Psycho-Philosophical Differences Between Left And Right
By Noah Nissani Translated by Ehud Tokatly www.hopeways.org (extract)
The political terms "Right" and "Left" were born in the French Revolution, when two different revolutionary factions took seats in the French National Assembly's hall: the Girondins on the right wing and the Jacobins on the left wing...The Girondins started a process of creating a liberal-democratic regime, fashioned after the English model...when the Jacobins came to power...(they)...drowned France with the blood of some 100,000 victims, during the period known as the "Reign of Terror..." All of this led to 20th Century horrors of Marxism, Nazism, etc.
The article goes on about the underlying philosophies::
- A. Good And Bad People Versus Human Weakness Equality
- B. Atheism versus religiousness.
- C. Rationalism versus empiricism.
A. GOOD And BAD PEOPLE Versus HUMAN WEAKNESS EQUALITY
The most significant difference between these two revolutionary outlooks seems to be that, unlike the Girondins, the Jacobins divided all people between good people and bad ones, honest people and wicked ones (1). The lower classes, who suffered from the nobility's exploitation and tyranny, were the good and honest people. The oppressive aristocracy and its collaborators were the bad and corrupt ones.
In line with this perception and due to their view of social processes as struggles between good and evil, the Jacobins' rule started the darkest period of the French Revolution, first murdering aristocrats and then those suspected as their associates (2). But this was only an introduction to the events that humankind was to experience a century later, when other arrogant "good people", the Marxists, took over large parts of the world.
Unlike the Jacobins, many of the Gerondins came from aristocratic background. Inspired by the Bible and the Greek philosophers, they held that all people were essentially equal. They had no fixed definitions for enemies who had to be fought, and their intention was to change the regime, from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional-parliamentarian one, much like the English model, thus abolishing the excessive privileges of the upper classes.
B. ATHEISM versus RELIGIOUSNESS.
The Jacobean atheism was integrated with rationalism...with the dismissal of Judeo-Christian scriptures...Their rise to power was probably the first time in history where an atheist ideology, as opposed to atheist individuals, took over an entire country. (4)
...the Girondins, who shared the ideology of English Liberalism, supported the freedom of religion and the equality of all churches and religious movements, thus abolishing the privileges and the official status of the Catholic Church as the state religion. Their views were religious in essence, deeply influenced by the Bible, the Greek philosophers and the Freemasons...
RATIONALISM versus EMPIRICISM.
The impressive achievements of Newtonian mechanics in describing the laws of movement of both earthly and celestial bodies, through a small number of simple mathematical formulae, drove many, including the Jacobins, into a certain type of megalomania - Rationalism, an exaggerated faith in human logic. Lacking the knowledge about Newton's empirical methods, based on Tycho Brahe's experiments a century earlier, and the lack of understanding of the process of trial and error through which science makes progress - a process that is basically not different from the way mice find their way in a labyrinth, made them believe in the human ability to find out the absolute truth through deductive methods. These methods are wrongly thought to be employed in mathematics, and especially in geometry.
Therefore, the scientific progress that followed from Newton's contribution encouraged a new form of an old arrogance, described in the Bible: the arrogance of the builders of the tower of Babylon.
Unlike the Jacobean rationalism, represented by Voltaire, the chief Girondin ideologue Montesquieu, followed Aristotle's empirical method. He added to the research of around 150 regimes, which served as the basis for Aristotle's "Politics", another twenty years of study, with a team of assistants, for writing his book "The Spirit of the Laws" (1748).
Together with the Bible and the Greek philosophers, this book guided the founding fathers of the American Revolution in shaping the principles and institutions of the United States. This Liberal Democracy has proven its viability for over two centuries, to this very day.
Sorting the 20th Century ideologies according to the psycho-philosophical differences between Jacobins and Girondins:
A. G00D And BAD PEOPLE versus HUMAN WEAKNESS EQUALITY.
The Liberal revolutions in England and the USA contained all the psycho-philosophical aspects of the Girondin right wing and luckily for their success and stability, they had no faction similar to the Jacobin Left. The English revolution was led by aristocrats and the clergy. The former used their influence and the latter contributed the ideology.
It took place in the 13th Century, i.e. before the Renaissance and the spread of the Classical Greek culture in Europe. Thus, the only source for this Liberal ideology was the Bible, which emphasises the basic duality of human nature, whose soul and psyche combines good and evil, generosity and egotism, love and hate, cowardice and courage. (8)
Most of the founding fathers of the American Revolution were pious Christians. As devout Protestants, they were committed to studying the Bible which, together with the Greek philosophers and Montesquieu, guided them in shaping their constitution and institutions. All three sources have in common a religious and empirical approach that stresses the complexity of human nature, which is fundamentally equal in all human beings.
Following the Jacobin example, the Marxists accurately defined themselves as Left and divided all human beings into "good" and "evil" ones. The "good people" were the proletariat who had no means of production, and the "bad ones" were the bourgeoisie who monopolised the means of production. As a result, while the Jacobins "kindly" murdered around 100,000 people, the Marxists killed in their "war against the bad people" - their "class struggle" - over 100 millions. They turned the 20th Century, "the century of lights" that started with high hopes for the rule of reason, into the most horrible era in human history. (9)
The Nazis too divided humankind into "bad" and "good" people. The Jews were bad and Aryans, particularly the Germans, were good. They added to the 20th Century's balance of slaughter around 20 million victims, 6 millions of them were Jewish. In contrast, the Fascists followed the Girondins in this respect. They defined no enemies and committed no genocide in their own countries out of 8000 Jews sent from Italy to Germany. (10)
B. ATHEISM versus RELIGIOUSNESS.
We mentioned above the Bible-based religiosity of the founders of the American and English Liberal revolutions.
Marxism, the atheist ideology that regarded religion as "opium for the masses", fulfilled in the 20th Century the first of the two horrible centuries that Nietzsche foresaw. The Nazis were atheists too and specially resented religions and morality of Jewish origin.
The fascists, on the other hand, joined the Right on the issue of religion, and coined the motto: "God, Fatherland, Family and Work."
C. RATIONALISM versus EMPIRICISM.
The thinkers of the English liberalism and the American Revolution, relied on the same empirical sources of the Girondins: the Bible, the Greek philosophers and Montesquieu's scientific research. In contrast, the Marxists adopted a total faith in their power to create a just society through the exclusive influence of reason.
In their arrogance, they did not feel a need to test empirically their "scientific socialism", created by Marx's rational thoughts, before applying it to billions of people with disastrous results. The fascists too adopted rationalism, believing in the sole power of human reason, without empirical experimentation, to create a better, more just society. This led to the corporativism, the brainchild of Benitto Mussolini, a former Marxist ideologue.
Out of the three psycho-philosophical differences that separated Jacobins and Girondins, despite their common ideology - good - bad versus equals, atheists versus religious, and rationalists versus empiricists - which we may characterise as arrogant versus humble positions, we find that:
- 1. The three arrogant positions are common to Jacobins, Marxists and Nazis.
- 2. The three humble positions are common to Girondins and the founders of the English and American Liberal revolutions.
- 3. Fascism has only rationalism in common with the Jacobins, but holds like the Girondins that humans are equal and respects religion.
Original url: http://www.liberal.org.il/index.htm
Deaths during the French Revolution
- Encarta, "French Revolution"
- Reign of Terror
- Executed with Trial: 17,000
- Executed w/o Trial: 12,000
- Died in jail: "thousands"
- TOTAL: 40,000
- Vendee rebellion: 100,000
- Reign of Terror
- Britannica: 17,000 executed and 10,000 died in jail during the Reign of Terror.
- James Trager, The People's Chronology (1992): 300-600,000 men, women, children k. in suppression of Vendée revolt. ("1793")
- Herbert Rowen, A History of Early Modern Europe: 1500-1815 (1960)
- September Massacres (Paris, 1792): >1,000
- Reign of Terror: 17,000 k. after trial and 20,000 "with less formality".
- M. de Jarjayes, A little bit of History [http://amarisee.tripod.com/FoR/Debate8.html]
- Executions: 13,800-18,613 with trial, 25-40,000 without trial
- Wars: 400,000 in Revolutionary Wars; 400-500,000 in civil wars
- Spark Notes: 250,000 k. in 9 months of the Reign o'Terror [http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/frenchrev/summary.html]
- Rummel: 263,000
- Clodfelter: 80-100,000 d. in Vendee in 1793
Original url: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/wars18c.htm
Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
Montesquieu: Ideological Co-Founder of the American Constitution along with John Locke. It is partly due to the brilliance of Montesquieu that the United States of America has descended into serious civil bloodshed only one time in over 200 years.
"Montesquieu advocated constitutionalism, the preservation of civil liberties, the abolition of slavery, gradualism, moderation, peace, internationalism, social and economic justice with due respect to national and local tradition. He believed in justice and the rule of law; detested all forms of extremism and fanaticism; put his faith in the balance of power and the division of authority as a weapon against despotic rule by individuals or groups or majorities; and approved of social equality, but not the point which it threatened individual liberty; and out of liberty, but not to the point where it threatened to disrupt orderly government." Sir Isaiah Berlin Against the Current
Montesquieu loved knowledge, science, law, toleration.
Montesquieu hated armies, conquests, tyrants, priests.
"In republican governments, men are all equal; equal they are also in despotic governments: in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing." Montesquieu The Spirit of Laws Bk. VI, Ch. 2
"Luxury is therefore absolutely necessary in monarchies; as it is also in despotic states, In the former, it is the use of liberty, in the latter, it is the abuse of servitude... "Hence arrives a very natural reflection. Republics end with luxury; monarchies with poverty." Montesquieu The Spirit of Laws Bk. VII, Ch. 4
"As distant as heaven is from the earth, so is the true spirit of equality from that of extreme equality..."In a true state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of laws." Montesquieu The Spirit of Laws Bk. VIII, Ch. 3
Orignal url: http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/montesquieu/montesquieu.html
Corporatism From Wikipedia:
Historically, corporatism or corporativism (Italian: corporativismo) refers to a political or economic system in which power is given to civic assemblies that represent economic, industrial, agrarian, social, cultural, and professional groups. These civic assemblies, known as corporations (not necessarily the business model known as a 'corporation' though such businesses are not excluded from the definition either).
Corporations are unelected bodies with an internal hierarchy; their purpose is to exert control over the social and economic life of their respective areas. Thus, for example, a steel corporation would be a cartel composed of all the business leaders in the steel industry, coming together to discuss a common policy on prices and wages. When the political and economic power of a country rests in the hands of such groups, then a corporatist system is in place.
The word "corporatism" is derived from the Latin word for body, corpus. This meaning was not connected with the specific notion of a business corporation, but rather a general reference to anything collected as a body. Its usage reflects medieval European concepts of a whole society in which the various components - e.g., guilds or trade unions, universities, monasteries, the various estates, etc. - each play a part in the life of the society, just as the various parts of the body serve specific roles in the life of a body. According to various theorists, corporatism was an attempt to create a modern version of feudalism by merging the "corporate" interests with those of the state...
Political scientists may also use the term corporatism to describe a practice whereby an authoritarian state, through the process of licensing and regulating officially-incorporated social, religious, economic, or popular organizations, effectively co-opts their leadership or circumscribes their ability to challenge state authority by establishing the state as the source of their legitimacy, as well as sometimes running them, either directly or indirectly through shill corporations. This usage is particularly common in the area of East Asian studies, and is sometimes also referred to as state corporatism.
At a popular level in recent years "corporatism" has been used to mean the promotion of the interests of private corporations in government over the interests of the public.
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