RJ Rushdoony (00:01):
Now won’t you join us in a word of prayer? Our Father and our God, we do thank thee for thy love to us and as we are assembled here this afternoon, we pray that thou will lift the veil from our minds and that we might know and understand the things that are set before us. Dear Father, we pray for this particular group, that thou will bless each one here assembled, that thou will meet out to each one of us according to the need of our own hearts and our lives to the end that thy name will be honored and glorified. We thank thee for our speaker, for the gift that thou has given to him, for his ability to communicate these truths, and we do thank thee that he has come to our midst. We pray that thou will bless us and that thy benediction will rest upon us in this coming hour. We pray for thy name’s sake. Amen.
RJ Rushdoony (01:08):
And now once again we’re so happy that Mr. Rushdoony has come to speak to us today and our topic of the afternoon, one which we really all should be very well informed on, is the underlying philosophy in most of what is given to us and to our children, the subject of Freud. Mr. Rushdoony.
RJ Rushdoony (01:41):
When we face the modern world, we find that things are often topsy-turvy in terms of any common sense. That men instead of working to establish law and order very often seem to be engaged in working to destroy law and order. For example, a practicing attorney has written and I quote, “The most encouraging note about the new Kinsey Report is its indication that more and more women are beginning to commit more and more sex crimes.” It is ironic that a lawyer should applaud criminality instead of prosecuting criminals.
RJ Rushdoony (02:35):
What has happened to the modern world? Who is responsible for it? Who are the architects of the modern mind? The three great shapers of the modern mind are Marx, Darwin, and Freud. These three men have molded and shaped our world today, bringing the enlightenment to its logical culmination. The enlightenment supplanted faith in God and His infallible word with faith in man and nature. Now paradoxically the enlightenment has turned upon its own production and has attacked man.
RJ Rushdoony (03:34):
Freud saw himself as the destroyer of man, and he said he was one of the three great enemies and destroyers of man, Copernicus being the first, Darwin the second, and himself the third. The enlightenment began with hopes of creating a brave new world, a paradise on earth. It culminated, in Freud’s perspective, with no hope for man. Because Freud saw no hope for mankind, the only thing man could hope to do is to understand his predicament.
RJ Rushdoony (04:28):
Before we analyze Freud’s answer, let us stop briefly to take a look at the man. Freud was a man who had very limited contact with people. He grew up in a well-to-do Jewish family in Austria, was extensively protected from the world as a child and as a young man, was kept free from any hardships or undue contacts with the harsh realities of this world. As a scientist and a professor, he rarely ever lectured so that apart from his brief lectures in America, he rarely faced an audience. As a practicing psychiatrist, he had a very limited number of patients. He was not interested in having patients in order to make money, but he took a limited number for purely clinical purposes, for purposes of study. Thus, his outlook on the world was very limited, his contact with men very small, and he made no bones about it that his main source for his theories was himself. That his work was extensively autobiographical.
RJ Rushdoony (06:15):
But was Freud so strange a monster within that he gave forth such theories? Freud himself began as a romantic and idealistic young man. In fact, if anything, we would have to say he was then and during most of his life, if not all of his life, very definitely on the prudish side. He did not want, for example, his bride-to-be Martha Bernays to read Don Quixote. He thought that this was very poor reading for a girl, and there were some passages there that might be lurid for her. And although he loved opera deeply, he had to warn his bride-to-be before she went to see Carmen, and he wrote, and I quote, “The mob gives vent to its appetites and we deprive ourselves. We deprive ourselves in order to maintain our integrity. We economize in our health, our capacity for enjoyment, our emotions. We save ourselves not knowing what. And this habit of constant suppression of natural instincts gives us the quality of refinement.” End of quote.
