“Humiliation with a big H denies the social world of normalized encounter. In fact, it humiliates by virtue of this denial. It tells the victims that all social norms are suspended in dealings with them because they are not human.” – William Ian Miller, “Humiliation and Other Essays on Honor, Social Discomfort, and Violence”
The air was jubilant in many of those summer months of ’44, the tide was turning. The Germans, the dreaded Nazi war machine, was on the retreat as the Allies in the west pushed them back town-by-town out of the fields of France. The shame of humiliating defeat and the occupation by the Germans was finally coming to a close; now would be the time of celebration. People could breathe freely in the air again. They could speak freely again. Love freely again. Be free people again. And to celebrate this joyous occasion they would have a parade–a parade of half-naked shorn women, tear-wet cheeks stained red with shame and lipsticked swastikas, and packed into lorries to the happy jeers and hollers of a blood-frenzied crowd. Within these good people of free France beat the animal hearts of a mad populace that needed to wet their beaks with revenge, to strike another creature and pin it down with primal glee. To humiliate. To remind them, you are not human.
This is not just a piece about the past. This is about the past, present, and especially about the future. This is a work of control, of pain, and of destruction. The dark side of humanity is never an easy thing, and to even glimpse into the darkness is to invite all manners of recriminations upon your character. But this is not only the necessary thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.
We have to talk about humiliation.
I. Rituals of Humiliation
“To submit to an insult, to forget a humiliation, to quail before an enemy–all these are signs of a life become worthless and superfluous. But this is not at all the same thing as priestly moral, for that moral does not cleave to life at any cost of degradation, but rather rejects and abstains from life as such, and therefore incidentally from honour. As has been said already, every moral action is, at the very bottom, a piece of askesis and a killing of being.” – Oswald Spengler, “The Decline of the West”
The origins of this essay lie in a manic free association Twitter thread about a Modern Farmer article entitled “This Trick Might Actually Get Americans to Eat Bugs” by one Dan Nosowitz. The medium of Twitter doesn’t lend itself well to collecting one’s thoughts, much less doing research into the myriad topics that the thread shotgunned all at once. First, we must correct a term.
The term ‘humiliation ritual’ has its own particular meaning that’s used by, for lack of a better term but this is meant neutrally, the conspiracy-minded. That is not the scope of this work. Further, the term ‘ritual humiliation’ also has another meaning, often overlapping with ‘humiliation ritual’ and frequently denotes certain types of hazing, but not always. One could argue that many of these things are distinctions without differences, but this will be about the phenomenon of ‘public humiliation’ and its social and political expressions.
The piece in Modern Farmer is very strange, and has an air of unreality in how it’s written. The trick, as it were, in the piece was about how insect farming can work as a middleman in livestock feed. What is bizarre about it is its framing that this is an alternative in trying to break through the American resistance to eating bugs. The question that is begging to be answered here is “why is this something that’s on your mind?” Entomophagy has been something that’s been near and dear to the hearts of the propaganda class, with Vice magazine writing miserable pieces about being on an exclusive bug diet while concluding at the end:
“It’s an absolute cultural bias…but it’s just a matter of educating the public, and it’s important to make insects favorable for the common people.”
One could devote an entire book to reading all of the articles that have been published in the last ten years trying to convince people of the delicious virtues of eating insects and digging deep into the who’s who and why’s why of how this is so important to them. If you read this a year after this has been published, no doubt there will be an egregious number of new pieces written about it. They certainly get upset if you begin to wonder why there’s always new pieces about this, accusing the curious of cooking “up a conspiracy theory around the bug-eating trend”, though the word trend probably merits a thousand quotation marks around it.
The indignant attitude when questioned plays out the same no matter what the issue is. “Why do you even care?” they ask when people question anything they do in the name of utopia, whether it’s race-swaps of fictional and non-fictional characters or chemically castrating children for reasons that are unfathomable to the devil himself. The correct answer is always “I care because you care.”
Without a shred of doubt, we know they care a lot about people eating insects. There is an article that is either written or re-posted every week about this. Just do an advanced search on CNN’s Twitter for ‘bug‘ and look at the frequency of these articles. A dance has begun to develop every time this happens, where they clearly know the reaction they’re going to get as they get mobbed and ratio’d by Twitter users screaming at the top of their lungs “I WILL NOT EAT THE BUGS!”, as though they’re relishing in what they would view as the people’s futile resistance to their plans. They probably are delighted.
The ostensible reasons for this is for ecological sustainability. This is bunk to anyone who isn’t an idiot. Populations peak. Things don’t go on forever, no matter what your stupid pop songs say, and that’s without getting into the issues that your problem isn’t ecological sustainability but industrial instability (which is what’s going to wreck havoc on the former). Californians are already living in fear of having their power shut off on them. You already know the answer to the perennial question “are things getting better or are they getting worse”. The ‘cult of progress’ has no magical spell that is going to spirit you up a simple and non-catabolic energy source. You’re not going to mitigate human and food transport costs by cockroach farming. No, this isn’t about sustainability. The one thing you must always remember living in liberal societies that are run by the rootless and the cosmopolitan is that everything becomes counter-intuitive, so you must think counter-intuitively.
You must think counter-intuitively because of the way liberalism functions. Every ideology, every belief, and every group seeks to dominate. This is called life. This is what Carl Schmitt noted when he looked at liberalism and capitalism, that being in this world you cannot escape friend-enemy distinctions and so liberalism being the utilitarian nothingness of flexibility and freedom, it must overcome inevitable conflict by subsuming everything that would oppose it and bring it to heel. Liberalism, just like any other thing, has a will to dominate but because liberalism in its ideology is meant to be free and flexible, it must then dominate everything that opposes it, especially when it becomes tied to economics. There can never be an end to the expanding market under liberal capitalism. Like the Judge in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, liberalism must become a suzerain, the ruler of rulers, upon the whole of earth for “only nature can enslave man and only when the existence of each last entity is routed out and made to stand naked before him will he be properly suzerain of the earth”.
Liberal capitalism forced open the ports of Japan by black ships and shell guns, for the Japanese were intolerant of the tolerant. This is the true essence of Karl Popper’s The Paradox of Tolerance. Popper’s so-called paradox isn’t an attempt to plug the hole in a mental child’s understanding of tolerance but to make the case that anything that opposes the liberal order, but especially those who drive the liberal order, has to be rooted out and destroyed because those who stand for something are always more holistically powerful than the ones who stand for nothing but power itself. There is no vitalism in liberalism.
You must think counter-intuitively. When you see the dopamine-dispensing treats of technocapital you might think you see a world of freedom and choices, but this is merely the IV drip of product to keep you medicated to the will of others. Ask yourself, what autonomy do you truly have to be outside of this system? None. You are living in a false reality. Remember, like anything else, liberalism seeks to dominate and being the flexible nothingness it must then dominate everything. Conquerors do not invade territory to do nice things to it and especially for the people that reside there.
History bears this out.
Our history must be remembered by the light of its fires.
II. Occupied Americans
“Obviously this is a very idealised representation of war; we see a game of pure power, from which one would like to erase all trace of physical and moral suffering. Everything is done in order to pretend that humiliation is not part of the game.” – Bertrand Bardie, “Humiliation in International Relations”
The chief selling point of liberalism has been that it’s the most peaceful and prosperous system available to mankind, allowing the vast range of humanity to be part of a rising tide that lifts all boats, but there is nothing in this world that hasn’t come with its price. Power and status do not abide by any notion of equality. So nothing in this world we live in will ever make sense to you unless you understand you live under an occupation and are thus subject to the rules of an occupation. If you do not start from there, you will fruitlessly search for multiple explanations and rationalizations for everything that the people with financial and media power–the power that matters far more than political power now–push the people to expect and accept, such as vegetarian burger schemes, bug protein, and drag kids.
For every argument that’s made about ecological sustainability or making sure that “sexual minorities” are able to express who “they really are” early and often, the question has to be countered “then why are they so aggressive about it?” Why are they so eager to bring about PissEarth, 2025? All the reasons that are given are additional components to the project of total atomization of human society, but when you shed every additional layer to get to the core, the driving force of why, all you are left with is shame; the public humiliation of the conquered. It makes a vicious mockery of the conquered by denying them any bit of dignity. A bitter reminder for the vanquished of their new status in victory’s triumph and delight for the victorious.
Public humiliation is intrinsically linked to status. In history, people would be disfigured, branded, or tattooed to deny them their right to simply blend in with society. They would be marked, letting people know what they did to deny them the privacy of the self. Ruining their appearance in this way kept their status low and their autonomy violated. Mass media has only served to amplify that effect, transmitting a village shame into a national shame. People are all too eager to participate in these Little Brother acts, often the only taste of the power process they’ll ever have in their lives.
When the Germans lost WWII, the French women who were sleeping with German soldiers and the SS or even just friendly with them had their heads forcibly shaved and were paraded down the street. Many of it done by previous collaborators themselves to curry favor with liberators (read: conquerors) and maintain their own fleeting sense of status. Hair, being an important thing for women, was tinged with seductive implications with longer hair usually a sign of femininity. Denying them this denied them being good women in their essence. These shorners had power over these women, and as we are often told rape is about power, not sex. The resentment of defeat against the Germans necessitated that the nation knew someone would have to pay for it and someone would need to suffer for it and that the hierarchy of status would be restored. The whole nation would know. Wendy Webster writing on this states:
“In France, shearings were often conducted in front of jeering crowds outside town halls with shorn women subsequently paraded through the streets, sometimes naked. Fabrice Virgili calculated that as many as 20,000 French women were shorn. At the moment of French liberation, large numbers of women were very publicly humiliated, while extensive dissemination of visual imagery–in newspaper photographs, and on postcards–ensured that their humiliation was widely known throughout France.”
The Ottoman Empire had a culture of boys, actual children, called köçek who crossdressed and danced in sexually provocative ways and were sexually available. These boys, who were kept as dancers until they grew beards, engaged in belly dances with suggestive expressions and steps described as “coquetteish” to the rapture of male audiences. The scenes described bring to mind the sights one might see at any contemporary gay pride parade or a public library.
Most accounts of pederasty in the Ottoman Empire appear to come from the people who went to see it for themselves, such as Byron with the dancing boys. In the case of the köçek, they were banned by the Ottomans in the 19th century due to the jealous fights that would break out over the attentions for these boys, though one wonders if the increasingly British Orientalist attraction to this phenomenon and their lurid accounts played a role. They were “recruited” around the age of six or seven. How a child can be “recruited” to be a dancing boy is a rhetorical mystery. There seems to be little historical record of how this came about, though it is clear that as Ottoman power and harem culture solidified that dance “recruitment” evolved into ethnic-oriented guilds. It likely developed alongside the devshirme system whereby one child from every 40 non-Muslim households was taken to serve in some bureaucratic or military function of the Ottoman Empire.
It is difficult to see this as anything more than a flex to let the conquered non-Muslim people know the conquerors could turn their boys into a dancing monkey, a girl, and a prostitute and there was nothing they could do about it. Other roles reserved for non-Muslim boys could include the role of the tellak, the washers in the bath houses who could also double up as sex workers for the “clients”. Once the shock of the whole system wore off however, it was not uncommon for non-Muslim families to offer bribes so that their children would be picked to serve some function in the Ottoman system since it was the pathway to a better and more prestigious life, regardless of what it would entail. It was the ideology of the imperial state and the alternative was often being put-upon laborers, regardless if it meant giving over their own children as sexual playthings. There was no more shame; it had internalized itself. The temptation is strong to see parallels between that society and the one most of today.
Humiliation moves from public to national to global when we look at the culture today and what the powerful and privileged institutions and media outlets push to the average American. What other answer could there be? Does anyone actually believe that the average American is in charge of their own culture? They can try to lie if they want but their cynical way of speaking about the institutions of the country and their assumption of bad whites as poor and stupid betray them. Do people who supposedly share the same culture view each other as nearly alien or speak of the other side in dehumanizing terms the way the leftist whites and Jewish people view what they call the “Trumpenproles”? These are tribal differences viewed in a war lens.
Who dreams of sexually humiliating their political opponent the way that many of these Democrats do in their anti-Trump cartoons and memes? Who engages in sadomasochistic fantasies of their political opponents, an act tinged in performative violence, other than conquerors? Normal Americans value their right to bear arms and the American culture of having the right to do as you please, shoot guns, eat red meat, have big open spaces with big houses, and have a nice, normal family. The process of humiliation is key to this, whether people want to believe that or not. They often get it backwards because their brains are poisoned by complex ideology so they complicate this with explanations. They puzzle over why those with power want to destroy what normal Americans value when the answer is a simple one.
Because it’s something you value.
They care because you care.
There’s a famous Reddit post where a white family posted their entire generational family in a large home. If you are part of the Normal American tribe, it’s cute. Normal people like large families, or at the very least they are not deeply affected when they see one. If they see it, they likely won’t register a single emotional thought about it.
These people instead saw an enemy tribe that needed to be conquered and humiliated.
Who speaks this way but conquerors? Nobody but a conqueror has glee when they tell someone they disagree with that their children and grandchildren are going to be brown. That’s tribal warfare, and it’s tribal warfare tinged in sexual violence. The Ancient Greeks had a word for the systemic sexual destruction of a tribe through its women: andrapodizing. This aspect of warfare has “historically been central to warfare and to the creating of enslaved or other subjugated persons in antiquity.”
This was considered a natural law of conquest. Xenophon is quoted as writing:
“It is an eternal law among all peoples that when a city is captured among those waging war, the bodies and goods of those in the city are the captors’ own.”
And in his recollections of Socrates in his Memorabilia it is seen as just that an “unjust and hostile” city is enslaved. It is just to use deception to bring down an “unjust and hostile” city. It is just to do what one will to an “unjust and hostile city”. Vae victis. Woe to the vanquished. Vae iniquis. Woe to the unjust. A fitting tribute to the conquering liberal and ethnic tribes who see what the vanquished value as forfeit to them.
They want your guns because you value them.
They want your kids to be transgender because you value them.
They want your families dying from drugs because you value them.
They want your kids sexually available to others to flex on you.
They want your daughters in pornography not for profit but so that they can be filmed as subjugated to a foreign tribe for the entire world to see. There is a social dynamic within pornography where white women are “punished” in their status by sex with black men. These are violently titled videos that proliferate pornographic websites in a genre that has not been profitable as even within the industry itself performers do not want to go near it. Broadcast that to the world, and the enemy world sees what they’ve always wanted to believe: a conquering tribe conquered themselves. That is what humiliation is.
Through media it becomes the ultimate simulation of this and is reified by making it a prestige ideology that the vanquished would become willing to give up their arms, bodies, and families for a place in the ruling ideology without a single shot fired. And for resisting parents, the supreme flex is when the children do it willingly to spite them.
Americans value red meat and living big and free.
So they are going to make you eat bugs and live in pods, and they’re going to convince you that’s what you want. You’ll tell yourself you’re saving the world, while they snicker knowing that they can get you believe and do anything they want. Humiliation controls in this way. They love it when you loudly proclaim “No, sir,” you won’t eat bugs. They’re confident that your protests are helpless whines.
They don’t want you disarmed, eating bugs, raising a brown grandchild in a pod space because your daughter died from drugs, and clapping for your drag queen son getting fucked in public because it’s socially good. They just want to see that because they think it’s a funny punishment. Cuckoos birds coming home to roost.
The twisted ways people have tried to control the dominance hierarchy and break the ones they hate or wish to control have a long history. This is nothing new.
III. Season of the Lib
“What does it indicate that our culture is not merely tolerant of expressions of pain, of tears, complaints, reproaches, gestures of rage or of humiliation, but approves of them and counts them among the nobler inescapables?” – Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Dawn”
Understanding humiliation begins with understanding how it works. Broken down there are four elements to humiliation:
- An individual makes a status claim
- The status claim publicly fails
- The humiliated is rejected by those with status
- Finally, the humiliated’s right to even claim status is rejected
The mechanisms of this need not be fully explored. Suffice to say, those who have studied the psychological effects of humiliation have it pinned to a human being’s need for status when living in a society, but especially to the right to make a claim of status. It is one thing to be rejected, quite another to be told you never have the right to rise above where you were smacked down in the first place. Being denied this right damages identity and ability to function, inflicts conditions of hopelessness, worthlessness, and learned helplessness, and can perversely create the conditions of violence where having no path for restoration, the humiliated will pointlessly and murderously lash out.
Humiliation is a powerful tool.
“Humiliation is clearly about power; that is, in a general sense power over others.” Humiliation says to its target “you are less than you imagine yourself to be”. Humiliation can make them believe it. The dynamics of humiliation are the most powerful expressions of power and control, and among the most destructive. Where conventional punishments fail or are insufficient, humiliation and shame return as deterrent and control. From the dynamics of two to the border stones of an empire, humiliation is the paperclips and chewing gum that holds together the mechanisms of control in civilization. The final flex is the public execution, which was a show of humiliation upon the body and the answer from the sovereign to the challenge that crime posed to his rule. It became clear as societies developed that power was integral for the maintenance of society and the ability to hold and imprison was paramount to that political legitimacy.
The birth of the prison developed out of that and punishment favored them more and more due to the unintended consequences of public executions’ spectacles–public humiliations backfire when the populace does not fear or respect the sovereign’s power. Reliance on the prison led to two separate currents that formed in understanding them–their use as deterrence and their use as rehabilitation. The latter was fueled by the spirit of Christian piety, especially by Quakers whose tenets focused so heavily on a direct relationship with God that the conditions for prisoners to experience personal revelation commanded their reform. The problem of crime and its necessary punishments drove countries like England to send their prisoners across the Earth as punishment, but what do you do when you have nowhere left to send these bodies and reform largely fails?
It was for this reason that Jeremy Bentham, the godfather of liberal society’s reflexive utilitarianism, created the idea of prison as the panopticon and constant surveillance as its reform, deterrence, and punishment. The panopticon was a prison whereby within its structure the warden would be able to see what all of the prisoners were doing at all times without the need to do the rounds. It was, in essence, a reality TV show as punishment upon the privacy and souls of prisoners under the auspices of keeping them safe and secure.
This wasn’t a mere thought experiment for Bentham, the architect of modernity. He desperately wanted it to be deployed and believed its logical efficiencies made it a million dollar concept. Those who had met him after the failure of his Panopticon scheme noted his bitterness that it was not taken up as the money-printing scheme he believed it to be. Bentham, being the good liberal he was, had also taken the concept to its logical conclusions and believed it could also be used for factories, schools, and hospitals.
While Bentham’s scheme lied fallow, piece-meal notions of Bentham’s ideas would influence prisons in liberal countries like Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States. The closest attempt made at a true panopticon before the 21st century was Presidio Modelo, built by the Cuban Liberal Gerardo Machado. Fidel and Raul Castro experienced life in the panopticon, which had utterly collapsed in access to necessities and quality of life, and kept it open six years after taking power before shuttering it for good.
The Panopticon was ultimately an experiment. Michel Foucault notes this in Discipline and Punish:
“But the Panopticon was also a laboratory; it could be used as a machine to carry out experiments, to alter behaviour, to train or correct individuals. To experiment with medicines and monitor their effects. To try out different punishments on prisoners, according to their crimes and character, and to seek the most effective ones. To teach different techniques simultaneously to the workers, to decide which is the best. To try out pedagogical experiments – and in particular to take up once again the well-debated problem of secluded education, by using orphans.” (Discipline and Punish, 203-204)
Bentham has had his revenge. Now society has become the experimental prison with all of its atomized and orphaned children. Just as liberalism, by its very nature must tear down every border and wall for lack of a friend-enemy distinction, so must it make society into a Panopticon. Orwell, being a true English son, understood this when he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel of surveillance and humiliations inflicted by a sovereign. Orwell got many things right, but missed many things in his blind side–though given what the novel focuses on this may have been unavoidable. What was missing from Orwell’s work was where liberalism has the same impulses as the surveillance and totalitarianism he warned against, though inverted in its implementation.
Liberalism requires a flexible internationalism that outsources its most terrible costs but more importantly that while humiliation may sometimes be kept private under classic totalitarianism–all they ask is that you break to them–under liberalism it must be made public. The reasoning is quite simple. As liberalism denies the existence of out-groups, it is forced to turn inward and to seek the enemy within, to find and root out those that it perceives as a threat to the expansive franchise: the Paradox of Tolerance. And to find these enemies, one must always be watching and waiting. When liberalism doesn’t lead to the peace and prosperity it promises then the enemy must exist within and must be observed. What Vaclav Havel called the post-totalitarian ideology–the way the ideology of Soviet bureaucracy becomes reified by individuals who help perpetuate the system–becomes the cultural norm under liberalism. This kind of surveillance is bad enough in any kind of complex society, but when it becomes a technological system it leads to extreme levels of what Kaczynski called “oversocialization“–an intense sensitivity to society’s liberal morality that every person is conditioned with and a desire to inflict severe penalties on anyone who violates those rules.
Such a system is self-enforcing and beneficial to those in power. The impossible rules are by design.
The existence of these impossible rules are seen in the nonchalant way the New York Times writes of “cancel culture” among the youth, with casual references to social justice classes and seminars as simply being quite natural. Perhaps it should be accepted as such given that Americans willingly hand over their children for instruction as easily as they were taught the Catechism in their youth. Where they learned of a higher salvation however, their children are brought to a lower damnation. Shunning transgressors who violated the code of conduct was seen as enough in shame societies, but these are performative times and they require a performance. A Dionysian spectacle where the modern maenads redeem themselves by tearing apart and destroying the unclean to please a woke god. In the panopticon of liberal society, for want of being able to engage the power process, each person is fit with the torturer’s tools to expose every aspect of a person’s life and interfere with it on every level as what the torturer tells his victims is “that all social norms are suspended in dealings with them because they are not human“. A chance to be seen putting someone in their place, to publicly shame them, to see their claim to status and deny it; it is more than enough of a reward, even if it’s at the behest of power.
It’s the kind of reward most prisoners content themselves with.
IV. Fear and Self-Loathing in America
“What did the Pilgrim Fathers come for, then, when they came so gruesomely over the black sea? Oh, it was in a black spirit. A black revulsion from Europe, from the old authority of Europe, from kings and bishops and popes. And more. When you look into it, more. They were black, masterful men, they wanted something else. No kings, no bishops maybe. Even no God Almighty. But also, no more of this new ‘humanity’ which followed the Renaissance. None of this new liberty which was to be so pretty in Europe. Something grimmer, by no means free-and-easy.” – DH Lawrence, “Studies in Classic American Literature”
Harvard was established to train Puritan clergy and it never stopped.
Humiliations runs deep in the American soul. America is not a land that one thinks of when they think of cultural cringe or the self-loathing that other nations, especially Anglo, have been all too eager to revel in. The Puritans occupy the American imagination, as they should for that American soul cannot be understood without understanding the Puritans, one of history’s great purity spiralers. Never has the purity spiral ascended so high and fallen so low than in their history.
The origins of the Puritans–briefly. They were England’s premier turbo-Protestants of the 16th century and into the 17th century. They sought a pure church, removed from the corrupt trappings that had been imposed by man upon the (Roman Catholic) Church over the centuries, as they saw it. Though they grew in power in England, their most discontent would leave for the New England colonies and found the New World’s first university, Harvard University; explicitly to train the clergy. Meanwhile those who stayed behind would eventually claim the head of King Charles I and a Commonwealth under Cromwell. That failed, and with the restoration of the monarchy the capotains (sans those stylish buckles unfortunately–a myth!) thought it best to ghost for America as to avoid those incoming awkward conversations with their new king, Charles II, the son of the man they executed. His brother James II/VII got the boot (for crimes and Catholicism) and the Glorious Revolution would kick-start the coming age of English liberalism. Puritanism petered out in England, but would define America for centuries to come.
Their industrious presence and misunderstood ways in America have served as an eternal mirror of the American soul. Their very name has become a byword for sexual prude, a great irony given that one in six Puritan women in New England who filed for divorce did so on grounds on impotency or that their sexual morality trials are rife with accusations of bestiality, cuckolding, and homosexuality. The more the modern American man has thought he has achieved escape velocity from the nation’s Puritan anchor, the more it becomes clear he is pinned beneath it and dreaming from the depths. Puritanism decried Mary worship for worshiping her as Virgin. Puritanism relied on humbling and humiliating the heretic. Puritanism needed equality to establish the equal worthlessness of all in their depravity before God. Puritanism was performative wokeness in its restriction to the “visible saints“. Puritanism was the original call-out culture and encouraged all to spy upon all. Dehumanize yourself and face to Harvard.
The distance between then and now is short. Too, too short. When the Puritans are thought of they conjure images of barbaric punishments, social shunning, and scarlet letters of public humiliation. Yet on their punishments, Louis Taylor Merrill found that in the long view the Puritans were not unique in the punishments they doled out. What set them apart appeared to be the public spectacle of it with the myriad trials, accusations, and testimonies. So prevalent was this that it was very common for the tables to be turned on one another within the same trial as everyone accused the other of wrong-doing, and with the total depravity of man such a given each would be litigated. Each would need to do the work of their humiliation. Each would snitch and spy on each other in order to create a more perfect union with the congregation and with God. The truest perception of the Puritan was as the cop.
Merrill writes ominously in 1945, the once and future Year Zero of American consciousness:
“While such censorious watchfulness had the effect of bringing a larger proportion of sinners to justice in the New England of 300 years ago, there is suggestive evidence of a not too admirable effect on the minds of folk encouraged to practice espionage upon their neighbors and even upon their relatives. It is hard to conceive in the present day the type of mind that would turn over to the magistrates a relative guilty of indulging in agnostic remarks in the family circle, when in reporting this offense to the authorities the accuser knew his action might mean the culprit would have his tongue bored with a hot iron.”
All examinations of the Puritan punishment linger on the instruments of humiliation and torture such as the ducking stool, spectacles of the imagination for centuries to come. The ducking stool has no record of being used in Puritan New England, much like the majority of instruments of medieval torture that were never real. These are perpetual fantasies the American indulges in of no longer being a buffoonish monster. The American puffs up in pride at being able to point to a cartoon caricature and feel complete confidence that they are nothing as obscene and backwards as that. The petty tyranny of the truth is that at the end of this fun-house hallway is the scariest mirror of all: the plane mirror of the American soul, where light does not spread.
To know that one will always be a Puritan is the humiliation of the American soul.
Humiliation, it must be said, has a particular meaning in the context of Puritanism. Humiliation here is processional humility. Those who converted to Puritanism all had to undergo this process. You had to understand your depravity. You had to understand that nothing you could do could ever rid you or forgive you from the stain of sin so that you would realize that salvation was God’s mercy and Christ was the way before you ever stood a chance of being restored. The process was religiously traumatic, and meant to be. From the Puritan perspective, the Catholic Church had enslaved humanity to notions that they could buy their way out with indulgences and receive salvation through membership and token works. Thus to be humiliated and broken meant to open your heart to introspection and healing, to be wounded so terribly that you’d finally see that only God could restore you at His mercy.
You may have already felt a shiver go up your spine with the question, “and what do you become in this humiliation once God is dead and we have buried Him?”
Nearly everyone gets the Puritans wrong. Humiliation belonged to God, and what public shaming and punishments were done was no more or less than the norm of the time. Strict, but corrective. Some transgressions requiring a permanent correction. What made the Puritans different was the necessity of the public confession and to be witnessed. To close your eyes to the sins of others, to keep secrets and confessions safe as long as you repented and sinned no more, was not a charity but a sinful privilege itself. Humiliate yourself before God, and confess! Confession was the key to this humiliation, and every manner was taken to get that confession, but where there was no confession and there was no witness, they would be set free. “Always, confession opened the way to reconciliation and restoration.”
Such that it was that John Buxton Marsden, English historian of the Puritans, wrote that it was only the Puritans who could have subjected King Charles I, the regicided runner-up in the English Civil Wars, to the terms of the failed Treaty of Newport. From The History of the Later Puritans he writes:
“The treaty consisted of three articles. By the first, the king was required to revoke all his declarations against the parliament, and to admit ‘that the two houses had been necessitated to enter into a war in their just and lawful defence,’ and that the kingdom of England had entered into a solemn league and covenant to prosecute the same. The king was naturally reluctant to admit the truth of these propositions; nor ought they to have been submitted. He willingly offered an oblivion for the past, and this should have been sufficient. This, indeed, was the only basis on which the wounds of the nation could be healed. To make the king assert, in effect, that he himself had been a tyrant, was an insult and a humiliation from which no sovereign could recover…To insist on these propositions was an act of needless cruelty, a triumph over a prostrate king, of which men less religious than the puritans–might have been ashamed.” (Emphasis mine)
The treaty’s failures, among the rest of the national clamor, ultimately gave way to Charles receiving the silver medal around his neck on the headman’s block. It must be noted, of course, that when Charles was executed, the block was situated in a way that he was forced to lie down versus kneeling, a very deliberate humiliation upon the king. The purpose, after all, in a public execution is to flex political power and for those that consider themselves the lowliest before God to grasp at power and force their political opponents even lower than that must have felt righteous indeed. The meek shall inherit the earth, but beware their political ambitions.
Eleven years of Puritan rule in the Commonwealth ensued. What followed was bedlam with the re-admission of Jews to England after a 350 year timeout, an attempted takeover by an apocalyptic sect who wanted to call themselves sanhedrin and accelerate the return of Christ, and the division of the country into military districts. To speak nothing of the Irish. The experiment was aborted. Monarchy was restored.
The great irony of history is that less than thirty years after the Puritans left, their labor would finally come to fruition. The Glorious Revolution kicked out the final Catholic monarch and brought with it The Bill of Rights in 1689. What stands out about it is it outlawed “cruel and unusual punishment”, the first time this phrase would be used in English. This phrase was never properly defined from the start, and it’s been a puzzle for legal scholars and historians as to what it actually means. The barbarity of punishments? Their proportionality to crime? Both? Excessive fines and penalties would seem to offer the clue, and if that’s the case then that notion has long left America as it subjects suspected heretics against liberalism to an outsourced pillory of plaintiff cases to break their bank account and force a confession in such a humiliating public display. 1689 was a very good year for any English who wanted their dignity restored.
The Salem Witch trials would begin three years later in Puritan America.
Of the Salem Witch Trials, there is not much to be said. The incident invites the opportunists, the hucksters, and the agenda-setters of the world to try and get a bit of attention, turn a quick buck, or make into a Holocaust the murders of 25 Christians from mass hysteria. It was fear and loathing in the New World frontier, the anxious proximity of a red apocalypse of natives that could explode at any moment (the frighteningly violent King Philip’s War had only ended 14 years prior) and wicked land ambitions in an unraveling community that destroyed those lives in the traumatic hysteria of the American wilderness. Reverend Parris, the fourth minister the fractious and quarrelsome Salem Village had in less than two decades, sowed the seeds of what was to come through his inability to quell the rising tensions with his publicly disciplinary method of resolving disputes. The trials would involve screaming accusatory questions, coerced confessions, and searching bodies for the Devil’s mark. Is this not what they knew best in the Puritan colony, however? Everyone was guilty and confession was good for the soul. Why shouldn’t it have ended like this? People are fired for making okay signs like cheeky Puritans. The distance from then and now collapses upon itself.
Such was their infamy that Nathaniel Hawthorne, descendant of the Judge Hathorne who presided over the Salem Witch Trials and its humiliations changed his name to put a great distance between him and his forebears, but he was haunted by him with every written word. The Scarlet Letter, a title that makes high school students now groan, being the first truly and uniquely American novel must then be a novel about public humiliation. DH Lawrence called it “one of the greatest allegories in all literature”. Despite the distance he placed, Hawthorne was ambivalent toward his Puritanism. He could not embrace it, but he would not command himself to hate it like Faulkner’s Quentin Compson from the humiliated South. It ran through his American bones. Its essence was his American blood-nature and his American soul. How can anyone truly hate themselves and what they are unless they themselves are humiliated? No man can hate himself without total surrender. Self-loathing is the impoverished fiefdom of broken kings and queens.
Auspiciously, The Scarlet Letter had been published just that spring in 1850 when Hawthorne met Herman Melville, who would go on to pen the greatest American novel about what America once was and whose ghosts linger on to haunt her corpse’s orphaned children. Biblical and poetic, Moby-Dick chronicles the tragic end of America as a ship full of colored savages being led by insane messianic Quakers on doomed quests to take revenge and destroy the white specter “of our deepest blood-nature“. Melville sensed the tragic and humiliating character that lay beneath the surface of America, which it would inflict on everything it conquered, but especially its rebel brother in the South from whom America’s only aristocracy would be destroyed for the equality of the coerced confession. It was in that sensitivity to what they were that Melville saw and found his Calvinist brother in Hawthorne with the blackness and a touch of Puritanic gloom. Moby-Dick too, that Great American Novel, is a tale of humiliation stretched out divinely like twisted scripture as Ahab leads a microcosm of all the world in a forsaken crusade not for the inflicted wound–but because the whale bore witness to it.
We are not yet done with Harvard. Oh Harvard, Harvard, Harvard. Your students, your shipwreck survivors of the Pequod, know who you are. You may have forgotten that Puritan past, thought you had become the most serene commonwealth of pure research, but Ahab’s crew know what you are and they will lash you back to the prow of this broken ship to serve as figurehead as they resume the chase for the white whale. And that is your humiliation. And that is your wheel to be broken on, and may your eyes find God on the upturn. And may you ask for forgiveness for the perverse and sinful experiments you inflicted on an America you despised in its purity, like Claggart who lies entombed in your very library as a grim reminder of your “natural depravity” and perverse rule over the American soul.
“Tell me just one thing more. Why do you hate America?”
“We don’t hate it,” we said quickly, at once, immediately: “We don’t hate it,” we said. We don’t hate it we thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; We don’t. We don’t! We don’t hate it! We don’t hate it!
V. Freedom Club
“It is true that primitive man is powerless against some of the things that threaten him; disease for example. But he can accept the risk of disease stoically. It is part of the nature of things, it is no one’s fault, unless it is the fault of some imaginary, impersonal demon. But threats to the modern individual tend to be MAN-MADE. They are not the results of chance but are IMPOSED on him by other persons whose decisions he, as an individual, is unable to influence. Consequently he feels frustrated, humiliated, and angry.” – Theodore J. Kaczynski, “Industrial Society And Its Future”
Should civilization collapse and man revert back to his blood-consciousness and spirit-nature, he’ll know to treat the ruins of Harvard like a necropolis containing the souls of the eternally cursed and damned. While the CIA was more the domain of Catholics and “East Europeans ethnics“, 25% of its top people had a Harvard degree. In 1954, its affiliate Boston Psychiatric Institute was the site of an experiment by Dr. Rinkel and Dr. Hyde in dosing students with LSD. By 1960, three-quarters of all of Harvard’s research “was funded by the government, much of it at the behest of the Defense Department.” During that time, starting just a year earlier, the godfather of CIA interrogation study, Henry Murray, sought out the most vulnerable and wounded gifted young men he could humiliate and break. For science.
Theodore J. Kaczynski, his gifted intelligence noticed early on, was sixteen years old when he arrived at Harvard University. A product of the Silent Generation, he had grown up in an uncertain world shaking off the dreadful dust of the Second World War. A world where boys like him minded their manners and respected their elders. They were told to be thankful for the sacrifices older generations had made as they grew up aware that scarcity, disease, and unwanted pregnancy still mattered and where the brand new alien threat of the nuclear bomb threatened to annihilate them at a moment’s notice. He would be seventeen years old when he would be subjected to this psychological experiment from Henry Murray; the Dyad. He would be twenty years old when the experiment was finished. An experiment whose sole purpose was to see what a bright young college student could endure under persistent interrogation, badgering, deconstruction, and humiliation under the most stressful of situations.
It even had a cute and fun name: Multiform Assessments of Personality Development among Gifted College Men.
The experiment sought out college students that inhabited one extreme of either optimism or pessimism. Out of seventy volunteers, twenty-two young men were chosen to participate. Curiously, Kaczynski was the only blue-collar background in the bunch. Even more curiously, most people got the invitation to join the experiment by enrolling in a popular psychology course; a course that Kaczynski had never been in. It does not appear to be known how Kaczynski ended up in Murray’s experiment, but “Murray’s preliminary screening would identify him as the most alienated of the entire cohort“.
The students brought into the experiment were tasked with writing an essay on the their personal philosophy of life and the principles that best exemplified what they would wish to live by. They were then told they would be debating it with a talented lawyer. Prior to this spirited discourse however, the college students were interviewed by Murray and his cohorts which included “intimate questions on a range of subjects from thumb-sucking and toilet training to masturbation and erotic fantasies“.
What the participants then got was a debate, but not the kind of debate they were expecting. The debate Murray gave these gifted young men was more akin to an unannounced YouTube debate, a pre-Internet Blood Sport where the talented law student would relentlessly attack the subjects and their beliefs in order to make them upset and test their resolve. According to Forrest Robinson, Murray’s official biographer, it typically played out as such:
“As instructed, the unwitting subject attempted to represent and to defend his personal philosophy of life. Invariably, however, he was frustrated, and finally brought to expressions of real anger, by the withering assault of his older, more sophisticated opponent…while fluctuations in the subject’s pulse and respiration were measured on a cardiotachometer.”
The participants were recorded under bright lights with electrodes. One reported feeling like they were being fastened in an electric chair. In recall interviews the experience was played back to them with Murray calling attention to their grimaces and sputtering responses to the interrogator. Six months before the experiment was rolled out, Murray wrote in his “Notes on Dyadic Research” that his fixation was on the “degree of anxiety and disintegration” that would occur in designing the procedures for how the subjects would respond to burning under the light of the Dyadic interrogation. In the analysis of the student reactions, Murray’s research team rated Kaczynski’s reactions as the most extreme in their intensity and dissension. Murray’s own assessment of Kaczynski’s reactions: “Overt expressions of Low Evaluations…low, underlying resentment and contempt.”
The most common recollection to the experience was that it was very unpleasant, a statement Kaczynski made himself to his attorney. Even Kaczynski, in his Truth vs Lies document where he is adamant to dispel rumors, statements, and insinuations he found to be fiction and could be easily used to misrepresent him (including his usage in a book by one of Murray’s students), he merely refers to the experience as unpleasant while wiggles his eyebrows about the Henry Murray Center’s sealing of the documents. Quote Kaczynski:
“The assessment arrived at by the psychologists would be very useful in determining how people saw my personality, but…the Murray Center…has refused to release any of the psychologists’ conclusions to my attorneys; and most of the individual psychologists involved have declined to cooperate with the investigators, who to my knowledge have obtained no information concerning any conclusions that were drawn about me. One wonders whether the Murray Center has something to hide.”
What gives concerns about the Murray experiment having weight is that Kaczynski does not appear to have contradicted anything he told the court appointed psychiatrist, Sally Johnson after his arrest. The Truth vs Lies documents spends several hundred pages correcting assessments made about him, and even though Kaczynski wrote to the author, Alston Chase, who had exposed the experiment to the public that he was “quite confident that my experiences with Professor Murray had no significant effect on the course of my life,” the document does not appear to touch on the revelations made in the book or previous article written about it, such as Kaczynski considering a sex change or his recurring nightmares about murdering psychologists.
While at University of Michigan, after leaving Harvard, Kaczynski began to exhibit signs that bear a striking resemblance to post-traumatic stress disorder. He reported to the psychologist that was testing his competency to stand trial that in his recurring nightmares, psychologists were trying to convince him he was “sick” or outright control him until in anger he’d kill them and feel a great wave of relief and liberation wash over him. That relief would be short-lived however as the psychologists never stayed dead. Psychological problems and sexual frustrations continued to compound on top of him until he concocted a solution that made sense to him: get a sex change. Kaczynski, feeling ashamed at what he was almost driven to do and by talking to the psychiatrist about this finally came to his turning point.
“I felt disgusted about what my uncontrolled sexual cravings had almost led me to do and I felt humiliated, and I violently hated the psychiatrist. Just then there came a major turning point in my life. Like a Phoenix, I burst from the ashes of my despair to a glorious new hope; I thought I wanted to kill that psychiatrist because the future looked utterly empty to me. I felt I wouldn’t care if I died.”
It was only when he was able to leave society and go to the wilderness that he was able to find any respite from society’s unrelenting barrage of psychic warfare. That an experiment designed to break down and belittle a person’s beliefs and humiliate them before an official interrogator would include among its subjects a vulnerable teenager who would later go on to have murder and sex change fantasies is an ominous portent of society’s moral arc toward its perverted justice. Kaczynski, as stated, does not appear to have commented on what he told the court-appointed psychiatrist.
Perhaps there are legal reasons for this or perhaps it’s integral that he not comment on it because for Ted Kaczynski it’s incumbent that his ideas not be dismissed as the ramblings of a mentally ill lunatic or one that had been made that way. Kaczynski’s ideas are so lucid–and should be necessary reading–that it’s extremely unlikely that the Murray experiment would have been what put the idea to be skeptical of the technoindustrial system in his head, but his statements to the court-psychiatrist Sally Johnson are extremely damning to the notion that Kaczynski was not at all affected by what Murray subjected him to.
It is a feature of humiliation that those who are subjected to it deny what is happening to them and deny what it does to them. They trick themselves into thinking they’re in control, they can stop it if they want, and anyway it isn’t happening, because that would be admitting their own powerlessness. And those who do admit it and survive look back bitterly on those experiences, hating themselves more than their tormentors as they interrogate themselves with the same questions over and over again: “Why didn’t you stop them? Why were you so weak? Why did you let them do this to you? Why are you so pathetic?”
When his brother asked Ted why he kept going back to the experiment, week after week, for three years, he replied “I wanted to prove that I could take it. That I couldn’t be broken.”
VI. Zen Koan
“If you are men, how could a man’s pride allow this? Even after enduring and enduring, rising up with firm resolution once the last line of what you are supposed to protect has been crossed is what it means to be a man, what it means to be a warrior. We desperately strained our ears. But from nowhere in the [Japanese Self-Defense Force] did we hear a man’s voice rise in response to the humiliating order to “protect that which negates you.” Now that it has come to this, with the awareness of your own power, you knew that the only path forward was the correction of the twisted logic of the nation, but the SDF has been as silent as a canary with its voice stolen.” – Yukio Mishima, “His Seppuku Manifesto”
The peculiar way of modern politics is often reminiscent of gaslighting. Gaslighting, properly understood, is the psychological manipulation that induces the victim into thinking that they are the ones who are losing their minds. Its purpose is to spread a certainty of doubt through the use of lying and denial in order to destabilize the victim. Unsurprisingly, it’s very well-suited for liberalism in its subtle expressions.
The destruction and implosion of the Western world is a well-worn topic, but often overlooked in the Year Zero history of post-WWII has been the breaking of Japan. Owing to the foreignness of the Japanese, the bureaucrats of the world are shockingly upfront about their plans for the recalcitrant ethnostate. In his 2004 book The Pentagon’s New Map, for instance, former Department of Defense wonk Thomas Barnett wrote:
“As for Japan, as much as one-third of its 2050 population would be foreign-born if they pursued the immigration rate required to stabilize their absolute number of working-age citizens. Simply put, that wouldn’t be Japan anymore; that would be an entirely new country. I personally believe that would be a better Japan, because I think that insular society has so much to offer the world that letting more of that world in will let the Japanese achieve the “normal” nationhood they have sought ever since their brush with the apocalypse in 1945–such are the tides of history.”
This is a master class in humiliation via gaslighting. Thomas Barnett, a representative of an actual military occupying force that has disarmed the country it occupies, speaking casually about destroying its homogeneity and framing it as something the Japanese would want after the United States atomically “rescued” them from their own apocalypse. The thumbscrews have been turning for some time now.
Japan will always be reminded of their place in the liberal order should they ever think they’ve achieved some status of equality. In May of 2018, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, who has been trying to re-arm Japan and restore their global prestige and power since his re-election, got a mouthful of this during a dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he was served dessert in a shoe. The Japanese aversion and cultural taboo toward shoes would have taken five seconds of research to learn as they are not a bush tribe plucked from the aether of some lost time. People were quick to point to the cultural insensitivity of the gesture, but one thing that does not appear to have been brought up is why this idea would have even occurred to a chef like Moshe Segev. Shoes are not just poor etiquette in Japan but are also an insult to Arabs to the point that it’s insulting to even be called a shoe, something Segev would certainly be aware of as an Israeli. Obama himself caused a minor diplomatic stir in 2009 when he was photographed putting his feet up on the desk while on the phone with Netanyahu. Segev and his dessert did not emerge at the dinner as a sudden and unexpected surprise kept hidden from everyone else. Diplomatic affairs are a careful kabuki performance with many unseen actors in which entire tomes of information are projected by extremely subtle, knowing gestures. What looks like a minor accident can, in truth, be a highly-calibrated message meant to be understood deeply by the parties it’s directed at.
Abe understood it. Abe ate out of the shoe. The Japanese diplomats seethed, but Abe did his dogeza for his global masters.
It angers any person with a modicum of decency in them to see these kind of relentless attacks on the Japanese psyche. The far-right’s fascination with Japan goes way beyond an appreciation for anime and a post-ironic attraction to their women. There’s something about the Japanese that is unique and different and worth preserving and protecting. It can be seen in the tea ceremony and it can be seen in their ephemeral understanding of impermanence, the zen of wabi-sabi. Even in defeat they approach it in a way that can only be described as Japanese. It’s a very tautological essence. Fatalism often permeates the Japanese way of being with the common resignation sho ga nai (“it can’t be helped”) and expresses itself in mockingly calling the military boots and uniforms “defeat shoes” and “defeat suits”, respectively. Despite latter day revisions and critique, Ruth Benedict’s The Sword and the Chrysanthemum has proven to be remarkably resilient in explaining and understanding the Japanese in their being.
No other country in recent history has been as meteoric as the Empire of Japan. Much of that rise was due to the industrious character of the Japanese themselves, but the modern expression of that character was forged in the crucible of the kiln that the rest of the world was shoveling them into. Neighboring imperial China was fifteen years into its century of humiliation when those American black ships finally forced an isolationist nation to open its ports. The Japanese were not unaware of what was going on in the world when Commodore Perry finally made the Western breakthrough–he just had the weapons big enough to finally spook the Japanese. Furthermore, the Japanese had engaged in limited trade with China, meaning that they were aware of what national humiliations China was experiencing with the (First) Opium War in 1839-1842 and the unequal treaties that the Western powers had been imposing on them even if they did not have first-hand Japanese accounts of them.
The opium was especially troubling for the Japanese as it proved just how far the West, especially the British, were willing to go to achieve what they wanted. The British had been smuggling in opium for an entire previous century despite four separate edicts from the Chinese emperor to make and keep the trade illegal. Opium as medicine had a long history in China, but when the Dutch in the 16th century discovered you could blend it with hemp and tobacco, a product called madak, and make a killer drug to smoke that the history of opium in China would really begin. Its usage was confined to the coastal port cities it came in on until the first ban in 1729, though history would truly turn its course when the British East India Company obtained a full monopoly on opium in 1773 and promptly began to smuggle it into China. The East India Company found itself in a bad way financially in 1780 thanks to the American chaos of the British Empire, and began a tit-for-tat escalation of flooding China with opium any which way until the Chinese were hopelessly addicted on the raw stuff at the end of the century. It would continue to grow worse, bringing with it all of the political and social dysfunctions decadent addiction culture has, until the Chinese were made to kowtow to the British after defeat in First Opium War, all for opposing their imposed addictions.
The Japanese did not see it for themselves but they knew about the destruction opium had rained down on China, a neighbor they considered powerful even in spite of its faults, and it was a very bad omen for them. The Japanese knew the West was coming for the Asian nations, but were operating on bad information due to their isolation and had assumed that they would be invaded before the Chinese to the point that daimyo vassal Tokugawa Nariaki stated as the Opium War was starting up: “Russia most probably will decide to invade Japan first and then go about conquering China.” The stories of the unrelenting humiliations on the Chinese prompted furtive soul-searching and explanation such as Mineta Fuko’s 1849 proto-manga manuscript Kaigai shinwa in which he identified the social and political-wrecking power opium had, and the inability of the Chinese to oppose this due to a weak national unity and an abundance of traitors and soft-bellied cowards who let the opium in and allowed the foreigners to trade and seize as they pleased. To Fuko, the answer was clear. Close the damn ports and expel the devils! For many Japanese, the only way to hold onto their way of life, but especially their sovereignty, was to aggressively double-down on the sakoku closed border policy by any means necessary. Others, like the daimyo vassal Shimazu Nariakira, knew they would need to stop clinging to the past if they had any hope of facing the future on terms they could dictate rather than being dictated. In his words, “if we take the initiative, we can dominate; if we do not, we will be dominated”
The Westerners were coming. Time was running out.
Contact between cultures that have a technological and firepower disparity is almost always apocalyptic for the people found wanting. Unfamiliar sicknesses, colonization, enslavement, and even genocide have been the tragic destiny for many people who have been the unfortunate victims of history in every living creature’s savage drive to prevail, survive, and dominate, lest it be dominated. At best they might achieve a second-class or even junior partner status if they prove capable of fighting back, being added to a larger empire even if they had been an empire themselves just the other day. Common folk have a compassionate and simple dignity for others like them, even if they are alien. Its gentleness of spirit is admirable, but the world is forged by will and power with no space for the little children of history to be left alone.
Commodore Perry sailed into Uraga Harbor on July 14th, 1853 and landed on Japanese shores. The Japanese would need to grow up. And fast.
The lead-up to this event and its aftermath would affirm many of the Japanese’s most existential fears. Six days earlier, Perry fired blank shellfire to “celebrate American independence”. Between then and the landing he intimidated the guard boats into backing off and gave the Japanese a white flag they would want to immediately start waving should they choose to provoke the Americans into combat. The shore landing was accompanied by the full military pomp of gun salutes and the playing of “Hail, Columbia” to a people who had no idea what a Columbia was. There is tragic symmetry that the Japanese Empire would end in unconditional surrender as it was born in it.
The Chinese echoes would continue in the immediate years to follow. Playing on the Japanese fears that what happened to China would also happen to them, the diplomat Townsend Harris negotiated a favorable treaty for the Americans by telling the Japanese how awful opium was and how dastardly the British were for smuggling it and pushing it on the Chinese; the Harris Treaty allowed America to import opium into Japan. Japan’s own humiliations were now beginning, seemingly destined to follow the path of their neighbor.
The Japanese remarkably turned their fortunes around in short order. They had no choice. They knew what failure would entail. They’d seen it. They’d felt it. Beginning with the Meiji Restoration, Japan industrialized, centralized, and militarized as quickly as possible. The old ways had to die, even if they needed to be murdered. In the span of fifty years an isolationist and stubborn feudal society of rice farmers would experience the public humiliation of technological firepower to conquering their own neighbors and crushing a European power, Russia, in war.
From dominated to dominate in three generations.
With its own power came the usual cruelties of empire. Colonization, exploitation, and subjugation. Like any great power in history there is no shortage of books that can, have, and will be written about their atrocities. In their attempt to author their own destiny, however, despite the trauma of their rapid industrialization they were still unmistakably Japanese. For the West to be confronted with a non-European power that could actually defeat one of their own was its own worrisome enigma. The white supremacy of the West meant that competition was among people who found more similarities than differences when stacked against the black, brown, red, and yellow world. French and German might hate each other with a hellfire’s passion, but they weren’t alien to one another in their ways. What would it mean if they were subjugated to someone so alien?
Ruth Benedict’s The Sword and the Chrysanthemum, even with its inaccuracies, did much to keep the Japanese Japanese after they were once again overwhelmed by technological superiority and forced into unconditional surrender in 1945. The ferocity of the Japanese fighting and their way of violence had shocked the Americans as they had never experienced anything like this from a group of people before; to this day the oldest generations retain an understandable bitterness to the Japanese for their killing and maiming they were able to inflict. It is not surprising that a 22-year-old Jewish refugee who had just become an American citizen that year, Beate Gordon, was given the leeway to add the most liberal interpretation of equal rights to date into the Japanese Constitution. The Potsdam Declaration had already made it clear that Japan would be liberalized and they didn’t have a choice in the matter. What was surprising was that Emperor Hirohito was not only going to be passed over for a war crimes trial, but that he would also retain his throne. This effort was thanks purely to Douglas MacArthur, who seemed to intuitively understand that it could push a destitute and ruined country over the edge, and Ruth Benedict who had previously advised Roosevelt of this as well.
This understanding on Benedict’s part came from what she had studied in the Japanese reaction to humiliation and fault. On the latter point, Benedict believed that the Japanese did not believe in lost causes. Sho ga nai. It can’t be helped. If it is lost, abandon it. Those infamous holdouts still fighting in the jungles were exceptions, fiercely loyal to their notions of the military ideology, orders, or honor, or simply unaware that the war had even been lost. The Japanese would do what they could to earn prestige in the world, but now they lost. It was over. The Emperor told them they lost. MacArthur, whether he understood it or not and whatever his intentions were, managed to avoid national humiliation.
On this Japanese way, Ruth Benedict writes:
“It has been incredible to American occupying troops that these friendly people are the ones who had vowed to fight to the death with bamboo spears…It has not impeded that course by insisting on using techniques of humiliation. It would have been culturally acceptable according to Western ethics if we had done so. For it is a tenet of Occidental ethics that humiliation and punishment are socially effective means to bring about a wrongdoer’s conviction of sin. Such admission of sin is then a first step in his rehabilitation. The Japanese, as we have seen, state the issue in another way. Their ethic makes a man responsible for all the implications of his acts, and the natural consequences of an error should convince him of its undesirability. These natural consequences may even be defeat in an all-out war. But these are not situations which the Japanese must resent as humiliating. In the Japanese lexicon, a person or a nation humiliates another by detraction, ridicule, contempt, belittling, and insisting on symbols of dishonor. When the Japanese believe themselves humiliated, revenge is a virtue. No matter how strongly Western ethics condemn such a tenet, the effectiveness of American occupation of Japan depends on American self-restraint on this point. For the Japanese separate ridicule, which they terribly resent, from ‘natural consequences’…Japan, in her one great victory over a major power, showed that even as a victor she could carefully avoid humiliating a defeated enemy when it finally capitulated and when she did not consider that that nation had sneered at her.”
When the Japanese shocked the world by defeating the Russians in 1905, they did not strip the Russians of their arms. When the Russians surrendered, the Japanese victors brought them food. The Japanese honored the gifts of the vanquished Russians. The Japanese had never felt slighted or humiliated by the Russians of 1905. They fought. The Russians lost. There was nothing to try and correct and there was no other status for them to be lowered to. All they did was lose.
The Japanese seemed destined for the worst in 1945. For them the 1920s and 1930s were full of the little dishonorable slights and ridicules that demanded revenge, demanded to be opposed because unless it’s opposed your nation gets raped, torn apart, and flooded with opium by the predatory West. They could have humiliated Japan. They wanted to. 33% of Americans wanted to see Hirohito executed; only 7% would have allowed him to be retained. Japan attacked America, there should have been even more punishment. It was enough though to make them junior partners and plant some liberal poppy seeds to keep an American foothold in Asia. It would be enough.
These competing forces on how to deal with Japan led to the numerous post-war contradictions within the country that are endlessly debated to this day, with its nationalist and communist currents battling for its defeated soul. Sadly, the seeds that were planted in 1945 have sprouted. Japan is being humiliated now with the political opiates that were smuggled into their Constitution, but at that brief moment in time when MacArthur took that famous photo with the Emperor in his feet of clay, they weren’t. At that moment in time, they were allowed to save face. Those small things matter to the little children of history.
Japan is facing the demographic and spiritual crisis that liberalism and Zionism imposes on every country they infect. The Japanese, however, are among the people most deeply connected to their past through the businesses that have existed for centuries and an imperial family that is 1500 years old. Nations who remember their deep past tend to remember the pains outsiders cause, such as the way Japan’s rising neighbor, China deeply remembers what was inflicted upon them.
The Israelis and the liberal order would do well to remember Ruth Benedict’s warning that for the Japanese, revenge is a virtue.
VII. Komsomol Parade
“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.” – Theodore Dalrymple, Frontpage Magazine (August 31st, 2005)
It’s not for nothing that the Puritans, among the most revolutionary of Christians in their time period, would have found the rituals of humiliation to be a comfort. Revolutions seek to overturn an order, to change the way of things and thus the old hierarchy must come tumbling down. It simply cannot be avoided. There is no revolutionary who believes in the dignity of the man he wants to dispossess.
Religion has always been the revolutionary’s sticking point because what gives a society its bones is the faith of its fathers, whatever form that may take. It proves to be a problem for revolutionaries because of religion’s frequent final word on the way things are, whether it’s explaining the capricious will of disinterested gods or actively following the tenets of God’s Natural Law. For men to live the new ways of any revolution, any religion with influence into the way men live would need to be either fundamentally transformed or made to bend and break before the new gods of society. Revolutionaries come in as conquerors, and to establish the new order the status of the old powers must be denied. For the revolutionary, there is nothing more enjoyable than to make a mockery of those old powers and bring them low.
The French Revolution was the first to practice this on a large scale level with their attacks on the Catholic Church. Within the revolutionaries, there was tension between those who wanted an atheist revolution and those who wanted to supplant the Catholic Church with something of their own as the topic of de-christianization was a hot one. This broke out with clergy in the crossfire when the Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel went before the National Convention and resigned his office, donned the liberty cap of the revolutionaries, and professed it was by the will of the people. This act unleashed a series of priests seeking to give up their offices with even more blasphemous words, the seizure of churches, mob mockery of the defrocked, and the transformation of Notre Dame into the Temple of Reason.
Contrary to the pageantry of the whole affair, Gobel did not do this because he was overcome by any epiphany of reason. He had been warned the night before by an atheist named Cloots and a Jew named Pereira to renounce his office. Reason, or rather its perversion, would follow however as three days later at the new “Temple of Reason”, the more atheistic contingent of the revolutionaries put on a pageantry for the Cult of Reason that from description sounds like a child’s church pageant done up by the infantile-minded. Unfortunately for these devotees to Reason, many others found this embarrassing. Gobel and the men who pushed him into this were executed during the Reign of Terror as the deist Robespierre felt that atheism was going a bit too far and so he put on his own festival to supplant them: the Festival of the Supreme Being. In contrast to the passionate outburst of the Festival of Reason, the one for the Supreme Being would be meticulously planned and full of pomp as Robespierre attempted to co-opt the justice-minded worldview of Christianity and sermonized on the virtue of the new civic life.
Robespierre was executed a month later.
For the Thermidorian Reaction, they’d have to sift through the rubble of what the revolutionaries had done and try restore what they could as restoration is the key to any humiliation. The spirit of the French Revolution would live on, not just in the horrors to come but in the ressentiment (resentment) of the age. Ressentiment, as Kierkegaard understood it, was the leveling process of an apathetic and passionless age where men cannot rebel. This would seem counter-intuitive to being a revolutionary, but others have noted that it could be used to initiate revolutions, and as has been noted the resentful often desire to humiliate those they see as having wronged them or prevented their potential. The perceived ethnic humiliation of Jews via the pogroms under the tsar would drive many of them into the arms of the Zionist and Bolshevik movements.
And it was in the Soviet Union that the anti-Christian parade of shame would be perfected.
When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, they had nothing less in mind than a complete turnover in society and knew that only by lowering the status of the once privileged church that the rights of the people could be properly respected under their guidance and tutelage. The bitter violence of the Russian Civil War didn’t help with the antipathy, but it was already the view of the multi-ethnic Lenin that while private religious belief could be tolerated, any resistance to religion becoming as private as possible would need to have ruthless war declared on it. Lenin understood that this would be the inevitable outcome as for the Russian Orthodox Church to follow this would be a negation of its own beliefs and purpose. Trotsky, born Lev Bronstein, was seemingly unique among the many Jewish Bolsheviks as he reported few incidents of antisemitism in his early life and was a hardliner on the assimilation question. He was adamant about destroying the Russian Orthodox Church despite the fact that he was cognizant of how bad it looks to have a Jew in charge of the police in a society with high degrees of antisemitism when Lenin offered him the role of People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs.
Trotsky’s plan to destroy the church was to co-opt a small schism of modernizers in the church called the Renovationists. This plan came into place after Lenin forbade Trotsky from arresting and executing Patriarch Tikhon back in 1918 for excommunicating the Bolshevik leaders who had been Orthodox at some point or another. As Trotsky and others worked to undermine the church from within, the 1921-22 famine led the Soviets to begin confiscating church valuables, ostensibly to feed the poor though some believe that “the most important objective was to humiliate and destroy the authority of the church“. Tikhon was put on public show trial during this time, going from house arrest to criminal arrest, a ploy that backfired for the Soviets internationally since Tikhon approached it and maintained his simple dignity.
This was not the first time the Soviets would go too far. The infamous Komsomol parades, much like the Festival of Reason, was meant to be a carnival that celebrated the liberation of the people from their white-and-gold chains and mocked the notions that once heavily oppressed them. As fervently as Trotsky wished to destroy the church, he understood the necessity of something that needed to take its place. While Tikhon warred with Trotsky’s Renovationists who were in the process of trying to “depose” him, Trotsky began to view amusements, especially the cinema, as a way to sever people’s connections with the clergy. In his July 1923 Pravda piece entitled “Vodka, The Church, and Cinema“, Trotsky writes:
“Meaningless ritual, which lies on the consciousness like an inert burden, cannot be destroyed by criticism alone; it can be supplanted by new forms of life, new amusements, new and more cultured theaters. Here again, thoughts go naturally to the most powerful – because it is the most democratic – instrument of the theater: the cinema. Having no need of a clergy in brocade, etc., the cinema unfolds on the white screen spectacular images of greater grip than are provided by the richest church, grown wise in the experience of a thousand years, or by mosque or synagogue. In church only one drama is performed, and always one and the same, year in, year out; while in the cinema next door you will be shown the Easters of heathen, Jew, and Christian, in their historic sequence, with their similarity of ritual. The cinema amuses, educates, strikes the imagination by images, and liberates you from the need of crossing the church door. The cinema is a great competitor not only of the tavern but also of the church. Here is an instrument which we must secure at all costs!”
Soviet cinema was still quite young and nascent at the time Trotsky penned this, but he recognized all forms of theater as having the power to change people through viewing performance. During the civil war Trotsky had used an agit-train to deliver propaganda and speeches in order to keep the hot spots engaged, and it was an example many young propagandists would follow. Trotsky and the phenotypically intriguing Platon Kerzhentsev were also keenly aware of the power of theater (Kerzhentsev was a man of the theater after all and a pioneer in Prolekult, the revolutionary artistic movement for the people), and saw the necessity in bringing theatricality to public life. Life is performance and people repeat the performances that they see.
The Komsomol was the youth league for the Communist Party and often served as the most vociferous defenders of whomever had the power and the sway within the government at the time. As Lenin stated, the war on the church would need to be ruthless if the church would not go private in all manners and matters, and the church simply would not budge without resistance. The Komsomol pursued their instruction campaign with reckless abandon, especially attacking the countryside, with every manner of belittling mockery. It’s impossible to see this policy as anything except the shaming of a conquered people when they appeared in front of churches wearing mock garments, engaging in “red devotions” and “red masses” that ridiculed rites, blasphemed Christ and the Mother of God, supplanting the religious songs with revolutionary tunes, all in a jubilant anti-religious parade they carried on through the town. The enthusiasm was strongest for Christmas and Easter parades, where they are now most commonly known as the Komsomol Christmas. The first experiment in this in 1922-23 involved 184 cities with the various religious figures of all the religions that had been represented in the Russian Empire being paraded around like puppet effigies until being tossed into a great bonfire to burn. Reports of the Komosomol Christmas were that they went all out with this, among the scenes of propaganda marches being “trucks bearing clowns who mocked God, a figure of God embracing a nude woman…priests in ridiculous poses chanting parodies of church liturgy set to indecent lyrics.” The Komsomol parades would turn into these grim cavalcades over the next two years, frequently followed by an anti-religious hooliganism its air would bring.
As it turns out, even this was a bridge too far. The Soviet officials had no love for the church or its believers, but the strange carnival of boisterous blasphemy aimed at rubbing defeat in the faces of people they wanted to bring obediently into the new paradigm offended even many of the communists and calls from above were made to shut them down. The behavior of the young and empowered revelers was such an embarrassment, with vandalism of cemeteries and religious sites going hand-in-hand with public drunkenness, that Stalin is recorded as saying “hooliganish escapades under the guise of so-called anti-religious propaganda–all this should be cast off and liquidated immediately”.
Stalin was consolidating his power as the new General Secretary at this time, with Trotsky being sidelined by illness. Before the Komsomol Christmas of 1924, Stalin had announced his plan for Socialism in One Country in opposition to Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution with Bolshevism being exported everywhere as quickly as possible, especially in Germany. By the spring of 1925, when Stalin made his comments about the Komsomol Christmas however, all of the revolutionary movements in Germany had failed and fascist movement in opposition to liberalism and communism were on the rise in Europe. Continuing to humiliate and antagonize believers in this way was a juice that wasn’t worth the squeeze. The peasantry would not get on board with any Soviet program while the Komsomol was allowed to go on being this brazen.
The Soviet Union under Stalin would pursue a somewhat different pattern, though the church and its people remained no less under some form of assault. The people would soldier on, to the consternation of the Soviet bureaucracy, that after a decade of proper education the “bad tradition” of people attending church on Easter continued to persist.
The Soviets had attempted to humiliate the soul of the Russian peasant, but by God they somehow endured. Somehow, they endured. God sees the truth, and waits.
VIII. Vae Victis
“Let the shame be on those who have made such humiliation necessary” – Georges Clemenceau
Liberalism is an occupational force, and this is without getting into the fact that many of the people with power in this occupying force of history are primarily loyal to their ethnic own and a welfare queen ethnostate that the conquered shed endless blood and treasure for. Many will think “what are you talking about, no army conquered me or my country”. You must think counter-intuitively. Carl Schmitt’s critiques of liberalism get to the heart of this because there is a misconception, even among people who are illiberal, that liberalism and democracy go hand-in-hand. Liberalism is a force that reduces all people to smaller and smaller economic units, so wherever there is any resistance in the arts, in culture, in religion, in community, and especially in democracy, these must be overridden by the will of liberal rulers. As Hesiod’s Corner notes:
“Embrace of particular art, culture, community, religion, and nation often leads to conflict with the “other” (the enemy) which negates the peaceful consumeristic and hedonistic lifestyle that liberalism was constructed to provide.”
We simply don’t see it for what it is because liberalism’s conception of the political is economic at heart, and so if it is to remain that way then the people under its thumb need to be seen, but especially to feel, that they are buying what’s being sold to them of their own free will and intent. Otherwise, it would be the naked piracy and domination it actually is with the way it tries to dictate how a people and their markets are to live. In order to maintain the illusion of the free and open society, it must dominate your soul and humiliate the conquered as example and revenge.
Humiliation is associated with strong feelings of powerlessness and those who have been humiliated have shown to be less likely to endorse violence, especially the political kind. It confuses the response actions of the humiliated, induces shame within them, attacks their social identities, and internalizes their sense they lack any power.
In short, it’s a perfect vehicle to control a population.
Public humiliation on the Jews from the National Socialists has been well-documented by them, where-in they lay out their reasoning for why it was employed:
“Public humiliation under the Nazis had three primary functions. The first function was to exacerbate the suffering of Nazi victims. Second, public humiliation served to remind the German public about the risks of opposing the Nazi Party. Lastly, it functioned as a way to visible degrade victims in order to create critical distance between the Nazis and their victims. Differentiating themselves from their victims in this way made it easier for Nazis to perpetrate horrific acts of violence against people who otherwise were just like them. In 1971, the British journalist Gitta Sereny asked Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka, about the purpose of humiliating victims: “Why, if they [the Nazis] were going to kill them [the victims] anyway, what was the point of all the humiliation, why the cruelty?” Stangl replied: “To condition those who actually had to carry out the policies. To make it possible for them to do what they did.”
It’s a lesson they understood quite well themselves as people like Jakub Berman, after the defeat of the Germans, established the Ministry of Public Security (read: secret police) in communist Poland, an organization staffed to the gills with agents of terror that they had one for every 800 Poles. The terror unleashed by the Ministry could be analyzed by the numbers–at least 300,000 arrests, at least 6000 death sentences–but it is much easier to understand the preponderance of Jews in the Soviet apparatus (noted by Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs no less) as the chance to enact a humiliating terror on people who they perceived did not do enough to protect them or participated in violence.
Certainly, their descendants are willing to acknowledge some of this and explain it away as being useful idiots for Stalin who believed that if you put Jews in positions of the secret police and security that they could curb other people’s “nationalist deviations”. Why this would be a conclusion Stalin would come to is anyone’s guess, but Jews like Julia Brystiger, tasked with destroying the Catholic Church in Poland, and Jozef Swiatlo, a torturer of prisoners who was instrumental in destroying the nationalist Home Army and arresting the men who would be ritualistically humiliated and convicted in the show Trial of Sixteen, it would seem they proved themselves more than adept to Stalin’s challenge. This period of Polish history would end with the rise of Władysław Gomułka, whose form of socialism appealed explicitly to Polish national sentiments and who would, for seemingly no rational reason whatsoever other than obviously base and animalistic antisemitism, allow a purge of Jews in Poland from the military and positions of power to take place. This would ultimately drive out the majority of remaining Jews in Poland.
This is the retaliation effect that may occur when the humiliated are given power. In this way, it reveals that empathy can be conditional and can be conditioned out. Some could view the terms of the Treaty of Versailles as a humiliating imposition on the German people. Certainly it was viewed as humiliating to those who lost, but what’s always more illuminating are the intentions of the victors. France’s revanchism (literally revenge) was born in the humiliating defeat of 1870-1871 when the upstart Prussians single-handedly ended the Second French Empire by capturing their emperor and unified the German state in the Hall of Mirrors in the French Palace of Versailles. This moment would define the French psyche for the next 48 years as the peace talks for the World War I Treaty of Versailles would open on the exact same day the German Empire had been proclaimed in the exact same place. Like Japan, the Second German Reich had a tragic symmetry ending in the same place and the same day where it had begun.
While the spirit of explicit Revanchism ebbed and flowed in French politics, the wound of their loss and how that wound was inflicted was a chronic sting in their nation’s consciousness. “Never speak of them; never forget them!” was Prime Minister Leon Gambetta’s reminder to the population when it came to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. Internally they debated how to restore themselves as the liberal Third Republic had expanded the colonial empire of the Second French Empire, a poor consolation prize to many for losing the lands that were once part of France. Some of them saw the liberal empire as a distraction from taking back what was theirs. Some of them wondered if they could placate Germany’s colonial ambitions by trading territories to get back Alsace-Lorraine. Others saw a much more ingenious use for the African territories they’d conquered in the form of biopower against their most hated enemy.
Charles Mangin was the architect of France’s usage of African troops against the Germans. His vociferous advocacy of it did not come from any well-spring of liberté, égalité, fraternité however but from the “demographic disparity” between France and Germany and to have the absolute crushing manpower to prevent a repeat of France’s humiliating defeat. Mangin was born in Lorraine and four-years-old when his home was annexed by the Germans in that defeat. His family were among the 5000 of French citizens living in Alsace-Lorraine who were forced to leave their ancestral homes and go to France’s imperial possession of Algeria, where instead of being seen as a dumping ground for the refugees of a national disgrace it was seen as the promised land where national regeneration would begin. This may have had more to do with the imperial-minded Opportunist Republicans who were granting the Jews in Algeria French citizenship during wartime and making arguments that the only way for France to oppose rising Prussia now was to develop an African empire and demographically overwhelm them, such as the argument put forth by the Jewish ambassador to the United States Prevost-Paradol. This was a rather curious argument to the nationalists who just wanted Alsace-Lorraine back and the republicans who were anti-colonial by their tradition. The Opportunist Republicans had the power however, and more than enough French were willing to go along with it, revanche sharpening their teeth.
Charles Mangin lived his whole life, save those first four years, in the French Third Republic in that milieu of empire and vengeance. From the age of nineteen on he’d be a military man in the Republic’s empire, climbing up through the ranks and being exposed to the fighting ways of the colonized subjects. In 1899, H.G. Wells published a book entitled The Sleeper Awakes in which the world in the year 2100 has African policemen putting down worker unrest and riots in European cities. It is unknown if Mangin read the novel. He certainly had an affinity, however, for the local African customs as he received 30 days detention five years prior for currying favor with the African foreign legionnaires by giving them slave girls. It’s hard not to see that he was consumed by revenge, by plans to recapture Lorraine, and to inflict a maximal amount of pain onto a conquered Germany by throwing an endless supply of what he considered to be primitive men against them. He started a firestorm of controversy in 1909 that would last up to the war by first bringing up the topic of using African troops to fight wars in Europe with falling birthrates and natural warriors as his main arguments. The Germans were vocally horrified by it, calling it a war crime, which must have only encouraged the French to pursue the policy. Protests only hardens the hearts and sharpens the steel of the vengeful.
Mangin certainly wanted to see their lands divided and subjugated to these savage troops. The French were quite deliberate with this, having specifically segregated the Senegalese from everyone else, especially French women, so that they could be unleashed purely as a bioweapon. The African troops had a reputation for taking no prisoners and for cutting off body parts of the men they fought, dispelling any notion that this war would be fought in any honorable European spirit. The Germans would not be worthy of that. Some may rationalize that it was just desserts to the Germans for the Rape of Belgium. This is the kind of messy history that makes it easier for many to accept occupying the German lands with colored soldiers. Mangin delighted that the Moroccans on the Rhine were “doing marvelously; the Germans are very much afraid of them”, letting these Germans know exactly what their place in the world was and what their status would be. Even through 1918 the French were preparing to send in a million African troops against Germany as further shock troops to break them. It was not necessary, however. The United States broke Germany first.
The occupation of Germany and the sense of national humiliation has to be understood in a context lost to most modern readers. Germany had managed to forge itself together through blood and iron after millions of Germans had been disunited for centuries and often kept that way by the European powers as all of the German-speaking peoples in Europe united together would always have the ability to alter or direct the balance of power. Like Japan, it got into the imperial game late but it got in there strong, doing its best to keep up and be on an equal footing with the other Great Powers. It even managed to acquire overseas territories of its own in a world where the United Kingdom had dominion over at least a quarter of the earth. The defeat it was rendered stripped it of its equal status with the Great Powers, stripped it of its colonies, and stripped it of its freedom to determine its own destiny as it was sliced up, occupied, and dictated to. While every European empire of the 20th century would follow the long and bloody path of decolonization, Imperial Germany was unusual in that it was forcibly decolonized purely for the victors’ gain and in order to keep it from being a threat to the new order. For many Germans, and for one charismatic one in particular, they were in not much a better state than the Irish or the Indians. They had gone from colonizers to colonized, and were now beneath the status of colonial African soldiers who were conscripted specifically to be fierce cannon fodder.
There is no evidence that the French were explicitly intent on engaging in some kind of German genocide from race-mixing–the number of Rhineland bastards born from the occupation was relatively low–and the liberal rationalizations they provided past demographics and cannon fodder was that this was a “civilizing mission” of the unwashed, but they certainly knew what they were doing by being the first to bring colonial troops into Europe. They were violating their own standards and upending the gentlemen’s agreement of European imperialism to leave colonial subjects in the colonies, all for the cheap and destructive thrill of seeing their most hated foe humiliated worse than they had been as revenge. The tragedy and humiliations of the First World War killed so much in the European spirit, and would cement the grip the racially-erratic New World colonies would have over the Old World. That malevolent spirit of the Rhineland occupation lives on to the present day as the occupiers of Europe, and their bureaucratic toadies, delight to inflict this same shame through racial domination upon the conquered. Liberals become giddy at the thought that old white people are punished with brown children–an admission that they too do not see this as something to celebrate but that brown bodies are a tool of biopower to humiliate.
All these roads, it seems, converges on this terrifying now.
All these road converge on being overwhelmed by the entire global world, giving up space, meat, and families, so that they can take up the role of the celebrated servile.
Eat the bug.
Live in the pod.
Buy the dress for your mulatto grandson.
It’s what you deserve.
It’s who you are now.
You can be no more.
IX. Go As A Great Wave Of Cool Water
“Warrior spirit is characterised by direct, clear and loyal relations, based on fidelity and honour and a sound instinct for the various dignities, which it can well distinguish: it opposes everything which is impersonal and trivial…In dealing with relationships, not only man-to-man, but also State-to-State and race-to-race, it is necessary to be able to conceive again of that obedience which does not humiliate but exalts, that command or leadership which commits one to superiority and a precise responsibility.” – Julius Evola, “Metaphysics of War”
Humiliation is a powerful impulse, and its effects touch us at every step. Where cultural humiliation was once more abstract, like a cultural miasma that one was swimming through, social media has transformed it into an immediate performance. Articles are written that are designed to induce your outrage and weaken your defenses because of its feelings of inevitability in their victory. Guy Debord in The Society of the Spectacle warned that the authentic social life would be replaced by its representation in images, and that people would be defined by their relationship to that image. People would consume that image, perform like that image, wish to be like that image.
Our society is a shameful spectacle.
It’s been a long way to get here and I fear we have so much further to go. People who thought they were born with a national birthright are fast discovering that not only is that not the case, but that there are psychic horrors in store for anyone who isn’t with the present program. Hierarchy exists, has always existed, and will always exist. The revolutionary equalizers require a perpetual passion play of oppression being played out where those assigned as oppressors at birth are trampled down to keep the dead nation’s blood agitated instead of settling in its corpse. It starts with broadcasting Trump’s Red Hats being brutalized on every media platform and helpless to stop it. Power mewls, then smirks.
Every restless man wishes he lived in a time when he could die for something. Every wounded man wishes he lived in a time when he could live for something. When your world feels like a spiritual wasteland covered in a thousand invisible barriers, what is any one person supposed to do? “Nothing to kill or die for,” as the maudlin peace ballad goes, but what’s worse is when you feel like there’s nothing to struggle or live for. That is the hidden aspect of shame and humiliation. Degrade them so far that a pointless death might be preferable to a pointless, but painful, life. It won’t be, but they might shame you into thinking it. They will shame you into thinking there is no hope to restore the man to what he once was and was supposed to be. They will shame you into drowning yourself for a greater good that isn’t even real.
When a person drowns, they first desperately hold their breath. When the first bit of water gets in though the airway, it spasms to protect the body. There is no more air however and the body shuts down, sending the man into the black void while his heart gives out. Anyone set adrift in the cold, dark ocean will panic and die alone in these shifting tides. And if they’re not alone, they might just drag another person under with them. The only way for the lost at sea to live is to find the buoys in the night and cling to them until help arrives. You may think such a thing doesn’t exist but the lights in the sky have guided your wayward forefathers before and they still know the way home.
Home, past the broken fences waiting to be mended. Home, where the hearth still burns with persistent embers of a previous fire. Home, where words are no longer needed to feel restored and whole again.
The Ten Thousand of the Xenophon’s Anabasis famously cried “Thalatta! Thalatta!” The sea! The sea! They were mercenaries, no one they fought for would care if they lived or died. They were backstabbed, their leaders cut down and left to fend for themselves. There was nothing left for them here but to save themselves. After two years of endless death and struggle as a hated enemy in a land they were not welcome in, they finally saw the sea and knew they would be home.
This is not Ancient Greek and we are not those warriors. Nothing seems real with these listless flights from feeling. It’s all so fake except for that constant anxious pressure on our hearts of a threatening future full of bugs, pods, and polycules. A simulation of drowning that never actually ends. It would be easier to give them what they want. Stop fighting it. They hold all the cards and they get a sick thrill from the humiliated’s helpless defiance.
Yet we cling.
This is not a pep talk. This is not about some fiery human spirit that prevails because it has righteousness on its side. This is not a call to action. This is not a sermon about the people who were cast out of a shining city on the hill and who will one day return. This is cultural graffiti, a marker for those who need to know their own have passed through; a buoy for the ashamed who want to cling instead of drown.
Resistance and restoration is the only way forward. Resistance in our mocking laughter, restoration in our children. Resistance in defying lies, restoration in our history. Resistance in our discipline, restoration in our truth.
Our society is a conquered one and our children and grandchildren might curse us for not doing more. That is their right. The fight should have been ours, never theirs. The haunted and humiliated live in pain and self-pity, always forgetting that pain must be passed through. We must pass through. We can’t go back. We can’t run. We have to go forward. We have to live without fear of being denied a mangy dog’s table scraps. We have to live in truth. Go then, and give them nothing to gloat over.
Go as a great wave of cool water.
Go like a blight upon the dulness of the world;
Go with your edge against this.
Go in a friendly manner,
Go with an open speech.
Go to those who are thickened with middle age.