The human side of chess, 14

The profession called psychiatry

The first thing to keep in mind when a loved one is in crisis is the Hippocratic oath of doctors: do no more harm. Unfortunately, it is precisely the doctors who violate that oath, since the crises of the spirit should never be the province of the doctor.

Carlos Torre was electro-shocked in Monterrey when he lived with his three brothers, all doctors. I read this in the book 64 Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Torre by Germán de la Cruz. I was so intrigued that I made some inquiries. I spoke with Jorge Aldrete, a bridge and chess fan from Monterrey based in Mexico City, who had sold me several imported chess sets. Both Aldrete and Ferriz suggested that I contact Arturo Elizondo in Monterrey. On April 24, 2004, I spoke with Mr Elizondo, who graciously answered my questions. This man of more than eighty years was neither more nor less an eyewitness of the electroshocks to Torre. When I asked him if what de la Cruz said in his book was reliable, he replied: ‘I am sure because to control his physicality’ he was ‘by his side’ during electroconvulsive therapy. I asked him what the symptoms were so that they took such a drastic measure with the Yucatecan chess master. Elizondo replied: ‘The only thing, he was stubborn but he wasn’t aggressive and nothing like that’. Elizondo only slightly disagreed with de la Cruz’s version insofar as he affirmed that the brothers weren’t directly responsible for the commitment. ‘It was the nephew, surnamed Torre’, a Masonic grand master and colleague of Elizondo at the Nuevo León lodge. According to Elizondo, this happened in 1957 in the psychiatric ward of the General Hospital of Monterrey. Due to Torre’s ‘excitatory stage’ to use Elizondo’s expression, the diagnosis was manic-depressive, which is now called bipolar disorder. It had been the arousal phase of his manic-depressive crisis when they applied electroshocks to calm him down.

Universities teach kids psychiatric treatments, such as electroshock, as if they were the praxis of real medical science. No wonder that, being Elizondo a chemist sympathetic to medicine, he repeated to me what is claimed at the universities: that Torre-type excitations are of a ‘neurological nature’, a claim that Elizondo repeated several times during our telephone conversation. The truth is that, without any laboratory testing, psychiatrists rule out psychogenic hypotheses of delusions (see once again my anti-psychiatric site whose address appears on page 3 of this book). He also told me that electroshocks are ‘a very noble therapy’ because it ‘completely relaxes’ the excited. Elizondo participated in the coercive relaxation of Torre, in which he even helped hold him down. He even confessed to me, ‘One or two days I gave him accommodation, then he left with his nephew’. But what Elizondo ignored is that electroshock is a crime. This electric hammer blow to the head frequently erases part of the memory of the people who receive it. One of the cases I mention on my antipsychiatric site is that of a graduate student who, after she was shocked from depression, forgot what she had learned in college. We can imagine the handicap that the ‘therapy’ represented for her career. In Torre’s time there was the aggravating circumstance that it was common to perform marathon electroshock sessions: a practice that some call electrical lobotomy. We can imagine how this barbaric practice could have diminished Torre’s intellectual capacity for chess. Do you remember the scene of the electroshock applied to the character played by Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

This type of assault on healthy brains (like the character played by Nicholson, the electro-shocked folk had a healthy brain before ‘therapy’) continues to be performed in Mexico. This is done even in the largest psychiatric hospital in the nation: the Fray Bernardino Álvarez Hospital in Tlalpan, where students do their internships. In 1960, three years after his experience in Monterrey, Torre was once again harassed by his sponsors and by psychiatrists. When he lived in Mexico City, he was committed for a few days at the Sanatorio Floresta, which was in San Ángel, under the care of psychiatrist Alfonso Millán. Alfonso Ferriz told me this personally, who in his splendid naivety paid for the commitment. The Floresta psychiatric hospital no longer exists, but as I indicate on my aforementioned website, on November 25, 1970 an article appeared in Siempre! entitled ‘A season in hell’ written by two sane young men who were interned at Floresta. The authors of the article reveal that a grandson of Victoriano Huerta was lobotomised and confined there: ‘Before, he was very aggressive until he had a lobotomy. He now is a child. At meals he twists around on the chair, he eats desperately. While eating he drives the flies away from the table’. Ferriz and Elizondo acted in good faith, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. According to Ferriz himself in one of the interviews recorded by Obregón, Torre felt resented with him for life after the outrage of which he was a victim in the psychiatric hospital. In fact, Torre didn’t see Ferriz again until the latter visited Mérida.

In his book, Gabriel Velasco, ignoring what psychiatry is, after the New York crisis wrote that Torre ‘needed medical care’. There were still no electroshocks in the 1920s. But if Velasco refers to some other psychiatric therapy that was applied to him, this way of using language (‘medical care’) is a euphemism for medical crime. In the prologue to Velasco’s book, Jesús Suárez praises that Velasco has omitted all speculation about Torre’s ills. The truth is that it was pure intellectual cowardice, both by Velasco and Suárez, to have omitted that he was electro-shocked in Monterrey; that in Mexico he was admitted to the Floresta, and that he resented Ferriz for life.

Those who knew him were struck by the fact that Carlos Torre was a very affectionate person with people. He called them all angelito, padrecito, madrecita (little angel, little father, little mother): expressions that portray the goodness of his character. Let’s put ourselves in the master’s shoes for a moment. Imagine that we speak in sweet Mexican diminutives. How would we feel after the involuntary commitment by our loved ones? What would we feel after the assault on the brain in Monterrey? In addition to the intellectual loss, wouldn’t it be an attack on one’s dignity and self-esteem? How would our self-image look after the attack?

Although Ferriz assured me that he wasn’t electro-shocked in Mexico City, they administered him psychiatric drugs at the Floresta. I wonder if Torre was tormented there with drugs called neuroleptics: a ‘hell’ as described by the authors of Siempre! According to the words of Ferriz himself, which I wrote down in an interview at his house in March 2004, I guess that Torre was sane when committed. Ferriz confessed to me: ‘But also, he didn’t seem crazy! It was hard to get what was wrong with him’. Like the ‘stubbornness’ Elizondo spoke of, Ferriz interprets anger as a mental disorder. I didn’t argue with Ferriz or Elizondo. But after the interview with the former I wondered what they had done to Torre in the Floresta, the psychiatric hospital that had Huerta’s lobotomised grandson in custody. And by the way: was this guy lobotomised there? Nobody asks questions of this kind in Mexico for the simple reason that it’s difficult to imagine that a pseudoscience is taught in universities. It is a stupendous irony that in Mexico the medical institution had to have arisen precisely in the same building of the Inquisition of New Spain: the palace of the old Faculty of Medicine.

This brief book is far from my extensive treatise on psychiatry that can be read on the internet. But just to give an idea of what I am talking about, I will mention a chilling fact: In the 21st century, lobotomies continue to be performed in Mexico and the rest of the world. The fact that defenceless citizens are currently electro-shocked and lobotomised, as they did to the character that Nicholson played in One Flew, may seem incredible to us. But a little story will shed some light on this matter.

For three centuries, Western civilisation has been cruel to people suffering from spiritual crises. Although the individual who suffers a sudden crisis doesn’t harm anyone—let’s take as a paradigm the buffoonery of imitating St. Francis on a public streetcar—the brain of he who suffers the crisis is damaged by society. From the origins of the mental institution at Bedlam in London and general hospitals in France, the treatment of the individual in crisis has been simply to torture him with various techniques (see ‘From the Great Confinement to chemical Gulag’, pages 143-166 in my book Daybreak). Although these tortures have nothing to do with real medical necessity, they were given a scientific lustre in the 19th century for public acceptance. I wonder what they did to Steinitz in one of those so-called hospitals. In his time, psychiatrists hadn’t devised electroshock and lobotomy, techniques that directly damage the brain, but they did devise some torments that broke the spirit of the person in crisis. In 19th-century nursing homes, beatings and chains were a thing of every day. There were even torture devices. I have not read the biography of Steinitz written by Bachmann. I suppose the Kneip technique applied on Steinitz, an extreme regimen of ice water baths, was involuntary.

Iatrogenesis is the stupid attempts to heal by doctors that produce new and more serious disorders than the existing ones. I believe that Steinitz’s illusory ideas at the end of his life, such as his belief that he could move chess pieces without touching them, were aggravated by psychiatric iatrogenesis.

The Kneip torment is discontinued in psychiatry. Due to modern technology, since the 1930s medical science has progressed from tormenting Steinitz’s body to directly assaulting the brain—what they did to Torre. In addition to electroshocks, chemical lobotomisers that are administered to those who cross through crises like the one Torre suffered are currently very fashionable. With a prescription, about twenty of these chemicals are sold in Mexico: Clopsine, Ekilid, Fluanxol, Flupazine, Geodon, Haldol, Haloperil, Largactil, Leponex, Leptopsique, Melleril, Piportil, Pontiride, Rimastine, Risperdal, Semap, Seroquel, Sinogan, Siqualine, Stelazine, and Zyprexa. Aliosha Tavizon, with whom I used to speak at the Gandhi Cafeteria and who in his category won the Carlos Torre Tournament in 2003, was given one of these crap drugs due to an unreciprocated love that temporarily unhinged him. For months he had a crooked neck and many other muscles in his body. To speak to him, he had to position his torso in profile: a tardive dystonia that may have been irreversible. Under no circumstances, not even during flowery psychoses, should an individual ingest any of these dangerous neurotoxins. Fortunately, there are principled psychiatrists, like Peter Breggin, who denounce the crime of prescribing disabling drugs in their profession.

The West, and especially the United States, have fallen into the cognitive error of addressing any psychological disturbance from a biological POV, ignoring the humanities. I do not think that this pseudoscience will be repudiated soon despite the iatrogenesis it produces. In my treatise I show, in a nutshell, that the profession doesn’t pass the falsifiability test devised by Karl Popper that distinguishes between science and pseudoscience, and that those who finance psychiatric ‘science’ in journals are the same companies that manufacture the drugs mentioned above. The academia itself has been corrupted by Big Pharma. If the reader doesn’t want to read my book because I am not an established author, read Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and The Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (Cambridge: Perseus, 2001). Robert Whitaker, the author, won the Pulitzer Prize for medical matters.

