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15 January 2013


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Bababk Makkinejad

Vey fine essay Mr. Habakkuk.

I think you might also consider the contribution of the ideas and practices of personal Liberty (trace-able to Germanic tribal traditions of antiquity) among Anglo-Americans in your essay.


A brilliant piece of writing, thank you.



Thank you Mr Habakkuk!




David Habakkuk sent me the material I made a "post" of as a comment on a question by mbrenner. I find the material superb as it is but if he decides to send me another version I will substitute it for those of you who like paragraphing. pl


Yes, dear Lord.


As I wrote beneath the post at its original site, my turn to return the praise. Apart from the writing, brilliant thinking.

William R. Cumming

WOW! A brilliant post! While I don't agree with all of it it yields fertile discussion topics. My first thought would be that the notion of Americans largely as refugees not voluntary immigrants is almost unstudied by the Academics. Refugees are primarily interest in the lowest levels of MAZLOV's heirarchy of needs. Security and necessities of life. Most Americans have no worries about security or necessities but whether they do or don't they have imbedded memories from their individual family history whether war or famine or authoritarian rulers.

For example true conservatives would almost always oppose drafting citizenry for the purposes of employment to defend the state except when the state is threatened existentially and perhaps not even then.

So the fact that there is discussion of the role of the Federal government is healthy as long as it is honest.
Does the government of the US really want to decide for the people what is best for them without consultation with its citizenry?Much of the entirety of the federal government'sprograms, functions, and activities are conducted in secret or so opaque as to seem secret.Basic disclosure not just to citizens and residents but Congress also continues. Those who live in a classified world begin to think that somehow they are a priviledged. In reality a modern priesthood. The nuclear priesthood is a leading example.
So perhaps some first principles need discussion for our citizens and their representatives.

My first of course would be preservation of the Constitution. Some clearly disasree.

Margaret Steinfels

The transmission from one generation to the next, or from one group to another, of the strands DH weaves in his thought-provoking brief essay is germane to the question of which strands dominate and which recede in a given time period and why do they shift. How does this work? Who does it? Etc.

Finishing up as he does with Obama, DH raises the question in my mind of who transmitted what to Obama in his formative years and more recently. A question we could put about any president and have. What influences press on Obama now. Is he really Nationalistic? Does he have nascent Republican impulses? How did growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia form his views on these matters? How did his immersion in African-American culture as a college student and thereafter influence his views? His college major was political science! He graduated from Columbia in 1983. Does that tell us anything? Or nothing? Is the situation he inherited the dominant factor in his decision-making?


Thank you Mr. Habakkuk.

What concerns me is the "counter - enlightenment" as Isiah Berlin named it - the cult of deliberate unreason that is the at the core of the thought processes of American Conservatism today and that obviously informs their rejection of specialist advice from the likes of Col. Lang and others

For example, I didn't realise until today that Congress banned Federally funded research into firearm accidents in 1996 because it might "advocate or promote gun control".

The deliberate control of thought processes implicit in American Conservatism today is lethal to both the economy and society in general.

How far are we from an American index of prohibited books?

How much Chinese progress would it take before innovators head there instead of Silicon Valley?


Margaret, Obama glossed over the trauma of his mothers second marriage and immigration to Jakarta as a Seven year old.

In my opinion, the trauma of moving to, and education in, Jakarta at that time would have been coruscatingly, mind blowing just awful. It was Two years after the military counter coup. Jakarta in those days was not for the faint hearted, it is about as far as possible from a Hawaian lifestyle that it is possible to get. I believe this was the formative traumatic event in Obamas life and it has shaped everything he has ever done since. He glossed over it in his memoirs which is telling.


"[Obama], and the United States, can be trusted with absolute power, because their virtue is self-evident."

Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood are taking the same line, which is why he has secular opposition.

What will it take to finally send deep chills down the spines of Americans?


I liked the piece very much, but I cant resist the urge to quibble.

1) Hazard surely?
2)The ambivalence towards democracy does not originate from Rome, but from Theucydides and the general Greek concern with the dictatorship of the mob.
3) "Another current is biblical in origin, and emerges from sixteenth- and seventeenth- century British developments of a Protestant vision of God’s will as active in history". There is a reason why Oliver Cromwell is sometimes described as the British Stalin. I think it was even then transparently arrogance rather than intellectual or faith driven. Its one of the nastier characteristics the US inherited from the "old country". But the fact that we can identify where this idea came from doesnt make it ok. The country that originated it repudiated it not so much later.
4)"The configuration of forces which emerged as a result of the war of 1939-45 in large measure pushed the United States into a quasi-imperial role.

I dont believe this. It seems obvious to me that the US stepped into a power vacuum because it was in the US's best interests. Sure some people didnt see it. But they were marginal figures and wrong. And the US was an imperial power before. Surely its obvioys that the 13 states original states were very clearly imperialist. I mean, how does Hawaii match up with manifest destiny? And what is Manifest Destiny anyway? Im telling you Kippling would have loved to have coined that phrase....


I don't think Kippling was fully serious about White Man's Burden. He fully understood the complexities of the Empire. How else do you explain his line "Two thousand pounds of education. Drops to a ten-rupee jezail." For all their power he understood the Brits were fighting a losing battle against the wogs.


Col. Lang-

Sir, it's difficult for me to see where this is going , , . From a strategic theory perspective . . .

First, the historic religious element could refer to the Star Chamber (which was of course used to impose religious orthodoxy among other things) or the Levellers and their influence on what later happened in the American colonies. Which is it? Both? How would that work exactly?

"Political and strategic thought"? They could be opposites, one precluding the other. How exactly are we defining "strategic thought"?

I also see a fundamental shift in US policy from 1989-93 to post 2001, from one of "first among equals" to one of "domination", which would be unsustainable, from a strategic theory perspective.

What would be the US strategic culture? War as an industrial process? How does that equate with how the other Western countries perceive strategy? Would that be "strategy" at all?

Inflated threat of the USSR . . . Ok, in the 1950s and 1960s it was inflated, for domestic political reasons, and maybe later as well, but was it not an actual threat in the 1970s and 1980s? Did they not have an impressive military capability in say 1980? Did not the Soviets secure Afghanistan rather quickly in 1979, as the US did Iraq in 2003, only to lose to the insurgency later on? How many troops did the Soviets actually deploy to Afghanistan during the 1980s as compared to how many we deployed after 2003 to Iraq, logistics differences accepted?

Imo, this is an interesting beginning to a very long discussion . . .



Perhaps David Habakkuk will comment. i provided the title. He might not agree with it. pl


All, if you have a Mac using Safrari, use the pdf view and everything should be fine.

Alba Etie

My hope is that the 'counter enlightenment " will keep shooting itself in its collective feet. From the disaster that was Sarah Palin - to the current foot dragging on relief for SuperStorm Sandy - Very soon this GOP will be driven over the Whig Cliff . It would not at all surprise me to see a third party emerge with someone like Sen Hagel at the helm .

David Habakkuk

William R. Cumming,

‘My first of course would be preservation of the Constitution.’

I absolutely agree. Moreover, I think there is something little short of surreal about the notion that jihadist terrorism represents the kind of threat which merits, or indeed, requires the removal of constitutional constraints on executive power. Indeed, the most serious threat the jihadists pose – in relation to the United States and Britain – has to do with their demonstrated ability to panic us into acutely self-destructive responses.

David Habakkuk


I have corrected the spelling.

As to Cromwell, you write: “I think it was even then transparently arrogance rather than intellectual or faith driven.”

I think different elements are commonly intertwined, then and now: ideological messianism and will-to-power are often tangled up.

The ‘Horatian Ode’ which the poet Andrew Marvell wrote following Cromwell’s return from his – spectacularly brutal – suppression of Irish resistance in May 1650 contains the lines: “A Caesar, he, ere long to Gaul,/ To Italy a Hannibal, /And to all states not free / Shall climacteric be.” The fact that the language is so different from contemporary vernaculars can easily obscure how close the mentality depicted – probably with very deliberate exaggeration – is to that which produced the fantasy that American military power could democratise the Middle East – or indeed Afghanistan.

We are inclined to think that we are ‘modern’, and have put the past behind us, but in fact there is a very direct continuity, with Lincoln being a critical reference point, between seventeenth-century Protestant conceptions and neoconservatism. One difference, of course, is that nobody could have accused Cromwell of being a ‘chickenhawk’.

Actually, Marvell’s poem brings together different strands in classical and biblical traditions, in a very strange way. His portrayal of Cromwell echoes Horace’s portrait of Augustus Caesar – the bringer of order and security out of anarchy. But it also echoes the portrait of Julius Caesar by the ‘republican’ poet Lucan: which is actually the prototype of the literary figure of the ‘overreacher’ in Elizabethan drama, whose descendants include Melville’s Ahab.

Particularly as Catholic Ireland was a potential point of acute vulnerability for Protestant England, I think Marvell was understandably ambivalent. On the one hand, there was a ‘nationalist’ intoxication with Cromwell’s victory, and willingness to see it as part of the divine purpose, and on the other a cynical attitude towards Puritan moral pretensions, and perhaps also a fear of what ‘overreaching’ had brought, and might bring.


I don't know who you're talking about Walrus. It is the liberals who will scream and shout to the high heavens calling names when someone dares point out the facts in regards to the lie of their insane egalitarianism? The ones in charge who continue to insist the Salafists in Syria are the "voice" of the Syrian people? These are the realists who insist that we are all biologically 'equal'?

Or is it the former liberals turned hawks, aka the neocons, who are liberal in every sense with their invade the world, invite the world, in hoc to the world ideology except for the fact they're a bit more hawkish then their former comrades on the left?

I find it amazing you complain about "control" of thought processes when the left has a stranglehold on the media and educational organs, and dismisses any complaints as those inbred, corn liquor drinking, fly over country bitter clinging red staters needing to get with the progress!

The reason the federal research into firearms violence was stopped was because it was being used as a disingeneous club for the Brady Gun Grabbing Campaign to scream and shout about how every use of a firearm, legitimate or not, was proof of a wave of horrible gun violence. Much like how the Port Arthur Massacre was used in Australia to declare via fiat that all your guns now belong to the government.

The so called "Dark Enlightenment" of authors like Steve Sailer, John Derbyshire, Taki Theodoracopulos, and the rest of the HBD/Alternative Right writers is the best hope to pull us out of our current morass, if they can organize something.

David Habakkuk


I think there are all kinds of elements in Kipling which are in tension. It is, for instance, material that the ‘sahib’ Kim is Kimball O’Hara – poor white Irish, not English.

Also noteworthy is the marvelous passage in which Kim decides that, contrary to what he has been told, the ethnographer-spook Colonel Creighton is probably not as foolish as he makes himself appear. At first, Creighton talks to him in English:

'Kim pretended at first to understand perhaps one word in three of this talk. Then the Colonel, seeing his mistake, turned to fluent and picturesque Urdu and Kim was contented. No man could be a fool who knew the language so intimately, who moved so gently and silently, and whose eyes were so different from the dull fat eyes of other Sahibs.'

Clearly, Creighton is a man who has got ‘into the skin and sandals’ of the Indians. But not that he is portrayed very much as an exception. Also note the element of repulsion – ‘dull fat eyes of other Sahibs.’



is very useful for cleaning up this sort of thing. Just cut and paste.


Personally I think Cromwell was just a response to the times, for what its worth. An out of touch leadership, foreigners receiving precedence over natives, unaccountable elites making outrageous demands...

Huh. I guess its true what they say about history not repeating, but it sure rhymes.

As a Catholic, I'm sure he would have thought of me as a heretic, but I can't help but admire his force of will and vision.


A fantastic post, zooming out while keeping everything in focus. One thing I wonder about is the use of the term 'nationalist.' As you say, "both the original Christian development of the biblical vision and its secular transformations are, and have to be, universalistic". While the inheritors of this tradition may exploit national feeling, they seem more interested in the governance opportunities afforded by their place in the global power structure, than in the particular well being of America as a country.



thanks. That cleared it up. pl

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