The “Losing Right”

As an introduction to this article, I would like to state outright that within this article, I use the words conservative and conservatism a lot. I mean no direct offense to those who call themselves conservative as it should be noted that I am speaking about the average consensus within a political movement and trying to take an objective stance for analytic purposes. This is but another in a string of experimental articles, and will be edited further in the coming days.

I have always found conservatism – in the most modern sense of the word – to be a sort of reaction to the perceived infringements of a number of (primarily) economic, and (occasionally) ethical structures. Though I may address the difference at some point, it is again important to point out that the meaning of reaction should not conflated with, or muddled by the (often Marxian) concept of the reactionary. Modern-day conservatism is a constant, yet ever-changing force of reaction to the most extreme and hyper-modern social conventions that are slowly, yet deliberately nudged into the public consciousness; this primarily from far-left institutions, universities, or any other place which might incubate the production of those leftist social theories born from “analysis of power relations and hierarchy,” or some other foolishness designed to corrode the very roots of our society. These social theories like “racism, misogyny, homophobia, white privilege, transphobia, Islamophobia, bigotry,” and on and on it goes.

We find that conservatism has no offensive push for anything to the contrary, that is besides some highfalutin abstractions about how people have lost religion or the family structure is gone, along with a few other idiosyncratic phrases and mannerisms about your bootstraps. While these may actually and honestly be true, conservatism is, generally speaking, impotent in disseminating these solutions to the point by which one might actually take action, i.e. go to church, rebuild my own family, start my own business, etc. It is quite possible and indeed probable that the libertarian social element present in (particularly American) conservatism prevents these very actions. The above-mentioned obstacles, along with the cowering and grovelling at the proverbial feet of leftism to repent for transgressions, and the constant reset of the terms of victory – or acceptability for that matter – have congealed into a weak, deferent, and cowardly bastardization of a once revered movement.

For you reading who might call yourself a conservative, fret not – as I know many in my personal life, and when I define conservatism as weak and cowardly, I speak of the movement itself, not any one individual person. I would also contend that many who would dub themselves conservatives are much closer to what we would now consider a paleoconservative or perhaps a right-winger generally speaking. For example, when the term neocon or neoconservative comes up, it is received as a pejorative under almost any circumstances. Yet the distinction between a neoconservative and a conservative becomes smaller and smaller as time wears on. Lastly, this is not to say that right-wingers, generally speaking, are weak and cowardly – rather the contrary; much of the right wing is a principled and serious group. Perhaps it would be easier to explain some of these things if we’re to take them one by one, as opposed to rambling on in large blocks of text.

Socially Liberal – Fiscally Conservative

Although this claim may be the most contentious, it seems as good place to start as any. I know that many, including myself, had once referred to ourselves as socially liberal – fiscally conservative – expressed more often than not when in the public eye, or under the scrutiny of a “political enemy,” as it were. For the conservative, I would ask only this:

Are you really “socially liberal?”

For example, I know that I am most certainly not “socially liberal.” Sure, I care very little about what happens hundreds of miles away within groups that I have no relation to, but that does not mean that I find such things conducive to a properly functional society. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about – the kinds of things that a social conservative would reject; I won’t be spelling this part out. I want to be employable in the future. Being socially conservative does not make you an authoritarian. It does not make you a Fascist, or a Nazi, or any other silly label that has been given to such people by their own enemies. The goings on in other societies, in other nations, in other cultures, is not my problem – that does not mean that I will tolerate it in my own. There is not much use in continuing to delve into this question, as I have two other articles about the strangeness of the “socially liberal – fiscally conservative.”

How ‘Reaction’ as a Primary Source of Unity Sets the Terms of One’s Defeat

Dear reader, I apologize that I must be so vague.

Conservatism in the 21st century is marked by reaction after reaction after reaction. All of which have failed. The leftward trend of society begins by carefully and gradually introducing a concept into public consciousness. Such a concept is usually put forth as only a humble suggestion – just something we should think about. From there, it is picked up and dragged through the media and universities, from which it trickles down to the everyman. We can observe this in a string of related examples. In the 2000s and 2010s, one hot cultural topic of many revolved around the issue of the right for homosexuals to marry. Imagine this idea was put to a purely democratic vote in the 1960s. Would it have passed? Of course not. This is why these most deliberate suggestions for more ‘equality’ or other egalitarian measures must be, at first, voiced by the vocal few, and spoken of sparingly and in whispers. Was it solely an issue of cultural wrongdoing or other unnecessary societal violations that homosexuals were eventually allowed to marry? No. Up until only a few short decades ago, the American society was largely Christian, and generally would not accept this not for any reason of blind hatred, but for the fact that their religion – the bedrock upon which almost their whole worldview is based – did not allow it. This religion, which had been passed down specifically to them by their ancestors for millennia, made another concession. The concession is made, and one feels better; the weight imposed by reading the newspaper articles and watching the television series about how incredibly difficult it was for homosexuals to cope without a Christian marriage – the weight is gone. You are no longer held emotionally hostage for some proposition for equality that would end after your concession.

