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Posting 135, Word Count: 585.

Given the mass military and industrial mobilization against Nazism and Fascism in the multinational war of 1939-45, it is bizarre and mystifying to witness the popular reemergence of those movements within the same Euro-American societies which previously mounted all-out resistance based on cultural influences from the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. It is a mistake to define the historical Enlightenment as mainly the development of science and mathematical rationality. It is more accurate to think of Enlightenment as a reconceptualization of the human individual as a profound autonomy, freedom, and dignity, based on a universal innate rationality of personality. The broad sense of rationality involved had more to do with a cultural trend of increasing literacy and the unlimited ability to learn which came with it than it did with mathematics. The post-war complacency of both the political donor class and the intellectual class of these societies is to blame for our ongoing vulnerability to the superior-beings clubs, violently exclusive racial, religious, and trophy-collecting supremacists, because those social classes had the opportunity and yet failed to advance political thinking beyond ideas from feudal Christendom: a bleak conception of human personality (as improved by authoritative supervision, and largely controllable by incentives and rewards, fear of violence, and emotionally triggering messages); a starkly contrasting idea of divine personality as judge and tester of men, the model of sovereignty as absolute ownership over the less powerful; nature as ordered and determined by the divine personality or by rigid regularities (iron laws of economics) with the same effect; earthly trophies interpreted as markers of standing in the divine order of merit; a resulting divine right of the strongest to impose sovereignty over the lives and property of the weaker; and the nation or sovereign state as the local representative of divine sovereignty, a personified collective in conflict with others for standing and wealth. This conservative ideology is always the gateway to varieties of Nazism and Fascism, to the violence of superior-beings clubs, patriarchal colonizers of individuals for the purpose of human-on-human macro-parasitism. Home-grown patriarchy is no better than a colonizing foreign patriarchy. This being the state of political thinking, the idea of a clash of civilizations is valueless because civilizations are all still patriarchal, imperialist. Clashing with one another is what they were made for and the ones that were altered to some extent by Enlightenment ideas soon stifled further advances. The Enlightenment conception of human nature was murdered in the crib by traditional patriarchal practices expressing the old conception of reality.

Remaining within or breaking free of that conservative metaphysics comes down to a conception of personality. If we find it absurd that personality takes two starkly different and unequal forms, human and divine, and find instead that it has ever only had the form we are familiar with in embodied persons, recognizing in the ideality of that form the effective transcendence of creative freedom which had been artificially alienated by the old mythical bifurcation, suddenly the conception of human personality is not bleak, and the whole foundation of conservatism evaporates. There is no judge or tester of men, no divine order of merit, no supernatural model of sovereignty, no divine pre-determination of anything, and no merited rights of the strongest. Realty as engaged by any personality has two fundamental constituents: the actuality of nature and ideality or ideas; and ideality, the special being of personality, often overrides what may seem to be dictates of nature.

Copyright © 2018 Sandy MacDonald.