Published in: on July 5, 2021 at 2:31 pm  Comments Off on The human side of chess, 14  

The human side of chess, 13

Bobby Fischer had horrendous problems with his mother, who invited her Jewish friends from Brooklyn to her apartment; friends who in the eyes of the boy Fischer were but little buddies. Fischer confessed to the women who knew him intimately that, at the age of twelve, he resented the absence of his mother as a great betrayal, who had a greater preference for her little buddies than for the child Bobby. When Fischer achieved grandmaster status at sixteen, his mother left him and his sister to move with friends to Europe. The teenage Fischer never mourned for his parental losses (his father had abandoned him even earlier, since Fischer was two years old). He rather did the opposite: he threw himself on Caissa’s skirts with unequalled vehemence. Such was the vehemence with which he amalgamated his life with Caissa’s that she gave him the magnificent gift of defeating, singlehandedly, the Soviet chess school at the age of twenty-nine. But out of his early unresolved experiences, which some of us call the betrayal of love, emerged the adult Fischer’s anti-Semitism.

Fischer was never a reader of, say, a wise scholar about Jewry like Kevin MacDonald, who continues to write about the subversive way Jews have been behaving in the West. Fischer’s anti-Semitism was more rancid, and at times paranoid. Already exiled in Budapest, he told one of his interviewers: ‘Day and night the Jews persecute me’. He called Kasparov ‘the Wenstein Jew’ despite the fact that Fischer was ethnically Jewish by both parents. (As our society doesn’t allow the child to express feelings of anger towards his parents, once the child is grown these feelings are transferred.)

After conquering the sceptre Fischer fled the world, especially from the journalists who harassed him. In 1975, the year that all the fans longed to see him defend his title against Karpov, Fischer befriended Claudia Mokarow, an older woman whom he affectionately called mommy. When the journalists tracked him down Fischer ran to Claudia’s apartment yelling: ‘Mommy, mommy, they’re here! Help me mommy: they’ve found me!’ Obviously Bobby, considered by some to be the greatest player in history, needed a motherly surrogate for the mother he never had. He never grew up. Some journalists from whom Fischer fled saw symbolism in the fact that Fischer’s mother was called Regina (a Late Latin feminine name meaning ‘queen’) and that when he was a child she was treated precisely as queen by the community of Jewish buddies that Regina brought to her apartment. Fischer never opened one of his classic chess games with the move 1. d4, pawn to Queen four, as we said before the algebraic notation.

Alexander Alekhine (World
Champion from 1927 to 1946).

I had already mentioned that Alekhine took it out on his spouses. His acquaintances noted Alekhine’s strange submission to authority: the quintessential parental figure. He was married four times, always to women older than him. A writer that Reinfeld mentions comments that it seemed that Alekhine wanted to be taken care of, and Edward Lasker says that when Alekhine was twenty years old, in a club he preferred to dance with a woman twice his age and thickness even though there were fairer girls around. All of this suggests an unresolved problem with the mother, who taught the child how to move the pieces. The proof is that one of his wives was twenty years old and the other thirty! His friends teased him that she was Philidor’s wife, a mummy. The tall and handsome Alekhine, whose games, especially those of his youth, are among the most artistic in the kingdom of Caissa, needed a mother. But for being so cruel to his wives he died alone and as a refugee in Portugal, while in Europe a witch-hunt was perpetrated against those who had collaborated with the Third Reich. Reinfeld wrote: ‘My feeling is that Alekhine was an unusually timid man who was terrified all his life by a profound feeling of insecurity’. And a few pages later he adds:

From all accounts, Madame Alekhine’s affection and maternal solicitude meant a great deal to Alekhine in his later years and had a very beneficial influence on him. But what more convincing proof could there be of his timidity, his insecurity, his fear of facing the world? There may also be significance in the fact that Alekhine was taught chess by her mother; this may have created a powerful emotional bond between his need for chess and his constant need for a mother. When all these elements are added up, I think we have an irresistible weight of evidence for the view that Alekhine’s genius for chess had its origin in an unusually virulent form of insecurity.

When Alekhine took refuge in Portugal from the witch-hunt unleashed by the allied forces he was already completely alone. Two days before his death he told a Portuguese fan: ‘Lupi, this loneliness is killing me!’ Unlike the title of this book in Spanish, En Pos de un Rey Metafórico, for the English translation I chose The Human Side of Chess. And it is that the photograph of someone who had been an idol in my early teens died in a hotel in his days of maximum solitude in times when the allied forces perpetrated a true holocaust of Germans, portrays the side of the game that fans don’t dare to see.

Also the great North American champion of the 19th century had something hideous unresolved with the figure of his mother. Paul Morphy, a native of New Orleans, the city where Carlos Torre would later grow up, had a curious habit of forming women’s shoes in a semicircle ‘because he liked to look at them.’

