It’s no surprise we have come to this. Black terrorists shooting cops, Muslim terrorists attacking civilians, socialist countries like Greece and Venezuela back to pre-industrial famine and poverty. And in the background: people repeating like a mantra anti-common sense slogans such as “all refugees welcome”, “diversity is strength”, “we are all the same”, “gender is a social construct” and so on, while families are torn apart, in-group preferences and discrimination (again, common sense) are blamed as racist or sexist by anti-reality intellectuals, appalling level of education generate individuals incapable and unwilling to use the power of their intellect, and instead ready to sacrifice themselves to the altar of a collective good (whichever that may be, God, the State, or “Science”); scientists and atheists that espouse relativism and legitimize counter-intuitive policies that degrade men to the level of savages, reducing them to all-feelings. What do all these categories of people have in common? Atheists, religious fanatics, welfare moralists, environmentalists, feminists, third world dictators, old and new hippies, politicians, globalists, intellectuals and terrorists? They are irrational, that is, they refuse or ignore reason, they are guided by feelings, they are guided by an altruistic moral code of either sacrificing themselves to others or others to themselves. They are incapable of reasoning, of objectively studying reality based on facts rather than metaphysical dogmas and are raised to be servile towards an unquestionable absolute (the State, God, and so on). They are incapable, due to the education they have received in public school, away from their family, of making rational connections between concepts, of using their intellectual power to turn abstract thoughts into concrete, real concepts, they fail to make rational connections, they’re incapable of organizing their thoughts, express them and even argue them in a consistent, coherent, rational way. They’re incapable of understanding or dealing with reality without either destroying themselves or others, or both. They are Mystics ready to be led by a tyrant.
It’s not bewildering. It’s no accident. In fact, the philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand had already explained the world’s situation in the Fifties and Sixties. In “The New Intellectual”, she explains exactly why there is a world crisis and how we got to it. I will now try to explain her worldview. It will be a long post, but I hope that, if you choose to read it all, in the end you will have a better understanding of what is going on now (and won’t be surprised by it) and will have the intellectual tools to fight against the current state of morality, philosophy and therefore politics.
The world is dominated (today, like it was thousands of years ago) by an alliance between “Brutes” – the looters, the the ones who use force to conquer and destroy, the tyrants and dictators, the ones who seek power – and “Mystics” – all the witch-doctors that escape and reject reality and replace it with whatever they sense or feel is superior to it (they’re the ones who think their wishes and feelings take precedence over facts, those who think there is a “higher reality”, the “true one”, much better than the world they live in; it can be God that is the “real truth” or the State, or Plato’s world of Ideas, either way something is up there, that they can’t possibly understand and compared to which they are inferior, so they have to atone for their imperfection by humiliating themselves, sacrificing themselves, giving up their terrestrial desires or financial wealth, etc ). All religions belong to this category, from the prehistoric ones, to Christians and Buddhists, they all put men second and literally or figuratively sacrifice him to the god(s). The Brute lives by force, the rule of the club (or the sword, or gun), the other one goes by the rule of the heart (feelings, whims). Both reject the power of the intellect. The Brutes don’t care or don’t want to think, they just want to do whatever they feel like doing, and take whatever they feel like taking and all they want is power. The Mystics believe, not think. They say we can’t grasp the “real”, higher reality, they say the one where we live is just a mere, insufficient and poor copy of the abstract one, that our intellect cannot possibly comprehend. To both of them, thought is impotent; the power of ideas has no reality for them. They have always gone hand in hand throughout history, cooperating by using each other’s fears and weaknesses.
Before ancient Greece, all earlier cultures had been ruled, not by reason, but by mysticism: “the task of philosophy – the formulation of an integrated view of man, of existence, of the universe – was the monopoly of various religions that enforced their views by the authority of a claim to a supernatural knowledge and dictated the rules that controlled men’s lives.” But at some point in ancient Greece, when a certain degree of political freedom had undercut the power of mysticism, man was able for the first time to declare that his mind was competent to deal with all the problems of his existence and that reason was his only means of knowledge. That’s when philosophy was born and Aristotle, the father of logic, the world’s first intellectual, was able to define the basic principles of a rational view of existence and of man’s consciousness: that there is only one reality, the one which man perceives – that it exists as an objective absolute (which means: independently of the consciousness, the wishes or the feelings of any perceiver), that the task of man’s consciousness is to perceive, not to create, reality – that abstractions are man’s method of integrating his sensory material – that man’s mind is his only tool of knowledge – that A is A. Everything that makes us civilized today (from the birth of science to the industrial revolution and even the creation of the USA) is the result of Aristotle’s influence.
