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Mandeville, the Frankfurt School, and Yves Simon on Authority and Liberty A Counterpoint to Bernard Mandeville’s Deceitful Doctrine of Man and to the Frankfurt School’s Irrational Dialectical Anthropology: The Frigid Equivocations, Psycho-Cultural Subversion, Seductive Despair
A Commentary on Two Revolutionary and Neo-Sophist Texts of the Frankfurt School and the British Tavistock Institute, Respectively: Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944, 1947); and The Dialectics of Liberation (1967, 1968, 1969) – Considered in the Longer Light of Bernard Mandeville’s “Fable of the Bees” and “An Enquiry Into the Origin of Moral Virtue” (1723, 2nd Edition); and of Yves Simon’s The Nature and Functions of Authority (1940). Epigraphs: “Sine auctoritate, nulla vita.” (Without authority there is no life.) “One must combat the pervasive corruptions of authority, without thereby subverting the principle of authority.” (Arnaud de Lassus) “Dialectics is the study of the contradiction in the very essence of things.” (Lenin) “Lenin’s statement is a Manichean proposition which is an insult to God the Creator.” (Arnaud de Lassus) “The most interesting sect of German Jewry.” (Gershom Scholem, himself a Jewish Mystic and a well-known Kabbalist, is referring specifically here to Max Horkheimer's Frankfurt Institut für Sozialforschung, more commonly known as the Frankfurt School. See G. Scholem's 1980 book, From Berlin to Jerusalem, p. 131) “On the naturalistic hypothesis, the whole premises of knowledge are clearly due to the blind operation of material causes, and in the last resort to these alone. On that hypothesis we no more possess free reason than we possess free will. As all our volitions are the inevitable product of forces which are quite alien to morality, so all our conclusions are the inevitable product of forces which are quite alien to reason.” (Arthur Balfour, The Foundations of Belief, first published in 1895) In the early 1990s, after the conclusion of a Washington, D.C. Seminar, a well-known scholar of grand strategy and the history of war unexpectedly said to me in his characteristically solemn and heavy Eastern European accent: “What the new Russia needs in its progress away from Socialism toward a fuller Capitalism is to move now from its current, predominantly Black Economy to a Brown
Economy. And we must help that transition to a lesser kleptocracy. We cannot expect them suddenly to have an economy like ours, which is hardly itself a White Economy.” He spoke in a tone of cynicism and his face flashed a hint of a sneer. He did not say nor imply, however, that “we should do evil that good may come from it.” Yet he clearly did convey, and beyond cavil, that “we should permit and indulgently tolerate various private vices and other forms of evil – greed, corruptions, theft, and the like – so that broader advantages and benefits would accrue and develop into the Higher Capitalism.” (He did not mention, however, anything about certain specially privileged oligarchies and their strategic “interior lines,” and their already in-place coherent cosmopolitan networks. Nor did he mention, much less further consider together, the hypothesis of a “False Dialectic” between Oligarchic Capitalism and Revolutionary Socialism, in view of the latter's own Managerial and Financial Nomenklatura.) My brief observation in reply to this keen-minded man was: “Your recommendation sounds much like Bernard Mandeville's proposals in 1723 in his Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Public Benefits. For, like him, you would analogously allow and further foster the interaction of Russia's current sets of 'private vices' so as to produce many otherwise unattainable 'public benefits.' And, as you likely know, Dr. Mandeville – himself a Medical Doctor – also openly said, and very effectively insinuated: we mustn't expect too much from that Sophisticated Beast called Man. Nonetheless, since he saw Force by itself to be insufficient in gaining man's necessary submissions within society, he recommended (and accented) the contrivances of Fraud, which can be so especially useful in manipulating and governing man, provided that we subtly and artfully flatter his pride.” The scholar slyly smiled at my words and said: “But, of course.” Then he quietly broke off our conversation and also soon left Dr. Michael Novak's Seminar-Discussion Room at the American Enterprise Institute. This brief exchange very soon caused me to reflect further on Mandeville's even more candid and cynical endorsement of a new kind of “Invisible Hand,” even as a kind of immoral, indeed deceitful, natural “replacement” for supernatural Divine Providence. Moreover, Dr. Mandeville proposed his subtle control mechanism for human governance, as part of Nature's darker (if not esoteric) Arcana Imperii, some fifty years before Adam Smith's own more mollified and seductively sentimental propositions about the progressive “Invisible Hand of the Market,” by which Capitalism would produce useful abundances, despite the individual's incompletely knowledgeable, economic choices, or mankind's somewhat disordered, and altogether energetic, operations of human ignorance.
(My own Scottish Mentor and Greek Professor, Douglas Young, often used to refer to his own Scottish Mentor's fresh and original concept of “Agnoiology” – “the study, or science, of human ignorance and its effects” – i.e., the counterpart to “Epistemology” – but Professor Young lamented that his mentor's conceptual word never “caught on.”) We might now fittingly reflect further upon Mandeville's proposed methods, and consider more closely just how his consciously manipulative techniques of deceit were employed to govern man and to manage human pride by way of false flattery. For, Sophistry is a recurrent phenomenon in man's cultural history, and, perhaps, even a permanent temptation of the human mind. We shall, therefore, now somewhat extensively quote, in an accessible logical sequence, the blunt unvarnished eighteenth-century words of Mandeville himself, and his uniquely subtle, sarcastic irony, as he expresses his famous poem's insights in his own 1723 explanatory prose essay, entitled “An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue.” In the complete, annotated volumes of Mandeville’s famous poem, The Fable of the Bees; or Private Vices, Publick Benefits (1723), this brief, complementary prose essay on the supposed origin of moral virtue immediately follows the Verse Fable itself, both designedly and somewhat ironically, as we propose to show.1 In our carefully abbreviated, but faithful, selection from his eighteen-page essay, Mandeville says, essentially, the following – and we purposely retain his eighteenth-century language, logical sequence, syntax, capitalizations, punctuation, and orthography: I believe Man… to be a compound of various Passions, that all of them, as they are provoked and come uppermost, govern him by turns, whether he will or no. To show that these Qualifications [sic – i.e., Vices, not just Passions], which we all pretend to be ashamed of, are the great Support of a flourishing Society, has been the subject of the foregoing Poem [i.e., of “The Fable of the Bees”] …. I have thought to enquire [i.e., and now much further, in his candid explanatory essay, “An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue”] how Man, no better qualified might yet by his own Imperfections [sic] be taught to distinguish between Virtue and Vice.” (39-40, and 57 – my emphasis added) By contrast, we may recall here that Saint Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, said that “man has as many masters as his vices.” And, for man's true reformation, Nature itself is not enough. No Species of Animals is, without the Curb of Government, less capable of agreeing long together in Multitudes than that of Man; yet such are his Qualities, whether good or bad, I shall not determine, that
1 Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Publick Benefits – 2 Volumes (Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty Fund, Inc. 1988 – a reproduction of the 1924 edition published by Oxford University Press – edited by F.B. Kaye). See especially Mandeville's “An Enquiry Into the Origin of Moral Virtue,” Volume 1, pp. 39-57. The following quotes are taken from Mandeville's essay, and references to some of its important passages are given at the very end of the selected and cited texts, in parentheses.
no Creature besides him can ever be made sociable: But being an extraordinarily selfish and headstrong, as well as cunning Animal, however he may be subdued by superior Strength, it is impossible by Force alone to make him tractable, and receive the Improvements he is capable of. (4041 – my emphasis added) That is to say, and with the comparably simpering tonalities of later historian, Edward Gibbon, FRAUD is also therefore needed, and indispensably so; in various forms of DECEPTION, especially artfully manipulated falsehoods as in Flattery. Those that have undertaken to civilize Mankind … being unable to give so many real Rewards as would satisfy all Persons for every individual Action [i.e., in order, more ethically, “to disapprove of their natural Inclinations, or prefer the good of others to their own”-42], they were forced to contrive an imaginary one, that as a general Equivalent for the trouble of Self-denial should serve on all Occasions, and without costing anything [sic] either to themselves or others [sic], be yet a most acceptable Recompense to the Receivers. (42 – my emphasis added) They thoroughly examined all the Strength and Faculties of our Nature [as “meer Man, in the State of Nature and in Ignorance of the true Deity” – 40], and observing that none were either so savage as not to be charmed with Praise, or so despicable as patiently to bear Contempt, justly concluded, that FLATTERY must be the most powerful Argument that could be used to Human Creatures. Making use of this bewitching Engine [i.e., this “Contrivance”] they extolled the Excellency of our Nature above other Animals, and setting forth with unbounded Praises the Wonders of our Sagacity and Vastness of Understanding, bestowed a thousand Encomiums on the Rationality of our Souls, by the Help of which we were capable of performing the most notable Achievements. Having by this artful [i.e., this deceptive, deceitful] way of Flattery insinuated themselves into the Hearts of Men, they began to instruct them in the Notions [not the Actuality] of Honor and Shame; representing the one [i.e., Shame] as the worst of Evils and the other [i.e., Honor] as the highest Good [i.e., Summum Bonum] to which Mortals could aspire. (42-43 – my emphasis added) As in all Animals that are not too imperfect to discover Pride, we find, that the finest and such as are the most beautiful and valuable of their kind, have generally the greatest Share of it [i.e., Pride], so in Man, the most perfect of Animals, it is inseparable from his very Essence (how cunningly soever some may learn to hide or disguise it) that without it [i.e., Pride] the Compound he is made of would want the chiefest Ingredient. (44-45 – my emphasis added) That is to say, as it were, let us artfully manipulate this same Cunning and Sophisticated Beast, and with his very vulnerable Pride especially in mind. We might even call this seemingly “Benign” and “Pitying” Ethos and Technique of “Social Engineering” by its more vibrant title: “Pride-Manipulation and Social Order.” Moreover, says Mandeville: What carried so many of them [i.e., these Prideful Ones] to the utmost Pitch of Self-denial was their [i.e., “the wary Politicians” (51) and “the Wise Lawmakers'” own] Policy in making use of the most effectual Means that human Pride could be flattered with. (51 – my emphasis added) Thus, by flattering human pride sophistically (and often mendaciously), we can, if we are truly artful enough, reach great levels of human sacrifice and self-denial and promote, thereby, “Publick
Benefits.” For, The nearer we search into human Nature, the more we shall be convinced, that the Moral Virtues are the Political Offspring which Flattery begot upon Pride.” (51 – my emphasis added) What “skilful Management” (51), indeed, is needed for this miscegenation, or copulation! Moreover, claims the self-assured Mandeville, There is no Man of what Capacity of Penetration soever, that is wholly Proof against the Witchcraft of Flattery, if artfully performed, and suited to his Abilities. Children and Fools will swallow Personal Praise, but those that are more cunning [e.g., like Homer's sly Odysseus], must be managed with greater Circumspection; and the more general the Flattery is, the less it is suspected by those it is leveled at …. [For, as Bernard Mandeville now concludes,] the Power which Flattery has upon Pride [is so great, because Pride itself is all too] ready to swallow the ingenious Sophistry with Pleasure. (51-52 – my emphasis added). Aware that “it is common among cunning Men” (52) to “understand the Power which Flattery has upon Pride” (52), Mandeville effectively says that effective Governance depends upon “ingenious Sophistry” (53) – artful deception, hence carefully seductive deceit. (Even though it is likewise the case, as the truly wise have said, that “the greatest social effect of the Lie is that it breaks trust.” And the Lie subverts, and arguably trivializes, trustworthiness.) In the last paragraph of his essay, and approaching blasphemy, Bernard Mandeville even dares to say, with his ingeniously sly Irony and parting Sarcasm, that: Nothing can render the unsearchable depth of the Divine Wisdom [sic] more conspicuous, than that Man, whom Providence had designed for Society, should not only by his Frailties and Imperfections [and Prevarications or Sins, too?] be led into the Road to Temporal Happiness, but likewise receive, from a seeming Necessity of Natural Causes, a Tincture [and ongoing Titration?] of that Knowledge [a Secret Gnosis?] in which he was afterwards to be made perfect by the True Religion [the Great Unnamed], to his Eternal Welfare.” (57 – my emphasis added) Mandeville's above words are certainly a novel way of presenting – and of deftly caricaturing – the Traditional Catholic and Portuguese Proverb about the Providential Mercy of God: namely, that “God writes straight with crooked lines” – and even through and with, the altogether twisted effects of our sins – i.e., even by making good use of our sins, “etiam peccata” (Saint Augustine). These eighteenth-century Mandevillean insights about the Arcana Imperii – or “De Admirandis Naturae Arcanis” – might also recall for us the later analyses and the libidinous, “liberation-doctrines” of the Frankfurt School “Cultural Marxists” (the Institute for Social Research) in the twentieth century – most especially its own dialectically designed deconstructions and subversions of purportedly
