Southey and George Canning), where she is also contributing editor. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Ilana is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (an award-winning, independent, non-profit, free-market economic policy think tank).

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“Implicit racism” as a “medical condition”

James D Watson

James D Watson

“Implicit racism” as a “medical condition”

K R Bolton condemns the conflation of politics with psychiatry

Introduction

There has been a general trend in academia for several generations to de-legitimise views that are contrary to the dominant liberal foundations of post-1945 Western society. A primary aim of this movement is to portray illiberal views as mentally questionable. It is part of a political agenda masquerading as objective scholarship, and has aims akin to the use of psychiatry as a political weapon in the USSR. This paper briefly considers the implications of a new study that suggests that ‘racism’ is a treatable medical condition.

The portrayal of one’s political opponents as ‘insane’ and in need of psychiatric treatment was used to wide effect in the USSR. It served to both discredit the targeted subject and generally place whatever political views he had as being beyond the pale of normal society; perhaps as even ‘dangerous’. It was not until 1971 when the psychiatric reports of six Soviets dissidents were smuggled to the West that it was concluded that there was a “gross abuse of professional practice in the USSR”. This had begun in the 1930s when ‘political patients’ (sic) were committed to a psychiatric hospital in Kazan. The scenario that was maintained in the USSR for decades was that a dissident would be arrested for “anti-Soviet activities,” examined by a psychiatric commission, “and found to be insane and not responsible. This eliminated the need for a trial”. [1] Professors Block and Reddaway wrote:

“The authorities’ goal is to ensure future conformism and compliance. In addition, to label the ideas of a dissenter as a manifestation of madness is an easy and convenient way of discrediting the group he represents. How could any normal person agree with such nonsense when even the dissenter himself, after a little medical acutance, sees that he had propagated pure fantasy?” [2]

Block and Reddaway explained that in 1950 at a meeting of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Andrei Snezhnevsky founded a new school of psychiatry in which schizophrenia came to be the diagnosis most commonly applied to dissenters, as well as ‘paranoid personality disorder’. Dissent was viewed as a ‘symptom of several mental illnesses’.[3]

However, the Soviets’ Western counterparts in the social sciences have been no less zealous in establishing the limitations on what is a ‘normal’ political opinion and what is to be de-legitimatized as ‘personality disorder’. For this purpose the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory was enlisted. This had been established in Weimar Germany, and it exponents had then moved en masse to the USA under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation, where it was re-established as the Institute of Social Research, in New York City, with the help of Columbia University. In Germany the Marxian-Freudian synthesis of revolution and sexology had not been well-received by the orthodox Communists, but it received a ready welcome in the USA where the Frankfurt School became a major influence in the social sciences, much like Franz Boas, et al in cultural and social anthropology. A team headed by Theodor Adorno produced the seminal study, The Authoritarian Personality.[4] The purpose was to prove that those possessing what had traditionally been normal social and moral values were latent fascists afflicted with personality disorder. In particular, ‘fascist’ personality traits emerged within the traditional patriarchal family.[5] Survey questions used to determine the level of one’s authoritarian personality disorder included the degree to which one feels affection and gratitude towards parents, a concern at moral decline, a belief that the arts should be uplifting rather than sordid, and that sex criminals deserve particularly sever punishment.[6] If you tick the boxes on such questions then you are mentally troubled, having an ‘authoritarian personality’, and therefore latently ‘fascist’, according to an ‘F’ (for “Fascist”) scale.

In the Shadow of Critical Theorists & Soviet Psychiatrists

The use of psychiatry to maintain the domination of liberal ideology continues. The study that has been media-hyped to suggest recognition of racial differences is related to abnormal cerebral activity is the by-product of a study on the heart drug Propranolol, which is claimed might ‘cure’ racial bias. An Associated Press report states:

Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, said: “Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias. Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest”.

Two groups of 18 participants took part in the study. Each volunteer was asked to undertake a ‘racial Implicit Association Test’ (IAT) one to two hours after taking propranolol or the placebo.

The test involved categorising positive and negative words, and pictures of black and white individuals, on a computer screen. More than a third of the volunteers had a ‘negative’ IAT score, meaning they were biased towards being non-racist at a subconscious level. This was not seen in any member of the placebo group.

Co-author Professor Julian Savulescu, from Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy, stated: “Such research raises the tantalising possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis…”[7]

Sylvia Terbeck et al seem no less enthusiastic about the possible applications of their findings than the news media that reported the findings. They state that “negative evaluations of minority groups’ are of particular importance in today’s increasingly cosmopolitan world” [8] Despite the judicial and socio-moral taboos against what the paper calls “automatic negative attitudes associated with out-group members”, these responses remain “a live and a potent influence”.[9] “Automatic negative attitudes” are in common parlance known as instincts.[10] While the instinctual might be repressed by laws, guillotines or bullets, sociobiolgists, ethologists, or analytical psychologists might contend that the unconscious drives that have evolved over millennia when repressed could result in greater perils.

The authors of the study used tests to uncover implicit attitudes as distinct from explicit.[11] Explicit attitudes are easily suppressed, but the implicit are intrinsically more subtle. Hence, even the most liberal of subjects can be found to be afflicted with ‘implicit’ bias towards an ‘out-group’. Terbeck et al proceed from studies indicating that race bias or, as it is termed, bias towards ‘ out-groups’, has a measurable physiological reaction. Studies are cited that show increased amygdala activity when a white subject viewed faces of unknown black people. This increased amygdala activity has been correlated with the scores for the implicit association test (IAT) measuring unconscious ‘out-group’ bias:

“In the present study, therefore we employed propranolol to test the hypothesis that emotional responses influenced by noradrenergic transmission play a mediating role in implicit but not in explicit forms of prejudice”.[12]

The conclusion was that “propranolol significantly reduced implicit but not explicit racial bias. This supports our hypothesis that noradrenaline-mediated emotional responses play a role in the generation of implicit negative racial attitudes, and supports prior theorising suggesting a greater affective component in implicit attitudes”.[13]

Apart from hyper-tension and other heart-related problems, this genre of medication is used to alleviate social anxiety, and general tension, symptoms of stage fright, tremor, nervousness, and fear.[14] “Propranolol inhibits the actions of norepinephrine as a neurotrasmitter that enhances memory consolidation, modifying behavioral responses to past experiences. Norepinephrine has been described as an essential modulator of memory through its ability to regulate synaptic mechanisms… Emotional arousal leads to activation of the locus coeruleus with the subsequent release of norepineprine in the brain, resulting in the enhancement of memory’,[15] caused by changes in synaptic strength”.

What one might note here is that the medication actually inhibits normal responses from the unconscious: that of acting on experience, and one moreover that would be an important survival mechanism. What elements of the news media and academia seem therefore to be enthusiastically applauding is the potential to repress through medication normative responses to external stimuli that are an innate part of the unconscious as it has evolved through millennia.

Another aspect of the study is that only whites were tested. It is thereby implied that only whites are regarded as having negative implicit responses to racial differences. However, the tests are biased both in subject choices and in analysis, based on a preconceived dogma regarding the undesirability of reflex responses to external stimuli that are the result of unconscious survival mechanisms, akin to our unconscious suspicion of snakes, for example. The analysis and study was conducted on what seems to be an assumption that whites are racially bigoted, and that this is a reflection of abnormal mental processes, rather than considering the possibility of deeper evolutionary factors that are now regarded as abhorrent on the assumptions of certain ideologies.

The extension of the conclusions can be easily made in regard to attitudes on immigration, multiculturalism, and other government policies. One might arrive back at the same rationale as that used by Soviet psychiatry towards dissidents, and the conclusions of Adorno et al. Normative reactions – the result of millennia of social, cultural and biological evolution – are identified as mental disorders that require eradication. Behavioural modifications have in the past been treated with electro-shock therapy and some quite horrendous mental institutions such as that established with Central Intelligence Agency backing to experiment on behaviour modifications.[16] Now it seems the groundwork is being laid for the possibility of medicating those who are regarded as having socially unacceptable views.

Mass medication against ‘racism’?

Will such ideologically motivated assumptions differentiate between a ‘skinhead’ convicted of beating an immigrant and of scientists who continue to insist that ‘race’ has a biological basis and that there might be substantial innate differences between races in several important areas?

If such a scenario is regarded as being improbable one might consider the recent treatment meted out to Dr. James Watson after he commented that black Africans on average have a lower intelligence quotient than whites. He was quoted as being “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”.[17] An immediate reaction was the cancelling of Watson’s popular lecture at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, on the basis that the “comments were beyond acceptable debate”. Professor Steven Rose of the Open University, a founder member of the Society for Social Responsibility in Science, commented that such ‘racist’ attitudes were ‘genetic nonsense’, and that Watson “should recognise that statements of this sort have racist functions and are to be deeply …regretted. Making statements of that sort is certainly a great day for the British National Party but it’s a sad day for scientists and racial harmony”.[18]

Rose et al confound a scientific opinion with a political agenda. Social policy should be predicated on reality as far as it is determined at any given time. It is the place of scientists to offer the facts; that of politicians to consider those facts in relations to social policy. One might perceive in the dogmatic reactions to Watson that some subjects are beyond acceptable debate. Similarly, when ‘Antifa’ mobs invaded the lecture room of Professor Arthur Jensen,[19] that was not scholarship, it was political agitation. The outraged comments by Rose and others reinforce the suggestion that ‘Caucasian racism’ is a type of cerebral dysfunction that might be eliminated by medication. Could Watson, and indeed a large number of other scientists whose analyses run counter to egalitarian suppositions, therefore become candidates for medicinal behaviour modification?

Arthur R Jensen

Arthur R Jensen

Terbeck et al do not refrain from suggesting that propranolol could indeed be used to medicate those who are afflicted with implicit ‘out-group’ prejudice so as to ensure conformity in the ‘increasingly cosmopolitan’ world:

“Given the important role that implicit attitudes appear to play in overt forms of discrimination against out-group members, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings might also be of practical interest, and require careful ethical consideration”.[20]

Further research is required to see if “sustained propranolol treatment”[21] could effect what amounts to permanent behaviour modification.

An ironic aside is that Terbeck et al cite the Manual of the Eysenck Personal Inventory among their references. [22] Hans J. Esyenck, one of the most significant psychologists of our time was, like Jensen and Watson, pilloried as a ‘racist’ for his views on race and inherited intelligence. Might he also have been a potential subject for treatment with propranolol to cure his ‘implicit’ racism?

Hans J Eysenck

Hans J Eysenck

K R Bolton is a Fellow of the ‘World Institute for Scientific Exploration’. He is a contributing writer for Foreign Policy Journal. His articles have been published in the Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies; Geopolitica (Moscow State University); India Quarterly; International Journal of Russian Studies; International Journal of Social Economics; Instanbul Literary Review; Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies (Trinity College), etc. His books include: Babel Inc.; Perón and Peronism; The Psychotic Left; Artists of the Right; Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific; The Parihaka Cult; Revolution from Above; The Banking Swindle

ENDNOTES

[1] Sidney Blocak and Peter Reddaway, ‘Your disease is dissent’, New Scientist, 21 July 1977, 149. See: K. R. Bolton, ‘Sex Pol Ideology: The Influence of the Freudian-Marxian Synthesis on Politics and Society’, Journal of Social, Political & Economic Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3, Fall 2010
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] T. W. Adorno, E. Frenkel-Brunswick, D. J. Levinson and R N Sanford, The Authoritarian Personality (New York: Harper & Bros., 1950)
[5] K. R. Bolton, op. cit., 331
[6] Ibid., 332
[7] ‘Heart disease drug combats racism’, The Telegraph, London, March 7, 2012; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9128888/Heart-disease-drug-combats-racism.html (accessed April 5, 2015)
[8] Sylvia Terbeck, Guy Kahane, Sarah McTavish, Julian Savulescu, Philip J. Cowen, Miles Hewstone, ‘ Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias’, Psychopharmacology, February 2012, 419
[9] Ibid.
[10] Arthur Keith, The Place of Prejudice in Modern Civilisation, Aberdeen University rectoral address, 1930. A. James Gregor, ‘On the Nature of Prejudice’, The Eugenics Review, Vol. 52, No. 4, January 1961
[11] Terbeck, et al, op. cit., 420
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid, 422
[14] James A. Bourgeois MD, ‘The Management of Performance Anxiety’, Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 19, issue 2 (1991), 17, 21, 23
[15] Keith Tully and Vadim Y Bolshakov, ‘Emotional enhancement of memory: how norepinephrine enables synaptic plasticity’, Molecular Brain, May 13, 2010; http://www.molecularbrain.com/content/3/1/15 (accessed April 14, 2015).
[16] Gordon Thomas, Journey into madness: medical torture and the mind controllers (London: Bantam Books, 1988)
[17] Stephen Adams, ‘Nobel scientist snubbed after racism claims’, The Daily Telegraph, London, October 17, 2007
[18] Ibid.
[19] An obituary comments: ‘His assertions, which came amid the social and political turmoil of the late 1960s, stirred critics to call him a racist. His lectures were disrupted by angry mobs, bomb squads handled his mail and irate colleagues mounted a campaign to formally censure him’. ‘Arthur Jensen dies at 89; his views on race and IQ created a furor’, Los Angeles Times, 2 November 2012
[20] Terbeck, et al, 424
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid.

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