WORDISM: TOYNBEE AND SPENGLER | nationalsalvation.net
Response by Pain
I hate to say this, but I suspect you are unconsciously confusing Spengler with Toynbee.
Toynbee was a fine historian, but his meta-history was poor. Also it was Toynbee who admired Khaldoun.
Professional historians, relying on summaries, often confuse the two, but Spengler and Toynbee are very different. Spengler and Khaldoun are even more different.
For example, Toynbee continues the Ex Oriente Lux nonsense because he believes in the inevitability of ineffable Progress.
This belief started with Macaulay, who developed a philosophy of history to combat Tories in Parliament who insisted that things had been going terribly down hill since the Middle Ages.
Macaulay, a Whig MP, ably proved them wrong. However, like any politician, he overstated his case, many things had gone terribly wrong and Progress is not ineffably inevitable.
This overstatement is the assumption that Toynbee worked under.
He was committed to Ex Oriente Lux because his faith in Progress produced a linear view of history with discrete origins; predictably he found them in the Middle East.
Toynbee's second error was in failing to understand Spengler.
Or perhaps it was a resistance, since Spengler's organic view of history begged race. And indeed Spengler spoke about race and race is a theme underlying and uniting his theoretical work.
In particular, Spengler talks about soul in a way that defines culture as its product.
This is the principal difference between Spengler and Toynbee.
Spengler uses culture as a way to delve into soul. Toynbee uses culture deterministically.
For Spengler, a people produce its culture. For Toynbee, the culture controls its peoples.
Further, to Spengler, observing changes in the culture maps out the changes in an organic people's soul.
But to Toynbee, culture is transferred from people to people. This was inevitable under Toynbee's framework of ineffable Progress, since he tracked cultural dissemination across the globe.
He had to, since to him, culture was just technology, which in the tradition of Macaulay's Whiggery made life better and better, ineffable Progress.
This is why Toynbee historians track the distribution of the plough from the Middle East.
This is why Lynn White made his notorious gaffe by attributing the rise of Chivalry exclusively to the stirrup. To each of these historians, culture was not the product of people, but something that had a life of its own.
The damage this creates is that it assumes that all people are the same.
According to Toynbee historians, the Chinese have become us now that they drive cars and own computers.
Spengler, however makes it quite clear that the Chinese remain Chinese, but that they have been conquered by the West.
He might say that this was almost inevitable because of the West's extending all things through perpetual activity to infinity. Because of our drive to infinity, the whole world has fallen to us. And now we reach for the stars themselves, in the infinity of space.
Spengler is the theoretical work upon which Yockey built his brilliant treatise. Yockey updates Spengler, expands his theory, applies it to the world, and most importantly rescues Spengler's vagueness on race.
There are perhaps four great works on Western man that seem to carry on a single tradition of prophecy for us: Chamberlain's Foundations of the 19th Century; Spengler's Decline of the West; Rosenberg's Mythos of the 20th Century (this was translated and published under the direction of Carto, but often I think Rosenberg's almost hysterical anti-Christianity disqualifies it); and Yockey's Imperium.
What is missing in this tradition is a racial taxonomy from up-to-date genetics and a proper understanding of Christianity and the Old Testament.
Bob seems to be the only one who points in the right direction on religion.
But comparing Spengler to Khaldoun is off the mark.
Toynbee does use Khaldoun's descriptions of the rise and falls of dynasties.
Toynbee does so since he believes that culture, like governments, is imposed on people and therefore people are unimportant.
Spengler however uses culture - a people's way of life - as a gauge on a people's inner life.
This is because a people produce a culture and not (as Toynbee suggests) the other way around.
Actually, the wonderful thing about Yockey back then was that he was the ONLY relief we had from Ex Oriente Lux.
Toynbee was the standard of CONSERVATIVE history back then, as Marx was for "modern" analysis. But both Toynbee and Marx were Ex Oriente Lux.
What the cultural relativists disliked about Toynbee was that he believed in Western progress.
Liberals, who saw the West as evil, not progressive, considered this evil.
So that was the only ALTERNATIVE to leftism that the Buckleys and their kind knew.
It never occurred to anyone on either of the "both sides" back then that the West was not only better, it was not even a product of the Ex Oriente Lux "product of all mankind" crap that liberals and conservatives agreed on.
It was, intellectually, an age of pure poverty.
By the way, has anybody here heard of Lawrence Brown's The Might of the West, 1963?
I am fascinated to discover I WAS wrong about Khaldoun. His dynastic analogy was still used to describe family businesses in the 1960s.
All this is FUN for me. All I have to do is say something flatly and my commenters have read way ahead of me and start their comments with a line I love, "You're wrong."
Intellectual life should be FUN, but professors are uniformly miserable. They cannot afford to simply say it and be WRONG.
That is not an intellectual life at all. To them, the idea of a student telling them they're wrong is like being bitten by a Killer Rabbit.
For me the whole point of a SEMINAR is that I can be WRONG. That's what I come to you for, extensions AND corrections.
Looking at the comments today and yesterday was like Christmas for me. I opened my presents, a set of learned comments, and I wish you could understand how delighted I was. Lord, it was fun!
Look at how the antis hide when I show up.
That is largely the result of fifty years of my willingness to be caught flat-footed. When you have run smack into making dumb statements for fifty years, you're ready for battle.
Believe me, it is a hell of a lot better for me to be made to toe the line by YOU than by my enemies when you let me get away with something.
I don't think the tame students they demand are doing the liberal professors a bit of good.