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Imperial Irrationalism

by Arnold Schoelzel Saturday, Mar. 04, 2006 at 1:16 PM

The new social and national demagogy entirely comaprable to German fascism conjures away the social question from mass consciousness..Rightwing ideologists know that the war goal and war are irrational.


By Arnold Schoelzel

[This article published in: Ossietzky 2/19/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

The book “The Destruction of Reason” by the Hungarian philosopher Georg Lukacs (1885-1971) published in 1954 was and is regarded by many scholars as one-sided, short-circuited and hardly noteworthy. Lukas accepted the challenge of investigating “Germany’s way to Hitler on the terrain of philosophy,” beginning with the anti-enlightenment reaction to the great French revolution of 1789. Theodor W. Adorno said that the book documents the destruction of Lukacs’ own reason. Lukacs answered with the dictum about “Hotel Abyss” where the Frankfurt school had moved most comfortably. Little changed in this constellation in the following decades in both German states.

The disapproving interpreter titled the epilogue of the book “On the Irrationalism of the Post-War Time.” In this epilogue, we read: “The end of the war..represented the preparation of a new war against the Soviet Union.” “The ideological conversion of the masses for this war was a central problem of the imperialist world.” Lukacs defended theses that are presented decried as “anti-Americanism,” bad political taste or tactlessness. After the Second World War, “the United States replaced Germany as the leading power of imperialist reaction and appeared ever stronger.” On the new characteristics of the period after 1945, he said: “The coalition against fascism crumbled very quickly. The `crusade’ against communism, the dominant leitmotif of Hitler propaganda, was taken up energetically by the democratic side. The movements’ direction (and substance and structure) obviously changed `democratic’ ideas. In the world war, these movements were directed against fascism and sometimes rightly seen as continuations of the long past time of prosperity of middle class democracy. As a result of the great attraction of this forward-oriented direction, the appearance of this continuity was maintained even after the complete reversal: directing the struggle against totalitarianism. Fascism and communism were reduced to this common denominator.”

The demographic possibilities of this diversion still benefit the West today. Following the success in the battle against the socialist countries of the Soviet Union, “democratic revolutions” became an export article to militarily encircle Russia more intensely than in the past. His commodity was less successful in the “third world” that only plays the role of “Europe’s gas station” (Michael Naumann) and encounters the US in the Middle East.

The wars over cheap oil need an “ideological conversion of the masses.” This ideological manipulation seamlessly joins the “irrationalism of the post-war time” analyzed by Lukacs. Whoever like the former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder commands German military actions in the name of “civilization” follows George W. Bush who views “freedom” as a gift of the Creator to the world presented by the US, not as America’s gift.

The new social and national demagogy entirely comparable to German fascism conjures away the social question – nationally, regionally and worldwide – from mass consciousness. As in the past, this demagogy creates space for chauvinism, imperialist aggressiveness, oppression and destruction of people.

His can be seen in the propaganda thrusts. “The Madman of Teheran”, “Hitler’s Return” and “Iranian Missiles can reach Germany” were headlines in BILD on December 15-16, 2005. A broad spectrum of “democratic” ideologists seeks “rational” reasons for a war. These reasons can always be found. Islam by nature is totalitarian; the Mullahs want to destroy Israel (that has nuclear weapons). The regime is fundamentalist; Iran must be democratized et cetera.

The ease with which warmongers of the West invented, provoked or produced grounds for war in the last 16 years can be studied exemplarily in Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia today is a protectorate of NATO and the European Union. If the 2003 US war against Iraq is regarded as an adventure and “irrational,” EU-Europe now wants to be an equal partner in the next war. To that end, the total detestation of regimes follows. Still this abhorrence could not be bombed into Vietnam, Grenada, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan. The regimes obviously enjoyed support in their own population despite their brutal confrontation with all opposition.

Rightwing ideologists know that the war goal and the means, the war itself (however technical), are irrational. Lord George Weidenfeld, publisher and political advisor, turned against every form of compromise with the Iranian regime on January 25, 2006 in Springer’s WELT: “The risk of a military intervention could entail casualties on the scale of the First and Second World War. However the triumph of Islamic terror could outlast everything in world history.”

Does irrationalism still exist? Lord Weidenfeld explained with all rationality how the irrationalism of pastimes can escalate. Lukacs documents this.

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