A conversation with Howard Bloom, for The Postil Magazine

Howard Bloom photo 2  Howard Bloom started in theoretical physics and microbiology at the age of ten and spent his early years in science. Then, driven by the desire to study mass human emotion through the lens of science, he went into a field he knew nothing about, popular culture. He founded the biggest PR firm in the music industry and worked with superstars like Prince, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Billy Joel, Queen, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Styx, Hall and Oates, Simon & Garfunkel, Run DMC, and Chaka Khan. Bloom went back to his formal science in 1988 and, since then, has published seven books on human and cosmic evolution, including The God Problem, Global Brain, and The Lucifer Principle. Called “next in a lineage of seminal thinkers that includes Newton, Darwin, Einstein, [and] Freud” by Britain’s Channel 4 TV, and “the next Stephen Hawking” by Gear magazine, he is the subject of BRIC TV’s documentary The Grand Unified Theory of Howard Bloom.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: As an entrepreneur in the public relations industry, you were particularly active under the Reagan era. How do you explain that the eighties saw both a return to some conservative values and an explosion of creativity and coolness in music and movies?

  Howard Bloom: That’s a very good question. I’ve never thought of that connection before. My wife had been a socialist when I met her in the 1960s. And then in the 1970s she became a conservative. So she was siphoning money out of our bank account and giving it to Ronald Reagan’s political campaigns—without telling me. She knew I hated Reagan. But I never connected Ronald Reagan with what was going on in popular music at that point. In the 1960s popular music was the music of rebellion. Rock music was about raising your fist and saying to adults: “I have a right to be an individual. I have a right to exist.” Rock was in tune with the hippie philosophy: “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” And, “We’re here to overturn the establishment.” In other words, rock and roll was part of a rebellion whose political activists were working to toss people our parent’s age out of power. That was the 1960s. But there was no overt philosophy—there was no ideology—of rebellion in the 1970s and the 1980s. However if you look at the attitude of the artists who emerged, it was sheer rebellion.

  Joan Jett got onstage and raised her fist. And the way she raised her fist was the strongest part of her message. She was a woman. And as a woman, you were expected to be like Grace Slick or Janis Joplin: the guys had the guitars, the power instruments, and you did not. You simply crooned into the microphone. But Joan was saying: “I’m going to take over the fucking guitar, myself. I have the power. I own the power on stage. And I am going to rebel as a self-contained entity not needing the “weapons” of “males with guitars.” My band? Hey, that’s just an extension of me.” Joan’s was the rebellion of girls who had been raised with working mothers. And for a middle class girl to be raised by a working mother was something brand new. It was a result of the invention of indoor plumbing, the washing machine, the drier, and the dishwasher. Women were no longer the slaves of water-hauling and clothes washing. And the women’s liberation movement had given them the freedom to compete with men in the workplace. Now the daughters of these liberated women had a very new experience of what it meant to be female. And that sense came to a head in Joan Jett. Or it came to a fist. But as for men, I mean, look at several of my other clients. Billy Idol also raised his fist in a gesture of rebellion. Did the anger of these fists have anything to do with the Reagan era? It’s hard to tell.

  John Mellencamp also came to the lip of the stage with his fist raised. If you were here, I could show you the difference between the raised fist of each of those three artists. Each made a slightly different muscular statement—a statement made with muscles. And then, there were bands that were already slipping into acceptance of a parent’s generation, and acceptance of an older generation. Not rebellion, but acceptance. And those were bands like Spandau Ballet, Berlin, which were both my bands, and a bunch of others. Later, the whole attitude of rebellion would disappear from popular music. At least, it would be minimized significantly. In fact, Michael Jackson would live with his mother, his father, and his brothers—an unthinkable act among the rock rebels. And that business of raising your fist on stage would no longer be part of the package, if you were a rock ‘n’ roller. In Michael Jackson it would be replaced by fierce pointing.

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Libertarianism, cosmopolitanism, and Indo-European tradition

11-19-18-10-1  The obsession of liberals [libertarians, either “classical liberals” or “anarcho-capitalists”] with condemning economic or cultural Marxism is a dead end. Saving Western civilization requires the wisdom to identify, the courage to name, the true contemporary enemy of the West: cosmopolitanism. Cultural Marxism is a sluggish expression, which may at best designate Gramsci’s doctrine that Marxists must, before attempting the Revolution, achieve cultural hegemony; as for economic Marxism, which is only a way of designating communism and planning, it subsists at the margin. Cosmopolitanism is the ideology promoted by the “global superclass,” according to the expression popularized (if not initiated) by Samuel Huntington: the world superclass consists of a transnational network of uprooted and denationalized people, whose gestation dates back at least to the beginning of the 20th century and whose constitution accelerated with the fall of the Soviet bloc. This article aims to elucidate the conceptual relations between liberalism [libertarianism] and cosmopolitanism; and will outline the contours of a new variety of liberalism: a liberalism simultaneously directed against bourgeois nationalism and against cosmopolitanism.

Definition of cosmopolitism

  By cosmopolitan ideology, one must understand, here, the ideology that rejects humanity divided into nations. As such, cosmopolitanism condemns the particular mode of organization that characterizes a nation, which confers on a group of individuals the identity and the unity of a nation. That mode of organization is the following: a relative genetic homogeneity, as well as cultural; a chain of social and juridical ranks that goes back to a sovereign political authority (i.e., the supreme authority within the government); a territory that is covered by, and which limits, this hierarchical and homogeneous organization. Cosmopolitanism attacks the sense of territory and therefore borders, by forbidding governments to defend nations against indiscriminate free trade or free immigration. It also attacks the juridico-political hierarchy of a nation, in advocating the sole income and occupation inequalities, or in defending a world government. Finally, cosmopolitanism condemns the genetic and cultural differences between nations: not content with advocating the relativism of values within each nation—the abolition of moral boundaries enacted within them—it praises the leveling of races and cultures.

It is a mistake to believe that the cosmopolitan elite cultivates the ideal of a humanity reduced to its animality. The ideology of the world superclass abhors, very precisely, these fundamental instincts of human nature that are the territory and the domination, the identity and the adventure, which are so many distinct expressions of the aggressiveness coded in our genome. The ideal that cosmopolitanism cultivates is actually that of a humanity in which the instincts of territory and identity, and thus the attachment to frontiers, are no more expressed; and of a humanity in which the instincts of adventure and domination, and thus the taste for competition and war, are no more expressed. A humanity deprived of its national and cultural rooting, but also, more fundamentally, of its biological rooting, that is the horizon of cosmopolitan ideology. In the field of values and moral boundaries, let us point out that the cosmopolitanism of the world superclass diverges from the pur et dur cosmopolitanism, in that the ideology of the world superclass counterbalances the call to ignore moral boundaries (on behalf of individual emancipation) with the concern for preserving and establishing the typically bourgeois values.

  Although the concept of “cosmopolitanism” was brandished for the first time by the Cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, it is far from being evident that Diogenes (and in his wake, the Stoic philosophers) understood cosmopolitanism in its current sense of an ideology preaching the relativism of values and the leveling of races and nations. It may well be that cosmopolitanism in its classical sense was only the philosophy that everyone belongs—on a moral and bio-cultural level—to a given nation, and in a “spiritual” sense, belongs to the entire humanity as well: such a conception does not mean the rejection of nations. Be that as it may, what will concern us here will be cosmopolitanism as it is understood (and set up) by the world superclass; and it will be liberalism envisaged in its relation to the cosmopolitanism of the world superclass: a cosmopolitanism that advocates bio-cultural leveling and a certain moral relativism, but which remains attached to these properly bourgeois values that are the hegemony of economy, contempt for virility, the materialist approach of reality, and puritanical or feminist moralism.

The three faces of the equalitarian utopia 

  For the overwhelming majority of them, liberals (be they academics or simply followers of the liberal philosophy) refrain from denouncing cosmopolitanism and envision Marxism as the only enemy to fight: what is more, they indulge in cosmopolitanism at various levels, whether or not they use the term cosmopolitanism; and whether that ideological rally is conscious on their part or is so natural that it goes unnoticed in their own eyes. Is that situation the sign that liberalism is culminating into cosmopolitanism: in other words, that cosmopolitanism constitutes the logical outcome of liberalism; and that the endorsement of cosmopolitanism among liberals is, therefore, neither accidental nor contingent (but responds to a conceptual necessity)?

  Before we answer, it is not useless to highlight the kinship of liberalism, socialism, and cosmopolitanism: those three ideologies (or philosophies) are ultimately the three distinct manifestations of the same egalitarian ideal. Indeed, liberals, socialists, and cosmopolitans are enemy brothers, animated by a common passion for equality; even though it is a faith, an ideal, that they decline in three distinct ways: universality of law for liberals, equality of incomes for socialists, the leveling of races and nations for cosmopolitans. Let us add that liberalism, socialism, and cosmopolitanism—as they have unfolded since the French Revolution—also converge in their common adherence to the hegemony of economy in the scale of values. Such hegemony is not a wishful vow on the part of egalitarian ideals: as rank inequalities were dissipating (in accordance with the liberal ideal of equality in law), economy has gradually lifted itself—since the Revolution of 1789—at the summit of Western values; on the same token, the welfare state has gained ground (in accordance with the socialist ideal of economic equality), and cosmopolitanism itself has finally contaminated the intra-national mores and the relations between nations.

  Let us be clear about what makes the singularity of each of the three heads of the equalitarian hydra. The universality of law—or the equality of human beings with regard to the rules of law that must apply to them—serves as the fundamental value of liberalism: the essential propositions of that philosophy always boil down to some justification or affirmation of the value of equality, understood in its legal sense of the equal freedom of all and of the equal escape of all from coercion (towards their life and their goods). For socialism, it is equality in an economic sense, income equality and central planning, which serves as a fundamental value; and for cosmopolitanism, it is equality taken in a biological, cultural, and “communitarian” sense: the equality of men in the sense of their biological and cultural indifferentiation, and in the sense of their non-belonging to another collective than Humanity. That everyone be culturally and racially identical, and that no one be a member of a nation within Humanity; that everyone be a member of Humanity considered as a collective in its own right (and that he be a member of that collective only), and that the individual be released from the values and moral boundaries that his affiliation to one or other nation assigns to him; that be lifted everything which “thwarts” and separates individuals, that is the egalitarian creed of cosmopolitanism.

From classical liberalism to anarcho-capitalist cosmopolitanism

  In its chemically pure form, so to speak, liberalism merges with an anarchism that respects private property—and, in particular, the private ownership of the means of production. Knowing whether the “truth” of a doctrine lies in the extremist, radical branch of that doctrine or in its moderate, “pragmatic” branch, is an insoluble problem: it is a matter of arbitrary consideration, of “subjective preference,” to decide whether the authentic meaning of a doctrine lies in what its radical branch affirms (instead of what its moderate branch affirms). Therefore, it would be futile that we ask whether anarcho-capitalist liberalism is “truer,” more “authentic,” than so-called classical liberalism. But it is not vain to determine whether integral liberalism, in addition of being anarchist, is also a cosmopolitanism (out of logical and conceptual necessity). We will see that anarcho-capitalism only makes to exacerbate the cosmopolitanism already present in classical liberalism.

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A conversation with Roy Barzilai, for Agefi Magazine

 8056037 Roy Barzilai is an independent scholar, who studied both Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and Rivka Schechter’s philosophy of language, rooted in the Hebrew Bible. The synthesis of Rand’s Aristotelian philosophy, and the biblical creed of ethical monotheism provides profound insights into the ideas that shaped the Western mind. By exploring the intellectual history of Western civilization, Roy seeks to reach a greater understanding of the human mind.

  As a financial analyst for more than a decade, Roy became aware of the herd mentality in financial markets. He studied the Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and the new science of socionomics, focusing on how change in social mood affects society, its ideas, philosophy, culture, and economy. This dynamism is the engine of history.

  Roy holds undergraduate degrees from Tel Aviv University in Law, accounting, and computer science. He is the author of two books: The Objective Bible, published in 2014, and The Testosterone Hypothesis, published in 2015.

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