As this country totters towards its latest general elections amid successive Islamist terrorist murders, let’s look at the towering ‘speech’ (in fact the systematic private demolition of another erstwhile ‘friend, Peter Keating) by Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead.
Most of it is here. Thus:
If you learn how to rule one single man’s soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It’s the soul, Peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns. That’s why the Caesars, the attilas, the Napoleons were fools and did not last. We will. The soul, Peter, is that which can’t be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it – and the man is yours.
Toohey is a sort of bland far-sighted cunning patient Stalin, someone who seeks to destroy human individualism to achieve all-out collectivist control. Toohey grasps that the key thing is not physical power as such. That comes and goes. Rather it is to achieve generalised acceptance of an idea.
You won’t need a whip – he’ll bring it to you and ask to be whipped. Set him in reverse – and his own mechanism will do your work for you. Use him against himself.
This is profound. The true slave is not only the one who’s will has been broken beyond repair- some sort of zombie. It’s the person who KNOWS that his will has been broken but can’t or won’t do anything about it. See also the perfect crime:
The Really Perfect Crime is not defined by the fact that no-one knows who did it. Instead it is to commit a truly atrocious deed and then arrange things so that we all know exactly who did it – but prefer to look away from the victim, to offer the criminal a drink, and chatter excitedly about ‘moving on’.
Back to Toohey:
There are many ways. Here’s one. Make man feel small. Make him feel guilty. Kill his aspiration and his integrity … Man realises that he’s incapable of what he’s accepted as the noblest virtue – and it gives him a sense of guilt, of sin, of his own basic unworthiness …
This is exactly what today’s self-styled Social Justice Warriors do 24/7. They frame issues so that everything done by anyone they hate (above all ‘white’ men) is a priori unworthy and guilt-stricken. Hence the craven capitulation by university academics and administrators in the face of insane brutal demands straight to their faces.
Here’s another. Kill man’s sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognise greatness or to achieve it. Great men can’t be ruled. We don’t want any great men. Don’t deny conception of greatness. Destroy it from within. The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional. Set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept – and you stop the impetus to effort in men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection …
Down with excellence – it’s just privilege. Science, knowledge, hard work? Oppressive and hegemonistic! Truth is Lies:
“[N]otions of absolute truth and a single reality” are “masculine”…
Toohey warms to his theme:
This is most important. Don’t allow men to be happy … Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living. Take away from them what they want. Make them think that the mere thought of a personal desire is evil. Bring them to a state where saying ‘I want’ is no longer a natural right, but a shameful admission. Altruism is of great help in this. Unhappy men will come to you. They’ll need you. They’ll come for consolation, for support, for escape.
… Look at the moral atmosphere of today. Everything enjoyable, from cigarettes to sex to ambition to the profit motive, is considered depraved or sinful. Just prove that a thing makes men happy and you’ve damned it. That’s how far we’ve come. We’ve tied happiness to guilt. And we’ve got mankind by the throat.
Good grief. This was written in 1943. Think of all the myriad pressure-groups now nagging us not to enjoy things we choose for ourselves, or demanding ever-more ‘regulation’ to ‘mitigate risks’. What if people enjoy taking risks, or at least do not want risk-taking nationalised by the dull-witted state and its polyester-clad bureaucrats?
Of course, you must dress them up. You must tell people they’ll achieve a superior kind of happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don’t have to be too clear about it. Use big vague words. ‘Universal Harmony’ – ‘Eternal Spirit’ – ‘Divine Purpose’ – ‘Nirvana’ – ‘Paradise’ – ‘Racial Supremacy’ – ‘the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’ Internal corruption, Peter. That’s the oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it.
These phrases drift in and out of fashion. The phrase ‘social justice’ is now a vogue expression for collectivism, closely followed by ‘inequality’ and different expressions involving the word ‘climate’.
Yet the test should be so simple: just listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice – run. Run faster than from a plague. It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
But if you ever hear a man telling you that you must be happy, that it’s your natural right, that your first duty is to yourself – that will be the man who has nothing to gain from you. But let him come and you’ll scream your empty heads off, howling that he’s a selfish monster.
Ayn Rand loathed all religions and their intrinsic idea of ‘submission’. Thus a schism in US conservatism – she was too much for many Christians to accept.
Men have a weapon against you. Reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. Cut the props from under it. But be careful. Don’t deny outright. Never deny anything outright, you give your hand away. Don’t say reason is evil – though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there’s something above it. What ? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible. ‘Instinct’ – ‘Feeling’ – ‘Revelation’ – ‘Divine Intuition’ – ‘Dialectic Materialism’. If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense – you’re ready for him. You tell him there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe.
Good grief. This was so prescient – the idea that ‘feelings’ trump logic or reason. See the whirlwind of destruction of freedom now caused by the idea that anything ‘offensive’ or that causes ‘outrage’ even to a vanishingly small minority has to be banned/controlled/reviled. And the overwhelming reluctance of anyone serious in a Western leadership position to stand up publicly for the idea that if something ‘offends’ you, maybe it’s you that has the problem and should be rather more tolerant.
Judgement, Peter ! Not judgement, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeroes – since no individuality will be permitted. A world with its motor cut off and a single heart, pumped by hand. My hand – and the hands of a few, a very few other men like me.
… Have you noticed that the imbecile always smiles ? Man’s first frown is the first touch of God on his forehead. The touch of thought. But we’ll have neither God nor thought. Only voting by smiles. Automatic levers – all saying yes…
Yes. Focus groups and endless manipulative ‘nudging’ by those in power. Or subliminal manipulation by using Big Data to reinforce prejudices. Or Facebook/Twitter echo-chambers.
Insane ? Look around you. Pick up any newspaper and read the headlines. Isn’t it coming ? Isn’t it here ? Every single thing I told you ? Isn’t Europe swallowed already and we’re stumbling on to follow ? Everything I said is contained in a single word – collectivism. And isn’t that the god of our century. To act together. To think – together. To feel – together. To unite, to agree, to obey. To obey, to serve, to sacrifice. Divide and conquer – first. But then, unite and rule.
We’ve discovered that one last. Remember the Roman Emperor who said he wished humanity had a single neck so he could cut it ? People have laughed at him for centuries. But we’ll have the last laugh. We’ve accomplished what he couldn’t accomplish. We’ve taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash. We found the magic word. Collectivism.
This was written when the two great collectivist twins, Nazism and Communism, were flattening Europe. Now we face Collectivism 2.0: the coinciding and coalescing and collaboration of all collectivist ideologies – above all Leftism and Islamism – to squeeze out individual freedom.
Look at Europe, you fool. Can’t you see past the guff and recognise the essence ? One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual held as evil, the mass – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the proletariat.
How dare you call for Brexit! Don’t you care about the European Ideal? Don’t you see or feel that submitting to rule from Brussels is the only principled way to live? Are you some sort of nationalist or racist? That opposes progress?
* * * * *
Thus the UK elections. The previous Labour Government infamously created one new criminal offence on almost every day it was in office. Over 3,600. I have asked my MP how many further offences have been created by the Conservatives since Labour were thrown out. I doubt that the rate of criminalising life in general has much diminished. I await the answer.
This is a sign that government as such no longer knows what to do. The public can’t be trusted on pretty much anything any more, so batter them into sullen acquiescence. Plus among the public are now not handfuls or scores or hundreds but thousands of would-be Islamic jihadist fanatics. Everyone has to be controlled for the Common Good. At what point on the violence Richter Scale does ‘terrorism’ become an ‘insurgency’ or an ‘uprising’ or a civil war?
Neither Conservatives nor Labour offer us a shred of philosophical insight on these issues. We simply get a choice between a prim uninspiring middle-class Oxford-educated woman who wraps herself to some degree in the language of conventional values, and a scruffy shifty dim Marxist who sucks up to fanaticism of every collectivist hue. Both of them under any pressure default to ‘more state control’ and higher taxes to fund it. Neither has a vision based on libertarian individualism and liberty. Both of them are prisoners of Ellsworth Toohey:
To preserve one’s integrity is a hard battle. Why preserve that which one knows to be corrupt already? His soul gives up its self respect. You’ve got him. He’ll obey. He’ll be glad to obey – because he can’t trust himself, he feels uncertain, he feels unclean.