Now, you dare not refuse to bake the cake, lest you be tied up in the court system for the next seven years.

Here is where things get interesting, and the parameters of victory change. As a conservative, you say okay, things are fine here. We’re far enough. No need to go further. This is until we find yet another radically egalitarian concept to have somehow miraculously appeared – white people are inherently privileged. As a conservative, one’s natural position is to go on the defensive – to say look at all we’ve done and all the concessions we’ve made. There is no need to continue. The conservative has no outlet to express his truest opinions. He cannot be genuine, for being genuine as a STRAIGHT WHITE MALE OPPRESSOR is to be absconded for your beliefs in tradition. Let’s say, for example, a homosexual man (otherwise white and male) appears, and he says look, I’m white, I’m a man, I have no privilege that is not afforded to everyone else – this man is king. Let’s use Milo Yiannopoulos as the example here. Though short lived, he became one of the behemoths of the “slightly right of conservative,” perhaps alt-lite movement. Why was Yiannopoulos so successful at expressing his moderately right-wing (albeit not exactly ‘conservative’) views? He was successful because he is a homosexual. He is a member of a victim class that was heralded by the left just a decade earlier, and as such, he is a weapon to use against the left, as if to say do you see? This man is on your side, yet you deny him everything you deny me. He is as good a candidate as any to tell you what it is that I really want to say. And so, it is in this manner that the conservative believes the left’s own “weapon” can be used against them. Furthermore, this cycle becomes a competition to decide who is more liberal. The competition whereby a conservative might find himself defending a transgender person in a debate against a radical communist because the transgender is more conservative.

Kneel Before the Altar of Your Enemy

Following the previous section, this is what seems to be the most frustrating thing for the average conservative to see from a public figure or office holder. It begins with a statement that is, given the climate, perhaps a bit too spicy – a little bit too provocative. Leftist institutions immediately excoriate the subject in question for his racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/islamophobic/bigoted statement and relentlessly pursue an apology. This is where the mistakes are made. I would assert that when it so happens that one of these ultimatums are given, the average conservative sincerely hopes that no quarter is given to the mob of hysterical journalists and self-righteous professors commanding an apology. This is, of course, because this average conservative has seen this movie before, and knows quite well the outcome of a concession to the standards of the enemy, for as sincere such a concession may be, we all know there is no forgiveness. Nothing is forgiven, and nothing is gained. Of course, one could understand the pressure bearing down upon an individual to bend the knee, acknowledge his wrongdoing, and repent for it, as traditionally the entire point of an apology is to seek forgiveness so that one might be relieved from the constant castigation of the enemy. Yet the consequences of bending the proverbial knee are far, far worse than standing one’s ground.

Before I begin with the next section, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I do not advocate that you say things that ruin your life. I would implore you, dear reader, to speak the truth at all times*, and defend what you know to be true. That being said, I will contradict myself to express what we all inherently know – sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut. There is no point in ruining your livelihood by saying something, out of the blue, that will get you fired and lose you family and friends. I’m 26 years old, which is why my articles are not adorned by graphs of what different groups do on average, and how often they do it. I don’t want to lose everything before I have anything, and I’m sure you don’t either (unless you’re retired, in which case you should be going all in).

Bending the Knee: “Please, Just Make This Go Away.”

We can begin by analyzing the process and aftermath of the plea for forgiveness. Firstly, to make an apology in the public space is (quite obviously) an admission of guilt. To make confession before your enemies is to admit not only that you are wrong, but to admit that they are, at least partially, right. Even an apology on the grounds that it could have been phrased better or my favorite, this was taken out of context is to give an inch, and we know quite well what happens when you give an inch to the mob.