oppressive (i.e., largely traditional) forms of Authority. This larger Project also included its more widely publicized post-World War II “Studies in Prejudice” and its aggressive “Critical Theories” against “the Authoritarian Personality,” in their search for latent, as well as patent, “Anti-Semitism” in all of its purported disguises. One need only read Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's 1944 book, entitled Dialektik der Aufklärung (Dialectic of Enlightenment) and, even moreso, its second and expanded 1947 edition, which adds a self-revealing Chapter, arguably lunatic, entitled “Elements of Anti-Semitism: Limits of Enlightenment.” At first, in proposed counterpoise to the danger of “the Authoritarian Personality,” the Frankfurt School Apparatus wanted to promote “the Revolutionary Personality,” but later they deceitfully re-named their equivocal ideal “the Democratic Personality.” (Will Dr. Mandeville please call home for an important message?) Why, we may fittingly ask, should the thought of Bernard Mandeville and of the Frankfurt School Apparatus be especially contrasted and compared now, or even loosely associated? The former economic-ethical philosophy is usually associated with support for Capitalism, though in its darker sides, as was so both with David Ricardo himself (and his “Iron Law of Wages”) and with the later Economic-”Social Darwinists.” On the other hand, the Frankfurt School – as openly professed Leftists and committed Cultural Marxists – is, as a group, usually thought to be stringently and mockingly critical of Capitalism, as was Karl Marx himself – even though, admittedly (and rather suspiciously), neither Marx nor the Frankfurt School was at all publicly and explicitly critical of Financial Capitalism, as such. Nor were they even quietly analytical of modern, fractional-reserve banking; nor of the 17th Century and later “sovereign-risk” banking of the Bank of England (and its politicallyleveraging Oligarchies, also in the East India Company), nor, indeed, of any of the pervading systems of modern usury and money-manipulation. (If so, where, specifically? – as I have asked many professed Marxists down the years, but in vain.) Despite a temporal interval of almost two-and-a half centuries between Mandeville and the later Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, the factor that actually invites our clarifying counterpoint between them is their deeply similar, underlying Philosophical Anthropology: their Doctrine of Man, as such. The philosophical premises and historical continuity of their partly contradistinctive views will be more fully seen to disclose their essential Resemblances (also in their main Common Enemies) when we consider their commensurate and fundamental Doctrines of Man, namely of the “Natural Man” – i.e., Man without Grace, Man not even potentially capable of receiving Grace (“Haud – Nunquam – Gratiae Capax”), and Man without even very much of an abiding capacity, if at all, for the Four
Cardinal Virtues, much less the receptive capacity to live a larger Vision of Virtue. Not only is it so that, in both cases, human nature is coarsely degraded and reduced to a lower standard; but also it seems that both theories initially or finally acknowledge that mere force is not a sufficient tool for governance and that, therefore, an elite is called to rule the masses by manipulation of their passions. Modern Democracy itself, as my French mentor once said, is based upon “hidden oligarchies” (“oligarchies cachées”), “which are contrary to its principles, but indispensable to its functioning – i.e., Modern Democracy itself is based upon a Deception.” Such an operative concept about Elites – or “Chaos Managers” will not likely attempt, much less under Grace, to elevate, purify, and perfect Man's admittedly now fallen and impaired human nature unto a greater dignity and selfrespect and a truly humble and grateful independence. Moreover, to the extent that “all human conflict is ultimately theological” (in the “searchlight words” of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning to young Hilaire Belloc), then, to that extent, we may also say that Mandeville and the Frankfurt School Apparatus (“the most interesting sect of German Jewry” – Gershom Scholem) have a common anti-Catholic “Theological Anthropology.” Let us also, however, now consider how the influence of certain Frankfurt School members themselves, such as the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, spread to other schools of Revolution or other Institutes for the Psychological Preparation of Revolutions. For example, twenty years after their second edition of Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno's colleague, Herbert Marcuse, participated in the British Tavistock Institute's unmistakably Strategic-Cultural Conference, entitled The Dialectics of Liberation (1967). This Institute's Conference (likely, though covertly, associated with British Intelligence) took place, very significantly, less than one year before the May 1968 Sorbonne (Maoist-Marcuse) Cultural Revolution in Paris, one of whose promiscuous mottoes was “It is Forbidden to Forbid.” The title of Marcuse's own 1967 Conference talk (and essay) was “Liberation from an Affluent Society.” (In his own way, Mandeville was also against drifting decadence, sedentary softness, and the appearance of all sluggish or slothful complacency.) The somewhat abbreviated book that emerged from the 1967 Conference, entitled The Dialectics of Liberation (1968, 1969), was also published under the alternate strategic title: To Free a Generation. (A fuller list of the Conference's speakers and the titles of their presentations appears in the Appendix to this essay.) The sophistic dialectics of the Frankfurt School Apparatus, as my studies over the years have gradually convinced me, not only flatter the pride and libidinous sensuality of man (in the seductive,
