ADDENDUM: ARMISTICE DAY 2 0 0 5

The following essay was written on Veterans Day 2005 and posted the next day on a colleague’s website, which no longer exists.  It was quickly picked up and reposted on thousands of other sites, under Fair Use law.  The Google count reached 9,730 sites in early December.  This essay’s title spaces the year digits to distinguish it from many European essays of the same title inasmuch as Europe still uses the term ‘Armistice Day.’  One of the U.S. sites, Democratic Underground, called it a “Profoundly Interesting Read.” All told, it seems worth making permanently available to others.  While some web lines are somewhat askew, it prints properly.   

          

 

A R M I S T I C E   D A Y  2 0 0 5

By Stephen Edward Seadler

During my childhood, November 11th was called Armistice Day — to commemorate the day that the Armistice was signed that ended the World War, The Great War, The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy, The War to End All Wars. Since then we have been through so many wars that the day’s name has been changed to Veterans Day.

Understandably, all the attention on this day has been on those who were killed, with no notice taken of the killers and why they started the War. Understandably because no one in public life or among the veterans knows, or has even thought about it. That sad ignorance and indifference will be compensated for here now, albeit all too briefly.

The minds that manned the guns of August that blew open the 1914 Epoch began arming during the century that followed The Congress of Vienna, 1814-15, which sought to restore Europe following the Napoleonic Wars. British Viscount Castlereagh and Austrian Prince Metternich are standardly credited with having engineered there a balance of power that ushered in and maintained the so-called Hundred Year Peace, which has served as a model for balance-of-power politics in the 20th Century. Rubbish. Monumental Muddleheadedness. In reality that period constituted the Hundred Year Cauldron of War. In that cauldron were forged the ideology of Communism, the scourge of the 20th Century, and Reichism II, the ideological foundation of the Second Reich and the fundamental engine of the First World War.

One may say that The 1914 Epoch began in 1862, when Bismarck became Prime Minister of Prussia. Building on the warlike spirit that had been indelibly impressed on the Prussian people and Army by the 18th Century Prussian King Frederick The Great — a spirit we will call Reichism I, after Frederick’s First Reich — Bismarck concocted a modern warlike spirit. From the philosophies of Kant, Fichte and Hegel, and a distorted sense of Christian mission, he and the Junkers forged the prototype of modern aggressive, religio-secular national ideologies. It legitimated Bismarck’s famous program of ‘Blood and Iron’ and diplomatic deceit, and unified and motivated Prussia and the Hohenzollern dynasty behind it. The growing momentum and intensity of those ideas permeated Wilhelmian Germany, especially the Court, the General Staff, and ultimately the Kaiser himself.

The partially divine, partially secular right and duty of the German people to dominate the world by force and a special morality was called for by Natural Law, Historic and Cosmic Necessity, Racial Superiority, the Dictates of the Absolute, and the “positive freedom” of the Moral Law of the “World Spirit,” of which the German State was the instrument and highest expression, and into which the Individual was to dissolve, freed from “private” moral restraints. It was a comprehensive ideology of the Individual, the State, Violence and Morality.

All of that is but mystical concoction, pure occultism. Later on, the origins and foundations of Nazism, the Third Reich, and World War II would also be species of occultism, as shown in Chapter III.2, The Second World War, in this writer’s primary work, Principia Ideologica. These two cases demonstrate why mysticism and occultism, or mystico-occultism, are so dangerous. Anyone can sit under any tree, contemplate his navel, and concoct any mystico-occult doctrine, and it will be just as valid, or rather, invalid, as anyone else’s doctrine. There is no way to validate, as there is in genuine science. But there are many ways to ‘con’ the scientifically illiterate into accepting them, even as another form of ‘science.‘ This also illustrates why the mystico-occult doctrines of ’creationism’ and ’intelligent design’ that have been concocted and promoted by scientifically illiterate religious fanatics and other troglodytes in the United States are so inimical and dangerous. They teach young minds to accept as valid propositions for which there is no possibility of verification, which trains them to accept other mystico-occult doctrines, including some that may be malignant and become or facilitate popular hatreds and major policies, such as fascism, ethnocide and war.

By the Spring of 1914 the German General Staff fervently sought war, albeit a brief one. The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, at Sarajevo on June 28 by a member of a secret society of Serbian nationalists provided the chance. The Kaiser and the German government spurned the mediating counsels of Austria with the cry “Now or Never!”, and spurred Austria to declare war on Serbia immediately, giving it the Kaiser’s famous “blank check.” Events then moved swiftly.

On July 28th Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. On July 31 Germany declared war on Russia. On August 1 Germany declared war on France. The Continental War was on. At 11pm on August 4, the expiration of Britain’s ultimatum to Germany to withdraw from Belgium, Great Britain entered — and World War I began. On August 23 Japan declared war on Germany. On October 29 Turkish warships of the Ottoman Empire bombarded Russian ports on the Black Sea, and Russia responded with a declaration of war. On November 5 Great Britain and France declared war on the Ottoman Empire. Within approximately three months the First World War exploded and engulfed Serbia, Montenegro, Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, France, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and Belgium — spanning five of the planet’s six continents.

