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RECOLLECTING PROFESSOR EUCKEN Waging War to Make Peace Series By David Arthur Walters President Obama’s personification of the contradiction between pacific ideals and militant reality brings to mind the self-contradicting predicament of University of Jena professor and ‘Christian Activist’ philosopher Rudolf Eucken. Professor Eucken won the 1908 Nobel Prize, admittedly not for Peace but for Literature, "in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life,” announced Harald Hjärne, presenter of the Prize and director of the Swedish Academy. The Prize was awarded over strenuous objections that philosophy is not literature even though philosophers may think of themselves as poets. Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s will provided that a prize for literature be “given to a person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.” Is not perpetual peace one of the greatest ideals of humankind? It has long been long for and promised by every religion worth its divinity. Professor Eucken was a “typical German professor,” as British professors liked to say, meaning that he was patriotic: he supported his own country in time of war instead of denouncing it for the sins that were obvious to its enemies who purportedly worshiped the same omnipotent god of love. Indeed, his reputation for espousing
Recollecting Professor Eucken
Christianity was grievously damaged by his patriotic support of the so-called Huns during the Great War, and his subsequent denial of their brutal activities; in fact, he lectured to the troops in Belgium as atrocities were being committed there. Yet he is still regarded by some thinkers as a literary genius whose foremost cause was the advancement of world peace. In his essay, Rudolf Eucken, Anatole France, John Galsworthy, Armand Cuvillier stated that, despite his nationalistic tendencies, "Eucken undeniably made a major contribution to modern philosophy, fully justifying the award of the Nobel Prize in 1908," because his thought helped link religious traditions, if not organized religion, with the ideology of the developing twentieth century. "To Eucken," he concluded, "the Church is only a means of achieving the kingdom of God. It is even possible, he maintains, to be deeply religious without belonging to any formally organized religion; the main thing is religion as a personal experience." Professor Eucken’s popular philosophy, dubbed Christian Activism, implied the commission of loving acts, but his action was largely symbolic i.e. confined to mental activity i.e. lecturing and writing books; rationalizing belief and not necessarily doing anything about, claiming to have gone beyond mechanistic naturalism, or devastating materialism, and arid intellectualism including scientism, both of which philosophers of life or vitalism had declared bankrupt, to fruitful mysticism, in order to gain direct access to the godhead. He was no pragmatist: he was not a “feel good” Christian who would do anything that makes one feel good including forgiving people; his “activism” was strictly spiritual, highly unlikely to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth. Nor was he a voluntarist, whose faith is in making oneself believe at will. Although his writings did refer to ethical choices, he generally relied on intuition for those choices, prescribing few deeds in particular. He believed that we are at times commanded by spiritual forces to do certain things: “They force human activity into particular channels; they speak to us with a tone of command and require absolute obedience.” He felt it was his bounden duty as an obedient German professor to turn from universal Christian Activism to the particulars of German patriotism when the Great War broke out. Thus does universal love and peace turn to particular hatreds and wars to somehow keep the former: it appears that Professor Eucken, a neoKantian to the extent that he emphasized concepts over intuition yet placed categorical limits on intellectual knowledge, was the unwitting victim of a Kantian antinomy. Professor Eucken was an idealist at a time when people were becoming increasingly disgruntled with the gross materialism of “naturalism.” Philosophers disenchanted with reductive materialism as well as the rationalization of irrational speculative idealism were flocking back to Kant, who had drawn conceptual boundaries at the
Recollecting Professor Eucken
frontier of human reason, beyond which was the spiritual realm ruled by a deity to be affirmed as a matter of faith for its utility rather than a supreme being whose existence could be proven; the world seemed to have been created on purpose for a purpose, and it was practical to behave as if that were true. The New England transcendentalists, relying on secondhand interpretations of Kant, thought he supported the notion that one could get directly in touch with its godhead; but Kant had in fact explicitly warned his students about the illusions of transcendental mysticism. Emily Hermann described the spiritually impoverished temper of the relatively prosperous time, in Eucken and Bergson, Their Significance for Christian Thought (1912): “Hitherto the social conscience has agreed with popular pragmatism in glorifying the thing that ‘works’ most quickly and apparently in raising the submerged and ameliorating their conditions of life. We are just emerging barely emerging from a temper to which the man who cries for bread makes a more real and poignant appeal than the soul that crieth out for the living God, and which accounts the man who evolves a " darkest England " scheme a greater hero than the man who "merely" thinks and prays. To our passionate arraignment of modern civilization and culture on the count of its callousness and brutality to the toiling and unprivileged masses we are adding the deeper indictment of injustice and damage to the spiritual life of man, taking that term in its broadest signification. Slowly we are learning to believe the hackneyed truth that the central guilt and sting of all cruelty to body and estate is spiritual, and that a Herod's massacre of innocents is not so black a crime as the extinction in a single human soul of those ‘noble thoughts that pass across the heart of every man like great white birds.’ Tardily we are coming to see the essential triviality, vulgarity and heartlessness of unredeemed refinement and culture, the coarse selfishness and veiled sensuality at the core of romantic aestheticism, the stultifying influence of a pedestrian and conventional morality and its menace to true ethics, and the spiritual stupefaction and demoralization consequent upon a civilization which patronizes Christianity. And it is not from pulpits and theological colleges that this new appreciation of the Christian point of view comes, but from the philosophers and scientists, the essayists and novelists. Men everywhere are feeling the hollowness, the contradiction, the spiritual bankruptcy of our sleek and well-to-do culture.” The Ideal of the spiritual realm was naturally the Good to which all citizens of the cosmos are stoically obligated. The Good could only be intuited, could only be known by irrational, transcendental means. The relativity of the rationed goods on the material plane for which rational animals compete fail to provide a reliable model for unity, for the one good that is not relatively good but is absolutely good despite apparent ambiguity and ambivalence. To wit, in pagan terms, “God.” Man is a rational animal, but the reasoning power is merely a mediator between two irrationals: matter
Recollecting Professor Eucken
and spirit, so he must be a god as well, standing flat on his feet on Earth but with his head in the highest heaven. Likewise is the Logos adopted by Christianity, where the duality is incorporated in human form, irrational and absurd, some “thing” that can only be believed in by God’s fools, who faithfully intuit the Word beyond the words. It was not a question of righting Hegel’s world after Marx stood it on its head, but of realizing the ideal: the ideal was once again the real; all else was illusory and doubtful. Man is in part a rational animal, but one given to revolt: irrationalism revolts against the static concepts of an age. Irrationalism and individualism usually go hand in hand – Christian salvation is essentially a personal salvation, one that guarantees survival to the individual who has blind faith. That a man wakes up every day is evidence to a primitive man of his own immortality; that he dies by accident or by tooth and claw of other animals or by the hand of human beings seems unnatural; wherefore he attributes natural death to unseen, malevolent forces, which he would placate or conquer by magical means; he believes he is personally responsible for his fate. The individual naturally has a strong will to live forever, notwithstanding the possibility of a death instinct as well, hence is in need of absolute power to persist unimpeded, a power he projects and worships for his own sake. But survival also depends on the cooperation of others, led for the sake of convenience by a superior man, a super individual, a superman if not an omnipotent god, or at least one in direct touch with an omnipotent god. Professor Eucken was no worshipper of the individual no matter how superior, so Nobel presenter Harald Hjärne did not associate Rudolf Eucken’s philosophy with an exaltation of the individual superman: “It is not the individual or the superman in his separate existence," the director of the Swedish Academy wrote, "but the strong character formed in the consciousness of free harmony with the intellectual forces of the cosmos, and therefore profoundly independent, that in Eucken's view is called upon to liberate us from the superficial compulsion of nature and the never completely inescapable pressure of the historical chain of cause and effect." Professor Eucken as a neo-Kantian was keenly interested in the role that concepts play in human development. In The Fundamental Concepts of Modern Philosophy (1880) traced the history of the concept of the individual in its relation to the many. He would undoubtedly take exception to our one-sided notion of Christian individualism. We left out the other side of the story in our intentional focus on the individual. He might notice that we used the term ‘person’ ,and point out that the Christian concept of the person defines socially responsive individuals. “It is no easy task to show the relation of Christianity to the problem of individuality, because it involves different and conflicting elements. Viewed in connection with a
Recollecting Professor Eucken
cosmology which makes the ethico-religious element the sole meaning and design of the world and of life, the events which occur in the experience of each individual must be, above all, the most important, and the individual must thus receive an immeasurably increased significance. The Church Fathers generally believed (in opposition to the ancient theory) that every individual is the object of divine care, for which reason the activity of the Church must be directed to each individual. The doctrine of the unlimited freedom of the will, generally held during the earlier centuries, by the form which it gave to action insured an independence to the individual; and the distinctive feature of that doctrine was recognized in the idea of an organic union of individuals in a comprehensive whole. On the other hand, the assumption of an absolute value in the individual was contradicted by the doctrine of eternal punishment, and we need hardly explain that, at that time, nothing was said of any rights of the individual as opposed to the general interests. As soon as the individual deviates from the general order he is considered as one who has gone astray, and is to be brought back to the truth, even though by coercion. The whole everywhere precedes the individual; it communicates itself to it as an objective power, demanding faith and obedience, so that all which occurs in the individual is intelligible only by the appropriation of a meaning which is raised above the arbitrary judgment of any one man. No salvation is possible for the individual, except as salvation for the whole has been and is an all-comprehensive fact, "that the opposition in itself has been removed constitutes the condition, the presupposition of the possibility that each subject should remove it for himself." (Hegel) Whether these two tendencies have been equally worked out is more than questionable; we must rather answer negatively, because, as a matter of fact, the recognition of the individual was ever more and more repressed. No one contributed more to this than Augustine, who, above all others, both in his whole idea of the world and of life, and in his personal appropriation of Christianity, made the fullest use of his own individuality. All things considered, of the Church Fathers Origen has best established the principle of individuality.” The soldier sacrifices himself as an individual for the good of his group; that good is purportedly peace and prosperity; thus he wages war to make peace, the more booty for the victors the better. Socrates, an experienced soldier who speculated on the stars and then turned within to behold the cosmos since he believed the individual to be a microcosm, said that it is better to suffer an evil than to do one; we find that Greek tenet pickled in the Christian canon. Today Christian soldiers say it is best to die fighting for peace; yet we know of early Christians who preferred to die rather than kill their kind, because Jesus said to put away the sword and leave the defense to his heavenly father. Indeed, the Romans despised the early Christians because they would not fight for the state; but Christians were won over to waging war behind the cross
Recollecting Professor Eucken
soon enough, that their religion would become a world religion instead of a minor Jewish cult. Martyrdom is for saints. Philosophy is for the wise. Still Professor Eucken would not tell his philosophy students to put away the sword and depend on God for justice: “Philosophy,” he proclaimed, in a homily appearing in the April 1916 edition of New York’s ‘Homiletic Review’, “is summoned to proclaim the unity of mankind over against the present split among the peoples…. (Philosophers) are not merely scholars; they are also living men and citizens of their own nation. When they see this assaulted and its existence put in peril, it is for them a holy duty to come to the defense of the fatherland…. Meanwhile, the belief is entirely proper that the intellectual gains which are the result of philosophical labor remain unharmed by war, that a realm of intellectual creation will remain fully recognized beyond the enmities of man…. Let each, therefore, remain true to his own people, but never forget the task and aim of philosophy – to consider things under the form of perpetuity, maintaining for humanity in the present a world superior to all the littleness of human action.” Edwin E. Slosson’ essay on Rudolf Eucken in Six Major Prophets (1917) praised the professor and claimed that, if the Nobel committees “have not discovered original genius, they have at least pointed it out to the world at large. The men thus distinguished as having contributed to human progress have extended their influence over their contemporaries, as well as received a due appreciation of their efforts. The Nobel Prize does not add to the stature of a man, but it does elevate him to a pulpit.”
