Mirror, Mirrror on the Wall, Who is the Most Evil One of All?
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
In the search for evil, sometimes one merely has to look in the mirror. In the movie of the 1930s, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the wicked witch used her mirror on the wall to find Snow White and ask the mirror who is the most beautiful one of all. The mirror showed her the shocking truth by exposing the wickedness of her own pride.
Those who expose the wickedness of the Neo-Cons are criticized for stereotyping “Neo-conservativism” by using the term to epitomize the generic evil of extremism. As a paleo-conservative, who has been battling neo-conservatism for half a century, I find that American neo-conservatism provides an informative stereotype because it provides the most bald-faced example of adopting something good and taking it to the extreme of perverting the original from which it claims to come.
The neo-conservatives make the bizarre claim that they are merely implementing the wisdom of the Scottish Enlightenment, which the minority leader in Parliament during the 1700s, Edmund Burke, almost succeeded in establishing as the core of British constitutionalism, and which America’s founders borrowed almost in its entirety as the foundation of the Great American Experiment. The three founding principles for this original form of British conservatism were order, justice, and freedom. The Founders in the Preamble to the American Constitution improved on this by reordering them to read justice, order, and freedom. The Americans added the goal of prosperity as part of the higher principle of order.
The great wisdom of the American Paleos and the British Proto-Paleos has been to insist that these three ultimate goals of any good society are interdependent, so that extremism in pursuing any one of them or ignoring any one of them will undermine the other two. The contemporary Neos, starting with the Ur-godfather of the movement, Robert Strausz Hupe, who more than forty years ago told me that he wanted me to succeed him as head of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, taught that order must come first, and that once order has been established by superior force then freedom and prosperity can be realistically pursued, and finally priority can be placed on the moral imperative of justice.
These false conservatives pervert the traditionalist movement founded by Edmund Burke and his predecessors in the British Whig movement by adding the term “neo” to reverse the order of priorities by emphasizing that order comes first not merely in priority as the absolute sine qua non but therefore sequentially in time. This is why the American Neo-Conservatives ignore the very existence of justice as a practical goal until a novus ordus seculorum or one-world-order under American hegemony can be imposed as the framework for a new international law. Kissinger was never a paleo-conservative, because he is pragmatically against all ideologies, but he backed the Neos in his Washington Post op-ed piece on August 12, 2002, when he insisted that America must attack Iraq immediately and for one compelling purpose, namely, to install such a new international law as the governing order of the world.
This is why I have always insisted that Israel has little or nothing to do with ideological Neo-Conservatism. It is merely a blip on the global screen, even though the Holy Land as a microcosm of the entire world can provide a model to the extent that the Jews can secure their divinely mandated role in their Biblical homeland and perfect their divine mission, as taught by the world’s greatest spiritual leader of the 20th century, Rebbe Abraham Izaac Kook, to bring justice to the world.
In principle, as a life-long student of totalitarianism, I see no essential difference between the secular fundamentalist Neo-Conservatives and the Muslim religio-ideological totalitarians, following the model of Syed Qutb. They are all locked in a suicidal dance of mutual determination to engineer a clash of civilizations as part of a mutual strategy of creative destruction designed to impose a new planetary regime of ideological uniformity no different from the monstrosity so glaringly evident in the French Revolution, Nazism, and Communism. The only real difference between these three and their copy-cat successor is the greater sophistication of the NeoCons in conning humanity to accept the lies that slavery is freedom and war is peace.
One of the evil spin-offs of the generic totalitarian ideology, which first entered the stage of human history only a couple of centuries ago, is its willingness and skill in co-opting the ancient regimes of tyranny, which by definition have no ideology designed to shape the human mind but instead pursue only their own power. This is a major reason why the arch-tyrannical regime of the political Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and the more crude examples in most of the other Muslim countries in the world have survived so long.
One of the most courageous modern paleo-conservatives in the world may be the President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, who has revived faith-based justice in a militantly secular country. This bold move coincided with the firestorm of protest lit by the British Archbishp of Canterbury who recommended that everyone respect one’s own multiple identities, including the religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the English-speaking world. He was focusing on what is good in one’s own society. President Sarkozy focused instead on what is bad, because the all too common mentality of tribalism prefers to ignore reality.
Sarkozy sparked a firestorm of protest on February 12, 2008, by changing the school curriculum to provide that beginning next fall every French child is to learn the life story of one of the 11,000 French children killed by the Nazis in the Shoah, a unique evil in human history known popularly as the Holocaust. Some psychiatrists and educators predicted that requiring students to identify with a specific victim would traumatize them. Secular fundamentalists attacked him for emphasizing diverse religious identities in a country that supposedly was founded on the national ideal of a single, non-religious identity for all.
Some feared that his new policy of faith-based reconciliation would steer attention away from the Vichy government’s collaboration with the Nazis. In fact, the intent was precisely the opposite. Part of the intent was to remind all Frenchmen of the worst of their past so that they would never be tempted to repeat it or collaborate with any others who might. Of course, this was good politics and deliberately intended to improve relations with Jews around the world. This should be accompanied by the rewriting of French textbooks to highlight the suffering of Palestinian children and to incorporate the textbooks now being written for potential use in every Israeli and Palestinian school that highlight the common histories of Jews and Muslims, who for a thousand years were each others most reliable friends.
President Sarkozy writes, “It is ignorance - not knowledge - that leads to the repetition of abominable situations.” This is especially true in dealing honestly with one’s own national heritage, including both past and present, as explained in my article, “Divine Guidance for Faith-Based Justice,” published in the ezine, http://www.theamericanmuslim.org on February 15, 2008. Faith-based reconciliation, designed to promote the best of the past in order to build a better future, requires an honest focus on one’s own national failings. This is the best way to deal with collective guilt, which otherwise would burden future generations. One cannot atone for the evils of either the past or present in a state of denial. And one can best make up for them in restitution by restoring the common heritage of all the world religions, which ultimately are not the cause of evil but its only cure.