Life in the Ruins

 “Rien n’aura eu lieu que le lieu.” - Mallarmé

Plato had a cyclic – or “spiraling” – view of history, in which the cycles bear the regular scars of catastrophe, the plural catastrophes being epochal in the root sense of articulating a dehiscence between one age and another. The most dramatic expression of Plato’s catastrophic theory of history comes with the story of Atlantis and the Prehistoric Athens in the two linked dialogues, Timaeus and Critias. The Atlantis story has a pedigree, which Timaeus supplies. The statesman Critias, who narrates the legend in the two dialogues, heard it in his youth from his grandfather, who knew it in turn from his source, the famous lawgiver Solon, who got it from certain records kept by the Egyptian priestly college at Saïs in the Nile Delta. Solon visited there in early career on an embassy from Athens. The filiations of memory that permit Critias to rehearse the story are important in context because Plato, putting his notion in the mouth of an Egyptian priest, believes that one effect of the regular cataclysmic events is periodically to interrupt the record of history and reset cultural development at its degree-zero.

When the earth shakes or fire falls from the sky or the oceans rise to inundate the land, civilization, painfully built up over the centuries, vanishes under the onslaught of nature; only a few mountain-dwellers or lucky, remote people survive. Since the simple, unlettered survivors take no custody of the written lore, almost every verbal trace of the smashed civilization also vanishes. The priest tells Solon that quirks of nature permit a few exceptions, and that the Nile Delta is one – a place unaffected by universal disasters, where continuous records chronicle humanity’s adventures going back tens of thousands of years into the past. Atlantis and the Prehistoric Athens attained high civilization; their achievements, technical and political, indeed put to shame all the societies of Solon’s day, including Attic society. A scourge of earthquakes and flooding obliterated both nations and the stunned survivors managed to live at a stone-age level of material culture only.

The Atlantis story has fascinated readers since the Hellenistic period. Strabo and Seneca wrote about it. Over the centuries, a number of investigators have put forth “explanations” of it, some of them quite literal. Most notoriously, writers like the American Ignatius T. Donnelly and the Scotsman Lewis Spence argued that a mid-Atlantic continent once existed which was the actual native ground of high civilization, from whose civic matrix all other historical societies directly or indirectly derive. In a paroxysm of volcanoes and earthquakes, Atlantis sank beneath the waves, engendering not only Plato’s story, but also the various legends of a universal deluge, and myths of semi-divine culture-givers who bestowed the boon of law and order on primitive ancestors of today’s evolved nations.

More recently, beginning in the 1960s, archeologists have documented how a colossal explosive eruption around 1500 BC obliterated a branch of the Cretan Bronze-Age civilization on the island of Thera north of Crete. A.G. Galanopoulos put forth in a 1969 book Atlantis that the details of Plato’s insular utopia corresponded to those of the Thera civilization, as long as one accepted that the Egyptians were indeed the curators of the lore and that the Greeks of Plato’s day consistently inflated Egyptian numbers by a magnitude. This would make Plato’s date of nine thousand years before Solon come out to an adjusted date of nine hundred years before Solon, which corresponds fairly well with the known date of the Thera eruption. It seems plausible.

Yet another possible source exists for the Atlantis legend that one ought to consider. At the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean a sociological event occurred that archeologists call “The Catastrophe.” Around 1100 BC, in a swath stretching from the Peloponnese through Asia Minor and southward through the Levant to the Nile Delta, a swift incendiary destruction of existing civilized societies took place that caused a radical discontinuity in the cultural life of the affected region. This event saw the obliteration of the so-called Mycenaean civilization in Greece, of the Hittite civilization and related societies in Anatolia, and of the chief cities of the commercially prosperous Levant. The marauders responsible for the havoc found their check only in the sands of Egypt, where Pharaoh’s armies at last held the line. But in Greece, in particular, the arrangement of life, organized and literate, declined abruptly to a near stone-age level; and there it persisted, in poverty and depopulation, for something like four hundred years before a recovery of political awareness and artistic vitality began in the Tenth and Ninth centuries BC.

One historian of “The Catastrophe” refers to it as a more devastating event than the disintegration of the Roman administrative apparatus in the West in the Fifth Century AD. “The Catastrophe” supplies the background of Homer’s Odyssey (the wreckage of the polities, the usurpation of rightful authority by schemers) and informs the cultural pessimism of Homer’s contemporary, the theological poet Hesiod. Many Greek legends such as that of “The return of the Heraclidae” distantly echo this event, as possibly does Plato’s story of Atlantis, which transforms the mass of looter-killers into a natural rather than a human force. Metamorphoses of human into natural agency are hardly unknown in ancient myth.

“The Catastrophe” might well qualify as worse than the fabled “Fall of Rome,” but the latter certainly marked a downturn of higher existence in the forlorn provinces of the Western Empire. Although there was a good deal more cultural continuity than the now discredited idea of a suddenly descending “Dark Age” ever admitted, a dearth of material amenities nevertheless characterizes the archeological evidence beginning right at the end of the Fifth Century. Before that time, even during the early phases of Gothic disruption, cheap but attractive consumer goods, such as ceramic table services, made their way from manufacturing sites in North Africa all the way to Gaul and Britain. But, as the Sixth Century sets in, such imported wares no longer appear in the strata. Their manufacture and exportation have ceased. Other signs betoken a crisis too. The physical infrastructure deteriorates. Aqueducts and roads fall into disrepair, monuments crumble and no one rebuilds the walls, while brigandage afflicts the countryside as central control breaks down, and politics becomes increasingly local and feudal.

Even so, in pockets of survival in Northern Italy and Gaul, something like the old Imperial way of life held out right through to the beginning of the Seventh Century. Similarly, at the end of the Bronze Age, after “The Catastrophe,” archeology can attest pockets of continuity, where something like the old way of life went on, as in Attica and Cyprus. Then again, the concrete remains of the old order sometimes lay in view, suggesting to those struggling to eke out an existence in impoverished circumstances that a previous, luxurious society had once flourished. The Greeks of the wretched centuries could see the Lion Gate at Mycenae. The Goths had the Roman wreckage everywhere before their eyes. The Anglo-Saxon poem “The Ruin” expresses poignantly the elegiac glamour of such smithereens. The poem’s lyric persona contemplates the dissociated stones of a Roman villa in what was once an imperial province, Britannia, but is now a domain of Saxon predators; he measures his own idea of wealth and happiness, the barbarian idea, against the criteria suggested by the dilapidated mass. It dawns on him that the past outdid the present and quite suddenly his long-standing sense of sufficiency goes glum.

Is it possible that a consequence of civilizational collapse is a refusal of the afflicted to admit that disaster has overtaken them, or even to know that a calamity has taken place? The controversial psychologist-historian Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979), who traced events in Greek myth and Old Testament chronology to celestial mishaps such as a comet-strike or disturbances of the lunar orbit, argued that existential events on a world-scale that toppled societies and disrupted the civilization-continuum also produced a kind of collective amnesia in the survivors. I am not an advocate of Velikovsky’s Cosmic-Biblical literalism (many respectable people charge Velikovsky with being a crank), as articulated in the notorious Worlds in Collision, but I do think that the man’s theory of collective amnesia merits consideration. It is, after all, not so different from the theory advanced by the Egyptian priest on the occasion of Solon’s visit to Saïs.

The smiting of cities means the erasure of literacy, which means the loss of the records and a break in the archival memory; the disappearance of the infrastructure furthermore affects the most civilized people most drastically, killing off the elites and leaving only the unlettered populace to carry on life. These fellaheen vaguely remember the vanished splendor but without understanding it and without being able to duplicate it. The actual previous society becomes a metaphorical Atlantis that only ever existed in the realm of fancy. No one can any longer believe in its reality. Thus the Hittite Empire, literate and sophisticated, vanished so entirely in “The Catastrophe” that subsequent peoples entirely forgot it, until its rediscovery by archeology in the late Nineteenth Century. Velikovsky was acutely aware of “The Catastrophe” and wrote about it in Ages in Chaos and The Peoples of the Sea. A student of Freud, Velikovsky assumed that collective trauma, like individual trauma, resulted in the psychic response that the Master called repression.

I pose for consideration, with much tentativity and reticence, the following questions related to Velikovsky’s collective amnesia-thesis: Has not the West been living through a prolonged crisis, with catastrophic episodes, since 1789, with hundreds of millions dead by violence? Was not the Twentieth Century particularly bloody, disintegrative, and coarsening? Do sensitive people not suspect that, in the last twenty-five or thirty years, we have seen a drastic decline in civic conscience and bourgeois gentility and a concomitant widespread “forgetting” of civilized lore? (We call it, among other things, an education crisis, which everyone recognizes and no one had been able to overcome.) Is it not the case that to comment on these changes by describing them accurately in duly admonishing critical terms has itself fallen under interdiction? (We call it political correctness, an uncivilized taboo that everyone recognizes and no one has been able to overcome.) And is that interdiction not a case of memory repression, abetted by the free circulation of electronic baubles, whose effect is further to stultify consciousness?

Do we not live under daily threat of wanton violence perpetrated against the civilized by the savage, who wish to reduce everything to savagery because civilization measures for them their own productive sterility and so inspires them with bloodthirsty invidia against real achievement?

Is travel not now arduous, humiliating, and risky compared to forty years ago? Are public servants not surly and useless? Is art not debased? Are not criminal gangs effectively in control of huge swaths of the urban environment and police forces unable ensure public safety? Is our politics not corrupt and soulless, a kind of large-scale bribery and Caesarism under the mendacious rubric of democracy? Are we not haunted by the depletion of fuel and with it energy and prosperity? Is wealth not disappearing as we live and breathe? Are we not therefore less free and is our situation not much less civilized than in previous generations?   

And if these things were so, as indeed they are, would we not, in fact, be living in the ruins, saying over and over to ourselves – as though words had a magic to make malign events un-happen – that everything remains normal, life holds together as always, and nothing evil has befallen us? To quote the first line of the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé’s magnum opus of 1897, “Un coup de dès,” or “A Roll of the Dice,” “Nothing will have taken place but the place.”
Thomas F. Bertonneau teaches English at SUNY Oswego.


Armor: Now, we have the same pattern with immigration.

Indeed, I recall Lonely Planet's travel guide on Germany making the historical case that Berlin has always been a multicultural city of immigrants. Essentially, the staff writer claimed that the flight of thousands of Huguenots to Berlin in the dying years of the 17th century, was identical to the masses of non-Whites flooding Berlin today.


Armor: When so-called "barbarians" invaded the Roman Empire, their numbers were limited...they only had a limited genetic impact.


Not so. The Germanic tribes did not merely invade, they migrated en masse. While the Visigoths and Vandals made insignificant genetic contributions, others did. When the Franks carved out the Holy Roman Empire, the Lombards had been settled in Northern Italy for some time.

re: Life in the Ruins

"[Velikovsky]’s theory of collective amnesia"

Today, the problem is not amnesia, but the fact that "to comment on certain changes [and some replacements] by describing them accurately in duly admonishing critical terms has fallen under interdiction."

A particular case of amnesia: Where I live, the 20th century saw a replacement of the Breton language by the French language. Around 1930, people massively started to address their children in French only. It started earlier in some places. The strange thing is that when the last Breton speaker dies in a village, it seems no one remembers Breton was ever spoken there at all. Now, we have the same pattern with immigration. Journalists will tell us that we cannot possibly discriminate against immigrants who "happen to" live in our country. It would be interesting to know how they happened to arrive here in the first place. They were not here at all a few years ago (sometimes a few days ago). But journalists have a phony amnesia problem.

"The smiting of cities means the erasure of literacy, which means the loss of the records and a break in the archival memory; the disappearance of the infrastructure furthermore affects the most civilized people most drastically, killing off the elites and leaving only the unlettered populace to carry on life."

Today, the remnants of western civilization are better preserved among the normal white population than among our phony non-elites. Anyway, we no longer need elites in order to archive and transmit knowledge. We have books and electronic storage for that. In the past, killing off the elites would have been a problem. Not today, since we no longer have elites in the first place. The administration and news media have become dedicated to preventing the emergence of intellectual and moral elites. They prevent the whites from having any racial awareness and they prevent the promotion and advancement of European ideals. At the top, the course of western civilization is now influenced by the far-left, not by any elites.

• Was not the Twentieth Century particularly bloody, disintegrative, and coarsening?

• Are not criminal gangs effectively in control of huge swaths of the urban environment?

Yes to both questions, but we have to make a distinction between 2 things:
1) the decadence of western civilization
2) race replacement

The crime problem is only due to immigration. The coarsening of society is something else, although it is made worse by immigration. White people have become less polite and more ignorant than the previous generations. They use fewer words, they no longer read much, they don't dress as well, they have shorter memory, shorter attention span, are afraid to be eccentric, and so on. But they remain far above most immigrants in their idealism and their concern for other people, as well as intellectually. If we can repatriate immigrants to their home countries, western society will regenerate some day, but not if the race replacement is definitely accepted. What's important is the gene pool, not the elites, not the infrastructure. In the end, western civilization relies on the qualities of white people. If they are allowed to survive, they will produce new elites and a new framework for a regenerated society.

When so-called "barbarians" invaded the Roman Empire, their numbers were limited, and they were racially similar to the peoples occupied by the Roman Empire. They were able to destroy the Roman structure, but I suppose they only had a limited genetic impact. The fall of the Roman Empire made it possible, after a delay, for every European people to develop its own cultural genius. In comparison, today's mass immigration is a disaster.

"And if these things were so, as indeed they are, would we not, in fact, be living in the ruins, saying over and over to ourselves – as though words had a magic to make malign events un-happen – that everything remains normal, life holds together as always, and nothing evil has befallen us?"

In fact, we are still in the wrecking phase, not everything lies in ruins yet. For the moment, we have many old white people coexisting with more and more young non-whites, and the crazy left has a lock on every western institution and keeps getting more fanatical. Obviously, it isn't a stable situation. People who like to write poetry while contemplating ruins should come back in 50 years.

@ marcfrans

Then "kappertian" it shall be...


Btw: Where is kappert?...


Tunneling for peace on the Egyptian-Gazan boundary perhaps?...

Air-loom Conspiracy# 2

@ Atlanticist

Given that 'your' fancy mind control machine resided at the Prinzhorn Museum in Heidelberg, Germany, during October 2006-April 2007, perhaps you have inadvertently stumbled upon the true explanation for the phenomenon we know as "Kappertesque" (although I prefer the term "Kappertian"). 

The "Air-Loom" Conspiracy

@ marcfrans


I fear you are right and that my attempts to engage in serious dialogue with Mr G de B have turned decidedly kappertesque. This is a pity because, knowing that he would, sooner or later, move into conspiracy mode, I was going to ask him if he thought that James Tilly Matthews' belief in the "Air-Loom"  was no delusion, but rather the result of a dastardly plan hatched by the 'Elders of Zion' and financed by the Rothschild family. Alas, now I may never know.


Armor # 2

@ Atlanticist

The lady in the Ad seems suitably white, but the product on sale is called "BlackArmor". It is also referred to as "New".  We know better.  

Meanwhile our fundamentalist jew-hater-with-the-Flemish-name keeps 'questioning' Israeli democracy by parroting propaganda from a hate-site.  At the same time, by presenting a critical article from the Israeli media (Haaretz) he undermines his own absurd claims about the presumed "theocratic-racist state".  If Israeli media can present the 'truth' as they see it, it is precisely because Israel is a democracy.  As to what happens to practicioners of 'freedom of speech' in Hamas-land, or in the Arab world in general, you have to have your eyes (i.e. your mind) OPEN in order to be able to see it. In short, I am afraid that you are in for a long wait to get a direct (honest) answer to your earlier question. 



re: Nazis

During WWII, a significantly greater number of German civilians were killed by the allies than British civilians killed by the Nazis. Does this isolated fact now make the Nazis the 'good' guys?


And STILL no direct response to the original point I raised.

Israeli democracy 2

Mr. De Bruycker: I'm surprised at the intensity of your animosity towards Israel. The quotation from the Hass article seems intended to suggest that Palestinians cannot justly be held responsible for the atrociites committed by Hamas. The Palestinians voted them into power fully knowing who they were and what they stood for. Beyond that, quoting an anonymous interviewee is not an impressive way to convey assertions of fact. The second website you link is so virulently anti-Jewish that nothing in it can be taken seriously--everything is discredited by hatred.

I have an old Jewish friend who says he often makes headway with antisemites, in part because he agrees with so many of their complaints about the Jews, many of whom are renegades who have sold out to modern corruption. I think many antisemites suffer from a lack of energetic conservative leadership that can help them direct their passions towards their real enemies and their minds towards their real ills. Other antisemites are simply unredeemable enemies of civilization.

Much better than the Nazis.

I’ve never been a friend of Islam; however, it’s always been perfectly clear to me that the Israelis are the ones sowing terror and the Palestinians are the ones besieged. 

 Since 2005 Israel, which is still punishing the original inhabitants of the lands it rules or occupies, has killed 150 Palestinians for each Israeli killed these last eight years. Just think of it. Seventeen Israeli lives have been expunged by the murder of 2550 Palestinian ones. That’s doing much better than the Nazis.

Original inhabitants

"Since 2005 Israel, which is still punishing the original inhabitants of the lands it rules or occupies, ..."

Now there's the rub, isn't it? Original inhabitants, ownership of the Holy Lands, who holds the legitimate deed to the 'gold mine'?.

You know GdB the OT is not only a great source to selectively cull anti-semitic quotes, it's also the world's oldest, most complicated and extravagantly written land deed. The "Original" Owner is not to be messed with at least according to most Godfearing people.

Now over the centuries Jewish and Christian inhabitants of the land in question have at least always acknowledged the Original Owner's right to determine the terms and conditions of the sale and the validity of the original contract. They did not seek to void the original contract with some fake deed dreamed up by some guy riding around on a camel in the hot desert sun with rambling support documentation that could pass as a script for a bad porn movie.

Remember the Holy Land is only a passage way, an eye of a needle, camels, and their riders, have problematic passage rights, at least according to the original deed.

@Atlantic - Re: VDH

Atlantic wrote: "blah blah blah". - VDH. has an article today about your hero.
Re Victor Davis Hanson: Caveat Emptor!

Caveat emptor (=Latin for "let the buyer beware", as opposed to Caveat venditor="let the seller beware") means that a customer should be cautious and alert to the possibility of being cheated.

Example of a sentence with Caveat emptor in it:
“Caveat emptor is the first rule of buying a used car, or of reading a VDH article."

You are right, of course, to

@ marcfrans

You are right, of course, to point out that Peter Hitchens also fails to offer a "final solution" to the problem. However, Hitchens' contribution DOES refute the libel that all Zionists are, to coin a phrase, Straussian neocon warmongering Bush-poodles, who have zero compassion or understanding for the plight of the non-Jewish people of the Levant, are ignorant about the history and origins of this conflict, and never proffer a solitary criticism of Israeli domestic/foreign policy. And if it does nothing else, Hitchens' contribution to this debate firmly nails that one.  

Fascinating # 2

@ Atlanticist

1) Obviously a blind fundamentalist and hater like Mr De Bruycker is typically NOT going to give you a direct explicit answer to your "final solution" question.  Hitler in his day did.  Ahmadinejad is one of the few who dares to do so openly today.  But, most fundamentalists  still understand that it is best left 'unspoken' for pr reasons. Yet, Mr De Bruycker's implicit answer is very clear.   I am sorry to say, but such people still exist even in western civilisation today, some even with Flemish names like mine.

2) Naturally, one can be a supporter of Israel and still oppose any specific action of any particular Israeli government, sort of on 'tactical' grounds. Such opposition is usually very 'cheap' from a comfortable safe seat in London, Brussels, New York, Paris etc... But, I don't see any "final solution" emerging from Peter Hitchen's piece either.   Frankly, I believe that there can be no "solution" whatsoever, as long as Arab civilisation does not democratise.  So, that might require a long time to wait.  Westerners tend to think that there are 'solutions' to all problems.  That may be a fatal illusion (or rather flaw), that most nonwesterners do not share.  

3) I disagree with Hitchens on this particular action, and I think that Israel has really no choice but to act or respond whenever it is explicitly targeted.  Whether it acts, or not, it surely faces condemnation from the world's hypocrites.  I think that Hitchens' argument about internal political calculations of Israeli politicians is a 'cheap' one and a parroting of naive-left media.  Not, because such calculations would be entirely absent perhaps, but rather because they must manifestly be secondary.  The Gaza problem is not recent, Hamas having been 'elected' in 2006, and the Israeli preparations for dealing with it are longstanding.   

4) Given that Israel will be condemned, whether it acts or not, its only way to survival can reside in a willingness to confront its mortal enemies.  Arab culture will not 'democratise' in our life time, and Arabs in general will not learn to respect and love 'infidels', but they do know fear and they do 'respect' strength.  They certainly do not 'respect' western appeasers, but will avail themselves of their 'useful idiot' services in the pr game.


Fascinated as I am by the Zionist-Nazi collaboration theory, it does not directly address the issue I raised.


btw: One can be a "consistent hard-line supporter of the jewish state" and still OPPOSITE the current actions of the Israeli government. Don't believe me?


Now, would anybody care to directly address my point? 

Open question

If you happen to be one of those BJ commentators (noise-polluters?) who persistently express the view that a) the jew is a scourge on European society AND b) reject Israel's right to exist, please be honest enough to  state clearly and unequivocally your  'final solution' to this age-old problem. Thank you.



"The Zionists brought us to the Holocaust. It is well known that it was possible to redeem Jews from the Nazis with money, and save many hundreds of thousands of Jews in Hungary...THE ZIONIST LEADERS WHO NOW SIT IN GOVERNMENT PREVENTED IT!" -- Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Ehrenreich (circa 1954)

To the billions of people around the world who know only the standard Establishment version of 20th Century history, the above quotation is incomprehensible, its implications impossible to fathom. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were the sworn enemies of all Jews, they will say, and to suggest there could be any collusion between Zionists and Hitler's Third Reich is both beyond belief and a slap at the memory of those who died at the hands of Nazi persecutors. Incomprehensible, perhaps, but by no means impossible.

The Zionist-Nazi collaboration, however suppressed it has been to the general public, is a little-known, but crucial, part of European history, one that continues to profoundly shape and affect world events in the 21st Century. This mind-boggling voyage is but one of many facts which have been compiled and collated, and which is presented in this DVD by Jim Condit Jr. in this fascinating new DVD entitled The Final Solution to Adolf Hitler. This thorough analysis examines Hitler's career and influence, from his humble beginning in Austria to his appointment as German Chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg, from his ascent to absolute dictator of the Third Reich to his role in bringing about the modern state of Israel and the emerging world government.

Zionist hysteria

But the ones who never fail to take the cake for Zionist hysteria are the columnists Ralph Peters and Victor Davis Hanson, noise-polluters for whom any critic of any Israeli action at any time is showing the “usual anti-Semitism.” Peters and Hanson are into their customary practice of inspiring the Israelis with examples of other democracy-boosting in the past, such as the unloading of atomic weapons on the “Japanese militarists.” Hanson, as Tom Piatak reported yesterday, already has the Israelis locked in mortal combat with “religious fascists.” Can the invocation of Sherman’s march to the sea, the incarceration of Japanese-Americans or the war against Kaiser Bill be close behind?

nutty idea too

And the "'Palestinian' people" aka Hamas are neither Straussian neocons nor believers in "occasional wars" that are deemed necessary to "create national unity", or so I am expected to believe. 

nutty idea

Victor Davis Hanson has become known as a proponent of the nutty idea that war is man's "normal" state of affairs, and the glue that holds civilization together. This is also a standard Straussian neoconservative belief; they believe occasional wars are necessary to create "national unity," if for no other reason.

@Gilbert De Bruycker RE: Gobineau

Gobineau was a White supremacist and among the first promulgators of "scientific racism" and the notion of the Aryan "master race". His perspectives on miscegenation are highly self-serving and biased, given that his maternal grandmother was Creole, rendering him one quarter to one eight Black African. As regards birth rates, socio-economic status tends to override all other concerns - irrespective of time and place - as the upper classes have fewer offspring than the lower classes, who traditionally relied upon large numbers of children to work on the farm or provide additional income, especially as the parents aged.



Jewish Supremacism

Jewish Supremacism has greatly harmed the Palestinian people.

And compare the following Biblical quotations:

- Israelites are a "chosen people," chosen by God above all the other peoples of the world.

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

- Israelites have a right to rule over all other people and are promised that they will someday own and rule over the whole world.

[K]ings shall come from you and shall rule wherever the foot of the sons of man has trodden. I shall give to your seed all the earth which is under heaven, and they shall rule over all the nations according to their desire; and afterwards they shall draw the whole earth to themselves and shall inherit it for ever' (Jubilees 32:18-19)

- Israelites boast of genocide against whole peoples and kingdoms.

But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes (Deuteronomy 20:16)

- Israelites are commanded to murder all the people of the lands where they intend to live and to kill all the people of foreign nations that do not submit themselves in slavery.

When you approach a city to fight against it, you must make an offer of peace. If it accepts your offer of peace and opens [its gates] to you, all the people found in it will become forced laborers for you and serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, you must strike down all its males with the sword. But you may take the women, children, animals, and whatever else is in the city—all its spoil—as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are far away from you and are not among the cities of these nations. However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. You must completely destroy them—the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite—as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that they won't teach you to do all the detestable things they do for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 20:10-18)

- Israelites are forbidden to make slaves of their own people, but are encouraged to enslave non-Israelites whom they may pass down as slaves to their descendants forever.

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

- Israelites are forbidden to intermarry or "mix their seed" with other peoples.

Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. (Ezra 9:12)

Comte de Gobineau

According to Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau (1816 — 1882), largely ignored during his lifetime, the decay of civilization is attributed not, as traditionally, to luxury, corruption of manners, irreligion, or systems of government, but to racial inequality and miscegenation.

While Gobineau was not set against all race mixing, in fact he held that some race mixing made civilization possible, he also claimed that too much racial-mixing with alien peoples and, hence dilution, leads to the stagnation of civilization.

More particularly, he saw two major reasons why civilizations declined. First, the weakening of the racial characteristics of its founders due to too much racial-mixing and, second, because the most intelligent and productive citizens of the founding race had the fewest children, while the lumpenproletariat and alien peoples were extremely prolific.

@KO RE: Living in the ruins 2

Far from “speculative civilizational vision”, Mr. Bertonneau’s article veers dangerously toward irrationalism, as do Mr. De Bruycker’s comments. They seem to reference zeitgeists and take after the Hegelian tradition that has left such an indelible mark on continental European philosophy; in doing so, they turn away from the positivist outlook that has set Anglo–American philosophy apart. All pretenses to logic and empiricism aside, Takuan Seiyo is no less guilty in this regard. Such emotional thrusts are nebulous creatures difficult to corral into a logical structure, and harder still to refute or revise.


KO’s take on collective amnesia brings to mind the conditions necessary for authoritarianism; his references to creating civilization, “developing” discipline and combating “savagery” are disquieting at best and dangerous at worst. They are reminiscent of social engineering, colonialism and racial stratification (e.g. Rhodesia, South Africa), where even for most of the 20th Century, the notion of a struggle between civilization and savagery permitted authoritarian and totalitarian excesses.

If Marxist economic theories have no place at The Brussels Journal, than neither do Hegelian socio–political ones. This is not to say that I am beyond emotive appeal on such issues – on the contrary, I have in the past referred to and defended the idea of collective consciousness. But the universal application of zeitgeist across different intellectual traditions, cultures and trends is pure folly.

Living in the ruins 3

KA: Thanks for your sober reply. I would respond that classical liberalism, for example, is a lofty and "unnatural" ideal that a people can only implement after long preparation. It is short-lived if people do not remember the tremendous infrastructure investment that makes it possible. Speaking more broadly, civilization does not spring fully formed from the mind of Zeus. It requires labor. As Virgil says: "So hard and huge a task it was to build the walls of Rome." Religion, discipline, and force--and love and self-sacrifice and morality--are part of that labor.

Agreed, the Hegelian belief in the march of history has been used to justify every outrage. That does not mean there is no such thing as time, or history. If you assert, with Stephen Dedalus, that history is the nightmare from which you are trying to awaken, you will still want to refer to what is good in the past--the Exodus, the Resurrection, the geese saving the Capitol, the first Thanksgiving Feast, the victory at Yorktown, the successful invasion of Normandy--as guides to the demands of the present and the future. Not to mention the universal need to learn from past mistakes.

The notion that a people or a civilization has a life cycle does not mean one is a Hegelian, though it is important to keep in mind the degree to which that life cycle is a rhetorical construct in order not to succumb to a sense of helpless inevitability in times like ours. (I confess that the Genealogy of Morals made a great impression on my understanding of civilization, but it did not lead me to national socialism. Rather, it impressed on me the scope of the preparation required, the development of human capital, to create a classical-liberal civilization.)

Mr. Bertonneau's thesis has merit: we don't know where we are, because we have forgotten where we came from, in short, how to make our civilization. Maybe he will write another piece about remembering (or "unforgetting") as the way to find our proper direction. Thanks again for your reply.

@Thomas F. Bertonneau RE: Life in the Ruins

Velikovsky’s notion of "collective amnesia" is as roundly deserving of criticism as his other fallacious conclusions. It assumes "collective trauma" – another suspect concept derived from the application of psychoanalysis to entire civilizations. Not only has modern psychology discredited psychoanalysis, but also the subject in question requires a multifaceted analytical approach employing at the very least anthropological and archaeological methods. Collective amnesia is merely an amusing and diverting discussion with no place in serious academic discourse.


Mr. Bertonneau’s building on this “theory” is no more praiseworthy. The further a society develops, the less dependent it is on any single individual or even group, due to the increasing necessity for specialization and stratification. Case in point is the modern fighter aircraft. Each aspect – original concept/ordering, design, construction, procurement, upgrading, operation, and maintenance – involves highly specialized teams with unique skills and experience. Moreover, these teams work within equally intricate systems to coordinate R&D, funding, training, secrecy, etc. Lastly, these systems cut across public and private as much as they do various sectors and industries. In the event of a catastrophe, such as the total economic collapse predicted by some respected economists, advanced societies would be forced to abandon these jets. Would they rust because the “elites” have been liquidated? No. They would rust because pilots were not being paid or trained, maintenance crews were eking out a living in the “mountains”, fuel was unavailable, and there were no smart bombs to be had. Would they be technological mysteries because of illiteracy? No. Even the most literate pilot could not fully understand how his jet worked, and the scientists would be utterly incapable of constructing much less operating such a machine. Advanced systems are not created merely by advanced individuals, but are improvements on prior systems. Depending how catastrophes impact advanced systems, they revert to more basic levels with an eye to those activities essential to survival, such as agriculture. If catastrophes are of some duration, then demand for complex goods and services – represented by the capacity to afford them – remains suppressed.


The violence and destruction post–1789 is well within reason, given population growth, technological developments and intense competition. Moreover, the “education crisis” will prove a boon in the event of a global economic collapse. Every peasant rebellion has been led by educated leaders unable to find opportunities for socio–economic and/or political advancement. Education only leads to economic growth in specific circumstances; otherwise, it can exacerbate tensions.


All of these afflictions mentioned by Mr. Bertonneau are not unknown, even within recent history. In fact, the educated middle classes are preventing elites from resorting to harsh measures to deal with criminality, etc. Corruption, inefficiency and waste are endemic to human civilization.  And freedom and democracy are luxuries that often sabotage survival during severe crises. Of course, there is always Turkish democracy, wherein centrist politics are guaranteed by the army, which doesn’t even need to stir in its barracks to obtain compliance.

Living in the ruins.

A nation dissolves, when the principles of its government are corrupted; when the laws are bad and without strength; when the citizens are detached from their fatherland; when foreign forces intrude and dismember it, destroy it. A nation is in a state of dissolution when the spirits are plunged in apathy: then the nation has no "citizens" anymore, but is plenty of vicious beings, detached from their fatherland and only animated by a disordered passion for pleasures and frivolities.

Living in the ruins 2

Thank you, Mr. Bertonneau, for your contribution to TBJ. I hope to see many more. Kapitein Andre's objections, though cogent in themselves, miss the point. An exercise in speculative civilizational vision--like Takuan Seiyo's speculation regarding the yin poisoning of the West--is not intended to be an encyclopedic analysis of the multiplicity of Western ills, but an intellectual and emotional (perhaps we could say mythic) thrust at the overall meaning of those widespread ills. Indeed, Kapitein Andre's remark that the educated elites prevent governments from taking serious measures against criminality supports the thesis of "collective amnesia": the elites have forgotten the great labor of developing civilized discipline in a people, through religion, law, and force, that enables them to live free of savagery. The elites have forgotten what it takes to create the civilization in which there can be elites like themselves. We are thus already in a situation where we don't know how to maintain the jet fighter, to use Kapitein Andre's example, that won us the high level of wealth, knowledge, and comfort we still enjoy.