Abortion: The Irrepressible Conflict
by Eric Rudolph
Copyright 2008, Eric R. Rudolph
All rights reserved.
When discussing abortion it is common to assume only two sides in the debate-pro-life and pro-abortion. A conservative perspective informs the pro-life position; an egalitarian perspective informs the pro-abortion position. Up to this point I’ve explored both sides, and I’ve explored the classical liberal context in which the debate takes place. For the most part these are well thought out arguments. There is a world view in back of each side, and true-believers pushing their respective agendas. But what both conservatives and egalitarians tend to forget is that most women who get abortions, and most men who drive their daughters, wives, or girlfriends to get abortions, indeed, most people in this country have no principled stance on abortion one way or the other. Whenever abortion is brought up this person is euphemistically called a “moderate.”
“Moderate” is a generous label, intended, I suppose, to suggest that he has weighed both positions in the debate and finds merit in both. He’s reasonable, a compromiser. Upon closer examination, however, you’ll find that Mr. Moderate has no real convictions at all. Instead, his “convictions” have been issued to him like a uniform worn according to the fashion of the day. When they prove uncomfortable or become unfashionable, he discards them and puts on new ones. He is indistinguishable from millions of others just like him-he is mass-man.
In former times, there were three classes in the West: the nobility, the priesthood, and the masses. The political drama was played-out amongst the first two classes. Knowing nothing of politics, the masses stood off stage. But over the past two hundred years mass-man has gradually taken center stage. Now, whether he is a fascist, a communist, or a liberal democrat, every politician in the Western World must handle the herd or be trampled by it. Not just in politics, everything today is about mass-man-literature, art, education, entertainment. This is especially true in America, a country that has created a religion of the mass-man.
After the Roman aristocracy imploded and one-man rule replaced the Republic, there were four centers of power in the Empire: the Emperor; the financial knights; the army; and the masses. The organic structure of Roman society had taken heavy blows through the decades of civil war and imperial expansion. Large latifundium(plantations), worked by slaves, replaced small independently owned farms in the countryside of Italy. Consequently, the free peasants left the land in droves and flooded into the slums of Rome. The city’s population exploded between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D.. Ignorant and landless, with no allegiances to family or community, the masses of Rome were always a source of potential danger. But to the political class of Rome they were also a source of votes in the Assemblies. Demagogues like Milo and Clodius organized club-wielding political parties, calling themselves “Greens” and “Blues.” And for the price of a few loaves of bread and the promise of blood-soaked circuses, the votes of the masses could be purchased. The herd would back any demagogue that came along. But if they weren’t fed and entertained, they might burn the city down.
Later the Emperor found it expedient, and healthy, to establish a regular dole of corn and wheat, and to put on regular entertainments for the masses. In Latin this formula of politics was called panem et circenses-“bread and circuses.” The Circus Maximus was built for that purpose. The Emperor Vespasian wanted an even bigger stadium, so he built the Coliseum in 70 A.D. Every week, sometimes every day, the masses of Rome would pour into the Coliseum for their bread and circuses. The theme of the circus was cruelty-mass executions, gladiatorials, animal fights. At every circus the crowd was thrown loaves of bread. Juiced-up on wine, their mouths jammed with bread, the masses would scream with ecstasy at the scenes of cruelty and degradation. This was democracy in its purest form. The emperors were giving the masses exactly what they wanted, no restraints at all. The mob wanted blood and bread and that is what they got. The Emperor and his bureaucracy may have choreographed the dance steps of the Empire, but the masses played the tune. Over the last two hundred years in Western history the masses have again seized power.
In his book The Revolt of the Masses, (1932) Ortega y Gasset explored the resurgence of the masses in Western Society. He saw several factors pushing mass-man onto center stage: scientific advances; industrialism; free-market capitalism; population increase; and especially egalitarian-democratic ideas. The first three causes knocked the common man loose from his organic roots as a farmer-peasant living on the land. Then there was a dramatic population explosion. Between 1800-1914 the population of Europe went from 180 million to 460 million. In only a 30 year period after 1914 the American population doubled. And just since the end of the Second World War the population has nearly doubled again. Lots more people, lots more problems. And since the Enlightenment, the democratic ideal has been promoted without a closer examination of its premises. Though he has increased in quantity the average man has changed very little in quality, said Gasset. He has been given the reins of an advanced civilization, but he has the spirit of a barbarian. Massive political and technological power in the hands of barbarians makes our age a very unstable one.
Before the First World War organic culture still articulated Western society. The individual was still defined by his family, his local culture, his occupation, his class. In country, village, or city each individual had a unique place, each community had an identifiable continuity. A man was from a certain family, lineage, tradition, culture identity. He knew who he was. He had connections with the past. He had a future as this person. His life had meaning because it was given him by his organic community. A peasant, for insistence, from Flanders had a unique identity. He was attached to a certain piece of land that his ancestors had worked for centuries. He had certain religious beliefs, certain habits and customs, certain dialect and dress. His identity was forged over centuries. Through his elders and his community leaders, this identity was give to him as a birthright.
When the common man was uprooted from his organic community and pressed into the large cities to become workers and consumers, he lost his sense of place and purpose. He was no longer distinguishable from the rest of the masses. In the millions, this type of man is now the medium of power in the modern world:
Now, suddenly, they appear as an agglomeration, and looking in any direction our eyes meet with the multitudes. Not only in any direction, but precisely in the best places, the relatively refined creation of human culture, previously reserved to lesser groups, in a word, minorities. The multitude has become visible, installing itself in preferential positions of society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the footlights, is the principle character, there are no longer protagonists; there is only the chorus.1
The mass is not just a physical fact of numbers, it is a spiritual-psychological phenomenon derived from the mentality of the common man. “The mass,” says Gasset, “is all that which sets no value on itself-good or ill-based upon specific grounds, but which feels itself ‘just like everybody.’ It is quite happy to feel itself as one with everybody else.”2
There exists a great divide in humanity that belies any notion of universal equality. It is not that between the haves and have-nots; it is not that between the educated and the uneducated; nor is the divide racial or hereditary. The divide is spiritual, between the select man and the mass-man.
The select man exists in every racial and cultural group. He doesn’t necessarily consider himself “superior” to others, nor does he, as a rule, carry himself with undue arrogance. He is that man who “demands more of himself than the rest, even though he may not fulfill in his person those higher exigencies.”3 He imposes duties and obligations on himself. He piles up difficulties. He always has a plan, and his life he sees as a mission to accomplish this plan. His plans change, but he is almost never without one. Whether he succeeds or fails in his mission is irrelevant. What is important is his life must have a purpose, a purpose beyond serving personal ends. His life must consist of service to something that transcends himself. Service is not oppression to him, it is what defines him. “Life lived as a discipline is the noble life. Nobility is defined by the demands it makes on us-by obligations, not by rights.”4 Goethe defined the spiritual divide this way: “To live as one likes is plebian; the noble man aspires to order and law.”5
The origins of all social hierarchies are in the conquests won by select men engaged in naked competition. Inherent in the idea of nobility is the notion that the heirs will be able to live up to the same spiritual excellences of the original conqueror. All private right (privilege) is of this type. Unfortunately, what made the father noble is an inner quality, and this is not capable of being passed on to the son through heredity or education (breeding). Thus the heirs of nobility are often not select men, even though they hold hereditary private rights.
Common right, such as those found in our Bill of Rights, is different than private right. A man comes by common rights as a benefit and a gift. It is unearned, “pure usufruct and benefit, the generous gift of fate which every man finds before him, and which answers to no efforts whatever, unless it be that of breathing and avoiding insanity.”6
Nobility is not resting on riches and ease; rather it is a continually demanding more of oneself. Nor is the select man on some quest for “originality.” On the contrary, the hallmark of the select man is that his ideas and plans are based on the cultural drama going on around him. These ideas (“living ideas”) become the most important motives in his life. His money and property, his wife, and his children, come second to his duty. The spirit of the age is crucially important to him. He will seek out his part in the cultural drama, not out of some superficial quest to “make history,” but because that part is his; he can be nothing else. He doesn’t wear the ideas of his time like fashions to be discarded when new ones take their place. He internalizes the ideas, truths, causes of his day. He will even die in service to them.
Such individuals are the spiritual core of all cultures. They are what one philosopher called the culture bearing stratum. This stratum is not a club, or a syndicate; you will find its members on both sides of any conflict. Every school of thought, school of art, school of science, religious or political movement is led by members of this stratum. Although they are a small minority in all societies, through force of will they’re the prime movers in society.
In stark contrast, mass-man demands nothing special of himself. He imposes no duties on himself. He has no standard to live up to; he floats along on the waves of his environment. Mass-man lives for himself because he understands nothing else. “Mass-man is he whose life lacks purpose,” said Gasset.7 While the select man sees himself within the context of the life of his culture, mass-man cannot, or will not, see the world beyond his tiny community and his seventy years of existence. History to him is a bunch of fairy tales. Unless they somehow effect his material life, the ideas of his time are meaningless. If he must have beliefs and opinions, the culture bearing stratum will supply them. But he does not internalize these ideas; he is never convicted by them; and he will not voluntarily give his life to them. In China, he is a Confucian. In India, he is a Hindu. In Soviet Russia, he is a communist. He changes his beliefs when safety or convenience requires it. In 1935, he’s a loyal Fascist; in 1945, he’s the guy in the square at Milan kicking Mussolini’s bullet-riddled corpse.
From the eighteenth century forward, mass-man has pushed further and further onto center stage. The Enlightenment philosophers said that human nature was basically good and only culture made men bad. Left to be himself, the average man was rational, educable, moral, selfless, inclined to social virtue. The inventors of these ideas were, for the most part, educated men from the upper classes, so the “man” they were talking about was actually modeled on themselves. This was beside the point, Rousseau insisted. All men were equal, and if that was the case, then all men should have an equal voice in shaping the social contract. Governments that didn’t rest upon the “General Will” were illegitimate.8
The Enlightenment ideal was that more and more power should be given to the masses, the end being democracy based on the largest number of people. The purpose of government was, as Jeremy Bentham called it, “The Greatest Good of the Greatest Number.” This is the secular religion of our time. According to this faith, history is progressive, being moved along by what Hegel believed was a “Spirit of Freedom.” Forms of government were thought to be evolving from tyranny to democracy. And one day, when the lion lies down with the lamb, all questions-economic, social, political-will be decided by the people without representatives, in direct democracy.
The result of this thinking was to arm the masses with a sense of omnipotence, touching off what Gasset called the “Revolt of the Masses.” The mistake the Enlightenment philosophers made was they never seriously considered the basic spiritual division between select man and mass-man, a division that education will never erase. Most men are primarily irrational, driven by emotions, irrational beliefs, fears, will. Man uses reason as a tool to accomplish plans that are not always reasonable. Nor are most men selfless, or inclined to social virtue. Virtues originate in minorities and are imposed on the masses. And governing society according to the opinions of the greatest number of men will not lead to the greatest good. The average man can’t guide his own life. Leaving him to guide the life of the nation is a recipe for disaster.
Minorities have controlled the direction of society in the past, but their power has always rested on public opinion. “You may do everything with bayonets except sit on them,” Talleyrand once admonished Napoleon.9 In other words, force may secure power and enforce the laws, but if the regime is to last, power must be backed by the opinion that those in power possess it by moral right. “The state is the state of opinion,” said Gasset.10 Power is primarily a spiritual thing, the prevalence of a belief in certain opinions. It is no accident that the first power in high cultures is sacred. In the West, the Church preceded the Holy Roman Empire. Only later does the culture divide this power in two, each limiting itself to a time category: eternal and temporal. “Temporal and religious power are equally spiritual, but one is the spirit of the time, public opinion, mundane, fluctuating, whilst the other is the spirit of eternity, the opinion of God, God’s view of man and his destiny.”11 When historians assess the nature of any given age in history, they know that looking at the personalities of the rulers is less important than examining the climate of opinion that was prevalent at that time.
In the past the state rested on the opinion of minorities. The masses hardly figured in the equation of power at all. Today, it is supposed to be the reverse. The masses are supposed to have opinions, and these opinions are supposed to form the basis of public policy. Why is this a problem? Because an examination of the majority of men reveals that they have no opinions per se. Opinions “have to be pumped into them from outside, like lubricant into machinery. This is done by the few. Without these producers of opinion, there would be chaos. Without a spiritual power, someone to command, and in proportion as this is lacking, chaos reigns over mankind.”12 That is the danger when the masses occupy center stage-society is wobbling around on unstable opinion. Mass-man’s so-called opinions are changeable, unstable, superficial, subject to demagoguery.
Civilization is impossible without accepted standards of truth. “Whoever wishes to have ideas must first prepare himself to desire truth and to accept the rules of the game imposed by it. There must be a higher standard to which one’s opinions are held up to for comparison-history, philosophy, a tradition of truth.”13 There is no legal system, for instance, where there are no accepted legal principles. There is not art where there are no accepted aesthetic standards. “There is no culture where there is no acceptance of certain intellectual positions to which the dispute can be referred.”14
Society is held together by generally held truths. When a society lacks these truths, strictly speaking there is no society, for society implies a shared standard of truth. Any person in a dispute who is unwilling to conform his opinions to accepted truths is “intellectually a barbarian.”15 Except for the opinions pumped into him, mass-man has no opinions because he is unwilling to search out the accepted truths of our time upon which to base his opinion. Like a barbarian his opinions are mere appetites:
To have an idea means believing one is in possession of the reasons for having it, and consequently means believing that there is such a thing as reason, a world of intelligible truths. To have ideas, to form opinions, is identical with appealing to such an authority, submitting one’s self to it, accepting its code and its decisions, and therefore believing that the highest form of intercommunication is the dialogue in which the reasons for our ideas are discussed.16
In any debate today, whether it is about the economy, the war in Iraq, or abortion, you are confronted with the democratic position-“That is your opinion, not mine.” Resorting to accepted truths, historical facts to prove your point will not help your argument in the least. Like men, all opinions are created equal. What matters today is not truth, it is numbers. If the poll says your opinion is in the majority, it is the correct one. The policy of the nation is changed based upon how many people you can pack into the Washington Mall.
A Pandora’s Box is built into this kind of democracy. Theoretically democracy is the most rational form of government. If all men are equal, then their voices should be heard equally. In practice, democracy usually ends up destroying the very things it set out to preserve. Liberal democracy is based on the theory that all men should have an equal chance to influence the social contract. But this is predicated on the assumption that each citizen will defer to accepted standards of truth. The educated class of eighteenth century Europe and America accepted the standards of representative government, the rule of law, and the protection of individual liberties. But mass-man has no knowledge of or appreciation for these standards. The more power he gets, the more he threatens these rational standards of government. This in turn produces chaos, which gives rise to the need for a strong man to restore order, who will rule without representative government, the rule of law, or safeguards for individual liberties.
The French Revolution was a microcosm of what happens when the masses seize power. The reform-minded classical liberalism of the National Assembly gave way to the mob politics of Jacobinism. As a result, France descended into chaos and murder. Then the strongman Napoleon crushed the mob and restored order. It was the same in Caesar’s Rome; in Mussolini’s Italy; in Franco’s Spain; in Pinochet’s Chile.
Having no sense of proportionality, no liberality, no grasp of the rule of law-mass-man’s method of politics is direct action:
When mass-man suffers some misfortune or simply feels some strong appetite, his great temptation is that permanent, sure possibility of obtaining everything-without effort, struggle, doubt, or risk-merely by touching a button and setting the mighty machine [State] in motion.17
The denizens of classical liberalism settle disputes in salons, courtrooms, and legislatures. Mass-man settles disputes in the streets. “He has been told that he is the state, and he will tend more and more to setting its machinery working on whatever pretext, to crush beneath it any minority which disturbs it . . ..”18 He even has the temerity to claim that his vandalism is justified, clubbing, and beating people to death with bricks, screaming “No Justice, No Peace.” He stops his ears to those who point to the disparity between his stated grievances and his irrational behavior. He doesn’t want to hear it when politicians point out the differences between incoming taxes and outgoing welfare expenditures. He wants his dole and he’ll follow the demagogue who promises to deliver. He burns the city down if he doesn’t get what he wants.
Mass-man today carries himself with a sense of invulnerability. He is oblivious to history, and consequently is unable to see the potential precipices up ahead. He actually believes the trite slogan, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” Science and industry have built him a bubble of protection that his ancestors never dreamed was possible. In the past, men lived in a world of disease, famine, wars, and hardship. To survive a man was obliged to settle down within the narrow sphere his limited abilities confined him to. Society had a structure, and he could not live without it. Even the rich in times past had to live in a world full of limitations and dangers. But the world today doesn’t compel the mass-man to limit himself in any way, “it sets up no veto in opposition to him; on the contrary, it invites his appetite, which in principle can increase indefinitely.”19
Not only have many material barriers disappeared for mass-man, social barriers have disappeared as well. He has no perspective on how these many benefits have come his way. He is like a spoiled child who believes all things are permitted to him. A child gets to be spoiled when all restraints have been removed, when there is no one there who is stronger or smarter to whom he must defer. In former times, a man was taught his limitations daily. Today, a thousand inventions and a hundred laws have spoiled mass-man. Having no interest in the origins of these inventions, or the story behind those laws, he begins to believe the artificial benefits they provide him are natural phenomenon like air or water, and therefore he believes they are his by “natural right.” In his mind those benefits have always been there and will continue to be there in the future.
In reality, a minority has made his life possible. Over centuries of toil and invention they have created an artificial system based on highly exact and difficult ideas. These systems create an ever increasing demand for individuals educated in several disciplines just to maintain them. To meet the challenges of an increasingly complex society, individuals now specialize. It was common in the past for an educated man to become a generalist, to school himself in several fields. This had the benefit of giving him perspective, it allowed him to approach a problem with greater depth. Think of Descartes and Leibnitz, both of whom came up with revolutionary concepts in mathematics, as well metaphysics. Goethe was a poet, philosopher, biologist, and political pundit. Even Frederick the Great was an artist, amateur philosopher, as well as a King and a general. Like all educated men of their era, they believed it was essential to integrate various disciplines. Today, with an ever increasing amount of knowledge, learning many fields is difficult, so men specialize. It’s relatively easy for a man of mediocre intelligence to specialize in one field or another. But the result of all this specializing is a cultural blindness. We have no “wise men” today; just a pack of specialists.
To make the discoveries of Newton, Descartes, Leibnitz and Heisenberg required depth. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, for example, owed something to his readings of Kant. Compare these thinkers to the “wise men” of today, such as Jared Diamond and Stephen Hawking. Both Diamond and Hawking are day before yesterday material determinists. Hawking’s search for the “unified theory” that will explain everything sounds as if it might have been written in 1850 by Marx or Comtè. It’s the same in politics. To make the policy decisions of William Pitt the Elder, or Alexander Hamilton required depth. On any policy problem today the government assigns an army of specialists, each good in their particular field but largely ignorant of any other. No one is driving the boat. The result is Iraq.
The political leaders of the Western nations are now as mediocre as their constituents. Compare Bush, Blair, Chirac, and Merkel to John Adams, Pitt, Napoleon I, and Frederick the Great. To qualify as a statesman in the world of the latter, you were expected to grasp the ideas of the day. George W. Bush, on the other hand, is little more than an oil salesman. Blair is a typical graduate from the Bloomsberry School of European Socialist weaklings. Chirac is a corrupt French degenerate. And who the heck is Merkel? Select men need not apply to electoral office today, for the masses will quickly spot his quality and reject his application. Government service repels the select man. He has no tolerance for mediocrity, no patience for bureaucracy, and the stench of egalitarianism sickens him. Thus the public domain is left to mediocres, opportunists, and hate-filled egalitarians. The exceptional man finds his way to the private sector and civilization looses the services of the very people it needs to survive. As one philosopher put it, “The abolition of quality smothers the exceptional man in this youth, and turns him into a cynic.”
The archetypical mass-man is what some philosophers have called Economic Man. He is the vulgar grandchild of Adam Smith’s and Karl Marx’s economic-centric world views. Both the free market capitalism of Smith and the scientific socialism of Marx saw man’s primary purpose in life as satisfying material needs. Everything else was secondary and a superstructure. And history, they believed, was driven by economic forces. Hence both believed in the Economic Man; they differed only over how he should pursue his material needs.
In the language of the pop culture, Economic Man is the “winner.” Your Hollywood mover and shaker, business mogul, Washington insider, or New York City jet-setter are typical of Economic Man. He is mass-man whose American Dream has come true. He has more discipline than his poorer cousin, but spiritually he is the same. The purpose in life is to acquire money, material security, endless amusements and sensual pleasures-bread and circuses on a mega scale. Culturally, he is a philistine. He imposes no ideas, no truths, no philosophy, no religion on himself. Lacking religion and morality, he sees nothing higher than himself.
Economic Man believes society should be nothing more than a set of culturally neutral laws and regulations designed to allow each mass-man the opportunity to become a “winner” like himself. Every mass-man sitting in his or her trailer dreams of more money, more cars, and more pleasures. Economic Man calls this the “American Dream.” The dream consists of materialism as an end in itself.
Economic Man believes that government should impose no ideas, no truths, no religion, and no identity. In fact, no one should be allowed to define what is right and wrong in a moral sense. Society for Economic Man is a legal-economic contract between bunches of autonomous philistines trying to pile-up as much wealth as possible. The state’s real purpose is to facilitate this quest, this dream. It must guarantee that every mass-man has the greatest number of “choices” on the bread and circuses menu.
Not everyone can become a Hollywood mover and shaker or a business giant, though. The average Economic Man in America lives in a perfectly manicured gated community, designed to keep out all threats to his placid, empty existence. He’s not so rich as to eschew social welfare programs. But he doesn’t want to pay for them. He wants a vigorous national defense. But if asked to serve he gets a deferment like Dick Cheney, or gets his rich daddy to find him a safe assignment in the Texas National Guard like George W. Bush. Combat is for “losers.” Economic Man has lawyers to ward off lawsuits and the taxman; he has an IRA; he has insurance on his life, health, house, and car; he even has his toes covered in case of hang nails.
Nothing can touch Economic Man. He requires pre-nuptial agreements because marriage is just another indulgence to him, another game to entertain him in his “pursuit of happiness.” If he becomes bored with his game (“We just grew apart”), he gets a divorce. Kids are interesting pets to him. Usually, he likes wearing the badge of morality in public, but he cheats on his spouse every chance he gets. Advanced degrees from our nation’s finest universities cover his wall, but he is essentially a cultureless boor. College was never about expanding his knowledge. He needed a diploma to get a better job, to make more money. The courses from college, he scarcely remembers. The ideas and principles of civilization, he passed over with indifference. He measures his worth by the size of his boat and bank account.
The sum total of Economic Man’s life is what America now calls “freedom.” Everyone in the world is thought to want this freedom. All of America’s wars were fought to secure this freedom. When we turn out every year for Memorial Day, we are thanking those who sacrificed their lives for this freedom-we are thanking the dead soldiers for making the world safe for Economic Man’s bloated, overindulged, philistine.
At the lower end of the social scale is the “loser,” just plain mass-man. Spiritually, mass-man is like his wealthier cousin, he merely lacks self-control. When it comes to taxes, conscription, and other obligations to society, he echoes Thomas Jefferson: “That government is best which governs least.” But when his house burns down, gets flooded, or blown away by a hurricane, he screams for the government to help him. When he’s old, he wants social security. When he’s sick, he wants universal health care. When he’s out of work, or simply doesn’t want to work, he wants unemployment relief. He believes he has a right to a good education, clean air, a living wage, health care, a house, happiness in general.
Mass-man talks big, but his deeds are small. He dreams of riches and wants to be like Economic Man, but he’s too lazy to work for them. In his mind wealth was somehow monopolized by the rich after having lucked upon it or stolen it at the beginning of time. He just wants his share from the horn of plenty. So he listens greedily to the egalitarians when they talk about “income redistribution.” Barring redistribution schemes, he lines up every week to buy Lotto tickets in the hope that his American Dream will finally come true.
Mass-man’s religion is utilitarian. The ethical content of religion, he ignores. Christ’s kingdom of Heaven message of service to others, he doesn’t hear. He turns a blind eye to the Golden Rule. The gods must give him wealth, power, protection, and happiness. And he also wants to allay his fears of death by purchasing a piece of celestial real estate. Toward these ends, he asks his holy man for the proper number of prayers, the right kind of magic or talisman. Every evangelist must sell mass-man religion with promises of salvation and threats of damnation. The idea that virtue ought to be its own reward is alien to him. What is in it for me? he asks. To get his reward, he jabbers the requisite number of prayers, he walks the aisle and blubbers a few insincere confessions. Asked to explain his “faith,” he searches for a few trite formulas given him by his preacher or priest. He has never read the Bible, but in the next world he will be a king, a judge, or a priest.
Politics is foreign to mass-man. He can’t define a liberal or a conservative. He follows the loudest voice, the politician who promises to give him the most bread and circuses. Making a mockery of JFK’s slogan, he only knows how to ask what his country will do for him. He doesn’t care that his countrymen are dying in Iraq, as long as he is safe at home. He’s no pacifist though. He wants his leaders to vigorously defend his bread and circuses. From the safety of his living room, he cheers as smart bombs slam into someone’s house in Baghdad. But he has no real sense of patriotism or loyalty. He supported the war in Iraq back in 2003, now he’s against it. In victory, he’s a bully; in defeat, he’s a lackey. Mass-man has no sense of social justice either. As long as he gets his bread and circuses, he will support the most vicious regimes on the planet. He doesn’t care that his neighbors may have been carted off to Gulag in the night. As long as his bread and circuses are delivered on time, he raises no protest.
Mass-man must have his bread. Preferably he can get it with little effort as possible. What he really likes though are circuses. A thousand years have changed his tastes very little. Two thousand years ago he went to the bathhouses and the arena to get his fill of sex and violence. Today, he sits in front of a television for six hours every day, feeding on a steady diet of filth and gore. The Jerry Springer Show treats him to a daily entrée of “Fighting Transvestites” or “When Lesbians Attack.” At night he can watch greased men beat each other with folding chairs on WWE Smackdown. If that doesn’t satisfy his blood lust, he can plug in Grand Theft Auto and simulate smashing a person’s head in with a baseball bat, or he can murder a co-ed and dismember her corpse on Manhunt II.
Sexual morality is something forced on him. Given the opportunity he will ignore it. He married solely because his wife was attractive. He has children, but later regrets it. He cheats if he can. But if he doesn’t have the nerve, the looks, or the opportunity, he cheats vicariously through his favorite movie star. Virtually every movie has the obligatory sex scene to satisfy him. Pornography is now one of his natural rights. Life, liberty, and lesbian three-ways-that’s what our revolutionary forebears fought for. Hugh Hefner and Joe Francis are now his models for the “good life.”
Films geared toward women are no better. The grass is always greener on the other side is the message. The so-called great “love stories” of our time feature infidelity as the primary theme: Dr. Zhivago, Out of Africa, The English Patient, Bridges of Madison County. Television romance dramas build on the same theme: Dallas, Dynasty, Desperate Housewives. Honestly, I cannot think of one highly acclaimed film that portrays a lasting, faithful marriage.
Quantity trumps quality in America’s cult of the mass-man. Whatever the greatest number of people think is important takes first place on the agenda. Iraq, social security, and immigration must wait while America watches the adventures of Anna Nichole Smith’s corpse. The most momentous foreign policy problem in the last forty years is unfolding in Iraq, but the masses would rather follow the chronicles of this dead stripper from Texas.
Despite the fact that mass-man can’t control his own life, every public official must pretend that he controls the destiny of the nation. Polls are called for on every issue, as if the oracle of the masses will give us the right answer: “Should we pull out of Iraq?” Less than 40 percent of Americans can find Iraq on the map, but over 60 percent are now sure that Washington needs to get the troops out now. “What about domestic issues?” Only 42 percent can name the three branches of the government, and even less can describe their basic functions; but 75 percent are sure that the federal government has dropped the ball on education, social security, and health care. “What about the Courts?” Only 24 percent can name two the nine Supreme Court Justices, but the majority of Americans think the Court is “overstepping” its bounds in the decisions recently handed down by the Roberts Court. The majority of Americans have never read the Constitution, and don’t know the significance of Yorktown, Gettysburg, or Brown v Board of Education. But 60 percent know who Homer Simpson is, and 73 percent can name all Three Stooges. (2006 survey by the nonprofit McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago).
Other than acting as a great nanny to spoon feed him, the functions of government are a mystery to mass-man. Yet no politician will dare suggest anything short of universal suffrage. Not only is a working knowledge of government unnecessary in order to vote these days, you don’t even have to speak English. If you have a few brain waves and a pulse, your voice is equal to all others.
The leaders of America want to extend the ideal of Economic Man across the globe. They believe that Economic Man is the end product of social evolution. They are sure that the entire world will eventually look like a Chicago suburb, complete with malls, fast food restaurants, and golf courses. This was Francis Fukuyama’s argument in The End of History, (1992). Those countries that have embraced Economic Man are “developed”; those that have not are “developing.” The means to get from undeveloped to developed is free market capitalism and social democracy. Together, these ideas tend toward “globalism,” which is the San Fernando Valley extended across the planet. Like Marxism, this thinking is deterministic; the forces moving us towards globalism are thought to be inevitable: “Globalization is not something we can hold off or turn off. It is the economic equivalent of a force of nature - like wind or water,” said President Bill Clinton.20
Multinational corporations and international banks are the driving forces behind globalism. The modern day multinational corporation now operates on a scale beyond the control of the nation-state. In 1985, which is a long time ago, the combined sales of the 350 largest corporations amounted to one third of the combined GNPs of all industrialized nations, and exceeded the combined GNPs of all developing nations, including China. And the typical international bank has branches in several countries, where they are not subject to the credit controls of the nation where their home-office is located. As a result, the idea of a national currency is a thing of the past. International banks and multinational corporations now control the major currencies of the world. For example, in 1990 commercial bank deposits in the U.S. came to about $826 billion. This is what they call our “money supply.” But the amount of U.S. dollars deposited in foreign branches of U.S. banks, and in foreign banks was about $3,000 billion. Because multinational corporations can borrow U.S. dollars abroad, it is impossible for the U.S. government to control the volume of bank credit. Globally, the value of foreign exchange traded daily (1n 1990) is about $1 trillion.21
The global economy now controls the economies of the individual nation-states. With a global economy already in place, Economic Man is now certain that global political institutions with the power to supersede national sovereignty are sure to follow.
Since the end of the Second World War institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Council on Foreign Relations have promoted this idea of globalism. They are convinced that the forces of globalism will eventually overcome the organic divisions of nation, religion, race, ethnicity, language, identity.
The parameters of the Establishment start from the free market capitalism on the Right, and go to the egalitarian socialist democracy on the Left. In between these two poles is the accepted regime of truth in the Western World today. The capitalists and the egalitarians differ only over economic policy. As collectivists, egalitarians want more state control over private property and the means of production. They want greater regulation of private industry and more taxes on the rich so as to redistribute wealth from the haves to the have-nots. The capitalists want greater protection for private property. Both share a materialistic view of life, and believe that man is the product of economic forces. Both believe that man’s primary aim in life is to satisfy his basic material needs. Although they differ over means, capitalists and egalitarians believe society’s end purpose ought to be to satisfy man’s material needs.
As I’ve already mentioned in Chapter 3, for most of the twentieth century radical egalitarians tried to create purely socialist societies, ones where the state completely controls the economy and the means of production. They sought to spread this idea though “revolutionary socialism,” meaning the violent overthrow of existing governments. This movement lost steam inside the West after the First World War. After that revolutionary socialism was largely a non-Western movement in places like Communist China and the Soviet Union. Western egalitarianism since the First World War has stressed a synthesis of egalitarian ideals operating within a free market economy, where property is still mostly private. Pure socialism is their ideal, but forcing it on the people, as in the Soviet model, seemed counter productive. From the Depression forward the Establishment has settled for private ownership with a greatly expanded government, a social welfare net, and more regulation and state planning on economic issues-a regulated “free market.” This quasi-socialism is found in the theories of economist John Maynard Keynes, who was a Bloomsberry Fabain socialist. But on cultural issues egalitarians stand alone. No other competing ideals are tolerated in the Establishment. Years ago they called this synthesis “Fabian socialism,” or “democratic socialism.” Fabianism was popular in England at the turn of the last century. Fabians such as George Bernard Shaw and Sidney and Beatrice Webb were all from upper class English families. They sought to use their wealth, privilege, and political power to promote the gradual acceptance of socialism through education and the democratic process. In America democratic socialists are now called “liberals.”
On the liberal Left in America are the Democratic Party, Noam Chomsky, Mother Jones, The New Republic, the ACLU, and the dread lock-wearing professional protester who turns out every time the G-8 has a meeting. On the Economic Man Right are the Republican Party, George Will, the Wall Street Journal, The Fox News Channel, and the guy who spends his weekends playing golf or reading Ayn Rand. The synthesis is seen in the United Nations, The New York Times, or in business moguls with a “social conscience” like Bill Gates, George Soros, or Warren Buffet. While these latter live a lifestyle as Economic Man, they publicly champion leftist do-gooder causes.
Conservatives are often confused when they see the synthesis between capitalism and leftist activism. They start to smell a conspiracy when they see AT&T and Greenpeace working together. Conservatives overlook the fact that the differences between capitalism and egalitarianism are really just economic. Both believe in matter over mind. Both believe in globalism. And both share a hatred of organic cultures and the conservatives who defend them.
Organic cultures are a reflection of mind over matter. They build their societies based on their culture identity, which is an internal quality not an external quantity. Identity is our invention, it is who we believe ourselves to be in relation to what we believe the world to be. Both individuals and groups create identity. Different beliefs are the source of difference between individuals and groups. The materialist believes that the basic realities of human existence and history are material, and the morals, religions, thoughts, and beliefs are reflections of these material conditions, they are superstructures built on top of economic conditions. Nonsense, says John Lukacs, “The most important matter is what people think and believe-and that the entire material organization of society, ranging from superficial fashions to their material acquisitions and their institutions are the consequences thereof.”22 Societies built on organic culture identity subordinate economic concerns to the integrity of the organic group. This is anathema to the materialist.
According to the Establishment, one of the most troublesome artifacts of the organic cultures is the nation-state. The nation-state is not primarily an economic arrangement. It is the political expression of an organic culture identity. When an organic culture identity declares that it will make its own laws, pursue its own interests, and if necessary defend those interests with armed force, it is a sovereign political unit. In the past the organic culture identity created such political units as the band, tribe, chiefdom and kingdom. Since the time of he Reformation the most common expression of the organic culture identity has been the nation-state. With other similarly situated independent nation-states pursuing their own interests, clashes are inevitable. If the interests are important, war is possible. Nation-states also subordinate economic policy to the national interest. They sometimes adopt policies to protect their nation’s products and workers from hostile foreign competition. They use separate currencies. All of this is bad for business in the eyes of Economic Man. He wants to remove decisions from the nation-state and put it in the hands of the free market, corporations, and international banks. Multinational corporations want to hire Third World laborers for the lowest wages and sell their products for the highest prices, without having to worry about tariffs, punitive taxes, or onerous labor and environmental standards. International banks want to loan money to whomever they want, for whatever interest rate the market will bear, without having to deal in several different currencies, and without the meddling of national governments trying to protect the value of their own currencies through credit controls. For all practical purposes the global economy already functions outside the control of the nation-state. But from the perspective of the Economic Man, removing the nation-state would make their system more efficient.
The egalitarians share this hatred of the nation-state. To them the organic culture identity and its representative the nation-state are responsible for inequality, injustice, exclusion, poverty, and war. All people are the same and therefore should be governed by one system. If the egalitarians are to create a truly human society, one that will forever eliminate social injustices, the organic culture identity and nation-state must go.
Therefore, capitalist Economic Man and the socialist egalitarians join forces to crush organic cultures. As the representative of the organic culture, the conservative stands outside the parameters of the Establishments’ regime of truth. Those who believe in the exclusive claims of their own culture, their own people, their own nation, their own religion are not welcome in the American Establishment.
Mass-man in America believes the bread and circuses lifestyles are his by natural right. The formula “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” now includes contraception, abortion, and pornography. The state is now the handmaiden of his sexual lifestyle, it is his pimp, pornographer, and abortionist.
Although culture defines its controls somewhat differently, all organic cultures place controls and taboos on sexuality. Rulemaking is what separates us from the animals. The Marxist free love doctrine of uninhibited sexuality is seen nowhere in organic societies. As creatures of symbol, humans treat the connection between a man and woman as sacred. It is a spiritual congress, a sharing of that which is most personal. As something personal, sex is not something that humans share with just anyone. And once something personal is shared, it is jealously guarded. Sex and the miracle of childbirth that comes from sex are therefore treated by all organic cultures as sacred, something to be handled with the utmost care and dignity. The marriage contract is the result of approaching these things with dignity. As religion is most important to man, the gods are almost always called upon to sanctify marriage. In other words, sex is not just sex in the Bohemian free love sense. Free love doctrine and Bohemianism are conditions of decadence. Humans are not animals who mate when they get the urge. You may argue over the reasonableness of a particular taboo, but only a fool or a Marxist castigates all sexual taboos.
Like virtually every other Marxist lie, free love is an attack on organic culture. Sex, they believe, is completely relative and no different than any other human activity. Some people have sex with others of the same sex; some people prefer sex with multiple partners; some have sex with their sisters; some have sex with donkeys; some are into sex with shoes; and, yes, some people even have sex with members of the opposite sex. But all sex is equal. Sexual taboos and sexual morality are based in superstition, say the egalitarian. No type of sex is better than any other. This is the rationale of the free love doctrine. Over the past forty years the Left has pushed a “sexually liberated” lifestyle. But this is not because they are the champions of individual liberty. Free love is about equality. There is inequality in a society where sex within marriage is called “good” and sex with fifteen men in a bathhouse is called “bad.” In egalitarian utopia no type of sex can be morally elevated above any other. Free love is about overthrowing bourgeois sexual morality; it is about destroying the moral claims of marriage, monogamy, and family.
Part of the free love lie is the assertion that sex is separate from procreation. Having never watched the Discovery Channel, egalitarians argue that sex is about personal self-satisfaction, like basket weaving or Yoga. Procreation is a different thing entirely, something only incidental to sex, like having your arm popped out of joint while doing Yoga. But the purpose of sex is not procreation anymore than the purpose of Yoga is to pop your arm out of joint. Since sex is about self-satisfaction, then it’s only logical to use contraception and abortion in order to prevent “accidents.” Similarly, when doing Yoga it’s only logical to wear ace bandages on your joints. And if your arm should pop out of joint, it’s only logical to employ a doctor to pop it back in.
This is an obtuse argument. Leaving aside the symbolic importance of marriage and sexual morality, on a strictly biological level sex goes with procreation like eating goes with nutrition. Although there may be other things associated with sex-pleasure, connubial affection-it is about procreation. Similarly, although other things are associated with eating-pleasure-it is about nourishing the body. The pleasure of sex is God’s way of enticing us to procreate, just as the pleasures of taste are God’s way of enticing us to nourish our bodies. You may argue over the wisdom of having sex or eating solely for pleasure, but you are a fool if you insist that the primary natural purposes of sex and eating are things other than procreation and nutrition.
Trying to radically separate sex from procreation is similar to separating eating from nutrition. A couple of thousands years ago Roman epicures used to do just that. For sheer pleasure they would stuff themselves with sweet meats and wine. And when they were about to pop, they would waddle to the vomitorium and disgorge themselves. A little peppermint and water and they would return to the feast. This was a conscious attempt to separate eating from nutrition. The epicures wanted the pleasures of eating fatty, unhealthy foods without the responsibilities of properly nourishing their bodies.
Just like the Roman epicure, mass-man today wants the pleasures without the responsibilities. Organic culture sought to pull man out of the muck of animality, mass-man wants to dive back in. He wants a responsibility-free sexual environment and he believes the state is obligated to give it to him. Hugh Hefner’s so-called “Playboy Philosophy,” which is nothing more than free love doctrine, suits the new vulgarian just fine. According to Hefner, Christianity has distorted human sexuality for two thousand years. You should be able to sleep with anyone you want, anytime you want, with no unwanted consequences, says Hefner. It is no accident that Hefner’s Playboy Foundation is one of the biggest contributors to Planned Parenthood.
Medical science has built mass-man a sexual vomitorium. He can now stuff his gullet full at the sex feast and disgorge the unwanted consequences through contraception and abortion. Unlike the egalitarian, abortion serves no ideological purpose for mass-man. It is strictly utilitarian. Jim wants to hook-up with that hottie in the club, and if she gets pregnant, he might shell out a few Benjamins for an abortion. Or, Cathy’s working on her law degree and decides to let her hair down with the cutie in her Criminal Procedures class. They’re too drunk to use a condom. Now, she’s pregnant. Not wanting to derail her high-powered career by raising a love-child, Cathy schedules a confidential backdoor appointment at the local “women’s clinic.” Or, Bill has been living with Susie for a year and getting his milk for free. It’s good milk, but Bill has no intention of buying the cow. Perhaps Susie misses her pill schedule. Who knows? Anyway, Susie is pregnant. Since Bill will not marry her, Susie, decides to get rid of the “problem.” Or, he’s a businessman, a deacon in his church, and a well-respected member of the community. His sweet sixteen-year-old angel has been knocked-up by that little heathen from the wrong side of the tracks. There is no way his darling is going to marry that loser; Mr. Deacon can’t send her upstate to care for a “sick” aunt; and no child of his is going to raise a bastard-the embarrassment would just kill him. So Mr. Plastic Deacon schedules an abortion in a city 200 miles away.
In the Amazon jungle or in rural India the native and the peasant use infanticide to rid themselves of extra mouths to feed, tabooed children, or unwanted females. Their motives are utilitarian: “Here is child I don’t want; he will bring me no material benefit. I’ll be rid of him,” they say. Mass-man also uses abortion for utilitarian reasons. But there are differences. Life is rough on the Amazonian native and the Indian peasant. Adding another mouth at their table is often quite a burden. But mass-man has no such excuse. He has more than enough resources to care for a child. He simply doesn’t want the bother. Like Thomson’s jetsetter woman, mass-man obtains an abortion because he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced. He gorges himself on sex, and when full, he disgorges himself through abortion.
As long as mass-man has enough distance from the act of abortion, he scarcely considers the morality of his actions. Distance is key. “Out of sight, out of mind,” is the saying. Abortion is tolerated in America today because the killing takes place out of view. There would be a different take on the issue if abortion mills performed their services out in the parking lot in full view of passersby. As it is, abortionists ply their trade behind closed doors. The victim is dispatched inside the womb, or is sucked out with a vacuum aspirator. The death throes of the child are unseen.
A Yale Professor named Millgram conducted an experiment in the 1960s that attempted to measure a normal person’s tolerance for inflicting pain on other human beings. Participants were told that the purpose of the experiment was to measure the effects of physical punishment on learning. A subject was asked questions, and a participant was told to press a button administering an electronic shock every time the subject answered incorrectly. Unbeknownst to the participants, the electronic shocks were fake and the subjects being asked the questions were actors. Millgram was an anti-war leftist and the real purpose of his experiment was to measure a person’s willingness to inflict pain on another person when ordered to do so. When a participant was reluctant to push the button, Millgram told him that the “test required” him to continue. Of the participants, two-thirds continued to administer the shocks when ordered to do so; one-third refused. Distance from the subject was also measured. When the subject was face-to-face with the participant, 70 percent refused to push the button. But when the subject was removed out of sight and put in another room, only 35 percent refused to give the “shock.”
Millgram confirmed what common sense has known for ages-inflicting pain on others up close is harder than doing it at a distance. Bomber pilots walk away from missions that have killed thousands of people with little psychological impact. But soldiers who have had to dispatch an enemy at close range experience a whole different thing. As noted earlier, infanticide in India is widely practiced. But the parents almost never do the deed themselves. They hire midwives to kill their kids. Larger villages usually have a women practiced in the evil art of infanticide. The usual method is to stuff the child into a jar filled with water and close the lid. But if no one can be found to kill their kid, the parents will leave her in the jungle to die of exposure. In all cases, distance from the deed makes killing so much easier.
It’s the same with abortion in our “modern” world. The killing is hired out and kept at a distance. Medical science has perfected the practice of child murder. The scene of the crime is sterile and clean; the procedure is quick and efficient. And attached to the outside of the killing center is the euphemistic sign, “Women’s Health Clinic.” This wipes away any guilt associated with murdering a child and convinces the murderer that they are really at a place for nurturing and healing. But it’s only a psychological trick, and as long as there is enough distance from the deed, the trick works. But deep down they know what goes on in there, just as the Indian peasant knows what will happen to his baby girl when he hands her over to the midwife-killer. People lie to themselves. They use illusions to scare away reality.
The debate over whether to show pictures of aborted children is yet another case of distance. Many so-called “pro-lifers” oppose showing the images, saying it hurts the cause and alienates potential supporters. They protest too much. What they are really trying to do is put distance between their plastic, hollow “pro-life” stance, which exists only in the abstract, and the actual practice of abortion, as displayed in the horrible pictures. The pictures prove them hypocrites and they don’t like that. Their pusillanimous activism resembles a protest against zoning laws or a liquor-by-the-drink referendum, rather than an effort to bring down a system of mass murder.
After Army Rangers rescued the Allied prisoners of war from Cabanatuan in the Philippines, pictures of the starved prisoners were broadcast worldwide. The pictures showed the brutality of the Imperial Japanese Army and were used to justify the allied cause. Some people, however, were chagrined by the images. After the war they still refuse to show the pictures. Who are these people? Japanese. They don’t want to believe that the system they supported did such things. Having supported that government, they bear some of the blame for its actions. Similarly, the “moderate pro-lifer” bears some of the blame for the abortions happening right down his street, hidden in that clean professional building with the euphemistic sign. The pictures reveal him for a hypocrite and a coward. He feels so much better about himself if he doesn’t have to look at what he is doing nothing to prevent.
For mass-man abortion-on-demand is a wonderful triumph over responsibility. It is another delicious “choice” on his menu of “freedoms.” Abortion is an integral part of his bread and circuses lifestyle. As long as the deed is kept at a distance, his conscience is clear. The egalitarians worked so hard to legalize abortion in order to liberate women from the clutches of maternity. But mass-man couldn’t care less about liberating anyone, except himself. He simply wants to enjoy the pleasures of sex without having to worry about caring for an unwanted child. To the egalitarian the abortion mill is a triumph of equality; to mass-man it is a vomitorium.
In the abortion debate both egalitarians and conservatives tend to forget that mass-man, with his shallow utilitarian motives, is the quiet power behind legalized abortion. They fool themselves into believing that most people are walking around with a well thought-out agenda, when, in fact, most people are barely walking upright. Conservatives are just as blind to this fact as their egalitarian adversaries. More often than not mass-man will conceal his approval of abortion. He actually prefers the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach. Publicly, she’ll say she believes abortion is “immoral”; privately she wants the option of dumping that little impediment to her career. Publicly he considers himself a moral kind of guy, but he too wants the option of driving his wife, girlfriend, mistress, or daughter to get rid of that little problem. Abortion is now as American as apple pie. Go take a poll of abortion sentiment in South Dakota, and you’ll find the state overwhelmingly “pro-life.” Then put a law before them that outlaws abortion and they will vote it down. Mass-man is a coward and a hypocrite and his “moral” sentiments blow back and forth with the wind. He is, however, the great genius behind the American system, so God forgive me for my undemocratic blasphemy.
Chapter 4 References
1. Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 4th ed.1932, 1993) p. 13
2. Ibid. pp. 14-15
3. Ibid. p. 15
4. Ibid. p. 63
5. Johann Wolfgang von Goehte, in Revolt of the Masses, p. 63
6. Gasset, Revolt of the Masses, p. 64
7. Ibid. p. 49
8. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract,” in The European Philosophers From Descartes To Nietzsche, p. 321 (New York: the Modern Library, 3 ed. 2002)
9. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, quoted in Revolt of the Masses, p. 127
10. Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses, p. 127
11.Ibid. p. 128
12. Ibid. p. 128-129
13. Ibid. p. 71
14. Ibid. p. 71
15. Ibid. p. 71
16. Ibid. pp.72-73
17. Ibid. p. 120
18. Ibid. p. 120
19. Ibid. p. 57-58
20. President Bill Clinton, (Speech Nov. 17, 2000) in Zbigneiw Brzezinski, Second Chance, (New York: Perseus Books, 2007) p. 83
21. Robert Heilbroner and Aaron Singer, The Economic Transformation of America Since 1865, (Orlando: Harcourt Brace, 1994) pp. 232-233
22. John Lukacs, At the End of the Age, (Yale University Press, 2002) p. 66
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