Smoke By Walrus


It is a dry autumn here at the farm and the air is full of smoke from controlled burns of the forests around us. From about 1830, Sea captains regularly reported thick smoke as they tried to close the Victorian coast in autumn. The Australian aborigines actively managed their tribal lands with fire – burning off the undergrowth to stimulate spring grasses that attract kangaroos and make it easier to hunt. The whole region was burnt out in a patchwork about every five years. These were “cool bushfires” because the fuel load on the ground was never allowed to accumulate too much. The Aboriginals sometimes even apologized to explorers for the state of the underbrush in unburned country, the way your neighbor today apologises for his unkempt lawn.

However, by the 1960’s we knew better. Green environmental activists backed by their academic supporters declared the Australian forests were “sensitive”, “pristine” "Threatened" and “fragile”. Burning was of course immediately stopped. Four wheel drives and horse touring banned, camping restricted and, cattle grazing of the high plains prohibited. The bush was to be a shrine to nature, ministered to by bushwalker acolytes whose tiny footprints left no marks. The great unwashed, campers, drivers, loggers, etc. were to be kept at a respectful distance.

One Hundred and Seventy Three people died in the bushfires that raged around Melbourne on 7th February 2009 as a direct result of the “no burn” policy of this “pristine” wilderness.. When blame was sheeted home to a lack of regular burning and a new policy announced, the greens announced that they would support it – provided the burning strategy was ‘sensitive” and “nuanced”. I almost threw up when I heard him. One Hundred and Seventy Three lives.

Today I hear about an alleged chemical attack in Syria. More smoke. No doubt President Trump is going to be pressured to apply a sensitive and nuanced no fly zone over Idlib province – for the children of course. The same type of useful idiots who corrupted our forest management policy are at work here – believers in the essential goodness of everyone, the same way they believed that nature is a weak virgin instead of a tough old bitch. They refuse to believe that human beings are not perfectible and that goes double for the jihadi inhabitants of Idlib. How many lives will be lost if the Russians, Syrians and Iranians refuse to accept our benevolent strictures?

Of course I am being charitable when I say “useful idiots”. Having worked in Academia, I know there is no cause that won’t be taken up, no point of view so extreme that an academic or two cannot be found to give it a gloss of scholarly imprimatur if sufficient money is offered. And that goes double again for think tanks. The net result of the last Thirty years of useful idiots work was summarized beautifully when Francis Fukuyama declared “the end of history” after the fall of the soviet union – meaning that market driven liberal democracy was the final highest state of humanity and we had just achieved it.

What has happened since should have had a salutary effect on the useful idiots beliefs; the abject failure of “responsibility to protect” wars, the fallout from globalization in terms of unemployment as evidenced by Brexit and the election of president Trump, the scandals over tax evasion by multinational corporations not to mention the mess that is illegal immigration in Europe and America, should have given the useful idiots pause for thought. Maybe not everyone wants to be an American. Maybe globalization has a downside and maybe, just maybe, humans are not perfectible? I am driven to compare the situation of todays useful idiots with their compatriots in Oxford and Cambridge around 1860. Up to then religious belief was taken as a given. It was an organizing principle behind philosophy economics and public policy. Academia was very happy with this situation. If you wanted to know what you ought to do, look no further than the bible for principles. Then Darwin published “On The Origin Of Species” and what followed was the removal of religion as an organizing principle and total collapse of established philosophical positions, culminating in the great war.

So where does that leave us today? The globalists / R2Pers are in disbelief at the election of President Trump, Brexit and perhaps the election in France of Marine le Pen. They are pushing back, generating lots of smoke, but will fail. It has become obvious that globalization has losers as well as winners and the losers can still perhaps vote against their destruction. The philosophical basis of globalization does not sufficiently allow for rampant corporate tax evasion nor the destabilizing effects it has had on national sovereignty to the point where the Westphalian principles are under attack. So much for “progress”.

Then of course there are the upcoming shocks to ordinary workers of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and other new technologies. I have just witnessed some of this first hand, the poor bastards who came to install my satellite internet service had to document and photograph every step of the process on their iPad – leading of course to a set of performance metrics. The latest from Sweden of all places is the injection of employees with RFID chips. Given the greed and short term focus of Wall Street and the aforesaid developing tools for micromanagement of staff, it is not too hard to speculate what life as an employee of a corporation is going to be like in say Five years time. We simply do not have the philosophical tools to construct a rational and humane set of philosophies and policies to manage this. The doctrine of “progress” has failed us. Clearly, at least to me, a major philosophical rethink of our existence is required. Even Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan has recently said “something is wrong”. To be clear, if there is not a rethink of the directions we are heading then Orwells prediction – a boot grinding the face of humanity, forever, will come true.

The doctrine of progress – the history of humanity as a journey to liberal democracy, as espoused by Fukuyama and even Hillary Clinton, is fatally flawed. The old world is dead, the new one is powerless to be born. We need a new debate over philosophical directions. Religion has failed us. The doctrine of “progress” leads to a dead end. Nationalism is a dangerous concept. We need to rethink ourselves before we are overtaken by events. I await the first academics and university to realise what has happened and start reappraising the situation, I think they will be richly rewarded 

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56 Responses to Smoke By Walrus

  1. Peter AU says:

    I often think that the further people are distanced from the most basic needs of survival – procuring food and shelter – the further their philosophies are distanced from any basis in reality.

  2. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Excellent analysis. Two points:
    1-re: “I await the first academics and university to realise what has happened and start reappraising the situation“.
    I doubt this will happen w/out strife. The U.S. Democrats are still blaming Broomstick One’s loss on Putin’s interference…
    2-IMO colonialism can be considered as the first attempt of elites at globalism. It led to the 1st World War, which led to the 2nd World War and I was afraid that, had Broomstick One gotten elected, the current globalist cabal would have started the third world war.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  3. Peter AU says:

    Nationalism is equated with aggression. Patriotism – the last refuge of the scoundrel.
    If there is no nationalism nor patriotism, not so much to a political entity, but to a countries independence and history, how can there be sovereignty?

  4. Swerv21 says:

    Global capital, technology, financial transactions, manufacturing etc. ideally operate in a frictionless and seamless environment which is nonspecific, to the extent that you could be in Shanghai, Boston or Dubai- it wouldn’t really matter, the operating environment should be the same.
    Regional culture is informed first by the local geography, the climate, the play of light, terroir, topography. Out of this comes a ‘rooted’ set of cultural practices that represent a resistance which globalism ultimately has a hard time tolerating.
    Globalism seeks to ‘flatten’ the ground on which rooted culture depends. Regional culture will seek to increase its resistance in response.
    There can only be two choices here. Either these two forces reach an equilibrium or the conflict between them increases until they do. When and how this happens will. I think vary from reqion to region.
    Ultimately I think that total victory by global culture is impossible because it would be intolerable for so many. Regional differences must be respected in the end, the alternative would be a banal, featureless technologically driven flow of material resources across the globe with nothing distinguishing one place from another, I think there is something in human nature that would resist such a fate.

  5. FourthAndLong says:

    Increasingly people of late are guided by Adam Smith’s vile maxim: Everything for us and nothing for anyone else.

  6. Aristonicus says:

    I wonder how much blame for the fire-prone state of the contemporary Australian bush can be laid at the door of the relevant state governments underfunding their state national parks. I noticed this in relation to the Canberra bush fire of 2003 [I was living in the suburb of Banks at the time] where the enquiry showed that no fire trails were bulldozed, likewise controlled burns due to lack of funding. I have heard that farmers are hesitant to burn off anything due to the risk of getting sued by neighbours. There is a lot of short-sightedness in Australian politics and life, examples are too numerous to list here. When I think about the quality of soil when the native population was managing it, and what we are left with today it just frustrates me.

  7. johnf says:

    “Then Darwin published “On The Origin Of Species” and what followed was the removal of religion as an organizing principle and total collapse of established philosophical positions, culminating in the great war.”
    The mad theories of Social Darwinism were not only used to justify late nineteenth century capitalism and imperialism, but were central to firing the concept of racial superiority which drove the armies of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and enabled them to excuse to themselves the massacre of millions of civilians.
    Today one belief system beyond all others continues to be inspired and driven by the mad racial theories of Social Darwinism – ironically justified by the results of a previous bout of Social Darwinism – Zionism.
    Just because we don’t believe in Him any longer does not mean that God is going to desert us. He has this mad love for us.

  8. JJackson says:

    You missed Democracy as another much lauded system that has failed to survive attack. It has always had constraints put upon it through the limit of franchise and now, in the US particularly and the West more generally, we seem to be transitioning from ‘one-man-one-vote’ to 1-$-1-vote much as capitalism is now consumer-capitalism rather than social-capitalism. Like you I think we need a major overhaul to our political, economic, religious and social systems. Communication & Education also need a reboot with greater emphasis on critical thinking so that the crap we are spoon-fed is not swallowed prior to investigation.

  9. Virginia Slim says:

    Jacques Ellul’s “The Technological Society” would likely be of interest to many of you.

  10. turcopolier says:

    The Borg is now launched into a mutually comforting ascending spiral of war enthusiasm. The thought that the “gas massacre” may well be a fraud has been completely rejected in America. Air campaign plans are bruited about by people of limited experience Lindsay Graham, (a retired USAF reserve lawyer)and Adam Kinzinger, a wild eyed Air National Guard non-pilot who now sits in the House of representatives. When challenged by Bill O’Reilly over the presence of Russian forces in Syria, Graham replied that the Russian have to remove their forces from the country. Kinzinger said the same thing this morning. pl

  11. LeaNder says:

    Aristonicus, I found the burning interesting. It triggered images. Not least since not long ago I spent some time in my mother’s garden. She meant to add a new area to the lawn, but the grass didn’t grow there, mainly weeds. Could I have simply burned it instead of trying to get out all the roots? … Never mind the more timid grass offshoots that showed here or there? 😉
    that said: curious, do you feel the “Green Activists” are the central culprits Walrus suggests in Australia? Am I completely misguided that biological farming goes back to more traditional roots? Burning, it feels, surely isn’t an easy equivalent to an antipathy towards chemicals in farming. But interesting that the Aborigines used it too, not only farmers. Who did and still seem to be doing it over here.

  12. ale bro says:

    although the non-existence of god as worshipped on earth was completely disproven by 19th century scientists, politicians in the uk are not able to acknowledge this fact. in the us “god bless america” is offered by all presidents without irony. in russia, there appears to be the start of some awful theocracy.
    clearly the only sensible country in world is iceland!

  13. Walrus, I read this post late yesterday. It made me think. Thank you.
    Rather than thinking about current situations in the world, I prefer to think about what we do know about the history of Mankind (I am not sorry, Nazi feminists. I like that word.) and the philosophies, ideologies, religions that guided people in the past.
    One book came to mind for me: The Alphabet vs the Goddess, by Leonard Schlain. I can’t remember when it came out, but I remember reading it in the late 90’s. I thought Schlain came to some very interesting conclusions about how human societies change from linear thinking societies (the alphabet) to a more artistic thinking societies (goddess) and back again and round and round. I am simplifying it, of course. Have you read it?
    And since I loved my readings in Middle English literature, after reading your post,
    I recalled the importance the concept of the Wheel of Fortune had for that time and which could still provide insight today.
    I think of Newton and his ideas of centrifugal and centripetal forces. That came to mind because in the Wheel of Fortune meme, those on the outer rim are buffeted about all the time, while those who find their way to the center are the ones who find truth.
    Anyway, your post started me thinking on those ideas and readings from my past readings.
    My final thought was about your comment about how Religion has failed us. I do agree that the institutions that claim “control” of various religious systems have certainly failed us. However, as a person raised in a Christian family and having attended Sunday school, Bible school, confirmation school and having joined a voluntary group of people during my MA program to read and discuss Christian mystics, I can say that my religious beliefs are about the only reason I am halfway sane in this current crazy space of time that we are on in the great Wheel of Fortune.
    Last night I watched two shows late into the night: one on the experiences of the soldiers in WWI from the beginning to end, and a similar show on WWII. I cam away thinking how war brings out the most noble side of humanity while dealing with the most fallen, degraded side of humanity. A trite, thought, perhaps, but watching these shows keeps me searching for that center.
    Again, thank you for posting your thoughts. I look forward to more from you.

  14. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    “The Borg is now launched into a mutually comforting ascending spiral of war enthusiasm.”
    Where does this “war enthusiasm” emanate from? What is driving it and to what end?

  15. Bill H says:

    You asked of Aristonicus, “do you feel the “Green Activists” are the central culprits Walrus suggests in Australia?”
    I can’t speak for Australia, but it is well documented that they are the central culprits here in the western United States. Their policy of not letting lightening-caused fires burn has resulted in forests choked with deadwood and dry understory growth, and fires that burn much, much hotter and faster than the fires that occurred when they were allowed to burn naturally. Today’s fires are so hot and fast that they consume vastly larger areas and kill trees which formerly survived.

  16. Ferrell says:

    I’d like to see support for these claims about environmentalists and Rx fire in Australia. Until then I would put them under the same heading as claims about this “gas attack”: horse-hockey.
    The 1960s were precisely when federal land managers in the US began to apply prescribed fire as a management tool, often with the encouragement of environmentalists.

  17. Clwydshire says:

    Briefly: There have been plenty of academics who have realized these failures. I would include among them Janine Wedel, the “political anthropologist,” if I may call her that, who wrote both “Shadow Elite” and “Unaccountable”, books that explore the kind of corruption and group think that got us here (and I learned about her on this blog, by the way, Colonel Lang’s firing by the Rumsfeld crowd figures in “Shadow Elite”). Before that, there was the historian Christopher Lasch, who excoriated modern leftist intellectuals for their actual contempt for ordinary people, described the connections between Progressive ideology and that contempt, and explored alternative perspectives with American roots. There is also Claes Ryn, who offered a description of just how much contemporary elites hate history, and distain historical particularity and local culture.
    But what the hell, the problem is, those kinds of ideas have had very little traction. Fail, and fail, and fail again in war because you don’t understand local culture? Fire all the Arabists in the Defense Department who actually speak Arabic?
    It happens over and over.
    It is institutions that have to change, or ideas will make little difference in our fate. Fake news? That’s all the MSM really has to offer. The ruling party now believes all of its own lies. No remedy to that but an entirely new set of barriers to power and influence. I don’t believe you can tell me how those could be erected without a terrible catastrophe, maybe a horrific lost war… A Carrington event and the collapse of civilization as we know it. A new Great Fear, like that that began the French Revolution? I don’t think (and all over the world, ordinary people have been trying) we can ditch our current elites in time.

  18. turcopolier says:

    Sam Peralta
    Walrus answered that for you this morning in “Smoke.” The liberal left world order types believe that with the “end of History (Fukuyama) the old workings of world society had come to an end and that mankind had emerged onto a broad and open plateau of rule driven “progress” in which there would be a grand new world order, an eternal Pax Americana. This is religion for them. For there to be an uncontrollable war in Syria that does not answer to their phony baloney diplomacy and that must be actually won by one side is anathema. Before the Russian intervention it had become inevitable that the AQ and FSA factions backed by the US “supervisors” of the Syrian rebellion would triumph over the Syrian Government and order would be restored in the great age of mankind The Russians deliberately “screwed that pooch” to prevent such an outcome and now a great opportunity has been staged to allow a “correction” of Obama’s refusal in 2013. The Borg rejoices in the possible achievement of their collective dream of world order. pl

  19. Ferrell says:

    This is not correct. In fact, it is almost completely bassackwards.
    Full-suppression of all wildfires goes back to the 1910 Big Burn.
    There are several other reasons which, taken together, account for our situation. None of these were caused by “environmentalists.” Here are a few:
    (1) Over-planting by CCC crews during the Great Depression
    (2) Aerially-delivered firefighters extinguishing lightning-caused fires in remote areas which should have been allowed to burn
    (3) Priority placed on parochial economic considerations (aka “getting the cut out” to keep local mills going) instead of healthy forest management
    (4) Resistance by private landowners fearing for property values due to “aesthetic considerations”
    (5) Hypersensitivity to air quality concerns blocking Rx fire.
    Many of these can be traced to a tendency to see trees only as timber (i.e. dollar signs) rather than part of an ecosystem – hardly an expression of green fanaticism.
    What environmentalists ARE doing is trying to block the harvest of bug and drought-killed stands throughout the west. This is bad, but it is only compounding a problem that they did not create.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Liberal Left is aided and abetted in their delusions by the self-styled and self-proclaimed Conservative Right – such as the US Senator of Arizona.
    I think Borg is a trans-national and trans-factional outlook that permeates and dominates many. It also silences dissenting voices by not giving them any scope to express any opposing view.
    Per your own observation, US Ambassadors are universally absent from popular TV programming; the same obtains in UK and indeed across Europe. People with knowledge are sidelined in favor of fantasists.

  21. Jack says:

    Wow! We’ve reached an amazing level of delusion here. It seems the only thing we can do is wait for the final denouement.
    Do you think McMaster will be the Dempsey this time and arrest the slide to catastrophe? Or is he a Borgist too?

  22. turcopolier says:

    I left the government in late ’94. Were the neocons already scattered around DoD under Clinton responsible? Wolfowitz would be an example. Clapper was Director of DIA then, a USAF person. He was under a lot of pressure from the USAF intelligence establishment to stop my consolidation of armed forces HUMINT under DIA. So, who knows, not me? pl

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In Spain, the Iranian Government funded Hispan TV has been severely restricted while the Wahhabi channel, Cordoba International TV has had been left unfettered.
    Fortress West has made her choices and you cannot expect anyone to be able to protect it against the consequences of its own choices.

  24. AK says:

    “…the alternative would be a banal, featureless technologically driven flow of material resources across the globe…”
    I believe the end game of the globalists is clearly a technologically driven flow of material resources in a vertical direction, as in up the ladder of economic prosperity, where the ever shrinking, but ever enriched, .01% amass more and more wealth unto themselves, while simultaneously doing away with any cultural features around which the unwashed masses can rally themselves. This is especially true of white European culture. It’s the only culture that has ever come under attack from so-called “multi-culturalists”. Homogeneous cultures in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are at least tolerated and sometimes exalted. Why? These are not yet a direct threat to globalist aims. Nor are the various minority sub-cultures in the western world. However, it’s a very dangerous thing for globalists to have white, European-descended peoples remember that they too are an identity group, far more dangerous to them than the various smaller minority groups asserting their own identity interests. Far easier to control those minorities through lip service to their various pet grievances, without actually giving them anything. You can see clearly in our current politics the backlash of the globalist elite and the fear that a re-assertion of white European cultural identity instills in them.

  25. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    Thank you! Very clear.
    It seems Howe & Strauss’s Fourth Turning theory may be vindicated here with a major war and I suppose the destruction of the Pax Americana “world order”. We live in very troubling times with many latent destructive forces coming to the surface. I am very curious how the ascendant power, China, will play this turn. They haven’t yet reached the threshold of economic & military strength to go head on with Pax Americana.
    My gut instinct is that Putin will back down and Assad will be sacrificed, if Trump is hellbent on getting out of the “Putin’s stooge” squeeze and risking direct conflict with Russia. Not that it will matter. If he bends to the Borg, they will taste weakness and go after him with even more vigor.

  26. gemini33 says:

    CNN’s Dana Bash has a “scoop” that Trump has told members of Congress he is considering military action against the Assad govt. Another anonymous leak, of course. McCain and Graham are calling for shutting down the Syrian air force and claim we “must show that no foreign power can or will protect Assad now.” So in other words, they’re counting on Russia and Iran backing down and apparently don’t care about the risk of killing Russian or Iranian troops in the process, or the world war that could spark.
    McCain is telling Trump that this is his “moment” in history. He is optimistic that Trump will “take some action,” goes on about Obama doing nothing in 2013, that Trump needs to correct that mistake. McCain is also talking about threatening that if Syrian air force flies, we will crater their air bases. Says we can do that “easily”. Also says we will create “safe zones.”
    Lister claims US military has radar evidence of Syrian air force dropping CW munitions. Doesn’t offer any links or quotes.
    US/UK/France have a UN resolution in the works. To be considered tonight, apparently around 7pm. Doesn’t appear to call for force, yet.
    I can’t shake this feeling of dread. I’m wondering if this is what it felt like during the Cuban missile crisis.

  27. If one wants to get by in life, it is commonly prudent to attempt to understand people of whom one does not approve. And indeed, the endeavour can be full of intellectual interest.
    Being partly, by background, a ‘self-hating Calvinist’, I have never found ‘Mayflower man’ difficult to understand. And indeed, I can get carried away by latent ‘Cromwellian’ sympathies, particularly when confronted by people like David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
    But my considered views, and deepest sympathies, are not with Cromwell, or indeed royalist ‘ultras’. As regards both the the English Civil War, and its American successor, they are with those who tried to hold a ‘middle ground’, and had to choose, when that became impossible, and then tried to restore that ‘middle ground’, after the attempt to impose a single ‘ideology’ on a diverse country had led to disaster.
    The Fairfax family had been crucial in turning the north of England against royal absolutism, and the Lord General Sir Thomas Fairfax won the decisive battle of Naseby in June 1645. But, a little over a decade later, he collaborated with another Cromwellian general, Monck, in enabling the restoration of Charles II.
    So, at heart, I am a ‘Fairfax man’ – in part, precisely because I do not find it difficult to empathise with Cromwell. Likewise, I do not find it difficult to understand Marxist millenarianism. And it is important to understand that the Jacobin mentality of the Russian ‘intelligenty’ was enormously attractive to intellectuals who were not ethnically Russian, and who lived in the ‘borderlands’ which had, traditionally, been contested by rival empires.
    Such people could turn nationalist – like TTG’s forbears. But some of them thought that to be nationalist, amid a chaotic ethnic, cultural, and religious muddle, was a recipe for a ‘war of all against all’.
    So, belief in an utopian future, guaranteed by a supposedly scientific analysis of history, which promised a new world in which all these old bitternesses and hatreds would be transcended, could be enormously attractive.
    If you want to understand how Dzerzhinsky ended, you need to understand how he started out – as an idealist.
    What has now happened is that the mentality of the Russian ‘intelligenty’ has come together with that of ‘Mayflower Man’, and both have been transformed in weird ways.
    Current history was anticipated in classic novels. Perhaps David Brooks is really a combination of Olive Chancellor, in Henry James’s ‘The Bostonians’, his great conflicted novel which talked about the Civil War through its aftermath, and ‘Ivan Homeless’, in ‘The Master and Margarita’, Mikhail Bulgakov’s great novel which is also, although this could not be made explicit, about the Russian civil war and its aftermath.
    And Bulgakov, like James, and also Herman Melville and Henry Adams in the works of art they created out of their different civil wars, could not but be on both sides of the argument.
    When, however, David Brooks starts talking about an American ‘myth’ – as though there was only one legitimate conception of the identity of people who came from outside into the ‘New World’ – I realise that this represents simply a particularly pernicious coming together of different kinds of ‘totalitarian’ thinking.
    So, ‘Mayflower man’ and the Russian ‘intelligenty’ come together with elements of – dubiously reconstructed – ‘fascist’ thinking, transmitted through Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom, ‘Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and All.’
    Unsurprisingly, we have Brooks talking in the ‘New York Times’ about a ‘unifying American story’, when his ‘story’ is now more capable of ‘unifying’ the diverse peoples of the contemporary United States than that of Trotky was capable of creating ‘unity’ in what had been the Russian Empire.
    (See .)
    This ‘totalitarian’ vision is, like those of Trotsky and Stalin, a recipe for fragmentation and division. It makes your country hated, among those people like Brooks expect will love it, and threatens to split it down the middle.

  28. I once wore a “Nietzsche is Dead” T-shirt to a class under the direction of a Marxist professor, who got his degree from Cambridge, where it must be a requirement to be Marxist. I did it because so many of the others in the class were contorting themselves to try to figure out how to show their Marxist creds in a class where the discussion of the material didn’t necessarily have to be stuffed at all into the Materialism that directs the underlying philosophies of Marxism. I was having to direct the questioning on an I.A. Richards essay that contained only one incidental passage that might fit into the materialistic Marxist worldview. When no one could answer my questions about the main points of Richards’ essay, I forced the professor to answer those questions. He could, but he was clearly annoyed that I asked the questions I felt Richards would want me to ask.
    I, as I have pointed out, am a Christian. It seems smug to me to assume that God has been proven not to exist when we have little idea what really happens after death.
    I was, and still am, fond of Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution. Bergson’s philosophy was eventually given more credit than when he first debated Einstein. The rationalism of Descartes is important, but keep in mind that Descartes used his sort of rationalism to prove to himself that God exists. Einstein’s early abstract rationalism had to eventually deal with quantum physics, while Bergson’s intuition and experience based theories were better able to handle that.
    I like the references to God in politicians’ speeches, and I pray to God that they are referencing him sincerely. As for Bergson, my experiences and intuition are as important to me as are the use of logic. I say that I have experienced God’s presence in my life. For someone to tell me that I am imagining it, is an insult.
    I once had a discussion with the surgeon who operated on my mother as she died on the table. He asked me to come in to talk with him because he knew I was the one who intuitively knew she would not survive the operation. He wanted to talk because he, as a surgeon, had been in discussions often with patients who wanted to tell them about their “out of body” experiences while under the knife.
    To claim that anyone can know how God is worshiped currently on earth means that the research is based on on perhaps a faulty understanding of how many people actually do worship God.

  29. different clue says:

    Did Darwin invent Social Darwinism itself? Or was that invented by others later? What role did British Victorian Imperialismists play in inventing Social Darwinism?
    Certainly the Malthusianist justifications and Free Market Moneytheism of the British authorities which informed their decisions to keep shipping grain, beef, and butter OUT of Ireland during the Potato Blight because “let the unworthy Irish die” are what turned the Potato Blight into the Potato Famine. And that came before Darwin.

  30. Jack says:

    Brace for impact.
    Putin now has to make a decision. Abandon Assad or fight Pax Americana. I think he folds.

  31. Clwydshirre says:

    If you don’t know, no one does. That the neocons were responsible was the impression I carried away from Wedel’s book, maybe assuming continuity with an interview you had with Feith in 2001. I should have looked at the book again before I commented. She does make it clear that Clinton and Bush Administrations saw a continuous evolution of what she calls “flexians” but I thought they almost always end up as neocons.

  32. turcopolier says:

    If knew I might feel better about it or worse. Many felt abandoned by my departure. That still hurts. pl

  33. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    I’m not so sure about that folding bit. I think that Richardstevenhack raises some very valid points (immediately below in this thread). And coming on the heels of the Islamist terrorist attack in St. Petersburg, bending the knee to the sponsors and perpetuators of this terrorism in his own nation will go hard with President Putin and many, many Russians I rather suspect.
    So, brace for impact, indeed. If it comes to that, it’s been nice knowing you, citoyens.

  34. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Your logic about Trump only making himself more vulnerable to the machinations of the Borg should he accede to their aggression against Syria and their allies, particularly Russia, is correct.
    As Richardstevenhack observes below, the stakes for Russia’s interests should they allow Syria to be done down are massive, and arguably irremediable. I am not of the opinion that President Putin, and more broadly, those in charge of the Russian national interest, will fold up their tents and slink away when these stakes are on the table.
    Perhaps there is some possibility that Trump can be convinced that his originally-voiced support for collaboration with Russia (and grudgingly, the other members of R+6) was, and remains, sound. And that his showing weakness on this pivotal point will only embolden the NeoCons to further press their attacks against him, and not make them back off. His own intelligence agencies are assuredly feeding him skewed reports, as they stand to benefit from the restoration of the Borg Consensus. Here is where he shows us whether he is a leader or a cowardly gasbag.

  35. VietnamVet says:

    Excellent post. The world has changed. It still seems familiar but trust in experts and government is gone. There is no Left left.
    The West is headed towards escalating the Syrian war. Inevitably the mini WWIII in Iraq and Syria will expand into Turkey, Russia and Iran. This is happening due to the powerful need of the rich to hoard war profits and the division within mankind between them and us.
    The change started in the late 1970s with the end of the draft in the West and start of the corporate counter coup. Politicians were bought and the little people runover.
    Eight people own half of the world’s wealth. Only the Great Khan surpassed today’s inequality. Human beings are being forced to revert to old religions and tribal roots to survive. A stark tyranny of the few, hidden by propaganda, is the outcome.

  36. fanto says:

    today on CNN I saw Mr Woolsey talking to Tapper, that the bombing of Syria could be done in passing on way to bombing Iranian nuclear sites (paraphrasing him). Tapper seemed surprised to hear that, but seemed to accept that. It was surreal to me.

  37. Sam Peralta says:

    “Here is where he shows us whether he is a leader or a cowardly gasbag.”
    I agree. This decision of his will be one of the most momentous of his presidency. Either he’s going to take a stand and take on the Borg assault or the Borg is gonna take him. IMO, this is when he needs Bannon more than Kushner & Ivanka. He’s got everything he needs, as it should be clear this is a false flag. He has a chance to truly counter-attack the Borg using their war hysteria as a foil and come out as a statesman and more importantly buttress his America First brand.

  38. fanto says:

    Assad may ‘fold’ and offer to be taken to the ICC in the Hague and sit there and wait for the internationally conducted inquiry who is responsible for the latest – and previous gas attacks. The result of such inquiry may be finally showing the truth that we all want. And it may not be acceptable to the Neocons. This way Russia may be an advisor, and get the upper hand in the view of the “international public opinion” – and that is finally the price.

  39. walrus says:

    “I’d like to see support for these claims about environmentalists and Rx fire in Australia. Until then I would put them under the same heading as claims about this “gas attack”: horse-hockey.”
    I happened to be in a doctors surgery yesterday and picked up a copy of “Wild” the Australian bushwalkers magazine. It contained an article by one “Michele Kohout” in what professes to be a scholarly article about the evolution of Australias forests. In that article she labels fire as a “disturbance” to the forest and its species which by implication should be avoided. The plain unvarnished reality is that fire is not a “disturbance” to the Australian flora but an essential component to its survival.
    It was telling that the article did not mention aboriginal land management practices and their effect on the landscape. The reason for that is because the greens re deeply wedded to the romantic idea of “wilderness” – the forest as primeval, pristine and untouched by human hand. The truth is that the Australian landscape was managed by aboriginals using fire as their tool – all of it.
    The bushwalkers are not walking in a pristine wilderness. This unromantic idea hurts. The fact is that every part of Australia was owned by a tribe who knew every little bit of that landscape and managed it (you can find tribal maps on Google). The greens aversion to burning, logging, ,etc. is an attempt to preserve their romantic fantasy that they are walking in the garden of eden, communing with Gaia. They oppose any and all efforts to manage the landscape, plus logging, four wheel driving, horse touring, grazing and of course the development of any roads or tourist facilities.

  40. “although the non-existence of god as worshipped on earth was completely disproven by 19th century scientists,”
    1. Darwin was very aware of the theological implications of his work but he didn’t himself do theology. Nor did acolytes such as Huxley, not to any useful effect. The modern extension of “Darwinism”, Dawkinite atheism, is also not in itself a creed. It is merely a refusal to examine the Transcendent though the lens of established religion. That’s fair enough, since the language of Christian theology is now no longer used by most of us. When it extends to a refusal to acknowledge the possibility of the existence of the Transcendent, however, it goes a step further than is warranted.
    Dawkinite atheism, or modern materialism, now goes even further and sometimes seeks to deny such phemomena as “consciousness” or “free will”. I don’t think it’s very happy with “moral values”, either, so we get the odd spectacle of modern materialists lecturing us on the “good” whilst not accepting that the “good” truly exists.
    Since modern materialism is the belief system of choice for many progressives, it’s not surprising that their theology – or whatever modern equivalent you choose to substitute for that term – is as much a muddle as their politics or their economics.
    2. “God bless America” is a perfectly valid statement. It is merely couched in terms you and I no longer understand. There are, one gathers, many Americans who do still understand such terms. Why attempt to deny those Americans the free use of them? I thought “Freedom” was the main export the progressives specialise in. Why not try some at home?
    3. “in russia, there appears to be the start of some awful theocracy.”
    It’s a theme amongst Russian propagandists that they are attempting to preserve traditional moral values as against the lack of such values in the West. I can’t of course say whether those propagandists are stating the Russian case correctly. It’s be nice if they were, of course, and even better if we in the West started to examine our own moral values; those values could do with a bit of examining.
    But to claim the Russia is some sort of theocracy simply because the Russian Weltanschauung is different is pushing things too far. In any case any Russian with any sense would be more interested in survival than theology at present. It’s not long since Russia was no more than a mafia state. It’s clawed it’s way out of that condition but one suspects that if some neocons had their way it would pretty soon cease to be a state at all. For the Russians some “awful theocracy”, therefore, is probably the last thing in the minds of most of them.
    We might agree about Iceland.

  41. Swamp Yankee says:

    Walrus — this is a splendid essay, and I couldn’t agree more about the need to think and “dream a newer world” at the level of philosophy.
    However, speaking as one who left academia, I fear that, in this country at least, and likely in all the Anglophone countries, academia will be the last place to produce such thought. The academic establishment is composed of a core cadre where qualities like originality of thought, willingness to rock the boat, a true connection with people outside the ivory tower — all of these qualities are selected _against_, weeded out for the most part. One writer I saw compared becoming a tenured academic to getting a regular column on the New York Times op-ed page — most of the really interesting people get thrown out well before reaching those positions.
    I do think people are starting to see the necessity of a general overhaul at the level of first principles, and I’m hopeful about it coming from people outside academia. I’m with Jefferson, when he said that in matters of morals, better to ask a farmer than a professor of metaphysics.
    Indeed, I would posit your own very fine essay above does itself constitute part of a general attempt to rethink our condition here on the pages of SST. In my own life, I’ve found myself drawn to ideas of localism – the democracy of our town meetings here in New England, the integrity of our community life — as well as fishing and agriculture, as antidotes to the increasingly technologically-driven madness beloved of the Borgist elites. Like Voltaire says at the end of “Candide” – “we must each cultivate our own garden.” The Book of Ecclesiastes says something similar, if I recall correctly.
    Thanks again for your work and the excellent essay.

  42. LG says:

    “Christopher Lasch, who excoriated modern leftist intellectuals for their actual contempt for ordinary people”

    could please give the name of the book? thanks in advance.

  43. John Merryman says:

    Efficiency is to do more with less, so the ideal of efficiency would be to do everything with nothing.
    The problem is our linear thought process in a cyclical and reciprocal reality.
    Time is not the point of the present moving past to future, but change turning future to past. The thermodynamic environment in which we evolved is far more foundational than the linear narratives we create. They simply lead us to the top of the mountain from which we fall back down again. Life. Easy come. Easy go.

  44. Stumpy says:

    I wonder how this line of thought might extend into the Californian suburbs, where, despite logic, people build flammable houses, to live in areas where wildland fires are not just possible, but common.
    The methodology of arming all tribes in the target territory and turning them against each other, then waltzing in after any possible resistance has consumed itself seems like a particularly green strategy, if all you want is to extract resources and declare what is left to be “pristine”.

  45. anon says:

    i will never forget the heat and the dry wind on saturday was a warning to flee to safer ground.

  46. Henshaw says:

    Depends on the type of forest. IIRC, fire as a ‘regular’ component of forest regeneration is generally true for dry sclerophyll forest that contains high proportions of eucalypt species, ie most of south east Australian forest. It’s not true in the wetter, temperate and sub-tropical rainforest found in northern New South Wales and north of there.
    Eucalypts have a number of fire-related adaptations that the warmer/wetter adapted tree species don’t have. When a fire burns a boundary zone between the two forest types, the eucalypts will tend to colonise into the rainforest. Over time (if there are no further fires), the shorter-lived eucalypts are succeeded by the rainforest species, to re-establish the original vegetation distribution.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is not a factual statement: “The left in Europe and America have never, ever bought into this idea of the “end of history” nonsense.”
    That was an idea of Marxists, that the Proletarian Revolution will bring the withering away of the state and the end of history.

  48. Clwydshire says:

    Lasch was complex and was always critical of things closest to his own heart. His better criticisms of the left developed over a longer series of books, beginning with “Haven in a Heartless World” (1979) a book about experts and the family. Some sharper expressions of his views can be seen in his 1992 Harper’s Magazine article: “Hillary Clinton, Child Saver,” (1992) and in a posthumously published book “The Revolt of the Elites: And the Betrayal of Democracy”(1994). His 1991 “The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics” is a challenging intellectual history of progress and its alternatives, especially populism, in the American tradition.

  49. trinlae says:

    Pax Americana is doing a fabulous job of brankrupting itself not only financially and morally but also in terms of any popular identity cohesion, Chinese have no need to do anything but sit back and let nature take its course and let usa spill its treasure and follow behind with the investment funds and hearts and minds for rebuilding…theyve already far outplayed goldman sachs in africa.
    In terms of liquid cash reserves, a quick wikipedia search would reveal nearly all are in Asia.
    The majority of the worlds inhabitants are outside the west and in Asia, where, low and behold, multitudes have lived for many thousand of years. In many ways, except as a casino capitalism fling or at least a trip to vegas, West is irrelevant to Asia.
    Most of the right wing parties in asia are far left of the leftwing parties of the West. Like S korea ditched its leader last month and putting her on trial, Asians will often take their numbers to the streets and shut down gov & business with nationwide strikes to avoid or shut down the shenanigans the armchair slacktivist fakeleft espouses in us politics. There is power in numbers.

  50. trinlae says:

    Only the economic history of rentier labor empires a la East India Tea Company plantations and the like is to be whithered away.
    In the idealistic extrapolation, cultural history would be not be extinguished as such, just made irrelevant to economic outcomes. The problem has always been over zealous putting the cart before the horse, like those who crave Armageddon so much as to incite it.

  51. trinlae says:

    There are so many blind spots and weaknesses in DC their hubris and ignorance of HRC is a virus epidemic.
    DC is completely ignorant to how irrelevant they are to the economic world that is India, Iran, China, and associates. Just think for a minutte what it means to have senior execs and tech back bone of India at Google, with bollywood YT channels with routinely 11 million views or half a million subscribrers.
    USA will frack and pipeline itself until uninhabitable in lacking potable water tables, then look to other countries to take themselves in as refugees, and suddenly realise it has no friends in except only other inhospitable terrains.
    Persian, Chinese, Indian inter cultural and economic links stretch back tens of thousands of years. Usa will spill its treasure, with the help of Israel and KSA, while others will simply absorb it and then sell it back to the Americans! Isn’t that what we’ve seen happening all along?

  52. trinlae says:

    That sensation does inspire one to rake the leaves and cut the lower tree growth; some years ago I removed probably a good 300 cubic feet of material from the grounds of a wooded bungalow in Angeles national forest after sensing the flammable tinder quality underfoot while standing outside one early summer morning.
    The local park warden once wanted to give me a public recognition for it, but his superiors wouldnt allow it….afraid to be interpreted as playing politics or something like that. Some of their regulations were absurd: my neighbor wasnt allowed to repair the dereliction on his storage shed and garage, including wide open areas of the roof allowing in the elements, because it would “alter the original [1950s era historic] appearance.”

  53. johnf says:

    Sorry not to reply sooner.
    Darwin I think was ambivalent about it. His cousin Francis Galton, the eugenicist, and such as Herbert Spencer are usually seen as having been its early British proponents. The Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain was a big influence in Nazi Germany. The Japanese proponents of it wrote in the Jinsei-Der Mensch journal, in China Liang Qichao was an early proponent.
    The idea of racial superiority certainly pushed British Imperialism, but was probably more influential in later imperialisms such as German and Japanese and Italian.
    The Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in Tennessee is often portrayed as a reactionary attack on Darwinism. William Jennings bryan, who led the prosecution, was probably far more worried/concerned about the iniquitous effect of Social Darwinist theories as a justification of “Red in Tooth and Claw” American capitalism and its sharp division of society.

  54. turcopolier says:

    Fukuyama was basically a neocon savant. IMO he was not conservative, merely right wing one worlder. pl

  55. Cee says:

    Lost in the smoke: Seth Rich leaked and eliminated.

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