Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Dispossessed Majority: The Secularization of Religion

Quotes from Wilmot Robertson, The Dispossessed Majority (Howard Allen, Cape Canaveral, Fl., 1981)

See also The Cultural Clash: The Dissolution of Art and The Cultural Clash: The Atrophy of Education

The Cultural Clash: The Secularization of Religion

Art is one of the battlegrounds of the cultural clash now taking place in the United States. Religion is another. The intention of this chapter, however, is not to indulge in theological speculations or question the truth or error of any particular faith, but to examine the purely social and pragmatic side of religion and its appositeness to the present tides of political, economic, and social change.

God may be dead, as it was once announced that Great Pan was dead and as many twentieth-century churchmen, echoing the wishful thinking of Nietzsche, proclaim. But the religious instinct is very much alive. Though science is a long way from confirming it, it almost seems that men are born with a religious gene. There may have been an alarming decrease in the spiritual magnetism and uplift of formal religion in modern times, but men have made up for it by shifting their innate religiosity to more mundane creeds - democracy, liberalism, capitalism, nationalism, fascism, socialism, and communism. If an abundance of saints, devils, martyrs, and prophets is a sign of religious zeal, the twentieth century ought to rank as the most religious of all centuries. Never since the days of Rome have so many heads of state, both living and dead, been deified or diabolized on such a grand scale. Belief in the old gods may be flickering, but belief in the more worldly deities of the present is laser bright.

A review of organized religion in America must concentrate on a discussion of Christianity. Until quite recently, the United States was called a Christian nation and statistically about 60 per-cent of all Americans still belong to a Christian church. But what exactly is a Christian? The definition seems to depend on the religious denomination of the definer. In Roman Catholic eyes, St. Francis, one of the few who ever took Christ literally, and Boniface VIII, more Caesar than pope, were both Christians. In Protestant eyes, so was Captain (later Reverend) John Newton, who composed the ever popular hymn, ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,’ while the vessel he commanded waited off the Guinea coast to pick up a new shipment of slaves from the interior. Other Christians have included Syrian column-sitters, sword-wielding Norsemen, cannibalistic blacks, lust-ridden empresses, and piety-stricken nuns.

The difficulty of defining a Christian stems in part from the massive polarizations and cyclic sweeps of Christianity in the first nineteen centuries of its existence. No religion has been so many things to so many believers and so many theologians. None has provoked so many heresies and schisms, so much war and so much peace, so much animosity and so much love. Perhaps the only time that Christianity was truly unified and truly one religion was in its very beginnings, when it was a simple offshoot of Judaism - one of the many sects that flourished in the spiritual ferment stirred up by Roman encroachments on Jewish statehood.

The first great problem of Christianity was a purely racial one. Would it be a religion for Jews or for Gentiles? Jesus himself was a Galilean from ‘Galilee of the Gentiles.’ There is no definite proof that he was a Jew, but it is almost certain he was brought up in a Jewish cultural ambiance. At first many Jews looked upon him as a possible Messiah come to satisfy their craving for a return to the temporal glories of Solomon. Later, when the ministry of Jesus began to include outsiders and when he demonstrated more interest in an otherworldly than in a worldly kingdom, the Jews quickly closed their hearts and their purses. In the words of Toynbee, ‘this inspired Jewish scion of forcibly converted Galilean gentiles was then rejected and done to death by the Judaean leaders of the Jewry of his age.’

The next problem facing Christianity, once it moved away from the Jews, was how much of its original Jewish background and tradition would or should be preserved. One faction, the Marcionites, attempted to purge the early church of all Jewish influence and went so far as to brand the Old Testament the work of the devil. The Petrine Church, on the other hand, accepted the Jewish Bible, a great deal of Jewish theology and law, and the special position of the Jews as midwives of Christianity - indeed almost everything Jewish except the Jews themselves. Eventually the Judaizing party won, though remnants of Marcionite influence persisted until the Cathars of Southern France were liquidated by papal auxiliaries in the twelfth century. If the Marcionites had prevailed, there would have been very little Judeo in the Judeo-Christian heritage of Western civilization.

One of the principal themes of Gibbon’s magnificent obituary of the Roman Empire was the important role of Christianity in its decay and dissolution. If the great historian had explored the workings of the Early Church more penetratingly, he might have found the real culprit was not the Christian religion as such, but those who played up the equalitarian and insurrectionary elements of Christianity at the expense of the more fundamental Christian concept of otherworldliness. On the one side, the power and privilege of the dwindling Roman elite were undermined by the New Testament’s accent on brotherhood and renunciation.

On the other, the subject races were aroused to violence by the inflammatory sermons of the Early Fathers, whose strictures against Roman paganism demanded the destruction of everyone and everything connected with the old religion. In A.D. 310 there was one last flare-up of pagan repression when the Emperor Galerius poured molten lead down Christian throats and fed the lions a final meal of martyrs in the Coliseum. Two years later, Constantine saw the blazing cross and Rome soon had a Christian Emperor.

When Christianity became a state religion the bishops changed their tune. Instead of opposing the government the Church became its guardian. Instead of attacking military service it advocated it. Once the oppressed, Christians were now the oppressors and the flames of Greek and Roman temples lit the night sky of dying Rome. Although it was too late to prevent the Empire’s collapse, the bishops did manage to convert, in a fashion, the conquering Teutons, who later saved Western Christianity from the Huns, Arabs, Turks, and other heathen marauders.

By the time of the Crusades, Christianity had divided into the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. It divided again when Northern Europe, incited by princes with a covetous eye on the heavy gold exports to the Holy See, broke away from the spiritual absolutism and temporal Realpolitik of the Latinized Popes. The Reformation drew the religious frontiers which today separate Protestant from Catholic Europe and the racial frontiers which in many areas separate Nordic from Alpine Europe.

Professor Guignebert of the University of Paris, perhaps the most informed modern biblical scholar, has provided an interesting sidelight on the development of Christianity by noting the changing ‘appearance’ of Jesus through the ages. The first depictions of Jesus made him hairy, ugly, and abject. Later in Gothic rose windows and statuary and in Renaissance paintings and frescoes, Christ was endowed with Nordic features and at times looked more like Siegfried than the son of a Mediterranean carpenter. Many paintings of the Holy Family portrayed the Virgin and the Christ Child with blond hair and blue eyes. The Aesthetic Prop was everywhere visible in the greatest masterpieces of Church-sponsored art.

Christianity was brought to the United States by members of practically every Christian denomination - Anglicans and Anabaptists, Catholics and Mennonites, Lutherans, Quakers and Shakers, Greek Orthodox and Doukhobors. The Episcopal Church - two-thirds of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Episcopalians - and the Calvinist churches (principally the Congregational and the Presbyterian) remained dominant until the rise of the revivalist and evangelical sects in the early nineteenth century. The slavery issue dissolved whatever Christian unity existed between North and South, turning many Yankees from the eye-for-an-eye morality and ironbound predestination of Calvinism to Unitarianism and other less rigorous and less selective creeds. In the same years Southern churches fastened a stratified, black-and-white Christianity on the slave states, justifying their actions by murky biblical passages on human bondage.

Shortly before the Civil War, Roman Catholicism began to assume some prominence in national affairs. In addition to its religious function the Church served as an immense social service organization for the mass influx of hungry, homesick Irish immigrants. Decades later, it became the spiritual and, on occasion, the political shepherd for the millions of Central and Southern European Catholics who furnished the bulk of the New Immigration. By the early 1930s the Catholic Church was the largest and most powerful religious body in the United States. In 1928 Alfred E. Smith lost the presidential election partly because he was a Catholic. In 1960 John F. Kennedy won the presidency partly because he was a Catholic. In the 97th Congress (1981-82), more congressmen belonged to the Catholic Church than to any other religious denomination.

Today, Christianity in the United States - the fundamentalists excepted - has turned its attention from God to man and become the champion of the minorities. Many Protestant ministers take the money from their collection plates and spend it on projects for blacks and Hispanics that are often more political than charitable. Churches are transformed into meeting places for black gangs. Clergymen record their ‘deep appreciation’ to the black militant who stormed into Manhattan’s Riverside Church and demanded $500 million in ‘reparations.’ Long tolerant of communism in its various Stalinist, Titoist, and Maoist guises, many churchmen now openly endorse revolution in Central America, smuggle in illegal aliens, propagandize for unilateral disarmament, raise bail for Black Panthers, and conspire against a future draft as they conspired against the American war effort in Vietnam. Some Catholic priests have been active in inciting strikes of Mexican-American migrant farm workers against California farmers. Others, notably the Berrigan brothers, have broken into Selective Service offices and destroyed draft records. Still others have taken to the streets and led mass sit-ins in defiance of state and local laws and Pope John Paul II’s strictures against priests in politics.

Altogether the present liberal-minority stance of Christianity in America lacks credibility and smacks of dilettantism. Jesus was an underdog and his poverty and minority status stimulated an honest concern for the oppressed and downtrodden. The well-fed, well-funded clergyman who walks a mile or two in a ‘freedom march’ and drops in from time to time to see how his Negro friends are doing in the slums seems a little counterfeit. So does the ‘social conscience’ of the Vatican ($80 billion in assets, including a $5.6 billion stock portfolio) and of the United States religious establishment (property alone valued at $102 billion). Such a vast hoard of wealth, which is nothing new in church history, has always made Christianity suspect in the eyes of left-leaning radicals. It helps explain why, despite all that Christian liberals did to prepare the way, in the three great revolutions of modern history - French, Russian, and Chinese - Christianity was officially or unofficially proscribed.

Although Christians are almost a billion strong, their faith is cooling. Popes no longer command armies, excommunicate kings, and organize crusades. There are no more Sainte Chapelles abuilding and no artists with one iota of the religious intensity found in a Fra Angelico painting. The pens of Luther and Milton are still, and the rousing Protestant hymns of yesteryear have lost their Sunday punch and are increasingly unsung. Revival meetings in tents and on television continue to draw large audiences, but more lips are converted than hearts. The old-time religion is still alive and well in some areas, but it has more relevance to the ambitions of prominent evangelists than to God. Catholic and Protestant clerics may get reams of favorable publicity in the press when they abandon their flocks to spread their ‘good works’ among the minorities, but it gains them few points with their hometown congregations. The leaders of the so-called Moral Majority have won a certain amount of acclaim, not, however, for spreading the gospel but for attacking the pandemic corruption and immorality of the times.

The deformation of religion in America, the shift from the Old Testament stamp of the original white settlers to the permissive social Christianity of the present, brings up the age-old question of how effectively religion shapes a people’s character and how effectively a people’s character shapes religion. According to modern standards the colonial American, his rifle in one hand and his Bible in the other, was a caricature of a Christian. He may have read the Good Book to his family once a week, but he seldom went to church. The Pilgrims, it is known, had no pastor for nine years after their arrival. In Virginia fewer than one out of nineteen were church members. Among Massachusetts Bay colonists only one-fifth were even professing Christians. Joshua, though perhaps not the late Bishop Pike, would have been proud of the Pilgrims. When they did go to Plymouth Church, they marched in three abreast with their muskets and firelocks at the ready, while other members of the congregation manned six cannon on the roof, each capable of shooting iron balls of four to five pounds. Was this a different kind of Christianity? Or was it a different kind of Christian?

Many other aspects of early American Christianity are equally abhorrent to modern church leaders. John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, probably spoke for all the Puritan elders when he said that democracy ‘has always been counted the meanest and worst of all forms of government.’ In Connecticut and Massachusetts the right to vote was restricted to church members, upsetting as this may be to those who believe that the American political tradition is unalterably bound to the separation of church and state. Equally upsetting is that the New England church thrived on the slave and rum trade, and that many well-known Congregational ministers owned slaves.

The Protestant religion has passed through its Old Testament pioneering phase and, despite some noisy fundamentalists, its New Testament evangelical phase. It is now well into its liberal phase. The Catholic religion is on a somewhat similar, but later-starting, timetable. The burning faith brought over by immigrants from Ireland and Central and Southern Europe has gradually cooled. Many of their descendants now obey a less rigid and more tolerant code, which permits them to defy their Church’s ban on contraceptives and divorce, skip mass for golf, and escape or think about escaping from the warm protection of their religious cocoon into the uncharted spaces of agnosticism.

Priests and even nuns are marrying, not always within the Church. Parochial schools are shut down for lack of funds. Members of the hierarchy are challenging papal infallibility. As the possibility of another great schism looms, the Church in America will have an increasingly difficult time keeping its decreasingly devout communicants under one roof. If it moves too far to the left to appease its growing Hispanic contingent, it must alienate its Irish and white ethnics. As racial divisions within its ranks sharpen, as the old external battle against the Protestants turns into an internal struggle for power, Catholic unity, once such a strong political force in the United States, may soon decline to the point where Catholics will no longer vote according to their religion but according to their race.

Judaism in America has followed the same hylotheistic route as Protestantism and Catholicism. The orthodox zealotry of the Sephardim of pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary days compares to the more rational religiosity of contemporary Reform and Conservative Judaism as an acetylene torch to a candle. At present no more than 10 percent of American Jewry observe dietary laws and surveys show that Jewish college students are considerably less religious than non-Jewish students. There are some 4,000 Jewish congregations in the United States, comprising approximately 70 percent of all Jewish families, but most Jews affiliated with synagogues can hardly be described as pious. Only 19 percent of American Jews visit a temple once a week.

The establishment of Israel has reversed or at least slowed this secular trend and drawn some Jews back into the religious fold by renewing their interest in Jewish history. Judaism also continues to be attractive to many Jews for a reason that has nothing to do with religion and much to do with practical politics. As one prominent American Jew explained, ‘In fighting the cause of Jewish rights abroad, the religious approach is usually the one that Jewish leadership finds it most advisable to take.’ He might have added that Judaism also serves as a useful camouflage for Jewish activity in domestic affairs. In the meantime their old religious animus against Christianity has been mollified as Jews discover the advantages to be gained from the Christian liberal’s emphasis on selective tolerance and the Christian conservative’s support for Israel.

The ecumenical movement, though successful in bringing Protestants and Catholics closer together than at any time since the Reformation, has been powerless to prevent the various Christian denominations from abandoning their moral ascendancy over American life. If secularization continues at its present pace, Christianity may soon have no deeper significance in the American scheme of things than sports. Protestantism, in fact, has become so lukewarm that even the issue of federal aid to education no longer secretes undue amounts of adrenaline in Baptist or Methodist glands. Without regard to small, scattered voices of protest, national, state, and local governments often subsidize parochial schools with free lunches and transportation and aid parochial institutions of higher learning with five- and six-figure monetary grants for the physical and social sciences. There is even less outcry when the flaming liberal Jesuit, Robert Drinan, his white collar resplendent in television floodlights, runs for public office.

In recent years the most sensitive area of church-state relationship has not been the mixing of religion and politics, but the public observance of religion. Supreme Court rulings against prayers in public schools and the display of religious symbols in public places, minority attacks on Christmas pageantry in the classroom, minority complaints about Christmas stamps with religious themes -- all these are the outgrowths of what is essentially a mounting racial controversy.

Formerly, separation of church and state meant that churches were to stand alone without financial, legal, or any other kind of assistance from government. Now it is beginning to mean that religion must be isolated and even quarantined from public contact. This could be construed as more of a constriction than an extension of religious liberty. The free exercise of religion is hardly possible without freedom of religious expression.

The campaign against public celebrations of the nation’s religion, in addition to its built-in iconoclasm, cannot avoid becoming a campaign against the nation’s culture. Quite apart from its religious significance, Christmas - decorative tree, yule log, Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, and sky-riding sleigh - is an exuberant manifestation, perhaps the most exuberant manifestation, of Majority folkways.

Already Majority members have permitted their biggest holiday to be transformed into an overcommercialized Oriental bazaar by the great department store chains, many of which are owned by non-Christians. Any further censorship or perversion of Christmas would be a further abridgement, not just of the Majority’s religious freedom, but of its cultural freedom. Justice Potter Stewart, the lone dissenter in the Supreme Court’s school prayer rulings, made this point clear when he said that the Court, instead of being neutral toward religion, was actually showing signs of hostility by denying students ‘the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of the nation.’

In Notes towards the Definition of Culture, T. S. Eliot writes, ‘the culture of a people [is] an incarnation of its religion,’ and ‘no culture has appeared or developed except together with a religion …’ This is tantamount to saying that religion and culture are indivisible, that one cannot be isolated from the other without severe damage to both. In Eliot’s view, it was no coincidence that mankind’s greatest artistic achievements occurred when church and state were working together, not apart.

Nine of the thirteen colonies had established churches, as did England and the Scandinavian countries throughout most of their history. Church disestablishment in America came about during the War of Independence, which disrupted colonial ties to the Church of England. It was made official by the First Amendment, which was chiefly the work of Franklin, Jefferson, and Madison, many of whose religious (or irreligious) ideas had been taken from the French Enlightenment.

If the Greeks had been disestablishmentarians, there would have been no Parthenon, which was built with government funds, and none of the great plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, which were staged in a government amphitheater, subsidized in part by the state treasury and offered to the public during state-sponsored religious festivities. If church and state had been separated in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, there would have been no Abbey of Cluny, no Gothic cathedrals, no Florentine Baptistery, no Sistine Chapel, no Last Supper. Bach, it should be added, spent much of his musical life in state-supported churches. Finally, since the most ardent advocates of church-state separation are frequently those who consider every word of the Bible divine revelation, it might be recalled that the Old Testament was the book of the ancient Hebrews, who more than any other people believed that church and state were one.

It is ironic that the Supreme Court, at present the most powerful opponent of church-state unity, sits in an imitation Greek temple, the originals of which would never have been built without the subsidies of an established church. Could it be that the poverty and unoriginality of Washington’s architecture - with its highest monument copied from an Egyptian obelisk and its most famous landmarks slavishly duplicating Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman building styles - owe something to the fact that Washington is the capital of the only large nation where church and state have been separated for more than a hundred years?

The greatest attraction of religion, according to Miguel de Unamuno, is the promise of immortality. Equally as attractive, if endurance and survival are signs of attractiveness, are religious ceremonies, rites, sacraments, liturgies, and feast days - the intersecting points between religion and folkways, between faith and art. The Northern gods have gone to Valhalla, but the yule log still blazes. In Russia the Eastern Orthodox Church has been stripped of its primacy and its privileges, but the spectacular Russian Easter services continue to enthrall believers and nonbelievers alike. In Mexico, priests are not supposed to wear cassocks in the streets, yet each year hundreds of thousands of Mexicans go on pilgrimages, some even bloodying their heads with crowns of thorns in gruesome reenactments of the stations of the cross.

Unamuno to the contrary, most people want to live in the present as well as in the hereafter. The immediately understandable and enjoyable emanations of religion - its dramaturgy - seem as necessary to Western man and to Western aesthetics as its theology. As if sensing this, the liberal-minority coalition now attacks the manifestations of Christianity rather than Christianity itself. Those in the vanguard of the attack, however, are already finding it simpler to silence prayers in public schools than it is to silence Christmas carols.

Many devout Christians, having taken note of the intelligentsia’s open season on religion and religious observances, conclude that they are living in a profane age. They are right to the extent that the times are inauspicious for organized religion. But, as pointed out earlier, the reservoir of human faith is always full. It is not the amount of faith that changes, it is the direction. Religious ages do not yield to ages of skepticism, as some historians pretend. Old established faiths simply give way to new inchoate faiths. Much of the religious feeling loose in the world is in the hearts of those who most object to being called religious.

The usual sequel to the decline of formal religion is the reappearance of the shaman or witchdoctor, whose bag of magic potions and cure-alls is as old as humanity itself. In times of established churches, the shaman must work in the shadows. But in eras of religious ‘freedom’ he is everywhere at once, gathering followers here, collecting donations there, and spreading the tidings of his own peculiar metaphysics up and down the land. Sometimes the shaman operates on the outer fringes of a universal religion. Sometimes he leads his flock out of one universal religion into another, as did Elijah Muhammad of the Black Muslims. Frequently, he dissociates himself from all contemporary religious manifestations and goes back to the primeval bedrock of religion to animism and anthropomorphism.

The phenomenal resurgence of astrology and soothsaying is one example of this trend. But the most striking evidence of the descent of religion from the sublime to the subliminal is provided by that special and somewhat illegitimate branch of psychology known as psychoanalysis. Here in one beguiling gift-wrapped box is almost all the religious stock-in-trade of ancient man -- interpretations of dreams, casting out of devils, incest myths, obsessive sexual teleologies, and confessionals. And the jack-in-the-box is none other than the grand old shaman himself, Sigmund Freud.

As a scientific method for the investigation of the inner man or as a therapeutic tool for mental illness, psychoanalysis can hardly be taken seriously by any rational person. Yet this masterwork of spiritual primitivism has been raised to such psychological, philosophical, and even religious heights that it has exercised and continues to exercise a deeply corrosive effect on Western manners and morals. In the realm of art and aesthetics, where it has probably done the most harm, psychoanalysis has taken man, once thought to be a little lower than the angels, and deescalated him to the level of the brute.

To learn about the workings of the human brain it would have seemed wiser to investigate the neuron, a physiological fact, than the id, ego, or superego, which are hardly more than psychological or, more accurately, psychomantic fancies. That Freud did not take the more difficult approach is one of the secrets of his popularity. Intuition and revelation, the scientific euphemism for which is synthesis, pack in a much bigger audience than long hours of controlled laboratory experiments. To establish and preserve his professional status, Freud coated his teachings with just enough psychological lore to convince the unwary, unstable, and untutored that he was not a humbug. His scientific pretensions notwithstanding, he operated more in the tradition of Joseph and Daniel, his remote forebears, than in the footsteps of those who performed the plodding, painful research responsible for the real advances in the study of human behavior.

After reading Freud one has difficulty in imagining how the world managed to get along until the advent of psychoanalysis. Either the pre-Freudian victims of neurosis never knew what they were suffering from, or the affliction was no older than the diagnosis. Though only the rich can afford psychoanalysis - at rates presently ranging from $50 to $200 an hour - the man-in-the-street undergoes it daily at bargain prices through the massive Freudian backwash in the arts. The greatest writers in modern English literature - Eliot, Yeats, and D. H. Lawrence, to name three - abhorred Freud, and Lawrence even went to the trouble of writing two anti-Freudian tracts, Fantasia of the Unconscious and Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious. But second-rate writers made Freudian theories and characters a central part of their work. James Joyce and Thomas Mann were two of the better novelists who borrowed from Freud, although Mann warned that there is an aspect of psychoanalysis which ‘maims life at its roots.’

Liberalism raised the environment to godhood. Freud preached the unconscious, the id, that seething mass of sex-ridden instincts and drives, that interior devil that can only be effectively exorcised by Freudian priests. Theoretically modern liberalism and psychoanalysis should have not one square inch of common ground. The former appeals, or pretends to appeal, to the rational in man; the latter to the irrational. Nevertheless there are subterranean links that establish a very strange symbiosis. Himself an authoritarian, Freud never let his writings stray beyond equalitarianism into the political area of race. A liberal in politics, a minority member, and an enemy of Nazism, he probably did as much as anyone to change the face of Western civilization, at least in the United States, where he was forgiven for his illiberal view of history and his sickening stress on the reptilian and mammalian aspects of human behavior, and welcomed into the club.

Freud sharpened his attack on the freedom of the will by classifying several important manifestations of individuality as repressions, which he defined as harbingers of neuroses, psychoses, or worse. One such repression was guilt, Freud’s favorite bogeyman, the elimination of which he set as one of the principal goals of psychotherapy. But by getting rid of guilt, one also gets rid of a bulwark of social stability - the most practical, or at least the most inexpensive, of all crime deterrents. If it had the choice, which would society prefer, murderers who feel guilty or those who don’t?

Freud’s advocacy of compliant adjustment to one’s surroundings is not unrelated to the widespread intellectual conformity which has descended on America. His cloacal approach to the roots of human thought and action has opened up a whole new dimension of vulgarity and tastelessness and helped smooth the way for the present Age of Pornography. The Freudian antidote for the mental imbalance caused by technology, deracination, and the contemporary social centrifuge is to rummage around the events of one’s childhood for sexual ghosts. The good doctor’s seething concern for the bizarre, the banal, and the perverse has attracted so many neurotic personalities to his camp it is often difficult to distinguish between patient and analyst.

A case in point is Dr. Douglas Kelley, one of the court-appointed psychiatrists of the Nuremberg trials, who wrote a bestseller on the neurotic tendencies of the incarcerated Nazi leaders, much of the space being devoted to an analysis of Hermann Goering. Later Kelley, like Goering, committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill. Another Freudian doctor, Wilhelm Reich, who died in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in 1957 while serving a sentence for mail fraud, founded and directed a schismatic psychoanalytic cult dedicated to the knowledge, function, and psychological ramifications of the orgasm.

In its aberrant attempts to cure or control mental disorders, psychoanalysis has been able to obscure but not bury certain axiomatic truths. The mind breaks down permanently or temporarily from overwork or overleisure. Some minds are born with organic defects. Some develop them. If the mind lives alone, if the mind tries to survive on its own waste, it becomes disordered. Sanity is a function of purpose. Remove the spiritual props, the cultural reinforcements, the time-tested morale builders, the four-dimensional insurance of family, race, nation, and church, and the delicate balance of the human mentality can easily crack. Even a brain as powerful as Nietzsche’s could not stand the strain of continuous isolation.

Psychoanalysis recognizes rootlessness as a cause of mental disorder, but it avoids the subject of racelessness, the extreme case of rootlessness. It stresses the importance to mental health of the feeling of belonging, but it ignores race consciousness, one of the most intensive expressions of the feeling of belonging. For such reasons psychoanalysis totally misses the point when if tries to explain the origins of the most pernicious mental affliction of all - the state of mind which leads to suicide.

Suicide is the tenth cause of death in the United States among the general population, the third cause among the 15-19 age group and the second cause among college students. Some of the lowest suicide rates are found in Mississippi and South Carolina; some of the highest in the Pacific states. One study revealed that the suicide rate of American whites was more than twice as great as that of American nonwhites. In 1950-77 the annual suicide rate for young white males rose from 3.5 per 100,000 to 15.3 per 100,000, an increase of 437 percent. In 1977, 1,871 Americans in the 15-19 year age bracket killed themselves.

The racial patterns that emerge from these statistics seem to be almost totally lost on psychoanalysts, who continue to explain suicide in terms of death wishes, depressive states, the frustration of high expectations (the poor don’t have such expectations), and the implosion of aggressive instincts. The statistics also stand in sharp contradiction to Marxist and environmentalist theories which would predict that the rich with their greater material blessings would be less apt to commit suicide than the poor.

It is, of course, the opposite that takes place. The greatest number of suicides occur not in the world’s backward areas, but in the more advanced. It is among the rich and ‘successful’ that the highest suicide rates are usually found, not among the poor. Where there is more racism, there is likely to be less suicide. Urbanism, loss of religion, career setbacks, and intellectual exhaustion are contributing factors to suicide, but an all-important correlation remains the ‘racial morale’ of a given population group at a given time.

Almost everyone who has studied the origins of psychoanalysis is aware that it is the product of the minority mind. Not only was Freud Jewish, but so were almost all his associates. Few, however, are aware that psychoanalysis is also the product of minority animus. According to Howard Sachar, a chief motivation of the pioneer Freudians was

the unconscious desire of Jews to unmask the respectability of the European society which closed them out. There was no more effective way of doing this than by dredging up from the human psyche the sordid and infantile sexual aberrations … Even Jews who were not psychiatrists must have taken pleasure in the feat of social equalization performed by Freud’s ‘new thinking.’ The B’nai B’rith Lodge of Vienna, for example, delighted in listening to Freud air his theories …

Freud can also count a large number of prominent social scientists among his following. Claude Lévi-Strauss, the ‘structural anthropologist,’ has injected the Freudian schematic into modern anthropology, writing in typical psychoanalytical jargon, ‘In the language ... of myth vomit is the correlative and inverse term of coitus and defecation is the correlative and inverse term to auditory communication.’

Herbert Marcuse, the late mentor of the New Left, constructed a synthesis of Marx and Freud, modifying and rearranging the Oedipus Complex in such a way that the father stands for capitalism and the parricidal son, the proletariat. Such fanciful nonsense would make interesting footnotes in a history of scholarly tomfoolery, if it were not taken seriously by so many liberal intellectuals.

It is to Freudianism and its basically hostile practitioners that the Majority member often comes when seeking relief from real or imagined mental illness. He is at once subjected to a sordid, demeaning, demoralizing, and deracinating interrogatory that extinguishes whatever sparks of self-respect he has left. The crux of his problem is not touched, and the problem itself is exacerbated. For the Majority patient, as he or, more usually, she may not discover in time, the psychoanalyst’s couch is the bed of Procrustes. In no area of the cultural clash has the toll of Majority psyches been so heavy.

Religious fervor can be a great catalyst of human energy. But a pseudo religion like Freudianism, when ministered by a minority priesthood to a Majority congregation, can only induce a lethargic hedonism that brings out the worst in everyone. What good can possibly come from what Jung has called those ‘frightful gods [who] have only changed their names and now ... rhyme with “ism” ’?

Dr. Percival Bailey, director of research at the Illinois Psychiatric Institute, in perhaps the most devastating attack ever written on Freud and his works, has predicted that psychoanalysis in the long run will probably be remembered as something akin to animal magnetism. As a means of avoiding the Freudian cul-de-sac which he asserts has never kept a psychiatric patient out of an asylum, as well as providing a cautionary guideline for the Majority member in search of a religion, Dr. Bailey invokes some memorable words of D.H. Lawrence:

The soul is not to pile up defenses around herself. She is not to withdraw and seek out her heavens inwardly, in mystical ecstasies. She is not to cry to some God beyond, for salvation. She is to go down the open road, as the road opens, into the unknown, keeping company with those whose soul draws them near to her, accomplishing nothing save the journey, and the works incident to the journey, in the long life-travel into the unknown, the soul, in her subtle sympathies accomplishing herself by the way.

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