manipulative tradition of Dr. Bernard Mandeville), but also they present a specious irrationality and the deeper “allure of hermeticism” (secret, privileged knowledge and occult power), which, taken together, promote the psycho-cultural subversion of logos itself (and especially a subversion of the Catholic Christian understanding of the Incarnate Logos, as well as of Divine Grace: Its Reality and its Indispensability for Eternal Life). And likewise the Frankfurt School's proposed dialectics promote not only the resistance to putatively corrupt and tyrannical traditional authorities, but also the subversion of the principle of authority itself. (As contradistinction, Mandeville proposed a degradation and corruption of authority by the use of flattery and deceit.) Rooted in the spirit of negation, these seductive deceits of their “dialectics of liberation” and the allure of “emancipating eros” also foster radical discontent, as well as the corrosiveness of human ingratitude, and they thereby constitute an effective titration of despair. The sad fruits of these illusionary liberations, as I have also come gradually to see, have been various forms of prurience and servitude and mental numbness, as well as, often enough and perhaps irreversibly so, the congealment of lovelessness and the corrosion of hopelessness. And all of this despite their promises to bring true liberation by way of an emancipated and irresponsibly libidinous eros. Those promises are vividly to be seen in the doctrines of Herbert Marcuse, whose thought, as we have noted, especially inspired the May 1968 Sorbonne Cultural Revolution in Paris, which itself helped bring about, in less than a year, the fall from political power of President Charles de Gaulle, who had successfully vetoed (on 27 November 1967) the British entry into the European Common Market, and, had also (both before and afterwards) – and so unforgivably in some quarters – strongly opposed the Israeli Six-Day War of 5-10 June 1967. In support of this latter contention, and as a sign of the continued provocative import of de Gaulle's expressed attitude to Israel, a European friend from Scotland recently made me aware of the following comment made to a Jewish audience by Dr. Charles Krauthammer, M.D. (himself a Jewish psychiatrist); and his words were publicly spoken to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League on 23 April 2006, almost forty years after the events of 1967: Where the real anti-Zionism and ultimately anti-Semitism emerges, is in 1967, and if you want to give it a date, it's the 27th of November, 1967. Charles de Gaulle was angry with Israel for not having listened to his advice, which would have been to permit itself to be strangulated and ultimately destroyed by the Arab moves in May of 1967. Israel instead decided it had to save itself and it went to war. De Gaulle accused the Jews, as 'an elite people sure of themselves and domineering'. Given their own abiding spirit of resentful victimhood and revolt, and of distrustful and often
superciliously frigid contempt in their “cultural critiques,” the Frankfurt School Apparatus' own deconstructions, are especially in the field of public education. By good fortune, during their exile in America, they were efficiently able to insinuate themselves into, and build upon, the institutional receptivity to them of John Dewey's own “preparatory nidus,” as it were, in view of Dewey's already prevalent and implemented “pragmatic” educational theories. In my understanding, those combined initiatives and plans of action – a kind of slow “binary weapon” – led gradually to further Christiancultural subversion, to a further psychological bondage to a protean “sensate culture,” and ultimately to drugs and impurity and unmistakable self-destruction. The Frankfurt School’s dialectics of purported liberations are: first of all, liberation from repressive domination; and, then also, a further liberation for the sake of eros itself. These projects go along well with its recurrent dialectics of anti-authoritarianism and “anti-Anti-Semitism,” and also constitute a subversion of the traditional Western-Catholic understanding of the indispensable nature and functions of authority itself. That is to say, it effectively subverts the principle of authority – to include its meaning and indispensability for a more abundant, hence virtuous, life. As the traditional Latin phrase succinctly put it: “Sine auctoritate, nulla vita.” Without authority there is no life. We may understand this important matter more deeply and more clearly by way of another contrast and counterpoint, if we now consider a brief, but lucid, 1940 exposition of the more traditional understanding of authority: both the meaning and limits of authority; and, correlatively, also the meaning and limits of liberty. We shall find this treatment in the seventy-five page published version of “The Aquinas Lecture of 1940,” delivered at Marquette University, a Midwest Jesuit Institution, by Professor Yves Simon (1903-1961), who was at that time only thirty-seven years of age and an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame University in Indiana. In France, he had been a student of the “earlier” Jacques Maritain, and apparently so before his teacher formally broke with Charles Maurras and Action Française (after the Papal Condemnation of 29 December 1926), after which condemnation Maritain also made a still inexplicable “volte face” and suddenly took a more “positive” and favorable view of the French Revolution (since “Providence,” perhaps, had good reasons in allowing it). And Maritain then soon helped write Religion and Culture, and then further moved on to his influential (or baneful) book, Integral Humanism, which was so especially embraced, endorsed and widely promoted by Pope Paul VI himself and, most momentously, the progressive book deeply informed that same pope's “cult of man” and arguably utopian hopes for the Ecumenical Council of Vaticanum II (1962-1965), which commenced not long after Yves Simon had died.
