In Search of a Holistic Approach v. 2.0

With a Name Like Smuts. . .

There once was a man named Smuts, Jan Christiaan Smuts to be precise. He was born in 1870 in a British settlement in South Africa, near Capetown. He went to Christ’s College, Cambridge and while there he wrote a treatise called “Walt Whitman-A Study in the Evolution of Personality.” In this paper, he began developing a theory of the evolution of personality, comparable to Freud’s theories. He wrote that the purpose of his treatise was to “apply the method of Evolution synthetically to the study of Man.” This idea came to fruition later in his political and intellectual life.

Smuts was a politician in South Africa and he was a stark British imperialist. He believed that South Africa should not be allowed to be politically self-determining, that it must be a part of the whole, unified, Empire. He opposed anything that threatened imperial power. All revolutions were put down, and the South Africans were not allowed to be neutral on British affairs, they were on the side of the Empire because they had no choice. The British Crown was indivisible, according to Smuts. This belief was a direct result of his evolutionary theories, which he began to develop in Cambridge;  a theory he presented in full formation in his book Holism and Evolution. Smuts was obsessed with the ideas of ‘wholes’ in the universe. Smuts is the first person to use the term ‘holistic and defines it as: “the tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution”. According to one biographer (Crafford), Smuts believed in “holistic British imperialism”, because it was natural for parts to become of a larger, power-centralized, whole.  To Smuts, it was one of the core laws of the universe.

According to this philosophy, the chief end of the universe, and the chief end of man, is unification into wholes. The chief end of man, then, is continued evolution. Man will find his complete fulfillment, find ‘salvation’ from the sins of separateness and individuality, in furthered evolution into wholes. As a Christian, however, I believe that man’s inherent nature is fallen, always has been and always will be, except by the redemption that only Christ can bring. Further evolution will not save us.

If this ‘holistic evolution’ view of the universe is true, then the logical conclusion is that ‘god’ is whatever facilitates this evolution into wholes (this salvation). Smuts used the term ‘creative evolution’ to describe human facilitation of holism. We can help it along, and direct it.  When things become wholes, they require a central system to control the ‘whole’. For humans, this is usually the state. The humanistic idea that man can save himself (or save others) has led to big, imperial, states all throughout history, from Caesar Augustus to the kings of Christendom, to the Inquisition, to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Hegel, the German philosopher, also contributed to the modern conception of ‘holism’. Concerning the state, Hegel believed that “In considering freedom, the starting-point must be not individuality, the single self-consciousness, but only the essence of self-consciousness; for whether man knows it or not, this essence is externally realised as a self-subsistent power in which single individuals are only moments. The march of God in the world, that is what the state is.” Humans are a piece of a self-existent, eternal, greater whole. We only feel like free individuals because the state gives us this freedom. The state is not something humans create to punish wrong actions, based on a higher moral code, in order to protect ourselves from one another, it is a self-existing, divine entity that can do whatever it wants to individual rights as long as the whole is maintained, holistically. If the murder of Jews is best for the whole population, the state as an agent of people and their progression/evolution can deny their individual rights and exterminate them. If the masses, and the state who represent and facilitate them, is the “march of God on earth”, then they decide what is right and wrong based upon the situation. Morals are relative. Wouldn’t it be horrible if anyone ever believed such a terrible thing?

[….Just to throw in some guilt by association, both Hitler and Karl Marx were ‘Hegelians’….]

Exodus 23:2-3: “You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice.”

Author Jonah Goldberg writes, “Mussolini meant [the word ‘totalitarian’] to be appealing to people. . .It was a sales pitch for his kind of government. He meant it as we would use words like ‘holistic’ today, as sort of covering every aspect of life; everyone’s going to be included, everyone’s going to be part of the community. No child is going to be left behind. That was the meaning of totalitarianism in its original conception.” (

But That’s Not All

At the end of WW1, Smuts was much involved in the political discussion of how the world should deal with the end of the 1st world war. On May 14, 1917, Smuts said this in a speech: “In some form or other we must bring about a league or a union of nations with some common organ of consultation on all vital issues. . .I would favor something. . . elastic, something more flexible, something which will be capable of adapting itself to the very complex circumstances which arise from time to time.” He thought it was important that this union have an element of force, of coercion, in order to work properly. Much more than a formal agreement, then, this union is based upon force and coercion. It is not just a promise, it is a law, or a state, that incorporates all vital decisions of individual states.

“The attempt to form empires or leagues of nations. . .has failed. . .and the work has to be done all over again on a new basis and an enormous scale. . .In the place of the great Empires we find the map of Europe now dotted with small nations, embryo states, derelict territories. Europe has been reduced to its original atoms. For the moment its political structure, the costly result of so many centuries of effort, has disappeared. But that state of affairs must be looked upon as temporary. The creative process in the political movement of humanity cannot be paralyzed; the materials lie ready for a new reconstructive task.” (emphasis added)

These now individual states must be joined back into a new empire, a new league of nations, according to Smuts. “Europe is being liquidated and the League of Nations must be heir to this great estate” wrote Woodrow Wilson, one of the chief architects of the League of Nations. Europe belonged to the new whole, the new empire, the League of Nations. It was the natural flow of evolution.

Smuts writes, “The grand success of the British Empire depends not on its having followed any constitutional precedent of the past but on having met a new situation in history with a new creation in law.” Laws are not based upon immutable moral precepts, such as the sanctity of life, they merely evolve and are relative to the situation. Moral relativism is the backbone of good imperialism, according to Smuts.

Smutts was also involved in the formation of the United Nations when the League of Nations fell apart. The UN, according to Smuts, needed to have a greater armed force to enforce the peace. This new union, then, is more like a state than the League was. It has a set of rules that it enforces by force, policing the world, based upon a declaration on human rights and a security council.

The Roman imperialists wanted peace too.  But peace is only ever on the terms of the person who enforces it, whoever wins the war, whoever has the army. Romans achieved peace on their own terms, according to their laws. Virgil wrote: “Your skills, Romans, will lie in governing the peoples of the world in your empire, to impose civilization upon peace, to pardon the defeated, and to war down the proud” (Aeneid 6.850-53). If the law of the universe is evolution, then peace is really just something enforced by the mighty on the weak (the UN on the third world, for example?). Might makes right.

Steve Farrell reminisces about what he was taught in school about the U.N., “Its ideals, they said, were homespun American ideals. Its immediate mission: to perpetuate the same across the globe. Its ultimate objective: to bring an end to poverty, prejudice, conflict, and war. Indeed, some envisioned and vigorously proclaimed future life under the United Nations as the last and highest stage of evolutionary man (1).” (emphasis added).

Worthy of note, the first Secretary General was a Soviet agent, as were many in his footsteps. Barry Goldwater, an American politician, once encouraged U.S. withdrawl from the UN and suggested its headquarters be moved so somewhere “more in keeping with the philosophy of the majority of its voting members, somewhere like Peking or Moscow.”   (I highly suggest reading the article I pulled these quotations from:

Just like other humanstic schemes for self-salvation, the UN’s stated goal, from the first line of the UN charter, is “To save future generations. . .from war”

A Holistic Approach for Today…and More Satire.

Fast forward about 50 years. In Belgium, 2 years ago, there was a family that home schooled, as is provided for in Belgian law. But, one day, an inspector came and asked the family to sign a declaration that they would raise their children in compliance with the UN  Convention on Children’s Rights. The parents wrote an article for a European pro-homeschool website that the father is an editor for, and received countless stories from parents in similar situations. This is what they wrote about one family’s experience:

“Some months later the inspectors arrived. They said that the boy was using manuals unsuited for his age, even though he was using the same manuals as his peers at school. They were rude to his mother, who is of Polish origin, and claimed that she could not educate her child because of her accent. They said they would return. The parents carried on their education and noticed (as so many homeschooling parents do) that their son was highly motivated and was learning faster and better than he had done at school. Four months after their first visit the inspectors returned. They conceded that they could see improvement, but not enough and that the boy had to return to school. Two weeks later the police came to their door with an order to send the boy to school or risk a penalty. The boy does not want to go back and there is no way these parents are going to force their child to return to a school rampant with drugs where their other child was ruined. They are now considering emigrating to Poland.” (

All this is because of the UN trying to enforce a certain standard of parenting and education in all states that ascribe to their educational declarations. Homeschooling is not holistic, it allows parents to make their own, individual, autonomous, decisions about how children should be raised and taught. Therefore, according to Smuts’ philosophy, it should be forced back into a whole. Holism was at the UN’s foundation from the beginning, and there it remains.

Just as was the original motivation, states must stop being individual bodies and become one whole, if they are going to be holistic. For example, the UN wants to impose a tax on all nations for global warming. If they do this, not only will we have taxation without representation, but a large part of our money will be in someone else’s hands to do with what they will, and we can’t stop them. With that monetary transfer, there is a transfer of power from our state, to the holistic state.

But not just all states, but all social spheres must be united in one whole human institution so every element of each individual person can evolve together as one whole. Smuts would have clearly seen this development in the United States. When the US was young, education was a private affair either done in the home or by teachers that the parents of a community would hire themselves, corporately (and only about 5% of the population was illiterate, by the way. No, the world was not unenlightened before the Dept. of Ed.).  Now, it is done by the state, from kindergarden to high-school. They set the curriculum, they teach morals, they teach ethics, they decide what is true and what is important for everyone, and even for those outside the public system they still dictate some of the main requirements.  Care for the poor, retirement, laws effecting church freedom, marriage, even now the banking and car industries, and soon healthcare, are all individual spheres of the society and economy that have been united into the ‘whole’ human institution of the state. It’s holistic.

Then, of course, there is that pinnacle of  holistic development known as the Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs are a vague UN plan for ending poverty by 2015, by achieving these goals:

Worthy goals, certainly. But how is this all to be paid for and implemented? Well, there are a variety of ways. Some of it is by independent NGOs, walking in step with the UN’s agenda, some is by money distributed  by the UN itself, with money from wealthier nations that are taxed by the UN. So… the UN gets indirect control over the economies, educational systems, values and beliefs, enviornments, ‘maternal health’ (code word for abortion rights, more often than not), and etc… In fact, some of the stated goals include “redistribution (of) wealth and land,” and “a fair distribution of the earth’s resources.” All the earth’s resources are one mass, not individual parts, that can be redistributed at will by the governing officials in the U.N. In 1994, the UNDP called for a “New World Social Charter where the world will re-distribute wealth as it cannot survive one-quarter rich and three-quarters poor, and where the UN must become the principal custodian of global human security and help with basic education, healthcare, immunization, and family planning.” The official plan for their implementation include having money specifically redistributed by the UN, according to their agenda (

According to ImagiNation, the MDGs are imperative to direct the “progress of human development around the world” ( If you trade the word development for the word ‘evolution’ it all of a sudden sounds a lot like Smuts, doesn’t it? And yes, the UN is seeking global taxation, and people in the US Senate have been trying to pass a bill for it, to pay for all this. A transfer of power to an unelected governing body.

And just like Smuts, this all sounds like the old game and propaganda of the imperialists. The third world needs enlightenment, they need an empire to come to them and give them education, to liberate their women, to feed and clothe them. To save them. As I have argued often in the past, the UN is autonomous. It has no checks on its power. If you give it power over the education, cultural values, healthcare, and very commerce and lives of people in the third world, there is no way to hold it accountable against the tendencies of imperialism.

The third world can’t make the UN hear them say ‘ouch’. Their only representation in the UN are their rich, fat, corrupt, wicked, dictators that are bought off by Chinese businessmen who want to rape Africa for oil and consumers, like in Darfur, where the Chinese give weapons to genocidal maniacs in return for oil. AND, even if these states had good representation in the UN, they can’t do anything. We already know what the Chinese will do in the third world, and they have a lot of power in the UN. What if they bend the UN to help their Africa rape campaign? They’re being educated by the UN, so they can affect the minds of the third world. Their agriculture and economic structure are being tampered by the UN, why not fiddle with that to accomplish goals?  No one can stop them. No one. The third world will be governed without a voice, and when a people lose their voice, they are trampled upon. And, such a situation is particularly dangerous in a world where people do accept Malthusian arguments about the population and believe that the best thing for the ‘whole’ people of the global populace is depopulation of the third world. There is evidence that the UN funds organizations like that, who are forcing abortions in the third world  “Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world” said Henry Kissinger.* Haven’t we gone down this road too many times?

Is. 10:1-3. “Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who continually record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights… Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar?”

Jer. 5:28f. “[The wicked] do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor. Shall I not punish these people?” declares the LORD. “On such a nation as this, shall I not avenge myself?”

But We Still Say It

Many Christians now use the term holistic, in reference to third world development and development strategies. Now that we know all this about the history of the concept, and its lingering effects on our society and political thought, is it okay to use the term? G.K. Chesterton wrote about Eugenics in the early 1900’s, and sounded the alarm to the growing threat of eugenic ideas, even before Hitler was around to implement them. He said with dangerous and evil ideas like Eugenics, there are always two types of people in relation to it. An outer and inner circle. The inner circle are the people that really believe in the dangerous ideas, and adhere to all of its horribleness. Then there are those who have good intentions, but get pulled in by watered down manifesetations of the bad ideas, and they don’t realize the connection. This outer circle of innocent humanitarians by adopting the language and trickled down patterns and assumptions of the inner circle are still advancing the bad ideas and are an indirect tool. I’m not talking of a conspiracy, it’s just the way things naturally unfold when big, dangerous, ideas are simplified, popularized, and sold as a bleeding heart humanitarian campaign. I’ll simply leave you to make your own judgements on that.

The concept of Holism was imbedded into the United Nations from the beginning, and there it has remained. It is a philosophy of well-intentioned tyranny, where everything belongs to the holistic world state. A group of fallible, usually non-Christian, individuals will be making decisions for the ‘whole’ world, for your ‘whole’ lives. If you went to public school, or another school that teaches UN curriculum, you’ve likely been taught about ‘global citizenship’, and that you are a citizen of the world. You are being taught to become a part of the whole. No longer an individual with rights, just a disposable part of the mass.

The Gospel vs. The State in the Quest for Holism

Only the gospel of Christ is truly ‘holistic’. Only the gospel of Christ applies to the whole man and the whole of humanity, and no government, no treaty, no NGO can provide it or enforce it. Only placing every social sphere, and every state, under the authority of God, and the redemption of Christ can salvation be found.  The church would be wise to look to the Bible and good reason and not the politically correct terms that bring with it very dangerous baggage. A forced unity of mankind, a forced salvation of economic, cultural, medical, and social woes is the same mentality as those who desired to impose Christianity by force on all the world, it turned the state into the saviour of mankind. Holism is a philosophy that seeks to provide what only the gospel of Christ can bring, salvation for the whole man, and for whole society, and it can not be institutionalized. The attempt to institutionalize salvation has been the song of tyranny since the beginning of time.

Psalm 146:3

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.


A Sloppy Bibliography:

Jan Smuts: A Biography, by F.S. Crafford

Selections from the Smuts Papers: Volume 2 by W.K. Hancock

Jan Christian Smuts by J.C.  Smuts, Jr.

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

The World in the Grip of an Idea by Clarence B. Carson


*This view of holism is important for understanding contemporary environmentalism. The concept contradicts ‘anthropocentrism’, the view that humans are the most important part of the universe. This means, then, that from an ecological standpoint holism implies that humans are equal with other parts of the universe. Equal to animals, and even inanimate objects. Therefore, human rights can be set aside for the sake of ‘the whole’ , the holistic environment. A holistic approach to the environment means allowing humans to die for the sake of the environment, since humans are just one part of the whole. It’s no wonder that the United Nations, although they deny it, supports organizations that FORCE women to have abortions or be sterilized for the sake of controlling the population, often for the sake of the environment. According to

“Discussions of holism in ecology draw on American naturalist Aldo Leopold’sSand County Almanac (1949), in which he emphasizes the importance of the overall health of the biotic community. These discussions also draw on the insistence of Norwegian philosopher and ecologist Arne Naess as to the need for a “deep-ecological” attention to the whole network of relationships in an ecosystem. These emphases marked an ethical shift away from a focus on the interests of humans (anthropocentrism), and towards a sense that humans are no more than one part of the natural world. This sense is thus in tension with any dualistic view of humans that values only the status of their souls.” (

—-Appendix 1:  (deleted paragraphs of interest for further reading).

1. The United States in its inception did something unprecedented by being a state based upon a set, immutable, moral compass and having a system designed for the maintanence of those principles through. The people can say “ouch” when something goes wrong. They’re the boss, and by being able to fire the politicians, the politicians are inclined to follow the Constitution. If the US becomes just a part of the whole, that system will be lost. The people at the top of the Security Council will call the shots, and not even US representatives (who we don’t elect) in the UN can do anything, because the representative body is powerless, it can only advise, and consent. Read the UN charter, it’s all in there. The Security Council calls the shots and no one can legally stop them. The UN can do what it wants (or really, what Russia and China wants), and there is no system of representational government in order to stop them.

2. But, is holism an appropriate concept for a strategy and philosophy of humanitarian aid, especially when it is used to help realize that humans are more than just material objects and that proper care and love must be ‘holistic’ and realize every aspect of human nature (mind, body, spirit, etc..)? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure. That’s for another day. God demands that we be wise as serpents, discerning in ideas, guard against ‘hollow and deceptive philosophies’ and that we fight against all forms of tyranny, oppression, or a worldview that looks to mankind and his political institutions for salvation.

—-Appendix 2: Why I looked all this up

A few months ago I noticed an odd trend concerning the word ‘holism’, or ‘holistic’. The word always turns up when people were talking about or referencing NGOs (Non-governmental organizations), particularly ones working in relationship with the UN in the UN’s various relief and development projects. I began to wonder if there was an author or writer who popularized that word among the UN, NGO, activist population. Just the other day a very good friend of mine sent me an article that oddly enough gave a “sort of” explanation to my hypothesis, and this is what came of it. . .


~ by thelastinkling on July 3, 2009.

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