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‘Intellectual’, Ignorant, and Postmodern - ARINDAM MUKHERJEE

Historically a small section of the world has been on rampage, leaving another small section to philosophize on those acts. The result of this fetish series of these two groups have provided enough material to keep the commoner that remained sandwiched in their middle, dazzled or plain confused, mostly depending on their circumstances.  

Berlin wall was brought down. Soviet Union dissolved. This was the result of a 45-year old rivalry between two groups of some of the coldest and most calculative brains that history has ever witnessed; one could assume philosophy was not the primary here. But you couldn’t restrain the intellectuals. Hence one named Fukuyama jumped in and pronounced ‘The end of history’. And barely about the time the developed world managed to grasp what he was trying to say and had their ‘eureka’ moment just around the corner, Bill Clinton – at the end of a rather embarrassing affair – sought solace through demonizing a leader, cutting his access to the international media, and scorching his country. He bombed, supplied arms to a section of its citizens so that their sect could butcher another, and infiltrated their ranks with Islamic radicals to ensure that all went well.

Perhaps he wanted to double-check if history had truly ended. 

So anyway, that ended in the Balkanization of Yugoslavia, and, this led to a few of the second group’s (philosophers and intellectuals) obligatory legitimization of this horrible act in their dreams about Middle Europe – this time minus the Habsburgs [Middle Europe was never realized. As Halford Mackinder had prophesied more than a hundred years ago, that Middle Europe is a crush zone; it could never have its own identity]. But more importantly, because Milosevic was the final ‘evil’ in that history book of Fukuyama. He had to be destroyed for the book’s sake if not for mankind’s. History, they submitted, was finally ‘over’.

There was a lull in their activities after this. Not so much for the common mainlander European. He kept complaining about the spurt in the number of Albanians or Bosnian – street thugs, drug dealers, serial rapists, organ traffickers – in his neighbourhood. These inimitable jewels were the result of the Clinton orchestration of Yugoslavia, a hangover from the Balkanization. Instead of creating their Middle Europe, they were popping up all along the west of the continent. Across the Channel, the common UK resident kept complaining about Pakistani guys that were slowly spreading on the roads along specific pockets in a manner that was suggestive of a dog marking its territory, and probably even in preparation for something bigger. Interestingly, these sporadic and mostly unorganized gangs were the off springs of England’s love affair with Pakistan towards the end of WWII (when they played Nehru for a sucker to pry away access to Central Asia): the result of the ‘end’ of another ‘history’. 

There was a hint right there that these end-of-histories here and there were cascading some amount of subtle alteration in Europe’s population-mix. For the philosophers it wasn’t important. For them, this ‘final triumph’ of man comprised the core of their romanticism. The act of man defying God in his trial to reach for utopia through communism, getting hammered in that process losing millions of lives, but surviving in spirit and summoning enough courage to challenge God yet again in a duel, and ending history and communism and all that were in between – was what mattered. That man now looked ahead at a new world that was to be his and only his creation, mattered. The image of the man, battered and wounded but victorious in his duel with God in a mission to snatch his own destiny, mattered. Jacob the trickster, after his wrestling bout with God became Israel – which practically meant ‘The one who wrestled with God’. That was the time when the entire western world was Israelite, and more. The result of Jacob’s bout was slightly hazy going by different account, but West’s win was emphatic. Who would be bothered about paedophiles and purse-snatchers?

So, the ones that – in a condescending attitude – addressed such plebeian concerns chided the common man through some simple philosophy. You are witnessing the collapse of borders as symbolized through the Berlin Wall and the stirrings of a brand-new world. This is going to be one globe under one global liberal order. Have faith in us; your Albanian neighbour is soon going to change his axe for Michelangelo’s chisel, and both of you would be millionaires. Add to this the fact that the common man is usually confused about his intelligence and grasp of such conceptual stuffs, these assurances held. But then came dual shellshocks of 2008. Russia militarily intervened in Ossetia by a thorough thrashing of Georgia. And the global economy went into recession.

History had announced it wasn’t dead; it was back in fact. As the European ‘manhandling’ of the economic crisis uncovered the deep fault lines within the EU – notably the German-Greece fiasco, the common man wondered if ‘man proposes god disposes’ was a good philosophy. But he remained diffident to hold such pedestrian proverb up in front of the illuminated post modernists. And it was to take 10 more years for Macron to admit that EU was functionally imbecile; a couple less for England to vote themselves out of it.

The story goes on. Add Ukraine; a pure strategic ploy to take NATO closer to the Russian border; one that led to the killing and displacement of millions, a civil war and another internal migration crisis – the intellectual would argue about freedom and emancipation of the Ukrainians and throw some fat books at you. (Those books that contains the other side of the story, like Serbians observers wishing to express their accounts about the horror of NATO-Islamists gang, would be so difficult to find that you would soon give up. I have been at it for some time now, and my run rate would make the batsman in Venktapathy Raju proud.) Or Libya. Or Syria. The whole of Middle East. You would meet sheer brilliance in the shape of TV anchors like Bill Maher or Christina Amanpour, intellectuals like Henri Levi, agencies like White Helmets, or recent ‘old’ entrants like Noam Chomsky. No one to write about the story that Assad or the millions that chose to stay back have to say. Or, if they are willing to, have their narratives firewalled.

This is an incredibly important thin slice of the big cake of how West sought to enlighten/ sanitize/ brainwash/ neuter (pick-your-choice) its populace in the post Cold War Era. Incredibly important, a) because both modern and postmodern is synonymous with the West as is Globalization and the Liberal World Order that got established afterwards; they affect the world in ways more than one, and b) because India is a highly-qualified aping superstar when it comes to the Western low hangers – ripe or rotten. [Bluntly put, ‘aping’ means copying, leaving your brains behind].  

This practice of bombing and waging wars for ‘business’ interests at the one end, and the hiring intellectuals on payrolls and getting them to talk or write about the nobility of it is not new. Not when we consider its bare structural form. Propaganda industry, McCarthyism etc are old. The fun however is, when you kickstart a process as complex and layered even in its conceptual level as that, it breathes life into itself, moves quickly and mutates into something much, much bigger, infinitely complicated and messy, and slips out of control of any individual or group. So, while I love to listen about the cabal that controls the world and so on, I find it honestly difficult to believe that every fallout is a planned scenario. You simply cannot control something this global and this huge. The sum-total combination of military and strategic intelligence of the most advanced country in the world couldn’t control the movements of bunch of primitive jihadist after Afghanistan War got over; I certainly don’t expect them to have any control over the effect among individuals that the global media has.

The result of the West’s insane urge to gentrify its population was a dormant chaos of the kind that did not lead to people batter each other like last century; it led people to batter their own minds and spirit with a sledgehammer. [Not the kind of psyche that one would desire in a bunch of guys that had just ‘won a match with God’; but as I said before: these things have a life and a mind of their own.] With internet and computers, hundreds of TV channels and a population spending most of their waking hours in front of them, came a crowd that had none of the refinement or the intellect of a Hitchens/Parenti or Garton Ash/Friedman. They weren’t bothered either. As far as the media was concerned, they needed dirt – in the shape of content and humans – so they dug up any ditch that they could get their shovel through.

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The Paris bombers were unequivocal. They were serving Allah by bombing a theatre full of people that were praising the devil. But Paris, and Europe found it difficult to legitimize and call it what it was through their national media even if some of the leaders knew in their hearts the truth of it. The Rotherham grooming gang was unequivocal. They were targeting white girls and boys and raping them. But the media found it difficult to point out to their origin – Pakistan, choosing instead, to call them Asians. The scene has been sort of rinsed and repeated till the cows came home.

The cows have indeed come home. Gentrified Europe’s queasiness to call a spade a spade has largely been the result of suffering too long the intellectuals, the internet, and the postmodernists. What percentage of effect of which – you have Mark Steyn, Douglas Murray etc to read and understand better. Few of the highlights are colonial guilt, political correctness… and very crucially, sanitization of the key religion of Europe from the minds of its citizenry.

And feminization. Iben Thranholm holds that the mindset is a suspect; that it is nice to be inclusive mothers but not perhaps prudent to behave that way when you are threatened/bullied. That is the time when you need courage, honour, discipline – old values. Unfortunately, you’ve lost them. “Since the 1960s, modern mothers have raised their sons to be women, soaking them in feminine values like accepting responsibility for household chores, being caring, understanding and attentive, and bend to every wish of the woman. This has produced a generation of soft, insecure men, who are out of touch with their masculine nature, identity and strength… Today, many boys also grow up with no father in the home and have no male role models. The average modern Western male has been feminized, with no knowledge or habit of manly virtues like courage, resolve, self-sacrifice, justice, temperance, self-reliance, self-discipline and honour. He has no sense of true expression of manliness. Feminism despises and rejects these virtues, and this has had a profoundly detrimental impact on a European culture, the “battered wife” of a feeble continent.” Embracing refugees to create impressions instead of letting the agencies do their job of sorting the reals from the fakes, police officers playing with children – much to the delight of the media and vacuum-generated-liberals –instead of guarding and protecting properties is the result of a leadership that is completely out of sync with what it means to protect the sanctity of national borders, inherent values that a country stands for.