About the time that the exiled Frankfurt School Apparatus was in large numbers coming into the United States – not only into academic and mass-media positions in New York City and in Hollywood, California – and partly because of the War and Ethnic Persecutions in Europe, Yves Simon, a young French Thomist philosopher, eloquently represented in his own lectures and writings the traditional, especially Thomistic, understanding of Authority and Liberty, although some have thought him too “Americanized” and entirely “too soft” on “Democracy” itself, if not originally, at least gradually. Nonetheless, for our purposes, his brief 1940 lecture and essay, entitled The Nature and Function of Authority, very trenchantly exemplifies a more traditional, and largely Thomistic, understanding, rooted in metaphysics, and is thus worthy of our closer consideration in this context. 2 In his presentation of this traditional philosophical understanding and high standard of authority, which the Frankfurt School so strenuously and even religiously contests, Yves Simon revealed not only his own distinctive “social research,” but also his apparent lack of knowledge (as of 1940, anyway) about the Frankfurt School's own explicit denials and recusancy. For, he so ingenuously says: Radical anarchists excepted, no social thinker ever questioned the fact that social happiness is based upon a felicitous combination of authority and liberty. However vague and ill-defined our concepts of authority and liberty may be, we realize at once that authority and liberty are at the same time antinomic and complementary terms. By saying that they are antinomic terms, I do not mean that their antinomic character is absolute and unqualified. I mean only that, in a certain sense and to some extent, those terms are undeniably opposed to one another. As to their complementary character, it is quite clear that authority, when it is not fairly balanced by liberty, is but tyranny, and that liberty, when it is not fairly balanced by authority, is but abusive license. Each of these terms destroys itself at the very moment when it destroys the other term by its excess. Therefore, both unrestricted liberty and boundless authority are fictitious conceptions, each of which implies its own negation together with the annihilation of society. There would be hardly any exaggeration in the statement that the essential question, for every social group, is that of combining rightly the forces of authority and liberty. (1-2 – my emphasis added) This first quote of Simon could have served well as concise refutation of the Frankfurt School's undifferentiated attack on authority itself, especially by way of its exaggerated and flattering praise of liberty, or the false and dangerous lure of irresponsible license. Moreover, says Yves Simon in his public lecture, which, once again, he presented first at Marquette University in the context of the early years of World War II:
2 Yves Simon, The Nature and Function of Authority (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 1940 and 1948 – second printing). The following quotes are taken from this book – (46 pages of the Lecture-Text and 28 pages of learned Notes ); and our selected quotations from this book, and references to some of its important passages, are henceforth given at the end of our cited texts, in parentheses.
In the practical solution of such a question, the social virtues [e.g., the first cardinal virtue of prudence, especially] of the responsible persons play the decisive role. Whatever the considered community, small or large, familial, economic, or political, its happiness depends on the ability of its head to determine exactly the right limits of his authority, together with the ability of those who must obey to recognize that their claim for freedom cannot reasonably exceed certain limits. (2-3 – my emphasis added) If we inquire into “the nature of this ability to delineate the boundaries of one’s field of action,” (3) he says, we shall find that “it consists in a particular form of the virtue of prudence, in a wisdom which is practical in the full sense of the term, and proceeds from the virtuous dispositions of the will, justice, moderation, and charity.” (3) In contrast to Bernard Mandeville and the Frankfurt School writers and operatives, we see here the winsome lucidity and convincingly un-manipulative serenity of Yves Simon, who was then also himself an exile, and a very grateful Frenchman. Moreover, Yves Simon was, unlike Mandeville and the Frankfurt School leaders, rooted in Saint Thomas Aquinas' metaphysics. He was not a Dialectical Historicist (Temporal Relativist) nor a Nominalist nor a Process Philosopher. However, Horkheimer and Adorno somewhat hermetically assert, and in an effectively “selfrefuting proposition,”3 that “the core of truth is historical, rather than an unchanging constant to be set against the movement of history.”4 We wonder how they know that. From their purportedly privileged and exempt standpoint “above” or “outside” history and this asserted “movement of history,” they never say, however, just what they mean by the concept and reality of time or of history itself. Nor do they ever reveal their belief as to where “the movement of history” is apparently going to, since movement usually implies “directionality and finality,” if not “purposiveness”; unless, that is, this abstract process of history is merely a kind of “random” motion, after all, like “Brownian Motion,” or
3 In Sir Arnold's Lunn's book, Revolutionary Socialism: In Theory and Practice (London: The Right Book Club, 1939), there is a profound one-paragraph passage in his Chapter XXI, “The Philosophic Basis of Marxist Communism,” which first introduces and then quotes Arthur Balfour's own insight about this substantive matter of “a self-refuting proposition.” The paragraph, in its entirety, is as follows: “Since Marx's day consistent and continuous criticism has exposed the inherent contradictions of Materialism. The increasing discredit of Mechanical Materialism is principally due to the fact that the Materialist cannot escape from the sceptical consequences of his creed. 'On the naturalistic hypothesis,' wrote Arthur Balfour, 'the whole premises of knowledge are clearly due to the blind operation of material causes, and in the last resort to these alone. On that hypothesis we no more possess free reason than we possess free will. As all our volitions are the inevitable product of forces which are quite alien to morality, so all our conclusions are the inevitable product of forces which are quite alien to reason.'” These acute insights, which remind one also of Josef Pieper, come from Arthur Balfour's 1895 book, The Foundations of Belief: Being Notes Introductory to the Study of Theology (London: Longmans, Green, & Company, 1895). Arnold Lunn's book, Revolutionary Socialism (1939), was significantly published one year earlier in the United States under the title, The Science of World Revolution (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1938) – Arthur Balfour's words, being on pages 335-336 of that earlier edition. 4 Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment (New York: Verso, 1997 – first published 1944), p. ix – The Introduction.
just “one damn thing after another,” as Voltaire is supposed to have said, which view implies utter purposelessness, as well as hopelessness: i.e., a final futility. (Like Nietzsche's proposed Cycles of “Eternal Return.”) Horkheimer and Adorno's key dialectical principle of negation and irrationality is that, inherently, something is both itself and, simultaneously, contains its own intrinsic contradiction and solvent of identity and substantive, unquantifiable integrity. This principle of irrationality – as in the Hegelian or Marxian ontological dialectic, which are both rooted in Hermeticism – thus denies the law of non-contradiction, the law of identity, and the law of integrity, and is, therefore, intrinsically subversive. The restless, derivative process of “solve et coagula” destroys all substance and is an intrinsic “gnawer of roots,” as well as of Catholic Sacred Tradition, at least. Moreover, Horkeimer and Adorno, unlike Yves Simon, never even say what they mean by authority, although they often rave against “Fascism” and “political domination” and “power,” but without giving their readers even an incipient, operational definition of these fundamental words. However, Yves Simon is different and more disciplined, and says at the very outset of his own short essay, as follows: Authority is an active power, residing in a person and exercised through a command, that is through a practical judgment to be taken as a rule of conduct by the free-will of another person. (6, cf. 17 ) That is to say “the seat of authority is a person;” (7) not an anonymous or impersonal process, for, says Simon, “no authority can ever take the form of an impersonal necessity,” (7) despite what philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau himself (with his coercive and exclusive “sentimental” doctrine of the “General Will”) says, even in his Émile, which is one of the classic Enlightenment texts of educational theory, or “emancipationist” and “anti-authoritarian pedagogy.” (7, cf. 47-48) And yet, it is itself a book of unmistakable sentimentalism, and of contagious emotion. In fact, Émile so moved even the intellectually subversive, and somewhat coldly analytic, Immanuel Kant, that he interrupted his notoriously regular schedule of daily walks in Königsberg, East Prussia, and stopped so as to read this enchanting book, and often himself, he confessedly reports, falling and rising into a full rapture! Sentimentalism itself, as we may better come to understand, is really the emotional analogue of the “ontological dialectic”: another subversive conflation or converging “fusion of irreconcilable contradictions.” For our additional understanding, in any event, Yves Simon further argues – and in opposition
to the subversive, sentimentalist (and irrational) dialectic itself – that The pursuit of the common good [the traditional bonum commune] will be ceaselessly jeopardized unless all members of the community agree to follow one prudential decision and only one – which is to submit themselves to some authority. (27-28, cf. 17) Authority, he stresses, implies “the relation of subordination.” Properly understood, “subordinated to” also means “participation in,” or what Plato himself recurrently discussed in his concept of “methexis” (i.e., participation in a larger whole and plenitude), which Saint Thomas himself gradually came to appreciate (as the learned Italian Professor, Father Cornelio Fabro, has keenly demonstrated, even to the satisfaction of Etienne Gilson himself, who was at first modestly hesitant to believe it). For Yves Simon as well, such subordination and participation are to foster the common good, and to help enact (practically implement) its prerequisite requirements more and more generously and unselfishly: Thus, beyond necessities and conveniences which result from the unreasonableness, ignorance, and wickedness of men, the principle of authority answers a necessity which is but a metaphysical consequence of the nature of things. Considered in its principle, authority is neither a necessary evil nor the consequence of any evil, nor a lesser good, nor the consequence of some lesser good, but an absolutely good thing founded upon the metaphysical goodness of nature [contrary to the Gnostics and Manicheans of old, or of today]. Considered in its essential functions, as identical with the prudence of society in its collective action, authority is the everlasting good principle of the social unity in the pursuit of the common good. (27, cf. 17 – my emphasis added ) In contrast to this view, and according to the “pressuring” inner logic of their own delusional premises, “the progress of [the modern] social sciences,” (30) says Simon, “is, in fact meant to enable us to do away, step by step, with authority, by making us realize more and more perfectly the objective requirements of the social nature.” (30 – my emphasis added) Such a gradually implemented, intended aim is also what some, like Professor David Lutz himself, have called, not “the progress”, but, rather, “the tyranny of the social sciences.” Therefore, as Yves Simon correctively comments, At the ideal term [i.e., finis] of that process, government, if still necessary at all, would have no other duty than compelling those who do not understand the law or refuse to obey it. Thanks to social science, a rational society would be installed [sic], in which the reign of reason would be the realization of anarchy [i.e., “no authority from above, no authority from below”]. (30 – my emphasis added) However, in Yves Simon’s own counterpointing, corrective, and clarifying words, In this description [so characteristic of Enlightenment thought, as well] we recognize the ordinary features of the rationalistic mind, characterized, as everybody knows, by a singular aversion for the
proper mystery of contingency, by a constant tendency, in social philosophy as well as in the philosophy of nature, to disregard the contingency, which plays, indeed, such an overwhelming part, both in the physical and human world. (31 – my emphasis added) In light of the reality and the mystery of contingency, Simon therefore modestly concludes, as follows: If the development of social sciences ever reaches a state of perfect achievement, authority will remain necessary then, just as it is now, as a social prudence able to maintain the unity of society in its common action. (31, cf. 17– my emphasis added) The Frankfurt School Institute for Social Research, however, would liberate us from such generous and patient, slowly fruitful social prudence and its unselfish practical wisdom, even though all true wisdom (sapientia) slowly savors reality (as in the verb, “sapere”) as it truly is, and also as it may later (in its potentiality) even more abundantly be. By dwelling on irrational fictions and restless discontent and the supposedly “dynamic” elements of history, the Frankfurt School writers never seem to speak about the reality and possibility of rooted virtue. (Those who are uprooted themselves tend to uproot others – as Simone Weil also saw.) They prefer, instead, conflict, revolt and radical negation, to include the acids and potent solvents of “theoretical criticism.” “Non serviam” is their creed and code. It also often leads to “the Revolt of the Louts,” in the words of Professor C.E.M. Joad. In contrast to this restless, roaming, often resentful orientation, it will be useful to summarize Yves Simon’s own serene and wise conclusions as to “the nature, function, and forms of authority”: Authority is not identical with coercion, which is one of the instruments possibly used by it; the proper field of authority is the practical order. In the theoretical order, authority can but substitute [as in the protective pedagogy of the young] for an insufficiently enlightened object. [That is to say,] Within the practical order, the functions of authority are of a substitutional character when authority provides for the government of a person in the very line of the pursuit of his personal welfare [hence, his fuller life of virtue]. The essential function of authority is to provide for the unity of action of every multitude which cannot attain its common good but through common action. [Authority], at times, is used for the private good of the one who exercises it. It is in no way essential to authority to take this form of a dominion of servitude. In particular, to conceive political authority after the pattern of a dominion of servitude implies a most fanciful idea of the nature of the state [for example, as if the state were only – or mainly – the result of conquest and confiscation, and of obtrusive “power without grace” and brutishly divorced from justice]. (38-39 – my emphasis added) However, it would seem, the Frankfurt School ideology does have “a most fanciful idea” of the state and of authority, and does not seek to “find out principles to which we can make appeal in our endeavor to proportion exactly authority and liberty in any given situation” (39-40) (in the finely nuanced words of Yves Simon about equity). For human beings, indeed, it is so, and not otherwise, as
Hilaire Belloc has said, that “most truth resides in proportion.” For our further clarity of understanding, Simon adds an important distinction about the beginnings of liberty, in contrast to the maturing and final fruits of liberty: Among the various meanings of the notion of liberty, we have to distinguish, fundamentally, an initial liberty and a terminal liberty. Initial liberty is the sheer power of choosing [i.e., liberum arbitrium], I mean the power of choosing the good and the evil as well…. [T]his liberty that we are provided with by the very fact that we are given our rational nature, can be used rightly as well as wrongly, and has the value of a means rather than that of an end. Now, at the term of our endeavor to improve our nature by supplementing it with virtues, another liberty appears, which is a power of choosing the good alone [i.e., “terminal liberty”]…. Terminal liberty does not mean only freedom of choice, but also autonomy [i.e., the interiorization of the moral law by the virtuous man, in and through his spontaneous promptitudes of disposition – “Promptus ad bonum,” as Thomas Aquinas often characterized a man of virtue]…. [Indeed,] The more a being is elevated in the hierarchy of things, that is, the more perfectly it participates in the idea of being, the greater is the amount of autonomy it enjoys. Autonomy, on the one hand, immediately springs from the perfections of being and, on the other hand, makes those perfections evident, conspicuous, and admirable. Autonomy is the glory, the splendor of being. Now, terminal freedom, since it is both freedom of choice and autonomy, is the kind of autonomy which properly fits the rational nature as such. Terminal liberty is the glory of the rational nature. From these metaphysical considerations, the obvious conclusion is that the progress of liberty is rightly identified with the very progress of man and society [hence the Common Good], provided we have in mind terminal liberty [which itself implies the fuller, more abundant, life of the virtues]. (40-41, 42-43 – my emphasis added) The Frankfurt School ideology, like Mandeville, however, makes no such distinctions or clarifications, and, rather, seems to manipulate Bernard Mandeville’s own cynical and darkly irrational, “evolutionist” conception of “human nature” (shifting and mercurial), as well as his sophistically ironical (and intimately deceitful) conception of “virtue” itself and of “the origin of moral virtue.” Mandeville himself bases his concept of human “governance” and social “prudence” on deception. That is to say, on the artful deceits of insinuated falsehood, whereby the “bewitchment” of flattery manipulates human pride and sensuality and self-deception. In the profound, laconic words of a British Commando Officer, speaking to a young, twenty-year-old West Point Cadet almost fifty years ago: “The Principle of Deception is really quite simple. You find out what someone wants to be deceived in, and then set about promptly (sometimes gradually) to deceive him in it. Such is the binding correlation, the connection between deception and self-deception. Remember that, Hickson.” Often enough, as the Romans saw it, “the people want to be deceived” – “vulgus vult decipi.” The Frankfurt School ideology also seems to have its own bond with the “dialectical” and sometimes “gradually titrating” strategy of Mandevillean manipulation and domination. The seeming opposition – or contradiction – between them increasingly appears to be a “category mistake”: a
misleading error and a distraction from a deeper truth, namely the truth of a subtly deceitful “False Dialectic,” as we earlier proposed to be the case, also, between “Oligarchic Capitalism” (especially Financial Capitalism) and Nomenklatura-Guided “Revolutionary Socialism.” Neither of these philosophies, however – neither the underlying Mandevillean Philosophical Anthropology nor the Frankfurt School's openly Dialectical “Cultural Marxism” – ever appears to consider the self-sabotaging risks and potentially irreparable consequences (personal and social) of their strategically (or tactically) manipulative deceptions and other deliberate mendacities. That is to say, if (or when) these Artful “Contrivances” should eventually, after all, be discovered and even completely unmasked. For, as it has often been noted, the greatest social consequence of the Lie – i.e., a Deliberate Falsehood – is the breaking of Trust. And the consequences of intimately broken trust are grave, since such deep trust, once broken, is so hard even partly to repair, much less to mend and to heal fully, and to rebuild. We shall better understand “Critical Theory” and the Frankfurt School’s own patently (or latently) Neo-Gnostic ideology and its indirect, somewhat “Fabian” strategy, if we consider them all in the sharp light of the eloquently ingenious sophist (and much more openly candid Cynic), Bernard Mandeville. The proposed liberation of the disorderly and intemperate passions, however, is itself a form of servitude – “for intemperate minds cannot be free” – and also an occasion (as Edmund Burke himself also once said) for inviting further “outside” impositions or “external” controls and manipulation: rich soil, for sure, for the modern “social engineers.” For, paradoxically, as we have noted, we have as many masters as we have personal vices. Vices, moreover, in contrast to Virtues, are ingrained and often inattentively ingrained