Recollecting Professor Rummel
RECOLLECTING PROFESSOR RUMMEL Waging War to Make Peace Series By David Arthur Walters
Waging war to make peace brings to mind Professor Rudolph Rummel, retired University of Hawaii political scientist, leading academic proponent of waging war to make peace, and a supposed candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. The esteemed conservative professor was an ardent supporter of President Bush’s militant policies in respect to the second Bush War on Iraq. Samples of Professor Rummel’s work, including his Never Again Series of six novels - War and Democide Never Again, Nuclear Holocaust Never Again, Reset Never Again, Red Terror Never Again, Genocide Never Again, and Never Again - may be freely viewed on a University of Hawaii hosted website. The Never Again Series “are a what-if, alternative history,” he explains. “Two lovers are sent back in time to 1906 with modern weapons and 38 billion 1906 dollars. Their mission is to prevent the rise of fascism and communism, avert the major 20th Century wars, including World Wars I and II, and forestall such democides as those by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.”
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“Above all, these books are a story about love versus power -- the love of dedicated warriors for each other and for humanity and who risk their lives and each other in their deadly struggle against power, unaware that: unseen, Love’s dark foe, Power, like a deadly plague, infests, subverts, kills. Of course, throughout the novels there is my message… about the sheer magnitude of democide, and the democratic peace that underlies President Bush's foreign policy as the solution to democide and war.” “Famine Through Democratic Freedom, a factual supplement to the Never Again Series…also provides an essential understanding of the theoretical and historical basis of President George Bush's democratic peace foreign policy - his Forward Strategy of Freedom. It argues philosophically, and from international law, that individual freedom is the most basic human right. This, and that freedom is a natural desire of all people, would be enough to justify freedom for everyone. But, the major substance of Never Again goes far beyond these justifications to establish that freedom is also a Moral Good. One Moral Good is that liberal democracies, those whose people are individually free with secure civil and political rights and liberties, don't make war on each other, as President Bush has stated correctly in support of his foreign policy. Another is that their democratic governments do not murder them. And a third is that their internal political violence is minimal compared to non-democracies. All this alone would make freedom the foremost Moral Good. But this book also shows that free people -- democracies -- never have famines, and that freedom is an engine of the greatest wealth and development among nations. In short, to the Moral Imperative, "No people should ever suffer war, democide, famine, and mass impoverishment, no, never again," this book proves that fostering individual freedom is the practical way to assure this.” Professor Rudolf Eucken (the Nobel Laureate whose patriotism and denial of German atrocities during the Great War put him at odds with the Christian love he preached) and Professor Rummel look somewhat alike, especially when bearded, but they appear to differ greatly in their philosophical approaches to waging wars to make world peace. While Rudolf Eucken relied religiously on spiritual intuition, which may justify waging war to pacify the world, Rudolph Rummel scientifically counts on the statistical analysis of objective events that led him to conclude that democracies, as he defines them, do not wage war upon one another, and that might justify waging war on “democidal” governments to establish world peace, for democidal governments are non-democratic. Professor Rummel has defined ‘democide’ as the murder of people by their own governments. Democide includes genocide, political murders, deaths due to abuse in concentrations camps, and deaths due to deportations. He defines ‘murder’ in civil terms, as the reckless and wanton wasting of life. In that context murder would still be
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murder even if it were defined as lawful killing in legal terms according to the norm laid down by the democidal government. Since people presumably do not like to have themselves or their relatives murdered and maimed and their property destroyed, democratic governments are unlikely to engage in the democide that has, at least according to his growing count, 262 million victims over the last century. We recall that before President Bush sent troops to wage a pre-emptive war in Iraq, where many thousands of them have since been maimed or have died in battled, he charged Saddam Hussein with the barbarity of “killing his own people.” If only all states and their governments were democratic and culturally engaged with one another, as democratic nations are bound to be, perpetual peace and prosperity – they go hand in hand – would supposedly be the general rule. Statistical studies do show that the degree of democracy is a good gauge of prosperity and general happiness of the people. Democracy as defined by Professor Rummel is naturally the best of all democracies, of which the United States is exemplary: broadly speaking, it is a well-established constitutional government of laws that subjects the government itself to the laws, affords the broadest of franchises and a secret ballot, and guarantees equal rights of free speech, assembly, and religion. Professor Rummel’s research into the period 1816-2005 indicated that nondemocracies waged 205 wars between themselves, that 166 wars were waged between democracies and non-democracies, and that there were no wars at all between democracies as he defined them. One might reasonably conclude that, to establish peace on Earth, all militant and/or democidal non-democratic governments should be liquidated. We may observe that the peace between liberal states, however, has been only among themselves, i.e. a separate peace, and liberal states are in fact notorious for their belligerence in respect to non-liberal or right-wing authoritarian states. Still, the liberal aggression is praised rather than condemned because the causes fought for, the pursuit of property and happiness and the like, were the better ones because most popular, especially the cause of liberal democracy. And the data shows that liberals do not fight amongst themselves because they are too busy making a profit off one another under their freer form of organized greed. Domestic peace is assured provided that poor slobs believe they have the opportunity get filthy rich. Democratic imperialism wages war to end all wars, to make peace. The collateral damage, even though the numbers of wounded, maimed and dead given the superior technology of liberal democracies may far exceed the damage wrought by brutal dictators, justifies the peaceful end. Nonetheless, once everyone recognizes the virtues of liberal democracy and contracts to establish and maintain it, perpetual peace is assured,
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wherefore the human race shall rest in peace. Let us then wage war to make the only peace worth having, liberal democratic peace incorporated. The German Reich was liquidated and a democratic Germany now enjoys relative peace and prosperity. The Second World War was a vindictive continuation of the Great War upon the failure of the weak Weimar democracy. Professor Eucken publicly blamed the Great War on Anglo-Saxon greed and egotism, which gave the paranoid Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose mother was, ironically, Queen Victoria’s daughter, just cause to defend Germany with pre-emptive war. The Kaiser, an honorary British admiral and yachtsman, felt Germany was being landlocked and encircled by greedy enemies; he envisioned that Germany’s future could be realized by going to sea. A century later, Professor Rummel supported the paranoid U.S. President’s preemptive war on Iraq; that alone suffices to make the America professor infamous in the eyes of the Bush-hating world – the President felt that the United States of America, the purported leader of Western civilization upon which an attack was therefore an affront to civilization per se, and its interests abroad, were being infiltrated by Islamist terrorists from abroad, who were hell bent on destroying the American Way of Life, that is, the peculiarly American culture, the epitome of Western civilization. Thorsten Veblen, in On the Nature of Peace and the Terms of its Perpetuation, remarked on the importance of one’s own brand of culture: “It may broadly be affirmed that all nations look with complacency on their own peculiar Culture—the organized complex of habits of thought and of conduct by which their own routine of life is regulated—as being in some way worthier than the corresponding habits of their neighbors. The case of the German Culture has latterly come under a strong light in this way. But while it may be that no other nation has been so naive as to make a concerted profession of faith to the effect that their own particular way of life is altogether commendable and is the only fashion of civilization that is fit to survive; yet it will scarcely be an extravagance to assert that in their own secret mind these others, too, are blest with much the same consciousness of unique worth. Conscious virtue of this kind is a good and sufficient ground for patriotic inflation, so far as it goes. It commonly does not go beyond a defensive attitude, however. Now and again, as in the latter day German animation on this head, these phenomena of national use and wont may come to command such a degree of popular admiration as will incite to an aggressive or proselytizing campaign.” Undoubtedly President Bush would agree with Professor Veblen’s praise of culturally determined patriotism: “In all this there is nothing of a self-seeking or covetous kind. The common man who so lends himself to the aggressive enhancement of the
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national Culture and its prestige has nothing of a material kind to gain from the increase of renown that so comes to his sovereign, his language, his countrymen's art or science, his dietary, or his God. There are no sordid motives in all this. These spiritual assets of self-complacency are, indeed, to be rated as grounds of high-minded patriotism without afterthought. These aspirations and enthusiasms would perhaps be rated as Quixotic by men whose horizon is bounded by the main chance; but they make up that substance of things hoped for that inflates those headlong patriotic animosities that stir universal admiration.” Professor Rummel also supported President Johnson’s police action in Vietnam, actually a war waged in response to the fear that the Indochina would be dominated by communists, which would make it easier for them to take over the rest of the world including the United States as well, and thus bring to ruin the superior way of life. He and University of Virginia lecturer Robert F. Turner, who was a soldier in Indochina and wrote Vietnamese Communism: Its Origins and Development, penned an oped article published by The Washington Times on July 13, 2008 to address what they called the “silly season to select our next president.” The war had already been won by South Vietnam and the United States in 1972, but then was lost because Congressional liberals and antiwar protesters were deceived by communists into thinking that the good guys were bad guys, which moved Congress to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, betraying the sacrifice of precisely 58,260 Americans, paving the way for “the greatest democide of the 20th century on a per capital basis – hundreds of thousands Vietnamese perished, 1.7 million Cambodians were slaughtered. The liberals’ negligent policies were continued from there to Africa, Central America, Afghanistan, with the September 11, 2001 attacks as a recent consequence; wherefore President Bush did the right thing. Paranoia is a relatively modern psychological syndrome with two sides: delusions of persecution, and delusions of grandeur. An individual must be awfully grand to be worth persecuting by many. Of course both Kaiser Wilhelm and President Bush had good reason to be paranoid on behalf of their respective nations, but if results justify means, the reasonableness of President Bush’s reaction is problematic. In the first instance, which was followed by World War Part II, peace and prosperity have justified the massive violence, as if effects can create causes – time-reverser Henri Bergson thought they could. The effects of the two Bush wars on Muslim nations remain to be seen; we hope that one day all the People of the Book will embrace and sing Halleluiahs for their peace and prosperity. Professor Rummel has asserted that he was “frequently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.” In fact, he claimed for several years that he had once been among 117 finalists for the Prize, citing to an Associated Press report published by the Honolulu
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Advertiser on February 26, 1996. Apparently the Advertiser did not vet the source of the story. Someone else allegedly checked with a member of the Nobel Committee, and then proceeded to scandalize the professor, spreading the word that he lied about being on the finalist list; no such list exists, first of all, his detractor claimed; anyway, the names of nominees are kept confidential for fifty years. According to the professor’s blog, freedomspeace.blogspot.com, a respected friend advised him to drop the claim rather than appear foolish to people who were knowledgeable about the workings of the Nobel Committee. His claim of being a finalist, his friend said, was rather unimportant anyway. “He is simply unaware,” wrote Professor Rummel, “of the esteem men without his inside view of the Nobel nomination give to it or even better, to being ‘finalist.’ Of the prizes and awards I’ve won, and all the books and professional articles I’ve published, this is the number-1 credibility booster for my research claims.” Moreover, “What is evident is that the Northern Europeans with whom I am in contact seem to have a nonchalant attitude toward the Nobel Peace Prize Nomination. Americans do not. Of whatever I’ve achieved, this is the one thing that people center on, and that gives my research on the democratic peace and its promotion the most credibility for Americans.” Whether or not Professor Rummel was a nominee for the Prize, or whether he stretched the truth in reference to his nomination, should not add or subtract one iota from the merits of his statistical work supporting the notion that only his brand of democracy can result in permanent world peace. His numbers do not lie even though we may disagree with his conclusions for one reason or another, or insist that they are tentative, opining that the numbers will go against him one day, perhaps on the final day when the ultimate lord’s Doom is rendered, when freedom-fighting anarchists, hitherto suppressed by the monopolistic police power of hypocritical democraticrepublicanism, detonate nuclear weapons. Fascism is, after all, the perfection of the capitalism that competes to drive out the competition, in the economic war of all against all, and totally dominate the political-economy by incorporating world markets into a monopoly or oligopoly. Since everyone naturally yearns for absolute power hence freedom to live forever without impedance, extreme individualists would have no qualms about bucking the totally democratic state into oblivion at enormous cost of life. Instead of the imperialistic state withering away, it may be blown to smithereens, and only Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, denied the love it wanted, will be left standing in the bitter end. Every war may seem just to the belligerents no matter which side they fight on. German Professor Rudolph Eucken justified the Great War from his heart while Professor Rummel probably believes that he justified the Iraq War with his head. We
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tend to confuse heart and head, no matter how objective we try to be. Thoughts no matter how arid are rooted in feelings – the ancients thought that the heart was the seat of thought. In any case we may rationalize the biddings of the heart, and claim that reason presides although the tail may be wagging god spelled backwards. My heart is with Professor Eucken and my head is with Professor Rummel, yet one side of me, the pacific revulsion to my violent temper, a reaction that would make a pacifist out of me, still disagrees with the both of them. I mentally admire more the martyr who believes that it is better to suffer a wrong than to do one, and holds that a life one must kill for is not worth living, than the man who claims that a life not worth killing for is not worth living. Nevertheless, if I were to advocate war, I would prefer that it be waged for a secular reason rather than being divinely intuited as an irrational spiritual command from the god, the Father of his father, whom President Bush, for instance, said he consulted to justify his war. It matters not whether or not President Bush was in touch with the Heavenly Father whom he said was greater than his earthly father back at the ranch. What mattered was the probability of partially obtaining the desired or ideal outcome, the eventual instantiation of Heaven on Earth, i.e. peace and prosperity. Professor Rummel backed President Bush’s war because it accorded with his scientific i.e. statistical way of thinking. Like it or not, his numbers do not lie: only democracy apparently saves the world from war, and thus is the logical path to salvation, a road laid down hermetically by Hermes so long ago. To make the world safe for democracy, to progress towards universal peace and prosperity, Iraq’s non-democratic state, for one, had to be destroyed, and a democratic regime imposed in its place, whether the multilateral world liked the unilateral way of going about it or not.
