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Human Rights and America’s “Empire by Invitation”

Human Rights and America’s “Empire by Invitation”

The “empowerment of rights,” whether domestically or globally, presents itself in at least a double aspect: both as a cultural revolution and as a political strategy. As Marcello Pera notes, the political liberalism which embraces this strategy suffers from its own “ethical deficit.” Torn from its religious roots, it lacks the requisite thickness of moral authority needed to protect the rights of persons and resist threats to the very existence of civil society. The use of despotic means in the name of liberty undercuts our capacity for self-government. Parts of this essay are drawn from “An Imperium of Rights: Consequences of Our Cultural Revolution,” The Western Australian Jurist, 7 (2016): 171-91. 

The idea of universal human rights is part of the borrowed capital the West secularized from its Biblical origins as the eternal kingdom of Christ. Cut off from its source is becomes sentimental, utopian, ideological and sometimes apocalyptic. Most of the damage to the idea of universal human rights was done more than 75 years ago through the ideological twist which was added at the insistence of the Soviet Union after the Second World War.

The first twenty-one points of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) are classified as civil and political rights: “freedoms from.” These are best regarded, first of all, as liberties which deserve protection rather than rights which have standing in courts of law. The next seven, which the Soviets insisted upon, are social and economic rights – “obligations to” – various social and economic categories. These might best be characterized as collective rather than individual rights, sometimes as claims upon the government treasury. They are rights other people – ultimately taxpayers – owe to a distinct class of people rather than liberties for all which governments are obliged to protect.

The adjudication of rights becomes a moral hazard once courts lose their institutional integrity as non-political bodies and become mere instruments of the political regime. This problem has been exacerbated by the growth in the West of an administrative state which exercises so-called quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers. Given the size and scope of the burgeoning administrative apparatus, the increasing standardization of every aspect of life, and a narrowing of accepted opinion in the new social media serves the interests of the governing classes and the growing network of intergovernmental organizations which began with high-level international conferences toward the end of the Second World War.

Additionally, political debates in the West have shifted away from reconciling policy differences toward celebrating identity differences and creating or subsidizing new clientele groups. In America, administrative agencies grew in tandem with the rise of the Progressive reform movement more than a century ago – along with the formation of professional academic associations – which advocated a “living constitution,” a fluid Darwinian which expanded rather than a fixed Newtonian system which restricted the powers of government. The danger of tyranny was dismissed by Progressives. The constitutional separation of powers was gradually destroyed in practice as one branch of government after another undercut the rule of law from the late 19C onward. Various 19C social reform movements and the American Civil War had already laid much of the intellectual groundwork for the centralization of power.

The seeds of the administrative state were sown long before the rise of Lenin, Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler. Yet they began to mature during the wartime mobilization of America from1917-1918, the so-called Lost Generation, unrealistic peace efforts, the subsequent Great Depression, and the New Deal. Along with the rise of utopian ideological movements and totalitarian governments, one of the great tragedies of the modern era is that the Second World War began as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, followed immediately by the carving up of Poland between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. At the outset the Communist Party line was opposition to American aid to the beleaguered West – now misremembered as “isolationism.” But the opposition shifted overnight when Nazi Germany launched an invasion of the Soviet Union on June 21, 1941.

As a consequence, the international socialist enemy of the West became the ally in a common war against the national socialist enemy of both. The United States became the so-called “arsenal of democracy” in preparing for the war effort. The Germans may have introduced total mobilization during the First World War. But a much larger United States and more populous United Staes, blessed with abundant natural resources and strategic depth, far outstripped all the other belligerents before war’s end.

One consequence was a form of “empire-building” as the capital assets of the others were consumed or destroyed. Unlike the original American union, which was knit together through committees of correspondence and other forms of voluntary cooperation in the early 1770s, a postwar economic order grew out of a need to fill an economic and industrial vacuum. What Geir Lundstad called an “empire by invitation”[1] drew American into European affairs, among many other things, as it helped rebuild war-torn economies and infrastructure while also trying to manage the consequences of the forced migration of displaced populations. These crises were the legacy of two world wars, the breakup of four empires, a Great Depression, and the rise and fall of several authoritarian and totalitarian regimes – with one important exception.

American intellectual circles, which had earlier been infected by French revolutionary Jacobinism in the 1790s, German Transcendentalism in the 1830s, Darwinism after the Civil War, Christian socialism in the 1880s-90s, Fabianism socialism and neo-Malthusian eugenic thinking around the turn of the century, became deeply infected by newer 20C ideological trends, which included the anarcho-syndicalism of the International Workers of the World, along with Fascism, Naziism, and especially Bolshevist Communism in the 1920-30s. The best single overview of this history may be Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s Leftism (1974), followed by Paul Johnson’s Modern Times (1983).

Each of these truly revolutionary intellectual, cultural, and political movements has contributed to the growth of a formidable ideological synthesis which now seeks global hegemony. Citizens of the West do not yet understand how deeply this past century and more has been infected and reshaped by increasingly radical secular ideologies, not to mention how these are spread through popular education, the news media, and entertainment. Doubts about traditional values are first insinuated, then matters of truth and fact are put dialectically on a par with novel ideas.

In What Is Secular Humanism? (1982) James Hitchcock summarizes the West’s transition from a Bible-based moral and political culture as follows: “The moral revolution was achieved in a variety of ways. On the simplest level, it consisted merely of talking about what was hitherto unmentionable. Subjects previously forbidden in the popular media (abortion, incest) were presented for the first time.”[2] Resistance was gradually broken down by making these subjects increasingly familiar.[3] Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, who developed a public relations campaign for gay rights, called this first stage “desensitization.”[4]

Hitchcock identified similar stages of development.

“The second stage of the revolution is ridicule, the single most powerful weapon in any attempt to discredit accepted beliefs. Within a remarkably brief time, values the media had celebrated during the 1950s (family, religion, patriotism) were subjected to a merciless and constant barrage of satire. Only people with an exceptionally strong commitment to their beliefs could withstand being depicted as buffoons. . . . Negative stereotypes were created, and people who believed in traditional values were kept busy avoiding being trapped in those stereotypes.”[5] 

This corresponds with “jamming” in the Kirk-Madsen strategy.[6] It can be quite effective. Mary Eberstadt begins her new book, It’s Dangerous to Believe, by citing numerous examples of it, culminating in the bewildered question: “Where will we go?”[7]

The culmination of the process should be familiar enough to those familiar with the literature on “brainwashing,” the Stockholm syndrome, and related phenomena. Again, Hitchcock: 

“The final stage of the moral revolution is the media’s exploitation of traditional American sympathy for the underdog. Judaeo-Christian morality, although eroding for a long time and on the defensive almost everywhere in the Western world, is presented as a powerful, dominant, and even tyrannical system against which only a few brave souls make a heroic stand on behalf of freedom.”[8] 

But a campaign of mounting pressure and growing public sympathy may finally elicit a “bandwagon” effect that culminates in the Kirk-Madsen strategy’s third stage: “conversion.”[9]

The success of these and earlier strategies may be gauged from the rapidity of the social and cultural changes which flowed from bohemian artistic circles and urban centers into the mainstream of life. Countercultures triumph by reproducing through imitation and peer pressure. Careers may then be advanced or derailed by those who are ready to redirect subordinates’ career ambitions toward some prescribed or collectively accepted social outcome. Increasingly we see cases of scholars “massaging” scientific evidence in favor of some favored outcome or new orthodoxy. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn referred to this phenomenon as “herdist” and “identitarian” as early as 1943.[10]

C. S. Lewis’s essay, “The Inner Ring,” describes the hazards of the natural propensity to identify with authority figures or belong to “the right crowd.” Indeed, Lewis dramatized this motivation in his novel, That Hideous Strength (1947). His fictional N.I.C.E. – National Institute of Co-Ordinated Experiments – looks a lot like subsequent political programs and research institutions. As he well knew from experience, ordinary academic politics can be used to undercut real academic freedom in ways that, more than ever, illuminate the present state of academic practice. Flannery O’Connor similarly satirized a Holy Church of Christ without Christ in Wise Blood (1952). The following year, Russell Kirk, who lectured for a time at Michigan State University, helped launch the conservative intellectual movement with The Conservative Mind (1953). The intellectual divisions have deepened over the decades since then. Hazel Barnes later wrote The University as the New Church (1970). The universities of the West originally arose as Christian institutions, playing a continuing role in the Christianization of the West and, now, its de-Christianization. Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Lecture testifies to this reversal.

Institutional capture by renegade elites is, by now, a very old story which deserves careful scrutiny. The serpent’s temptation in the Garden, the Tower of Babel, and Satan’s temptation in the wilderness are three such stories. Yes, ideas have consequences. Countercultural ideas are often useful for the subversion and capture of wealthy citadels once their guardians have been sufficiently discouraged or discredited. Marxism and other ideologies are messianic imitators of Christianity: churches without Christ. Their persuasive power derives from their resemblance to the original. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s Out of Revolution (1938), Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book That Made Your World (2010), and Tom Holland’s Dominion (2019) tell much of this story is their own personal ways. We live in a world shaped by the Bible, “the revolutionary revelation.” The world we live in is, to rephrase Alfred North Whitehead’s point about philosophy, a series of footnotes to God’s revelation. When ideological heresy triumphs in the form of modern ideologies, what will protect citizens from the straitjackets they impose? 

The United Nations originated as a wartime alliance 

Although the League of Nations was not originally an American idea, it was embraced with great fervor by Woodrow Wilson at the time of the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. The origin of the United Nations was different. As the American ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, noted in the 1970s: “At first the UN was seen as the instrument of American ideologues.” Its founders established the organization to promote American values and principles on a global scale. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had earlier sent observers to Geneva to sit in on the sessions of the League of Nations, so he recognized its flaws. Indeed, the United States never joined.

Former President Herbert Hoover left a large manuscript at the time of his death in 1964. Entitled Freedom Betrayed, the manuscript was finally edited by George Nash and published in October 2011. When Hoover visited Geneva in February 1938 he met with top officials of the League. Joseph Avenol, the French president of the League, indicated that had no idea how peace could be preserved. As Hoover wrote: 

“He blamed Communist conspiracies in Europe for the rise of Fascism. He blamed Britain for the rise of Hitler and said that Europe was [witnessing—ed.] the full return of the balance-of-power theory of peace—which, he said, ‘was the negation of collective security.’ . . . I conclude that as a peace agency it was dead.” 

Addressing the claim that the United States’ failure to join was to blame for the failure of the League, Hoover noted the questions he asked, which included the following: 

“Do you think that the dragon’s teeth sown by the Treaty of Versailles over Mr. Wilson’s protest have not contributed to the European situation? Did he not state that the League of Nations could only survive if confined to Free Nations? Do you think the United States could have after the war compelled Continental states to stop their riotous spending, their unbalanced budgets and their inflation? Or the succession states setting up a maze of trade barriers against each other. . . ? Did we not take full part in the League’s attempt at land disarmament and did not the nations on the Continent defeat our proposals; did we not bring about the limitations on naval arms after the League had failed; and did we not cooperate with the League’s effort to stop Japanese attack on China?”[11] 

What eventually became the United Nations began with the Atlantic Charter when Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill in August 1941 and, together, called for “a wider and permanent system of general security.” At the time, the United States was not a direct belligerent in the European war but was already providing aid to help China against Japan and Britain against Nazi Germany.

Once the United States came into the war after the Japanese attack on Peal Harbor on December 7, 1941, countries allied against the Axis powers signed the Declaration by United Nations on January 1, 1942. As the tide shifted against the Axis powers, two major conferences were called to help shape a new postwar international order. One to establish a new international economic order was held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The other was held at Dumbarton Oaks estate in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. At the latter conference Roosevelt described a new organization which would enforce peace through the world’s “four policemen:” the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China; its purpose was to stop aggressors before they got started.

Two weeks after Roosevelt died at Warm Springs, Geogia, in April 1945 the founding conference of the United Nations convened in San Francisco, where the United Nations Charter was drafted and signed. A young attorney and aide to the late President, Alger Hiss, who had assisted him at the Dumbarton Oaks and Yalta conferences, served as the temporary UN secretary-general. Hiss was later revealed by Whittaker Chambers to be a Communist agent.

The “four policemen,” along with France, became permanent members of the UN Security Council, which eventually included ten additional rotating members. The journalist Walter Lippmann, however, warned that the victorious powers must not delegate the responsibility for world order “to a world society which does not yet exist or which has just barely been organized.”

Membership was originally limited to opponents of the Axis powers, so it really began as a military alliance united by a common strategic purpose and by declared commitment to certain common values, to which the Soviets only paid lip service. Its American founders assumed that it would be possible to freeze the wartime alliance and believed that it could become an alliance around certain principles rather than a mere collective security organization like the League of Nations, which had earlier reduced its operations in 1939. Henry Kissinger later articulated this point: “Alliances always presume a specific adversary; collective security defends international law in the abstract.”

For a military` response to be considered, the new system required that, first, an act of aggression be identified, and, second, the United Nations would mobilize a determined response. The structural flaw of the organization was in taking a relatively benign view of the Soviet Union. As time passed, excusing Soviet behavior became common practice. 

Abstract principles and geographical morality 

A regime of abstract principles eventually crumbles or collapses in the face of harsh realities. The Soviets took advantage of their strategic geographical position to corrupt some important early United Nations documents, such as the dangerous loop-hole in the Genocide Convention which kept it from applying to mass murder of political opponents, as distinct from religious or ethnic groups. Bodies like the International Court of Justice are susceptible to ideological manipulation.

Edmund Burke articulated the problem as well as any in a February 1788 speech in the impeachment of a corrupt British East India Company official, Warren Hastings, saying that he and others of his ilk, who 

“have formed a plan of geographical morality, by which the duties of men in public and in private situations are not to be governed by their relations to the great governor of the universe, but by climates, degrees of longitude and latitude. . . We think it necessary, in justification of ourselves, to declare that the laws of morality are the same every-where, and that there is no action which would pass for an act of extortion, of the peculation [misappropriation of public funds], of bribery, and oppression in England, that is not an act of extortion, of peculation, of bribery, and oppression in Africa, Asia, Africa, and all the world over. . .” 

Unlike Edmund Burke, who could bring charges before the House of Lords and had recourse to a body of legal precedent, those who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights knew that the General Assembly was not a “world parliament” and could not create binding international laws. Nevertheless, Eleanor Roosevelt, the first chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, referred to the declaration as a “common standard.” Yet Saudi Arabia abstained because the declaration allowed for a Muslim to change his religion. Like so many idealistic expressions, the devil was in the details, many of which were uncontroversial but which, taken together, have proven to be a source of great mischief. Decades later, the Cairo Declaration of 1990 defined human rights differently, provoking further controversy. 

An imperium of rights 

Let us conclude with some observations made nearly a decade ago in a law review articles, “An Imperium of Rights: Notes on Our Cultural Revolution,” The Western Australian Jurist, 7 (2016).

In Democracy without Nations? Pierre Manent describes the challenge facing the West: 

“Philippe Raynaud has recently underscored the following important point: the original understanding on which the modern state was founded strongly linked individual rights and public authority or power. Today, however, rights have invaded every field of reflection and even every aspect of consciousness. They have broken their alliance with power and have even become its implacable enemy. From an alliance between rights and power we have moved to the demand for an empowerment of rights. The well-known sovereign ‘power of judges’ claiming to act in the name of human rights is the most visible manifestation of this trend.”[12] 

Manent sees this elevation of rights over power as “an increasingly decisive and debilitating factor at work in the political life of the European nations.”[13] This is the latest philosophical wrinkle in the use of individualism and identity politics to dissolve the cultural and civilizational structures which support “civil liberty and self-government.[14] International law and the concept of global governance have been among the major transmission belts driving this imperium of “human rights” during the past generation.

What then becomes of individuals and their traditional liberties? This is the age-old problem of “the one and the many:” unity vs. diversity.

We live particular lives at particular times and in particular places. We cannot go beyond this, as Chantal Delsol warns: “The identification of the singular human being with a universal culture therefore would be equivalent to lessening him, perhaps even to destroying him.”[15] She notes that earlier bids for universal unity through ancient empires and Christendom nevertheless left diversity in place. We cannot expect a similar outcome today.

By now it should be evident that something much larger than a sexual revolution or an ordinary political movement is at work, both in Europe and America. What Marcello Pera calls the “secular equation” of liberalism with secularism – with its rejection of Christianity – breeds what he calls the “ethical deficit of constitutional patriotism”[16] Pera observes that the constitutional patriotism which is offered in place of the historic creeds and confessions is no substitute for Christianity because it, likewise, contains a deficit or vacuum which it lacks the resilience to fill. 

“Here we draw closer to the crux of constitutional patriotism, political liberalism, and secular Europe. Where does the concept of the person originate? It does not derive from the practice of argumentation, because it is a presupposition for that practice. It does not derive from democratic procedures allowed by institutions, because these take the idea of the person as their point of reference. Clearly it derives from outside the practice of argumentation or democratic procedures. The concept of the person, or the end in itself, i.e. that each individual must be respected because as an individual he is endowed with dignity, is a pre-political and obviously non-political concept. It is a concept of an ethical-religious nature, and more precisely it is a Christian concept. It follows that, just as liberalism cannot be self-sufficient, constitutional patriotism cannot separate itself from pre-political elements. If constitutional patriotism is to support the European Charter, it cannot set aside the pre-political elements of European history, and particularly its ethical Christian and religious elements.”[17] 

Rather than recognize Christianity, however, “liberal European culture accepts the secular equation and rejects Christianity.” As Pera concludes: “[L]iberal European culture can produce no notion of European identity, either religious or secular. In the end, it opposes the very thing it wishes to promote: the unification of Europe.”[18]

Amidst a long and anguished identity crisis, the West suffers a deficit in the moral character – a loss of the requisite thickness of authority – that is required to protect the rights of persons and to resist militant ideologies and their shock troops. The West instead has chosen to unilaterally disarm itself. Even in the early nineteenth century, Alexis de Tocqueville already had a sense of the danger – early during the democratic experiment – of what is variously called tyranny of the majority (or by those ruling in the name of the majority) and soft despotism.[19]

So, today, the French revolutionary nationalism which broke with the Old Regime has at last given way more recently to yet another secular faith: the revolutionary cosmopolitanism of global governance erected and managed by a Rousseauan Legislator. The resulting situation has given rise to complaints about a “deficit of democracy” and, more recently, has led to “Brexit.” At the heart of transnationalism lies a contradiction, as Chantal Delsol describes ironically: 

“International justice is de-localized, de-temporalized. Where then will the international law it proclaims be renewed, debated, qualified, or amended? In fact, international justice merely lives an artificial life among a small coterie of cosmopolitan intellectuals. But can one judge real human beings who committed crimes in particular places and times, in particular circumstances, with laws written in Heaven? To want to realize the universal, to grant it real existence, to establish it as a policy and a tribunal – this is to dis-incarnate humanity, to compel it to live in abstract kingdoms.”[20] 

Delsol’s complaint appears likewise to be about a New Gnosticism. Perhaps this is a key to understanding the challenges we face. The problem is not “the universal.” The real danger arises from a spurious utopian sort of universality promoted by ideologues.[21] We have chosen to embrace utopian abstractions which tend to dissolve – in the name of rights – the human dimension, even as our would-be benefactors seek to bring heaven down to earth.[22] The result has too often been what R. J. Rummel has called “democide.”[23] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was exiled by one of these utopias, stated the problem in universal terms: 

“[T]he events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too I would be unable to find anything more precise or pithy than to repeat once again: ‘Men have forgotten God’.”[24] 

Lessons of détente 

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Wisdom is often hard won at great cost. As Count Axel Oxenstierna observed to his son: “An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur? Do you not know, my son, with what little wisdom the world is governed?“     

Speaking of the policy of détente which guided a self-deceived West into a decade of fruitless efforts to find common ground with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, the Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky reminds us of the futility of this search for a “common language.” It is a road which leads only to appeasement. 

“What was this policy of détente, Ostpolitik or whatever? It can hardly be explained by stupidity, cowardice, or even infiltration of the SPD by the KGB (although all three surely played their part, if only because this policy was accepted not only by the Germans. Practically all socialist and social democratic parties of Europe supported it to some extent. Moreover, even non-socialist governments, for example, those of France (Valery Giscard d’Estaing) and the USA (Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger), saw no alternative to détente. To be more precise, they did not even seek it, accepting fully the game and the arguments of the socialists.[25] 

What were the aims of the European socialists in creating this game and trying to force it on the world? After all, it was not like the harmless games of leisured politicians, but an extremely dangerous adventure that could have cost the people of Europe their freedom. It prolonged the life of communist regimes in the East for at least ten years. Hundreds of thousands of people did not have to lose their lives in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Central America, and the Middle East. Why were they condemned to die? In the name of ‘socialism with a human face,’ a Utopia into which they intended to herd an unsuspecting humanity, the socialists sentenced the peoples of the USSR and Eastern Europe to ten years of slavery. They did it for the sake of ‘convergence,’ as a result of which, they thought, Soviet communism would acquire a human face, and the West would become socialist. Generally speaking, they did it for the eternal dream of Mensheviks to return the Bolsheviks to the bosom of social democracy, the wish of an idiot for a hybrid of a kindergarten and a labor camp. 

Yet as we know from the history of their relations, the Mensheviks propose and the Bolsheviks dispose. History knows of no examples of the former outsmarting the latter and countless examples of the use of the former by the latter.”[26] 

After Bukovsky calculated the price humanity paid for a decade of détente in the 1970s, he added: 

“But the worst effect of détente was the loss of will to resist that afflicted the West, It could be likened to an epidemic of moral AIDS, due to which seemingly healthy countries lost immunity to harmful bacteria. . . . 

Power switched to the institutions traditionally controlled by the left: to the press, television, public organizations, and – to the extent that it was controlled by the new elite – to Congress.”[27] 

Both the subsequent campaign for global governance of the last three decades – a byproduct of the Cold War dreams of socialists and social democrats to achieve rapprochement with a liberalizing Soviet Union in the name of “socialism with a human face” – and the now longstanding global human rights regime – which was deeply influenced, even distorted, by long-term Soviet manipulation and disinformation – have left Western elites corrupted and compromised through the vain pursuit of such will-o’-the-wisps as convergence, Ostpolitik, détente, anti-war agitation, and the political uses of human rights and environmental regulations to disrupt and destabilize ordinary commerce rather than actually representing the real interests of their fellow citizens. The breakdown of ordinary commerce between citizens can be seen in migratory crises; laxity in election practices; diversity, equity, and inclusion standards in hiring; mass surveillance; a growing cancel culture on campus; the recent Covid-19 lockdowns; and the deliberate hamstringing of law enforcement agencies in the face of homeless encampments and mob violence.[28] These events reflect a divide and rule approach which is reminiscent of earlier campaigns of disruption in the wake of the First World War, the Great Depression, the Spanish republic; Mao’s cultural revolution; and radical campus protests including the anti-Vietnam War and anti-Israel protests. Most of the public remains unaware of the origins and financing of these movements and disinformation campaigns to manipulate public opinion.[29]

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s conclusion – “We have forgotten God” – still resonates, as does his advice: “Live not by lies.” The West’s decadence is a consequence of divorcing itself from first principles. The ideological parasites which have long infected the West, now threaten its life. When it comes to the restoration of fundamental principles, the West should emulate a very different kind of revolutionary, Martin Luther, who stood before the Holy Roman Emperor at Worms and replied to an order to recant: “Here I stand. I can do not other. So help me, God.” 


[1] Geir Lundestad, The United States and Western Europe Since 1945: From “Empire” by Invitation to Transatlantic Drift (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 27-35.

[2] James Hitchcock, What Is Secular Humanism? Why Humanism Became Secular and How It Is Changing Our World (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1982) 83.

[3] Familiarity has a disarming effect.  Here is an excerpt from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1983 Templeton Lecture: “Today’s world has reached a stage which, if it had been described to preceding centuries, would have called forth the cry: “This is the Apocalypse!”  Yet we have grown used to this kind of world; we even feel at home in it.”  The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005, ed. Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2006) 578.

[4] See Kupelian, David. The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom (Nashville, TN: WND Books, 2005) 25-26.

[5] Hitchcock, 83-84.  Kenneth Minogue similarly offered a tripartite simplification of Marxism as a model or formula for developing an ideology: 1) “the past is the history of the oppression of some abstract class of person;” 2) “the duty of the present is thus to mobilize the oppressed class in the struggle against the oppressive system;” and 3) “the aim of this struggle is to attain a fully just society, a process generally called liberation.”  Kenneth Minogue, Politics: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford, 2000) 101.

[6] Kupelian 26. Tom Wolfe reported on a similar practice in “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers,” Cosmopolitan (April 1971).          

[7] Eberstadt ix-xvi.

[8] Hitchcock 84.  Mary Eberstadt updates this metanarrative: “The faithful have been on the losing end of skirmish after skirmish for decades now – some would say centuries.  Yet their adversaries nevertheless continue to treat them as practically omnipotent, and perpetually malevolent, social forces, even as one cherished cause after another – nearly all the vaunted issues of the so-called culture wars – chalks up as a loss.”   Eberstadt xxviii.

[9] Kupelian 27.

[10] Francis Stuart Campbell (pseud.), The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing, 1943) chapter 1.

[11] Herbert Hoover, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath, edited and with an introduction by George H. Nash (Hoover Institution Press, 2011).

[12] Pierre Manent, Democracy without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe, trans. Paul Seaton (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2007) 16.

[13] Ibid. 16.  And not just in Europe: “Those keeping score on the new diplomacy game should watch for expansions of international law in three areas: (1) treaty-based law; (2) universal jurisdiction, as part of customary international law; and (3) international organizations and global governance.  New diplomacy players are working for breakthroughs in all these aspects of international law.  Taken together, these reforms could well revolutionize international law at the expense of national sovereignty.  David Davenport, “The New Diplomacy Threatens American Sovereignty and Values,” in “A Country I Do Not Recognize”: The Legal Assault on American Values (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2006) 124.

[14] Francis Lieber, On Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 3rd ed., revised, ed. Theodore D. Woolsey (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1877).  Lieber held the first chair of political science in America, launched the first encyclopedia, developed a code of military conduct that shaped the later Hague and Geneva conventions, and corresponded with Alexis de Tocqueville.

[15] Chantal Delsol, Unjust Justice: Against the Tyranny of International Law, trans. Paul Seaton (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2008) 84.  At the beginning of his study of the Leftist ideologies and movements, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn noted: “we share with the beast the instinct to seek identity with another; we become fully human only through our drive and enthusiasm for diversity.”  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism Revisited: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1990) 4.

[16] Ibid. 94-95.

[17] Ibid. 93-94.

[28] Ibid. 94-95.  Pascal Bruckner offers further insight into the impetus toward denial while ironically echoing Edward Said’s notion of Orientalism: “Europe against itself: anti-Occidentalism, as we know it, is a European tradition that stretches from Montaigne to Sartre and instills relativism and doubt in a serene conscience sure that it is in the right.”  Pascal Bruckner, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010) 9.

[19] See Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) 239-42, 661-65; Paul Rahe, Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) 173-74. “Rival Traditions of Liberty: America vs. the European Union,” The Review of Social and Economic Issues 1:4 (2017).

[20] Delsol 86.  Julien Benda, Thomas Molnar, and Robert Nisbet wrote earlier indictments of betrayal by a clerisy of intellectuals.  See also Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (New York: Basic Books, 1995).

[21] René Girard’s concept of mimetic desire is helpful to an understanding of utopian schemes and other types of spurious universality.  Girard contends that in mythology and history, persecutors covered their tracks by blaming their victims, as with the Oedipus story, the Dreyfus affair, and various founding myths.  It is the Bible that repeatedly exposes what he calls a victim mechanism that conceals the violent truth, such as the persecution of the prophets, behind a bodyguard of lies.  “The victim mechanism is not a literary theme like many others; it is a principle of illusion. . . . To be a victim of illusion [that is, to believe the lie] is to take it for true, so it means that one is unable to express it as such, an illusion.  By being the first to point out persecutory illusion, the Bible initiates a revolution that, through Christianity, spreads little by little to all humanity without really being understood by those whose profession and pride are to understand everything.”  René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, trans. James G. Williams (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001) 146, 47.

[22] “The attempt at constructing an eidos of history will lead to a fallacious immanentization of the Christian eschaton.”  Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952) 121.

[23] See R. J. Rummel, Death by Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1997).

[24] Solzhenitsyn’s Templeton Lecture, May 10, 1983, is reprinted in The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005, ed. Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2006) 577.

[25] The socialist Left – like an “inner ring” – set managed the terms of discourse among Western states, just as the Soviets did with the socialist Left.  The object was to create a “common European home.”  See the appendix, which is drawn from Vladimir Bukovsky’s Kremlin documents, to Steven Alan Samson, “Rival Traditions of Liberty: America vs. the European Union,” The Review of Social and Economic Issues,1:4 (2017).

[26] Vladimir Bukovsky, Judgment in Moscow: Soviet Crimes and Western Complicity (Ninth of November Press, 2019) 306-07.  The English translation of this book was censored by its contracted publisher in the mid-90s. It was later published half a year before Bukovsky’s death by the Bukovsky group of volunteers who maintain the website containing copies of the original Kremlin documents on which it is based.

[27] Ibid. 341, 342.

[28] See Steven Alan Samson, “Cultural Vandalism: Lust to Rule, Road to Ruin,” The Western Australian Jurist, 11.  Its book version is Woke-shevism: Critical Theories and the Tyrant Left, Conor Court, 2023.  See also Xi Van Fleet, Mao’s America: A Survivor’s Warning (New York: Center Street, 2023).

[29] As with Bukovsky’s Judgment in Moscow, which was also greeted by a wall of silence in the American media, another treatment of Soviet manipulation is Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald J. Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2013).



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