Topic: 1. Duhring versus Engels (Continued)

Eugen Karl Duhring coined the phrase "Force Theory" (Gewaltstheorie);  through the miracle of the internet I recently discovered that I had only re-invented the word.  Now I will give Duhring credit by renaming my philosophy New Force Theory.  Duhring remains in the backwaters of the history of philosophy, known primarily through the critique of him by Engels. Whether or not Duhring was unified as a theorist, I must consider him an important forerunner to New Force Theory.  In its main elements my own approach is highly similar to Duhring's.  My position is that economic forces do not operate in their own sphere but intersect, not just occasionally but frequently, with biological and racial forces.   Duhring was highly conscious of the need to bring biological data--in particular race--into social philosophy.  So am I.  While Engels concentrated solely on economc and technical data,   Duhring was right to consider "force" a primary factor in human history.  Duhring pointed to the primal bossiness, or "baboon fascism," that has occupied much space in the present blog. But there--in the selection of elements and the overall personal point of view--the similarity between the old and new Force Theory ends.  Here I find Duhring's rival, Engels, more inspirational.  I have already spoken of my admiration for Engels in earlier sections of this blog.   Engels had a notion of "force" which had only to do with economic "leverage."   

Duhring appears more eclectic than systematic.  That is, even as he evoked interest in both race and economic systems, he failed to bring these two forces together in a single perspective.   He also talked extensively in his various writings about theories of physics and chemistry where his knowledge would rapidly become obsolete, and also intractable to Hegelianisms.   I should have done, as Engels and (say) Sombart and Sorel did, stick to one subject.  I stick to two--agreements and race--trying assiduously in every page to bring them together into one subject:  that of a racial, neo-fascist society.  My assertion is:  when agreements end, race orders human life.  This is my basic conclusion and the premise of New Force Theory.   I cannot say my synthesis is fully complete, or that I could not have better spent my time focusing on agreements alone, or on race alone.   I have raised the issue of race or agreements at some risk:  one side of my presentation may well, in the end, as happened to Duhring, suffer on account of the other side.   The upshot of Duhring's record of philosophical writings was that he appeared scattered and dilitantish, an easy target for the greatly smoother writer Engels.

There is another criticism I have of Duhring, not so much of the content of his viewpoint as the theoretical integration of it.  Although he wrote prolifically on the need for science, and his anticipation of the main ideas of Logical Positivism--to bring thinking together with science--he does, in the end, lapse into a kind of maudlin moralism, expounding, as the crowning cap of his economic theory, a need for "fairness" and "equality"in the distribution of goods of production.  Duhring, though he did not entirely reject free enterprise, decried the acquisition of the goods of production by a handful of capitalists.  Engels derides his philosophy by summing it up as:  "Goods are produced by labor but distributed by force."   But this conclusion regarding Duhring was reached only by laborious scholarship; his writings are turgid.   With Engels, Duhring fancied himself as a "friend of the working man."  Duhring's position was that society until the (eventual) triumph of socialism was in fact a history of slavery, that is of force of one man over another.  This Duhring, as would any schoolgirl in America or Germany, called immoral.  Engels was more level-headed.  Engels called slavery a necessary phase in the evolution of society, ending only with socialism.  Engels I believe would call slavery undesirable, and in that sense immoral, but necessary.   Duhring's only comment  was that slavery was the "original sin" of human existence, to be ended only with a sort of  Christian "second coming," that is of socialism.  In the end neither Duhring nor Engels was at all consistent as a scientific--pure of morality and value jugements--thinker.  Both lapsed at times into profuse lamenting of this or that instance of "unfairness" and "injustice."  At this point of my writing there is nothing between Duhring and Engels that would explain, to me, the great acrimony between the two men. 

Both men were deserving of respect for the seriousness of their ideas and the dedication of their lives. Their quarrel became personal.   As "socialists" they were both writing for the paper Vorwaerts:  it was through this paper that they were mutually acquainted.  Duhring advocated that Engels as a "Marxist" be thrown out of that group of writers.  This uncolleagial act by Duhring precipitated the book Anti-Duhring.  The attack was probably deserved.   Engels seems to have gotten the best of the dispute; at any rate he is a much more focused writer.   Duhring's works are proto-fascist and belong to a history of fascist theory; other than that they are not particularly interesting, to us, except to point out that the issues raised by this thinker have not gone away and constitute, ultimately, a rationale for what I call New Force Theory.

Nonetheless, with their germanic propensity to argue, they could not exist within the same space without fighting.  Neither had the personal or literary skills to have a constructive argument.  Engels had the advantage over his adversary in that he, Engels, focused on solely on economics and appeared more competent in that area.  Engels was the more imaginative Hegelian.  His sense of the inner workings of history is unsurpassed in philosophical literature.  He had a superb intuition as to how social and economic forces hung together.  He penetrated the causes of the failure of feudalism as this social system thrown out of balance by new technology and modes of exchange. 

New Force Theory may finally be brought into the picture.  Duhring raised the issue of force, which he should have done.  I have spoken of primal bossiness or baboon fascism, not to deprecate these things but to point out that they are always in the background of human activity, waiting to assert themselves.   While not present immediately in human agreements, force or baboon fascism is always in the background of history and is always waiting, patiently, as agreements--which are small and temporary things--fade and end one by one.  Ultimately Duhring was right:  not everyday, temporary distrubtion is through force; in the long run, though, force distributes goods and determines possession.  Duhring raised the issue of race, which he should have done.  New Force Theory is bilateral.  (I want to compare my own approach with Schopenhauer's World as Idea and Will, in which he discusses idea and will separately but finally brings the two together, or at least tries to, successfully or unsuccessfully.)  That is, on grounds of expediency it turns out to be necessary to treat purely human subject matter, which I have called "agreements," and purely biological subject matter--formed life or race--separately.  The scope of Duhring's vision was greater and, in the end, more compelling than was Engels', which was limited to one dimension of human life, economics.  I strive here for Duhring's depth and breadth, while, all the time, being aware of Engels wonderful sense of system and order.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-09-09 14:45:42)

Re: 1. Duhring versus Engels (Continued)

It should be understood that the clan, called by anthropologists the unilineal descent group--because its members descend in one line, male or female--is already a formal, or agreement-based group.  Within the clan it can be seen how logical and human relationships emerge out of biological relationships.  The formality of the clan consists not so much in a logical rule as to what persons can be included in the group, so much as a rule as to what persons can--against nature and common sense--be excluded.  In a patrilineal group, a person is not considered related to his mother's relatives; in a matrilinal group this rule is reversed.  A person there is not related to his father's people.  Everyone in a descent group is therefore related to every other person; likewise every person knows how he or she is related to every other (cousin, etc.)  The clan consists of both male and female members.  The clan is of a size that is suitable for a division of labor within an agricultural economy.  Such a group can be said to constitute an economic rather than a biological group.  The nuclear family in fact, which is a biological group based on instinct, is partially dissolved through exposure to the overwhelmingly more logical (under agriculture) descent group.  The functions provided in the nuclear family, in a division of labor between man and wife and children, are taken over by the clan; this applies even to parenting, where a child's uncles or aunts may function in roles of father and mother.  It must be seen that, while biology provides a natural division of labor between male and female--who differ size, strength and instinct--in the nuclear or reproductive family, biology does not entirely set the terms of the clan.  The clan is in part an artificial group.  The clan is important today in Africa but constituted the logical human grouping--part instinct and part formal agreement--in Europe at the onset of food production, whether cattle herding or settled agriculture. 

I am going to to say that the human dialectic, wherein culture and society are propelled into activity and expansion, begins within the descent group.  Thus, for instance, the transition from feudalism to capitalism was motivated, contrary to Engel's opinion--he gave advancing technology as a cause--by a certain dynamic of agreements.  We have already discussed what this dynamic or "dialectic" is.  Agreements, in correcting for natural disagreements that do always arise, pass in essence beyond themselves to become contracts, or enforced agreements.  Agreements naturally contradict themselves.  But first we must look at the cohesive principle of the descend group.  This group is both of biology or instinct, and on the other hand, agreements.  Members of a clan come together originally out of the same causes that brothers and sisters tend to associate more closely, simply because they are relatively familiar with one another.  In the language of this essay they are familiars.  Unconsciously they predict one another's actions and so feel comfortable with one another.  Members who are unruly are simply expelled from the clan and left to fend for themselves, something quite possible in areas where there is no higher authority for recourse.  The clan is therefore a rather peacable group and suitable for tasks where members must work side by side at routine jobs.  "Accident of birth" describes one's membership in a clan, whose bonds are reenforced by bonds of childhood friendship and so forth.  (Psychology now recognizes children's bonding with one another as an important factor in adult personality.)   Such a clan begins as a "natural group," with one proverbial foot in a "State of Nature."  The clan is an extension merely of the nuclear family. 

It must be seriously asked at this point whether agreements are possible within such a natural group.  It must be asked whether agreements are seriously possible between a husband and wife.  It must be asked even whether agreements are seriously possible between real friends.   In other words, the thought must be earnestly entertained that close association between persons, on an instinctive basis, is actually an impediment to formal agreements.  There is an adage appropriate here, that friends do not lend friends money.  Money relations are inappropriate among people closely related.  This adage proves true wherever we look at clans, say in Africa.  The relationship between membes of the same clan is in principle sharing.  Money relaltions are "inappropriate."  This mentality "comes into collision with" (to use Engels' redeweise) the kinds of agreements that are necessary to certain other activities.  I have talked about agreements between hunters, which existed already at an earlier stage of culture.  Of course, within the clan, and about the clan, agreements were already proving useful.  Agreements and instincts were at work within the small group, causing discord within the group; and causing, moreover, the group to expand in thought beyond its own boundaries.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (Yesterday 15:28:37)

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Re: 1. Duhring versus Engels (Continued)

Duhring provided, within the context of his discussion with Engels, the material New Force Theory has to work with.   This material includes economics, but it also includes biology, instinct and the primal force of life.    Biology finally focuses itself on the question of race and the relationships among persons through race.  Race in this sense is the counter-concept to economics and (what is the same) agreements.   NFT occupies itself with economics, of course, but only in reference to the oldest and most basic economic relation that there was and still is--the agreement.     Engels for his part, counter to his own protestations against Idealism, was himself an Idealist of sort.  The mechanism of history, he believed, was a "material form of" an Hegelian Idea that fulfills itself in a relentless expansion.  Engels tried to reduce society and history to purely economic forces.  Engels' view was imposing but one-sided.    Society for Engels could expand and evolve endlessly because it, society, was untroubled by interference from any biological reality.  This freedom that society has was also Engels' freedom to dream endlessly and magnificently.  Duhring on the other hand was troubled by subject matter outside of economics that would interfere, of course, with any purely economic vision.  Duhring's view was not focused; on the other hand, he corrected the neglect of Engels by helping to bring race to the attention of Germans of his period.  Duhring  failed to successfully integrate racial ideas with economic ones.    The challenge of New Force Theory is to correct that deficiency, avering that any social theory will fail that does not bring economic forces into a convincing, organized relationship with forces of biology. 

NFT has introduced the concept of "baboon fascism."  No sarcasm is meant here.  This primal order of existence, which pervades not just animal life but human life as well, is for its part an organization or form of collective life that runs throughout the animal kindom; and ultimately it underlies human society as we know it.  Duhring introduced the terms Gewalt and Gewaltstheorie, which fascist and neo-fascist idealogies (of which the New Force Theory is perhaps the latest one) do affirm.  The stance of NFT toward primal fascism  is not one of admiration and praise but rather of objectivity.  This--a primal bossiness that will outlast the days of our years--is what human life can be reduced to.  To prove this point--that a kind of fascism is the destiny of, in particular, the white race--I have undertaken to examine the alternative to this State of Nature, that is, the human agreement.   I am not so much interested to extol the kind of fascism that baboons seem to have invented, as I am concerned to show that, after all is said and done, this is what the white race is stuck with and limited to.  The agreements that there are are temporary and fragile; and pass away, along with friendships and all the other transitory things there are in life. 

The agreement is like the webb of a spider, a gosimer thread.  It blows in the wind and breaks.  Yet it is precisely the agreement, which in its important essentials was in place between two hunters of the Paleolithic, that has been, since the earliest days of written philosophy, the basis of some enduring concept of a City of God or in Moore's word, Utopia. 
These utopias have as their model the simple agreement in which force is abjured and cooperation is unimpeded by argument.  So, in the view of these utopians--Engels was one of them--the society that existed for the hunters, which was their single agreement--is to be extended to all mankind.  I have already made the point that the simple agreement is the basis of the City of God, as, in other words, an entity within which all humans "are agreed" with one another; where there is a union of unconditional trust and mutual vulnerability; and all force whatsoever is abjured.  I talked about this state of being earlier.  For the moment we need say that such a relationship is simply just that, "utopian."  Only humans who are already agreed can exist together within an agreement.  The fact of nature--race--here comes to the fore.   We need at this point to examine what an agreement is.  We will come to the conclusion that the simple agreement contains within itself a contradiction.  The agreement has no provision for enforcement of its terms.  I have already stated this.  When, then, such an agreement is violated by one or both of its parties, the agreement if it is to continue becomes a contract.  The contract is not a utopian notion.  And neither is the society which falls back, through contract, on the idea of force.  The relationship of humans under a contract is already a relationship of some kind of force.  This is an abstract force, but it is already in its basic form a "return to nature" to the original power or force that unites creatures everywhere.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-09-11 14:07:48)

Re: 1. Duhring versus Engels (Continued)

included later section

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-09-12 15:03:42)

Re: 1. Duhring versus Engels (Continued)

New technology has periodically contradicted old "social" systems; technology has caused these systems to fail.  Technology has also created new "social" systems.  To identify this process was the great achievement of Friedrich Engels, who, other than Hegel himself, has no rival in this area.    Engels masterfully showed how feudal social systems derived from feudal technology; and when, finally, the new machines and factories appeared, then, dramatically, not only were the old technics replaced but with them the very foundations of feudal society.  The family structure, consisting mainly of extended groups of relatives, was itself replaced by the more impersonal concept of family.  I do not think we can add to Engels work in this area.  But there is more.  The same forces that caused the feudal system to reach beyond itself, and to cast the seeds of its own destruction, operate consistently throughout all systems based on agreements.  Engels did not clearly perceive the final or absolute causes of this self-destruction within social systems. 

Thus, we see that the freedom of capitalism is just an extension of the general human proclivity for agreements.  Freedom in this context is synonymous with facility of agreements--the ability to form agreements.  Feudalism, we are saying, while technologically and commercially disadvantaged in relation to the oncoming industrialism, was also restrictive in the matter of agreements.  Agreements were not as facile under feudalism as they became under free enterprise.  So what Engels identified as the cause of social evolution--the improvement of technology--was actually only the outward form or symptom of a much deeper change, that is, the tendency of human beings in agreements to break through old agreements and widen these agreements to make new agreements.  Engels himself was of an old factory family; my own upbringing was in a lawyer's family.  Our difference of perspective can be accounted for by the simple fact of family origins.  These considerations are however extraneous to our main area of focus, which is on the mechanism of social change. What Engels says about social change is true only if we consider entirely external forms of human organization as true society.  They are not.  A factory, for instance, is not a social system.  A factory may impact familial organization, as, in the competition for markets, the old feudal workshop, which was based upon the older kinship type of society--the clan--simply vanished; along with this workshop the kinship group or clan likewise vanished.  But the clan itself was, or had become, a rather artificial group which, it is true, existed finally solely as an organization of humans for the purpose of work and commerce.    Thus we we are advancing as a thesis of force theory is that every social system of the past is in a sense artificial--with one exception, the husband-wife relation in the nuclear family. 

Engels' dialectical approach, adopted from Hegel, was highly successful in the area of economic history.  We may say also that Engels effort to connect economic and social phenomena was also successful.  But that is only to say that social systems in general are "of man" and not "of nature."  Human systems operate according to logical  and predictable rules, for the simple reason that human intelligence itself is logical and orderly.    Economics and society are expressions of that logic.  All of human history reflects that logic.  We cannot go on to say, on the other hand, that all human life is logical and predictable.  Human life is, or has always been, unpredictable because at some point economic systems, and with economics social systems, intersect with biological force.  Where Force Theory challenges Engels' dialectical theory is in precisely the relationship society (and economcis) has with biology and race.  Duhring was always aware, if not formally then unconsciously, of the implications of biological and racial force in directing the outcome of a given economic enterprise.  In Duhring's words, production is through labor; distribution is through force.  We are presently accepting this provision, with the exception that we are acknowledging Engels' laws do hold true--up to a point.  Human systems do operate logically, because, as we have just said, human intelligence is logical. 

We are not presently going to raise the issue of distribution.  I am going immediately to the general topic of this blog--agreements.  What I am saying is that, say (to use this example so central to Engels' view), feudalism gave way to free enterprise not because of advancing technics, so much (though technics did play a role), as because the old family system, here identified as the clan, was restrictive on the matter of agreements.  In any agreement the clan as a whole had to have a role.  Agreements were forged not by individuals, according to their own free notions, but by the clan as a whole.  This in fact was the early or primitive "socialism" identified by Engels as the original economy and society of the world, to which we will all return finally as "world communism" or a society of mankind.  Actually, it is precisely the role of the family--as a biological unit--that fettered agreements and restricted feudalism to its primitive state of technics and its inflexibility as to social relations.   The Theory of Agreements that is subsumed under Force Theory states that a condition of agreements is their voluntary acceptance by all parties. The clan, made famous by Engels (following the theories of LH Morgan), impeded this progress. 

The clan could not make true agreements among its own members, because the ties between members were bonds--quasi-instinctive relations--of familiarity.  The word trust we reserve for agreements; yet between familials there was a certain "comfort."  There was among familials no need for agreements; and any formal agreement would "insult" the family members "love" for one another.  Agreements could not establish themselves within families.    This state of being continued through the feudalistic period, where whole families continued their practice, established through cooperative agriculture, of working together in small manufacturing enterprises.  The workshop in these terms was more a creation of instinct than agreements.  We are saying that the clan had an ambigous status in the total spectrum of human life.  The clan was both a biological and a social-contractual unit.  The clan in other words was not yet itself a pure entity of agreements; it was not voluntary among its own members.  The clan was essentially still partly a racial unit existing, in part at least, in a State of Nature.  The dialectic that we look for, then, if we are to surpass Engels in his thinking, is not between say feudalism and capitalism; rather this dialectic is to be found within the clan itself, first and foremost, as ultimately the source of all other dialectic.  The clan is half racial.  And human history appears first as the dialectic between agreements on the one hand, and, on the other, the racial principle.   In the final stages of this dialectic, race, which has been subordinate to agreements in human history, will assert itself.  History will turn from being the history of agreements to the absolute opposition of agreements, race as formed nature.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2009-09-17 15:50:08)

Re: 1. Duhring versus Engels (Continued)

The thesis presently will be that what is called "society" is and long has been essentially a "partial agreement," and as such is a "moral" entity rather than a "factual" entity.  I said earlier that society in the true sense of the word is simply an agreement.  There is between at least two persons (1) an understanding of quid pro quo; and (2) a promise to forego physical agression to settle disputes that might arise.  These are the two conditions of an agreement.  These conditions are also the basis of society as it evolved from its earliest beginnings between hunters, mainly, and later persons in trade relations.  These things I have discussed in earlier sections of this blog.  I want now to raise the issue of a partial agreement.   A partial agreement, like a partial sentence [see section -], appears likely or credible only if it is completed by a moral stipulation.  A society based one-sided trust is credible only when completed by some concept of moral obligation.  But what is incorrectly called society by pre- Force Theory ideologies is not society in any factual sense, but only in a moral sense.   "Society" today is based not on fact but on a moral principle. 

An agreement to be a true agreement must be a full agreement.  By full agreement I mean that any agreement has to be two sided or mutual.  The agreement must be agreed upon.  Two or more parties volluntarily enter an agreement with the understanding that they are equal within the agreement.  Equality means here that any disagreement between them, that may arise, will be settled impartially.  There need be no immediate provision for settlement of a disagreement so long as no disagreement exists.  All that needs to be in place is an understanding that in the case of disagreement both parties will turn to a "third party" outside the agreement, whose impartiality is based on the fact that this third party has no personal interest in the outcome of the dispute.  Here principal parties are equal; neither is favored.  These were our conclusions from earlier sections.  This same idea of equality, I aver, that exists as a basic condition of true agreements,  finds its way, eventually, into the wider theories of democracy and communism that are alleged to pertain to millions of people.   The same equality, which began as essentially equality before an arbitor or judge in the individual agreement, is proposed to be the relationship of citizens, ideally, world wide.  What has come to pass, however, since such a world-wide agreement has proved to be impossible, is an ersatz agreement I have called here a partial agreement

Of course there is no such real thing as a partial or unilateral agreement.  An agreement by definition is always bilateral.   A partial agreement is presented as something real, on the other hand, with the stipulation that what renders an otherwise unilateral, partial agreement whole is a moral provision.    That is, the provision is stated as law that a person is obligated to trust, in the same way one trusts within an agreement--by abjectly renouncing force--as the consequence of a moral principle.  One trusts only because it is just and right to trust.  There is in this case no clearly stated qud pro quo.   One renders him- or herself vulnerable out of a sense of "justice."  There are parallels between society in this partial sense and concepts inherent in language; these parallels are too coincidental not to mention.  A partial sentence is likely to have a moral significance; a full sentence is likely only to have factual significance.  The same kind of relationship--moral versus factual--exists between a full society (a full agreement) and a partial society or agreement.  Earlier I talked about ordinary language we use in which statements of value can be distinguished from statements of fact.  Society can be seen in these same terms.  A sentence with both a subject and an object is a factual statement.  [see section - ]   Thus, for instance, when I say simply that a human act is practical, but do not say what the act really accomplishes,  I am suggesting a moral result to this act.  The word "practical" here is a value judgement.  By the same token, if I say a human relationship is "practical," I am already attributing value and moral purpose to this relationship.  This is precisely the sort of claim made in pre-Force Theory ideology.  It is claimed that "cooperation is better than competition."  There is on the other hand no reference made to the kind of real result that comes out of cooperation.  Even if it is proven that people feed themselves better, there is no relationship drawn between feeding people and anything else.  These are all considerations that have been discussed earlier.  Cooperation in these terms, because there is no suggestion of what the cooperation leads to, is itself a value word, not a fact word.  Value completes what is otherwise incomplete, whether we are talking about a whole organization of human beings or simply a single sentence in the English language.  Democratic, Christian and communistic ideology provide one side of an agreement--trust--as the basis of a human relationship; the other side, that in a true agreement would be provided by consent of an actual second party, is provided instead by a moral principle or value judgement.  Finally, this--a one-sided agreement, a virtual contradiction in terms--is what constitutes society today.  Of course, such a society must eventually fall into a final contradiction and come to an end.