It ended with the Armistice of November 11th, 1918. But in a larger sense that was merely a pause, as the Second World War, which was closely related to the First, then built, rumbled, evolved and exploded. The two together comprised the 20th Century Thirty-Years War.

The epochal convulsion comprising First World War was the inevitable, direct consequence of sanctified, spiritualized, rationalized, glorified, idolized WAR: the ideology of the Second Reich: Reichism II.

My childhood impressions of that War were limited to pictures of my father in uniform, and to the very big book of black and white photos of its carnage. Now I can remember clearly only the photo of about five men in cushioned baskets set out on a table — in baskets because their arms and legs had been amputated at the shoulders and thighs. ‘Basket cases’ they were called. They were smiling. I asked my father why. He didn’t know. I wished I could have asked them. I wished I could have spoken to so many of the anguished, destitute, bloodied men, women and children in the ruins of what had been their towns. In my simple childish way I thought, to the extent that a child can really think, in fact, maybe I just felt, that war was absolutely awful. I often went back to that book. Its impact was augmented by what I could make out of the news on the radio that my parents listened to and talked about, and their visiting friends talked about, which I could sense was about rumblings of a new war. I had no idea, and neither did my parents, that there, already in childhood, my destiny had been set.

The Columbia History of the World (1972) concludes its chapter on World War I as follows:

More than 10 million Europeans had died in battle–as well as 115,000 Americans. At least twice that number had been wounded, many of them to live out their lives as cripples. Thereafter, millions of mutilated men walked the streets of Europe as reminders of the ravages of war. France lost half of its men between the ages of twenty and thirty-two–and others suffered almost as much…Among the dead was the promise and flower of Europe’s youth. The potential leaders of the 1920s and 1930s had been decimated, as thousands of men of recognized talent died alongside others whose talents and genius would remain undiscovered forever. In those futile charges across no man’s land, junior officers and volunteers were mowed down first…Even Europe, with its historic abundance of talent could not suffer such loses without greatly impoverishing its future.

…that earlier world had been thoroughly discredited. It had been discredited by the bloody bungling of incompetence, by the failure of leadership, by the greed of war aims, and by the hollow claims of church and state. The rough ‘deference’ for church, fatherland and social superiors that still existed in 1914 was hopelessly compromised four years later. Superiors had been proven inferior, and the old notion that there was… a social order that made sense, this too had been broken down. What was to take its place? What faith could claim the disillusioned?…

…Everywhere, in Europe and elsewhere, in Russia, the United States, the great Asian powers, the end of war did not bring peace

Also in childhood, I would learn first-hand the special factor that leads to and is required by war: Hate. Every Sunday I was dragged across the Avenue in mid Manhattan, New York City, up the big stone steps to the big doors, and into Saint Ignatius Loyola Church. After Mass, as we descended those same steps, we were all harangued by fierce priests handing out copies of some publication. Eventually my mother explained that they were Father Coughlinites down from Canada, that the publication was called Social Justice, and that they were propagating a hate doctrine called ’anti-Semitism,’ which we will have nothing to do with. At some later Sunday I told my mother that I didn’t want to go there anymore. She agreed. In my parents’ view, a child should not be pressed into, but only exposed to, a religion, which he should choose when he has become older and capable of truly choosing.

In the course of growing up I realized that wars were predominantly about and required ideas to drive and legitimate them. So in Columbia College and University I majored in Physics and Philosophy as fundamental to dealing with the validity of ideas and hence of various political philosophies. I hadn’t yet learned the word ‘ideology.’ And I was focusing on Marxism-Leninism, which I foresaw as driving us into a World War III with the Soviet Union after World War II.

It was the worst of times. The world was going up in flames of hate, driven by the whirlwinds of bigotry, racism, and other malignant ideologies. It was the Era of the Thrd Reich, of Naziism in the heart of Christendom, of Stalin’s Terror savaging the Soviet Union, of Fascism in Italy driving its aggressions in Africa, of Fascism in Spain driving brutal civil war, of Shinto-Tanakaism driving Japan as it slashed, slaughtered and raped its way through Asia, of pandemic bigotry, racism, cross-burnings and lynching in the United States, and of a Second World War.

A few weeks after my 18th birthday, I was in the Army. Training in those days was especially rough. Guys were killed and maimed. After all of that I ended up in non-combat duty. It got to me. That is, the killed and wounded guys that were transited past me got to me. I couldn’t take it anymore. So I volunteered for combat. That’s the way it was then. Everyone served. No one shirked. My orders came through. A few days before I was to head on I was called into a rickety wood shack in which a Major sat behind a rickety wood desk on a rickety chair. “At ease, Corporal,” he said as we pointed to a rickety wood chair in front of his ‘desk.’ “What I have to do is better done in person than by a piece of paper. I’m informing you that your combat orders have been cancelled.” I was livid with fury. He expected that, and explained.

“We’ve learned that you were in a lot of fights back in Fort Sill [Oklahoma]. We feel that you may be unstably hot-headed, may decide to open fire or charge on your own, and give away positions and an imminent action, thus jeopardizing the action and the lives of many men. We cannot risk that.”

I was furious, and raged, “I never started a single fight. I simply defended a small Jewish soldier in our unit against the repeated harassments by Rucki, Wasnieski and Rocky Roth, two tough Brooklyn Polacks and a punk from Little Rock Arkansas. This busted thumb is from Rocky wrenching it out of its socket during one of those fights. And furthermore, millions of guys in combat and civilians back home would be furious to learn that a soldier had been blocked from combat because he had a record of fighting!”

He expected a fight, and moved to Plan B. He pulled a handful of papers out from a noisy drawer in that table, and waved them at me, but would not let me see them. “We have more information on you, soldier. We know the books you had on your barracks shelf, in your footlocker, and lug around in your duffle bag. And we know that and why you went to Boston, to Cambridge, to a Harvard bookstore, on your leaves. We know that you are working on a wholly new sort of defense system that attacks an adversary’s ideas, political philosophy, and that you focus on what you see as the next war, the one with the Soviet Union. You have talked about those things. We officers agree with all of that. And we are determined to save your ass from this war so you can fight the next one, and work on your system for the rest of your life. If you fight this, too, we are prepared to frame you with a court martial and jail time or a dishonorable discharge. Either way you’ll be alive and driven to continue working on what you have been working on. We also know that you got into a helluva fight with sailors in Paradise Café in Scollay Square in Boston and had to be rescued by the SPs [Shore Patrol], and that had nothing to do with defending any one”

He had hit a real nerve. I grew quiet. Thoughtful. He explained further, I guess to encourage me. The brass were offering a pact: They would save my life now in exchange for my committing to devote the rest of my life to my special work, this mission. Combined with the threats, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I accepted.

“Your commanding officer knows that your orders have been cancelled, but not why. You are not to tell him. You are not to discuss this meeting with anyone. Do you understand?” “Yes, sir.” “Dismissed.” I stood up; he stood up, too, and held out his hand. I shook it. “Good luck, soldier.” “Thank you, sir.” I saluted smartly, aboot-faced, and left.

That commitment has threaded throughout my life since then, sometimes involving devastating personal and career decisions and consequences, and has led inexorably to this essay on this day. Allow me a bit of fantasy to say that It almost seems as if a Great Architect has chosen me for this Mission. But if so, why choose such an ordinary mortal, whose inadequacies have delayed its progress. Nevertheless, readers, this essay and its companion essay, noted below, will hopefully enlighten and enlist you.

Early in 1992 there was an extraordinary television series produced by Maryland Public Television and written and presented by British historian Michael Wood, called LEGACY. During the course of each evening it presented two different civilizations. The last presented was called THE BARBARIAN WEST. At the beginning it showed a film of an annual ceremony in memory of the most savage and slaughterous battle in history, the Battle of Verdun during the Great War. It was supposed to have been a quick and decisive attack, but instead it raged from February to December 1916, and cost over a million men killed, wounded and missiing. Wood’s voice over the ceremony commented:

It’s a freezing February midnight in northern France. Former enemies, French and German, meet to commemorate the bloodiest battle in history which began on this night seventy-five years ago. Verdun.

…But in history only the West waged war all over the globe, from the conquests of the fifteenth century to the world wars of our own time.

Under the flags of past battles the old familiar rituals of Christian sacrifice take place. Only a lifetime ago, three quarters of a million people died here for a couple of square miles of ground, where the heirs to the culture of Voltaire were bled white by the heirs of Goethe and Beethoven. The pointlessness of it all passes belief today, but the history of the West more than any other has swung between savagery and idealism. A contradiction apparently deeply rooted in our character and history.

Earlier Wood had summarized the problem as followsIn:

WE WESTERNERS OF THE LATE 20TH CENTURY — FOR ALL OUR MODERNITY — ARE STILL A BRONZE AGE PEOPLE  

In 1997, during the course of the six years of researching and writing Principia Ideologica: A Treatise on Combatting Human Malignance, I spoke with Dr Bruce Manning Metzger, Professor Emeritus of Princeton Theological Seminary. Professor Metzger had been Chairman of the Standard Bible Translation Committee, which is affiliated with the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and which developed the New Revised Standard Version. During our conversation I remarked that in developing Principia Ideologica I had found it necessary to assume the burden of attacking the savagery of Western Civilization at what I perceived to be its roots in the savage Bronze Age literature of the Judaeo-Christian mythology and ethos as expressed in the Bible, and asked if that would offend him. “Oh, no…no…not at all,” he replied.

© Copyright 2005 by Stephen Edward Seadler

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: