by Phillip D. Collins
August 2, 2009
Understanding the Epistemological Foundations of Scientific Totalitarianism
In the context of governance, science invariably becomes an oppressor. The scientifically regimented state must jettison the concepts of freedom and dignity because they defy quantification. G.K. Chesterton elaborates on the folly of applying the scientific method to governance:
The thing that really is trying to tyrannize through government is Science. The thing that really does use the secular arm is Science. And the creed that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but in statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by policemen --- that creed is the great but disputed system of thought which began with Evolution and has ended in Eugenics. Materialism is really our established Church; for the Government will really help it to persecute its heretics. Vaccination, in its hundred years of experiment, has been disputed almost as much as baptism in its approximate two thousand. But it seems quite natural to our politicians to enforce vaccination; and it would seem to them madness to enforce baptism. (Eugenics and Other Evils)
In the scientifically regimented state, the citizen becomes little more than an amalgam of behavioral repertoires whose every thought, feeling, and idea is the product of external stimuli. From the scientistic vantage point, the populace's motivations can be calculated and systematized, thereby allowing those few conditioners who are accountable to no moral master to develop economic and technological stimuli that can produce the desired patterns of mass behavior. Such a societal model is known as a Technocracy, which Frank Fischer defines as follows: "Technocracy, in classical political terms, refers to a system of governance in which technically trained experts rule by virtue of their specialized knowledge and position in dominant political and economic institutions" (17).
Aldous Huxley also posited such a societal model, which he dubbed a "scientific dictatorship":
The older dictators fell because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles, and mysteries. Under a scientific dictatorship, education will really work with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown. (116)
This societal model is exemplified by Henri de Saint-Simon's physiological interpretation of the state, which extrapolated radical empiricism to "the altogether new field of social relations." Adherents of Saint-Simon's philosophy contended that "the key to diagnosing and curing the ills of humanity lay in an objective understanding of the physiological realities that lay behind all thinking and feeling" (Billington 212). Following this physiological interpretation of governance to its logical ends, Saint-Simon developed the precursor to Marx's "scientific socialism":
Believing that the scientific method should be applied to the body of society as well as to the individual body, Saint-Simon proceeded to analyze society in terms of its physiological components: classes. He never conceived of economic classes in the Marxian sense, but his functional class analysis prepared the way for Marx. (213)
Friedrich Engels described Marx's theory as "scientific socialism" because both science and Marxism bestowed epistemological primacy upon observable phenomenon ("Scientific socialism," Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia). Thus, radical empiricism provides the epistemological basis for all modern forms of scientific totalitarianism.
Interestingly enough, radical empiricism was embraced by many members of the Bavarian Illuminati. In his outstanding tome Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati, researcher Terry Melanson reveals that the complete works of Venetian author and reformer Paolo Sarpi constituted recommended reading for Illuminati initiates (475). As is evidenced by his own epistemological ruminations, Sarpi was a radical empiricist:
“There are four modes of philosophizing: the first with reason alone, the second with sense alone, the third with reason and then sense, and the fourth beginning with sense and ending with reason. The first is the worst, because from it we know what we would like to be, not what is. The third is bad because we many times distort what is into what we would like, rather than adjusting what we would like to what is. The second is true but crude, permitting us to know little and that rather of things than of their causes. The fourth is the best we can have in this miserable life.” (Qutd. in "How the Venetians Took Over England and Created Freemasonry")
Numerous researchers have demonstrated the ideological continuity that binds the Illuminati and communism. For instance, Melanson exhaustively details the revolutionary résumé of Filippo Michele Buonarroti, who provides a “direct line of influence from the Illuminati to the French Revolution to the Communist League of the Just” (134). Not surprisingly, all of the planks of Marx’s Communist Manifesto virtually mirrored the objectives of the Illuminati. Likewise, both the Illuminati and communism shared the same epistemological predisposition: radical empiricism. Again, it is with radical empiricism that one finds another occult element of sociopolitical Utopianism. This epistemology stems from the Gnostic derision of pistis.
Moreover, radical empiricism arrives at conclusions that are inescapably mystical in character. An exclusively empirical approach relegates cause to the realm of metaphysical fantasy. This holds enormous ramifications for science. What is perceived as A causing B could be merely a consequence of circumstantial juxtaposition. Although temporal succession and spatial proximity are axiomatic, causal connection is not. Affirmation of causal relationships is impossible. Given the absence of causality, all of a scientist's findings must be taken upon faith. Ironically, science relies on the affirmation of such cause and effect relationships.
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That such mystical elements pervade radical empiricism comes as little surprise. Modern science, which finds its epistemological foundations in radical empiricism, has all of the elements of a myth. Self-avowed "shaman of scientism" Michael Shermer has proposed that the scientist should assume the role of the modern mythmaker: " . . .because of language we are also storytelling, mythmaking primates, with scientism as the foundational stratum of our story and scientists as the premier mythmakers of our time" ("The Shamans of Scientism").
© 2009 - Phillip D. Collins - All Rights Reserved