The author at University of Hawaii Monoa
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I was introduced to Professor Rummel’s ideas roughly thirty years ago, shortly after it occurred to me, as I contemplated the clouds on a flight from Oahu to the Big Island, that Israel should be arrested for using its awesome military might in unfair fights; the ratio of dead normally favored Israel 10:1, and the ratio of physical damage of antiIsrael infrastructure and homes to that of Israel was extremely lopsided, not to mention that millions of direly impoverished people were being held hostage in virtual concentration camps. It was as if Israel had become its worst enemy, an aggressive, racist nation, in memory of the Nazis – ironically, the anti-Semites were Semites themselves in this instance. Of course my thoughts were politically incorrect and if stated might have subjected me to the charge of being anti-Semitic even though my father was a Jew, which I learned did not make me a genuine Jew because my mother was a gentile – they met when he was an American soldier during World War II. I was a war baby: I cut my teeth on war movies and played with toy Tommy guns, killing numberless imaginary enemies, and I accumulated a great toy army in a shoe box, but I was too young to participate in the police action in Korea, which killed some of my friends’ fathers – my best friend’s father came home from Korea and hung himself in the garage we loved to play war games in; my friend and his brother, and then their mother, followed suit a few weeks later. Before I was eligible to serve in the military, I had already run away from my “home” in Kansas, when I turned 13, for the good I imagined I would find in the City. My ideals or escapes from reality were inspired by The Wizard of Oz while eating large peanut butter cookies.
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Before I ventured to New York City, after I ran away from the awful truth of a nuclear family, I read The Ugly American and was tear-gassed by soldiers in front of the Chicago Armory for demonstrating against the police action that I had managed to avoid as a missing juvenile. Not that I was entirely opposed to violence in my juvenile delinquency, or to war per se, notwithstanding the suicides of my best friend and his family. I was convinced by dissident university students, some of them Marxists, that the police action in Vietnam was the wrong way to establish world peace. I had, as my father said, a “conflict with authority,” and I naturally became somewhat interested in communism after reading a J. Edgar Hoover pamphlet denouncing it. Eventually, reasoning from the relatively peaceful relationship of the states within the United States after the Civil War to the world at large, I induced that world peace could be realized by an international police force enforcing international law. It was unimaginable that Kansas, for example, would go to war with Missouri; the United States is a free country. It seemed obvious at the time that internally peaceful nations should merge into an overarching federal state, modeled, of course, after the United States of America, having a superior police force capable of quashing tyrants and outlaws. Still, I had reservations about the tendency to use force to impose whatever seems logically best on the whole world for its own good once the ineluctable logic of that best is known. Each and every one of us is potentially an outlaw and for good reason; there can be no good without evil: every god needs a devil, as the Dualists, the orthodox Zoroastrians, knew very well – Zurvanism confuses the two in one hence is heresy. Monotheism or monism is not the logical system that it appears to be: it is essentially absurd. God knows that I have my own devil to contend with. Perhaps some rooms or world arenas should be allowed for small-scale violence, I opined. Nonetheless, Professor Rummel’s complex ideas, so simply expressed, and his kindness in communicating with me and allowing me to read his unpublished manuscripts, made a lasting impression on me, inspiring me to take up the question, of waging war to make peace, from time to time. I knew that his theory was based on the field theory of the father of social psychology, Professor Kurt Lewin, who, like many soft scientists, rolled out a theory based on metaphysical concepts developed in the hard sciences; for instance, the concept of a dynamic field or space where events occur in patterns, even though the patterns may not be seen with the eye, such as a magnetic field, for which the pattern made by iron filings around a magnet and other, unseen but mathematically measurable events, seems to confirm the existence of so-called fields.
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
Double Helix Nebula
An apparent magnetic field may take the form of a double helix, a kind of three dimensional curve, an uniformly intertwined double spiral that rarely occurs in nature; for instance, in DNA, and in a Milky Way nebula. Simple spirals were sketched by primitive man on stones, as early as 50,000 years ago, tracing the course of the Sun and other heavenly bodies; the spiral was a symbol of a superior order, an apparently divine order installed by an invisible hand.
A winding snake on the Earth below represented a living continuity, a fluctuating form that could be captured with a crooked staff. A single snake winding uniformly
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Recollecting Professor Rummel o m
up a sta became the magic healing wa of Asc aff and clepius and a symbol of immort tality. The anc cient Hindu psycholo u ogist, to acq quaint the disciple w decepti maya, m with ive might ask, “Is that a live snake or a dead sti in the water?” W find the spiraling h e ick We e helix ng y h s ay, occurrin naturally in phenomena such Dorothy’s tornado. A vortex, but the wa is produce by repea ed ating the pr rocess that derives a h helix from a spiral.
double heli has two snakes, rep ix presenting t peacefu reconcili the ul iation of du uality Now a d or strife as in the marriage of man an wo-man (“wife of man”), adv e, e nd vancing up the p shepher staff. The contem rd’s T mplation of this staff m lead o to intui for exam f may one it, mple, how sim mple life ev volved into complex forms via sexual di o x a ivision and reproduc d ction, conflict and coope eration, hate and love; thus even a blind ma may bec ; an come a seer and r cy ure, e ven hat sal prophec the futu and he might ev say th a revers of the progress, or a regressio from multiplicity to the unit extolled by monist enthusia on m ty tic asts, is in e effect destruct tive, for the spiral wo both w e orks ways, from generation to degene n eration and vice versa. A Apollo, the proverbial world trav veler and co olonizer, m have ca may arried that staff during h enlighte his ening advan from c nce, caveman an shepherd in the mo nd d ountains, to his o residenc in a cave condo in a suburb of the capita but the C ce e al, Caduceus, as it is calle is ed, properly associated with Her y d rmes, the m messenger o the gods Iris, mess of s. senger of H Hera, also carr the Ca ried aduceus. An so did Ir nd rene (“peac ce”), the go oddess of P Peace. "O sweet Irene, w wealth-giver to mortals says the ancient fra r s!" e agment fro an anon om nymous text.
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
Hermes of course was not only the messengers of the gods but he was the travelling god of trade hence he protected shepherds, merchants, travelling salesmen, gamblers, and even liars and thieves – only someone who knows what the truth is can intentionally lie. The notion of property whether stolen or not is the key to understanding Hermes. That property may be physical or conceptual. As messenger of the gods, he expressed the Logos, in the form of concepts combined into logical narratives or stories. Concepts are the logical terms or building blocks of language, which Aristotle described as something that stands out: horós, “that which is limited.” In Latin, the term was terminus, known by the ancients as the piles of stones used to mark boundaries of properties, the markers that marked the limits of fields and identified the right roads to certain destinations. The guardian god of the definite state was Jupiter Terminalis. Thus Hermes was “the god of the right road”, that is, the road to salvation. The proper word for that road or journey to a destination is “method.” (For an illuminating discussion in plain language of such terms, see Ortega y Gasset’s The Idea of Principle in Leibnitz and The Evolution of Deductive Theory) We cannot find photographs or drawings of Professor Lewin carrying a Caduceus around his theoretical field, the “life space” he marked off for his social psychology. Simply put and somewhat oversimplified, his field of action constitutes his psychological perspective on the dynamic relationship of the I and We, or the individual in a social context or situation. He believed the relationship between a concrete individual and concrete social situation could be mathematically expressed, wherefore his social psychology seemed genuinely scientific. Human behavior is a function of both environment and person – the social environment influences a person’s behavior, and the person influences the environment. That is: B= f (P.E). Professor Rummel, in Understanding Conflict and War, points out that people have different concepts of peace depending on their perspectives. Peace intuitively apprehended is harmony, tranquility, the absence of war and such. We note that intuition may not only be considered as transcendentally divine but as the inner or occult voice of animal nature, represented, for example, by Dorothy’s dog Toto, who is never wrong. But thoughtful people have defined peace in different ways; they have different concepts and golden theories of the nature of peace. Peace intuited is the name given to a situation we perceive, and everyone seems to intuitively know what an instance of peace is. But that “peace” is not a general concept. Once we abstract the features that all cases of peace have in common, we will by way of definition of its boundaries hopefully arrive at the abstract concept of peace. In any event, intellectuals are hard to please, may arrive at conflicting conceptions of peace and engage in bitter disputes with one another in their ivory towers. The Wizard of Oz at the end of the
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
Yellow Brick Road or evolving spiral is a charlatan if not simply proof that human nature is fallible and that our conceptions of peace are opium dreams.
Dorothy dreaming in the Poppy Field
Professor Rummel said that he saw peace, from his perspective, “as a phase in a conflict helix, equilibrium within a social field.” A “balance of powers” is arrived at through conflict and cooperation and expressed as a contract in which their expectations are identified. If the balance of power shifts and their expectations are not realized, a gap forms and puts the structure under enough stress, all hell might break loose: “It is this social contract that is peace within social field theory. Peace then is determined by a process of adjustment between what people, groups, or states want, can, and will do. Peace is based on a consequent balance of powers and involves a corresponding structure of expectations and patterns of cooperation. Moreover, peace may become unstable when an increasing gap develops between expectations and power, as here defined, and may collapse into conflict, violence, or war.” Professor Rummel’s helical principle apparently favors a closed or conservative, inert society rather than a liberal or open, dynamic one, if peace is to be made permanent: “The Helix Principle. Conflict becomes less intense, cooperation more lasting. If interaction occurs in a closed system or is free from sudden, sharp changes in the conditions of a relationship (as, for example, if one party to a business contract goes bankrupt, or a signatory to a regional military alliance with the United States has a military coup), then through conflict and cooperation people gradually learn more about each other, their mutual adjustments come easier, their expectations more harmonious and lasting. Conflict and cooperation thus form a helix, moving upward
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
on a curve of learning and adjustments, with the turn through cooperation being more familistic and durable; that through conflict shorter and less intense.” Perhaps Professor Rummel’s alchemical path to the better place over the rainbow is not as golden or illuminating as we would like it to be.
I recently contacted Professor Rummel in Hawaii to ask him what he thought of George Soros’ political ideology - I had dubbed it ‘Sorosian’ - derived from the concept of an open society, which I opine would be better symbolized by the double helix of Caduceus representing ever-widening, continual progress through evenly regulated competition, than by the staff of Asclepius, with its one way to immortality, which might, for all I know, be a snake charmer’s dead end. The ideas of the two men did seem similar in some respects. I also asked the retired political science professor about the late Senator Spark Matsunaga’s peace academy. More significantly in theoretical terms, I questioned one of his ideas presented in Understanding Conflict and War, to see what he had to say about it, hoping to see whether or not his response would support the view that what professors say about waging war to make peace might have a calculable effect on the process. After all, Professor Lewin had said, “If you want to understand something, try to change it.” Have what professors said actually changed the war and peace process? I read Chapter 22 ‘What About Motivations’ of Volume 1 ‘The Dynamic Psychological Field, of Understanding Conflict and War, from which I picked out at random, under Section 22.1 ‘The Drive For Power’, the professor’s concept of the “drive for identive power.” (sic)
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
Of course, the notion that human beings have “drives” or are driven by “instincts” inaccessible to consciousness is out of vogue although the words remain in common usage and we cannot help using them. The term “motives” became more fashionable, meaning that human beings are goal-seeking animals; our desires for objects motivate us to act in certain ways within our respective social fields. Would understanding this particular concept, not to mention all the concepts and their relationships the professor wrote about in Understanding Conflict and War, be of any use at all to prevent war or to effectively wage war to make peace? Can such concepts be used to lay out a path to permanent peace? If so, they should be remembered and acted upon. Yet people who entertain the same concepts often find themselves at each other’s throats. Is that because their concepts are too complicated, or too many to be remembered at one time, in contrast to the Golden Rule? Even the latter may be differently interpreted. Perhaps the unconscious “drives” are rightly blamed. As I interpret it, the “drive for identive power” is based on the individual’s selfawareness that it is a separate identify – I am not That – related to its will to survive when confronted with That. That is, I, for instance, would have absolute power to persevere without impedance if I could – but then I would not exist, for it is the relationship of resistance that fashions the “I”. Now the nude individual’s identity is in part cultivated by others, whereby the other’s definitions, as it were, are introjected and identified as one’s own self, clothing the naked ‘I’ as it were. “Broadly, the motivation to power is to manifest, to assert oneself against the world. This I will call the drive for identive power. Narrowly, the motivation to power is to dominate others through force, threats (coercion), rewards (bargaining), persuasion, manipulation, or love. This can be called the drive for domination, the power over others.” The distinction as stated is logically confusing inasmuch as one drive is said to be another drive, but the professor tries to make a hierarchical distinction later on, when he subordinates the drive for dominance, but then resorts to fuzzy logic again: “The drive for identive power is manifested through the superordinate goal of selfesteem, and the drive for power as dominance is related to the self-assertive need. Rather than being a motive, however, dominance is primarily a temperament, a characteristic way of behaving.” WALTERS: Have you expressed any opinions on George Soros' activism? RUMMEL: No. I don't agree with his politics, but believe his funding of the left is his right and respect it. It is democracy at work.
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
WALTERS: Mr. Soros is certainly left of right, but in some respect he is still where his early political thinking was formed, in between the Nazis and the Red Army fight for Budapest, posing as a Christian, not yet willing, as his father said at the time, to exchange bread for stones. RUMMEL: I characterize him as ideologically on the far left, and only judging that by the far left groups that he supports with his money. WALTERS: The almost universal perspective of Mr. Soros as a leftist and a radical one at that due to his funding activities, including his efforts to bring down the Bush Administration, leave me wondering at his leftist reputation in the case of Georgia, where he and the Bush Administration seem to be on the same page, and have worked in tandem establishing the so-called puppet regime there. But there is an important question that I have always wanted to ask you, in view of your empirical findings that democratic states tend to be pacific at least towards one another, your liking for peace, and the supposed desire of the overwhelming majority of the world's population for democracy: Do you believe world democracy should be established by force? RUMMEL: No, not to establish democracy per se. But, if the nondemocratic regime is murdering its people wholesale, as is Burma and Sudan (N. Korea is a separate problem), then I believe the democracies should intervene to stop it. Then, if they do, this is an opportunity, as with Iraq and Afghanistan, to free the people as well. WALTERS: I know many people could have cared less about the nuclear-weapons pretext - any lie would suffice (and according to Carl Schmidt, lies are necessary to obtain cooperation in a democracy of conflicting interests) to rally people to overthrow undemocratic regimes, especially the most repressive and dangerous ones. RUMMEL: This was not a lie. It was what all major intelligence agencies believed. WALTERS: I believe your belief is sincere, and believe it is based on your early empirical study, that "all major intelligence agencies believed", although evidence later surfaced that intelligence reports to the contrary existed and were ignored. I must admit that my belief, that the three major propositions for going to war were false, was merely "intuitive." For me, the jury is still out and may forever be out. I personally do not know the state of mind upon which the decision was made, whether or not there was a deliberate intention to deceive, but I would not be surprised if that were the case.
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
RUMMEL: Keep in mind that a mistaken belief is not a lie. A lie is an intentional deception. WALTERS: I shall keep that in mind in the future as a precaution against jumping to conclusions. I am lately more cautious than usual, as my beliefs in the past, being imperfect, have led me to jump to the wrong conclusions, to suppress doubts, and, in good faith, even ignore some evidence to the contrary. I would like to know if you personally believe that sometimes it is necessary to use any means whatsoever, including immoral or unethical means, such as lying to the electorate to get them to agree on a course of action (war) that would accomplish good ends (peace). If not, why not? RUMMEL: I searched my mind for an historical instance when a president did this, and I would have also. What comes to mind is the Battle of Britain, when under the cover of many lies Roosevelt provided aid to Britain which helped save it from the German onslaught. If Britain had lost, that would have been the end of Europe as we knew it, and Nazi Germany would have had it all. The American nation was strongly isolationist, and Roosevelt could not have otherwise helped save Europe, and consequently Europe. WALTERS: Do you have any mixed feelings about the pre-emptive overthrow of Iraq's sovereign state? RUMMEL: No. A great threat was removed, a mass murderer was executed, and Iraq is a now a functioning democracy with national elections, and a democratic constitution voted on by all Iraqis. WALTERS: I have been perusing Chapter 22 of your Understanding Conflict and War. In sum, what empirical bearing or "central role" did your distinction between the drive for “identive” power and the drive for dominative power actually have on the understanding of conflict and war? RUMMEL: None that I can recall. The distinction is to help understanding personal and interpersonal relations, but not societies and war generally. There the important distinctions are coercion, force, exchange, and authoritative powers. WALTERS: Is your helix reconciling conflict and resolution a double helix? RUMMEL: No, just a single helix
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Recollecting Professor Rummel
WALTERS: Did Spark Matsunaga express a particular ideology of peace and/or a methodology of conflict resolution? If so, what is it in a nutshell? Do you agree with it? Did you agree with his efforts? RUMMEL: I do not recall him expressing anything about conflict or war. He just seems in retrospect to have been an ordinary antiwar type. WALTERS: I liked Spark and visited him in Washington. He was really keen on the institution of a peace academy for conflict resolution, in distinction from the war academies. Now I see the University of Hawaii has a peace academy dedicated to him, and there is also an international one in his honor. However, I am not able to obtain any of his writings on peace. RUMMEL: I never saw any writings of his. WALTERS: I expected them to have been scanned and put on the WWW for public good, but all I can find is reference to his papers at UH, and I find no link for viewing. RUMMEL: I doubt that there are any papers. I believe that his reputation in the peace area has been built up for the sake of the institute. The UH peace academy is nothing but a propaganda mill for a very liberal conception of peace.
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Recollecting Professor Obama
RECOLLECTING PROFESSOR OBAMA Waging War to Make Peace Series By David Arthur Walters The statement that we must wage war for peace is antithetically incongruous hence oxymoronic; in fine, logically absurd. The fact that Black Church member and purported pacifist President Barrack Obama waged war and won the Nobel Peace Prize seems hypocritical of the idealistic president. The Black Church is as pink inside as the Catholic Church inasmuch as it emphasizes Jesus the Christ’s love for poor and oppressed people, the very people who suffer the most from war. Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s 1895 will specified that the peace prize shall go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The Norwegians were perhaps too hopeful when the Prize was awarded to President Obama: pacifists hoped the Norwegians were prophets. As a matter of fact, President Obama is making good on his campaign promise to back our military forces out of Iraq; he is drawing down troops and equipment standing in Iraq. “I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended,” the President declared on August 31, 2010. “We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq,” stated the former professor of Constitutional Law. Still, “a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq with a different mission: advising and assisting
Recollecting Professor Obama
Iraq's Security Forces; supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counter-terrorism missions; and protecting our civilians.” However, while reducing the military forces standing in Iraq, the military forces standing in Afghanistan will be increased: “Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops….” Although “these forces will be in place for a limited time… the pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground.” We should know why the United States persisted with the long and costly war in Iraq: according to Professor Obama, who lectured the people at extraordinary length since campaigning for the presidency, war was waged to make peace, to bring Western Democracy to the East, traditionally ruled by despots, and to open up new markets. “Today, old adversaries are at peace, and emerging democracies are potential partners. New markets for our goods stretch from Asia to the Americas. A new push for peace in the Middle East will begin here tomorrow. Billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. As the leader of the free world, America will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction — we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people.” Moreover, “We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people — a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization.” We are comforted to know that he is president, “we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known….” We praise our troops because they follow orders and fight faithfully no matter where they are sent and for what reason. “A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart. Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded. Our relations abroad were strained. Our unity at home was tested. These are the rough waters encountered during the course of one of America's longest wars. Yet there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides. At every turn, America's men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve.” Finally, “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be travelling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.”
