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Thursday, December 09, 2004

The UN and Public Opinion

“World opinion” and “the community of nations” have been fundamental tactical concepts of socialism since its beginning in the late 18th century.

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One the earliest articulations of socialist secularism was Condorcet’s 1795 “Sketch of a Historical Table of the Progress of the Human Spirit,” written shortly after the 1789 French Revolution.  This work laid out the goals and program that liberal-socialists still pursue today: elimination of inequality among nations; redistribution of wealth within nations to attain the equality of social justice; and thereby, the perfection of human nature and human society. 

For today’s liberal-socialists, the UN was to be the grand realization of those goals: converting the whole world to the concept of secular social justice.

Propagating this grand vision required reshaping public understanding of political and social order.  Accomplishing this was the work of propaganda to manipulate public opinion.

Throughout all of history before the events leading to the French Revolution in 1789, the basis of political and social order was a common understanding that humans were part of Divinely ordained nature. In the Western world, beginning with Judaism, Plato and Aristotle, then Christianity, attaining the highest earthly degree of personal and social happiness was possible via living a moral life in a moral society.  And doing so required individuals to seek Divine moral guidance through religious worship and personal prayer.

Great advances in mathematics, astronomy, and engineering in the 16th and 17th centuries (Newton, Descartes, Galileo, et al) led to rapid increases in manufacturing productivity and higher personal living standards.  French Revolutionary intellectuals drew the conclusion that science and technology were the new route to earthly perfection.  God could be dismissed, along with spiritual religion.  Intellectuals were to become the new earthly gods, dispensing wisdom and justice.

From this was born the idea of Progress, manifested a century later in this country in the Progressive movement in politics and education, a movement that officially linked itself in the 1920s with the Socialist party and became today’s liberal-socialist segment of the populace. 

Condorcet and his fellows assumed that the people en masse would welcome the new scientific age and “liberation” from the oppression of Christianity and monarchy.  The people presumably would be open to learning the new canons of social justice taught by the intellectuals, and the people presumably would readily take their social and political guidance from councils of intellectuals.

The French Revolutionary philosophers presumed that only they understood the forces of history and only they could frame the new, secular canons of morality, which they called social justice.  For the new world order to become effective, however, intellectuals had to become the source of public policy direction.

But in their path stood Christianity and the established political orders.  Their answer was to destroy both with the Revolution. 

But how, in the post-revolutionary world, were the intellectuals to teach the masses and to direct their conduct?

Condorcet’s answer was threefold: “enlighten” the human mind; despiritualize people’s moral understandings; and spread the word throughout the world. 

In Condorcet’s words, “Hitherto we have shown the progress of philosophy only in the men who cultivated, deepened, and perfected it; now we have to observe the effects on the general opinion.”  To produce the desired effects on public opinion required a new class of men “who were less interested in the discovery of truth than in its propagation; who pursued the prejudices into the recesses where the clergy, the schools, the governments and the old corporations had amassed and protected them; who set their pride rather in destroying popular errors than in pushing farther back the limits of human knowledge…”

In this is easily recognizable today’s political correctness and speech-and-behavior codes that rule education.

This new class of men, continued Condorcet, employ “all of the arms which erudition, philosophy, brilliance and literary talent can put at the disposition of reason; they assume all the tones, use all the forms, from pleasantry to the touching, from a vast and scholarly compilation to the novel or pamphlet; they cover truth with a veil in order not to frighten the weak, and to leave the pleasure of surmise; they are skillful in catering to prejudices in order to deal even more effective blows; they neither attack them all at the same time, nor one quite thoroughly; sometimes they give comfort to the enemies of reason by pretending that in religion they do not want more than semi-tolerance, or in politics more than semi-liberty; they are moderate towards despotism when they fight the absurdities of religion…”

From this came the propaganda industry to shape public opinion and to use it to control political and social order.  Its connection with liberal-socialism’s veneration of “world opinion” and “the community of nations” is fairly obvious.