By Todd Lewis
Read the original critique by Mr. Lewis and the responding podcast here.
Mr. Preston, thank you for wrestling with my work and giving me a voice, as well as for being open-minded in dealing with these subjects. However, I believe that your response was misdirected in many respects. I will first begin with what I agreed with in your podcast and then explain why I think your arguments were misdirected.
I do agree that Lincoln’s Republican Party and today’s Republican Party are leftist, and in Lincoln’s day the Democrats were actually conservative. I agree that Marx’s heaven on earth shares similarities with Christian postmillennialism. Yet I fail to see the point of connecting Marxism with Christianity. On the one hand, Communism is a form of godless apostate Christianity, positing a heaven on earth without God; but Communism’s stated goal was the destruction of Christianity, so they really are not similar in any important sense. Marxism preaches hate, genocide and oppression, whereas Christ preached love, peace and righteousness. I also agree that universalism comes out of Christianity, but what does that prove? Even liberalism, which you also endorse, has universalist tendencies. Liberalism and Totalitarianism are both universalist in scope and both have roots in Christianity, yet in and of itself this proves little.
I found your definition of conservatism to be overly narrow, for while the ancien régime in Europe was conservative and authoritarian, the ancient, medieval and early modern republics of Athens, Rome, Venice, Switzerland, and Holland were also conservative and lovers of freedom. You claim that religions have been violent and you mention the Thirty Years War as proof of this. You parenthetically state that you have asked Christians before how to explain the Thirty Years War and have not found them adequate to the task. It was unclear to me in what way you wanted the Thirty Years War explained. Did you mean 1) if Christianity is peaceful, then why do Christians do such bad things? or 2) as a Christian having this on your historical conscience, how do you deal with it? or 3) or maybe something else? I will refrain from answering this query until further clarification is given.
You make the claim that wars of ideology were not unique to the twentieth century, pointing to the wars of religion in the Middle Ages-Reformation Era and imperial expansion in all ages; I agree and never said otherwise, but what makes the twentieth century different is the scope and scale of the wars and murder. Even murderers like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane pale in comparison to Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Roosevelt in terms of collective murder. I find your attempt to find a similitude of evil between Christendom and modern Totalitarian states to be quite disingenuous. Who would you rather have? Kaiser Wilhelm II or Hitler? Tsar Nicholas II or Stalin? Empress Wu or Mao Zedong? No pre-modern ruler, no matter how tyrannical, was able to (or, I might add, willing to) kill tens of millions of people; only atheist, materialistic, eugenic, Darwinians are willing to kill in such numbers.
To prove my point I will take one of the least savory examples of Christendom: Tsarist Russia. Tsarist Russia is generally seen as the most reactionary and most tyrannical of all ‘Christian’ governments; yet according to RJ Rummel, between 1900-1917 the Tsarist regime killed about 1,000,000 of its subjects through repression. Rummel further admits that such an estimate is very sketchy, due to lack of evidence from multiple sources, and he does not press his conclusions too hard. He argues such a number is more of an indictment than a proven charge. During Soviet Russia, Rummel estimates that 61,000,000 people died. If we break this down, that would be about 58,000 killed per year by the Tsar as compared to 850,000 killed per year by the Soviets, an annual difference of a factor of approximately 15! Are you honestly insinuating parity between Christendom and Atheistic Communism? It is incontrovertible fact that atheist regimes are the most tyrannical and murderous in human history. According to Rummel, communist regimes have killed 150,000,000 people.
Lest you forget, it was the Catholic Church that gave us the Peace and Truce of God. The former prohibited the killing of non-combatants, clerics, peasants, women and children and the latter prohibited fighting on the holy days of Sunday, Easter etc. The Geneva Convention was convened by the nations of Christendom in 1862 to organize humanitarian rules for war and humanitarian institutions for aiding those harmed in battle.
The atheists (Soviets) and Darwinian eugenicists (Nazis) of the twentieth century threw those rules out the window, and they were not the only ones to do so. The British during the First World War targeted women and children via their starvation blockade, even after the war was over. The Nazis, the Soviets and our current American Empire have no qualms killing innocents. All of the progress made by Christendom from the Peace and Truce of God to the Geneva Conference was undone in the twentieth century. The Nazi’s and Western Allies typically accepted the rules of war between each other, but the US did not vis-à-vis the Japanese, nor the Germans with the Soviets, who in turn accepted them with no one.
The Thirty Years war itself was not simply a religious war. If it was, explain to me why Catholic French fought with Protestant Swedes against the Catholic Holy Roman Empire? The war started out for a combination of political and religious reasons, but by the end it was clear the war was more political than religious in nature.
In your podcast you mention that the Netherlands is a free and productive country inhabited by social deviants. This misses the point entirely. The wealth and industry of Holland was not produced by pimps, prostitutes, pot-heads or drug addicts, but rather during the 19th century and early 20th century when most Dutch were strict Calvinists. In fact Europe’s wealth was not produced by atheists or social deviants, but by hardworking Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox etc. The deviants which inhabit the Netherlands today are merely consuming and destroying the capital their parents, grandparents and great grandparents left them. No nation has developed and prospered when led by such people; nations that fall into such a state are in the last throws of decline.
Your digression regarding Ernest Van den Haag and Rushdoony and your own spiritual journey, while fascinating, was I think misdirected. You mistakenly assume that I am objecting to your Nietzscheism on moral grounds. You are mistaken. While I do morally object to Nietzsche, that was not the nature of my objection directed toward you. It was a question of logical consistency and hypocrisy. By mentioning these two men I did not intend to engage in a theology debate, but to argue that you were hypocritical for claiming that Van den Haag and Rushdoony were immoral, insane etc. Insane according to what? Your own subjective opinions? As a follower of Nietzsche and Stirner you admitted that there is no such thing as absolute morality, yet you speak in terms of absolute morality. You deny any objective standard of judgment, and then proceed to judge the actions of others. This is incoherent; in fact, it is self-referentially incoherent, for you are assuming (objective morality) what you explicitly deny (objective morality). You cannot have your cake and eat it to. Having no reference point to make moral judgment calls, your barbs directed toward Haag and Rushdoony are meaningless.
If we are only matter-in-motion and objective morality does not exist, then why make moral judgments at all? Do you or I care about Lions devouring Zebras? Or Wolves devouring Caribou? No. Because they are animals and what they do is neither good nor evil, but just is. Given that you are philosophically a materialist and a Nietzscheist, you have no grounds to make moral judgments. The Empire (Nazi, Soviet, American, or otherwise) murdering civilians is itself not good or evil, on a materialist account, but just is. Good and evil are replaced with predator and prey. The Lion and the Wolf are not evil for killing prey; by implication, man (an animal) is not evil for killing other men. In fact, according to Marquis de Sade, a homicide is performing nature’s will:
“Murder: These truths once admitted, I ask whether it can ever be proposed that destruction is a crime? … No, surely not; for, to prove that, it would be necessary to demonstrate matter inert for an instant, for a moment of repose.
“Well, let her do the destroying, they tell you; one ought to let her do it, of course, but they are Nature’s impulses man follows when he indulges in homicide; it is Nature who advises him, and the man who destroys his fellow is to Nature what are the plague and famine, like them sent by her hand which employs every possible means more speedily to obtain of destruction this primary matter, itself absolutely essential to her works.”
Marquis de Sade states in “Philosophy of the Bedroom: Yet another effort Frenchmen would be Republicans” that Murder, Rape, Lying and Stealing are all duties we owe our fellow man, given that God is dead. The death of God for de Sade implies that all of the old laws are removed and only the law of the jungle rules. You did say that in the absence of belief in God people would not just go on killing sprees; to a point you are right, but only to a point. Men would only refrain from killing out of a fear of man, i.e., being killed in return. Yet only a kind of mutually-assured destruction could maintain the peace in such a situation, which is little better than a living hell and does not really answer the charge that if God is dead and you can get away with your actions, then all things are permissible. Why should someone care if he hurts another as long as he is able to protect himself? Animals in similar situations utilize their strength to the fullest. The Nazi’s killing Jews, the Soviets killing Kulaks and the US killing Arabs is no different than Wolves killing Caribou or Lions killing Zebras; why get worked up about it? An atheistic, Darwinian, Nietzschean world view has no recourse to moral language. In fact, it explicitly denies the efficacy of moral language and the existence of morality itself. Yet despite this fact, throughout your political work you still make moral arguments when you are philosophically incapable of doing so. It is not Christians who do not have the courage to deal with reality; rather, it is you. You are not courageous enough to live in world where rape, murder, theft and lying are not only not considered not wrong, but are not prohibited by law. You don’t even advocate a thoroughgoing Nietzschean or Immoralist world view. You still hold on to the Christian commands “Though shall not murder” and “Though shall not steal” and “Thou shall not bear false witness.” As Nietzsche said in “Twilight of the Idols”:
“When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely not self-evident: one must make this point clear again and again, in spite of English shallow-pates.”
You, like the English shallow-pates, refuse to abandon Christianity wholesale. Your humanitarianism, while quite laudable, reminds me of those pious atheists that Max Stirner mentions in “The Ego and His Own.” You do not seem to have abandoned clericalism. Clericalism, according to Max Stirner, means that “to live and to work for an idea is man’s calling, and according to the faithfulness of its fulfillment his human worth is measured.” Why fight the state? Given your argument against rekindling the culture war, i.e., that it is lost, then by your own logic you should stop fighting for anarchism since the battle against statism was lost long before the culture war was lost. You might respond that the battle for freedom never ends. I would agree and argue that battling for culture never ends either.
You state in your podcast that I was mistaken in claiming that you never questioned your beliefs or other anarchists and then proceeded to give part of your ideological evolution to make the point. Firstly, I found it strange that you would have believed me to be claiming that you never criticize your fellow anarchists when I never made such a claim and said as much in the comment section of my article. Secondly, I did not mean that your ideas have never changed over the span of your life, but that during the present period of your life anarchism is accepted as dogmatically by you as the Quran is by an Islamic Mullah or the Talmud by a Rabbi. Your defense of anarchism has a ‘just so’ ring to it that would fail to persuade the critic, and if similar ‘just so’ arguments were offered by statists, Christians, Muslims or Marxists you would swiftly and rightfully reject them.
Most importantly, in claiming to be a philosophical skeptic you prevent yourself from ever being able to stop being skeptical of any and all points of fact. Whether you deny objective morality or merely deny our ability to discern it, you are left without any standard to judge the truth for falsity of ideas and thus all ideas are equally probable and equally improbable. A skeptic must be as skeptical, if not more so, of his own views than of his opponents. It is apparent, however, that despite being a skeptic you are quite certain of your own anarchist and social values, or rather you are more certain of the truth of your own opinions than of the truth in your opponent’s opinions, which is a position you are philosophically incapable of sustaining.
To further make my point that immorality or vice is an essential tool in the tyrant’s tool kit in suppressing freedom in man, I will again quote Marquis de Sade:
“ .. for the state of a moral man is one of tranquility and peace, the state of an immoral man is one of perpetual unrest that pushes him to, and identifies him with, the necessary insurrection in which the republic must always keep the government of which it he is a member.”
De Sade then goes on to mention that this state of turmoil is necessary, for it instills martial instincts into the soul of the immoral man, and such instincts can be used to expand the Republican Empire. We see in Marquis de Sade the realization that the libertine is not harmless or peaceful, but violent, murderous and dangerous. De Sade openly admits that he is enslaving men and women to the chains of his libertinage, but does not care for their wellbeing as this will gratify his lusts. Libertinage is merely another form of violence and oppression; no less than slavery, political repression or religious fanaticism.
Similar sentiments are echoed by Ralph Peters in “Constant Conflict”. Peters states that American culture, with its inherent sexual vulgarity and violence, is a potent tool in conquering our enemies. Our enemies have to fight the enemy within (our cultural fifth column) as well as the US military. Being weakened by our culture of profligacy, our military is poised to defeat the enemies of the American Empire.
“The contemporary expansion of available information is immeasurable, uncontainable, and destructive to individuals and entire cultures unable to master it. The radical fundamentalists–the bomber in Jerusalem or Oklahoma City, the moral terrorist on the right or the dictatorial multiculturalist on the left–are all brothers and sisters, all threatened by change, terrified of the future, and alienated by information they cannot reconcile with their lives or ambitions. They ache to return to a golden age that never existed, or to create a paradise of their own restrictive design. They no longer understand the world, and their fear is volatile.”
“Yes, foreign cultures are reasserting their threatened identities–usually with marginal, if any, success–and yes, they are attempting to escape our influence. But American culture is infectious, a plague of pleasure, and you don’t have to die of it to be hindered or crippled in your integrity or competitiveness. The very struggle of other cultures to resist American cultural intrusion fatefully diverts their energies from the pursuit of the future. We should not fear the advent of fundamentalist or rejectionist regimes. They are simply guaranteeing their peoples’ failure, while further increasing our relative strength.”
“If the Trojans “saw” Athena guiding the Greeks in battle, then the Iraqis saw Luke Skywalker precede McCaffrey’s tanks.”
“American culture is criticized for its impermanence, its “disposable” products. But therein lies its strength. All previous cultures sought ideal achievement which, once reached, might endure in static perfection. American culture is not about the end, but the means, the dynamic process that creates, destroys, and creates anew. If our works are transient, then so are life’s greatest gifts–passion, beauty, the quality of light on a winter afternoon, even life itself. American culture is alive.”
Like Marquis de Sade, Peters realizes that a culture of constant flux, a flux fueled by sexual lust and blood lust, is the engine which drives the vehicle of Empire. The libertines will never defeat tyranny because libertinage is a vital component of tyranny (either on the end of the Oppressor or that of the Oppressed), as Boetie, de Sade, Huxley and Peter’s all admit. Furthermore you cannot accuse of me of only citing conservatives or moral prudes, for in fact most my evidence comes from the very moral perverts who profess and prescribe these ideas!
Thaddeus Russell admits the danger of such libertines in his “Renegade History of the United States”:
“But let me make one thing absolutely clear. This book does not advocate a renegade revolution. Were the heroes of this book to take control of society, it would be a living hell. No one would be safe on the streets, chaos would reign, and the garbage would never be collected.”
Russell is arguing for parasitism. He admits that if the renegades took over the host (society) would die, but desires that the parasites (Renegades) be tolerated; this makes as much sense as saying to the dog “don’t let the tick get too big, but don’t remove it either. Let’s give the tick enough blood to live, but not enough to kill you.” This logic is madness. A libertine by definition is a parasite, because by definition his lifestyle is one of idleness and sloth, and it cannot be prescribed as a sustainable standard of living for all people. The Libertine forces others to work for him so he has the leisure to satisfy his lusts. The weak libertines (negroes) become slaves and the strong libertines (Marquis de Sade and Nero) become dictators. The Libertine, as he descends further into his libertinage, is forced by nicety and convention to plunder the work of other men in order maintain his ‘standard’ of living.
My argument about slavery and immorality is further born out by Russell on pages 83, and 89-90 of his work, where he records freed Negros complaining about the work that they had to do as slaves and the libertine pleasures they had to forgo in freedom. Only in slavery is one ‘free’ to engage in libertinage, and libertines seldom like the rigors of hard work and freedom.
There is no sound argument for any society to allow for libertinage, as it will rot out its soul and render the people slaves, first to their unrestrained passions and second to clever men. In fact there is no debate that immoral people are either slaves or tyrants, and that the one cannot exist without the other. People on both sides of the issue, de Sade, Huxley, Peters and Russell on the one hand (representing Vice) and Moses, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Christ, Augustine, Aquinas, Boetie and E. Michael Jones (representing Virtue) on the other all agree on this fact. This is not a debate, since both sides of argument accept the premises I have given. See also “Revolution from Above” by Kerry Bolton, especially chapter 8 “Revolution by Degeneracy”. You cannot overthrow the State while simultaneously advocating libertinage because you are accepting the State’s controlled ‘counterculture’ and conforming to patterns that are beneficial for the State and easy for the State to control. Trying to fight the State with sex, drugs and Rock n’ Roll is about as efficacious as training a young woman to protect her virginity by sending her to a brothel.
Your claim that because the modern left restricts certain behaviors such as drug use, certain sexual practices, etc, it is thus rendered similar to Christian and Islamic prudes is ridiculous. Are you telling me that a society that teaches six-year olds how to use a condom, contra “Brave New World”, in sex education classes has anything in common with conservative social values or seeks to restrict erotomania in any meaningful way?
Finally, you did not really grapple with my charges of 1) hypocrisy, 2) your inability to sustain moral arguments as a Nietzschian atheist, 3) that you are in fact not really a skeptic but a pious atheist and 4) that social perversion is a form of political control developed by tyrants to control the masses.
 http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COMMENTARY.HTM (This figure of 110,000,000 was revised by adding more killed to Mao Zedong see: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/RummelDemocide.php)
 The Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer (Penguin Classics) pg 80-81
 Renegade History of the United States, pg 9