So let’s say you said something and happened to offend a whole bunch of people.

niggerguysouthpark

Is it something you truly believe? Is it provocative for the sake of being provocative? If it is, who cares? Did you say anything illegal? Unless you called for violence, you probably didn’t. Did you say something defensible? Most likely.

Note – this all goes out the window if you are a European, but you guys can’t get fired for saying things on the internet unless its illegal, so I don’t want to hear it.

You can’t turn on any technology, lest you be bombarded by thousands of threats to yourself, your family, and generally anyone around you. You will be publicly doxed. Your employer will be harassed, and you will most likely be terminated. People will show up to your home, and so on and so forth.

You obviously don’t want this, so even though you said something defensible – something you believe to be true – you will back off and admit that somehow, you were wrong. What happens then? Anyone who supported you (in plentiful numbers, no doubt) in your defense against the mob will drop you like a rock. They’ll tell you that you suck, and that you should’ve defended yourself from saying what’s on everyone else’s minds. But that’s okay because the harassment will stop now. It won’t; if anything, it will only become worse. Now you have admitted yourself that you were wrong, thus accepting the premises of their worldview and as such, you must atone forever. One apology is never enough.

Defending Yourself: “**** You, I’ll Say What I Want.”

Conversely, if one refuses to make a single concession under the same circumstances, an entirely different game emerges. Of course, the barrage of attacks and threats on your person and livelihood will remain the same, at least in the beginning. But you know what you said is both true and justifiable. Upon your defense of your statement, those who supported you will rally to the cause; they will identify with you and push you to continue standing your ground. As for the harassment, it won’t stop, but it will decrease by many orders of magnitude as it is seen that you are not a pushover and do not accept the premises by which you are “the bad guy.” You will most likely be labelled as a racist/sexist/homophobe, etc. and perhaps relegated to certain corners of the internet, but you will continue to have a loyal following of those for whom you spoke.

What Does This Have To Do With Conservatism? A Whole Lot.

This is, more or less, a sort of microcosm of the modern conservative. He does not say what he means, and he speaks euphemistically. While the modern left writes articles encouraging others to reconsider allowing their children to be friends with whites, the modern conservative wouldn’t dare ask the opposite question, let alone ponder if diversity is actually our greatest strength.

It shows weakness and ineptitude to refuse to pursue the interests of one’s constituency as a public figure. This is what you were elected to do, and you can’t (or perhaps won’t) even recognize this simple fact; and you will certainly not actively pursue lawmaking in the interest of said constituency, and we all know why that is – you’re scared of being called mean words.

Putting aside the question of collusion between the parties and large donors, the “right wing” if you could even call it that, is too afraid because they operate within the premises of the enemy because looking like Randy from South Park on an episode of Jeopardy would “ruin their careers.”

Do Not Operate Within the Parameters Your Enemy Has Set for You

This is the crucial take away from everything I’ve said above. I’m not claiming to know everything, but as someone who is ostensibly right wing, I cannot express the absolute state of my disappointment in those who are elected by people just like myself all over this country. Even assuming the question of collusion between the parties and the trustworthiness of career politicians have been answered (as we believe they might be) it is difficult for me to fathom that there are virtually zero representatives who truly and staunchly go on the offensive for anything other than economics. Small government economics are great and all, but when your constituents are becoming hopelessly nihilistic suicidal heroin addicts, replaced by machines and low skilled and underpaid immigrants, something has to be done. You can’t lose your base and expect to remain in power.

That tangent aside, we mustn’t get bogged down in our fear of social ostracism. When we play board games, we don’t play by all the rules that the other guy makes up, contradicts, and addends on the fly. We play by a consistent set of rules that both parties have agreed upon before the game has begun – otherwise we would always lose.

Let’s take on the big one and make an example. Let’s say Person A is a conservative, and Person B is a leftist.

Also note that I use the word ‘leftist’ often and the word ‘liberal’ quite sparingly, as traditional liberalism, though it might be different from conservatism, maintains the same goals as conservatism, generally speaking, and there are a good many honest liberals who are good, consistent, and open minded people.

Person A believes that racism is prejudice and prejudice alone, while Person B believes that racism can only be a consequence of both prejudice and power – i.e. without power, a group cannot be racist – this does not apply to individuals. Furthermore, Person A and Person B have wildly different conceptions of what “power” is, and while Person A may believe that power can be rightly obtained through meritocratic methods (thus spread out precisely as it should be according to ability and competence), Person B believes that power is something of an inheritance that only the majority group and/or descendants of settlers can wield.

So let’s say that Person A holds a rally. The vast majority of the people at said rally are of a certain, unnameable racial group. Person B sees the overwhelming homogeneity in Person A’s rally and decides that it is more proof that Person A is indeed, a “racist.” There are a few options Person A can take to redress such a statement.

  1. Entirely ignore or deflect the claim.

This is what I believe should be done under the circumstances. Why must one defend an accusation based on a foundation that is not universally accepted? By universally accepted, it is not meant that such a thing does not exist, rather that the definition of such a thing and the requirements for violating the terms of such a thing do not exist.

2. Attempt to defend and explain yourself.

Responding in turn to a claim made by Person B, Person A might say “I’m not a racist, and here’s why…” But does this make Person A any more favorable in the eyes of Person B and Person B’s constituents? No, it does not. Person A and Person B have never agreed on a definition of what “racism” even is, and therefore Person A can try all he likes to defend himself, but he has institutional power, and because he is a member of a racial group, he is inherently privileged and is always a racist.

Perhaps the worst response, similar to #2, is for Person A to level the accusation back towards Person B, perhaps claiming “your constituency is made up of almost all of one group, therefore it is you and your constituency that are racist.” In other words: I’m more liberal than you. or perhaps: I can play your game better than you can! Person B sets the rules for his game, and he’ll change them whenever he likes. You can’t beat him at his own game.

This is all to say that pejoratives such as “racist,” are nothing more than tools of political power and leverage. These words and phrases are (almost) never deployed for the betterment of society or the righting of actual wrongs. They are but metal rings, thrown around one’s neck one after another for the sole intention of drowning you faster.

Royal Esoterica: Metaphysics and Archetypes in Monarchy

Monarchism and kingship are concepts that – in the current political and philosophical climate – are seemingly beyond the point of unthinkable. This is most likely due to a plethora of historical examples so archaic that monarchy is often inextricably tied to the epochs in which it existed; the implication being that, were a monarchic system to arise, it would be swiftly crushed by modernity. The unending criticism of monarchy aside, I felt that it might be interesting to explore, and it certainly has been. I am not now, nor have I ever been an advocate of monarchy or totalitarianism in any of its forms, yet I am interested in the metaphysical underpinnings of the components of monarchism. Here, I will be using Revolt Against the Modern World, published in 1934 by the Italian philosopher and esotericist, Julius Evola, as a tool for exploring these components. Though Revolt Against the Modern World is about much more than monarchy on its own, many of the other topics are not relevant to this subject specifically.

Every traditional civilization is characterized by the presence of beings who, by virtue of their innate or acquired superiority over the human condition, embody within the temporal order the living and efficacious presence of a power that comes from above

One of the first things to note about Evola’s chapter entitled “Regality” is his description of pontifex – essentially a type of being referenced in the above quote. Pontifex (traditionally identified as a king) means “‘builder of bridges’ or of ‘paths’,” bridges and paths which connect the realm of the natural to that of the supernatural. The monarchs’ connection between these two realms indicates they are the “personification of life ‘beyond ordinary life’.” The foundation of authority for these monarchs was the reality that they were imbued with transcendent and nonhuman qualities. The roots of such authority were understood to be of an inherently metaphysical character and the idea that this authority would be bestowed upon some man by a community subject to his decrees was a foreign idea in the world of monarchic tradition. On the contrary, the roots of a king’s power were of spiritual authority; that kings were of divine origin, given power to execute “law from above.”

Themes, Rites, and Symbols of Kingship

One of the many recurring symbols in traditional monarchism is the sun, as well as solar features and associations, both visible and invisible.

In Tradition, kingship was often associated with the solar symbol. In the king, people saw the same “glory” and “victory” proper to the sun and to the light (the symbols of the superior nature), which every morning overcome darkness.

Solar symbolism is certainly not exclusive to European monarchism, as these same symbols are distinguishable in – if not essential to – ancient Egyptian, Persian, Indo-Aryan, Roman, and Zoroastrian religious and hierarchical traditions. However, the conception of solar “glory” or “victory” is not merely a symbol, but rather designated a metaphysical reality. The association with the metaphysical realm was commonly “identified with a nonhuman operating force, which the king did not possess in and by himself.” Some ancient Roman representations of kingship combined the auxiliary properties of the sun such as glory, light, and heavenly fire, with the planetary characteristic of a sphere, which denoted universal authority and dominion.

Ancient Egyptian tradition combined the aforementioned auxiliary elements of solar properties (i.e. glory, victory), with the scepter.

In the oldest texts, the scepter is portrayed as the zigzag bolt of lightning. The regal “force” thus appears as a manifestation of the dazzling, heavenly force. The combination of signs represented the concept of “life-force” (anshus), form a word for “fiery milk,” which is the nourishment of the immortals. This word is not without relation to uraeus, the divine flame, at times life-giving, at other times dangerously destructive, which crowns the head of the Egyptian king in the shape of a serpent.

Another element present in many traditional monarchies around the world is that of the “nonterrestrial power or fluid (sa).” The sa is the convergence of the solar metaphysical components into a consecrating power which “gives witness to the solar, triumphant nature of the king,” and from one king, is bestowed upon another in his ascension.

The theme of the king as the “son of heaven” is not only relegated to Europe and the Middle East, but also appears in Far Eastern tradition. Though the source of the “mandate of heaven” bestowed upon the “son of heaven” (in Far Eastern tradition) is not that of biblical authority (i.e. heaven in the biblical sense), the end results still show a plethora of similarities to Christianity and European Paganism.

This force [mandate of heaven] that comes “from heaven,” according to Lao-tzu, acts without acting (wei wu wei) through an immaterial presence, or by virtue of just being present… When this power is unleashed, the forces of common men, according to Meng-tzu, bend under it as blades of grass under the wind. Concerning wu wei, a text says:

“By its thickness and substantiality, sincerity equals earth; and by its height and splendor it equals heaven. Its extent and duration are without limit. He who possesses the sincerity, without showing himself, he will shine forth, without moving he will renovate others; without acting, he will perfect them.”

Similarly to European monarchs, the Chinese monarch also acted as the “center” between heaven and earth, through which the “mandate of heaven” could be imparted to his subjects. The concept of the monarch as the third power between heaven and earth is perhaps the most frequently recurring idea across all time and throughout all peoples, nations, and kingdoms. This role of centrality was dubbed “Immutability in the middle,” the meaning of which may imply that the middle is precisely where the virtue of heaven is manifested.

The last symbol of kingship which seems relevant to discuss here is that of the circle or wheel. In the center of this wheel is the monarch, who acts as an immovable pole that spins the worldly forces around him, yet keeps them in orbit. This, of course, is an abstraction of one of the prime functions of a king, in that all earthly things move around him, as he is the son of heaven, on earth to execute the mandate of heaven. There are two excellent examples of this to be found in history. The first example is that of the Indian Cakravartin:

We may consider the Hindu notion of the cakravartin, or “universal king.” The cakravartin may be considered the archetype of the regal function of which various kings represent more or less complete images or even particular expressions whenever they conform to the traditional principle. Cakravartin literally means “lord” or “spinner of the wheel.” This notion brings us back to the idea of a center that corresponds also to an inner state, to a way of being, or better yet, to the way of Being.

Another historical example of the archetype of the wheel is the samsara or the “stream of becoming,” which the Hellenes called the “wheel of generation” or “the wheel of fate.” The center of the wheel remains motionless, symbolic of the balance and stability of the monarch, who is not subject to samsara, and can subordinate the activities of lower natures (non-aristocratic citizens) to the higher power by which the king is imbued. Further explanation of the archetype of the wheel is found in the writings of Confucius in The Analects: “The practice of government by means of virtue may be compared to a polestar, which the multitudinous stars pay homage while it stays in its place.” That which orbits around the center of the wheel is subject to the concept of “revolution,” or “the motion occurring around an “unmoved mover”.”

The concept of the wheel is certainly similar to (and was depicted as) a copy of, or a part of the cosmic order, where a central being (the sun in the case of the universe) sits, and around this being, all things move. Some of the attributes of regality in this polar model of monarchy are glory, centrality (polarity), stability, and peace. It must be noted that the notion of peace is specifically defined by inner peace, and not by peace which one might call forced or external. Perhaps another model of the archetype of the wheel could be a “3D model” in the sense that multiple rings, as orbital paths, revolve around the center. In this case, the orbital path of a higher dimension could contain another point or pole (nevertheless subject to revolution) that represents the sacred; whereas the orbital path of the lowest dimension could contain a third point or pole also subject to revolution which would be representative of the human and earthly. Yet, this is only tangentially relevant to the subject matter at hand. In closing, here is another quote regarding Plato, and his writings on Zeus as the center of all things, as well as the cakravartin.

Plato’s reference to the place where Zeus holds counsel with the gods in order to reach a decision concerning the fate of Atlantis: “He accordingly summoned all the gods to his own most glorious abode, which stands at the center of the universe and looks out over the whole realm of change.” The abovementioned notion of cakravartin is also connected to a cycle of enigmatic traditions concerning the real existence of a “center of the world” that exercises this supreme function here on earth. Some fundamental symbols of regality had originally a close relationship with these ideas. One of these symbols was the scepter, the main function of which is analogically related to the “axis of the world.” Another symbol is the throne, an “elevated” place; sitting still on the throne evokes, in addition to the meaning of stability connected to the “pole” and to the “unmoved mover,” the corresponding inner and metaphysical meanings. Considering the correspondence that was originally believed to exist between the nature of the royal man and the nature produced by initiation, in the classical Mysteries we find a ritual consisting of sitting still on a throne.

All quotes within this essay were taken from Revolt Against the Modern World, written by Julius Evola and translated from the original Italian manuscript by Guido Stucco. This translation was published in 1995 by Inner Traditions International.

On Linguistic and Aesthetic Warfare

Social Engineering

The way in which mankind evaluates his being, his nature, his potential – and consequently, his values and his actions – could be compressed into any number of terms, but for reference and simplicity these self-reflective evaluations will be encapsulated here as the Images of Man. I have abridged this definition from the source that will be used as the foundation for the conclusions below. The Changing Images of Man is a 1982 publication procured by The Center for the Study of Social Policy and SRI [Stanford Research Institute] International, which outlines the process by which mankind’s “images” (i.e. conception of his physical self, societal formation, and metaphysical surroundings) change over time, as well as how they can be potentially steered in another direction.

I’ve often found myself, particularly in the last five or six years, fielding questions from older generations in regards to the present day culture and its inability to foster sincere and productive communication. It appears evident that The Changing Images of Man addresses many of the sources behind our cultural phenomenon, and so I will attempt to describe two of these causes to the best of my ability.

Language & Abstraction

Historically, much of mankind’s group cohesion is predicated on a limited dialectic and a common linguistic foundation in an objective truth. We can observe that groups of citizens within the most productive civilizations generally held the same worldview, and were thus able to pursue a common interest with little friction. Yet this common interest often proved far less potent in the aftermath of excessive conquest or invasion. This example is not meant to serve as an argument for cultural relativism, but rather as parallels to a “viral” model in which the spread of the very idea of radical relativism becomes a kind of disassociative to the societal union; that which is highly corrosive to interpersonal trust and accountability.

One of the most critical necessities for language arises from a need to communicate complex metaphysical and philosophical abstractions. Spreading into the West from such institutions as The Frankfurt School, the critical theorist seeks to undermine these abstractions and change their conceptions in order to erode social cohesion. Though I will not describe this much further, many of us can easily observe the effects of the changes in abstraction. For example, complex ideas like gender or race are now so diluted that one almost dare not speak of them for fear of retribution. The point here with regard to The Changing Images of Man is that the confusion over language is almost entirely intentional.

It must be noted that this is not speculative. The Changing Images of Man was written by the Urban and Social Systems Division of Stanford Research Institute and was written with the intention to provide insight into ways in which mankind’s “image” could be influenced to provide outcomes that would be desirable to whichever organization gave funding and inquiry to a study on social engineering.

Aesthetic Terrorism

The field of aesthetics is one which has been debated for millennia, yet more recently, has taken strange and unpredictable turns. The deconstruction of aesthetic beauty naturally follows the deconstruction of linguistic and philosophical concepts, as a sense of nihilism overtakes the artist who has denigrated reality to the point where all is meaningless and nothing is beautiful.

What follows the complete deconstruction and eventual disregard for aesthetics is the antithesis of beauty; art which, by design, is meant to conjure feelings of disgust, shock, and hopelessness in the consumer. Where before, artistic images were meant to illuminate virtue and characterize and beautify truth, now many such images only perpetuate the notion of a relative sense of artistic appreciation.

This is not to say that art is not somewhat subjective, nor is it to say that artists ought not have their own styles and influences. It is to say, however, that on the heels of a disillusion of social trust and the abolishment of objective truth and beauty, we have gone from the stoicism of The School of Athens or the kaleidoscopic magnificence in the roots of Byzantium to the nude feminist vomiting on a canvas or the piles of rusted cans that somehow represents “the hatred of the American dream.”

The function of aesthetics here serves as a literal visual representation of the effects of the corrosion of objective concepts such as truth or beauty. If within man’s image of himself he concedes his beliefs and capitulates to radical relativism, his children and his grandchildren will suffer the consequences of his cowardice.

Conclusion

I sincerely appreciate everyone who took the time to read this. Though this is more of an experimental essay, I will provide the link to The Changing Images of Man below.

The Changing Images of Man – Global Vision Foundation

A Brief History of Politics and Military Conflict in Afghanistan from 1900 (Parts I & II)

Here’s where the story starts to get good. I believe after reading part II, it should be a bit easier to see some modern-day parallels to this conflict. When I reach the more contemporary history of the country, I’ll begin to explain some other factors that come into play in the ME (oil, opium, minerals, geo-strategic significance, etc.). The last part will contain my sources, data, and recommendations for further research.

*****

Part I

Afghanistan is a landlocked, hostile, and nearly inhospitable region located at the crossroads of many of the greatest empires in history. Much of its land is arid and dead, and many other regions of the country are split by mountains and other terrestrial formations, hardly making the land any more survivable. Considering the prerequisites of trade and expansion for any civilization to thrive, opposing states often attempted to claim the land in an effort to procure trade or govern its people. Empires from the middle east, the far east, and and the west have often tried to lay claim to Afghanistan, almost all of which have ended in absolute failure. For these reasons, the perilous terrain of Afghanistan has been quite accurately dubbed The Graveyard of Empires. Dominions throughout India, China, and neighboring middle Eastern countries have fiercely battled for claim of the land, but for the sake of contextualizing the West’s current involvement in the region, we’ll begin in the 19th century.

19th Century

Throughout the 19th century, two of the world’s most prolific empires – Russia and Great Britain – made many attempts to claim Afghanistan, and its borders were quite arbitrarily drawn as intermediaries between the two powers. The Russian empire began to engulf the south, and consisted of modern-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The British empire, attempting to spread to the north, held the modern-day regions of Iraq, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, as well as Oman, Yemen, and the U.A.E just across from the Gulf of Oman.

1919 & The Third Anglo-Afghan War

In 1919, a small group of Afghan soldiers attempted to invade British India, but took heavy casualties and were easily repelled by the British. Soon afterwards, the British empire captured the southernmost region of Afghanistan, cutting it off from the Arabian Sea, and seizing what would reinforce Great Britain’s naval and trade superiority. This southernmost region, currently under the domain of Pakistan, makes up the border between modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan, and serves as a reminder of the armistice to end the Third Anglo-Afghan War.

The Third Anglo-Afghan war ended on August 8th, 1919 and resulted in a strategic victory for the British. After establishing the Durand line, separating Afghanistan from the British Empire, King Amanullah Khan declared Afghanistan an independent and sovereign state. Immediately following his declaration, Khan ordered an end to the country’s traditional isolationism. The king also directed the newly formed state to be modernized, leading to women’s education, compulsory elementary schooling, and the abolition of slavery in 1923. However, Khan became ardently opposed by many of the local tribes after abolishing the requirement of the traditional burqa and eliminating restrictions on women’s education. Moderate political turmoil continued and the king’s commands remained largely disregarded.

1933 – 1973

In 1933, King Amanullah Khan was assassinated and shortly thereafter, King Mohammed Zahir Shah took the throne. Shah’s reign would last from the early 1930s to 1973. Throughout his reign, King Zahir Shah modernized the country even further through establishing elections, enforcing political rights, and stressing women’s education.

In 1973, King Mohammed Zahir Shah was replaced by his cousin, Mohammed Daoud Khan, in a bloodless coup. After ascending to office, Daoud Khan abolished the Afghan monarchy, declaring himself the prime minister of Afghanistan. Daoud sought a closer relationship with the USSR, and was sympathetic to the ethnic Pashtun people who’d been displaced by the establishment of the Durand line in 1919. Other ethnic groups in Afghanistan voiced their disfavor over Daoud Khan’s “Pashtun Nationalism,” and in turn, saw the constriction of their personal liberties by Daoud Khan. Massive popular disapproval of Daoud Khan and the state of affairs in Afghanistan culminated in the Saur Revolution of 1978.

Part II

Saur Revolution – 1978

The Saur Revolution, beginning in April of 1978, saw the removal of prime minister Daoud Khan and the installment of the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) led by president Nur Muhammad Taraki and funded by the USSR. With full Soviet support, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan began to push radical economic and cultural Marxist reform. The PDPA itself was not short of internal conflict, and two factions within the party would disagree over the nature of their rule. For the sake of brevity, the two main factions were the Khalq – the more dictatorial or dominant faction; and the Parcham – the more liberal or moderate faction.

It is important to note that Afghanistan is a highly diverse landmass composed of several distinct ethnic groups, many of which practice very traditional forms of Islam. These tribal ethnic groups were often separated by the mountainous terrain of the region, and would typically not interact with one another unless in opposition to an invading or occupying force. None of these ethnic groups are a majority.

The PDPA’s cultural and economic policies saw intense backlash from tribal leaders. Amin – relative to his predecessors – proved to be far less accepting of dissent, and often took to imprisoning or executing his party’s critics.

1979

In March of 1979, riots swept throughout the country in response to the PDPA’s radical policies and their treatment of dissidents.

Nur Muhammad Taraki, seeking to quell the rioting and secure his position from the more radical in his party (namely Hafizullah Amin), turned to the nearby Soviets for military aid and advisory. Nur Muhammad Taraki lost what cohesion was left between himself and the PDPA with his requests to the USSR, and was assassinated by his fellow Khalq member, Hafizullah Amin, who then ascended to the position of president.

Hafizullah Amin’s presidency weakened the government and brought further unrest upon the country, as it was now faced with an increasingly powerful public. The riots quickly grew more violent and more coordinated, and a civil war had begun before the year’s end. Fighting between the PDPA, and their new opponents, the guerrilla mujahideen was intensified.

The U.S.S.R.

The Soviet Union sought control over the situation in Afghanistan for two main reasons: to exert dominance over the region and to prevent the spread of Islam into countries to the north under Soviet control. After witnessing the Iranian Revolution, the USSR understood that, with enough pressure, any middle Eastern country in the area could experience their own Iranian Revolution, thus becoming extremely difficult to control.

The Soviets’ solution to the situation – depose Amin, dominate the region, and get its people under control. This culminated in the Soviet-Afghan War.

The U.S.A

In 1979, the United States (the only other superpower in the world) saw the instability in Afghanistan as an opportunity to waste Soviet time and resources and to halt the spread of communism. Though the exact time frame is contested, the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency became active in Afghanistan during 1979. The US and Saudi Arabia supported both the mujahideen and foreign resistance fighters from Pakistan and supplied them with thousands of FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles and some (contested) billions of dollars.

Soviet-Afghan War – Soviet Invasion

In December of 1979, the USSR launched a surprise invasion of Afghanistan. Critical communications and systems of transport were seized and halted by the Red Army. In the same month, Hafizullah Amin was captured in Kabul and executed by the Soviets, who organized a replacement – Soviet loyalist Babrak Karmal of the Parcham faction.

In January of 1980, both the Islamic Conference as well as the UN General Assembly passed resolutions in protest of the Soviet invasion and demanding swift withdrawal of Soviet forces. The US and Saudi Arabia began to more seriously fund the sale of weapons to the mujahideen, the CIA began covert operations through Pakistan, and the Afghan insurgency received specialized training in Pakistan and China.

Soviet-Afghan War – The Insurgency

The Soviet Red Army operated within Afghanistan’s urban areas, which were less resistant to government control. However, the vast majority of Afghanistan is rural, and the mujahideen used this to their advantage as they operated in small groups, waging guerrilla warfare throughout the countryside.

The different tribes fighting against Soviet occupation, realizing that the Soviets would not soon leave, reinforced their concept of Jihad (“Holy War”) – this is mostly considering that the USSR was a foreign, Atheist union that sought control over the region. The mujahideen’s call for Jihad resonated with much of the Islamic world, and the movement saw foreign fighters and supporters, including Osama Bin Laden, come from abroad.

Though Soviet forces were quite effective in strategic operations, waves of mujahideen continued to pour into Afghanistan, making the war a long, grinding operation for the Soviets until 1985.

Part III

Soviet Withdrawal

As the Cold War took its toll on the USSR, a growing anti-war sentiment led to the election of Mikhail Gorbachev and eventually, a withdrawal of the Red Army. In 1987, after consulting with the Afghan government, Mikhail Gorbachev ordered this withdrawal Рultimately lasting from 1988 to 1989. A small amount of Soviet troops stayed active in the region, but were finally withdrawn in 1992 following the collapse of the USSR.