If tolerance and multiculturalism is a value, then how does the world evaluate those that are intolerant and insensitive towards other cultures? If Germany, which leads Europe, is led by an Angela Merkel, who influences EU leaders to reason under the premise that the average Pakistani or Algerian is going to embrace liberal feminist values, then what it at stake? Camille Paglia has this crucial bit to say: “The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service - hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster… These people don't think in military ways, so there's this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we're just nice and benevolent to everyone they'll be nice too. They literally don't have any sense of evil or criminality.”

Whatever you preserve, stays. If you hold on to cumulative heritage of a nation, the nation will exist that way. If you hold on to a cluster of pin codes as your nation, that’s how the nation will exist. Self-hating West has off late been showing the proclivity to be happy with just the pin codes with little or no concern about population or the broader socio-cultural/economic transformation.

This is an alarming way to exist in an interconnected globe. A chunk of the rest of the world that’s watching thinks it is ‘cool’ to uphold not values but pin codes because that’s very liberal / post-modern. “Whenever someone apparently humiliates himself adopting the attitude of how he deeply despises his origin/clan/nation, be very careful and look for secret privileges – surplus enjoyments”, says Grandpa Zizek. This surplus enjoyment has a colossal cost. And it would devastate while extracting that. Mass movements towards any direction leaves structural damages, but a ritual suicide like this, even if it is ritual, kills beyond any doubts.

The newcomers to Europe are the off-springs of a total male-dominated culture. What happens when these two collide? You know that by now. Even if the average docile immigrant learns that it is civil to leave western white women and her ways be, there would be thousands that won’t. “At the moment, Europe resembles a woman who allows herself to be battered and abused by her man. Like many battered women, she tries to cover her man's violations, makes excuses for him, and returns to him time after time.”(Iben Thranholm).

There is another smaller chaos in the making here: A growing group of white Europeans refuse to accept this kind of an existence and in their exasperation, are quickly move to farthest right. Ironically, while some shave their heads, tattoo a few swastikas here and there, take up a gun and blow up some school kids… some, unknowingly suffering from Leo Strauss’ “the joyless quest for joy” that has come to underline the society on a hyper diet of consumerism and political correctness, completely reject their rootlessness and embrace ISIL. When you want to believe in something that is bigger than the mindlessness around you, and there is nothing out there that appeals to you – if you haven’t lost sight of that which led you to ‘want to believe’ in the first place, you turn to the one that best appeals to you.  

The ‘West’ (not skin colour or religion ‘West’, but the sum-total of culture, religion, science, art, wars, ideology, revolution that gave us the modern world ‘West’) is not going to manage to emerge a winner in this civilizational conflict. Back again to Steyn – and this he expressed a good many years before Douglas Murray – is that the West has its guns, but doesn’t have the will to use them, while those that they face know that they have the will and the population, and, since the entry to the elite weapon-club is getting cheaper and cheaper, they too shall have their guns soon. And then it would be over.

The illusion that is postmodernism has managed to eat away the sociocultural and value driven roots to produce a sense of civilizational coma. So even if there were no Al Qaeda, Osama, ISIL or immigration, the West would still lose. Because the West – at the end of its psyche-alteration dosage of messages from the postmodern liberal that populate the media and academia – doesn’t have a functional soul anymore. And though we do witness a rise in the number of people that believe that a resurrection of Judeo-Christian values could be a saviour of the West; after all that is what held together the civilization, allowing reformation, renaissance, Reconquista, or industrialization, many onlookers like me don’t have a nuanced opinion about the future of this trial. I think there might not be enough time there.

There is one last thing that comes to the mind: the cascading effect of this crisis. We in the subcontinent have ceremonially aped the low hangers of the West. As far as postmodernism goes that too has been copied without a credible cause. The West had a severe magnitude of guilt and fear thanks to their Colonial and Big Wars’ history; wanting to put their ‘warrior past’ behind to look towards lasting peace and prosperity by embracing a ‘business future’, an inclusive and multicultural outlook was perhaps the only known call. That this kind of an arrangement would start walking on its own, grow disproportionately and mutate into a society that remained too squeamish to bring its paedophiles to justice, I suspect nobody guessed. This subcontinent, however, has no such history of hegemonic shame or guilt to start behaving in such fashion as it took to. Most of the pioneers that propagated Western postmodernism in India did so for the fashion quotient and had not the slightest idea about the difference between modernization and westernization. And as I had argued in A Matter of Greed: in their confusion, and with an inane urge ‘to belong’ they clutched on to one such ‘cool’ behaviour without a clue about its roots. And since we have travelled a long way on that road, if and when the West falls, the subcontinental ‘cool gang’ – ignorant about the scale of the tragedy, of the agony or of the helplessness of it – would be busy aping the same because it’d be a ‘fashionable thing to do’.

So, between their tragedy and our comedy, I wish you all a happy new year.

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