But then the Brutes regained their power with the rise of statism in the Roman Empire, which later fell, conquered by stronger Brutes who looted and devastated Europe and led to centuries of brute violence, of bloody tribal warfare, of unrecorded chaos, known as the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages were again ruled by brute force and mysticism: the feudal Brutes looted one another’s domains, collected material tributes from serfs (who worked, lived and starved in subhuman conditions) and maintained the Mystics’ monopoly on spiritual law and order by the power to burn heretics at the stake. Philosophy existed only in the form of theology , derived from Plato’s mysticism. Aristotle was only rediscovered in the Renaissance, which marked the rebirth of man’s mind and liberated (although not completely) man from the rule of the Mystics. Scientific achievement made the power of man’s mind evident and no longer possible to deny. Men could no longer be told to reject their mind as an impotent tool, when the proof of its potency was so magnificently evident. However, the Renaissance did not dethrone the Brute at once: he clung to his fading power a while longer, building his absolute monarchies on the remnants of his crumbling feudal state. But once again, like in the Greco-Roman era, the Brute was ineffectual when left on his own, without the Mystic. He was mentally unable to cope with the tide of liberation sweeping the world. He ran blindly amuck in the practice of his only skill and purpose, that of material extortion, bringing nations to ragged poverty by his constant wars and taking away the last of his subjects’ possessions. When it came to intellectual issues, he assumed the role of “patron of the arts”, then lapsing occasionally into bursts of censorship and persecution then returning to the role of “enlightened monarch”. Gradually, it became apparent that the “divine right of kings” was not much of a weapon against men who were discovering the rights of man.
The industrial revolution completed the task of the Renaissance: it blasted the Brute off his throne. Men discovered for the first time science and political freedom. The first society in history whose leaders were not Brutes nor Mystics was the United States: the Founding Fathers were neither mystics nor mindless, power-seeking looters: they were thinkers who were also men of action. They had rejected the impotence of man’s mind and the damnation of this earth, they proclaimed man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. A society based on the philosophy of reason has no place for the rule of fear and guilt. Reason requires freedom, self-confidence and self-esteem. Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom, which cannot exist without economic freedom. A free mind and a free market are corollaries. The unprecedented social system whose fundamentals were established by the Founding Fathers was capitalism, which wiped out slavery and replaced the Brute and the Mystic with the Producer, the businessman, the producer of wealth.
Capitalism demands the best of every man (his rationality) and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the product of others. His success depends on the objective value of his work. Ayn Rand calls the capitalist “the Producer” or “the Businessman”.
The businessman works alongside the intellectual, who is the eyes, ears and voice of a free society: it is his job to observe the events of the world, to evaluate their meaning, to inform the men in all other fields. The intellectual gives society philosophical guidance and information, while the businessman carries scientific discoveries from the inventor to the industrial plants and transforms them into material products that fill men’s physical needs and expand the comfort of men’s existence. The businessman has done an amazing job in releasing men from famines, pestilences and the hopelessness and terror that come with them, whereas the intellectual has failed and has instead kept mankind on the level of the primitive brute in spirit, because he has dropped men’s standard of thought to the level of an impotent savage. The intellectual has betrayed the businessman and men in general: in the post-Renaissance period, philosophy, released from its bondage as handmaiden of theology, brought back the Mystic.
The first one to do so was Descartes, followed by others like Hume, and culminated in Kant: Kant closed the door of philosophy to reason, until the field of the intellect was nothing but a battle between the Brutes and the Mystics. Kant turned the world over to the Brute, but reserved to the Mystic the realm of morality. He did so by claiming that the true world is the metaphysical one and that cannot be known (reality, as perceived by man’s mind, is a collective distortion/delusion which no one has the power to escape, thus reason and science are limited, they are valid only so long as they deal with this world, but they are impotent to deal with the fundamental, metaphysical issues of existence, which belong to the “noumenal” world. The “noumenal” world is unknowable. The source of man’s concepts are the “categories”, he says, which he thinks are an automatic system of filters in his consciousness and impose their own design on his perception of the external world and make him incapable of perceiving it in any manner other than the one in which he perceives it. Man’s concepts are only a collective (instead of objective) delusion. Basically he says: man is limited to a consciousness that perceives by specific means and no others (rather than by experience and facts), therefore his consciousness, his self, is not valid. His morality is appropriate to the kind of selfless zombies (not men) that inhabit this world: an action is moral, said Kant, only if one has no desire to perform it, but performs it out of a sense of duty and derives no benefit from it, neither material nor spiritual. The dominant intellectual influence today is still Kant’s: the view of rational certainty as impossible, of science as unprovable, of man’s mind as impotent and the idea of a morality with selflessness. This is the intellectual equipment with which philosophers in the nineteenth century observed the unprecedented historical events that were taking place and the rise of the free society of capitalism. While businessmen were rising to spectacular achievements, liberating man from poverty and misery, what philosophy was offering as a guidance was the Mysticism of Hegel and the Brute-ism of Marx. Hegel proclaimed that matter does not exist at all, that everything is Idea (not somebody’s idea, just Idea), that this Idea operates based on a new “super-logic” which proves that contradictions are the law of reality (A is non-A) and that omniscience about the physical universe (including electricity, gravitation, the solar system, etc.) is to be derived, not from the observation of facts, but from contemplating the Idea.
Marx proclaimed that the mind does not exist at all. that everything is matter, that matter develops itself from a logic of contradictions (what is true today will not be true tomorrow), that the material tools of production determine men’s thinking, not the other way around, that muscular labour is the source of wealth, that physical force is the only practical means of existence and that the seizure of the omnipotent machines will transfer the omnipotence to the rule of brute violence. All the various variations of the Kantian philosophies that followed kept stating that certainty is unknowable to man (sometimes, atheists and scientists said you can only claim “percentages of probability”, not asking themselves how one calculates such percentages) and that reason is impotent to deal with morality, which is a matter of subjective choice, dictated by one’s feelings, not mind. Philosophers were willing to doubt the validity of the intellect, of their senses, even of the existence of physical objects, but they never challenged the Mystic’s morality of altruism, that is the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal, that he has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence and that self-sacrifice for the sake of what they regarded as the collective, tribal good, is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.
Philosophers, the thinkers, failed to provide a rational society with a code of rational morality, so the only guidance available was the one of the self-denial’s morality of suffering, guilt and death. The intellectuals accepted the Mystic’s morality and did not manage to differentiate between the businessman (the producer) and the Brute (the looter of wealth): like the Mystics, the intellectuals dread the realm of material reality, feeling secretly inadequate to deal with it. Their envied idea of a practical, successful man, the master of reality, was that of the Brute, so they mistook the Businessman for the Brute. “Wealth can only be acquired by force!”, they say. Therefore, those who own so much wealth as the businessman does, must have stolen it from those who did NOT produce it! The Businessman is a thief! An exploiter! The intellect is what enables you to discriminate, but since they rejected this faculty, they were unable or unwilling to identify the fact that industrial wealth was the product of a man’s mind: that an incalculable amount of intellectual power of creative intelligence, of disciplined energy, of human genius had gone into the creation of industrial fortunes. They could not identify it, because they could not afford to admit the fact that the intellect is a practical faculty, a guide to man’s successful existence on earth, and that its task is the study of reality, not the contemplation of unintelligible feelings nor a special monopoly on the “unknowable”. The Mystic’s morality of altruism (the morality that damns all those who achieve success or enjoyment on earth) gave intellectuals a weapon that disarm their victim, the businessman (you see this attitude towards successful people like Trump happen yet today). Intellectuals brought mankind back to the rule of force: from their nineteenth century salons, cafés, university classrooms, they started an anti-industrial revolution where the Mystics and the Brutes found each other again. The thinkers demanded the right to enforce ideas at the point of a gun, that is, through the power of government, and compel the submission of others to the views and wishes of those who would gain control of the government’s machinery. This is Socialism, of which many variations were brought forward but which all necessarily ended horribly.
Intellectuals from Kant onward, including existentialists like Sartre, have given up on philosophy and reason: they declare that nobody can define what philosophy is, they withdraw from reality and responsibility, they say that the use of concepts is the prerogative of the layman or ignorant and instead deal with nothing but concretes, thus for instance they say that science should be completely disconnected from morality. Their altruist morality leads them to say men should not judge: thus they become blind to the victims and the innocents, claiming they are being compassionate towards the perpetrators, and in so they give the perpetrators the moral license to go on with their evil acts. You can clearly see this in the attitude liberals around the world have had towards the justice system, with their “compassion” for criminals that has made it so that so many of them would see their convictions avoided or reduced and that they would go back out and commit even more atrocities. Where is their compassion for the victims?
Many intellectuals also keep saying that nobody is certain of anything, nobody should have any firm convictions, which makes us vulnerable to being conquered by any Brute, any dictator who, instead, has confident strength and conviction. That’s how they have paved the way for the Brutes to take over.
What about the Businessman, how is he affected by the intellectuals’ closeness to mysticism and rejection of reason? The businessman cannot accept the intellectuals’ claims, but eventually makes the fatal error of conceding to them the field of the intellect. He gave them the benefit of the doubt, at his own expense: he could not accept the altruist morality, but he found no other moral philosophy and he repressed any interest in ideas, any quest for intellectual values or moral principles. He restricted his interests in the material, immediate present, like a Brute. The Businessman is hated for his success, the moralists of altruism want him to pay financial tributes, not as kindness, but as atonement for the guilt of having succeeded and he eventually gave in, they accepted the burden of an unearned guilt. Most of them try to come to terms with their own destroyers, by supporting leftist politicians and publications, and socialist ideals (just like Trump had supported Clinton for years). Some do so out of actual guilt, because they now are the product of a mixed economy, not a real capitalist one, in which they have made fortunes not by productive ability and competition in a free market, but by political pull, government favors, subsidies, etc. Others have to depend on government favors in order to function in this mixed system. Most of them work in silence. The need for intellectual leadership was never as great as now. The world needs a new intellectual, one who is guided precisely by his own intellect, not a zombie guided by feelings, instincts, urges, whims and revelations. He will end the rule both of the Brute and the Mystic, by reconciling the ancient soul-body dichotomy (mind versus heart, thought versus action, etc.) He will be an integrated man: a thinker and a man of action. He will know that ideas divorced from consequent action are fraudulent, and that action divorced from ideas is suicidal. An example of somebody nowadays who fits Rand’s description of the new intellectual could be, in a way, Milo Yannopoulous, or Michael Cernovich, all those who are both men of action and of intellect. Trump himself is so appreciated as a businessman because he is proud and unapologetic of what he has achieved through his hard work. Many Americans have been silently proud of the wealth they have made through their hard work, but haven’t been able to say it out loud because they knew they would get ostracized by the intellectuals and their followers and thus they were really looking forward to having somebody like them who would finally have the courage to stand up for honorable capitalism, like Trump seems to be doing.
People are in fact tired of being lied to, or having to be made feel guilty for simply working hard; they are tired of being called racist or sexist when they are simply observing reality and stating facts, they are tired of gas-lighting, of words whose meaning has been changed by intellectuals (language and reason are strictly connected; you attack one, the other is affected too); all this was reflected in the Brexit historical event. The ones who wanted to leave were the ones who had very intellectually solid reasons to do so, yet they had been portrayed by the media, the intellectuals and politicians like loners. When the results came out, I myself couldn’t believe it! There were loads of pro-leave voters, not just a few! Yet even after they got attacked and humiliated and ridiculed, portrayed as too old, or as haters and xenophobes by university students who, just like toddlers of the mind, couldn’t deal with a “no”. These are the same people that “believe”in global warming and want to ban all cars, or welfare and other free things paid for by the producers of wealth, which means, the taxpayers. They are the same ones that claim that capitalism has had its chance and failed. Ayn Rand says: what ultimately failed was a “mixed” economy, the controls were the cause of the failure!
The Founding Fathers were America’s first intellectuals and, so far, its last. It is their political line that the new intellectuals need to continue. Today, that line is lost under layer upon layer of evasions, equivocations and plain falsehood; today’s Mystics claim that the basic premise of the Founding Fathers was faith and uncritical compliance with tradition; today’s Brutes claim that that basic premise was the subordination of the individual to the collective and his sacrifice to the public good (Clinton, Obama, …). The new intellectuals must remind the world that the basic premise of the Founding Fathers was man’s right o his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness – which means: man’s right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself for others or sacrificing others to himself; and that the political implementation of this right is a society where men deal with one another as traders, by voluntary exchange to mutual benefit.
So what has led us to today’s world crisis? A philosophical crisis: the crisis of the intellect, that has been rejected by the intellectuals. This is why, for example, the great 2 World wars were possible and can be explained. WWI, literature shows us, leads to disillusion, emptiness; WWII leads to the theatre of the absurd, where nothing makes sense, the void Existentialism of Sartre (where freedom and responsibility and existence itself is incomprehensible and a curse) and irrational feminist propaganda… All this was possible because of the void, the vacuum left by the absence of a philosophy of the intellect, a rational morality that instead could have offered guidance and support.
The world crisis of today is a moral crisis and nothing less than a moral revolution can resolve it: a moral revolution to sanction and complete the political achievement of the American Revolution. The disgraceful injustice which penalized virtue for being virtue, which forced businessmen to apologize for their ability, for their success, has now been translated into the disgraceful spectacle of America apologizing for its virtues and greatness to that bloody slaughterhouse of embodied altruism which is Soviet Russia.
The new intellectuals must fight for capitalism, not as a practical issue, not as an economic issue, but, with the most righteous pride, as a moral issue. That is what capitalism deserves and nothing less will save it. They need to move towards an intellectual Renaissance on the basis of 2 principles (an anti-Mystic one and an anti-Brute one): 1. that emotions are not tools of cognition and 2. that no man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others.
We need new intellectuals and we need new educators: us parents need to take control of our children’s education, if possible even save them from public school and counter fight the statist, altruistic propaganda taught in schools today. We need to teach our kids about freedom, voluntarism, about the rejection of the initiation of force, the power of capitalism, the power of the intellect versus feelings. Reason will set us free.