Friday, April 30, 2021
The first problem of existence is not to have the answer but to understand the question. The correct understanding of the question means getting to know why the historically-given answers have proved to be inadequate or false and have led to dead ends or catastrophic detours which cast civilization on the highway to perdition. Mankind has not reached the stage where a civilization can be founded on the answer. We are still grappling with the question. The possibility exists that we might not have discovered the right question. Perhaps, there isn’t a question, and mankind must always grope in the unquestionable and unanswerable universe.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:09:00 PM
“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” ~ writes Edgar Allan Poe in his story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. This is a fine dictum—in my opinion the most pernicious people in any nation, the ones who make a significant contribution in the decline and fall of their society, are those who believe in everything they hear and everything that they see. You should, as Poe notes in his story, “learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world, without trusting to the gossip of others.”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 6:34:00 AM
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Capitalism is the father of socialism. Liberty is the mother of tyranny. This is because capitalism and liberty give rise to a human material which despises the moral norms of a capitalist free society and is instinctively drawn towards socialism and tyranny. It is impossible for mankind to create a capitalist free society which can last for more than a generation—the moment the next generation takes over, the dismantling of the old ways begins.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 9:21:00 PM
Mr. Capitalism had tremendous potential. Miss Modern Philosophy had tremendous destiny. Their marriage in the nineteenth century was blessed by the Gods and celebrated by the mortals. In the twenty-first century the couple produced their first child: a woke mouse.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:00:00 PM
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
What is America now if not the coffin and grave of capitalism? The Americans have achieved what the Soviet Union couldn’t. They have killed capitalism and buried it in a secret unmarked grave, where posterity will never find it. With this achievement, they have sealed the fate of Western civilization. Many decades from today, historians will write that the killing of capitalism was not America’s ultimate achievement—the killing of Western civilization was.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:59:00 PM
The notion that Thomas Aquinas reintroduced Aristotle to Europe in the thirteenth century is a myth created by some nineteenth and twentieth century historians and philosophers. Aristotle never vanished from Europe. Several scholars in the Roman Empire and in the post-Roman era studied and extensively commented on Aristotle. Aquinas could not read Greek, and the Aristotelian texts that he studied were the Latin translations done by William of Moerbeke. Aquinas can be credited with introducing a Thomistic version of Aristotle to Europe—but several other versions of Aristotle were available before him. In the Preface to his book The Republic of Plato, Allan Bloom writes, “William of Moerbeke's Latin translations of Aristotle… are so faithful to Aristotle's text that they are authorities for the correction of the Greek manuscripts, and they enabled Thomas Aquinas to become a supreme interpreter of Aristotle without knowing Greek.”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 10:00:00 AM
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Only the charlatans woo the people by promising them liberty, prosperity, and happiness.
Madame Roland, a supporter of the French Revolution, who was sentenced for execution because she was a member of the Girondist faction, reportedly said while she was being led to the guillotine: “O Liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name!” The French Revolution failed to bring liberty, and prosperity and happiness because such things cannot be achieved through philosophical and political movements. It is the naive and ignorant, who are unaware of the complications of philosophy and politics, who join movements which promise to bring liberty, prosperity, and happiness.
In a free society, there will be hundreds of ways of looking at liberty, prosperity, and happiness—this leads to the paradox that true liberty means controversy about not just the nature and scope of liberty but also of prosperity and happiness. If you encounter certainty about the nature of these ideas in any movement, then that movement is not free. It is totalitarian. It is being led by people of fixed minds who want to forcefully impose their worldview on everyone else. Absolute certainty about the nature of liberty, prosperity, and happiness is the fountainhead of absolute slavery and absolute misery.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:17:00 PM
"The desert grows: woe to him who harbors deserts!” says Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra. He is lamenting the rise of deserts in the minds of men who no longer have a coherent worldview because the moralists and idealists among them have accepted false ideologies, while the characterless and rationalists have turned towards nihilism. He is proclaiming that an apocalypse is imminent because there is hardly anyone left who might save civilization from disintegration.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:26:00 AM
Monday, April 26, 2021
What is the ultimate desire of a theistic mind? To be close to his conception of God. What is the ultimate desire of an atheistic mind? To be God.
It can be argued that there is a contradiction in the mind of both, the theist and the atheist. Both are lusting for something that is unknowable and unachievable. But the desire of the atheist is far more dangerous, because he wants to be the God, the secular, earthly, living God—this desire gives him the potential to be absolutely merciless and unleash an incredible amount of destruction. He will spearhead or join any totalitarian and murderous movement that will give him the hope of being the God. What will a man not do when his aim is to be the God of all humans!
The philosopher of post-Bolshevik leftism, Jean-Paul Sartre, himself an outspoken atheist, understood the atheistic mind. Towards the end of his book Being and Time, he writes, “man is a being who wants to be God.” He does not say that he is describing the desire of the atheists like himself, but that is the case.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:20:00 PM
The name Marquis de Sade brings the word “sadism” to mind. But he was a powerful leftist (atheistic) intellectual and a firebrand social activist. He played a pivotal role in the French Revolution. In his essay, “Operation Parricide: Sade, Robespierre, and The French Revolution,” Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn gives an account of Sade’s leftwing political legacy. Here’s an except:
“In his [Marquis de Sade’s] endless pornographic and extremely boring writings, there are long philosophical and political passages in which he reveals himself as a rabid, leftwing, materialist atheist. He was primarily responsible for the storming of the Bastille because at the request of his mother-in-law he was—thanks to a lettre de cachet—held prisoner in the Bastille along with seven counterfeiters, cardsharps, fools, and people in debt. From the Bastille, Sade incited the people of the quartier through his makeshift megaphone into coming to their assistance and liberating them. De Launay, the governor of the Bastille, was helpless. He didn't dare put the prisoner in a straitjacket (or in a dungeon) but instead asked the king to deliver him from this prisoner. As a result Sade was transferred on July 4, 1789 to the hospital for the criminally insane at Charenton and released in 1791. He then became chairman of the revolutionary Section des Piques in which "Citizen Sade" was active as a radical Jacobin until he quarreled with Robespierre and was once again committed to the hospital for the criminally insane. Sade, along with the masochistic neurotic Rousseau, who wrote pedagogic novels and committed his children to orphanages, is the true renewer of democracy in our time and naturally also a hero of our left-wing intellectuals.”
Much of the killings, Kuehnelt-Leddihn notes, happened in a rather sadistic fashion. “Even in Arras… the decapitated corpses of men and women were undressed and then bound together in obscene poses as batteries nationales maniacs out of Sade's 120 Nights of Sodom… Quite naturally the main victims of these male-perpetrated atrocities were women (as well as their children, often murdered before their eyes.) The sadistic misogyny of the Revolution reached unbelievable proportions.”
Kuehnelt-Leddihn ends his essay with these lines: “In the French Revolution the scum of France succumbed to blood lust and opened the door to evil. In our day of electronic stultification, it's a sure bet that now, 200 hundred years later, this monstrosity will be the focus of orgiastic celebrations. The average man always clings despairingly to cliches. If one takes them away from him, he has to do his own research, his own thinking and deciding and has to begin anew. One can't really expect this sort of elitist behavior from such poor folks. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first rob of their reason.”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 6:32:00 AM
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Freedom of the press is a pseudo-concept because it confers on one sector of the economy, the media industry, the status of a holy entity which deserves special reverence, protection, and privileges. But the media industry is just another sector of the economy like the steel industry, the travel and hospitality industry, the small businesses, the independent professionals. Why should they have the freedom, reverence, protection, and privileges that are not awarded to other sectors of the economy? We don’t talk about the freedom of the steel industry, of the travel and hospitality industry. I have never seen the press fighting for the rights of the small businesses and the independent professionals. They want total freedom for themselves while they become complicit in pushing the rest of society into slavery. These media companies are owned by some of the worst crony capitalists, who are part of the corrupt political establishment—they have expropriated too much power and privileges. Freedom of press in our times means freedom for the corrupt crony capitalists—it is a license to loot and lie, and rip apart society by spreading propaganda, disinformation, and fear. In the age of 24-hour news channels, it has become impossible for most people to find the truth about any issue.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:20:00 AM
Saturday, April 24, 2021
There is the ancient saying: “For every Goliath there is a stone.” Do the Goliaths (the elites) of our time realize that, like the tyrants of the past, they are committing too many excesses; that in their lust for power, glory, and wealth, they have gone too far and imposed too many restrictions on life; that they have obliterated an entire way of life and taken civilization to its breaking point; that now they must deal with the Davids armed with slingshots and stones who are coming for them? Howsoever big and powerful the Goliaths might be, they are no match for the Davids—this is the lesson of history which repeats itself again and again, in every age.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:30:00 PM
“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” ~ writes Thomas Sowell in his 1987 book A Conflict of Visions. But it is already too late. The little barbarians came of age years ago and they are clueless about how hard it is to create and sustain a civilization. They have cornered key positions in the government, multinational companies, media, and the institutions of arts and entertainment, and they have developed an exaggerated sense of self-importance and grandeur. They have spawned a progeny, another gang of little barbarians, who are proving to be far more ignorant and barbaric than their father and mother. No one is now left to stop these barbarians from decimating society to create a new utopia which will eventually turn out to be a new dystopia.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:21:00 AM
Friday, April 23, 2021
In a utopia there is no place for those who know the secrets of its creation. When the Jacobins took control of France, in the eighteenth century, their first target for executions were their own supporters, the ones who knew the secrets of the Jacobin project for creating a heaven on earth and could at some point of time reveal the truth to the political rivals of Jacobinism. Something similar happened in the twentieth century, when the Bolsheviks became the masters of Russia. Lenin and Stalin had purged more communists than the leaders of any other country. Millions of communists were banished to the Siberian concentration camps (the infamous Gulags) by Stalin. Most died there and with them died the secrets that they harbored. Currently a new utopia project is underway in the Western countries: A Digital Utopia. The supporters of the Digital Utopia do not realize that they will be the first to face the guillotine or banishment to a concentration camp when the utopians attain total power.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:34:00 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2021
People who are good-hearted can become tyrannical out of idleness. Capitalism creates prosperity, which in turn makes it possible for the top layer of the population (the elites) to have an idle lifestyle—their idleness breeds tyrannical tendencies and they turn towards communism and fascism. They can no longer feel satisfied with their luxurious way of life. Now they lust for control, for the capacity to give orders, for political power. They want to have a say in how the less fortunate folks (who are less prosperous and less idle) live. The elites lobby for a bigger and more intrusive government which, they are convinced, they will control forever. But they are not satisfied with exercising tyrannical control over their own nation; they are still idle and they lust for more power. They want to control the way of life in other nations too. First they try the diplomatic and economic methods to coerce the natives of other nations; if these do not work, they send their military to beat and bomb the recalcitrant natives into submission. Thus, the bridge that connects capitalism with communism and fascism is made out of “idleness.”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:14:00 PM
Dostoevsky understood the connection between “atheism” and “socialism” before anyone else. In his book The Brothers Karamazov, published in 1879, decades before the Bolshevik experiment was executed in Russia by Lenin and Trotsky, Dostoevsky writes: “If he had decided that God and immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and a socialist. For socialism is not merely the labor question, it is before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form taken by atheism today, the question of the tower of Babel built without God, not to mount to heaven from earth but to set up heaven on earth.” In this excerpt, which occurs in Chapter 5, “Elders,” Dostoevsky is reflecting on the reasons which might have inspired the youngest of the Karamazov brothers, Alyosha Karamazov, to become a monk and not a socialist. Dostoevsky was a man of wisdom—in his books, he has given a magnificent description of the human condition.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 6:35:00 AM
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
You can’t win if you fight science. After the Second World War, the intellectuals belonging to the Frankfurt school and other post-Bolshevik leftist groups, who were identifying as liberals, developed the strategy of using Freudian psychoanalysis, which they touted as infallible science, to disarm their political opponents.
They created the image of a normal personality-type which was of a prototypical liberal—and they started using words like “deranged,” “racist,” “infantile,” “fascist,” “neurotic,” “nazi,” and “warmonger” to denounce those whose opinions did not fit the liberal personality-type. You had to be a liberal in order to be regarded as normal—if you were a conservative or an independent thinker, then you faced the risk of being branded as abnormal. Since this branding was being done in the name of science, it was incontestable.
In the twenty-first century, this supposedly Freudian but essentially liberal method of analyzing and depicting personality-types has become the widely accepted norm in the intellectual establishment (the mainstream media, academia, and the arts and entertainment industry). Those who reject the liberal view on the hot-button issues—global warming, climate change, sexism, minority rights, feminism, multiculturalism, economic policy, foreign policy—are routinely depicted as abnormal in the newspapers, magazines, books, TV news, movies, and serials.
The call is often made that the abnormal personality-types should be tarred and feathered, and driven out of the media, academia, the arts and entertainment industry, and most importantly politics. Having been inundated with such opinions from a variety of intellectual resources since the 1950s, the masses are convinced that the liberal way is the only way of being normal.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 6:50:00 AM
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Not all who rave about paradise are divinely inspired. Many of them are utopians who conceal in their heart a maddening amount of hatred, rage, and revolt. Their moral values are founded on atheism and their politics is leftist or liberal—but they are not without “faith,” not without the notion of “paradise” and “blasphemy.” They have faith in their paradise, which is their earthly utopia of science and reason where there is total freedom and total equality, and they treat the arguments against their paradise as a blasphemy—one that is punishable by a purge, enslavement, and death. They want to burn down the social institutions, rewrite history, discredit the traditions and culture, cut through the political opposition by committing every possible atrocity, including mass murders—all this to save mankind from the injustices of the world and create a new paradise for the true believers. The primary motivation of the utopian paradise-builders is annihilation; the creation of the paradise is their secondary motivation.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:15:00 AM
Monday, April 19, 2021
The notion that man is born free, that total freedom is his natural state, and that all rational men want to be free is a myth that got developed in the Age of Enlightenment by French philosophers who hoped that their philosophy would inspire the rise of a new kind of human material which is untainted by the belief in God and cultural traditions and would be ready to fight and die for a new atheistic utopia of reason and science. These philosophers believed that God and cultural traditions are the two major forces which hinder people from being free.
Since the Age of Enlightenment, this myth of total freedom and the hope of an atheistic utopia has been perpetuated by several powerful schools of modern philosophy.
Most people (who are not obsessed with philosophy and utopian politics) want to be part of religious and cultural groups which can give them a sense of belonging and security. In Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, the character called Ivan Karamazov says: “I tell you, man has no preoccupation more nagging than to find the person to whom that unhappy creature may surrender the gift of freedom with which he is born. But only he can take mastery of people's freedom who is able to set their consciences at rest.”
Dostoevsky was not a utopian like the Enlightenment philosophers and their modern counterparts—he was a man of wisdom.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:53:00 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2021
I can see the future: it is a leftist utopia. The left never stopped learning—it learned from the failures of the Jacobin revolution of the eighteenth century, the Russian Bolshevik revolution of the twentieth century, and several other revolutions—and their political movement kept evolving. From the guillotine-toting Jacobins, they evolved into the gun-toting Bolshevik revolutionaries, and now they have evolved into an even more magnificent beast: the suave and erudite liberal who conspires in black suit and black tie to devastate his enemies, who uses culture to control politics and politics to control culture, who is equally at home in corporate boardrooms as he is in political war councils. The left never gave up its fanatical faith, not when the Jacobins were decimated, not when the Bolsheviks were thrown out like yesterday’s garbage. Now they are on the cusp of attaining what they always wanted: total political control of all the major nations.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:31:00 PM
Immanuel Kant explains the relationship between a personal maxim and a universal practical law (in his Critique of Practical Reason) : “I have, for example, made it my maxim to increase my wealth by every safe means. Now I have a deposit in my hands, the owner of which has died and left no record of it. This is, naturally, a case for my maxim. Now I want only to know whether that maxim could also hold as a universal practical law. I therefore apply the maxim to the present case and ask whether it could indeed take the form of a law, and consequently whether I could through my maxim at the same time give such a law as this: that everyone may deny a deposit which no one can prove has been made. I at once become aware that such a principle, as a law, would annihilate itself since it would bring it about that there would be no deposits at all.”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 9:12:00 AM
Saturday, April 17, 2021
In 1618, Johannes Kepler published his last major work, the Harmonice Mundi (The Harmony of the World). The poverty, prosecution, and ostracism that he had experienced in his lifetime had left him bitter and pessimistic, and he had become convinced that the earth was a celestial ball of everlasting misfortune. In a footnote to the Harmonice Mundi, he writes: "The Earth sings Mi-Fa-Mi, so we can gather even from this that Misery and Famine reign on our habitat.”
Kepler makes this comment not just because of the sense of doom and gloom which was pervading his mind during the final years of his life—he actually believed that the speed at which the planets move through space is proportional to certain notes of the Latinate musical scale popular in his day: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do. He rationalized that the sound of a planet corresponds to the character of life that it supports, and that the earth’s notes were mi-fa-mi.
The last one year has given me an insight into the smugness of the twenty-first century man before the vast perils that he faces. If the twenty-first century man who commands vast intellectual, technological, and economic resources can be so smug, then humanity has no future. Perhaps Kepler was right about misery and famine being the reality of life on earth. Can mankind be free from the misery and famine—I don’t think that a permanent solution to these problems is possible. People might become happy and prosperous in some parts of earth at certain periods of time but the happiness and prosperity never lasts.
The happy and prosperous societies are the first to be judged on the metaphorical Judgement Day; this is because their happiness and prosperity makes them morally, psychologically, and intellectually weak, and unfit to survive. When they decline and fall under the weight of their weaknesses and immoralities, they pave way for the rise of another society in which the human mind is regulated by the harsh whiplash of misery and famine.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:40:00 PM
Philosophy without religion leads to utopianism, atheism, and nihilism. Religion without philosophy leads to tribalism, cultism, and religious fundamentalism. History tells us that the most effective philosophies and religions are those in which philosophical thought and religious speculation have marched shoulder to shoulder.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 6:57:00 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2021
“In the war between capitalism and Communism, books are weapons, and, like all serviceable weapons, loaded.” ~ said Whittaker Chambers in his 1952 classic Witness. But I think that the communists (the leftists and the liberals) have won the war of books. Their books have greater firepower and the capacity to blow to bits their enemy’s fundamental values than the books by the pro-capitalism authors. The capitalists might be good at at building roads, skyscrapers, shopping centers, and bridges, but in the intellectual and political space their performance is naive and feeble, and they are no match for the communists who turn out to be completely ruthless and firmly grounded despite the fact that they are fueled by a utopian ideology.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:24:00 PM
The Samkhya and Yoga systems are dualistic since they preach that the universe is created when there is a disturbance in the equilibrium due to the coming together of Purusha (intelligence principle) and Prakriti (material principle). There is a multiplicity of Purushas. All material and living things in the universe are a result of the conjunction between certain kinds of Purushas and Prakriti. In living entities, Purusha has been translated as the approximate equivalent of what is known as the “soul” in the western tradition, but it’s not exactly the soul because it also represents a complete relationship between the body and the soul. In the case of man, along with being the eternal life-force, the Purusha is a man’s ego, intelligence, and consciousness.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:16:00 AM
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
The idea that “perpetual peace” is possible in a nation which is guided by reason and science is one of the great political myths to come out of the Age of Enlightenment. Perpetual peace is an unrealizable concept, because national politics (like the tribal conflicts of the prehistoric times) has always been and always will be: Civil War.
The use of political violence is the “natural” method of achieving political objectives. Mankind is incapable of creating a nation in which every political faction voluntarily adopts the peaceful methods of politicking. The breaking of one chain of political violence, leads to the start of another chain. When old conflicts end, they make space for new ones, and a new cycle of political violence commences. Through the contest of antagonistic political forces, the nation keeps transforming itself, it becomes better or worse, it rises to greater heights or declines and falls. A nation can never be free of political violence, but it can try to prevent such violence from getting out of control, by deploying counter-political violence through law enforcement agencies (such strategies are effective in creating a semblance of peace in the short-term but never perpetually).
The price for short-term political peace is frightfully high—heavy financial and psychological investment must be made for creating a system of rule of law which cannot be corrupted by the forces which are battling for political power. In the words of Vegetius, the Roman General, only those nations which prepare for war, can attain peace.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:57:00 PM
In poor countries where starvation and disease is common, when two people who are acquainted with each other meet on the street, they usually ask, “Are you feeling healthy? Did you have enough food?” In prosperous countries where people are complacent and expect to live forever, when two people who are acquainted with each other meet on the street, they usually ask, “Are you feeling healthy? Did you get vaccinated?”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:11:00 AM
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Throughout history the forces of progress and destruction have marched hand in hand. The price of great progress in one area has always been great destruction in another area. The bond between barbarism and civilization, repression and liberty, traditions and innovation, cruelty and compassion, faith and reason is forged by the primal forces of nature and can never be broken. Classical liberalism, which originated in the eighteenth century, was aimed at creating a perfect society which is based on civilization, liberty, innovation, compassion, and reason and does not have to invoke the powers of barbarism, repression, traditions, cruelty, and faith. But this project has been a colossal failure. The classical liberals (and their twentieth century cultist avatar, the libertarians) have failed to create their perfect society (their utopia) in which mankind is all roses and no thorns. Nature does not allow roses without thorns.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:12:00 PM
What kind of men prove to be the great political leaders? This question can be best answered by using Nietzsche’s terminology: The great political leaders are a synthesis of the Unmensch (the brute) and Übermensch (the overman). History tells us that the great political leaders have the mind of the overman and the heart of the brute.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:37:00 AM
Monday, April 12, 2021
The notion of freedom that developed in the eighteenth century, during the Age of Enlightenment, was devoted to overcoming the old forms of authority, chief among these being faith in God and religion. The Enlightenment philosophes surmised that freedom from God and religion is the ultimate form of freedom. They made their philosophical case by asserting that there is a dichotomy between faith and reason—a man can have either reason or faith, never both. They rationalized that only a man of reason (who is free of the taint of faith) can be truly free and that faith in every form is an enemy of freedom. But if man is free of faith, then he lacks the inner capacity to believe in anything that is not provable by science. On what basis does a man who is free of faith make himself believe in metaphysics, norms or morality, norms of good culture, norms of good art, and the idea of a political system which respects man’s rights, all of which are not provable by science? A man who accepts reason as his sole means for understanding the world, faces the risk of becoming a nihilist—he loses not just his religious beliefs but also his standards in metaphysics, morality, culture, art, and politics. This is a recipe for disaster.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:21:00 PM
Sunday, April 11, 2021
When egalitarianism and individualism get radicalized, there is a decline in moral, intellectual, and political standards, and then the nation’s march into a tyrannical and hedonistic dystopia cannot be stopped. Robert H. Bork writes in his classic 1996 book Slouching Towards Gomorrah: “In their final stages, radical egalitarianism becomes tyranny and radical individualism descends into hedonism. Those translate into a modern version of bread and circuses. Government grows larger and more intrusive in order to direct the distribution of goods and services in an ever more equal fashion while people are coarsened and diverted, led to believe that their freedoms are increasing, by a great variety of entertainments featuring violence and sex.”
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:39:00 PM
Saturday, April 10, 2021
The idea of concentration camps was conceived in Europe in the eighteenth century, the Age of Enlightenment, as a tool for indoctrinating the masses. The Enlightenment philosophers and politicians believed that by teaching the right kind of philosophy and by applying sufficient amount of coercion, it is possible to transform men into better beings who are motivated by reason, science, and logic, and who cannot be swayed by the irrational forces of religion, tradition, and monarchism. They thought that people could be herded into large correction facilities where they would be kept for as long as it would take to reeducate them for their own good.
The first Concentration Camp in modern history was established in Paris by the Jacobins during the French Revolution which began in 1789. After taking control of Paris, the Jacobins locked the city, banned all religious and traditional gatherings, and they made arrangements for the masses to be indoctrinated in their way of thinking. To coerce the masses to accept the Jacobin ideas, they started having public executions. Guillotines were erected in major streets—the idea was that when people see the heads of the enemies of the revolution being chopped, they would surrender their heart and mind to the Jacobin movement. But this strategy didn’t work out. The Jacobin regime was overthrown in 1799, and Napoleon took over in 1804.
The second large-scale use of concentration camps happened in the Soviet Union when the Bolsheviks, the inheritors of the Jacobin legacy, came to power. The Bolsheviks were inspired by the Western ideology of communism and they believed that human beings can be coerced to give up their religious and traditional beliefs and became communists. During the time of Stalin, the Gulags (the Russian name for concentration camps) were used on a massive scale to torture and indoctrinate the potential enemies of the state and make counterrevolution impossible by spreading terror in rest of the population. Millions perished in these Gulags. But sufficient number of people could not be transformed through the Gulags and the Soviet Union fell in 1991.
Most communist countries have made extensive use of concentration camps. In Mao’s China, large swaths of the country had been turned into concentration camps where millions were starved, tortured, and worked to death. The post-Mao China continues to operate a large number of concentration camps.
In the USA and Western Europe, the decline in civil liberties has been massive in the last fifteen years. These nations are now as totalitarian as China, but they continue to fondly believe that they are capitalistic and free. In the next five years their fake notion of being free and capitalistic will shatter under the weight of the contradictions and corruption in their political system, and then these nations will start herding the politically undesirable section of their population into concentration camps. The lockdowns, which have been a regular feature since the last year, are experiments to prepare people for a new way of life. Most people have accepted the lockdowns as the “new normal,” and they will accept the concentration camps as another new normal.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:32:00 PM
Friday, April 9, 2021
Is Carl Sagan taken seriously? I rank his two books—The Demon-Haunted World and Cosmos—among the low-quality propaganda books written in the final decades of the twentieth century. Much of the science that he offers in these two books is pop-science of the banal kind; you generally read such pop-science in third-rate tabloids. He was, I am certain, a believer in the Whig theory of history—his two books are written in the style of a Whig historian. I say this because he tries to present the movement from the ancient times to the modern age as an inevitable progression towards liberty, enlightenment, and technological advancement. He attributes all the progress that mankind has made to the work of the scientists who were motivated by an empirical view of the world. He excoriates the spiritual, theological, and religious movements of the past for creating roadblocks in the path of the scientists.
He suggests that calculus could have been invented by the time of Christ if the works of the Ancient Greek atomists like Democritus had not been lost—this is an absurd hypothesis but he offers this as a self-evident fact. To him Socrates and Plato are of less importance than Democritus—he tries to turn them into caricatures by mentioning them in reference to their purported belief in demons and ignoring their philosophical and political achievements. He prattles about the virtue of using reason and being a nonconformist, but he was himself a conformist. He blindly accepts every scientific myth of his time—from environmentalism to evolution to Big Bang to time travel and much else. He fails to see that most of the scientists of the past had a spiritual and religious side to their life. While talking of Newton, he does not mention the fact that Newton was born as a sickly child and he could not have survived to adulthood had he not been sustained by his faith in religion and God.
The complication of human psychology is inconsequential to Sagan; man’s need for philosophy, spiritualism, and faith is inconsequential to him; the rise and fall of the empires of the past and the movement of history is inconsequential to him—the only thing that matters is the scientific theories which a few scientists have discovered. But I don’t see Sagan as a scientist; he was more of a glib talker, a shrewd marketer, a narcissistic actor, and a mediocre political theorist. His books are not about science. His basic interest is in preaching a materialistic or leftist (atheistic) view of the world. His leftism is quite simplistic and hollow. What I dislike most in Sagan is his naivety. He is like a Pollyanna, always optimistic, constantly hopeful of a prosperous and scientifically advanced tomorrow, smiling and cheerful like a clown at the circus.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 7:28:00 PM
Digging for good philosophy is similar to digging for diamonds. You have to shift through a mountain of rubbish before you find a few grains of diamonds, or good philosophy. But the effort is worth it because both, diamonds and good philosophy, are forever.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 3:28:00 PM
Thursday, April 8, 2021
What is more critical: the civilization or the nation? The nation is made by the civilizational forces, and the civilizational forces are made by the nation. This means that both—the civilization and its nation—have a symbiotic relationship. The civilization is an abstract and timeless idea which is the fountainhead of the culture which drives the nation, whereas the nation is a concrete reality which exists at a particular time and in a particular space. If the nation suffers a decline, it can be mended, but once the idea of civilization breaks down, it cannot be mended—thus, the civilization is like a paradise, which once lost cannot be regained.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:03:00 AM
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Liberty can open the right doors, but it can open some of the wrong ones too. When a man is liberated from the bondage of political systems, he is free to play an active role in society. But liberty never keeps itself confined to cutting the bonds of politics, it operates simultaneously in the areas of morality and culture.
When the bonds of morality are cut, there is the prospect of amoralism and libertinism; when the bonds of culture are cut, there is the prospect of utopianism and nihilism. A man who is free of political, moral, and cultural bonds is left to face the world on his own—this is not something that most men can manage, and many succumb to the feelings of nothingness, powerlessness, alienation, and anxiety. Many give up on morality and culture and there is rise in substance abuse, libertinism, and violence.
When the masses become degenerate, the politicians become corrupt, the businessmen become totalitarian, and the intellectuals become messianic. With the fall in the intellectual, political, and moral standards, society becomes an easy prey to the utopian movements which promise to create a new paradise—and this marks the end of the nation.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 6:35:00 PM
The individualists demand “freedom from” religion, clan, culture, moral norms, and politics—they preach that man is like a Robinson Crusoe, and he must live in a metaphorical deserted island where he is free from all collectives. But such views are a sign of their ideological over-maturity and psychological backwardness.
Man is not just the maker of civilizations (which are the largest collective of humanity)—he is the product of civilizations. Robison Crusoe, the protagonist in Daniel Defoe’s book, is a brave man who gets trapped in a deserted island. He does all that he can to preserve his sanity, meet the needs of his body, and survive as a human. But man is not designed to be like Crusoe. His mind might identify as an individual, but the heart of most men identifies with the collectives: relatives, friends, customers, associates, employees, employers, and the religious, political, social, and intellectual groups of which he is a part.
Man qua man is a political creature and politics can never transcend collectivism. We join the collectives in order to find a sense of security and belonging, to develop spiritual, cultural, and political bonds for defending our way of life, and to avoid the one thing which we truly dread: loneliness. The man who sees himself as an individualist is no Crusoe; he is naive, politically ineffective, and culturally alienated, and he lacks the sense to realize that he is overestimating his virtues and capacities. The nations where individualism becomes a popular movement generally see a steep decline in the quality of their politics and culture.
If these individualists end up on a deserted island, they will not last for a week—they will undergo mental disintegration from the feeling of being lonely and they will eventually starve to death. Individualism is not a virtue; it is a vice.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:29:00 AM
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
The worst type of ignorance is found in people who are ignorant of their ignorance—and have come to believe that they possess perfect knowledge. Being unaware of their ignorance, they keep making bad choices, and if they acquire a position of power, in the government or any large corporation, they get regarded as the “experts,” who are always “scientific” and can never be wrong, and they go on making bad choices for the hapless masses. (An expert is a man who is ignorant of his ignorance but has acquired massive political power.) When you are aware of your ignorance, then you are not ignorant, since you have the knowledge of what you don’t know, which is the most important knowledge, since it can prevent you from making bad choices and inspire you to make efforts for fulfilling the gaps in your learning. Knowing the limits of your knowledge is a sign of wisdom and maturity, the two qualities which have become rare in our technocratic, information-deluged, expert-worshiping world.
Posted by Anoop Verma at 8:10:00 AM