Book review

Empire Of Hatred: A Study of the Revolution by Richard Greenhorn Reviewed

Richard Greenhorn says, and we believe him, that there have been five, count ’em, five revolutions in the West, each piling on to the destructive forces of the previous. These five are (in my words):

  1. Protesting Christian Revolt;
  2. Révolution française;
  3. The collapse of WWI;
  4. The Pride of 1968;
  5. Coronadoom and the Cult of Safety First!

Because of my Florida travels, I cannot do this book justice, but I wanted to have the review out so that you have time to get a copy for Christmas for the thinking people in your family. It makes an excellent gift. Get it here.

Do not give this frivolously. The text is dense and rich, and covers a wide swath of history, with deep discussions across many areas of thought from theology to economics. In no way is this light reading.

Now to it. All the revolutions, with, I think, at least one more to come, are in favor of “liberalism”, better called Modernism, a “force more insidious than communism, socialism, and Nazism.” All movement is away from self-rule to Expert-rule. “Liberals,” as we all know, “are the true enemy of liberty.” Each successive revolution moves us ever closer to the old joke: all that is not forbidden is mandatory.

Greenhorn deemphasizes the traditional story of the Protesting Christian Revolt, which is the role of Luther, whose complaints about indulgences and the like were just. He focuses instead on the wider movement, especially on what we now call economics, particularly using the example of England. The theft of the Church land in England, for instance, had far-reaching consequences.

The land and lucre stolen through the course of the revolt provided the resources for the initial capital investments so necessary for the [new economic] system to prosper. Likewise, the huge populations of people thrown off ecclesial land created that unfortunate mass that would later be known as the proletariat, the large reserve army of labor that could be exploited without moral qualm.

“Proles” today only increase, by design, mainly by importation. Greenhorn throws a twist on the Protesting Christian work ethic. Before the revolt,

the parasite class could not damn so many men to penury under the old Catholic view of mankind, while the Calvinist system provided the greatest justification for the theft ever conceived: The victims were unworthy, the unelect, the damned.

Greenhorn is by from the first author to tie our current predicament to the puritanistic ethos of Protestingism. But he’s one of the few who sees how the great bane of “tolerance” grew from it. Tolerance, “A notion once condemned as anathema by every knowing Christian was now help up as the highest encomium of the Faith.”

If your hackles are rising because you, my dear reader, are in a Protesting sect yourself, know that Greenhorn’s not holding Protesting Christians of today up for special derision, because later he shows how the “spirit” of Vatican II has seized the Church in the same way. Also because “Liberalism has long since relinquished explicitly Protestant theology as a means for promoting itself”. And anyway, we all have to navigate the conditions in which we find ourselves, especially at birth.

Greenhorn is also the first author that I’ve seen to tie the creation of scientism—the very word he uses—to the French Revolt Against Reality. Well, it follows, does it not, that any sect that would raise a temple to Reason must fall into scientism. Which we, even now, and with great agony, suffer from.

The French slayed Natural Law, aided by Hobbes, who “helped unleash that great blight on intellectual discourse”, the so-called state of nature. From which one of the most idiotic ideas of all time came: the blank slate and perfection of man through education. About this, and scientism, I believe regular readers are well familiar, so we pass by quickly and come to the “mass”.

Greenhorn doesn’t mean the mob or rabble, but mass man, the great swell of humanity most susceptible to propaganda and manipulation, both necessary and indispensable attributes of all Our Democracys (there is no typo here). If you have people vote, they must be made the vote the right way. And the only way to ensure that is an endless parade of entertainment passed off as news.

The battle ever after [the French Revolt Against Reality] would be how men were to be utilized towards the remaking of the social order. In the matter of political existence, men were no longer an end in themselves, but a means for arriving at an ideologue’s preferred outcome.

In English, we have a great many cognates (which will turn out to be an amusing pun) for “flood”. All have been put into rightful service for the quantify of blood spilled in the Bolshevik Revolution, and its continuing aftermath. Of which you will already know. But here Greenhorn ties it all in with what happened in the States, and with capitalism.

This is one of the thickest parts of the book, and I cannot here do more than provide a few quotations of some unfamiliar and counter-intuitive arguments about capitalism.

Capitalism is the most effective means by which ideological change is given material form. It is in a sense conservative, as it appeals to man’s sensibility, which always strives for bodily contentment. But as a motive force it is most anarchic, the material means of perpetual revolution.

The reader surely already grasps that profit for its own sake only leads to grief. The form of economics we have now produces a commodification of everything, the growth of planned obsolescence, and the cancer of sophisters, economists, and calculators. Property is no longer private, but must fall to he who can demonstrate—which is to say, calculate—the “optimal” use for it. We now have a “fascination and total reliance on profit and market value in place of concern for real production.”

The sins of the Non-sexual Revolution of 1968 are much closer to us. This is where the Enlightenment’s goal of egalitarianism began its corrosive work of leveling in earnest.

Equality as a principle is nothing and can be nothing but an annihilating and depersonalizing force. It is nothing but and can be nothing but a mechanism for dissolving all forms of genuine diversity in social organizations, which alone provides the means of cultivating individuality.

There can be no individuality when Experts have calculated the “optimal” way to live. “If you’ll turn to page 132 of our PowerPoint and examine equation 332…” The Civil Rights act is, by now, well known as an earthquake wrapped in a flaming tornado which has passed over a munitions dump (now how’s that for a mixed metaphor). Equality is the the grey gooification of everything.

Every individual minority was offered the opportunity [in the Act] for unearned benefit, meritless importance, costless recompense, and frail human dignity cannot long last against the beck and call of obsequious power and capacious reward.

Harvard’s Claudine Gay, anybody?

We have space only to note Greenhorn’s trenchant analysis of how all this affects criminal law. We are ruled as a police state, with the right of self defense being stripped away. We therefore become not pawns, but something lower. Maybe those little plastic dots used as markers in kids’ games, manipulated by rulers.

Finally comes our latest, but I think not our last, Revolution. The rise of the Cult of Public Health, the growth of the Cult of Safety First!, all married to our Expertocracy, which gave us the coronadoom panic. Not just gave us, for Experts created the bug in the first place, but sustained the panic, relished it, and reveled in it.

Long time readers will recall there were only a scant, at best, handful of us from the very beginning screaming, into to void as it turned out, about what awaited us were we to surrender to the latest idiot panic. “Protest,” Greenhorn reminds us, “was so rare as to be practically nonexistent.” Maybe next time you listen to your old Uncle Sergeant Briggs.

We surrendered. And boy, o boy, did we pay the price. Are still paying it. And we’ll go on paying it, for there is now this creation of a thing called “General Socialized Health.” General Health, is a “notional concept. It possess no necessary unity to the physical and mental health of the public, but exists to serve some ulterior ends.”

Health, and its departures, is now defined and decided by Experts. Blubbery 300-pound five foot four females are “healthy”, whereas men who lift weights are not, because they can turn out to be “white supremacists.” A child can be cut up in an attempt, in vain, and remaking its sex. That’s healthy. Having babies makes “climate change”.

The Fifth, and perhaps penultimate, Revolution

seeks to move every remnant of the social world online, and to homogenize the existence of social order under sundry pieces of software…The draconian lockdowns [you frightened simpering idiots] could not have been endured had physical reality itself not already proven itself supplemental to the activities of commerce and government…

The Coronavirus could not have been a pandemic if the smartphone had not allowed it to be.

We made the same point in The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe.

Now that we have surrendered, almost everywhere, to the coronadoom, we will surrender to the next Current Thing. Even faster. You have to remember, dear reader, that the panic was welcomed by many. And beloved by rulers and Experts.

Solution?

There is no hope of future progress without recultivation of the individual. There is no Caesar who might rise to redeem our wretched system, for the masses as they exist cannot foster great men, and any man worthy of the title could have no great ambition to rule over such creatures.

How are we getting out of all of this? We ain’t, brother. We ain’t. Prepare yourself.

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Categories: Book review, Culture

23 replies »

  1. I hate to tell you but Greenhorn got it wrong.

    What Henry started and Elizabeth made possible is two protesting religions at each other’s throat. Elizabeth established Anglicanism as the official church while the Calvinists wanted to purify Christianity. Some of the Calvinists left for the New World but many stayed and deposed Charles by taking his head.

    The Interregnum proved unstable but set in motion something called “freedom” which forever changed England as it allowed the common man the ability to keep the fruits of his labor and innovation. It spread to the British colonies. In England the result was the Industrial Revolution but also innovations in art and music.

    Voila, the beginning of the modern world. Made possible by freedom but also the presence of Christianity which moderated what this new freedom would allow.

    Greenhorn misses the Revolution happening today in front of our own eyes, where both Christianity and freedom are waning. We are in a major change in History. What will it bring? We have lots of history to tell us but the one now will have a high degree of technology. Human nature has not changed though.

  2. How come all revolutions are bad except the American Revolution, the Greek Revolution, the Texas Revolution, and any other bloody revolt of those who are on ‘our’ side?

  3. “ How come all revolutions are bad except”

    The American Revolution” was mainly a “for” Revolution not an “against” Revolution. It was actually against a mild form of oppression. But this oppression seemed harsh once they experienced freedom.

    Not sure what you mean by the Greek or Texas revolutions. The Greeks over a long period of time established locally a form of enquiry that still lasts in many places because it produced positive outcomes.

    Aside: Plato’s Republic is a manual for governance by the elite, or the justification of oppression for most of history.

  4. In 1914 at the beginning of a lecture course, John Alexander Smith, Waynflete Professor of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford, had this to say: “Nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life—save only this—that if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole, purpose of education.”
    —Source: The New Criterion

  5. Jerry, the Industrial Revolution made men as much slaves as serfdom did. Look around. Everyone is a wage slave, in debt up to their eyeballs and has less than a week’s worth of food in their house. This whole paradigm is fake and stupid. Yes, we have dental care and trauma medicine. I get it. I am not a Luddite, but we also have trannies, mass vaccine death, nuclear weapons, abortion slaughterhouses, etc, etc. The “modern world” ain’t so modern. We look a lot like the bad guys in the Old Testament. This “freedom” that the Reformation brought about caused those awful things as well as “innovations in art and music.” I would give up every English hymn and piece of literature to put all that devilry back in the bottle.

    Dr. Briggs, thanks for the recommendation. I just downloaded the book. I recently read a Belloc book on the English Reformation. This will be a nice follow up.

  6. @Stephen, “Look around. Everyone is a wage slave, in debt up to their eyeballs and has less than a week’s worth of food in their house.”

    That’s absurd. I’m not. Most of my likewise entrepreneurial friends are not. Only those who choose to be wage slaves are. Now, granted, the vast majority have so chosen, and many are so in debt now they likely cannot morally escape their condition, but they can and should try to at least get their kids and kin to choose a different path than debt up to their eyeballs.

    And no food? Yes, I understand that’s the case, but, again, it is a choice. Forego one trip to Starbucks a month and in a couple years, you will have several gamma seal buckets of rice, beans, pasta, and other long shelf life foods. That one does not have such strongly suggests he thinks the unpleasantness of a hypothetical collapse will pass him by.

  7. And then Catholics preferred to vote with their feet and live in Protestant societies for the past century and a half.

    Really should read the Social Pathologist, a Catholic, on Protestantism. I’m not even a Calvinist myself but the idea that Calvinist think exploitation is fine because the exploited are damned seems actively crazy on the surface.

    Protestantism just doesn’t work like many Catholics seem to think it does, the only two I know of that have something of a handle on it are Social Pathologist and Erik von Kuehnelt Leddihn. A lot of the polemics are closer to the Catholic equivalent of the accusations of Maria Monk.

  8. Jeremy,

    So far, it’s only at Lulu. Richard says it should be in the global distribution network “soon”. Keep checking.

  9. The most significant factor that doomed the West was giving women the vote. Everything else pales into insignificance as an also ran or is a secondary effect. There are obvious secondary effects in that list.

  10. Michael @Dowd, the more disciplines and/or depth, the less a student can know about them — inevitably, brings resignation, also revolt and receptivity for ersatz (e.g. frustration) …

  11. Doombot. Doombulb. Doomkopf. Doomwit. Doomtard. Doomigger. Doomhole. Doomstick. Doomslaggard. Doomvector. Doomaholic.

  12. “The American Revolution” was mainly a “for” Revolution not an “against” Revolution. It was actually against a mild form of oppression. But this oppression seemed harsh once they experienced freedom.”

    It was the first one of bourgeois revolutions. The second one was the French Revolution.

    Nothing wrong in America wanting independence from Britain. The wrong thing is the American revolution was the first one to create a unChristian state (for a Christian population). The new official religion was liberalism. Everything derives from that, whatever lies you have been told in your Civics class

  13. “Jerry, the Industrial Revolution made men as much slaves as serfdom did.”

    Spouting nonsense is not an argument! And that is absolute nonsense.

    I guess the price of cotton going from 20 shillings a pound to 2 shillings a pound in the 1700s was of no help to the average worker in England. That’s before the invention of the cotton gin.

    The industrial revolution is full of one story after the other of innovation making things cheaper and more effective. Canals, agricultural, shipping, high quality metals, railroads, machine tools and parts, sanitation, energy especially steam and electricity, and construction all improved over time to make life easier and products better and more abundant at much lower prices.

    Life expectancy went up dramatically and eventually many diseases disappeared or were ameliorated.

    All you’re doing is pointing to a few people who are never satisfied and wanting too much and getting into trouble because of it. And some people most definitely took advantage of others at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Human nature has not changed.

    Life was nasty, poor, brutish and short as one critic observed in the 1700s. That has certainly changed.

  14. And I would add to that Kenneth Minogue’s “The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life”, in which he refers to Belloc’s work as a starting point for his title, and subject. Truly an excellent work from a fine thinker and writer.

  15. @Dor

    Because there’s a world of difference between Satan fighting to usurp God, and Michael fighting to preserve the right of the Angelic Host to be reigned over by God.

    In fact, speaking of the latter, such a right is precisely what every Man MUST fight for.

  16. JerryR, the 1980s called, they want their boomer historical narrative back. Seriously if you still believe the Liberal nonsense about how good the IR was you cannot be helped.

  17. Phileas_Frogg: “Because there’s a world of difference between Satan fighting to usurp God, and Michael fighting to preserve the right of the Angelic Host to be reigned over by God.”

    JerryR: “The American Revolution” was mainly a “for” Revolution not an “against” Revolution.”

    Now consider these thoughts:

    “The major problem of our time is the decay of the belief in personal immortality.” [So, the author’s cause is alright, a “for” cause.] “And it cannot be dealt with while the average human being is either drudging like an ox or shivering in fear of the secret police. How right the working classes are in their ‘materialism’! How right they are to realize that the belly comes before the soul, not in the scale of values but in point of time! Understand that, and the long horror that we are enduring becomes at least intelligible. All the considerations are likely to make one falter — the siren voices of a Gandhi, the inescapable fact that in order to fight one has to degrade oneself, the equivocal moral position of Britain, with its democratic phrases and its coolie empire, the sinister development of Soviet Russia, the squalid farce of left-wing politics — all this fades away and one sees only the struggle of the gradually awakening common people against the lords of property and their hired liars and bumsuckers. The question is very simple. Shall people like that Italian soldier be allowed to live the decent, fully human life which is now technically achievable, or shan’t they? Shall the common man be pushed back into the mud, or shall he not?”

    — George Orwell, Looking back on the Spanish War

  18. Your missing several important revolutions.

    The papal revolution ca 12th century that called for the supremacy of the church.

    The new world discover – 1492 led to revolutionary changes at all levels of west European societies

    The American revolution – led to the establishment of the first liberal-enlightenment state that then went on to impose that paradigm on much of the rest of the world.

    The Energy revolution – of the 19th century. The exploitation of hydrocarbons and then electricity increased the power available to everyone by orders of magnitude – leading to material developments beyond the dreams of people before the revolution began.

  19. @Dors

    For the record I don’t really support (retroactively, for what that’s worth) any of those revolutions you listed.

    My comment was directed at the seeming equivocation your initial comment suggested, as if it’s as simple as an, “Us/them,” judgement when assessing a revolution. There’s a historical and moral component to all of it. That a revolution can be justified or unjustified, that circumstances may dictate that one support an unjustified revolution, by immediate practical necessity and obligation, and that ultimately such considerations have a moral antecedent to them.

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