RJ Rushdoony (07:47):
Freud made it clear that he did not feel he was bound by sexual laws. Some of his biographers claim that there was no woman in his life apart from his wife. Freud himself specifically denied this. But on the whole, he was, although by his own statement not a moral man, a very prudish one who avoided sex as much as possible, didn’t like to discuss it, although he wrote about it, and in the family circle was exceedingly proper. On one occasion, his son, Martin, said that when there was a family discussion about cattle during a vacation when the children had seen some livestock, it became apparent that the children did not know where babies came from, and Freud was a little upset and he said, “You must be told these things.” But his son said that he told him nothing whatever then or later. He fought shy of anything that would involve him speaking about the subject.
RJ Rushdoony (09:02):
Freud’s prudery was fantastic at points and to him instead of being congenial to the modern free and easy ways of so many followers of Freud, the nude female was, he felt, a shocking and traumatic sight for any man to see. He was very, very hostile to the kind of license that passed under his name. Freud then was not like many of the figures of the last century, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Havelock Ellis, Lewis Henry Morgan, [inaudible 00:09:48] and many others whose interest was primarily sexual or trying to break down sexual standards and laws and who were pioneers and crusaders for sexual license. This was not the purpose of Freud’s work.
RJ Rushdoony (10:11):
Freud’s basic interest was not in sex. On the whole, he was unhappy that he was compelled to deal with it at such great lengths because he remained to the end a rather prudish figure. The basic thrust of Freud’s work was against religion. Freud hated religion with a passion, and for him this meant essentially biblical religion. The Old and New Testaments to him were the representative of everything that he felt had to be eliminated. Now, Freud felt it was futile to try to dispose of religion as many scientists were doing by trying to prove there was no God. Because, he said, “You can write volumes upon volumes proving to these people there is no God but they will still go to church because they have the problem of guilt, and as long as man is guilty and all men feel guilty they’re going to look for a savior. And so,” he said, “There is no possibility of replacing Christianity and biblical faith as long as men are guilt-ridden. They will then inevitably seek salvation and a savior.”
RJ Rushdoony (11:47):
So Freud’s purpose was this, disassociate guilt from sin and make guilt a problem of science rather than religion and you will destroy religion. Teach people that guilt has its offspring in certain anthropological roots and is therefore a problem of science, not a problem for religion, and then religion will disappear. As a result, Freud went to anthropology, and in anthropology the man he found congenial to his purpose was William Robertson Smith whose great work was the Religion of the Semites, and this is a very significant book because WR, or William Robertson, Smith is the decisive influence on the one hand on Sigmund Freud and on the other on all religious modernism. There is scarcely a seminary in the United States, not more than three or four, whose faculty is not influenced by Smith. The reason why today, according to [inaudible 00:13:10] of the University of Illinois, Freud is better accepted in the churches of America than by any other segment in the world population is due to this fact, that churches are under the influence of William Robertson Smith and they find Freud’s thinking so congenial to them.
RJ Rushdoony (13:36):
Now, Smith’s thesis and Freud’s is that of the primal horde. Mankind having evolved, somewhere in the stages of evolution, man ran in a pack, in a primal horde and this primal horde was ruled by a brute figure, the father. This father would, if any of the sons threatened him, drive them off or kill them and he would keep all the womenfolk, his wife, sisters, daughters, for himself. Then somewhere along the line, the sons got together and they killed the father and ate him and they took over possession of the mothers and sisters, and Freud says, the basic religious motives and rituals come from this primal horde. The Eucharist, or communion, goes back to the eating of the father and so on. But, for Freud, the three basic instincts of mankind are first incest, out of which you get the Oedipus complex and other things, the desire to possess the mother and the sisters. Second, parricide, the religious hatred of the father and the desire to kill him, and third, cannibalism, the eating of the father. These for Freud are the three basic instincts of man. Incest, parricide, cannibalism.
RJ Rushdoony (15:24):
But, when they committed these things they felt guilty so that man has the three basic instincts, but he has inherited from primitive man three basic desires not to do these things so that millions of years of both instinct and counter-instinct are in man. The instinct to commit these three crimes and the prohibition from the primordial fathers not to do them. The one is the will to life, to commit to incest, parricide, cannibalism, and the other the will to death. If you commit incest, parricide, cannibalism, you’re dead. So that man is torn by these two counter-instincts.
RJ Rushdoony (16:30):
Thus for Freud, the answer could not be as it was for the Marquis de Sade and many others, well let us commit incest, parricide, and cannibalism to our heart’s content and be free. Freud says no, man now has guilt as an instinct. He feels guilty about these things because even though he won’t admit it to himself, he wants to do these three things and he feels guilty because he wants to so he’s torn by the will to live and the will to death. So he has an inner law in him as well as an inner instinct to commit these crimes and the inner law is an inexorable force of prohibition.
RJ Rushdoony (17:24):
Now, he says if primitive man was so thoroughly bound by these instincts and counter-instincts, how can modern man hope to free himself from it? Therefore, Freud says, cure is impossible. Perhaps in thousands upon thousands of years we can gradually outgrow this will to death and these counter-instincts, but for the time being it’s futile. All we can hope to do is to understand that we feel guilty but that all of this is a part of our primitive background, and understanding we can accept ourselves for what we are.
RJ Rushdoony (18:14):
Now, many Freudian revisionists have criticized Freud’s six fundamental concepts with regard to this primal horde theory. They’ve criticized the primal horde myth, they’ve criticized the doctrine of phylogenetic memories, they’ve criticized the concept of biologically innate infantile sexual phases, the Oedipus complex, the primordial language of archaic symbols, and the racial unconscious. I deal with these criticisms in my paperback on Freud. And they are on solid ground of course at every point in their criticism. But, all of them, whether they criticize Freud on every point or not, are Freudians in this respect, that all modern psychology and psychiatry operates on the Freudian premise of making guilt a matter of science rather than religion and thereby abolishing religion. This is the purpose, the function of the mental health program. This is the function of modern religious counseling and mental health clinics, whereby these modernist churches themselves work to destroy religion and supplant it with this Freudian program, science in the place of religion.
RJ Rushdoony (19:48):
Freud, however, stuck to his guns regarding every last point of his system, regarding his anthropology and the primal horde theory, and he did this because he was a far more consistent evolutionist than all of his critics. He knew that evolution does require an act of faith somewhere, and so he followed Lamarck and accepted the doctrine of acquired characteristics. Freud believed that man’s abilities, man’s nature is either supernaturally created or it is acquired by evolutionary processes. In other words, it’s either acquired or it’s made by God. Freud recognized the dilemma of all evolutionary thinking, he realized that evolutionists are illogical. If they say, “Well, we don’t believe in acquired characteristics,” then everything had to evolve out of a primeval Adam which had in it all the potentialities of the universe, in which case you were saying it was the same as God, which was nonsense.
RJ Rushdoony (21:09):
So he said the only way you can make evolution workable is to affirm acquired characteristics, which of course is unprovable. So he stuck to Lamarck and he said, and I quote, “If nothing is acquired, nothing can be inherited.” There was this rigorous honesty about Freud. He knew that Lamarckianism was unprovable, but he had to believe either in God or Lamarck and he chose Lamarck and Lamarckian evolution.
RJ Rushdoony (21:47):
Now, let’s turn to Freud’s analysis of the mind or nature of man. Freud coined three terms, the id, the ego, and the superego. These are strange terms and unfamiliar to many people, but they’re not as arbitrary as they seem. When we look at them and analyze them and then reclassify them in language familiar to us as Christians, they become much more understandable. First the id, I-D. It is the oldest aspect of man’s personality, according to Freud, and it contains everything that is inherited and fixed, present at birth, instinctual. It’s beyond logic and beyond the law of contradiction, has no knowledge of good and evil, it has only one desire to find self fulfillment. The pleasure principle governs the id, and the id has one desire only, to get its way. It is unconscious and unorganized energy and drive in the person. Translated into Christian terminology, we could say this is the first Adam or the old man, the original sin in man.
RJ Rushdoony (23:12):
Then the ego. The ego is the organized aspect of the id. It is governed by the reality principle and the ego says, “Yes, to the id, you want what you want, but remember we’re living in a real world and if you go and grab that thing, you’re liable to be tossed into jail or killed in the process.” So the ego, which is a more conscious and organized aspect of man’s nature, is governed by a reality while the id is governed by the pleasure principle.