During a period of his life he would go up to the roof of his house to declaim in French a paragraph that seems to be taken from a song, of which its last words are et le petit Roi s’en ira tout penaud: and the little king will walk away covered in shame. Morphy saw no one except his mother with whom he spent every afternoon, whom he obeyed even though he was already the best chess player in the world. Even when his mother found him dead in the bathtub, Morphy was surrounded by women’s shoes. Morphy defeated all the active grandmasters of his time, including Löwenthal, Anderssen and Paulsen; although the match I like the most was the one he beat Harrwitz in Paris, played a century before I was born. That match shows that Morphy had already found, since then, how to handle the semi-open and closed openings. But like Fischer, Morphy suffered from paranoia. He believed that his brother-in-law and his friend Binder were conspiring to poison him and destroy his clothes, and it is said that on one occasion he showed up at Binder’s office and attacked him. Let us never forget that, like Fischer, Morphy retired from chess at the height of his chess career.

Paul Morphy, who died at 47.

I have said that Fischer’s greatest pleasure was breaking the adversary’s ego. This reminds me of why I was attracted to chess as a boy. I remember a time when I told my parents that the best moment of my life was when my opponent lost his morale to my game. This memory may give me the key to penetrate Fischer’s mind. ‘Break the ego’ is an oblique resonance of how his mother broke Fischer’s ego as a child (and how my mother destroyed it through constant humiliations). When decades before I found out that Fischer had said similar things I said, I was referring to a problem not only with my mother but with my father. In sixth grade my female teacher once asked the question of what had been the happiest moment of the students. To the teacher’s fluster, I replied euphorically that the happiest moment was when I defeated my father in chess: whom I loved enormously but at the same time I had to refute. His vehement religious beliefs had hurt the sensitive child that I was, but my childish mind didn’t know how to refute them.

Some have said that chess is a game of schachmaty, of killing the father. Before I read the enlightened philosophers and freethinkers, chess was a perfect metaphorical substitute for going after the father. The same word ‘refutation’ was constantly used by the adolescent I was, although without arguments yet, when talking about what I wanted to do with my parents’ beliefs: put an end to them. But because we love our parents, the volcano of anger that many children, and adult children, feel towards them can only erupt with substitute objects: opponents whose ego we break as Fischer would say. However, such a transfer can produce a split personality, especially in those who spend their lives running away from themselves through gambling. As I said, I have heard of various fans, and other adults who have nothing to do with chess, who have been damaged by their abusive parents and have suffered psychotic breakdowns: like that funny crazy man who, according to Reuben Fine, believed that Botvinnik was the real leader of the Soviet Union. But that’s a distant case. I remember the late Ricardo Bravo, one of those who went to the park and who was known to have suffered hellish conditions at home. Ricardo crossed the line from mere psychological trauma to insanity and virtually committed suicide by abruptly crossing a busy avenue.

The human side of chess, 2

Introduction

When I sat down to write this book, I was officially retired from chess. It was the talks with Rafael Martínez, an old friend from a park where I played chess many years ago, that motivated me to confess what I have thought about the game since my retirement.

(Left, in 1975 outside of ‘La Cabaña’ I played my first game in the park with Señor Cervantes.)

My goal here is to break various taboos. In the first chapter I address a topic hardly touched by other chess players. I am talking about the emotions that affect the player during the game: a topic that I address by analysing my emotions in some games that I have played in tournaments. There are very few chess players, and one of them was the Mexican grandmaster Marcel Sisniega (a pure Aryan about my age, who passed away in 2013), who describe their moods after the rounds. I haven’t read Crónica Personal de un Torneo de Ajedrez of Sisniega, but I suppose that the descriptions I make here are more crude and direct.

In a short passage in the second chapter I try to show that chess treatises omit the biological cause that some play better than others. I also venture a program that I consider useful to face the emotions not only in defeat, but for the average player to understand and accept his skill level.

For centuries, chess theorists have avoided going into the subject of personal tragedies that have led some to seek solace in the game; tragedies that have devastated the sanity of some masters, grandmasters, and even world champions. This blind spot has existed from the 1620 treatise by Gioacchino Greco, considered the first chess professional, to Kasparov’s recent work on his predecessors. The motto of the inveterate tabletop gamer seems to be:

Elude the Knowledge of Thyself

Avoid settling accounts with the existential sting that made you seek comfort in an activity as elusive as the game of chess or any other game.

Among chess players there have been cases of crossing the line from simple escapism to madness. In the third chapter I break with the biggest taboo not only in the community of players, but of humanity in general. I talk about the cause of disorders of the spirit and what we can do when a loved one suffers a psychotic crisis. The fate of Carlos Torre, the best Latin American chess player after Capablanca, serves as a paradigm for me to point out what we should never, ever do when a family member suffers a crisis: go to the psychiatrist.

After that important chapter I include an epilogue about what I think of the game.

Juan Obregón, who gave me some information about Carlos Torre, probably has the largest number of interviews from people who knew the Mexican grandmaster. But without the help of the late Alfonso Ferriz, the great lover of the game-science in Mexico, it would have been impossible for me to collect the most relevant information about Torre. It saddens me that my conclusions from the same information that Ferriz so generously provided me cast a shadow over this wonderful person who was Don Alfonso; and I publish this little book not without some remorse in order to expose private matters that could help the West to regain its sanity.

Published in: on June 18, 2021 at 11:41 am  Comments Off on The human side of chess, 2  

Christianity’s Criminal History, 134

For the context of these translations click here

 

CHAPTER 7

Pope Gregory I (590-604)

A 1627 interpretation of Gregorio
Magno by Francisco de Zurbarán

‘Just and loving was Gregory, both with the poor and the economically weak, as with the slaves, the heretics and the Jews.’ —F.M. Stratmann, Catholic theologian

‘The history of the Church has not produced many characters who have rightfully carried the nickname of The Great’. —Heinrich Kraft

‘Nor was it the worst that he advised proceeding against the recalcitrant with whipping, torture and jail, but with naive cynicism he recommended the increase in taxes as a means of conversion: those who converted had to be relieved of the established taxes, and those who were reluctant had to be softened with tax pressure’. —Johannes Haller
 

The flight from the world and the desire to make a career

Of the more than 260 popes, only Leo I and St. Gregory I (590-604) are the pontiffs who, in addition to the title of Doctors of the Church, bear the appellation of ‘The Great’ (San Gregorio Magno). He came from the ‘big world’. The first monk who reached the supposed chair of Peter was of the senatorial lineage of the Anicius; that is to say, of the high and rich Roman nobility, de senatoribus primis. All ecclesiastical writers emphasise the ‘noble’ or rich origin of their heroes. Even in the purely external aspect of him it was the ‘miracle of his time’ for being a man of average height, with small, yellowish eyes, a discreet aquiline nose, and four miserable little curls, and a powerful, almost bald skull: a miracle in himself, and not only in his time. Well, that truly extraordinary head multiplied and, like a holy relic, it could be in many cities at the same time: Constance, for example, possessed the head of Gregory, as did Prague, Lisbon and Sens.

By 573 Gregory was praefectus urbis, the highest civil office in Rome. Decked out in precious stones and flanked by an armed personal guard, he resided in a sumptuous palace because, although he was ‘already driven by the yearning for heaven’, as he confesses, he was interested in beautiful appearances, in their ‘external standard of living’ and without excessive disgust he served ‘the earthly world’.

The family was wealthy with possessions in and around Rome, and especially in Sicily. He even had contacts in Constantinople, and also apparently was intensely religious. Wealth and religion are not excluded in any way. Quite the contrary: whoever God loves makes him rich, and despite the camels and the needle eyes, he gets to heaven. The powerful bloodline of Gregory had already given the world two popes: Agapetus I and Felix III, whom he himself calls his ancestor (atavus). And the Church also canonised his mother Silvia…

Already between his election and consecration on September 3, 590, Gregory, who because of his weakness almost always lay in bed, had called to fight the bubonic plague from Egypt, to which even his predecessor Pelagius II had succumbed on February 8, 590.

Of course, Gregory declared the plague as punishment from God, as revenge for the sins of the Lombards, the ‘pagans’, the ‘heretics’ and demanded their conversion ‘to the true and upright Catholic faith’ through repentance, penance, prayers and songs of Psalms for three days, ‘while it is still time for tears’.

He also set in motion among the ruins of the destroyed city a spectacular seven-round procession—with it Ferdinand Gregorovius begins History of Rome in the Middle Ages—with pitiful choral songs and tedious invocations to all possible martyrs, including those who never had existed but were invented in the bloody comedy of the doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose of Milan. The success was tremendous but an eyewitness told St. Gregory of Tours that then ‘in the space of an hour, while the people raised their voices in prayer to the Lord, eighty men collapsed and fell dead’. In any case, in Constantinople, by God’s inscrutable design, between 542 and 544 the plague had claimed the lives of 300,000 people.

Amid such gloomy feelings, visions and realities of worldly decay—not only was the plague raging: ancient temples were also being razed, and even the papal granaries and churches—, Gregory, who has been called ‘the last Roman’ and ‘the first medieval pope’, surprisingly started his career knowing exactly what he wanted…

In 590 Gregory ascended the pontifical throne despite his ailments and, naturally, supposedly against his will. This was part of the etiquette and until the 20th century it has been part of clerical hypocrisy. In his time, however, even the humblest ecclesiastical offices were so coveted that in 592 or 593 Emperor Maurice forbade soldiers from entering monasteries and civil servants from embracing the clerical state. And Gregory knew very well that ‘someone who strips off his worldly garments to immediately occupy an ecclesiastical office only changes places, but doesn’t leave the world’.

Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 11:55 am  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 134  

The philosopher of Sils-Maria

Now that I’ve asked that only those who are ideologically similar to Himmler’s willing executioners comment here, I think I should say a couple of things.

The first, the most important, is that I cannot tolerate talking to people who do not hate to the point of wanting to blow up the ethnocidal System throughout all Western countries. If there is no infinite hatred like the one I feel, there cannot be an authentic dialogue.

On the other hand I am pleased that, since I linked my excerpts from a psychobiographical study of Nietzsche, apparently twenty-nine visitors have clicked on the link, although I don’t know if they reached the following passage:

During all the years of his pilgrimage he never once put up in friendly and cheerful surroundings, never at night felt the warm body of a woman pressing against him; never did the sun rise to see him famous, after a thousand nights of dark and silent labour. How immeasurably vaster was Nietzsche’s loneliness than is the picturesque highland of Sils-Maria where between luncheon and tea our tourists wander in the hope of capturing some of the glamour that clings to a spot sanctified by his presence. Nietzsche’s solitude was as wide as the world; it spread over the whole of his life until the very end. Conversation wearied and irritated him who constantly gnawed at his own vitals and whose hunger for himself, and himself alone, was never satiated.

Sometimes only in the most terrible, and even maddening solitude, is it possible to see the great truths that plague the white man: like what Nietzsche saw and we quote at the end of the masthead of this site, the essay on the surreptitious war of Judea against Rome. But I am glad that, apparently, I’m no longer as lonely as Sils-Maria’s philosopher because of what some people have told me and I recently reproduced.

Nevertheless, I am still a voice crying out in the desert as a commenter put it the day before yesterday on The Unz Review.

Published in: on January 5, 2021 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on The philosopher of Sils-Maria  

True Himmler

by David Irving

Twenty years in the making, David Irving’s biography of Heinrich Himmler, the man, is finally ready.

In two parts, the first of which appears now, Irving describes from true documents the origins of Himmler, an educated man with a Classics teacher as his revered father, and his extraordinary career until the final dramatic hours of his life, raising an army of elite SS soldiers and men to stand for Germany and defend it against the secret Soviet plans to invade all of Europe in 1941.

He becomes a most trusted ally of Adolf Hitler, and remains loyal to the end; when he hears of Hitler’s imminent death Himmler takes steps to contact the western Allies and offer them the assistance of the SS against the mighty Russian army. But the western capitals are by then powerless, sucked too far into the Soviet thrall.

Why twenty years? It has not been easy—or inexpensive—to retrieve the thousands of missing private papers, letters and diaries which vanished into unfriendly hands at the end.

Mr Irving, already the finder of other secret records surrounding Hitler, identifies the current holders of scores of private letters—partly American, partly Israeli, their identities now oddly concealed by Germany newspaper editors and historians still wilting under the glare of the draconian Morgenthau Plan. (Mr Irving published a facsimile of the secret Plan from Oxford University archives). He uses secret British intercepts of SS messages, as well as Reinhard Heydrich’s papers and KGB files in Moscow archives.

The reputation of his young soldiers was systematically denigrated on the age-old principal Give a dog a bad name and hang him. Mr Irving’s suspicions, spelled out in the first and second part, are that Germany’s enemies saw in the SS such a formidable enemy, and in Himmler such a formidable man, that they tracked him tracked down after the war ended, where his life was terminated; the very first chapter examines the circumstances of Himmler’s ‘suicide’ more closely.

The book is illustrated as usual with black and white and colour photographs immaculately printed, including hundreds selected from Himmler’s personal albums now held by the Hoover Library in Stanford, California, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.

(Over 700 pages, with illustrations. See sample spread of illustrations: here.)

Published in: on December 18, 2020 at 10:36 am  Comments (6)  

The Fame, 7

WLP

From The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds:
An Up-Close Portrait of William Pierce

by Robert Griffin


 
“I’m William Pierce. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Pierce looked to me to be around sixty years old. He is a couple inches taller than I am, which would make him about 6’3” or so. He has a large head and graying and thinning conventionally cut hair parted on the left side. His hair was long enough so that it curled up in the back. He is a bit hunched, and his head nestles down into his shoulders and thrusts forward. What stood out to me about his face were his large forehead and mouth. His face is unlined, his nose is straight and unremarkable, and his small ears protrude some. His eyes were blue behind the thick lenses of the conservative plastic-framed glasses he had on.

That day, Pierce had on a jeans jacket over a dark blue T-shirt with a pocket in which he had what appeared to be a white index card. His faded blue jeans hung straight down in the back in the way they do with older men. He had on brown workboots. Around his waist was a pistol belt. A holstered weapon was on his right and more to the back than to the side. The weapon wasn’t visible because he had pulled his T-shirt over it.

Pierce’ s basic appearance is long and lean, but when I shook hands with him I was taken by the size and strength of his hands and forearms which showed beneath his rolled-up jacket sleeves. His handshake was firm and confident. I had read that Pierce, as it was phrased, “doesn’t have a very dynamic presence.” That certainly wasn’t the impression I was getting. He had the air of somebody important and as being the kind of person who very much fills up the space they are in.

“Come on in,” Pierce said, motioning with his left hand toward the building to my right. I turned and for the first time got a good look at the National Alliance headquarters building. It is two stories tall and perhaps sixty feet wide.

The most prominent feature of the building is a ten-foot-high dark brown symbol attached to the building above the door. I couldn’t tell whether it was made of metal or wood. It looks something like a Christian cross except that the crossbar is longer and instead of going straight across from nine o’clock to three o’clock, it is as if it were cut at the mid-point and the two pieces, still attached to the vertical bar, are pointed upward toward ten-thirty and one-thirty. I later learned that this is called a Life Rune and that it is the symbol for the National Alliance. I remember having an emotional charge that first time I took in this Life Rune image, so large and dominating. Especially in this setting, so removed from everywhere, it seemed alien, something out of Brave New World or 1984

Pierce has a Ph.D in physics, and this room is where he goes to get away from it all. One other thing on the second floor: a television set next to the back wall amid boxes of books. I believe it is the only one on the property. It turns out that Pierce and those around him are down on television, seeing it as a reality-distorting and mind-warping force in the hands of their adversaries. Pierce isn’t about to get the cable, and the only station that reaches this remote area is an NBC affiliate—barely reaches, the picture is snowy and doesn’t qualify as being in color. Pierce is a faithful watcher of the NBC evening news. As far as I know, that is the extent of his television viewing other than tapes friends and followers send him, and I don’t believe anyone around him watches television at all.

Published in: on August 25, 2015 at 6:22 pm  Comments Off on The Fame, 7  

The Fame, 5

WLP

From The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds:
An Up-Close Portrait of William Pierce

by Robert Griffin


 
As the days and weeks went along, I noticed that Pierce seemed to look forward to our sessions, which were from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evenings after his long workday. It was at his suggestion that we talk consecutive evenings rather than the three times a week I originally had in mind…

Pierce is concerned with it all and how everything fits together—history, philosophy, politics, economics, the media, education, men-women identities and relationships, child-raising practices, and approaches to leisure—and that offered me the broad canvas, the inclusive frame of reference, I wanted. I didn’t think the fact that Pierce approaches these concerns from a position on the extreme end of the ideological spectrum was a drawback, because one of the ways to make better sense of what is going on at the core of American life, which is what I really want to do, is to contrast it with what is happening on its outermost edge…

I find Pierce to be an absolutely fascinating character and his story to be a whale of a tale. And besides Pierce, in the course of putting this book together I came across a number of other fascinating—which is not to say admirable—characters, among them, George Lincoln Rockwell, Robert Lloyd, Revilo P. Oliver, Francis Parker Yockey, Savitri Devi, Elizabeth Dilling, Bob Mathews, and William Gayley Simpson. This cast of characters and their world was all new to me, and I have had the treat of a terrific, real-life movie for the year and a half I have been working on this book. I found that that alone has been enough to keep me going.

Published in: on August 15, 2015 at 5:32 pm  Comments (2)  

The Fame, 4

WLP

From The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds:
An Up-Close Portrait of William Pierce

by Robert Griffin

 
In late 1997 I wrote Pierce a letter broaching the idea of writing a book about him and his ideas. In the letter, I said:

I’m not talking about anything authorized, that is to say, where explicitly or implicitly I have the job of fronting for you, making you look good, selling you. But at the same time, I wouldn’t be aiming to demonize you or set you up as a straw man to serve some agenda of my own. I also don’t want to play a game academics often play [I am a university professor], which is to stand above their subjects, as it were, and patronizingly critique them and make themselves look good in the process. What I do want to do is focus on the issues you raise and the ideas you affirm and your current activities within the context of the events and circumstances of your life, and to present it as objectively as I can. Whatever else comes through, I want who you are and what you are and where you have come from put out there for readers straight and true. I am not interested in exposes or inside journalism. I am interested in where this culture and society is heading and how we live our individual lives, and what you and what you represent have to do with that.

Pierce wrote back:

Your idea is an intriguing one. I am not convinced that the things I have accomplished to date merit a biography—although I always am trying to acquire more merit. From a practical point of view, if you succeed in getting a biography of me published and it is not a hatchet job, it should be helpful. Although you might be subject to pressure from your publisher to produce a book fitting a certain stereotype of me and my message. Anyway, it is a project that I am willing to discuss with you.

I wrote back to Pierce that I wasn’t planning on writing a full-scale, detailed biography, bringing in multiple sources and perspectives and all. Rather, I was thinking of something akin to what goes on between a subject posing for a portrait and an artist. That is to say, the book would essentially be about him and me: the way he presents himself to me and the way I make sense of and render that presentation. I said I wanted to hear him talk about his life growing up and what he has done as an adult. I wanted to learn about the circumstances in society and the people and experiences and ideas that have had an impact on him. I wanted to become familiar with the books that have made a difference to him—I’ d like to read them if I haven’t—and see if I can learn why they affected him as they did. I wanted to look at how his public life and private life have affected one another. I wanted to do those things in order to paint a picture of him, so to speak. So a portrait would be a more accurate way of referring to what I had in mind than a biography.

And, really, I said in the letter, I am not setting out to do a hatchet job on you. I am not intending to write a judgmental book; rather, I want to be a vehicle that will allow readers the chance to get a good look at you and to decide for themselves what they see. I told Pierce I would stay away from slanting or channeling people’ s impression of him by tacking negative labels on him—neo-Nazi, anti-Semite, bigot, hater. However, he had to understand that after hearing what he has to say and reviewing what he has done with his life, readers may well decide that, indeed, those labels suit him. And as for publishers pushing me to fit him into a certain stereotype—he had mentioned that possibility—I told him that I was not going to bend reality for anybody.

I told Pierce that I wanted to meet him in person—I hadn’t at that point—and talk more about this project and see if it seemed as if the two of us could work together. I said I thought a couple of hours with one another should give us a good sense of whether we ought to keep exploring this idea.

Pierce said that was all right with him, and I went to see him in West Virginia. This was in the fall of 1997. We talked for two hours in the afternoon at his office in the National Alliance headquarters building on his three hundred forty-six acre plot of land. Basically, we got acquainted. He asked me about what things were like at the university where I am on the faculty, and we talked about university politics for a time. I thought the session went well. Pierce seemed open and unthreatened—I had expected more wariness, which would have been understandable—and he was congenial and expansive. At the end of that first meeting, we decided that I should come back and spend a full work day at the property.

Published in: on August 12, 2015 at 11:54 am  Comments Off on The Fame, 4  

The Fame, 3

WLP

From The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds:
An Up-Close Portrait of William Pierce

by Robert Griffin

 
In addition to the weekly broadcasts and book-selling activities, Pierce writes the copy for a members-only monthly National Alliance newsletter. There is also the irregularly published glossy magazine, National Vanguard, which the ADL [Note of the Ed.: a Jewish hate group] report says attempts to intellectualize the Alliance’s racist and anti-Semitic agenda. The highbrow tone of National Vanguard contrasts sharply with the cruder, poorly-edited propaganda materials of other extremist groups and heightens the appeal the National Alliance has among those whom the report refers to as “better-educated bigots.”

Explosion of Hate notes that other murderers and terrorists besides Timothy McVeigh appear to have been inspired by Pierce’s violence-filled writings and pronouncements. In the 1980s a gang calling itself the “Order,” after the elite paramilitary unit in The Turner Diaries, went on a crime spree which included bombing a synagogue, murdering a Jewish talk show host, counterfeiting, and robbing over four million dollars in an armored car heist. The Order’s leader, Robert Mathews, was a member of the National Alliance and recruiter for the Alliance who once spoke at one of the organization’s national conventions. Reportedly, Mathews told people that he was intent on being the catalyst for an uprising against the System like the one described in Pierce’s book.

Mathews, who was killed by FBI agents in a shoot-out, has become a martyr and cult hero among right wing fringe elements and a model for others who would follow his lead. The ADL report cites the statement of then-publisher George Burdi in the skinhead-oriented magazine Resistance invoking Mathews’ memory in the course of singing the praises of the National Alliance. Said Burdi: “The National Alliance is clearly the most forward-looking and progressive racialist organization in the world today, and it is no wonder that Robert Mathews endorsed them so wholeheartedly.” Another example, authorities say a white supremacist group calling itself the Aryan Republican Army and led by a man called Peter Langan committed twenty-two bank robberies and bombings across Midwest between 1992 and 1996. Langan praised Robert Mathews and instructed his viewers to “learn from Bob.” Not surprisingly The Turner Diaries was required reading in the Aryan Republican Army.

The ADL report lists a number of recent crimes that can be linked in some way to Pierce and the National Alliance. Among them:

  • In March of 1998, Dennis McGiffin and two others were charged with conspiracy to possess and make machine guns. FBI agents testified that McGiffin and the others were influenced by The Turner Diaries. They planned to form a “New Order” and talked of, among other things, bombing state capitols and post offices and poisoning public water supplies with cyanide.
  • In 1997, Todd Vanbiber, a National Alliance adherent in Winter Park, Florida, pleaded guilty to illegally constructing and possessing explosives and was sentenced to six-and-one-half years in prison. At a sentencing hearing in October 1997, a cellmate testified that Vanbiber admitted he planned to use the bombs against African Americans attending Fourth of July celebrations. A Federal complaint against Vanbiber alleged that he had met with William Pierce at his West Virginia compound for two hours and while there donated one thousand dollars to the National Alliance and purchased seven hundred dollars worth of its literature.
  • In December 1995, a black couple was gunned down near Fort Bragg in North Carolina in what prosecutors called a racially motivated killing. James Burmeister and Malcolm Wright, members of the 82nd Airborne Division, were convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison. Burmeister and Wright reportedly read National Alliance propaganda. Prior to these events, the National Alliance had been attempting to attract members among U.S. Army personnel at Fort Bragg. One of its activitists, Robert Hunt, a soldier and recruiter for the Alliance, rented a billboard and used it to post an advertisement and local phone number for the organization.
  • In April of 1996, Larry Wayne Shoemaker killed one African American and injured seven others in Jackson, Mississippi. According to his ex-wife, Shoemaker first encountered National Alliance propaganda in the mid-1980s, when he borrowed The Turner Diaries from a friend. She said her husband wasn’t the same after he read Pierce’s novel. “It was like an eye-opener for him,” his wife said. “There was a distinct difference in him.” Shoemaker soon began subscribing to Pierce’s monthly publications.
Published in: on August 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm  Comments Off on The Fame, 3