Recollecting Professor Obama
Painting by Darwin Leon
Professor and Preacher and President Obama took the lectern again on September 11, 2010 to preach the true faith, faith in the United States of America regardless of one’s subsidiary religion or creed. Let us confess that the federal state is idolized in the United States – the United States is the holy of holies – and it is that unity that makes America great. The overarching political religion is “democracy.” The state religion which strives to be the dominant world religion is tolerant of all religions including atheism provided that the forms of worship do not incite or perpetrate violence against the faithful of any flock because of their respective religion. The leader must not let his followers destroy themselves along with his rule. Nothing should stand between the rulers and the ruled, between the one-god and the faithful. Woe unto those who attack the great leader mounted on the hill, the very beacon of liberty; may all ships be forewarned by the enlightened house lest they run aground on the shoals. “The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself – all that we stand for and represent in the world…. They may seek to strike fear in us, but they do not match our resilience. We do not succumb to fear, nor do we squander the optimism that has always defined us as a people…. We will not give in to their hatred and prejudice. For Scripture teaches us to ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Wherefore let us wage war not for revenge but for peace, seems to be the sermon preached; a motivation antithetical to the actual mood of free floating anger, the popular rage displaced by the administration at the time: the preemptive attack on a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on American, nor did that nation have weapons of mass destruction; it had embarrassed the
Recollecting Professor Obama
administration in the previous war, and revenge and oil was wanted in the name of permanent world peace, which can apparently only be achieved via Western democracy, whether the world wants it or not. The United States of America has always been a warring nation, and its progress and prosperity is correctly attributed to the fighting spirit that has made it the sole superpower in the world. It must be right or it would not have such might. The significance of each equal individual pales in comparison to the Total even though the Total is the identity of individuals as the Category of One. Do great men really alter the course of history or merely represent the common spirit of their time? Does the President really preside over his warring country, or does the “American Way” forged by war rule him? Shall small bands of terrorists or anarchists induce the terrifying dragon to wage more wars to make peace in foreign lands? More generally, can reason tame the beast once and for all? Can ideas win out over base instincts? Do what rational liberal professors say and think really make a difference when it comes to romantic conservative deeds? Can a Platonic philosopher rule a nation short of instantiating totalitarian imperialism? Barrack Obama is a peculiar President in many respects, and he was a peculiar professor as well, teaching at one of the most conservative schools in the country. Instead of professing the customary economic determinism that condones unregulated greed, he lectured on human rights. Instead of writing books on constitutional law, he sharpened his debating skills in academic and political forums. The classroom for him was the testing ground for his political career; in that classroom were forged the leading ideas for his presidential campaign. He used the Socratic Method, drawing his students out gently with questions and answers, exciting them with provocative remarks, probing deeply into the legal issues, examining all sides of the questions, often arriving at the conclusion that there is no one answer to every question or one result to every rule laid down, that everything has to be taken in its own context. It is hardly surprising that his intellectual honesty and depth and his evenhandedness tended to result in the classical Socratic attitude of suspended judgment, a profession of ignorance in response to ultimate questions – he simply would not oversimplify complicated subjects and take a definite stand. What Professor Karl Popper said of Socrates in Chapter 10 of The Open Society, that “He was mistaken when he considered himself a politician; he was a teacher,” may hold true of Obama. Socrates, like Professor Obama, said Sir Popper, wanted to attract the brilliant young men of his day, including anti-democrats, and convert them to the moral belief that man is not only an economic creature, not body alone: “There is more in man, a divine spark, reason; and a love of truth, of kindness, humaneness, a love of beauty and goodness. It is these that make a man’s life worthwhile.” That is,
Recollecting Professor Obama
the individual, or the “soul” Socrates allegedly created for the Western world, was socially responsible; therefore, Socrates criticized the democracy of his day for inattention to what really matters. If Socrates believed in the individual, why would he attack democracy? Socrates criticized democrats for their “lack of intellectual honesty and their obsession with power-politics.” Moreover, “Socrates’ attack upon the democratic politicians was carried out partly for the purpose of exposing the selfishness and lust for power of the hypocritical flatterers of the people, more particularly of the young aristocrats who posed as democrats, but looked upon the people as mere instruments of their lust for power.” Thus Professor Popper cast Socrates as a moralist or true conservative, in marked contrast to the political opportunist or neo-conservative who espouses democracy and will say anything necessary to rally people to support the political-economic causes of his privileged class and the preservation and augmentation of his own power. The American neo-conservative follows in the footsteps of the New Conservatives of German – explicit references to Germanic origins were dropped with the discovery of the Holocaust. Professor Karl Schmitt’s teachings had a profound influence on American neo-conservatism; for instance, that a democracy has such diverse and conflicting interests that the people must be lied to in order to get anything done; that civil rights must be suspended in times of emergency – he justified Hitler’s indefinite suspension of the Weimar Constitution. Professor Schmitt is blamed for creating the concept of the Total although he did not explicitly advocate totalitarianism. Professor Popper laid the blame for totalitarian thinking on Plato’s doorstep. Now Professor Obama, ideologically a true conservative due to his moral predilections – Cato comes to mind here – is often cast as an anti-libertarian socialist on the verge of communism. But every order is social, and everyone wants liberty from something or the other. Italian and German fascism had its socialist underpinnings yet was violently opposed to communism. Bread, wine and circus sustain the holiest empire. President Obama may be pink inside, but he is hardly Red; he might better be described as an unlikely leader of American fascism, a welfare capitalist who would conserve corporatism and private property in principle while attending to the welfare of the people the best he can. Welfare capitalism: the better the freed slaves are treated, the more profitable shall be the enterprise. However that may be, war is war and it is waged by every political persuasion, and not necessarily as a last resort. Barrack Obama the professor promised to end President Bush’s wars. The Oath of Office is bound to make of every idealist and ideologue somewhat of a hypocrite; but that is no good reason to say whatever elevates one’s standing in the polls. We worry that the Bush wars may continue indefinitely under one guise and pretext or another, and that the Commander-in-Chief and his patriotic
Recollecting Professor Obama
Congress may be provoked by a few violent people to wage new wars abroad, “offensive defensive” wars in the name of American interests, to make peace.
September 18, 2010 Miami Beach, Florida
Waging War to Make Peace
RECOLLECTING THE OPEN SOCIETY
Of George Soros, Karl Popper, Henri Bergson Waging War to Make Peace Series By David Arthur Walters
Recollecting the Open Society of George Soros George Soros ardently embraces liberal democracy, or rather the “open society” ideal, as the road to peace. He associates democracy with economic development, and both of the above with national security, stating that, “we ought to fight terrorism by fostering open societies.” His open society instantiated is, generally speaking, a liberal democracy, yet Mr. Soros does not seem to want his idea of an open society to be equated with democracy per se or otherwise exactly defined. He puts a great deal of money where his mouth is, advancing the cause with liberal contributions to grass roots organizations interested in installing open societies in their repressive areas. In The Age of Fallibility, he insists that the idea of an open society is not a political but an epistemological notion, on knowledge based on what we know about knowing. One thing we can know for sure is that our knowledge is, generally speaking, partial and somewhat erroneous, hence human judgment is fallible. Therefore we should always keep an open mind if we would know the truth – that is not to say that there is no truth or reality to be true to, but implies that what we do know of something, even in the scientific sense, is always, shall we say, an estimate.
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Waging War to Make Peace
Philosophical fallibilism is nothing new. Socrates himself bragged about being the only man in the world who knew he was basically ignorant; that he was the only one aware of it made him the wisest man on Earth. The former soldier and erstwhile star-gazer returned from objects to the subject of subjects and proceeded to plague the aristocratic youth with sophisticated doubting – the young have a natural problem with authority to begin with. The democratic faction thanked him with the death penalty for his skeptical inquiries into the dogma of his day. An attitude given to the critical mode of knowing or experimental truthing is bound to perpetually challenge the power elite and their dogma, hence is, at least hypothetically, compatible with liberal democracy. A democracy may and should freely challenge its own tenets but one, its organizing principle, that of freely expressed, rational self-criticism. Wherefore it might again be said that freedom of opinion and reasonable expression is the linchpin of an open society. George Soros’ open society is an epistemological attitude, of recognizing that human judgment is fallible hence subject to correction, hence is an antidote to fanaticism. Classically speaking, humility is an antidote to hubris. Nothing is perfect: democracy as we know it now is not good enough for Mr. Soros, because democratically elected governments, for instance that of the United States, can do and actually do a great deal of evil. The democratic majority may even go so far as to destroy the democracy by electing tyrants, who may wage war to make world peace whether the world likes it or not, at the cost of millions of innocent lives. Sometimes the collateral damage done with all good intentions far exceeds the damage done by the repressive regimes for which change is wanted. Nor is Mr. Soros completely satisfied with the capitalism that provided him with the politicaleconomic environment that fostered his quest for wealth. His perspective is global; he sums up three major “disparities” in the global capitalist system: First, the disparity between public goods and private goods: Private markets by themselves are not able to meet collective needs nor are they “competent to ensure social justice.” He is an economic determinist inasmuch as his concept of social justice warrants the equitable distribution of presumably scarce goods. He stated that the growing social injustice, evident in the inequality between the rich and poor, arises from the fact that the winners of the globalization game are not “compensating the losers” either within states or between states. What is needed is economic as well as political equality. A redistribution of income by the welfare state outside of the market mechanism is prerequisite to peace. Second, the disparity between center and periphery: “Whenever the center is threatened,” writes Mr. Soros, “the authorities take decisive action in order to protect the system. As a consequence, the devastation is confined to the periphery.” Since the productive assets of peripheral countries are largely controlled by foreign capitalists, they can repatriate their capital and gut the disadvantaged countries and people at will. Third, the disparity between good and bad governments: Some countries have good democratic governments while others have corrupt or repressive regimes. The income gap or economic inequality looms large in bad countries, which are plagued by armed conflicts and financial crises. The United States, currently beset with armed conflicts and plagued by a financial crisis,
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Waging War to Make Peace has trended towards bad government for some time; the primary concern of Mr. Soros, elucidated in The Bubble of American Supremacy, is not his usual concern with the excesses of the misguided free-market fundamentalists, but with the “excesses of American supremacists.” Although Mr. Soros does not believe in the myth of a perfect equilibrium established by the imaginary Invisible Hand, his selection of the term ‘disparity’ gives us cause to believe that he would like to see a better balance between public and private goods, between center and periphery, and between good and bad governments. There is ample room for evil in its parity with good, and a great deal of good will be required to balance the evil on the other end of our teeter-tottering country. It appeared to him that the excesses of American supremacists and free market fundamentalists would be curbed by the presidential candidate he endorsed, Barrack Obama. Mr. Soros’ primary concern has been with bursting bubbles. Given his record for making billions off the pops, the disaffected losers shall no doubt be looking forward to social justice in the form of adequate compensation. Continuous poverty may be tolerated by a people for centuries, but high expectations suddenly let down has motivated many revolts. In any event, Justice was the god of our ancient cultural ancestors, the Hebrews and the Greeks. Only god knows when, but one day justice shall be done. Indeed, in one myth the Greeks had Zeus declare that any person without a sense of justice should be put to death. My inquiry for Mr. Soros’ opinion on this subject and others was responded to by his office in New York: the frustrated philosopher was too busy with his open society organizations to consider it. War may be waged by one country in response to injustice in another. George Soros would not wage war for economic or irrational reasons simply to exploit another people’s resources, divert attention from domestic problems, or to satisfy the lust for glory and exercise other base passions, but he would intervene to curb abuse of another country’s citizens. To wit, outside interference into the internal affairs of a country is justified if its government is severely abusing its people. The question is: Who has authority to intervene on their behalf? Liberal economic principles as well as the doctrine of state sovereignty dictate against interference. International institutions such as the United Nations are associations of states who naturally put their interests ahead of the common interest. Still, if the people were sovereign and if all people are basically alike, the sovereign people of any UN member nation would rightfully intervene to prevent people of other nations from being severely abused by their governments. Better yet if the sovereign people of all nations cooperate to curb the abuse. Obviously, the responsibility for aid to abused people should somehow rest with the international community. “The rulers of a sovereign state have a responsibility to protect the citizens,” quoth Mr. Soros. “When they fail to do so, the responsibility should be transferred to the international community. That principle ought to guide the international community in its policies. One of my main objections to the American intervention in Iraq is that it has compromised this principle by substituting American might for international legitimacy.” Furthermore, “There is no better or more appropriate body than the United Nations Security Council to authorize military intervention for human protection purposes. The task is not to find alternatives to the Security Council as a source of authority, but to make the Security Council work better than it has.”
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Waging War to Make Peace To that end Mr. Soros supports the principles laid out in the UN International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s report, ‘The Responsibility to Protect.’ When a population is suffering from what University of Hawaii Professor of Political Science Rudolph Rummel calls democide, the killing of people by their own government, the international community has a duty to protect them with appropriate measures, such as preventative foreign aid, economic sanctions, international prosecution, and, as a last resort, the minimum amount of military intervention needed to curb the abuse. But as we have seen, the minimum amount of military intervention, whether unilaterally or multilaterally engaged in, might necessitate a shocking and awesome pre-emptive strike followed by hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground, and a decade if not decades of military intervention, with the end result wanted, i.e. a liberal democracy, being uncertain. Indeed, the abused people saved might eventually take up the arms they have been provided with to wage war on their savior. In any case, an international assembly such as the United Nations should be responsible for keep world peace. Mr. Soros admits that the United Nations is an imperfect institution. It refers to itself in the preamble to its charter as “We The People,” but the charter itself is created by sovereign states whose interests may not coincide. The Security Council may override the sovereignty of the member states, and should do so in cases of democide. Mr. Soros presents a formula for obtaining his just war: The Security Council would have to authorize military intervention beforehand, and the Permanent Five must agree not to apply their veto powers where their vital state interests are not at stake. If the Security Council rejects intervention, an appeal may be made to the General Assembly and regional organizations according to their jurisdiction. Mr. Soros is not the only person around who promotes open societies. In The Bubble of American Supremacy, he confessed that, “I have no right to call the promotion of open societies the Soros doctrine. The idea was endorsed in a little-known document, the Warsaw Declaration.” That declaration, entitled ‘Toward a Community of Democracies’, was made by the members of the Community of Democracies in Warsaw, Poland, on June 27, 2000. First of all, it expresses the intent of its members to adhere to the principles of the United Nation’s Charter and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognizes the “universality of democratic values” and emphasizes “the interdependence between peace, development, human rights and democracy.” To wit, “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government, as expressed by exercise of the right and civic duties to choose their representatives through regular, free and fair elections with universal and equal suffrage, open to multiple parties, conducted by secret ballot, monitored by independent electoral authorities, and free of fraud and intimidation.” Various civil rights are listed thereafter, such as the right for everyone to participate in public affairs, to enjoy the equal protection of the laws, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, expression, assembly, the right to equal access to education and to privacy, so on and so forth. The members of the little-known Community of Democracies, including the likes of Bosnia, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Venezuela, realize there are no ideal democracies in existence, not even their main sponsoring member, the United States of America; they pledge their determination to “work together to promote and strengthen democracy, recognizing that we are at different states in our development.” Furthermore, “We resolve jointly to cooperate to discourage and resist the threat to democracy poses by the overthrow of constitutionally elected governments.”
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Waging War to Make Peace
Democracy as we know it is not good enough for Mr. Soros because democratically elected governments, for instance that of the United States, can and sometimes do a great deal of evil, not the least of which is the destruction of democracy by the democratic majority. As his adopted mentor Sir Karl Popper pointed out in The Open Society and its Enemies, “The acceptance of even a bad policy in a democracy is preferable to the submission to a tyranny, however wise or benevolent. Seen in this light, the theory of democracy is not based upon the principle that the majority should rule…. He who accepts the principle of democracy…is not bound to look upon the result of a democratic vote as an authoritative expression of what is right. Although he will accept a decision of the majority, for the sake of making democratic institutions work, he will feel free to combat it by democratic means, and to work for its revision.” In any event, most people seem to know in their hearts what the proponents of open society are talking about when they refer to it. Suffice it to say that the open society is anti-authoritarian; hence no authority could impose a sufficient formal definition. Should not Mr. Soros the philosopher of peace win a Nobel Peace Prize, not only for his books on political philosophy but for putting his money where his mouth is, for supporting grass-roots open society movements all over the world? He said he would rather leave this world as a philosopher than as a hedge fund operator who struck it rich. He has somewhat ruefully commented that academics don’t believe a hedge manager could possibility say anything of great importance on the subject of economics. But 2001 Nobel Economics Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz believes George Soros’ perspectives might take center stage if expressed a little differently. We do not know if Mr. Soros actually craves a Nobel, and if he does, in what field – no doubt in Peace. Martti Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president and a contender for the Nobel, said he wished Mr. Soros would win one because of his promotion of democracy, especially in formerly communistic countries. A false rumor still circulates on the Web that Mr. Soros was indeed a Nobel nominee – his name does not appear in the nominee database of the Nobel Prize organization. An article penned by Sally Jenkins that appeared in the Washington Post June 29, 2005 in reference to the funding of baseball teams may have been the origin of the rumor: “…It was all right for Schott, the racist collector of Nazi memorabilia, to own a baseball team for years, but it's not for Soros, the billion-dollar philanthropist and Nobel Prize nominee? That's exactly what some Republicans on Capitol Hill are suggesting, led by Tom Davis, the Republican from Virginia who is trying to steer the sale of the Nationals and who says Soros is just not the kind of person ‘we need or want in the nation's capital.’" Recollecting the Open Society of Karl Popper
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Waging War to Make Peace
If we are to believe Sir Karl Popper, evil democracies are preferable to tyranny, for in a democracy there is a chance that the majority may be overruled by democratic means. Professor Popper’s use of the phrase, “open society” appears in opposing interviews with Karl Popper and Herbert Marcuse published by New University Press in 1976 and entitled A Confrontation. He attributed his use of the term “Open Society” to the English atmosphere: “During 1935 and 1936 I visited England for the first time. I came from Austria where a relatively mild dictatorship was in power, but was threatened by its National Socialist neighbor. In the free air of England I could breathe again. It was as if the windows had been opened. The name (of my book) ‘Open Society and its Enemies’ comes from this experience.” He saw what was “most important for the openness of a society: freedom of opinion, the existence of an opposition.” Discussing the United States, he noted that the media had strongly opposed the Vietnam War. Public discussion had made it perfectly clear to the government that the war was a grave mistake, and that the troops must be withdrawn. Again, “I see the greatest value for democracy in its opportunity for free rational discussion and in the influence of this critical discussion on politics. In this I am strongly opposed to those who believe in violence, particularly fascists.” No doubt Professor Popper would have been, just as his student George Soros has been, dead set against President Bush’s pre-emptive, shocking and awesome obliteration of the sovereign state of Iraq. We recall that the Bush Administration openly expressed contempt for the court of the United Nations even before the U.S. warmongering representatives appeared before it to say that the Administration would do whatever it wanted to do regardless of its judgment, and then it went on to disregard the order to exhaust alternatives before resorting to violence – that is why the majority of the world’s nations regarded the war as an overtly criminal act.
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Waging War to Make Peace As far as Professor Popper was concerned, we have a choice between the use of reason and the use of violence, and where reasonable alternatives are available, the use of violence is downright criminal. The Bush administration’s behavior was entirely counter to the will of the world majority and that of the majority of citizens of the United States. In the process, the Bush Administration ran roughshod over several Constitutional guarantees not to mention its commission of war crimes, ripping the very fabric of democracy. The only democratic alternative was to get rid of the neoconservative or regressive government by way open criticism and free election. And according to Popperian thinking, it was quite all right to hate the Bush government and its officials: “I am for individual freedom and I hate the coercion of the state and the arrogance of government officials as much as anyone. But unfortunately the state is a necessary evil; without a state things won’t work. And unfortunately the saying is true: the more people, the more state.” For Professor Popper, an “open society,” in contrast to the closed society with its creed that “the tribe is everything and the individual nothing,” is a society where political leaders may be openly criticized and overthrown without bloodshed. Whatever the form of government, bad persons may rule, so the government of an open society provides a method for getting rid of them without bloody revolution. Democracy is one kind of open society. As long as peaceful change is possible in a democracy, even its bad policies are preferable to tyranny. Tyrants would wage war for all the wrong reasons, while the leaders of open societies would wage war to make peace pursuant to faith in open society. We cannot expect democratic institutions to improve themselves: “It rests with us to improve matters. The problem of improving them is always a problem for persons rather than for institutions.” So much for the notion that a superior institution has evolved that in itself ensures perpetual peace. Professor Popper, like Mr. Soros, did not entirely equate democracy as we may know it or imagine it with the indefinite open society. “One lives in a democracy if there are institutions which make it possible to get rid of the government without the use of violence, that is, without shooting them. That is the characteristic of a democracy. But if one has a democracy there is still a long way to a really open society.” Professor Popper’s inchoate notion of open society and his theory of democracy were based on his aversion to tyranny. “The theory I have in mind is one which does not proceed, as it were.” he said in The Open Society and its Enemies, “from a doctrine of the intrinsic goodness or righteousness of a majority rule, but rather from the baseness of tyranny; or more precisely, it rests upon the decision, or upon the adoption of the proposal, to avoid and resist tyranny.” There are two kinds of government, he said: one we can get rid of without bloodshed by way of general elections; the other we cannot dispose of without revolution. The rise of philosophy long ago attempted to upset the irrational basis of authority in magic and replace it with a rational faith. The critical tradition of that individualism which is the foundation of modern civilization was thereby invented, but it was still tainted by an emotional reaction to the loss of tribal unity, wherefore early philosophers tended to rant about the false pride of individualism, the impious hubris individuals are doomed to be punished for. Yet “The new faith of the open society, the faith in man, in equalitarian justice, and in human reason, was perhaps beginning to take shape,
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Waging War to Make Peace but it was not formulated. The greatest contribution to this faith was to be made by Socrates, who dies for it.” Socrates, whom we know as the intellectual father of the teachers called Sophists, is remarkable for “his intellectualism, i.e. his equalitarian theory of human reason as a universal medium of communication; his stress on intellectual honesty and self-criticism; his equalitarian theory of justice, and his doctrine that it is better to be a victim of injustice than to inflict it on others. I think it is this last doctrine which can help us best to understand the core of his teaching, his creed of individualism, his belief in the human individual as an end in himself. The closed society with its creed that the tribe is everything and the individual nothing had broken down. Individual initiative and self-assertion had become a fact. Interest in the human individual as individual, and not only as a tribal hero and savior, had been aroused. ” Plato, on the other hand, contradicting Socrates, was an enemy of the open society concept in his promotion of a totalitarian closed society Notwithstanding the form of government, the open society is epistemologically scientific inasmuch as all hypotheses are open to investigation and independent verification; no hypothesis is scientifically theoretical unless an actual event can falsify it. Wherefore Professor Popper’s open society, always open to criticism, appears to be associated with if not caused by evolution of the human intellect, duly expressed by philosophy. For the professor in pursuit of perfection, human history is always a mistake to a certain extent hence in want of further adaptation to the ideal. “The rise of philosophy itself can be interpreted, I think, as a response to the breakdown of the closed society and its magical beliefs. It is an attempt to replace the lost magical faith by a rational faith; it modified the tradition of passing on a theory or a myth by founding a new tradition – the tradition of challenging theories and myths and of crucially discussing them.” Thus “the new faith of the open society,” founded on the critical reality that human judgment is fallible, progressed over the centuries, seemingly culminating in the modern scientific method, which discards theories proven false. But that so-called method is hardly perfect; for one thing, its theories are not really logically induced from the observed particulars of experience, but are rather intuited answers to questions, or tentative conclusions jumped to by way of creative imagination; and then deductions from those conclusions are carefully tested against experience. A single exception to a rule, of course, is not sufficient to render it useless. In any case, keep in mind that no matter how ironclad any theory may seem, the unpredictable may occur. Wherefore freedom exists – American logician, mathematician and scientist Charles Sanders Peirce, who rejected the absurd musings and abstruse reflections of Professor Bergson and other intuitionists despite his great friend William James’ enthusiasm for same, went so far as to assert the existence of Chance, reviving the ancient notion in his concept called Tychism. In any event, Professor Popper did not believe in a Spirit of History or Invisible Hand guiding human progress along a certain tortuous, spiraling path to a final, peaceful destination, using individuals as fodder along the way. The future is inherently unpredictable, although the likes of George Soros may intuit a “far from equilibrium swing” and wager millions on the generally unexpected divergence from normality.