habituations, as well as intimately habitual forms of disorder. Indeed, the vices are very-difficult-tochange “dispositions of disorder and servility” – and these ready inclinations are liberations not at all. To believe in such illusionary liberations is an exemplary self-deception, indeed, and even a kind of complicity with (not just a toleration of) evil, in the form of a designed injustice: an intentional deception and deprivation of fuller truth: for example, the dialectical deceits of the Marxist Sophists or of the earlier “Naturalists-Materialists,” like Mandeville. For, if someone lies to you, is there any real communication? Yes, we should behold, we should be attentive, and we should beware the Frankfurt School Apparatus still, as well as the still-alluring doctrines of Dr. Mandeville in the often now inordinately
separated, or fully divorced, fields of Ethics and Economics – especially in the fast-moving, electronic realm of “global economies without borders.” We must, at least, be attentive “Fruit Inspectors” of the Mandevillean-Frankfort School methods and doctrines, and their now widespread psycho-cultural fruits and cumulatively gathering ill-effects, that we might have a more intelligent and strategically farsighted resistance to their sophistical cunning and to their confident, increasingly presumptuous, selfadvertisement and strutting. And, if we be feckless, sub Gratia Divina, to effect their contrite “course-correction” and deeper conversion to truth, let us at least self-protectively and condignly, and perhaps even mercifully, help them to strut to their own confusion, not ours. --FINIS--
© 2012 Robert D. Hickson
The thought and fuller world-view of the Frankfurt School’s members and loose associates will be decisively illuminated by a deeper study of German philosophical idealism itself, and by how thinkers like Hegel (himself a monist) gave philosophical dignity to the Hermetic Corpus (to include aspects the Theurgic Kabbala), as well as to the underlying Gnostic Logic, or what Frances B. Yates herself calls “the gnostic ascent” which is part of the whole Hermetic (and Monist) corpus of immanentist speculation and demiurgic transformation of history and being (or “mutation” towards some kind of maturing “perfection”). Therefore, the Opera Omnia of Ernst Bloch should, most especially, be examined by those who would want to understand and to resist the “Frankfurt School projects” and their psycho-cultural effects. Although Bloch was not a member of the Frankfurt School , he was a hero and an especially intelligent and moving
Marxist writer, who vividly shows a human heart and a deep spiritual disposition despite his professed Materialism and Marxism. One may thereby come to understand his attraction and influence. Among the works of Ernst Bloch, one should see, for example the following:
1) Das Prinzip Hoffnung (The Principle: Hope), in Man on His Own (Herder and Herder, 1970) 2) Thomas Münzer (16th Century Anabaptist of Münster), Theologian of the Revolution (1964) 3) A Philosophy of the Future (Herder and Herder, 1970)
Once again, Ernst Bloch is a very vivid−souled writer and man, and very forthright, not full of murk and equivocation like Adorno and Horkheimer and Marcuse. The Frankfurt School adds to the foregoing texts of Ernst Bloch's Marxism, the manipulative fields of psychology and eros, as an additional way of attaining to that “fusion” or “coalescence” of Gnostic (Monist) epistemology. Knowing, in the intimate sexual sense, becomes important for the Neo-Marxists (or Cultural Marxists), like Marcuse, who purportedly combine Freud with Marx, with Hegel and the Ontological Dialectic always present in the background, too – to undermine the principle of non-contradiction and, thus, subvert the human mind. If one studies Ernst Bloch, himself unmistakably influenced by Hegelian dialectical thought, one will appreciate the deeper background of Ludwig Feuerbach, Marx and Freud, as well as Bruno Bauer and Moses Hess (and Hess' important Proto-Zionist book, Rome and Jerusalem: The Final Nationality Question, first published in 1862). By way of concluding this Appendix, I propose to give only a sort of resumé of chapter titles or, alternatively, the names of the conference speakers and the titles of their conference talks and later-printed essays, with reference to both Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944, 1947) and The Dialectics of Liberation (1967, 1968, 1969). Keeping to a fitting chronology, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944, 1947) has itself a sequence of revealing chapter titles: 1. The Concept of Enlightenment 2. Excursus I: Odysseus or Myth and Enlightenment
3. Excursus II: Juliette (i.e., Histoire de Juliette by the Marquis de Sade, 1797): or Enlightenment and
Morality 4. The Culture Industry: Enlightenment and Mass Deception
5. Elements of Anti-Semitism: Limits of Enlightenment (added to the 1947 edition only) 6. Notes and Drafts : Fragmentary and Miscellaneous
The authors' minds will be rather well revealed by considering even their own “concept of enlightenment,” by what they say and by what they do not say. Their chapter on the culture industry is, in my view, the soundest and most convincing of the whole disordered book.
The latter and later book, The Dialectics of Liberation (1968, 1969), edited by David Graham Cooper of the British Tavistock Institute, and which derives from their 1967 Conference in London, originally also sponsored by the Tavistock Institute. And the Conference took place, suggestively, less than one year before the May 1968 Sorbonne Revolution in Paris, which especially heralded Herbert Marcuse himself, who had been also a main speaker at the 1967 Dialectics−of−Liberation Conference, as well as a long-time prominent member of the Frankfurt School Apparatus. Very importantly, in addition to the published book itself, there exists also an “Intersound Recordings” of the Tavistock Institute Conference (23 discs; 331/3 rpm; 12 inch), which, in the Air Force Academy's Library Collection, shows itself to include much more than what is in the printed book, The Dialectics of Liberation, or To Free a Generation. Among the speakers and topics are the following: 1. Gregory Bateson, “Conscious Purpose versus Nature” 2. David Cooper, “Beyond Words” 3. R. D. Laing (psychiatrist), “The Obvious” 4. Ross Speck, “The Politics and Psychotherapy of Mini and Micro Groups” 5. Stokely Carmichael, “Black Power” (one talk to the Congress itself and one talk to “the Black Community”) 6. John Gerassi, “Imperialism and Revolution in America” (and comments by Marcuse) 7. Jules Henry, “Special and Psychological Preparation for War” 8. Herbert Marcuse, “Liberation from the Affluent Society” 9. Paul Marlor Sweezy, “The Future of Capitalism”
10. Open Discussion with David Cooper, Allen Ginsberg, Stokely Carmichael, and R.D. Laing
11. Julian Beck, “Money, Sex, and the Theatre” 12. Allen Ginsberg, “Consciousness and Practical Action” 13. Paul Goodman (Anarchist and Homosexual), “Objective Values”
14. Igor Hájek, “Art and Literature in Czechoslovakia” (not long before August 1968, when the “Prague Spring” was over) 15. Simon Vinkenoog, “A Revolution in Consciousness” 16. Julian Beck and Lucien Goldmann, “An Anti-Institution Seminar” 17. Lucien Goldmann, “Criticism and Dogmatism in Literature”’ 18. Thích Nhat Hanh, “The Lotus and the Fire” 19. Gregory Bateson, “Ecological Destruction by Technology”
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