Monday, October 3, 2011

Aldous Huxley Supports Ron Paul Against Neoconservative Status Quo

In the "The devils of Loudun", a study in the psychology of power politics and mystical religion in the France of cardinal Richelieu, Aldous Huxley writes:
In Communist Russia, in Fascist Italy, in Nazi Germany, the exploiters of humanity's fatal taste for herd-poison have followed an identical course. When in revolutionary opposition, they encouraged the mobs under their influence to become destructively violent. Later, when they had come to power, it was only in relation to foreigners and selected scapegoats that they permitted herd-intoxication to run its full course. Having acquired a vested interest in the status quo, they now checked the descent into subhumanity at a point well this side of frenzy. For these neo-conservatives, mass intoxication was chiefly valuable, henceforward, as a means for heightening their subjects' suggestibility and so rendering them more docile to the expressions of authoritarian will.
On page 122 of this same book Aldous Huxley discusses the assassination of Anwar al-awlaki:
Death was the penalty meted out ot these metaphysical Quislings of the past and, in most parts of the contemporary world, death is the penalty which awaits the political and secular devil-worshipers known here as Reds, there as Reactionaries.
A quote Ron Paul could use in his next campaign speech is found in Aldous Huxley's "Grey Eminence" on page 245:
The political activity that seems least compatible with theocentric religion is that which aims at increasing a certain special typpe of social efficiency- the efficiency required for waging or threatening large-scale war. To achieve this kind of efficiency, politicians always aim at some kind of totalitarianism.
In the writings ands speeches of two high profile Ron Paul supporters Lew Rockwell and John Whitehead the orwellian nightmare of the ultimate totalitarian state is never far away.  Egbert Schuurman, a Dutch politician and Reformational philosopher seems equally impressed by the dominance over western culture of the development of science, technology and economy.  Aldous Huxley argues in his book "Grey Emininence" page 245:
"In an era of telphones, finger-printing, tanks and machine guns, the task of a totalitarian government is easier then it was in the days of Richelieu"
However, Aldous Huxley's description of Richelieu's brand of totalitarianism is ironic:
"The Tyrannical spirit was very willing, but, fortunately for the French, the technological flesh was weak."
A quote that immediately reminds me of the irony in which Genesis 9:1-5 describes how the Lord descended to see the tower of Babel. Henk de Jong, a well-known Dutch Reformed pastor, emphasizes this in one of his sermons:
"The efforts of these people to reach the skies, they couldn't even reach the upper rim of the sidewalk, the Lord had to descend to see their building"  
Henk de Jong's conclusion based on Genesis 11 is obviously also applicabale to our own culture. We might think that it's advanced and sophisticated, but Genesis 11 is poking fun at all misplaced arrogance and pretention.

Or, as John Calvin said in the first sentence of his Institutions:

"Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves."

Aldous Huxley concludes at the end of "the devils of Loudun":
Civilization demands from the individual devoted self-identification with the highest of human causes. But if this self-identification with what is human is not accompanied by a conscious and consistent effort to achieve upward self-transcendence into the universal life of the Spirit, the goods achieved will allways be mingled with counterbalancing evils.
A quote that reminds me of Lech Walesa words at the commemoration of the fall of the Berlin wall in which he emphasized the decisive role of the:
Polish Pope who, in the name of the Holy Spirit, appealed to our conscious"
Henk de Jong, in his sermon on Genesis 11 concludes in similar fasion by referring to  Acts 2, Pentecost.


justrecently said...

"The efforts of these people to reach the skies, they couldn't even reach the upper rim of the sidewalk, the Lord had to descend to see their building"

As far as I remember the scripture, the tower hadn't been completed at the time, and the Good Lord feared it enough to mix up the construction workers' languages. There was no room for two totalitarian concepts in the place, I guess. ;-)

Vincent Harris said...

"There was no room for two totalitarian concepts"

When we step back from this specific piece of scripture my intuition tells me your phrase sums up the central dilemma in every theological debate.