Karl Marx flunks history

In the following column, Olavo de Carvalho alludes to the Hegelian theory of the “historical imperative,” which the early Marxists used as a basis for their ideas.

This Utopian notion of history as a foregone conclusion, is still used by Marxists and their followers. I have shown how the idea of “gay marriage” is based in part on this idea and is seen by activists in the field as an inevitable outcome of all prior history.

Mr. de Carvalho points out the severe philosophical limitations of this Utopian idea. Ironically, its popularity and the virulence of its supporters are symptoms of its inherent lack of validity.

Don Hank

Social Critique and History

Olavo de Carvalho
Jornal da Tarde, October 11, 2001

All social critique is founded upon some idea of the better. It is only in comparison with this idea that any existing society may seem good, tolerable, bad, or unbearable. But the idea of the better does not emerge from nothing: it is conceived of by actual men, members of the same society they criticize. If we consider that the mindset of these men is entirely a “product” of society, then, only one of two alternatives is true: either they themselves fall into the evil they denounce, or society, having given these men the idea of the better, cannot be as evil as they say it is.

Therefore, all social critique that claims to have any foundation at all can only be based upon the premise that in man’s consciousness there is a dimension which somehow transcends any present society and to which he can transport himself in thought in order to judge that society from the outside, or from above.

It is evident, however, that a simple verbal appeal to a legitimating authority is not enough to validate any critique. A critique must not only allege but must also prove its logical affiliation with a superior authority.

Social critiques, therefore, can be hierarchized on a scale of strictly objective validity, in accordance with (a) the intrinsic legitimacy of the authority called upon to legitimize them; (b) the degree of logical consistency of the nexus between the legitimizing authority and the content of the critique. In other words: (a) The authority of the superior authority summoned to legitimize a critique may be false or deficient in itself, as in the case of the critic who condemns society based upon a pure Utopian model of his own invention. (b) If the alleged authority is valid in itself, there is also the risk that the deduction which the critic draws from it in order to validate a specific critique of a specific society is not a logically valid inference.

A history of social critique from antiquity to the present day would easily demonstrate that, over time, the social critiques formulated in the West have been progressively losing their validity as they have grow in virulence and in the number of their adherents. In other words: as time goes on, social critics lose in intrinsic authority what they gain in pretension and audience.

I know that this is a lamentable observation and that some people, without having ever studied the subject, or even become minimally aware of it before reading this article, will reject it in limine and will seek refuge from it behind all sorts of subterfuge. The only thing I have to say to these people is: don’t bother me; go study. As to other people, that is, those for whom the enunciation of a hypothesis arouses curiosity instead of tears, I suggest they compare, for example, the Socratic critique to the Marxist one. The latter has far more adherents and is much more ferocious than the former, but, in declaring that men’s consciousness is a “product” of history, the Marxist critique cannot allege any legitimizing authority other than history itself; however, since history does not provide models for its own judgment, but rather the simple reporting of faits accomplis, the Marxist critic is left with no other alternative than to infer from past history a hypothesis for a future development and to take it at once as the legitimizing authority for the critique of the present. Nothing proves that the predicted development is inevitable, nor that the state of affairs that results from it will have to be better than the present state of affairs; all this is nothing but hypothesis and has no other legitimizing authority than that of a hypothesis. On the other hand, Socrates’ critique, which did not gain many adherents, except in a very limited circle, had a much more solid foundation, since the authorities to which he appealed were the certainty of death and the intrinsic authority of reason, which no man can reject. 

Marxism stands at an even greater disadvantage when compared to the social critique of the Hebrew prophets, who draw their authority from the fulfillment of prophecies. Moses’ critique of the state of affairs in Egypt was founded upon his foreknowledge of the concrete means of leading the Jewish people to a better situation; and the success of his undertaking provided full proof of his claims. This is an argument that no Marxist can allege in support of his criticism of capitalism. Quite to the contrary, the historical achievements of the socialist model in USSR and China were so disappointing that, nowadays, Marxists, after having proclaimed and defended them as the purest and most typical expressions of how Marxism overcomes capitalism, strive to explain them ex post facto as accidental deviations and to purge Marxism of any commitment to such obvious failures.

Translator: Alessandro Cota; Translation Editor: Don Hank

Author Olavo de Carvalho is a noted correspondent for several major Brazilian newspapers and founder of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government and Social Thought. He has spoken before the Hudson Institute, the Atlas Foundation and the America’s Future Foundation.

To comment or schedule an appearance, contact Laigle’s Forum at:  zoilandon@msn.com

Victim of leftist regime warns America

I have found that there is no more reliable warning about the Left than that from a country that has been taken over by the Left, and there is no more valuable source of insight about the strategy and tactics of the Left than a former leftist who has been redeemed. I say that as a former leftist who has been redeemed.

Brazil is a country that has fallen into the clutches of the hard Left. There is almost no alternate news source there.

Mr. de Carvalho has repeatedly pointed out that, prior to the last presidential elections, the Brazilian news media had refused to mention that Brazilian President Lula was one of the founders of the far-left, terrorist-ridden Forum of Sao Paolo. In the early years, anyone who even admitted the existence of this forum was considered an insane rightwing hate monger.

Sound familiar?

Phillip Berg’s lawsuit that no one mentions in the media? The L.A. Times videos that will not be shown?  The silence over Obama’s involvement with radical leftist Odinga in Kenya? De Carvalho has already pointed out the eerie similarity between these (and many other) hush-ups and the way the leftwing suppressed the truth in his country before Lula’s election.

Later, after the damage was irreversible, Lula himself not only publicly admitted the Sao Paolo Forum existed, but in fact, spoke proudly of how much he had personally achieved for the Left in South America by participating in it. He even brazenly bragged how he had pulled the wool over the eyes of naïve Brazilian citizens.

Will Barack Obama some day brazenly brag that he has deceived you as well?

There is only one thing standing in the way of that possibility: you.

This coming Tuesday, November 4.

Donald Hank

 

The candidate of fear

Olavo de Carvalho

Diário do Comércio (São Paulo, Brazil), October 24th, 2008

Called “the Messiah” by radical Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan and “My Jesus” by the college associate editor of a student newspaper, Barack Hussein Obama informs us, “Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger.” What if he did not let us know?

Whatever the case, he has already performed at least one confirmed miracle: he is the first presidential candidate who has won the applause of all the enemies of the United States without it having ever aroused the least suspicion of the American establishment against him. Counted among his enthusiasts are Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Iranian president Ahmadinejad, Muammar Khadafi, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, and the television station Al-Jazeera. I wonder what would have happened to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s candidacy in 1932 if he had received ostensible support from Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini.

It is true that Obama pledges to dismantle the space defense system of the United States, to slow down unilaterally the American program of nuclear research, to turn victory in Iraq into defeat, to ban new oil drilling, and to grant driver’s license and health care to illegal aliens, that patriotic mob which wants to turn Texas and California into Mexican states. But if you insinuate that any of those things is a good reason for Communists and radical Muslims to like him, the media en masse will say that you have “crossed the line” and that you are virtually guilty of a “hate crime.” Ahmadinejad has declared that the victory of the Democratic candidate in the election will give the green light to the Islamization of the world, Khadafi has proclaimed that Obama is a faithful Muslim financed by Islamite millionaires, and Louis Farrakhan, availing himself of the wave of pro-Obama enthusiasm, has announced that the Nation of Islam, the secret society of radical Muslims he presides over, which has been making slow progress for decades, is having a “new beginning,” and will be fully operational soon. The meaning of those facts is clear, but noticing it is immoral: every decent citizen has to swear that the support coming from the enemies of America is only a mistake on their part, since Obama has never given-oh, no!-the least pretext for them to sympathize with him. To insinuate any convergence of interests is to impute to Obama “guilt by association”- an act of perfidy, obviously, loaded with racial “overtones.”

Besides, any stronger word used against the black candidate is pointed out as proof of racism, and the least suggestion that there is racial blackmail in this is double proof. John McCain himself makes a point of confining the debate to the sphere of “ideas,” emphasizing that his opponent is “a decent person and a person you do not have to be scared of.”

This statement is unintentionally ironic. The thing that every American fears most, nowadays, is being suspected of thinking bad things about Barack Hussein Obama. Following the example of their leader, Republican militants are doing their best to show respect and veneration for the person of the adversary. A staffer at the John McCain campaign office in Pompano Beach, California, who posted behind his desk a sign associating Obama with Marx and Hitler was immediately fired. An Ohio citizen, who asked some tougher questions to the Democratic candidate about his tax plan, paid dearly for his boldness. He had his life rummaged through by reporters and was severely criticized for the heinous crimes of working as a plumber without a license and of not having paid a traffic fine he had incurred in Arizona eight years ago. That gives an idea of the exasperated zeal with which the mainstream media protects Barack Obama’s image. Samuel Wurzelbacher, or Joe The Plumber-the nickname by which he has become known nationwide-draws from his experience an unavoidable conclusion, “When you can’t ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary.”

This fear is not just psychological. Several Republican activists have already reportedly been beaten up by Obama supporters, McCain campaign offices in various states have been broken into and destroyed, and only police action managed to prevent, just in time, hundreds of well-trained Obama agitators, armed with Molotov cocktails, from setting fire to the buses heading to the Republican Convention in St. Paul (even so, the remainder managed to wreak quite some havoc). When a candidate employs terrorist methods, and at the same time the establishment decrees that calling him a terrorist is insanity to the utmost, it is clear that this candidate has unlimited rights. He is allowed to receive 63 million dollars in illegal contributions from abroad, and nothing bad will happen to him. An NGO that patronizes him can flood thirteen states with fraudulent voter registrations, and woe to them who suggest that he bears some guilt in the case. In contrast, McCain was charged with criminal verbal violence for the simple fact of mentioning the widely attested link between Obama and William Ayers. A pro-McCain-Palin march, in New York, was received with every sort of insult and threat. As, on the other hand, no violence could be observed against Obama militants, it was necessary to invent a story that, in a Sarah Palin rally, somebody shouted “Kill him” after hearing Obama’s name mentioned. The police looked carefully into the tapes of the rally and concluded that nobody shouted any such thing at all.

Another intimidating factor is economic superiority. Obama’s campaign collected nothing less than $605 million in contributions. For every McCain ad, four Obama ads come out. Even more overwhelming is the free advertisement provided by the big media for the Democratic candidate.

To this day, the only newspaper of some importance that has reported the lawsuit filed by Democratic attorney Philip Berg against Obama was the Washington Times-nominally Republican-which, nonetheless, categorizes doubts about Obama’s nationality as mere “internet rumors” and, alluding to the lawsuit only in the last lines, as if it were nothing but one more rumor, omit informing that Obama, instead of presenting his birth certificate as requested by the plaintiff, preferred making use of a complex legal argumentation in order to dodge doing so. The second lawsuit on the same issue, filed in the state of Washington, is not even mentioned.

The major newspapers and television companies protect the Democratic candidate not only against his adversaries but against himself. Acts or statements that may show him in an unfavorable light are carefully omitted. In all the American mainstream media one will not find a single word about Obama’s long career as an abortion militant, let alone about the only important activity he undertook on the international level: the campaign set up, with public money, to bring into power in Kenya the anti-American and pro-terrorist agitator Raila Odinga, guilty of ordering the murder of more than a thousand of his political opponents and of conspiring with Muslim leaders to impose the Islamic religion on a Christian-majority nation. Not only did Obama help Odinga with American tax-payers’ money, and introduce him to contacts in the Senate, but spoke in his favor at rallies in Kenya. If there is something that shows the true nature of the international commitments of the Democratic candidate, it is this episode-but even Fox News omits touching upon the subject. 

Here in the United States everybody says that Obama’s victory is certain. It seems to me that, even if Obama loses the election, he will be a winner. The party of his adversaries was already on its knees at the moment that, instead of an authentic conservative, it chose a typical liberal Republican for a candidate, a sure promise, if he is elected, of a weak administration subservient to critics, exactly like George Bush’s. After this first fit of frenzy, there followed a worse one: from the moment when Republicans, instead of filing a thousand lawsuits like that of Philip Berg, accepted as a legitimate and decent electoral adversary a candidate with no ascertained nationality, with a misty biography full of flagrant lies, aided and subsidized by the most heinous enemies of the country, it became clear that they had abdicated all sense of honor and consented to legitimate a farce. If they lose the elections, they will deserve as many tears as those who preferred to allow Lula to win the presidency of Brazil rather than tell what they knew about the São Paulo Forum.

As for Obama’s campaign, its profile is clear. The amalgam of utopian promises, overwhelming advertisement, psychotic beatification of the leader, racial appeal, media control, and systematic intimidations of voters, is identical in the least details with Hitler’s electoral strategy in 1933, but in order to say this in public-or even to become aware of it in a low voice-it takes more courage than one can expect from the average voter nowadays.

 

Olavo de Carvalho, 61, taught Political Philosophy at the Catholic University of Parana (Brazil) from 2001 to 2005 and is the author of twelve books. He now lives in the United States as a correspondent for Brazilian newspapers. Website: www.olavodecarvalho.org.

