This is a pretty good critique of the “flag and a pie and a mom and a Bible” crowd. Although it’s obvious weakness is that it fails to take totalitarian humanism and its relationship to the digital capitalist revolution seriously. “Christian nationalists” are a minority political faction in the US that do not reflect the views of the general power elite, even if they are sometimes used as useful idiots by factions within the power elite.
Seth Andrews addresses the rise (and impending fall) of American Christian Nationalism.
By Ruth Kinna
This paper explores the ways in which radical utopian themes have been taken up in contemporary anarchist thought and, in particular, the relationship between utopianism and prefiguration. Prefiguration has become a definitional concept in anarchist political thinking, though the meaning of the term is not always clear and it is used to describe a range of positions and ideas. It has a special significance for protest movements, recently the Occupy movement. By probing the meanings that attach to the term and reflecting on the nature of the utopianism that prefiguration describes, the paper considers how utopia limits and extends the possibilities of protest in contemporary radical politics.
A pretty interesting discussion of the Left/Right divide from a thone-and-altar perspective. My take on the Left/Right dichotomy is that while there are important philosophical differences between the two but, as Kirkpatrick Sale and Peter Marshall have pointed out, the wider anarchist critique of power is over and above either one. Both Edmund Burke and his “Vindication of Natural Society” and Thomas Paine and his “Age of Reason” were prototypical left and right anarchists.
By Ricardo Duchesne
No one knows Friedrich Julius Stahl (1802 – 1861). He was a legal philosopher of Jewish parentage who converted to Christianity and became a conservative defender of Prussian Lutheran conservatism against the imposition of Enlightenment values. He rejected Hegel’s argument that one could create polities based on principles generated by rational minds rather than principles sanctioned by “divine authorities”. Stahl insisted that any politics that derived its principles from human reason in abstraction from the traditional rights and Christian beliefs of the German nation violated the natural distinctions between men and “God’s ordering of the world”.
This has been a standard argument of traditional conservatives since the “counter-Enlightenment” movement against the French Revolution of 1789. It is an argument that has suffered one defeat after another in the face of the relentless advance of science, and the rights of individuals to pursuit their own happiness. Traditionalist eulogies for the “divine sanctity of monarchical rule,” the value of faith, and the inborn merits of the aristocracy, have been no match for the leftist celebration of “progress,” “education over ignorance,” “tolerance over intolerance,” the “open society” over the “closed minded” world of conservatism.
By Aryeh Botwinick,TELOS
From a Machiavellian perspective, peace is war by other means. You can have a much greater watchful vigilance of your former (or future) opponent in times of peace than in a time of war. Israel as a sponsor (or co-sponsor) of a kind of Middle East Marshall Plan: Rebuilding your enemy so that he becomes your ally and friend. Enemies must learn to use each other’s weapons. The weakness of the Palestinians has to be matched by the deliberate, self-consciously generated weakness of the Israelis in the form of benevolence and generosity in order for both sides to emerge as triumphant. If this approach is pursued, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict harbors the prospect of turning into a sum-sum conflict, where both sides stand equally to gain by pursuing peace.
By Elham Manea, TELOS
It is becoming difficult lately to turn on the news. And I do not just mean the American presidential elections. The year 2020 was and still is a hard one. COVID-19 has dominated our lives with its limitations. But it has also welded people together in every corner of the world in the fight against a persistent and ultimately deadly virus. This struggle, this common challenge, has united us and yet divided us. We are still irritated by the lockdowns, afraid of their economic repercussions, and divided in our ideological fronts. Times like these are worrying and provide fertile ground for conspiracy theorists and right-wing and left-wing extremist groups.
In times like these, our societies can all too easily become polarized, and we run the risk of being trapped in a discourse of division, trapped in identity boxes. “Us” versus “Them.”
By Russell Berman, TELOS
In the wake of recent killings in Paris and Nice, as well as in Vienna, the debate over “Islamism” has regained prominence in Europe, especially in France. Islamism as a political ideology must of course be rigorously distinguished from Islam, the religion. That conceptual distinction ought to be readily understandable and familiar from previous iterations of responses to terrorism. What however appears to be new in the current French discussion is the perceived linkage between Islamism, terrorist violence, and academic post-colonialism, regarded as providing a justification for the violence. That association is being made at high levels in the Macron government, generating considerable controversy. That is the context for the open letter published in Le Monde, translated below. Do academic ideas have consequences in the world?
My take on the question of “equality” is the same as Benjamin Tucker’s, i.e. “equal liberty” rather than “equality” per se. The problem with the Lockean-Jeffersonian liberal view of “equality” or “liberty” is that it was applied only to certain classes, races, religions, or genders rather than everyone. The problem with the progressive-leftist view of equality is that it posits “sameness” rather than liberty per se. This article by Bill Lind is interesting because it reflects a traditional “throne and altar” type of conservatism (like Joseph De Maistre) which is, for obvious reasons, increasingl rare in modernity. Another interesting modern writer in this genre is Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.
William S. Lind, Traditional Right
If it seems that demands for “equality” lie at the heart of most of the troubles now facing our country, well, they do. Equality is the ideal demand from those whose goal is our destruction because it cannot be met, no matter how hard we may try. If there is one thing people are not it is equal. We differ in so many ways that only iron tyranny, like that of Stalin, can create even an appearance of equality. And in Stalin’s Soviet Union, some comrades were still more equal than others. Stalin did not go hungry because millions of Ukrainians were starving.
By Troy Southgate
At the turn of the century, when I was still formulating my own National-Anarchist ideas, I made a point of saying that our communities must be based around a central or unifying vision and I still believe this to be the case. As an Absolute Idealist, I believe that everything comes from a single infinite substance and that the distinction between subject and object is false. Like Schelling, I believe that nature is visible spirit and that spirit is invisible nature. However, I do not accept that everybody else should be dragged into the same orbit as myself on account of my own monist proclivities.
Lewis’ “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” is well worth checking out.
By David Downing, Chronicles
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) is arguably the most influential Christian writer of the 20th century. To tell the story of his life is to speak of a remarkable journey out of youthful skepticism into the joyful discovery of faith; of an embattled defense of traditional moral sanity; and of a profound artistry in the creation of fictional worlds that has touched the lives of millions around the globe.
Among his works of Christian apologetics, The Screwtape Letters (1942) and Mere Christianity (1952) continue to be best sellers more than half a century after his death. His literary criticism, such as The Allegory of Love (1936) and A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), are still required reading for many graduate students in English. And The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-1956), a series of children’s stories, have sold more than 100 million copies.
Despite this spectacular success in connecting with readers, Lewis liked to call himself a dinosaur. In his 1954 inaugural lecture as the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Lewis explained that he was one of the last living specimens of “Old Western Man,” someone whose worldview was grounded in classical learning and shaped by Christian faith. He applauded his newly created title, saying that the continuity between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was much greater than any changes that might have occurred during the years encompassing those two eras.
Heroes go above and beyond the call of duty, acting boldly in the face of fear, defying it. Cowards fail to do what they’re expected, giving in to fear, shying away from action. Is your anarchism duty-free, or duty-bound? What are the countless duties imposed by society? Waging war, working, and providing care, all activities that ensure its reproduction and maintenance. Is your anarchism warlike, is it like a work in progress? Is it caring or careless, careful or carefree?
Who does society venerate as heroes? Those who excel in their line of duty; frontliners: like soldiers, cops, firefighters, medical professionals; and those come to the rescue, rising to the occasion due to circumstance, rather than trade. Isn’t the hero always the good guy? Who does society vilify as cowards? Those who refuse to attack as ordered; like draft-dodgers and deserters. As well as those who sneakily attack it; like violent protestors who hide behind masks and incite property destruction, or terrorists with their dastardly plots. It can also deem suicides as cowards. Suicide bombers doubly so.
What is it to be heroic or cowardly in anarchy? Can there even be such a thing as anarchic duties? Self-sacrifice for fear of being called a coward is conformism. Maybe heroism and cowardice are merely the carrot and the stick of Duty coercing you into doing as you’re told, or as you’re expected to act. Rewarding you for good behavior, punishing you for bad behavior, enforcing obedience according to the dictates of Morality. How is anarchy distinct from Christian morality and society’s dominant values? Can we imagine anarchy beyond good & evil? Where do you draw the line?
Does your anarchy consider terrorism, but not massacre?
I can’t say I really have a problem with canceling Kant. If religion is the opium of the masses, then philosophical idealism, moral realism, and deontological ethics are the opium of the intellectuals.
By Norbert Bolz, TELOS
The art of scandalizing is inexhaustible. In Kant’s Anthropology, there are a few remarks familiar to anyone who has studied Kant. According to the standards of the spirit our time, one could characterize those as racist. That media attention can be sparked from this today is known since the leveling of similar accusations at Shakespeare and Mark Twain. Hegel praised war, Nietzsche proclaimed the necessity of slavery, the hypersensitive Walter Benjamin made use of the word “gypsy.” One could endlessly extend the proscription list of scandalous thinkers. For the block warden of thought, there is really not a single great mind before 1968 with whom some racist, militaristic, or misogynistic remark could not be substantiated.
One could call what is happening here tribalization of the past. Political correctness is spreading to thought itself and deep into history. In this connection, the hatred for old white men is now concentrated on old wise men. This is surely the most extreme form of cultural revolution since Mao. Steadfast, the guardians of virtue replace thinking with intolerance and self-righteousness. The victim status renders with its pathos of indignation any argumentation superfluous. The new Jacobins no longer content themselves here with language-hygienic measures. We are currently witnessing phase 2 of political correctness: fanatical iconoclasm. As though the past were still unfinished, history is being rewritten. Children’s books are being expurgated or censored; a gender-sensitive Bible frees God of the stain of being a father; streets are being renamed, holidays corrected, and statues toppled. The Taliban are among us.
In America, the word “woke” has come to serve as the trademark of this movement. This means that the moralistic standards of “snowflakes” are also being applied to the past. This woke and cancel culture is the most authoritarian that we have seen since the Second World War. One no longer wishes to understand, but to condemn. In this way, Zola’s “J’accuse” has become the global uniform of political agitation. “Racist” functions in this way worldwide as a passe-partout word that opens up for the new Jacobins access to media and politics. And unfortunately this also applies to scientists, who rely on brightly sparkling research funds.
The fact that it is now Kant, philosopher of the Enlightenment, who has fallen victim to the tribunalizers, should make it clear to everyone that the fate of occidental rationalism is at stake here. One can put Kant up “to debate,” without reading him. For reading Kant is very exacting—and this is something that even with the best of intentions can be avoided. After all, the tribunalization of the past has an important alleviating effect. A label is stuck to a great mind, and one no longer needs to deal with him. “Putting up for debate” replaces studying.
But AR libertarians would side with the bears.
As a moral skeptic, the argument I have often made to moral realists/objectivists is that “bad people” (for example, serial killers) are no different than wild animals like bears that attack people in the words. Is it necessary to defend against them? Obviously. But getting on some moral high horse about “good and evil” or its modern incarnation of “human rights” is about as pointless as complaining about the bears’ lack of moral understanding.
“When a group of libertarians set about scrapping their local government, chaos descended. And then the bears moved in.”
By Patrick Blanchfield, New Republic
In its public education campaigns, the U.S. National Park Service stresses an important distinction: If you find yourself being attacked by a brown or grizzly bear, YES, DO PLAY DEAD. Spread your arms and legs and cling to the ground with all your might, facing downward; after a few attempts to flip you over (no one said this would be easy), the bear will, most likely, leave. By contrast, if you find yourself being attacked by a black bear, NO, DO NOT PLAY DEAD. You must either flee or, if that’s not an option, fight it off, curved claws and 700 psi-jaws and all.
But don’t worry—it almost never comes to this. As one park service PSA noted this summer, bears “usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all?” In other words, if you encounter a black bear, try to look big, back slowly away, and trust in the creature’s inner libertarian. Unless, that is, the bear in question hails from certain wilds of western New Hampshire. Because, as Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling’s new book suggests, that unfortunate animal may have a far more aggressive disposition, and relate to libertarianism first and foremost as a flavor of human cuisine.
The Mindcrime Liberty Show is joined by Rik Storey to discuss whether Libertarianism is a reactionary/traditional or liberal/libertine system of thinking? Is libertarianism about free love, abortion, and drugs as often times criticized by conservatives? Or is it a form of private landed patriarchal tyranny as believed by average social democrats and Noam Chomsky? We discuss the dispute between Hoppe, Tucker, and Block over what libertarian attitudes ought to be towards culture. Is Hoppe’s realistic strategy the correct strategy or is Tucker’s more liberal more likely? What is the underpinning culture of libertarianism? Is it traditional Christianity or Liberalism? Is Christianity traditional? What is libertarianism and Christianity’s relationship to family and children?
Where are the woke folks?
By Doug Bandow, The American Conservative
Six years ago, the Islamic State appeared well on its way to creating a modern “caliphate,” or Islamist nation-state. The jihadist message of murder and mayhem drew thugs and cretins from around the world. They sought to serve Allah by murdering, kidnapping, and raping their way across Iraq and Syria.
Unfortunately, Washington made it easy for ISIS. Iraq suffered through a sectarian war triggered by the U.S. invasion. The Bush administration removed Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, allowing the Shia majority to take control. Shiites enjoyed their new position atop the political order, oppressing the once-ruling Sunnis. Sectarian governance and conflict fueled a murderous insurgency. After demonstrating that it was far better at destroying the old order than creating a new one, Washington withdrew. Fearful Sunnis turned for protection to the Islamic State, a group seemingly based in the 6th century.
One of the most interesting things about Thomas Hobbes is that while he was writing in the context of the English Civil War, he rarely if ever took sides between the quarreling dynastic and clerical factions, and when he did it was obviously for cynical and pragmatic. Probably because he recognized all the factions as collections of idiots, lunatics, and morons, not unlike our present situation.
But the regrettable thing about Hobbes is that he provided modern states with the first principle of their self-legitimating ideological superstructure (so-called “social contract” theory) as opposed to previous dynastic and theocratic claims of legitimacy. Social contract theory was debunked centuries ago, even if most modern people continue to believe in it, just like many continue to believe in astrology and the four-leaved clover.
“During the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre”
Did the Know-Nothings know something after all?
By Ronald Brownstein
President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett continues the GOP’s remarkable streak of selecting Catholic jurists for the Supreme Court and underscores the enduring impact of the alliance between conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants, which has transformed the Republican coalition.
I am something of a Stoic. Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, was the first Western proto-anarchist that we know of.
By Maria Popova
By Frank Martela
If you had everything else you wanted but your life lacked meaning, would it still be worth living? For the rich Russian count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), the towering author of such classics as War and Peace and Anna Karenina, this was not a merely theoretical question. This was a matter of life and death: “Why should I live?… What real indestructible essence will come from my phantasmal, destructible life?” was the question he asked himself. In his autobiography, My Confession (1882), he wrote that as long as he was unable to find a satisfactory answer to the question of meaning, “the best that I could do was to hang myself.” What makes ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ such a powerful question that inability to deliver a satisfactory answer can push a person to the brink of a suicide?
By Keith Preston
An Overview of Marxist Theory
During the middle part of the nineteenth century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels outlined a comprehensive theory concerning how human societies evolve over time, and the factors that shape the character of particular societies. According to Marxist theory, human history is the history of the rise and fall of different kinds of economic systems, and it is the economic relationships that human beings enter into that determine every other aspect of their society at any particular time. A new economic system emerges when an older system has exceeded its historical purpose. New economic systems (“modes of production”) develop within the context of the system they eventually replace. Feudalism developed out of primitive societies, and capitalism developed out of feudalism. Marx and Engels believed that communism would develop out of the conditions created by capitalism.
The emergence of each new economic system, or mode of production, comes about as a result of conflict. The conditions of the older economic system give rise to the newer one, and the two systems eventually come into conflict with one another with the rising economic forces supplanting the declining ones. However, this conflict is not something that human beings deliberately choose to engage in. Instead, human consciousness and thought is shaped by the material conditions human beings find themselves in. The ideas that dominate the intellectual life of a particular period in history are determined by the existing set of economic relationships, and the dominant mode of production. Marx and Engels believed that culture is an outgrowth of the material forces that shape the economy.
The people who run this site are just as much of a “cult” as all of the groups they hate. However, any one of the groups on this list could likewise be the basis for intentional communities for folks who share common beliefs and values.
This Index contains brief definitions, descriptions or cross references on over 1,200 religious organizations and beliefs, as well as world religions (including Christianity) and related doctrines. Watchman Fellowship is a Christian apologetics and discernment ministry; thus, many references (“Jesus,” “Gospel,” “Christianity,” etc.) contain definitions that reflect the beliefs of Watchman’s staff. While Watchman Fellowship does not hold to the beliefs of non-Christian religions and doctrines, we also attempt to describe these beliefs factually, fairly and accurately. Readers are asked to assist in this effort by suggesting corrections or improvements.
This is by no means a complete list of cults and religions. Watchman Fellowship maintains over 10,000 files and a research library of over 25,000 books and periodicals on religions, cults, new religious movements and related teachings. The absence of a religious movement from this index does not mean that Watchman Fellowship endorses the organization.
By its primary dictionary definition, the term cult just means a system of religious beliefs or rituals. It is based on a farming term in Latin meaning cultivation. Sociologists and anthropologists sometimes use the term cult to describe religious structure or belief patterns with meanings (usually non-pejorative) unique to their disciplines. In modern usage, the term cult is often used by the general public to describe any religious group they view as strange or dangerous. Thus, cult can describe religious leaders or organizations that employ abusive, manipulative, or illegal control over their followers’ lives.