Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Evil Eye and the World on Fire

George Bush, the neocons and whomever else in the administration believes in exporting, by coercion, "liberty" and "democracy" to the rest of the world are in many ways leftist utopians who, as Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn said of all leftists, "don't merely misunderstand human nature, they don't understand it at all."

One thing none of them understands is the story of the Garden of Eden, which tells us evil is brought into the world through people blaming their problems on others because of envy. Adam points to Eve; Eve points to the serpent, a symbol of envy.

Case in point: one of the reasons the World Trade Center was attacked was to draw the US into a guerrilla war to drain us of blood and treasure until we left the area. The other reason was envy, to "bring us down." What better target, then, than the WTC? We are the strongest country in the world; the 22 Islamic countries have a combined economy less than that of Spain. Yet they were able to attack the symbols of our wealth and power � things they don't have.

They're giving us what throughout history has been called "the evil eye." Envy. Avoiding the Evil Eye is what liberalism is based upon ("Please, I will denigrate myself, my race, my sex and my culture ['dead white European males'] so that you will not envy me. And here's some money, too, so you won't envy me about that, either"). For all practical purposes, liberals believe in Black Magic, a rather amusing concept considering how many of them think they're intellectually and morally superior to the unwashed masses.

Helmet Schoeck, in his magisterial Envy: a Theory of Social Behavior, defines envy as "a drive which lies at the core of man's life as a social being�[an] urge to compare oneself invidiously with others." Fear of other people's envy, he tells us, discourages innovation, effort, and achievement. It's why some places in the world have stagnated for thousands of years.

Obviously, the human race is in many ways still stuck in about One Million Years BC, except there's no Raquel Welch in a two-piece fur bikini. We still engage in Molochian human sacrifice, but now instead of rolling an infant or two into a fire-filled stone idol to placate the spirits, we now kill thousands of them and call it "collateral damage." The underlying psychology is still the same: we must sacrifice them or something Really Bad will happen to us.

The two world-wrecking diseases of the 20th century � Nazism and Communism � were based in large part on envy and the avoidance of it. Both, of course, were leftist. Both were based on human sacrifice to erase that envy. I suspect the sacrifices to Moloch were to assuage his envy � his Evil Eye. Schoeck agrees, writing the superstitious fear of arousing the envy of their gods is what has crippled many societies for millennia. Christianity and capitalism, he notes, has helped diminish envy through its belief in private property (which deflects envy from people into things) and in a God who would not maliciously envy or ridicule them.

What then, will be the result of the administration's misguided, indeed blind, attempt to impose "liberty" and "democracy" on recalcitrant countries? Nothing good, I'm sure.

One of the reasons I think the people in the administration are more leftist than rightist is because no true conservative believes in revolution. They understand that society is but a fragile patina holding down a lot of unpleasant human nature. Destroying society by revolution will not bring out all that "liberty" and "democracy" hidden deep in their souls. Instead it will bring out envy, hatred, anger, and the desire for revenge. In other words, the exact opposite of what is expected -- the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Besides, they're not going to get liberty and democracy. They'll become colonies of the US, enforced by military bases on their land. Sure, we'll build some hospitals and schools ("See what we're doing for you? Please don't envy us.") but what will happen is a minority of the politically connected will reap great wealth but the average person will get crumbs.

Amy Chua, in her book, World on Fire, points out the US's exporting of the idea of managed economies (the misnamed "democratic capitalism") has, in the countries that have adopted it, led to massive inequalities of wealth, with tiny minorities using the political process to enrich themselves and impoverish the majority.

She relates the story of how her wealthy Chinese aunt in the Philippines was knifed to death by her chauffeur. The police shrugged. So did the witnesses. This is obviously a case of envy of the poor toward the rich. Similar things have been happening in Indonesia, Russia, Sierra Leone, Bolivia � and in the Middle East.

The idea the US can somehow by violence change entire cultures is itself a belief in a type of White Magic to counter the Black Magic and the Evil Eye. Bush and the neocons are so deluded I don't know what else to call their beliefs except Magic: we will zap them with our White Magic to wipe out their Black Magic. We wave our magic wand. . .chango-presto, they become like us. The envy and the Evil Eye disappears; human nature is transformed!

White Magic, Black Magic, the Evil Eye. . .all hidden under a farrago of neocon verbiage. Added to this atavistic mess is a President who believes God chose him, meaning we now have a Priest-King. We appear to be stuck in a third-rate fantasy novel, one in which a well-meaning but dim-witted Priest-King, unduly influenced by his calculating advisors, has been conned into thinking murder and destruction is White Magic, the use of which will put a permanent end to the cunning and malicious dragon threatening the kingdom with his Black Magic and Evil Eye.

C.S.Lewis and Tolkien this isn't. It's not even Harry Potter.

There is a cure, however. That cure is the real free market and real liberty. The Greeks wisely noticed that admiration was the benevolent form of envy. Under a managed economy there will always the small wealthy minority and the exploited masses. As such, there will always be hate, envy and the desire for vengeance that will have to be kept down by violence.

Under the real free market, anyone can easily improve his position. Admiration and emulation are more likely than envy. Envy will always be with us, but it can be minimized. Social forces will either minimize it or transform it into admiration.

Unfortunately, the Iraqis aren't going to get real liberty and the real free market. They'll get the managed economy, the small wealthy minority and the exploited and repressed masses. They'll also get the envy, the hate and the desire for revenge. It'll be directed toward the wealthy minority, and, of course, us.

The US is now more hated and envied than it is admired. It wasn't that way in the past. But then, in the past we weren't interfering in the world the way we are now, crashing around like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla. Were we to cease interfering, and instead be a beacon to the world instead of an Empire, that envy would be again transformed into admiration. The hatred, the anger and the desire for envy would turn into emulation.

Had the people in the administration any understanding of human nature (and all crackpots, they do not), our current problems could be avoided. Since they do not, we are looking at several more years of warfare and political propaganda that "the light is at the end of the tunnel." I suspect it's more likely that light is instead, as Chua wrote, a fire.

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