Scientifically historicizing progress

A 2006 essay by Ralph Seliger, himself a left-liberal Zionist, remains one of the best article overviews of the oft-cited relationship between neoconservatism and Trotskyism. Its stated purpose is to debunk the “Jewishness” of the neoconservatives, but the author’s retelling of events that he was sometimes a first-hand witness to speak for themselves.

Unlike virtually everyone else, I don’t regard neoconservatism by itself as ever having been a significant phenomenon. It’s nothing more than the Jewish wing of Wilsonianism, and the perspectives of neoconservatism and mainline gentile liberal internationalism do not differ significantly from each other, except that some of the first-generation neocons did partially criticize various Great Society programs — like Nathan Glazer did. Even without the neocons, it is unlikely to me that the US and Israel’s cozy relationship (beginning with LBJ, thus predating AIPAC influence) would have differed. Before PNAC, there was the UDA. The Old Right had already dissolved by that point, and in fact I’d say that realistically it was the final defeat of the Taft Republicans by Eisenhower during the debates on the Bricker Amendment that was far more traumatic to American conservatism than in whatever influence the social democratic ideas of the Partisan Review and neoconservatism may have had.

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Geneva 1782

Bertrand de Jouvenel, in his Pure Theory of Politics, recounts a general state of optimism during the fin-de-siecle of the 18th century, a time when enlightened absolutism had began to settle in a state of rest, and cabinet wars (Kabinettskriege) were the predominant form.

He specifically quotes from a 1792 work by French revolutionary Jean-Paul Rabaut Saint-Étienne, quite fittingly enough published months before the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars proper…

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Comte de Ferrand on the factions of the Estates-General

From Le rétablissement de la monarchie (1793) by Antoine François Claude, comte Ferrand, pp.33-38:

They had succeeded in speaking incessantly to man of his rights, and raising the body politic against wisdom; in the Estates-General they were given the opportunity to assemble their hitherto isolated attacks, and to ensure their success by giving them a national character:

1. Protestants. Enemies of the royal authority and of the Catholic religion, they had in the last but one century attempted to destroy both: both had resisted their efforts; but they had not lost the hope of renewing them: their deputies arrived at the Estates-General, with the same plan to divide France into departments: a project which they had conceived at a time when they were persecuted, & whose execution they came to attempt at the moment when the goodness of Louis XVI. had assured their repose, their fate, and their civil status. Although in general the Protestants practice religious precepts more exactly than Catholics, their hatred of the church brought them closer to the Atheists, who in their writings had always sided with them, not so much by error as by aversion to the truth. They will implore their help in the name of tolerance; and the philosophers, whose secret had been revealed to one of them, when he had said, that if the philosophers should become masters, they would be more enlightened than the others, they would prefer to be with the passion carried with it by the Protestants, and so they flattered the latter’s credulity with espousals of revenge, and congratulated themselves for having acquired, by granting the protection which they were asked, an additional means of attacking the Christian religion which they had sworn to destroy.

2. All those whose irreverence, pride, and ambition had believed that the moment had come to declare themselves legislators, to give the calculation of their interests, or that of their abstract ideas, as the result of a wise political conception. Each of them pretended to honor or to give a constitution to France; each one in his own way, but all too systematic, too proud, or too little educated to lend themselves to the proprieties of the times, things, and people, and so they wanted a clean slate on which they could be destined without constraint and without obstacles. The first step which they all had to make was thus to destroy what existed; & in following the execution of this plan, the oldest establishments were to be the first to be proscribed.

3. The partisans of anarchy. This class is always numerous, because, to disturb a state, it leaps with more audacity than talent; but it multiplies itself in public discords, because anarchy presents to all passions the success of one hand and the inability of the other. The Estates-General convened near the capital, in a moment of want, in a corrupt century, in the midst of all the rising parties, offering to the eyes of those men who always inspire terror or contempt, the hope too well probed of a rich harvest of profits and iniquities. To ensure its enjoyment, it was sufficient to destroy everything; and of the multitude of interests which were to work in the overthrow, were to be born countless difficulties which, by delaying the renewal/restoration, prolonged the anarchy or the triumph of all crimes.

4. Supporters of bicameralism [monarchiens].

To see from that moment what interest, what means and what desire they had to kill and to overthrow the old regime, they only jumped at the opportunity for their arrival at the Estates-General. Already being sounded by others as the deserters of all orders, they could not hide from themselves that they were exposing themselves to being rejected by all; they wished, therefore, to create a new one, the entrance of which could only be opened to a small number, but could be promised to a multitude whom this chimera would not fail to seduce. It was by betraying their order and their oath that they had to begin; and it was easy to conceive what such a beginning would produce; that nothing would cost the legislators, who gave themselves their mission, and who established it on a perjury. These transgressions of honor and truth offer to their proselytes a seductive appeal, in the humiliation and destruction of their own bodies. For those who are not equal, all the distinctions which apprehended the happiness of their equals, were not the object of a sacrifice. When men of birth are made to go to discontent, they despise their own order, in proportion to the degree to which their arrogance gives them the idea of their own merit.

Lastly, this party was dangerous, because it endeavored to show in a favorable light the example of a neighboring and powerful nation [England]; and because it took care to conceal the local differences and the definite inconveniences. It seduced thus those who judge with enthusiasm, without reflection, and who content themselves with seeing things en masse. It seemed to wish to clarify the three powers/branches of the state, and it announced itself as respecting property…

The monarchiens and Necker, he lambasts a lot. On the former, see also: “Old school cuckservatism.”

In general, these four factions are a recurring pattern: the Protestants (1) are a stand-in for ethnic spoils (complete with their advocacy by philosophes), the (2) managerialist, the (3) rent-seeker and the (4) ineffectual reformist conservative.

Kaiser Wilhelm I on the eve of the March Revolution

Or rather the future Kaiser Wilhelm I. At the time, he was still Prince Wilhelm of Prussia. This is from a letter he wrote on March 28, 1848 to London before his temporarily exile there, sourced from an article by Karl Haenchen entitled “Kaiser Wilhelms I. Bericht über die Berliner Märzrevolution 1848,” originally published March 1938 in the Weiße Blätter (not the same as the earlier expressionist journal Die weißen Blätter) — the premier German monarchist journal of its day. Hell, probably the only one? They didn’t mind the First Reich, they could swallow their pride for the Second, but the Third was right out.

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The transition from Prussian conservatism to German nationalism

Yesterday’s geopolitical exigencies are today’s sacred national traditions, and anyone who touches them is committing cultural genocide. So they say.

The Junkers of their day were debating all the hot issues then in vogue. These included such riveting questions as whether their descendants (i.e. you) would be subjects of composite dynastic states that emerged as results of centuries of succession conflicts, appanages, condominiums, purchases, partible inheritances and other obscure devices from a pre-Westphalian era when states were treated like real property (with the occasional revision by such a thing as a Congress of Vienna)… OR, would they be free and independent citizens of sovereign nation-states?

They chose the latter, and today your daughters are being raped by refugees.

Hey, all good things come with trade-offs.

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