Olavo de Carvalho on the revolutionary mind

Olavo de Carvalho’s lecture: The structure of the revolutionary mind

 

By Donald Hank

Even the best of observers have trouble figuring out what the Left is, or what the difference between left and right is, or what these concepts even mean any more.

Great strides have been made recently, however, with the recognition, among the most astute observers, that Hitler’s Third Reich is by no means an example of rightwing ideology and policies in action, contrary to current political doctrine.

Many conservative writers have already concluded that Hitler was not a rightwinger, based mostly on his National Socialism.

Indeed Mr. de Carvalho’s (as yet unpublished) lecture “The structure of the revolutionary mind,” cites the recent book “The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia” by Richard Overy, which demonstrates the parallels between Hitler and Stalin.

I had noticed that the compatibility of Hitler’s ideology with today’s European relativism was brilliantly highlighted in Ben Stein’s movie Expelled, and most poignantly in the scene in a former Third Reich mental “hospital” where patients deemed to be of no value to society were gassed (I couldn’t help but think of Terri Schiavo). When Stein asked the tour guide at the museum what she would say if she could talk to the perpetrators of that horror, she simply said that was another era and they had their reasons for doing what they did. Thus she clearly would not feel justified in judging these criminals by her standards (assuming she had any). Here was a woman who had certainly been educated in Germany, either the communist East Germany or the socialistic West Germany. Neither system prepared her to condemn Hitler’s actions because these actions were based on the same world view that Germany embraces today, atheistic humanism based on a tenacious belief in Darwinist principles of natural selection, and the correlative notion that man has a moral right and even obligation to support natural selection with his laws under which a race can be culled of inferior elements. Neither socialism nor “national” socialism reject this out of hand. Only Christianity does, and that religion is fading fast in Europe (while here Christianity is being absorbed by the Left. See here, here and here).

All this helps clarify the compatibility between two world views that our education system and mainstream press insist are opposites.

But surprisingly, despite a lot of keen observation, before Olavo de Carvalho’s lecture, no one had yet managed to credibly characterize the Left in all of its main facets.

I have personally grappled with this for many years and had all but despaired of finding an adequate definition. And yet, how can a good American be a good American if he can’t identify the enemy of his way of life? How can he stand athwart history and shout stop if he doesn’t know what it is he must stop?

At the top of the first page of each issue of Izvestia was the slogan “Workers of the world unite!” Thus to people of my era, the Left portrayed itself as a system of social justice that aimed at creating a level playing field between workers and their bosses and attempted to share the wealth equally with a view to building a world free of poverty.

Yet today, we see the Left working hard to make fuel more expensive for the poor, not in any attempt at social justice but rather to “save the planet.” The main area where social “justice” is sought is between heterosexuals and homosexuals, and the current thrust is toward legalizing same-sex “marriage” which, if it triumphs, will trivialize traditional marriage, ultimately prompting fewer to marry and bear children, since part of the attractiveness of marriage has been a sacred religious ceremony affirming one’s faith, encouraging people to wait until marriage to enjoy sex, and therefore fostering heterosexual purity based on a biblical world view. None of this is apparent in the “gay” community with its emphasis on promiscuity (broad daylight naked orgies) and its rejection of the biblical view of homosexuality. This focus on discouraging child birth is mightily supported by Planned Parenthood. Thus, ultimately, the leftist vision seems to be a world with more poverty and fewer children born to shoulder the burden of caring for the elderly, for example, by paying into the social services system. The once-proud vision of a world of strong healthy workers receiving equal pay for a better, more prosperous life, is quickly giving way to a vision of a world impoverished for the sake of an impersonal planet to whose riches mankind must increasingly forfeit its claims. We are taught that to consider humanity’s needs is to be selfish, that we must sacrifice our children’s future for the sake of a planet. And yet we are being asked to sever ties to that planet as if our destiny were separate from its.

Thus, obviously, the old left and the new left are different ideologically and many ordinary people are confused (particularly since an astounding percentage of Republican politicians embrace the Left’s policies). Some are confused into thinking that the new Left is more benign. These are the ones who believe the myth that communism is dead.

In fact, communism never died, it merely metamorphosed.

How to explain that the Left can completely substitute its original ideology and still be the Left?

Olavo de Carvalho had wondered the same thing. But he was born into a South American environment where leftism was the air they breathed. It was the worldview in academe and on the street and there was no other box to think outside of. Therefore, as a philosophy student, he was steeped in the literature of the Left, not just Marx and Hegel but the entire pantheon of leftist gods writing the blueprints for society. Thus he had read an enormous amount of this literature and is today one of the few living conservatives-having had his epiphany-who now truly understands the Left, something like David Horowitz, except that de Carvalho had the additional benefit of seeing a much more virulent leftism in action and up close.

Even so, Mr. Carvalho had to read and reread the old (and new) revolutionary literature to find a common thread, and what he found is surprising:

The Left (which he calls the “revolution”) is not a unified ideology or agenda at all, but rather a way of seeing the world, and specifically it is an inversion of what normal people call common sense. And this inversion is the sole unifying factor, the one common thread running through the revolution since the 13th and 14th centuries

According to de Carvalho, revolutionary thought as we know it did not exist before about the 13th century; nor is it a function of chronological age. The myth that the young tend to be revolutionaries arises from the Left itself and serves the purpose of making the Revolution appear to be a natural phenomenon.

Instead, this revolutionary inversion has its origins in an early Christian heresy (arrogating to itself the role of Christ the avenger) and has at least three aspects:

1-Inversion of the perception of time.

Normal individuals, based on common sense, see the past as something immutable and the future as something that can be changed (it is contingent, as de Carvalho puts it).

Not so the leftist revolutionary, who sees the utopian future as a goal that eventually will be reached no matter what and the past as something that can be changed, through reinterpretation (what we call “rewriting history”), to accommodate it.

One example the author gives of this is how Soviet propagandists reinterpreted Dostoevsky, an anti-revolutionary of the first order. In his novel “Crime and Punishment,” young revolutionary Raskolnikov kills his wealthy elderly landlady as an act of solidarity with the poor class, in keeping with his world view that ownership of private property is immoral and that the revolutionary is entitled to take possession of it by any means at his disposal. But Raskolnikov is caught and goes to jail where the only book available to the prisoners is a Bible, which he reads, and is converted to Christianity, abandoning his revolutionary ideology, which he now understands as immoral.

While fully aware of Dostoevsky’s anti-revolutionary mindset, the early communists liked his novels and considered them too thoroughly Russian to ban, so they simply reinterpreted him posthumously and declared that his novels were written to highlight  the need for more social justice. Thus the Left reached back into time and manipulated the thoughts of a man who would have been their adversary, making him posthumously a fellow communist.

2-The inversion of morality

De Carvalho points out that because the revolutionary (leftist) believes implicitly in a future utopia where there will be no evil, this same revolutionary believes that no holds should be barred in achieving that utopia. Thus, his own criminal activities in achieving that goal are above reproach.

The author cites Che Guevara, who said that the revolutionary is the “highest rank of mankind.” Thus, armed with such moral superiority, Che was able to cold-bloodedly murder his political enemies wholesale.

Another example cited in the lecture is Karl Marx, who had an illicit liaison with his maid and then, to keep bourgeois appearances, made his son, the offspring of that liaison, live in the basement of his home, never even introducing the boy to his brothers in wedlock. The boy was never mentioned in the family and went into historical oblivion.

De Carvalho compares this despicable behavior with the more noble conduct of Brazilian landowners who had illegitimate children but made them heirs, yet made no claims of moral superiority!

To the revolutionary mind, it is normal that the revolutionary should pay no mind to the bourgeois morality, because after all, nothing he does can be construed as immoral, since the sum total of his actions hasten the revolution when justice will prevail. This is why conservatives frequently refer to the Left’s hypocrisy (for example, environmental champion Al Gore’s 20-fold electricity consumption compared to yours and mine).

By contrast, the author shows that by the Left’s own definition of “revolution,” the American revolution is not a revolution at all because our founders were men who held themselves (not just others) to high moral standards, and in no way tried to usher in a novel experimental utopian system, basing their actions and policies on older English traditions and common law, and modeling our Republic on these tried and true common-sense precepts. 

3-Inversion of subject and object

When revolutionaries like Che, and Hitler’s operatives, for example, killed innocent people, they would blame the people they killed for “making” them do it by refusing to go along with their revolutionary notions. This is one example the author gives of the inversion of subject and object.

De Carvalho also points out a number of other inversions and makes many fascinating points, but my purpose here is simply to clarify what the Left really is, to stimulate thought and to predispose the reader to buy his book when it comes out.

You will be a better American for having read the writings of – a great American.

 

Olavo de Carvalho is a well-known Brazilian philosopher and writer, many of whose articles have graced the pages of Laigle’s Forum.