RJ Rushdoony (23:55):
Now the ego is close to being what we would call the mind of man. The superego is the repressing force and the superego is the accumulation of education and training that we have received at home and school that tells us what we should and should not do, so that the superego resembles the conscience. Now, Freud said, of course you can eliminate all this nonsense that the conscience has picked up through church and home and school. But, you still have the id and the ego and you have all these counter-instincts with regard to incest, parricide and cannibalism so that you are still a bundle of tensions, instincts and counter-instincts, and no education or training can do away with something that is instinctual and millions of years old. So, Freud said, it is impossible to change man through psychoanalysis or through mental health programs. Cure is not possible, only understanding.
RJ Rushdoony (25:24):
Thus, Freud held out no hope for man. Now Freud did want to offer hope. Freud was a man who was powerfully influenced by cabalistic and talmudic traditions which held to a belief in salvation by sin, that freedom came through breaking the law. Moreover, Freud felt very often that he should be a hero in some such movement of this sort. He hated Moses with a passion because Moses for him represented the law, and he wrote his book Moses and Monotheism in which he tried to say Moses was not a real Hebrew, I am. Moses was really an Egyptian who was masquerading as a Hebrew. In other words, he wanted to drive him out of any connection with Judaism and himself.
RJ Rushdoony (26:21):
At other times, Freud identified himself with Hannibal, as a Canaanite who was affirming the old Canaanite fertility cult and Baal worship as against Moses. When he went to Rome, he used to visit Michelangelo’s Moses over and over again with a kind of horror and as he stood before the statue of Moses, he admitted it seemed to him as Moses lifted up the tables of the law to dash them in wrath against the stones because of the wickedness of the people, as though Moses were going to throw them at him. He felt a personal enmity with Moses. He wanted to destroy the law and to be the new law giver, freeing man from God. And he believed of course that since there is no validity to the Bible, there is no law, hence there is no sin and no crime. But, in spite of all this, Freud felt it is inescapable. Man is caught up in this instinct and counter-instinct, this feeling of guilt because he wants to commit these crimes of incest, parricide, and cannibalism and the millions of years of impulse against the commission governs him.
RJ Rushdoony (28:00):
So because there is no law, these instincts cannot be considered crime or sin, only mental sickness and this is the essence of mental sickness. Mental sickness is simply this hang over from the primal horde of instinct and counter-instinct, and therefore it is important for us to understand ourselves through psychoanalysis, through mental health programs, and realize there is no crime. This is just a primitive urge in me and a primitive counter-instinct and that’s the reason I feel that way so I need not take my guilt feeling seriously. Hence, the slogan of the mental health movement, mental health is no disgrace, it might happen to anyone. There is no crime, there is no sin, there is only guilt. The answer to guilt is to deal with it through science.
RJ Rushdoony (29:17):
Now, significantly, Freud lived up to this. In a letter which I quote, which he wrote on April 9, 1935 to a woman whose son was a homosexual. The mother having written to him asking if he could cure her son. Freud rebuked the mother for her shame and he wrote, and I quote, “Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. No vice, no degradation. It cannot be classified as an illness. We consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development.” He goes on to state that many great people were homosexuals and he adds, “It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime, and a cruelty too.” And then added as for curing her son, “To abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place in a general way, we cannot promise to achieve it. What analysis can do for your son runs in a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency whether he remains homosexual or gets changed.”
RJ Rushdoony (30:50):
Now that is the essence of the mental health program, not to cure you of homosexuality or anything else, but to get you to accept yourself for what you are and not to feel guilty. It is inevitable, therefore, that the churches having adopted the mental health program should take the next step and adopt the new morality. Having taught the homosexual to accept himself, they now teach us that we must accept him. There is no crime, no sin, only mental sickness and it is mental sickness for the homosexual to condemn himself and to feel guilty and it is mental sickness on your part to condemn him.
RJ Rushdoony (31:51):
Now, Freud recognized that his teachings had an element of danger. Because if you teach people there is no crime and no sin, only guilt, people might feel, well, if there is no crime because there is no law, then I can do as I please. And so he wrote that, “When the masses understand this and have no fear of God, they,” and I am quoting, “Will certainly kill without hesitation, and so follows the necessity for either the most rigorous suppression of these dangerous masses and the most careful exclusion of all opportunities for mental awakening or a fundamental revision of the relation between culture and religion.” End of quote. In other words, there are two things you could do, you can say we, the elite, believe in nothing. We know there is no crime because there is no law, but we won’t let the masses know about it and thereby keep them firmly governed through religion or else, he said, it is now inescapable that they’re going to find out. What I’m teaching is going to filter down to these people. Therefore, we have to create an order in which a scientific elite can recondition man and prepare him to accept the leadership of the scientific elite.
RJ Rushdoony (33:35):
So the need is for a totalitarian world state to ensure growth without anarchy. The enlightened scientists, he said, can be trusted. Now he granted that he didn’t have much hope, that ultimately the death instinct, the will to death, seems to be actually stronger than the pleasure principle so that he recognized that a world state governed by scientists could be a very ugly business, and probably would be. But since it was the one slim hope man had, it was the thing that should be done. Thus Freud presented a grim prospect for the future, a world state governed by the scientific elite, experimenting with man and controlling him totally and yet probably being demonic in their control, governed by a will to death, a destructive urge, so that mankind would go down in blood.
RJ Rushdoony (34:54):
It is important to note this aspect of total control. Any time you allow science to predominate in your thinking, you have totalitarianism. Why? Because what is the essence of science but experimentation? And when you have an experiment, it is necessary to have total control of all factors or you don’t have an experiment, do you? Now, if you’re going to have a social experiment, if society is going to be your experiment, total control is absolutely necessary. You have to control man from cradle to grave and you have to control every condition of man’s life or you do not have a valid experiment. Hence scientific socialism is the most total kind of socialism imaginable. Scientific planning is totalitarian planning to the nth degree, to a degree unimagined by any dictator of the past.
RJ Rushdoony (36:05):
Thus when Freud reduced man to biology and found no way of transcending biology, he left man trapped in total frustration, only able to understand his predicament and grin and bear it and put up with a scientific dictatorship knowing that there was very little possibility, virtually none, that it would do him good. This, the great faith of the enlightenment, ends up in a faith in total darkness and total pessimism.
RJ Rushdoony (36:48):
A few years ago, a French cartoonist, Marcel [inaudible 00:36:52], had a cartoon in which a group of people are discussing psychoanalysis, and one woman remarks, “You mean to tell me that if Van Gogh had been psychoanalyzed he would not have cut off his ear?” The answer is of course he would have, but he would have known why he did it. This is the best hope that Freudianism offers, guilt instead of being relieved is now made total and man must simply grin and bear it. He lives with total guilt, but he has no crime and therefore he can make no atonement for his guilt. He is perpetually trapped in guilt.
RJ Rushdoony (37:45):
A Los Angeles psychiatric secretary left her position a few years ago because she found it impossible to work with a psychiatrist. She said, “I could not win. If I was late for work, I was hostile. If I was early, I had an anxiety complex. If I was on time, I was compulsive.” This is a philosophy without hope. You are guilty no matter what you do and there is never any possibility of escaping from guilt, because there is no crime, just guilt. And where there is no law and no crime, there is no possibility of atonement, no possibility of salvation from guilt, only perpetual guilt.
RJ Rushdoony (38:41):
Now, naturally there have been revisionists who’ve tried to eliminate this bleakness of Freud’s perspective, and all modern psychologists and psychiatrists are Freudian in that they make guilt a scientific matter than religious. But in all other things they’re trying to depart from Freud in that they want an answer, they want a cure. For one major school, the answer has been, the cure all, has been love. Love people enough and you will assuage the feeling of guilt. Give them enough love, overwhelm them with love and no matter what they do they will not feel guilty, they will feel accepted. This feeling of acceptance will make up for their sense of guilt. So no matter what they do, no matter what crime they commit, no matter how lawless they are, the answer is love. Not to eliminate the crime, but to eliminate the sense of guilt, which is the objective.
RJ Rushdoony (40:06):
On the other hand, increasingly the attempt is to bypass the whole mind of man and to attempt to solve the matter by chemical or electrical answers. Three years ago, Life magazine had two articles which summarized the chemical and electrical answers. The whole purpose of these wonder drugs, so-called in the field of psychiatry, is to precisely to bypass the problem of guilt. What do they do? To cite a specific case, a man who was a milk man and delivered more than milk on his route found himself increasingly in a bind because he was involved with more women than he could handle and there were more husbands than he could begin to count who were beginning to be suspicious and he was afraid both of the women and their nagging and of the husbands and possibly being shot to death some day. Naturally, he was beginning to have certain mental problems, and he was beginning to break down under them so he was what psychiatrists classified as mentally sick. He had to be hospitalized for a while.
RJ Rushdoony (41:39):
Now, the answer that they gave was tranquilizers. But the effect of tranquilizers is this, what they do through chemistry is to eliminate certain reactions in a person’s system so that both feelings of depression and exhilaration, the high and the low registers on your emotional scale, are eliminated. Then he was able to function. But, like so many sinners, he wanted to have his cake and to eat it too. He didn’t want to escape from his sin, he wanted to have his sin without any of the consequences and he couldn’t go on sinning while he had these tranquilizers. So he quit taking them. It was much more to his taste to be guilty even though it meant all these problems than to be free of the problem. So he continued, mentally sick. Unable to sleep at night, tormenting his wife with his hallucinations and the like.
RJ Rushdoony (43:01):
Chemistry was no answer because he wanted no answer and this is usually the case. In this instance, I met the wife a little later and I asked her how things were going, and she said, “Oh, wonderful.” I said, “Oh, is Jack better? Is he taking his pills?” She said, “Oh, no. He’s still the same but I’m taking the pills and he rants and raves and I don’t feel a thing.”
RJ Rushdoony (43:36):
Chemistry is a pseudo-answer to the problem and the biggest problem is that the people for whom these things are prescribed generally prefer their sickness to a cure, or want a cure only up to a point and no further. It is a moral problem. They have not broken with that which is the cause of their condition.
RJ Rushdoony (44:02):
The other answer is electrical, and there are actually plans whereby babies can be controlled electrically from birth with a thermostat placed under the skull and electrical impulses used to guide them. This has been done with animals, chimpanzees, and even bulls, a case of a bull was reported recently, and some people, according to Life magazine, in mental institutions. This dream of mechanical electrical control is increasingly popular. Total outward control or outer control by experts to obviate total inner control by ancient biological forces. This is their program.
RJ Rushdoony (45:03):
Thus the mental health program has these three facets, the love answer, supplying the lack through love and material means; second, the chemical; and third, the electrical. What the mental health program thus calls for is the total reconditioning of man by experts in order to free him from guilt and to make him useful to society. The scientists thus are deliberately attempting to play the role of God.
RJ Rushdoony (45:47):
There is actually for them no other answer logically. Having assumed Freud’s premise that guilt is a scientific rather than a religious problem, and having accepted the evolutionary premises, they inevitably must play God. And we have just seen the beginning of their attempts to play God. In the next five to ten years, we will see it reach staggering dimensions as they attempt total control over the mind, the body, the chemistry of man as they are now planning to remake man even as an embryo and dream insane dreams concerning the potentialities of their control. They are of course doomed to failure because they are working against God and it is against God that they primarily offend rather than man. But we need to face this issue squarely and conservatives need everywhere to be aware of this. Either God will be God for us or men will play God over us. There is no escaping these alternatives. If we will not have God to be our God, it is inescapable that men will assume the role of God in our lives. So our choice is who will be God over us?
Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder