Being in Time by Gilad Atzmon (Skyscraper Publications, UK, 2017)
…the Radical party, who, to gratify their political prejudices, would join with Satan himself. (George Borrow, Lavengro, Chapter XLII)
In this well-produced and sturdily presented 213-page book the internationally celebrated jazz musician and political commentator continues the analyses of Jewish religion, culture, history and political influence in world politics which he initiated earlier in his 2011 book The Wandering Who?: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. After reading it twice, I conclude that, among other things, he has provided very strong support for two men, often publicly reviled, whom I have admired and thought much about since 1964: Eric Butler, founding director of The Australian League of Rights, and Captain A. H. M. Ramsay, the British Conservative MP in the 1930s and 1940s.
Butler in 1946 published his book The International Jew which was very strongly attacked by hostile critics as being a deplorable anti-Semitic tract. His unwise use of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a framework for his study made the book an easy target, though its hostile critics did not successfully come to terms with its overall contents. However, his use as an epigraph of a sentence by Oscar Levy, who in his time was a famed Jewish writer and disciple of Nietzsche, would appear to have been thoroughly justified now by Atzmon, another Jew. ‘The question of the Jews and their influence on the world, past and present, cuts to the root of all things and should be discussed by every honest thinker.’ That could equally be an excellent epigraph for Being in Time.
Atzmon cites Yuri Slezkine’s 2006 book The Jewish Century as a confirmation of ‘Jewish dominance’ in world politics. He writes: ‘I do not care about ethnicity, biology or race, but I do care about ideology…. I see the cultural and ideological impact of Jerusalem on pretty much every aspect of Western life. But, unlike most commentators, I allow myself to voice my criticism of that aspect.’
Butler, following C. H. Douglas, identified the seat of the world’s ills in a corrupt financial system manipulated by a wealthy elite, largely if not wholly Jewish. Atzmon identifies the bad, ‘trade-oriented’ side of capitalism as ‘Mammon: banking, stock market, investment, currency manipulations and so on.’ This, he argues, is the root cause that has led to mass impoverishment of blue-collar workers in the USA and Britain, hence the election of Donald Trump and the British vote to leave the European Union. ‘Mammon… makes the rich richer but leaves them detached from the rest of society…. While traditional manufacturing involves labour on a large scale, Mammon is concerned only with the accumulation of wealth for its own sake and, as such, is impervious to social or ethical issues [including] care for the worker…. At present Mammonism is the driving force behind global capitalism…. As a direct result, production and manufacturing must always gravitate to where labour and production are cheapest.’
Atzmon expresses admiration for the prophetic writing of Henry Ford in his 1920 book, also called The International Jew. ‘Ford didn’t refer to the Jews as a whole, he didn’t criticise the Jews as a race or as an ethnicity…. He did oppose a tiny segment within world Jewry. For him the “international Jew” was a reference to a bunch of oligarchs and Mammonites.’ Atzmon writes in that tradition.
The originality of his analysis of this aspect of Jewish affairs lies in his detailed explanation of how it came about and how it has dominated the discourses of cultural Marxism, identity politics and political correctness to the great detriment of human freedom and living conditions in Western nations. It is, he explains, not so much a matter of conspiracy and secrecy as of centuries of development of relevant cognitive skills and practical marketing abilities in a Jewish elite whose spokesmen have actually been quite open about the success they have attained.
In 1964 I read Captain Ramsay’s book The Nameless War, which is also a manifesto against the dominance of a Jewish financial elite. Especially interesting to me was his account of recent Spanish history: ‘The next revolution to merit our attention is the one that broke out in Spain in 1936. Fortunately for Europe, it was frustrated by General Franco and a number of gallant men, who instantly took the field in opposition to the revolutionary forces, and succeeded in a long struggle in crushing them.
‘This achievement is all the more remarkable in view of the latest development in revolutionary organisation, which was then revealed in the shape of the International Brigades…. They were recruited from criminals, adventurers and dupes from 52 different countries, mysteriously transported and assembled in formations in Spain within a few weeks of the outbreak of disorder, uniformed in a garb closely related to our battle dress and armed with weapons bearing the Jewish five-pointed star. This star and the Seal of Solomon were upon the signet rings of N.C.O.s and officers in this communist horde of ill-disciplined ruffians. I have seen them myself in wear.’ Ramsay explained that German and Italian help was provided to the Spanish Nationalists after ‘Barcelona had been declared in October 1936 the capital of the Soviet States of Western Europe.’ (That was obviously a failed fore-runner of the European Union!)
Ramsay, a Catholic British patriot who sought to keep Britain out of what he could see would be a disastrous war with Germany, was arrested under the infamous Regulation 18B, soon after Winston Churchill assumed power in wartime Britain, and imprisoned without trial until 26th September 1944. In 1998 a detailed study of ‘British anti-Semitism’ in 1939 and 1940 was published, largely focusing on Ramsay. This was Patriotism Perverted by Richard Griffiths, whose hostility to right-wing conservatism had already been exhibited in his 1980 book Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany 1933–39. It seems from its index that Patriotism Perverted entirely ignores the above information about the Spanish Civil War which Ramsay had reported. Griffiths, one presumes, was a ‘guardian of the discourse’ (to use Atzmon’s term) and not a ‘guardian of the truth.’
Information in Being in Time, which derives partly from George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, seems to clearly justify Ramsay’s defence of Franco. Atzmon writes: ‘Orwell’s experience as a combatant with the Yiddish-speaking International Brigade in 1936 had left him disgusted by the intolerant correctness that was intrinsic to the revolution-motivated warriors around him.’ It made him ‘an opponent of the communist “party line” and crude “red” dogmatism.’ Atzmon states that a quarter of the Brigade were Jewish. ‘The Red Jews who travelled to Spain ended up fighting in Jewish legions because identity politics and Left-orientation are largely a Jewish intellectual domain that is actually quite foreign to working people…. The revolutionary Jews didn’t believe in God or keep the Sabbath but they were killing Spanish Catholics and often burning their churches, something Rabbinical Jews never did.’ Atzmon adds in a footnote the welcome news that ‘a growing number of contemporary historians accept that General Franco wasn’t a ‘Fascist’… [or] a ‘National Socialist’. He was a Catholic patriot.’ Unfortunately, ‘the delusional intent at the core of the Spanish International Brigade… is still a sacred taboo within Left circles.’
Atzmon is a master of iconoclasm within the realm of the political order. He is not always so adroit when seeking to articulate his vision of the good life as the foundation on which a better society can be built. For example, he foolishly sneers at the greatest of the mysteries of Judaism: ‘The Jewish God doesn’t even allow his people to utter his name.’ Those who turn their backs on the tradition in which they were reared often become too severe in their criticism of it. The Jewish commandment he rejects is designed to remind Jews of the nature of the Ain-Soph as an ultimate reality beyond words and forms. All the great sacred traditions attest to that reality in their profoundest teachings.
Atzmon sets up a series of binaries on which to base his discussion and one of these needs to be carefully examined. He writes: ‘Leo Strauss contends that Western civilisation oscillates between two intellectual and spiritual poles – Athens and Jerusalem. Athens … is the birthplace of reason, philosophy, art, science and the logos. Jerusalem … is the city of God where God’s law prevails. The philosopher, the true historian, or the essentialist … is the Athenian, “the guardian of the truth.” The Jerusalemite is “the guardian of the discourse”, the one who keeps the gate, in order to maintain law and order at the expense of ecstasies, poetry, beauty, reason and truth.’
This contrast does less than justice to Jerusalem and Jewish culture. The Old Testament contains many moving celebrations of ecstasy and beauty in most poignant poetry. Think of the Psalms and the Song of Songs. Strauss may have been right to point to an ongoing struggle between defenders and critics of doctrine, but identifying the one with Jerusalem and the other with Athens begs too many questions. It is notable that Atzmon says nothing at all about the magnificent system of the sephiroths in Jewish mysticism.
‘While Islam and Christianity are belief systems, Judaism is an obedience-regulatory system,’ suggests Atzmon. The truth is that all three ‘religions of the book’ contain both those systems, as well as mystical and esoteric traditions that go beyond them.
The phrase ‘guardians of the discourse’ need not always contain a pejorative sense, yet Atzmon usually gives it that. For example: ‘The Jerusalemite cultural Marxism is sustained by an institutional dismissal of the truth and the removal of any method that may result in approaching the truth.’ Such a dismissal is bad; but in other contexts ‘the discourse’ is rightly protected by its adherents, when tides of barbarism threaten to sweep away the garnered and stored wisdom and knowledge of the past.
Philosophy appeals to him more than religion: ‘The Abrahamic religions are founded on a set of counterfactual premises.’ Such premises may from one point of view be susceptible to challenge; but from another point of view they may be part of myths which emerged from the Real. ‘The Hebrew Bible is a chronicle of shunned prophets.’ Yes, but Jewish tradition has maintained them in memory and celebrates them today.
Despite these inadequacies of definition, Atzmon is basically a man of light. Following Martin Heidegger, he acknowledges the existence of ‘the Real’, which he distinguishes from contingent aspects of our mundane world: ‘The Real refers to truth that is unchangeable and absolute. The Real is metaphysical and abstract. Reality… is based on sense perception and the material order. The Real emerges as that which is outside language, within the domain of the inexpressible. The Real resists symbolisations.’ Atzmon adds: ‘Philosophy can be summed up, as Heidegger put it, as a prolonged story of “forgetfulness of Being”, the story of that which is closest to us and yet most mysterious and unattainable. Being and time are like the tip of your nose, so close you fail to see it. The truth is there at all times, all we have to do is open our eyes and contemplate it.’
It is in the light of this approach that Atzmon can write that for him ‘inquiry is a never-ending self-examination’ and note approvingly that for the film director Quentin Tarantino ‘dilemma is the existential essence.’ It is easy to see why Atzmon has become such a powerful defender of intellectual freedom. He is generous-hearted too: ‘An ethical society should care for all of its members, that they live and thrive.’
Being in Time is a devastating attack on the corruption of the political process in Western nations at the present time, as the following quotations show.
‘Left ideology is like a dream.’ It is sustained by ‘the addictive rush of effecting change.’
‘Democracy operates to convey a false image of freedom of choice.’
‘While Western corporate culture is guided by the principle of a strict hierarchy defined by the survival of the fittest, academia, media and culture suppress any attempt to grasp the meaning, the nature and the essence of “fitness”…. [This is] sophisticated institutional oppression.’
‘Interference with language is nothing short of an attempt to limit intellectual freedom.’
‘There is a critical discrepancy in contemporary Left, liberal and progressive movements…. Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is fully accepted, while other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected…. The [progressive] discourse is selective, incoherent and unprincipled.’
‘The traditional cosmopolitan Left lacks the political means to replace this rapturous sense of volkish belonging with anything meaningful or popular enough to compete.’ [Atzmon is discussing the attachment of workers to their national icons.]
‘What does [identity politics] have to do with opposition to capital accumulation … mammonism? The answer is nothing.’
‘If the Left ideology is shaped and structured like a dream, then the role of the ideologist is to sustain the slumber.’
‘Cultural Marxism … is a largely manipulative method that is set to diminish or even dismantle the so-called bourgeois hegemonic culture in favour of an imaginary emancipation.’
‘The Jerusalemite cultural Marxism is sustained by an institutional dismissal of the truth and the removal of any method that may result in approaching the truth.’
‘The entire New Left infrastructure [has] … one basic mission: to divert attention from the blunders of Mammonism and from those who benefit most from Mammon.’
‘Since the 1970s America and the West have gone through a radical transition…. The Western worker has been reduced to a mere consumer.’
‘More and more people are losing the means necessary to sustain consumption and are sentenced to deprivation.’
‘Biology does not sit well with the ideas of equality, social change, the dream of what ought to be.’
‘The attempt to break society by means of identity politics also helps hide the fact that, for all our social justice sophistication, our society is subject to crude cognitive segregation.’
‘The reality of cognitive partitioning defies the fantasy of the “ought to be” and the utopian dream…. There is no possibility of full justice or equality.’
‘For the Left elite to tackle their issues, they would have had to transform their entire philosophical and methodological structure. They’d have had to … proceed into an ethical thinking that is dynamically flexible and unpredictable.’
‘Facing reality defies the nature of Left, liberal and progressive thinking.’
‘“After politics” is a tale of the complete victory by one oligarchy. The consequences may be fatal for our planet.’
‘Creating and maintaining dissent in order to control opposition is deeply embedded in modern, Jewish, secular politics.’
The overall picture is of a massive river of ‘useful idiots’ manipulated by a very small minority intent on maintaining their power, wealth and privilege. It would be nice to see some of our local Leftists grasping the nettle and admitting that they have been leading the troops to disaster rather than saving the world and preparing a paradise on earth.
It must be admitted that Atzmon uses a broad brush approach, reliant on many sweeping statements and generalisations. What, however, if his basic thesis is the truth? Then quibbles about exceptions and about inadequate definitions and terminology will not prevent Being in Time from being a prophetic masterpiece containing ‘the word for the day.’
Naturally Atzmon has been attacked as an ‘anti-Semite’, but, although his targets clearly extend across much of the range of contemporary Jewish culture and are not restricted to the mammonist elite, he is not blind to the misplaced idealism of many ‘progressive’ Jews and gentiles, nor does he write in a spirit of malice or hatred.
He has been careful in his discussion of the Jewish Holocaust, which he sees as the most popular ‘Jewish religion’ in our time. He has neither denied it in this book nor affirmed it. However he makes pertinent remarks about it:
Crucially, the Holocaust affirms the uniqueness of its followers. It is devoted to the primacy of Jewish suffering, granting the Jew the crown of thorns as the ultimate sufferer. It is also used to justify every Jewish action, from ethnic cleansing to genocide…. The Holocaust religion has united “The Jew” and “The Jews” within a self-sufficient, comprehensive and independent “God-less” narrative. Jews constitute the victims, the oppressors and the redeemers…. The religion prescribes a manner of speech and a strict set of commandments. Most crucially … it is totally and deplorably intolerant of any form of dissent.
Atzmon adds: ‘Real Jewish power is… the power to silence criticism of Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse — and particularly criticism of itself.’ This very brave man has certainly set out to bell the cat!
The book engages in relatively little discussion of the Right, of conservatism. This is because Atzmon sees the contemporary disaster as being the result of a much more powerful Left.
He associates the Right with rootedness, something T. S. Eliot described in his essay ‘Virgil and the Christian World’ as piety. He also associates it with romanticism and nostalgia for a better and vanished past. He hardly attends to the ongoing struggle of those of us on the Right which, essentially, is to ‘redeem the time’ and conserve as much as possible of our heritage while at the same time helping to build a better future in line with sacred tradition and the best elements of Western European culture.
From Gilad’s recently released album “The Spirit of Trane“