Impeachment of Man, 3

by Savitri Devi


 
Excerpted from Chapter III: Joyous Wisdom

Western Free Thought, in all its different forms, has, as we pointed out, retained Christian ethics while doing away with Christian metaphysics. It is not other-worldly at all, but it has never preached or even conceived a love more comprehensive than that of humanity. And every one of its aspects, from Descartes to Karl Marx, is as man-centered as any philosophy can be.

In other words, there have been, and there still are philosophies “faithful to this earth.” But we know of no historic civilization based upon a joyous earthly wisdom, implying active love towards all living creatures; upon a religion of this world and of this life in flesh and blood, which would be neither man-centered nor pessimistic, nor lacking truly universal kindness in the Buddhistic sense of the word. We only know of a very few individuals who have put forward such a philosophy, professed such a religion—consciously or unconsciously—from time to time.

With regard to animals—and plants—the believers in man-centered creeds seem to be governed by the mere consideration of gain and loss. They seem to be people for whom living things have a price in connection with some purpose for which they can be used, not a value in themselves. And the highest purpose they can dream of is the “service of humanity.”

Why? Goodness knows. Probably because they themselves happen to be human beings. To admit the existence of something higher and more precious than “man”—and having more “rights” than he to health and enjoyment—would be to concede that man (i.e., themselves) can be justly used in the interest of that thing.

And they do not want to reach such a conclusion—surely not. They are willing to exploit living nature; but they shrink from the possibility of being themselves exploited in their turn, even in the interest of such superior beings as, for instance, inhuman Gods, or for the greater welfare of the less exalted but more tangible master races that might appear on the international stage. The result is that the only God they can think of, if any, is a man-loving God who created no master race save mankind itself, to which he gave as a birthright domination over the whole scheme of life.

Our votaries of man-centered faiths are the last people to understand the believers in the right of the superior or more efficient races to exploit the inferior or less efficient ones. Our philanthropists, burning with partial, fanatical love, who would willingly destroy the whole of the animal world in order to save one human idiot, are the last people to understand the ardent nationalist who would, with a smile, sacrifice mankind to his own country’s pride. They have an altogether illogical yet undeniable fondness for human beings, but none at all or very little for other animal species, even for other mammals.

If, on the other hand, a man feels for humanity in general and for every one of his human neighbors in particular, why should he stop there? If he feels it is “wrong” not to treat other men as he would himself like to be treated, why does he not feel the same with regard to all sentient creatures?

The followers of man-centered creeds never think of that. They speak of human “rationality” and of the usefulness of human beings; yet they never ask whether the person whom they are about to help has actually made use of his capacity to better his surroundings or to work for others. They just help him—even if he be the most consummate imbecile, suffering the result of his own foolishness; even if he be the most useless, self-centered old bachelor, having never cared for anybody.

Hospitals and asylums are open to all. And in bad times food is distributed indiscriminately to all the distressed, without any enquiry into the life history of each one. It is just the fact that they are beings, outwardly at least, more like himself than others—specimens of the human race. The humanitarian is a fellow who has rejected the logic of racialism, but has kept all the sentimental partiality attached to every form of group loyalty. He has done away with the “white man’s burden,” and discarded the pride of the master races as too unchristian-like or too “unscientific” for him.

But he still clings—or tries to cling—to that elemental blood solidarity which is the essence of all racialism. He clings to it, after having distorted it and broadened it to such an extent that it loses all that was vital and stimulating in it, in its earlier stages, without it generously merging into the higher solidarity of all life.

Un raciste manque: that is what the humanitarian is, and nothing more, so long as he fails to transcend his man-centered ideology.

Published in: on July 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Impeachment of Man, 4

by Savitri Devi


 
Excerpted from Chapter IV: Action precedes theory

A man who has always felt an insurmountable, physical disgust for animal slaughter, and to whom the very sight of meat is nauseating, is hardly likely to force himself to become a flesh eater just because the books he was taught to consider as sacred or infallible (be they religious scriptures or “scientific” works) seem to encourage such a diet rather than forbid it, or because the founder of his faith, or the geniuses he reveres the most, obviously ate meat. He may not always have the courage to denounce the man-centered religion or philosophy in which he was educated, on the sole ground that its ethics are not high enough for him (in fact, shockingly below his own natural ethics).

From the point of view of practical behaviour, there are, properly speaking, only two kinds of people: those who really love animals (and plants) and those who do not.

We are, for instance, all acquainted with the belief, shared by many, that animals (and, a fortiori, plants) have “no soul,” or that if they have, their soul is of a nature entirely different from ours, in particular that it is not immortal. We all know that Christianity enjoins us to “love our neighbours,” including our enemies, “as ourselves,” but is completely silent about our duties towards subhuman creatures.

If one is to “love” a man who has murdered one’s parents, committed atrocities upon one’s countrymen, or robbed one of one’s livelihood, then it appears obvious that one should, a fortiori, love the lamb, the kid, the cow, and all innocent irresponsible creatures enough, at least, not to encourage the butcher’s hideous industry; and that one should love harmless frogs and guinea pigs enough to protest against the use of them in scientific experimentation.

Up till today, no creed obviously implying consistent active kindness towards all sentient beings has ever succeeded in imposing itself upon the practical life of any human society.

A great many of the town-bred meat-eaters we know, in Europe at least, are animal- lovers at heart.… although they generally express a sincere horror after reading or hearing a vivid description of a slaughterhouse, yet they do not spontaneously connect all the ghastliness of animal killing with that particular chunk of meat they see before them in a dish with roast potatoes and onions all around it.

They do not automatically picture to themselves, at the sight of it, the agony of a sheep, of a bullock, of a young calf, once enjoying the taste of fresh grass and the light of heaven, then suddenly drawing its last breath in a pool of blood . . . and for what?—for them to have some mutton, beef or veal on their menu. If they did actually imagine that, half of them would shrink in horror, and not only eat no more meat themselves, but also despise all those who refuse to give up that habit as one despises the accomplices in some hideous murder case.

But they do not. The custom of feeding on flesh and the knowledge that “men have always done so from the beginning of the world”—the reaction of daily repeated misdeeds upon one’s true sense of values—have blunted, if not completely obliterated, their power of visualizing at once that which they wish to forget. They are not obsessed by the unavoidable connection between an appetizing roast with potatoes around it and the sickening reality of the death struggle of a slaughtered beast, as we would be. A whole series of associations of ideas has been suppressed in them by an obnoxious “education,” and they have not enough imagination to revive it of their own accord.

The same could be said about all those inconsistent animal lovers who would not refuse the present of a fur coat, nay, who would not hesitate to buy one if they could afford it; who take medicine (preventive and curative) prepared at the cost of the suffering of many guinea pigs and white rats; and who hire a carnage when they are in a hurry (in places where taxis are not available) without making sure that the horse is not tired, sometimes even without paying attention whether the driver beats it or not.

A natural, spontaneous feeling of sympathy for any individual living creature, allied to a sufficiently vivid imagination, is a rare quality. And consequently real animal lovers—not merely those who keep pets, or those who burst into indignation at the thought of one form of cruelty and tolerate or even encourage another—are very few. Real plant lovers who feel for the trees themselves, and not merely for the shade, fruit or flowers they give, are equally rare.

One may also wonder whether any substantial progress has ever been made in that line, from the beginning of historical times. One may even wonder whether organized society has not deliberately worked to destroy such spontaneous brotherly feelings towards beasts as might have existed in some of the better human beings living outside its pale.

The enemy of the hunter (as well as of the butcher, of the scientist who experiments on living creatures, etc.) is an enemy of mankind.

We scorn all men who condemn “wars of aggression,” and who, at the same time, eat meat; nay, we scorn all pacifists who do not, in their everyday dealings, live up to the ideal of universal nonviolence preached by the Jains. We scorn all those, whoever they be, who have never raised their voice against scientific experimentation upon innocent animals (which can be neither for nor against any cause) and who dare condemn experimentation upon one’s dangerous—or potentially dangerous—human enemies.

We scorn all those who never were moved to indignation at the idea of man’s lasting crime against the living Realm;—at the thought of the enormous daily round of avoidable pain inflicted by man upon beasts (and even plants)—and who, yet, dare speak of “war crimes” and of “war criminals.”

We flatly refuse to condemn war,—be it a thousand times a war “of aggression”—as long as mankind at large persists in its callous attitude towards animal (and tree) life. And as long as torture is inflicted by men upon a single living creature, in the name of scientific research, of sport, of luxury or of gluttony, we systematically refuse our support to any campaign exploiting public sympathy for tortured human beings—unless the latter be, of course, such ones as we look upon as our brothers in race and faith, or people near and dear to these.

The world that exalts Pasteur and Pavlov, and countless other tormentors of innocent creatures, in the name of the so-called “interest of mankind,” while branding as “war criminals” men who have not shrunk from acts of violence upon hostile human elements, when such was their duty in the service of higher mankind and in the interest of all life, does not deserve to live.

Published in: on July 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Impeachment of Man, 5

by Savitri Devi


 

Excerpted from Chapter 5: Lights in the Night

All over the world, men in general ceased offering sacrifices as their fathers had, but accustomed themselves to the existence of slaughterhouses as to that of a so-called “necessity.”

The fact is that even the most illustrious cultures of the world—including those supposed to be relatively “humane”—are in general sadly devoid of any sense of real consideration for nonhuman suffering, as well as of any serious preoccupation concerning the welfare of nonhuman beings regarded for their own sake, and not for what man can get out of them.

Of course there have always been individuals whose natural, spontaneous love for creatures transcended the general outlook of their contemporaries and coreligionists; people like St. Francis of Assisi, who used to speak of his “brother” the wolf and his “brother” the ass, in the midst of a society and of a Church that denied an immortal soul to dumb beasts.

St. Francis himself—so they say—once vehemently rejected the idea, put forward by one of his monks, of keeping up Christmas Day without meat. And doubtless many other less holy and less well-known persons, among those who have acknowledged the brotherhood of all living creatures, were not more consistent in all they did or said or tolerated without protest.

In this present-day, nightmarish world—the outcome of the victory of the Dark Powers—we cannot, unfortunately, say a single word to the glory of the greatest of all Western men of love and of vision; of the inspired Prophet (for that is what he was) who fought for the reinstallation of a world order in tune with the divine order of nature: a world order in which beautiful healthy beasts had rights, while decadent men had none.

Whatever we could say would be bitterly held against us and our brothers in faith, and against the very cause of Life which we intend to serve. Those who know will understand us without our mentioning the godlike leader’s name. Those who do not know yet, will know one day (if they have at all any wits) and admit that we were right, and place the one great vegetarian ruler the West has ever had ahead of those most uncompromising expounders of the life-centered outlook who are, at the same time, men of action.
 

Note of the editor:

In the last couple of paragraphs above, Devi was referring to Hitler. Since Impeachment of Man was written in 1945-1946, the times of the Hellstorm Holocaust, Devi was not free to speak out openly. She obviously had in mind the revolution in Nazi Germany regarding the treatment of animals, which I’ll recapitulate below:

• Goebbels mentions that Hitler planned to ban slaughterhouses in the German Reich following the conclusion of the Second World War.

• Support for animal welfare in Nazi Germany was common among the country’s leadership. Heinrich Himmler for one made an effort to ban the hunting of animals.

• After Hitler had ascended to the Chancellery and the Nazis had consolidated control of the Reichstag, the Nazis immediately held a meeting to enact the ban on vivisection. Göring announced an end to the “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments” and said that those who “still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property” will be sent to concentration camps.

• On April 21, 1933, almost immediately after the Nazis came to power, the parliament began to pass laws for the regulation of animal slaughter. On November 24, 1933, Nazi Germany enacted another law called Reichstierschutzgesetz, for protection of animals. This law listed many prohibitions against the use of animals, including their use for filmmaking and other public events causing pain or damage to health.

• In 1938, animal protection was accepted as a subject to be taught in public schools and universities in Germany.

After the Hellstorm Holocaust the triumphant Dark Powers reversed these advances and imposed a regressive Diktat of cruelty toward our cousins, the animals.

Published in: on July 7, 2017 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Liberalism, 1

Wikipedia

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The former principle is stressed in classical liberalism while the latter is more evident in social liberalism. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programs such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, and international cooperation.

Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the notions, common at the time, of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The 17th-century philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property, while adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract. Liberals opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with representative democracy and the rule of law.

Prominent revolutionaries in the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of what they saw as tyrannical rule. Liberalism started to spread rapidly especially after the French Revolution. The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, South America, and North America. In this period, the dominant ideological opponent of classical liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism later survived major ideological challenges from new opponents, such as fascism and communism. During the 20th century, liberal ideas spread even further as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars.

In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism became a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Today, liberal parties continue to wield power and influence throughout the world.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 11:30 am  Comments (2)  

Liberalism, 2

Etymology and definition

Words such as liberal, liberty, libertarian, and libertine all trace their history to the Latin liber, which means “free”.

One of the first recorded instances of the word liberal occurs in 1375, when it was used to describe the liberal arts in the context of an education desirable for a free-born man. The word’s early connection with the classical education of a medieval university soon gave way to a proliferation of different denotations and connotations. Liberal could refer to “free in bestowing” as early as 1387, “made without stint” in 1433, “freely permitted” in 1530, and “free from restraint”—often as a pejorative remark—in the 16th and the 17th centuries.

Agreement_of_the_People (1647-1649)

In 16th century England, liberal could have positive or negative attributes in referring to someone’s generosity or indiscretion. In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare wrote of “a liberal villaine” who “hath… confest his vile encounters”. With the rise of the Enlightenment, the word acquired decisively more positive undertones, being defined as “free from narrow prejudice” in 1781 and “free from bigotry” in 1823.

In 1815, the first use of the word liberalism appeared in English. In Spain, the liberales, the first group to use the liberal label in a political context, fought for the implementation of the 1812 Constitution for decades. From 1820 to 1823, during the Trienio Liberal, King Ferdinand VII was compelled by the liberales to swear to uphold the Constitution. By the middle of the 19th century, liberal was used as a politicized term for parties and movements all over the world.

Over time, the meaning of the word “liberalism” began to diverge in different parts of the world. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “In the United States, liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies.” Consequently, in the U.S., the ideas of individualism and laissez-faire economics previously associated with classical liberalism became the basis for the emerging school of libertarian thought.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Liberalism, 3

History of liberalism

Beginnings

The Agreement of the People (1647) [photograph: here] was a manifesto for political change, proposed by the Levellers during the English Civil War. It called for freedom of religion, frequent convening of Parliament and equality under the law.

Isolated strands of liberal thought that had existed in Western philosophy since the Ancient Greeks began to coalesce at the time of the English Civil War. Disputes between the Parliament and King Charles I over political supremacy sparked a massive civil war in the 1640s, which culminated in Charles’ execution and the establishment of a Republic. In particular, the Levellers, a radical political movement of the period, published their manifesto Agreement of the People which advocated popular sovereignty, an extended voting suffrage, religious tolerance and equality before the law.

Many of the liberal concepts of Locke were foreshadowed in the radical ideas that were freely aired at the time. Algernon Sidney was second only to John Locke in his influence on liberal political thought in eighteenth-century Britain. He believed that absolute monarchy was a great political evil, and his major work, Discourses Concerning Government, argued that the subjects of the monarch were entitled by right to share in the government through advice and counsel.

locke

These ideas were first drawn together and systematized as a distinct ideology, by the English philosopher John Locke, generally regarded as the father of modern liberalism. Locke developed the then radical notion that government acquires consent from the governed which has to be constantly present for a government to remain legitimate. His influential Two Treatises (1690), the foundational text of liberal ideology, outlined his major ideas. His insistence that lawful government did not have a supernatural basis was a sharp break with then-dominant theories of governance. Locke also defined the concept of the separation of church and state. Based on the social contract principle, Locke argued that there was a natural right to the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. He also formulated a general defense for religious toleration in his Letters Concerning Toleration.

Locke was influenced by the liberal ideas of John Milton, who was a staunch advocate of freedom in all its forms. Milton argued for disestablishment as the only effective way of achieving broad toleration. In his Areopagitica, Milton provided one of the first arguments for the importance of freedom of speech: “the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties”.

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Liberalism, 4

The Glorious Revolution

The impact of these ideas steadily increased during the 17th century in England, culminating in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which enshrined parliamentary sovereignty and the right of revolution, and led to the establishment of what many consider the first modern, liberal state.

Significant legislative milestones in this period included the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 which strengthened the convention that forbade detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence.

bill-rights

The Bill of Rights (photo left) formally established the supremacy of the law and of parliament over the monarch and laid down basic rights for all Englishmen. The Bill made royal interference with the law and with elections to parliament illegal, made the agreement of parliament necessary for the implementation of any new taxes and outlawed the maintenance of a standing army during peacetime without parliament’s consent. The right to petition the monarch was granted to everyone and “cruel and unusual punishments” were made illegal under all circumstances.

This was followed a year later with the Act of Toleration, which drew its ideological content from John Locke’s four letters advocating religious toleration. The Act allowed freedom of worship to Nonconformists who pledged oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to the Anglican Church. In 1695, the Commons refused to renew the Licensing of the Press Act 1662, leading to a continuous period of unprecedented freedom of the press.

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Liberalism, 5

Era of enlightenment

The development of liberalism continued throughout the 18th century with the burgeoning Enlightenment ideals of the era. This was a period of profound intellectual vitality that questioned old traditions and influenced several European monarchies throughout the 18th century. In contrast to England, the French experience in the 18th century was characterized by the perpetuation of feudal payments and rights and absolutism. Ideas that challenged the status quo were often harshly repressed. Most of the philosophes of the French Enlightenment were progressive in the liberal sense and advocated the reform of the French system of government along more constitutional and liberal lines.

Montesquieu

Baron de Montesquieu wrote a series of highly influential works in the early 18th century, including Persian Letters (1717) and The Spirit of the Laws (1748). The latter exerted tremendous influence, both inside and outside of France.

Montesquieu pleaded in favor of a constitutional system of government, the preservation of civil liberties and the law, and the idea that political institutions ought to reflect the social and geographical aspects of each community. In particular, he argued that political liberty required the separation of the powers of government.

Building on John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, he advocated that the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of government should be assigned to different bodies. He also emphasized the importance of a robust due process in law, including the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence and proportionality in the severity of punishment.

Another important figure of the French Enlightenment was Voltaire. Initially believing in the constructive role an enlightened monarch could play in improving the welfare of the people, he eventually came to a new conclusion: “It is up to us to cultivate our garden”. His most polemical and ferocious attacks on intolerance and religious persecutions began to appear a few years later. Despite much persecution, Voltaire remained a courageous polemicist who indefatigably fought for civil rights—the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion—and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the Ancien Régime.

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Liberalism, 6

The American Revolution

Political tension between England and its American colonies grew after 1765 over the issue of taxation without representation, culminating in the Declaration of Independence of a new republic.

The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, echoed Locke: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Declaration_independence

After the war, the leaders debated about how to move forward. The Articles of Confederation, written in 1776, now appeared inadequate to provide security, or even a functional government. The Confederation Congress called a Constitutional Convention in 1787 to write a new Constitution of the United States.

In the context of the times, the Constitution was a republican and liberal document. It established a strong national government with clear separation of the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The first ten amendments to the constitution, known as the United States Bill of Rights, guaranteed some of the natural rights liberal thinkers used to justify the Revolution.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Liberalism, 7

The French Revolution

Historians widely regard the French Revolution as one of the most important events in history. The Revolution is often seen as marking the “dawn of the modern era,” and its convulsions are widely associated with “the triumph of liberalism.”

The French Revolution began in 1789 with the convocation of the Estates-General in May. The first year of the Revolution witnessed members of the Third Estate proclaiming the Tennis Court Oath in June, the Storming of the Bastille in July.

bloody_frenchThe two key events that marked the triumph of liberalism were the Abolition of feudalism in France on the night of 4 August 1789, which marked the collapse of feudal and old traditional rights and privileges and restrictions, and the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August. The rise of Napoleon as dictator in 1799 heralded a reverse of many of the republican and democratic gains. However, Napoleon did not restore the Ancien Régime. He kept much of the liberalism and imposed a liberal code of law, the Code Napoleon.

Outside France the Revolution had a major impact and its ideas became widespread. Furthermore, the French armies in the 1790s and 1800s directly overthrew feudal remains in much of western Europe. They liberalized property laws, ended seigneurial dues, abolished the guild of merchants and craftsmen to facilitate entrepreneurship, legalized divorce, and closed the Jewish ghettos. The Inquisition ended as did the Holy Roman Empire. The power of church courts and religious authority was sharply reduced, and equality under the law was proclaimed for all men.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment