August 29th, 2011
August 29th, 2011
What is more characteristic of our modern day than crazy and wholly indefensible “policies”? It seems one of the undeniable characteristics of our times that many of the West’s most common practices and theories appear the result of insane conclusions. Perhaps this did not occur by accident. Instead, many of the founders of this modern age were troubled individuals who struggled with profound emotional and mental issues.
While one might assume that such an unstable background would preclude a person from being chosen as a leader, nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, there may be an explanation as to why such crippled minds were chosen as role models to the modern era.
One of the most obvious aspects of a crazy idea is that it is transparently unacceptable to the average person. And yet, if one wants to set about radically changing society they must have a model or philosophy to draw from. It would therefore help to find a mentally unwell person as a source for morally or intellectually unacceptable theories. Because these types of people would be most likely to suggest theories that were quite different and undermine traditional society. Correct? The topic of this essay is the clearly insane bent of much of our modern thinking, resultant from mentally infirm intellectuals like Nietzsche and Comte, and how this creates madness in our everyday lives.
I. August Comte’s Religion of Humanity
A. Early Career: Mr. Science
An extremely influential thinker for the modern age was Frenchman August Comte (1798-1857), founder of Positivism and Sociology. Comte saw the godless aftermath of the French Revolution, and also received a first-class science education. This would be the only grist for the mill needed for his ideas, plus madness. He started his academic career aiding Saint-Simon, a father of socialism, and highly influential to Karl Marx. Comte had revolutionary mindset, but was of a nervous disposition. He once asked—“‘How does one reorganize human life, irrespectively of God and king?” One writer claims Comte was,
An advanced and brilliant child, at the age of fourteen he declared he had “naturally ceased believing in God” and had already “gone through all the essential stages of the revolutionary spirit.”
Comte derived a theory that the only proper subject of philosophy was what could be measured or detected by the senses, or scientifically, which he named “Positivism.”
B. Comte’s Ideas: A High Church of Science
August Comte believed all life must be viewed from a scientific angle, put under political control. His book Philosophical Considerations on the Sciences and the Scientists (1825) gives the law of the three stages,
The law states that, in its development, humanity passes through three successive stages: the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive.
Comte’s Law of Three Stages was borrowed from 12th century rogue abbot Joachim of Flora‘s heretic tripartite vision of history.
C. Comte’s Insanity: Institutionalized, Discharged, but “Not Cured”
Comte had a profound and violent break with reality, and—much like Nietzsche, never truly recovered his sanity. Says the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy,
In April 1826, Comte began teaching a Course of Positive Philosophy. It was suddenly interrupted because of a ‘cerebral crisis’ due to overwork and conjugal sorrows. Comte was then hospitalized in the clinic of Dr. Esquirol. Upon leaving, he was classified as ‘not cured’.
The mental breakdown was profound. Says another author,
This was a time of major crisis for Comte. In 1826 he experienced “violent derangements” ending with a complete mental breakdown. His recovery took 2 years. This was no minor illness, Comte was delusional & paranoid, at times delirious, at others violent. He even tried to kill himself more than once.
Comte had two more periods of mental illness—in 1838 & 1845. Some claim he was never totally sane again after 1826, given the bizarre nature of his later thoughts. His rejection of liberalism in favour of authoritarianism, his distrust of the people, his belief social science could provide the blueprint for the society of the future, his desire to train a new spiritual elite, all lead in the direction of establishing Comte’s Religion of Humanity.
D. Comte’s Totalitarian Urge
While Comte first extolled freedom of speech, he soon tired of liberty. Instead, he began to demand the need for a rigid society dominated by spiritual elites. States one author,
Comte revealed disdain for the people’s opinion. He felt only enlightened men should take part in journalism or government, arguing only those specifically trained in political science should play an active role in politics. Social scientists should rule, and the liberty of everyone else should be restricted accordingly.
He contended sovereignty of the people would vest power in those unfit to rule both morally & intellectually, “replacing the arbitrariness of kings by the arbitrariness of people, or rather, by that of individuals.” Comte argued government should be made “head of society,” uniting people & focusing everyone’s activities on common goals.
Comte became totally anti-freedom for the masses. Writes Comte:
Liberty ... in a reasonable proportion is ... useful to ... people who have attained a certain degree of instruction and have acquired some habits of foresight ... [but] is very harmful to those who have not fulfilled these two conditions and have the indispensable need, for themselves as much as for others, to be kept in tutelage.
E. Comte’s Godless Church of Humanity
Comte believed scientific sociology was the new church. His ideas, while novel then, seem old-hat to anyone familiar with today’s modern liberalism. The Church was said to be utterly corrupt. So we need scientists in various disciplines to provide rules. Instead of being a scary idea, Comte states that the scientific method will protect the people from error.
Comte was also opposed to economic growth over spiritual and moral development. Further, persuaded by Thomas Malthus, he wanted to see his church of humanism halt the reckless breeding of humans. Much like Joachim of Flora’s design which he copied, Comte’s structure of his final society was like a secularized Catholic Church. His scientists were an atheist clergy. Observes one author,
He rejected democracy and freedom of the individual in favour of a powerful elite who would rule with an iron hand. Only the enlightened few would have any say in his new society. His Religion of Humanity, with himself in role of pope, would tell people what to think and how to act. His proposed structure for spiritual leadership was so much like the Catholic church, that T.H. Huxley described his later ideas as ‘Catholicism minus Christianity.’
II. Other Crazed Intellectuals:
Some of the other most influential minds of the modern age have either struggled with their sanity, or have gone full-bore insane. Consider the unstable following intellectuals.
A. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is one of the most influential intellectuals of modernity. According to Paul Johnson in Intellectuals, his ideas changed history and his books are considered masterpieces, establishing principles of society, democracy, education and humanity’s place in nature. He helped found the basis for intellectual, social and political revolutions in at least three nations.
When Rousseau died the response was emotional. Writer George Sand called him “Saint Rousseau,” whereas the poet Shelly termed him a “sublime genius.” The philosopher Schiller claimed he was a “Christ-like soul for whom only Heaven’s angels are fit company.”
But those who actually knew Rousseau tell a different story, according to Johnson. While a talented writer, Rousseau was also a monster of vanity, ingratitude and revenge. The love of his life, Sophie d’Houdetot, dismissed him as an “interesting madman.” French Encyclopedia creator Denis Diderot, an initial patron, referred to him as “deceitful, vain as Satan, ungrateful, cruel, hypocritical and full of malice.” If alive today, he might be diagnosed a sociopath.
Rousseau claimed to be a benefactor of man, the greatest living humanist. And yet in his writings, the state is the father of man and morphs from harmless friend into a ruthless dictator. His entire society is dependent upon the state, and he turns politicians into New Men, messiahs—who can solve all problems through political genius, according to Johnson. It seems Rousseau, who abandoned his own ten children to almost certain death in orphanages, believed the state was the answer to all problems.
But what exactly was Rousseau’s problem? Why did his benefactor, philosopher David Hume, after inviting him to the UK, end up calling him “A monster, he sees himself as the only important being in the universe”? Rousseau was undoubtedly insane. Johnson quotes one modern academic listing Rousseau’s shortcomings, as follows:
He was a masochist, exhibitionist, neurasthenic, hypochondriac, onanist, latent homosexual afflicted by the typical urge for repeated displacements, incapable of normal or parental affection, incipient paranoiac, narcissistic introvert rendered unsocial by his illness, filled with guilt feelings, pathologically timid, a kleptomaniac, infantilist, irritable and miserly.
But also consider Rousseau’s own testimony in the Confessions:
One day I took the Mercure de France and, while reading, as I walked, I came upon the subject proposed by the Academy of Dijon as a prize essay for the following year: Has the progress of the arts and sciences contributed more to the corruption or purification of morals? From the moment I read these words, I beheld another world and became another man… on my arrival at Vincennes I was in a state of agitation bordering on madness.
B. Friedrich Nietzsche
The writer Friedrich Nietzsche claimed “God is Dead” but ended his life mentally incapacitated and bedridden, after battling the God of the Bible for years. He is one of the most important thinkers in the history of atheism, and is a clear founder of Existentialism, yet there is no clear line between the madness of his mind and his ideas. This may be because he set off on an insane task—the “reevaluation of all values”—done by a Superman. This goal, in itself is crazy, and well describes Nietzsche’s permanently addled state of mind.
Nietzsche’s madness seemed to come on gradually and may have caused his crazy writings, or vice-verse. Either way, despite his current status as a hero to disenfranchised youth and the godless, Nietzsche went permanently insane, only to be cared for by his mother, a pastor’s widow. His breakdown is described by one author:
Nietzsche’s final collapse came in 1889. On 3 January 1889, Nietzsche saw a coach driver beating his horse. Nietzsche considered this cruel, & rushed the man. He did not reach the coach, collapsing. He was taken back to his apartment, but he had collapsed mentally. He was later found by friends, playing the piano with his elbows, singing wildly. Friedrich was taken to an asylum, but was quickly reprieved by his mother, who took him home.
The autobiographical book Ecce Homo (“Behold the man”) is a testimony to Nietzsche’s insanity, with such titles as, “Why I Am So Wise”, “Why I Am So Clever”, “Why I Write Such Good Books” and “Why I Am a Destiny”. But the book is signed by “Dionysus versus the Crucified,” showing the insane journey he was on—to confront, confute and collapse Christ. But instead of creating a superman who overwhelms all religions, Nietzsche was left a mental cripple who ended his life babbling and unaware of his own name. Yet the man is still venerated as an inspirational genius and unparalleled role model.
It is quite evident that many of today’s most widely accepted ideas and standards are simply crazy. We know this because they make little commons sense and always fail. Sadly, such is the state of modern society across the West. Dictionary.com defines insanity as,
- 1. the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind. Synonyms: dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania, aberration.
- 2. Law: such unsoundness of mind as frees one from legal responsibility, as for committing a crime, or as signals one’s lack of legal capacity, as for entering into a contractual agreement.
- 3. Psychiatry: pyschosis.
- 4. (a.) extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness; (b.) a foolish or senseless action, policy, statement, etc.
Take Comte’s ideal state, where political scientists create an atheist church taking the place of religion, which is then outlawed. Thereafter it allows no dissent—even to members of the media. Where the state has totalitarian powers and cannot be resisted. And the only people allowed any liberties are the elites, whose scientific sociology allows them to create a perfect moral code so all men may be forced to live in perfect harmony. Is this not the current totalitarian dream of almost all leftists, liberals, progressive, socialists and Marxists today?!!
Economics: Consider, an economics based upon a socialistic theory where there is no compunction to work if you don’t feel like it—you will still get paid. Or, a fiscal policy based upon “Deficit Spending” where such activity is taught to be a huge, positive creator of wealth. Is not such thinking crazy?
Families: Imagine the notion of “Family planning” based upon abortion, and where there is no societal expectation for parents to marry or even cohabitate. Could such a society produce mentally healthy offspring?
Education: Ponder an educational system officially founded upon materialism, which does not teach its students how to use logic, where God cannot be mentioned, and morality is an issue of simple taste.
Law: How about a legal structure where law is said to be “positive”—that is based only upon the will of the lawmakers, without any appeal to Natural or Higher Law or God’s Things. Could such a legal theory persuade citizens to choose rightly between right and wrong?
Government: Imagine a political structure in which the state is presented as having the powers and rights of a god, and where persons can trade security for freedom and never have to worry about any violence or tyranny again. Further, where individuals have no rights because only the group matters.
The notion of removing God and liberty so that man may be free is more properly found in Lucifer’s playbook than the Founders. But, are the above listed ideas not all certifiably crazy and doomed to fail? And is it really possible to assume that insane thinkers will not be touched by madness when they go to publish? In fact, doesn’t it simply explain why we have such inscrutable values and policies when our heroes were permanently insane? Further, don’t we also risk becoming crazy by committing ourselves to unbalanced ideas?
We must admit today it is more true than ever what Rousseau once famously observed… “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.”
Tops At Canada Free Press
August 29th, 2011
UK Daily Mail
Families are resorting to cutting their own hair and only half-filling their petrol tanks as they struggle to make ends meet.
The average household saw its already over-stretched purchasing power shrink by £11 a week in July compared with the same month in 2010.
A typical family this summer was left with £166 a week to spend once fixed outgoings such as their mortgage had been paid, a drop of 6.4 per cent on last year, according to an ‘income tracker’ index compiled for Asda.
Saving money: Parents are being forced to cut their children's hair as they battle to cut household costs
Families are fearful of job losses with conditions in the labour market getting worse. The number of people out of work for longer than two years has soared to more than 400,000, the highest figure since 1997, according to think-tank the IPPR, with the total more than doubling in the past two years.
At the same time, budgets are being painfully pinched by the rising cost of essential living costs.
Overall, inflation is running at 4.4 per cent but the price of many necessities is spiralling much more rapidly.
Andy Clarke said the rising cost of feeding a family, getting around and increasing unemployment were adding up to the biggest squeeze on families since the recession
Transport bills are 16.5 per cent higher than a year ago according to the AA, commuters face ticket rises of 8 per cent next year, utility bills are increasing by up to 19 per cent and the price of food is also rising.
Average pay, however, rose by just 2.6 per cent in the services sector and by only 1.1 per cent in manufacturing firms, meaning the typical employee is taking a pay cut once inflation is taken into account.
Asda said its research, conducted by leading consultancy the Centre for Economics and Business Research, showed customers are reducing their expenses by buying own-brand ranges, comparing the cost of items online and sticking rigidly to shopping lists when they tour the supermarket.
Other frugal tricks included cutting their own and their children’s hair, and only half-filling the petrol tank, as a full tank adds weight to the car, which in turn consumes more fuel.
Andy Clarke, Asda chief executive, said: ‘The maths is simple – the rising cost of feeding a family, getting around and increasing unemployment add up to the biggest squeeze on families since the last recession.’
The world economy has entered a dangerous new phase and the fragile recovery is at risk of being derailed, the head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.
Christine Lagarde said there was a growing sense that governments ‘do not have the conviction, or are simply not willing, to take the decisions that are needed’ and that they ‘must act now’ to avert a second global recession.
HURRICANE IRENE LATEST
August 28th, 2011
Paul is a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and supports the U.S. returning to the gold standard to protect its currency and force a balanced budget. He has been highly critical of the Federal Reserve and its chairman over plans for "quantitative easing," a two-part which flooded the market with dollars in an attempt to make money more available for borrowing and lending.
Paul argued that Bernanke's plan to buy bank assets and drop more than $2 trillion into the economy did not yield the results the chairman hoped, a conclusion that Paul says Bernanke implicitly acknowledged during a speech last week in which he offered no new bailout programs from the Fed.
"He really hasn't pulled back. Symbolically, he has and he is not having another QE3," Paul said. "But he has maintained a (view) to keep interest rates low until 2013. You can't keep interest rates low without monetizing debt because if somebody else doesn't buy it, he has to buy it. So he's continuously quantitatively easing."
Paul said that artificially holding down interest rates was instrumental in the housing bubble that burst in 2007 and sparked the economic meltdown from which the U.S. economy is still trying to recover.
He said if government -- and its central bank -- stopped trying to bail out its friends, then the economy would soon return to normal.
"Let the people who live beyond their means, let them go bankrupt," he said. "Hands off, give us a sound currency, free up the markets. Property rights. Enforce contracts. Make sure people go bankrupt when they go bankrupt and don't bail out their buddies."
He added that one good thing out of Bernanke's speech is that he effectively returned the responsibility for the economy back to Congress and a fiscal approach.
"He at least sort of said, 'Oh, it's up to the Congress. It's all Congress' fault. They need to deal with it. So he's sort of throwing up his hands. But all he needs to do is quit monetizing debt. Interest rates would go up and Congress would be forced to cut debt," Paul said.
Paul has been holding steady near the top of the polls for the Republican nomination despite being described as "unconventional" because of his libertarian streak. The 12-term Texas congressman surmised that he's in vogue now because many Americans realize it's time to return to the principles on which the nation was founded.
"I'm fascinated with your word 'unconventional,'" he told "Fox News Sunday. "Isn't it strange that we can apply that word to freedom and liberty and the Constitution and limited government and a balanced budget?'
Paul said that while some question whether he's just in the race to be the "prophet" who guides the discussion, he's definitely vying for the actual job of president.
"I'm in it to win it. And you're absolutely right, I do say that I am more interested in influence and power. As a matter of fact, as president I would reduce the power of government. I wouldn't seek it. I would never take the power from the Congress. I would not go to war without
congressional approval," he said.
"I resent the power that has galvanized in the executive branch and in the judicial system and I would want to shrink the size of government," he added. "That doesn't mean I don't want to win. That means I want a new approach at least from current standards for the presidency."
Paul's approach to foreign policy has also been called unconventional, or in some circles, isolationist. He has opposed most wars launched by the U.S., saying that it leads to too many unintended consequences, and has harshly criticized U.S. participation in NATO military action against Libya.
Paul said that his approach to international relations rests on national security, not "pretending that we can pick the dictators around the world."
He added that the U.S. government should take cues from its military.
"The one telltale sign of the support I'm getting is because of my foreign policy. I get more donations from active military duty people than all the other candidates put together, which tells me a lot and tells the American people a lot," Paul said.
"Military people wanted to defend this country but they don't want perpetual war when they areundeclared and you don't see the end and you don't know who the enemy is and it's too many restrictions on how they retaliate against the enemies ... Our (National) Guard units should be here taking care of us when we have floods, but no, they're overseas and the military is worn out, it's time for a change if for no reason than we're flat out broke," he said.
More From Fox
August 28th, 2011
By Rick Klein
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who famously crossed party lines to vote for President Obama in 2008, said today that he’s not necessarily supporting the president for reelection in 2012.
“I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for,” Powell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Just as was the case in 2008, I am going to watch the campaign unfold. In the course of my life I have voted for Democrats, I have voted for Republicans, I have changed from one four-year cycle to another.
“I’ve always felt it my responsibility as a citizen to take a look at the issues, examine the candidates, and pick the person that I think is best qualified for the office of the president in that year. And not just solely on the basis of party affiliation,” he said.
Asked about the Republican field, Powell said there are some “interesting candidates,” but no one who has “emerged into the leading position.”
“So let’s see if anybody else is going to join, and we’ve got a long way to go,” he added.
Powell, the nation’s first African-American secretary of state, praised Obama’s leadership style in 2008 in endorsing him, saying shortly before the election that Obama “has a definite way of doing business that will serve us well.” He also said at the time that he didn’t think the GOP vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was “ready” to be president.
In his interview today, Powell also had a strong reaction to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir. He said Cheney took “cheap shots” in his book and seemed to be chasing “tabloid” headlines by saying his book would make “heads explode” in Washington.
“I haven’t heard anything that explosive,” Powell said.
More From ABC News