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Waging War to Make Peace
Nevertheless, anyone who studies history eventually comes to think, with the help of intuition, that s/he is witnessing the hand of god or some spirit either progressive or regressive in recorded events. Perhaps s/he is merely intuiting his or her own logical processing of incomplete sets of facts into a story either pleasing or displeasing according to his or her temperament at the time. However that might be, there still seems to be a transcendent agent purposing the historical progress of human beings to the purportedly radical liberty of open societies from the warring tribes of closed societies. Recollecting the Open Society of Henri Bergson
Henri Bergson The French intuitionist and irrationalist philosopher Henri Bergson presented an earlier concept of an “open society.” Both Mr. Soros and Mr. Popper are Professor Bergson’s intellectual emulators – intellectual giants stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, hoping to add some value to society, perchance to intuit some new value from time to time, knowing very well that human morality has changed very little, if at all; that is, if recorded history the witness. German Professor Rudolf Eucken, the proponent of Christian Activism whom we have featured in a previous chapter of Waging War to Make Peace, signed a nationalist declaration during the Great War that denigrated Professor Bergson, citizen of its archenemy, France, although both thinkers were cosmopolitans and mystically inclined; which anecdotally demonstrates once again that, although transcendentalists may irrationally claim direct access to their individual versions of the One, their consequential rationalizations or subjective perspectives on that One and their subsequent behavior may differ to the degree that they do not seem to be talking about the same thing or feeling at all. Nobel Laureate Henri Bergson won the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature for writing Creative Evolution, who participated in the negotiations that led the United States to enter the Great War,
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Waging War to Make Peace was president of the League of Nations’ committee on international cooperation from 1921 to 1926. He saw a higher morality in his crystal ball, a more universally inclusive morality, fanning out by way of imitation from the individual saint’s or hero’s mystical apprehension of the unity of the continually enduring life spirit, but absent a rational or decisive organization or that spirit upon which a community is brought into agreement. We note that the ambiguity is obvious and renders mysticism morally neutral. For example, it may be rationally organized into a world religion of universal love for all mankind or into a particularistic religion of hate-others-based group-love, the tribal love Professor Bergson associated with closed society. Professor Bergson set forth his variations on the classical philosophical theme, that of the dialectic between static and dynamic, permanence and change, in Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932): A closed society is static, orthodox, mechanical, habitual and tense, whereas an open society is dynamic, evangelical, mystical, spontaneous, and relaxed. The religion and morality of a closed society imposes obligations on the individual for the sake of the survival of the group; what worked to that end early on becomes a habit explained by myths and fables, which serve to overcome the selfish fear of death, and variances from the mores of the group are punished. On the other hand, an open society evolves by way of inspiration; certain heroic individuals are enthused or god-possessed; a new life is breathed into them; they welcome the change, and embrace the entire human race for the sake of its spiritual progress. In other words, the universal hero’s intuition apprehends the continuously enduring process couched in the immediate experience of the time-space continuum, which gives him cause to break free of particular prejudices and habits and embrace the universal – an embrace that may in fact seem immoral and downright evil to the orthodox. He or she is a heretic in direct contact with eternity. We might say that s/he goes with the Flow, or follows the Tao. The seer sees that human history is not a pendulum swinging back and forth in eternal recurrence, but is rather a spiral; hence there is always an opportunity for progress to a higher level of being. The race advances from time to time when the equilibrium is punctuated; the sage comes down from the mountain, bears witness to the existence of a higher plane, and shows the race how to grasp the next ledge and climb to a higher level. These spiritual breakthroughs from mechanical life are spontaneous, unpredictable except by virtue of the intuition that directly comprehends what it is to be a human being with a free will that may employ natural law to contradict nature hence work his own fate. On the economic plane, George Soros, for example, might have a back ache and intuit that a big break in the market is nigh, one of the relatively rare “far from equilibrium” events, one which he can reap a few hundred million if not a billion or two dollars. The future may not be consistently divined other than by intuition, for it is time that unravels history, and history cannot be known except after the fact i.e. retrospectively. Yes, Mr. Soros is an intuitionist despite his rationalizations; his intuition, aided by his aching back, helped him to reap billions off traders who believed market behavior is rational enough for analysts to know what to expect of them.
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Waging War to Make Peace Fortunately for him, human behavior is often irrational if not downright absurd, yet if one is a little crazy himself he can see the craziness coming. Can the Absurd be rationally embraced? For instance, can waging war to make peace be logically justified? Perhaps some incomprehensible or fuzzy logic of nature drives man to war – perhaps war is natural, and must always be waged, as some thinkers have held, for the sake of humankind’s moral progress. But progress to what: Extinction, so that humankind can finally rest in peace? Henri Bergson did his level best in Two Sources of Morality and Religion to reconcile the antipodes of the Absurd in respect to the immorality of war: “Think what happens in time of war. Murder and pillage and perfidy, cheating and lying become not only lawful, they are actually praiseworthy. The warring nations can say, with Macbeth's witches: ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair.’ Would this be possible, would the transformation take place so easily, generally and instantaneously, if it were really a certain attitude of man towards man that society had been enjoining on us up till then? Oh, I know what society says (it has, I repeat, its reasons for saying so); but to know what it thinks and what it wants, we must not listen too much to what it says, we must look at what it does. It says that the duties it defines are indeed, in principle, duties towards humanity, but that under exceptional circumstances, regrettably unavoidable; they are for the time being inapplicable. If society did not express itself thus, it would bar the road to progress for another morality, not derived from it, which it has every inducement to humor. On the other hand, it is consistent with our habits of mind to consider as abnormal anything relatively rare or exceptional, disease for instance. But disease is as normal as health, which, viewed from a certain standpoint, appears as a constant effort to prevent disease or to avoid it. In the same way, peace has always hitherto been a preparation for defense or even attack, at any rate for war. Our social duties aim at social cohesion; whether we will or no they compose for us an attitude which is that of discipline in the face of the enemy. This means that, however much society may endow man, whom it has trained to discipline, with all it has acquired during centuries of civilization, society still has need of that primitive instinct which it coats with so thick a varnish. In a word, the social instinct which we have detected at the basis of social obligation always has in view instinct being relatively unchangeable a closed society, however large. It is doubtless overlaid by another morality which for that very reason it supports and to which it lends something of its force, I mean of its imperative character. But it is not itself concerned with humanity. For between the nation, however big, and humanity there lies the whole distance from the finite to the indefinite, from the closed to the open.” Furthermore, “The origin of war is ownership, individual or collective, and since humanity is predestined to ownership by its structure, war is natural,” claimed Professor Bergson. “It has been justly said that childhood's games were the preparatory training to which nature prompts them, with a view to the task laid on grown men. But we can go further, and look on most of the wars recorded in history as preparatory training or sport. When we consider the futility of the motives which brought about a goodly number of them, we are reminded of the duelists in Marion Delorme running each other through the body ‘for no reason, for the fun of the thing", or else the Irishman cited by Lord Bryce, who could not see two men exchanging fisticuffs in the street without asking, ‘Is this a private affair, or may anyone join in?’
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Waging War to Make Peace Professor Bergson goes on to point out that men fight not only for subsistence but for a way of life, hopefully a life of luxury. We recall here that President Bush expressed our Way of Life as an ultimate value, and his wealthy adherents liked to say that not only terrorists but liberals were envious of their presumably superior way of life. “Peoples no longer go to war for the sake of wounded pride, prestige or glory,” Professor Bergson wrote. “They fight to avoid starvation, so they say in reality to maintain a certain standard of living, below which they believe that life would not be worthwhile…. Without being exactly in danger of starving to death, people consider that life is not worth living if they cannot have comforts, pleasures, luxuries; the national industry is considered insufficient if it provides for a bare existence, if it does not provide affluence; a country considers itself incomplete if it has not good ports, colonies, etc. All this may lead to war. But the outline we have just traced sufficiently emphasizes the main causes: increase in population, closing of markets, cutting off of fuel and raw material. To eliminate these causes or mitigate their effect, such is the essential task of an international organism with the abolition of war as its aim. The gravest of all is overpopulation.” Again: “It is generally for the sake of our luxuries that we want our comforts, because the comforts we lack look to us like luxuries, and because we want to imitate and equal those people who can afford them. In the beginning was vanity. How many delicacies are sought after solely because they are expensive! For years civilized people spent a great part of their efforts abroad in procuring spices. It is amazing to think that this was the supreme object of navigation, so perilous in those days; that for this thousands of men risked their lives; that the courage, the energy and the spirit of adventure, of which the discovery of America was a mere incident, were mainly employed in the search for ginger, cloves, pepper and cinnamon. Who troubles about these flavorings which so long tasted delicious, now that they can be had for a few pence from the grocer round the corner? Such facts as these are sad reading for the moralist. But reflect a moment; they contain cause for hope as well. The continual craving for creature comforts, the pursuit of pleasure, the unbridled love of luxury, all these things which fill us with so much anxiety for the future of humanity, because it seems to find in them solid satisfactions, all this will appear as a balloon which man has madly inflated, and which will deflate just as suddenly. We know that one frenzy brings on the counter- frenzy….” Professor Bergson recommends taking a mystical dose of asceticism. He suggests that we try living a simpler life. Instead of behaving mechanically like machines, we should get into immediate touch with our whole self via intuition of the life force, the super stream of consciousness that vitalizes us, the eternally pure activity that may be called God. This god is love and is loved, and his creative evolution is to create creators that he may have others besides himself to love. This god is imminent hence materially conditioned, just as mind is conditioned by body. This god, like Narcissus, would starve to death or drown in himself without others. We should intuit the whole person, a social being, and engage in multicultural studies, including the study of foreign languages, to assuage the ignorant tribal beast which identifies anything foreign as inimical to his own tribe’s defensive way of life. Of course we should support a league of nations, implicitly understanding that any such association for peace is bound to fail unless its military force can intervene in the internal affairs of a recalcitrant nation.
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Waging War to Make Peace “Even if the League of Nations had at its disposal a seemingly adequate armed force (and even so the recalcitrant nation would still have over the League the advantage of the initial impetus; even so the unexpectedness of a scientific discovery would render increasingly unforeseeable the nature of the resistance the League of Nations would have to organize), it would come up against the deep-rooted war-instinct underlying civilization; whereas individuals who leave to the judge the business of settling a dispute are in some obscure way encouraged to do so by the instinct of discipline immanent in the closed society.” We recall in this context Hans Kelsen’s notion that world peace can only be obtained juristically, which would undoubtedly require a sovereign commander over an enormous military force to maintain total order in accordance with international law divined by legislators and judges.
After all is said and done, Mssrs. Bergson, Popper and Soros, despite their rational discourse, rely more on intuition or revelation than on hard science for their morale. Mr. Soros made a fortune on his, but that may have come from a run of blind luck or from the fickle Lady Fortuna. Mr. Soros’ political-economics hero John Maynard Keynes did make a fortune trading currencies, but he was a rare bird in a flock infamous for its bad advice. Undeniably, modern or “inductive” science cannot do without so-called intuition, but flashes of insight are not its all, for most of what is intuited is deductively disproved and should be discarded; yet magic and superstition persists.
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Recollecting Professor Krugman
RECOLLECTING PROFESSOR KRUGMAN Waging War to Make Peace Series By David Arthur Walters
Professor Paul Krugman, whose 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics "for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity" astonished people who did not know he was an economist, and classified him as a radical ideologue and columnist devoted to liberal whining and denigrating conservatives, said that George Soros’ desire to be taken seriously as an Open Society philosopher instead of as a speculator is too ambitious. Neither Professor Krugman nor Philosopher Soros have much faith in free trade’s ability to compensate the poor for their suffering at the hands of the rich in order to obtain social justice and stave off the desperation that leads waging revolution and war to make peace. Indeed, Professor Krugman has made a profession of biting the Invisible Hand for its natural meanness. He certainly is paid well enough for representing the opposition, many of whom found the ulterior economic motive for waging war objectionable to
Recollecting Professor Krugman
say the least. The pre-emptive blitzkrieging of countries, purportedly to save people from their oppressive regimes, has been the ideal military strategy since Frederick advanced it so well. The long-standing Real Politic plan underlying the shocking and awesome blitz was, first and foremost, to control the oil flow, and, secondarily, to impose occidental republicanism on a people traditionally oppressed by oriental despotism; if only their civilization were upgraded from its medieval backwardness, the obviously superior way of life of Western civilization as led by the United States of America would be safe; eventually the entire world would be made safe for Western capitalism, and duly incorporated for multicultural profiteering. Evolutionary capitalism would eliminate competition until a few multinational corporations beholden to international banks controlled the globe; all the rest, by no means inconsiderable in terms of total business done, would suck the hind teats of the whales in the shark-infested waters while thinking of themselves as free and independent entrepreneurs. Capitalism would be perfected hence become its professed worst enemy – fascism. The business of government would be business, and the business of business would be government. Utopian globalism would not be realized democratically although the myth of democracy would advance its cause; only a right-wing government could actually do the trick, making sure the means of production was privately owned and controlled, and keeping a large military presence throughout the globe. Consumers would either consume or consume; producers would either produce or produce; citizens would vote for either business as usual or business as usual. Mainstream Media would babysit; there would be plenty of pabulum to go around. One might think that Professor Krugman could win a Nobel for objecting to that rather crudely expressed totalitarian scheme; but he seems to have left his political prejudices out of his economics, which is what scientists are supposed to do. Professor Krugman divined a “new” theory to explain a phenomenon of economic globalization. An old theory, the theory of comparative advantage, held that relative differences in the economic environments of countries induced them to pursue the production of different products for their local markets, which they could then respectively trade with other countries, if there were surpluses, for what they might respectively lack. He calls this trade dissimilar-dissimilar trade. The “new” theory, that of similar-similar trade, does not supplant old theories, but adds that economies of scale, the fact that large-scale production of diverse products is more economical because less costly due to the efficiencies gained, has the effect that the local production for some local markets is supplanted by large-scale production for the world market, hence the same products wind up being produced and consumed, for example automobiles, by several countries; the more efficient countries, those with closely integrated economies of scale along the same product lines, wind up
Recollecting Professor Krugman
dominating world trade. The large-scale economy including cheaper transportation explains why production is centralized and therefore more and more people live in cities. In fine, world economic centers dominate world trade. George Soros, as we have seen, believes the integrated world centers hold the world hostage; the poorer and less developed countries on the periphery getting the worst of downturns as the ones in the center circle their wagons; hence the domination must be more socially i.e. economically just. Professor Krugman’s “new” theory, if we understand it rightly, rides piggy back on old theories. The theory that large-scale production is more efficient and better done in population centers is hardly groundbreaking; it is, to say the least, platitudinous. We wish that the professor had explained the role of waging war to make peace in the evolution of the temporarily increasing returns attributed to the large-scale efficiencies realized through similar-similar trade between allies. There is no sin in platitudes if novelly expressed and accompanied by graphs depicting the results of complex calculations. Professor Krugman may have gotten his Nobel for the same reason that President Obama got his, for opposing the political-economic regime of the neo-conservatives who waged war to make peace, to make the world safe for Western capitalism whether the world liked it or not – Mr. Soros might have gotten a Nobel for his opposition to the Party of War if he had not almost brought down the Bank of England and wreaked havoc on Asian financial institutions to fund his philanthropic contributions to open society activists. What Professor Krugman’s new scientific theory, which is more descriptive than explanatory, would predict, other than more of what it observes, i.e. business as usual, we do not know. We would ask him if he opposes centralization and favors the decentralization that was promised by High Technology and Chairman Mao, but he has been too busy with his calculations to respond to our questions. In any case, what do Nobel Prize winners in Economics really know that is of any proven practical value in a constantly changing future? This is a vital question in our context of waging war to make peace; that is, if the pursuit of scarce property is a fundamental motive for revolution and war, and if the broader satisfaction of needs and wants by economies of scale fosters peace. We think economists are more often wrong than right, and cannot be trusted to reliably predict anything – at least monkeys are better stock pickers. We might take the advice of Sir Karl Popper and ask, Can economic theories be falsified, or do they tend to explain everything no matter what happens? Then they are not legitimate
Recollecting Professor Krugman
scientific theories. A Freudian analyst may explain every apparent failure of theory using the same theory, attributing an apparent contradiction, for instance, to the analysand’s resistance. The theory of the free market economist explains everything; if something goes wrong, it is the market’s fault and not a fault in the theory, for the market is efficient hence always right. The very notion of a Nobel Prize for economics is abhorrent to scientists who do not believe economics is a science at all. Nobel Prize winning particle physicists have despised the pretentiousness of economists who believe their mathematical models can predict future outcomes: for example, Nobel laureate Martin Perl, co-discover of the subatomic particle, the tau lepton, said the Nobel Prize for economics should no longer be given. We further note that a prize for economics was not included in Alfred Nobel’s will. The high priests of efficient market economics, who believe that markets establish a felicitous and just equilibrium without regulatory intervention, insist that Professor Krugman is not an economist at all because he does not belong to their political religion. They mock his claim that the United States enjoyed a progressive golden age destroyed by the vicious jungle economics of capitalism; nevertheless, there is still time to get back on the golden path if the right policy changes are made. Professor Krugman’s infidelity to false faith in efficient markets, free-trade markets that regulate themselves on the balance for the good of humankind, is blasphemous to the free marketers. He lays the blame for social injustice and its woes at the doorstep of rightwing radicals, the new conservatives who hold that economic disparity is the natural and just result of differences in virtue, and have done their best to condone and promote the vile inequity and pernicious partisanship that places them among the elite. Do what professors say have any impact on the real world at all? Well, yes, it seems so; that is, if they are professors of economics and rent their souls out to the prevailing faction, which is normally the most brutish force, ambivalently emulated by all those who believe their liberal democracy provides an opportunity for every poor slob to strike it filthy rich if s/he invests in the stock market and plays the lottery. Mr. Krugman, in his role as iconoclastic columnist, was happy to review two unorthodox books – The Myth of The Rational Market, A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street, by Justin Fox, and The Sages, Warren Buffet, Paul Volcker, and the Maelstrom of Markets, by Charles Morris – in an August 9, 2009 New York Times article entitled ‘School for Scoundrels.’ The myth that markets are efficient in themselves, if left free to make their own adjustments via competition, was a house of sand that obviously collapsed with the
Recollecting Professor Krugman
housing market and bank crisis – we should not worry, however, for it is being revived as we speak, for myths that promise freedom die hard. “Wall street bought the ideas of the efficient-market theorists,” Mr. Krugman writes in his review, “in many cases literally: professors were lavishly paid to design complex financial strategies. And these strategies played a crucial role in the catastrophe that has now overtaken the world academy.” Noteworthy financial scoundrels include Nobel Prize winners Harry Markowitz, William Sharpe, Merton Miller, Robert Merton, and Myron Scholes. Ironically, if the efficient market theory were correct, the advice of such finance experts or any other analyst for that matter is not really worth a plug nickel because, in the long run, the course a truly efficient market takes is like the unpredictable random walk of a drunken investor; each stagger is determined by current information and not by previous steps, so no one can know where he is going to go, and can only know where he is at present. That is, there is no serial price correlation. All the information available, including a best estimate of future events, is in the current price of a security, which is all that it is worth at any given time; a monkey throwing darts at a list of stocks would do as well or better at selecting the winners than an expert; and on the average, buying and holding a diversified portfolio or an index of a broad market would produce better returns than paying an expert to analyze and select stocks. Technical investors who make decisions based on charted patterns of price changes are fools, and so are investors who make their choices based on the financial fundamentals of firms, believing they can choose securities that are under- or overvalued to go long or short on. Wherefore the efficient-market finance professors and advisors are elite confidence men who use a pseudo-science to dress an irrational behavioral process with a semblance of rationality in order to temporarily rig prices and manipulate sheep into being fleeced. To wit, they are charlatans; the same might be said of Nobel Prize winning free-market political-economists, as well as executives of large firms who undercut prices to drive small competitors out of business, and say, when objections are made, “Let the market decide.” The efficient-market cult is like other academic cults that tend to political activism. “In this sense, efficient-market acolytes were like any other academic movement. But unlike, say, deconstructionist literary theorists, finance professors had an enormous impact on the business world – and, not incidentally, some of them made a lot of money in the process.” Lawrence Summers called them “idiots” – undoubtedly that was an insult to idiots despite their lowest IQ range. But now we have a culture to counter the madness and stupidity of the servile professors, called “behavioral finance,” which acknowledges what common sense has related ever since Adam was created, that mankind is unpredictable, hence investors are irrational, but in
Recollecting Professor Krugman
predictable ways. Seers like George Soros, Warren Buffet and Paul Volcker have seen through the efficient-market dogma along with its risky tenets – we note that one idiotic albeit still fashionable tenet holds that if an investor holds a diversified investment folio including even the riskiest securities, the investor is bound to fare better than putting eggs into too few baskets. George Soros, it is observed, doesn’t have a method other than being smarter than everyone else. Mr. Buffet figures out what a company is worth and buys it cheap. Mr. Volcker’s main asset is his integrity. We add that, if the efficient market hypothesis were true, using chicken bones to divine the future would serve us better. “I came away from reading these books wondering if their shared under-lying premise – that the current crisis will put an end to Panglossian views of financial markets – is right,” writes Mr. Krugman. “My guess is that the myth of the rational market – a myth that is beautiful, comforting, and, above all, lucrative – isn’t going away anytime soon.” Well, then, if there be truth in historians’ observations that financial collapses and severe disappointments of great economic expectations result in revolutions and war, because man is more or less an economic animal and an irrational one at that, we may expect ever more wars waged to make peace. Alan Greenspan has already found reason in the statistical tea leaves to take his apology back. The majority wants instant success; people are tired of Professor Obama’s long lectures and rational approach. Radical Republicans want to undo social programs and leave poor folks in the lurch. The Tea Party is marching on Washington with pitchforks bent on hurting themselves. Companies are profitable again, more efficient with fewer employees; who cares about high unemployment when it keeps wages down? It looks like there is going to be hell to pay again. The future remains to be seen, and that certainly is problematic, for mistaken history never repeats itself exactly; it is drunk and staggering randomly about, looking for somewhere to collapse.
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