Imagine for a moment a common scenario in any major urban area. You’re caught in the morning traffic, stuck a few cycles behind a stoplight. Nobody has moved in a while. A beggar walks between the cars with a faded cardboard sign, hand out for whatever pocket change or crumpled bills you might have stashed in your center console. Maybe you have some this time, or perhaps not. Either way, you don’t feel like giving anything to the beggar. He walks by your car, and you avert your gaze. You feel wrong for giving nothing. A stab of guilt hits you, or perhaps worry that other drivers will see how stingy you are, even though it is likely you will never encounter the other drivers again.
And while there is a fair chance you might encounter the beggar again, for they each have their various territories and haunts, it is doubtful he will even recognize you from the thousands of other drivers wasting their lives away at the intersection.
Where does the guilt come from? Would it not be better to part with a couple of wadded up dollar bills to be rid of it? After all, what are you going to use them for, maybe buying a coke out of the vending machine at work?
I am fond of referencing a specific incident on Twitter that ties into this problem. In it, a woman laments that Elon Musk should have fixed Flint’s water supply, rather than launching a car into space as part of a publicity stunt. It ties in neatly with those protesters, back during the days of the Apollo program, who demanded that the funds given to NASA to do the thing should have been used to improve the lives of poor black people instead.
I wonder if the NASA engineers and scientists ever experienced a similar pang of guilt, if they drove past the protesters and refused to make eye contact with them out of misplaced guilt. Certainly, I’d hope they didn’t feel such guilt, but human nature being what it is, it would not surprise me if they did, at some level.
We live in a strange time, perhaps. Or maybe it isn’t strange, and things were the same thousands of years ago. Who can say? Today, Americans – and probably Westerners in general – go deep into debt keeping up with the Joneses. Having done this, they drive past people who, in many cases, actually have more net worth than they do (for many possess negative net worth – zero is a financial improvement), walking down the street, hat in hand, grabbing the wadded bills and worn pocket change.
Sometimes I’ll listen to Dave Ramsey on Youtube. He’ll get callers who are deeply in debt, trying to claw their way out of financial stupidity. Yet to causal eyes, such people would appear to be wealthy – certainly more so than a street beggar. Do those who are deeply in debt still feel a stab of guilt that they haven’t given their last few quarters and pennies away? Perhaps folks like that shouldn’t buy a $70k BMW on a wage-earner’s salary. That would be sensible, I think. Yet… if they can afford the car, could they not afford to give away wealth instead?
Should they mortgage the house to pay beggars instead? Should they take a $70k note to donate to charity, or pay high taxes to the government for some social welfare program?
If this sounds confusing, that is because none of it makes any sense at all.
In the bizarre moral calculus of the modern West, people view each interaction in a moral vacuum. You are driving a nice car, therefore you should give money to the beggar. This is near to universal in the thoughts of most Americans, this is why the stab of guilt reaches them, despite their own respective situations. You could be one step from bankruptcy, but it doesn’t matter. At that specific moment, your lifestyle is greater, so you should give up something.
When an illegal immigrant hops over the border and the Border Patrol catches him, only that specific moment matters at all. The Border Patrol agent’s lifestyle is greater – indeed, all of America’s lifestyle as a whole is greater – thus the illegal should be permitted entry. It is morally wrong, to many, to think otherwise. Yet at some level, people are aware of the contradiction. This is why many do not give their last dimes to the street beggar, and do not want the illegal to enter.
Ask a Leftist if he is an open borders advocate, and most will say no. Ask them to judge every single case of illegal entry, and each individual case would be allowed on charitable grounds, creating a de facto open borders situation some Leftists may not even be consciously aware of (others certainly are, and desire this). Ask a Leftist if he thinks every person should have an absolutely equal standard of living, and almost every single one would say no. Yet each individual incident will be judged on the basis of who has more wealth, or who appears to have more wealth, and thus the flow of wealth must invariably go in one direction only, until no such inequality remains. It is de facto support of identical standards of living for all.
I know a man who is deeply in debt, hovering on the edge of bankruptcy, and his wife constantly argues to take in poor, unfortunate people off the street in order to help them. Such people will undoubtedly be held up as heroes to most. And yet, is this right? If your husband is working multiple jobs just to keep the creditors away a little longer, should you give away his money to strangers you don’t have any connection with?
I am told of another man, a father-in-law to another friend, who has been robbed, wronged, and stolen from by the folks he purports to help, over and over again. He declines to do anything about the thefts and the wrongs, and takes in more such people, who consistently use him for freebies. Such people aren’t getting their lives together, they are merely mooching off a gullible man, easily conned out of his money and possessions.
No doubt, if confronted, the thieves would couch the thefts in terms of their needs, and their mark’s relative high standard of living. He has more, you see, so it is just to take from him.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we have a modern interpretation of every incident in life according to a very strict and stupid set of moral requirements. They are as follows:
- Each incident must be considered in a complete vacuum. You cannot take into account the wider implications, or the future, or past actions, or even larger contexts. Only that individual’s circumstances, in this exact moment, matter at all.
- The one whose standard of living appears greater is automatically the quasi-oppressor. Moral obligations flow from the individual who appears to be more wealthy to the individual who appears less wealthy. Moral obligations in the other direction do not exist.
- Various exceptions may be permitted according to racial/religious minority status. In such cases, moral obligations flow from the caste perceived to be more privileged to the caste perceived to possess less privilege. Moral obligations in the other direction do not exist.
- Relative privilege is assigned by a sort of popularity contest.
Only the appearance matters. If you drive a BMW, and the other person does not, he has no moral obligations to you, but you have every obligation to him. If he steals your car, it’s probably because you were privileged. You probably deserved it. If the beggar spits on your car because you did not part with your pocket change, that is your fault. If you take in a poor person, and he steals your stuff, that is because you were privileged. Shut your mouth, loser, and take in someone else. If the illegal crosses the border, he should be admitted even if he’s a crackhead and wanted for robbery in his home country, merely because in that particular moment, his circumstances appear worse than yours.
The true-believer Leftist will brain-lock in any of these incidents (the Deceivers won’t – but that’s a matter for a different post). He will be unable to rationalize himself out of the moral problem. And so, if he doesn’t give up that last dollar to the street beggar, he will feel guilty for it. He will be unable to escape the Kafkan moral trap without either doing what is desired (giving up his money) or feeling guilty. The guilt, of course, is equally useful to power-seekers, for it can be used to craft social policy.
Many Rightists will also be caught in the trap, because quite frankly, most of us have grown up in a world that follows the moral demands I’ve outlined. The four points can be summarized further:
The Lie: GOOD IS ALWAYS NICE
It’s a lie. Furthermore, it’s a lie that even Leftists are aware of at some level. They are fond of referring to Rightists as Nazis, and then becoming violent and very not-nice toward us. Are they thus evil because they are not being nice to us? They escape the trap by saying that we are so bad (they have said we are Nazis, after all), we deserve it. We have it coming.
That is tacit admission that the good must be nice policy is bullshit. Yet the rule is still applied to all others. Leftists will often consume themselves in an orgy of self-destructive behavior to arrive at who is at the bottom of the stack (and thus truly at the top of the stack). Moral obligations are one way and flow from privileged to not-privileged, in every individual situation.
Now, real, actual charity can be a good thing, provided a few conditions are met:
- You know that your actions are likely to help. Handing a crackhead more money will not improve his situation. It may make it worse. Welfare programs suffer the trap of not necessarily helping the supposed beneficiaries. This is why charity usually works best if you know the other person, and are in a position to judge whether or not your charitable actions are actually helping.
- The receiver of the charity acknowledges his own responsibility. For instance, if you decide that some money will help a poor person, and you give the money to him, he now has an obligation to both himself and you. He must use the funds responsibly, to fix his situation, because that was why he was given the money. He should not, for instance, go buy beer with it.
- The charity is personal, and not pressured. You want to do it. You weren’t forced to do it by government, or peer pressure. Otherwise it’s just a form of theft. If you feel guilty about the situation, you should avoid the situation, because that pressure is coming from somewhere else.
- The charity should cease if the beneficiary doesn’t acknowledge his own responsibilities. If he buys beer with your money, he should receive nothing else from you. If he steals your stuff, he should be reported to the police.
- You don’t screw over other people in order to do it. Ruining your family’s finances to help a stranger is not a net good. This includes yourself. Ruining your business, your own life, and all that… these are not net gains either.
Good doesn’t have to be nice. The concepts are not linked. Nor do moral obligations flow in only one direction. In all interactions in society, moral obligations are two-way, and if the other participant flouts them, you are under no obligation to continue to use them yourself with regards to him. In simple terms, if he hits you, you hit him back. One-way moral obligations constitute a form of slavery.
In this way, modern Leftists are slavers. Being nice exclusively, and without reciprocation, is an invitation for evil. It is a bright neon sign casting light far into the distance that says “please come and use me.” Leftism enshrines its notion of all interactions as effectively one-way moral transactions. It cannot even understand the notion of a mutually beneficial exchange. Capitalism must be exploitation, says the Leftist, because he can’t understand two-way interactions.
The Eurythmics track Sweet Dreams contains a line to this effect:
Everybody’s looking for something.
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.
Some of the Leftists are abusers, looking to abuse you, to steal from you, to mooch off you, to use you. Others want to be abused, to be stolen from, to be used, in order to trumpet their supposed superiority over the rest of us. These are all one-way interactions. The correct answer is: none of the above. All interactions are either two-way, or you should get the fuck out of that situation.
Truth: GOOD IS NOT ALWAYS NICE
Enshrine that and live it.
Also, if you see a street beggar, unless you know the guy and his situation (in which case, do as seems best), just say no. And don’t avert your eyes when you do it.
Some time ago, Tom Kratman explained to me that pacifism is, at its core, a form of moral cowardice. The reasons for this are many and varied, but we can summarize it by considering that, were the pacifist to see a gang banger beating the crap out of an innocent old lady, the pacifist would consider intervening to be an injustice. After all, the pacifist would say, being violent in turn only brings us down to the gang banger’s level. In the mind of a pacifist, both the gang banger and the defender of old ladies are equally evil, for both resort to violence.
Leftism is full of moral paradoxes like this. I have, of late, taken to calling the phenomenon a form of brain lock. Leftism resembles, in part, a form of philosophy sometimes called moralistic therapeutic deism. It fits in neatly with this “I’m spiritual, not religious” nonsense espoused by a number of indecisive morons. I’ve seen this phenomenon called “post-Christian”, or a number of other similar terms. It is assuredly post-modern, for it has no obvious antecedents in our recent history. Whatever we call it, it is the dominant belief system in the Western world, even with many who consider themselves to be Christians.
In essence, it is a dumbing down of Christian morality combined with a form of pseudo-scientific Marxist absolutism. The pacifist will say that all violence is bad, but in his absolute devotion to this overly-simplistic principle, actually prevents himself from doing anything to stop the very violence he theoretically decries.
Good, the MTD adherent will say, is being nice. It is the Golden Rule, or something very much like it. So the adherent will countenance importing many not-nice individuals, in the name of being nice. Consider how Angela Merkel and her enablers like to guilt Germans about the atrocities of their anti-Semitic Nazi past, and use this guilt to import hordes of anti-Semites.
This is the kind of contradiction that infects adherents of this overly-simplistic worldview. Equality is their god, because equality is nice. If you have more, you should give it up until you don’t. Elon Musk shouldn’t shoot cars into space until Flint’s water supply is fixed. It is an inversion of Game Theory. The more your opponent punches up betray, the more you keep the faith. If Muslims blow your buildings up, write sympathetic pieces about the religion of peace, give them tons of money, and yell at folks who are skeptical of the religion.
In the pursuit of absolute justice, they propagate injustice. If a man cures cancer, should he be allowed to keep the millions that would surely flow to him? Or should he have to give it all away because of equality? Surely the unemployed crack addict should have the same standard of living, right?
This form of morality is both absolute and simple, and it does not work at its stated goals. Want more terrorism? Do this. Want more crime? Want more people to be on welfare? Do this. Want more violence, war, and hatred? This, this, and more this. Pacifism leads to more violence, not peace. Welfare leads to more layabouts, not more productive people. If you genuinely dislike violence, you must be prepared to do violence to those who violate the peace. If you value productivity, you must allow poverty to be uncomfortable.
The world does not conform to the MTD view. Being nice doesn’t make people be nice to you in turn. The Golden Rule contains an implicit condition: at some point, the rule should be reciprocated. You don’t apply the rule to a known genocidal maniac. In Game Theory terms, the Golden Rule means that, in the first round of the game, you select keep faith hoping that the other player will see the value in selecting likewise. If he fails to do so, and betrays instead, betray him in the second round since he cannot be trusted. Perhaps the betrayal will convince him that you are not a sucker, and he will learn to keep faith. Or maybe he’ll just keep hitting betray, and you will at least have avoided being a complete gullible moron.
Leftists can’t do this. They recoil from the necessary duty of being not-nice, of employing violence on the violent, of quid pro quo economics. They can’t see past this and encounter a form of brain lock in which they cannot comprehend how being not-nice in this moment could lead to a nicer society down the road. They cannot understand how violence can make the peace.
Or, if they do understand, they are merely too cowardly to carry out their duties as such. Perhaps for some, this is all post-event rationalization for why they did not intervene to save the old lady from the gang banger. “I am too good, too moral to fight,” says the pacifist, “someone else should do it for me.” Whether that someone else is a Rightist they loathe – but secretly need to keep from being turned into a bloody pulp – or a god they don’t really believe in (but hey, they are spiritual, not religious) doesn’t matter.
In fact, the distant not-really-extant god that they crawl to only in dire need is a great example of this. Fuck you, you don’t exist, says the adherent to God. He’ll drop a cross in a jar of piss, call Christians retarded and make fun of their stupid sky wizard. The next day when he loses his job and gets dumped by his gender-confused housemate he’ll expect the universe – or his god-like spirit – to intervene on his behalf and fix all his shit. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll crawl to the government, hat in hand, and expect the money cribbed from the rest of us to put humpty-dumpty back together again.
And if you don’t, you’re not nice, you big meanie. Now obey or I will apply social peer pressure to you!
The insidious side of this belief system is that it only works if the non-believers cave in to it, in sufficient numbers. That is the problem we have here. Go talk to a liberal on social media and try this experiment. Say something morally complex, like the first boat of
refugees invaders to Europe should have been sunk, and that doing so would have actually prevented the loss of life the ensuing mass migration incurred. Or, if that is too spicy for your taste, merely state that illegal immigrants should be deported back to their birth countries.
Immediate brain lock will occur. You are a big meanie. You are evil. You are immoral and inferior to the Leftist, who is, of course, nicer than you! You can extol the virtues of self-defense, and a fair number of them will dispute the morality of even that much. You should run away, you should not stand your ground, for how could you be so mean to the violent criminal?
There is no breaking through the brain lock. The notion that good does not mean nice is foreign to them. They are sheep thinking sheepdogs and wolves are the same, because both have sharp teeth.
Once a Leftist has brain locked, the only possible expression is fury. How dare you question orthodoxy, infidel! This is why moralistic therapeutic deism may be a good description for the phenomenon, because despite often atheistic pretensions and its Marxist genealogy, it acts like a religion. It is merely that the religion is not well developed and is extremely over-simplistic.
Christianity spent many centuries arguing about its tenets. The nature of Christ, the Trinity, things like just war theory and just what was meant by the commandments… these were all theological debates (some of which went much further than that) that occurred in Christianity’s long history. Christianity largely solved the moral dilemmas and contradictions throughout the ages. And it did so through rigorous debate and practical application. It wasn’t always pretty, either, as Leftists often harp on.
Point is, though, it was done. And in so doing, answers to moral problems were arrived at, and a history was forged with guidelines for how to handle certain moral issues. MTD has none of this long history or debate. Its principles are simple and absolute. They lack even the forgiveness mechanism Christianity provides for those (all of us at some point or another) who fail to live up to its tenets. For them, guilt is eternal. Guilt lasts even past death – this is how white Americans can be held responsible for slavery long after all slavers and all slaves are dead. The guilt is never excised. Forgiveness is never granted.
Lacking such mechanisms for exploring the answers to complex moral problems, and lacking even the ability to forgive those who fail, MTD is, in fact, the opposite of nice.
It is an evil belief system in the same way pacifism is a cowardly belief system. And the reason for this is that the system allows and even encourages evil to flourish in the same way pacifism encourages violence. The fact that its adherents are unable or unwilling to see this is tragic. It doesn’t change the outcome one whit.
It is also prone to ever-greater heights of extremism. Vegans are often telling us that eating animals is violence against animals, and in turn, since niceness is the only virtue, we are evil for being omnivores. PETA once went so far as to cheer when a shark bit the leg of a little boy (IIRC, he lost the leg), because the boy and his father had been fishing, so the boy clearly deserved it for practicing violence against the fish.
They saw cheering as virtuous in the same manner as a Leftist celebrating that his country’s culture and history will be flushed down the toilet by waves of migration – much of it illegal and little of it assimilated – that dwarfs most migrations in human history. There is no higher cause, no greater positive sacrifice in the mind of the Leftist than cultural self-destruction.
And yet, having determined that all that is Western, or white, or male, or Christian – whatever – is evil and must be destroyed, they do not make the final rational leap: they are (usually) white themselves. Brought up in the West. At least vaguely post-Christian. Some are even kinda-sorta male. Shouldn’t they kill themselves, too? You know, set an example and all that.
No, of course not, says the coward. That’s for someone else to do. They are the anointed elites, you see.
They ain’t got time to save the old grannies. They are better than all that. It is a much better use of their time to rant about how an old Christmas song is sexist, or something.
I’m always amazed at the number of people who have no knowledge of The Venona Papers. Now, I grant you that reading some of the books and articles put out about them can be an eye-rubbing, mind-stultifying experience. The mental effort to focus on the analysis, and to follow the logical reasoning of those who’ve spent years identifying those agents and their enablers can be hard.
But, multiple books have been published, and understanding the basics of the discovery is really quite easy.
Herbert Romerstein – this is one of the books I read. Fascinating, if a little overly-detailed at times.
To get a condensed version of the importance of The Venona Papers to understanding the infiltration of American government, click here.
I keep hearing about all of these Illegal Aliens present in the USA, who “are law-abiding, hard-working, and kept out of trouble”. Why, we are scolded, are we so intent on removing these stellar people who have done NOTHING wrong.
Well, except for being in this country without our consent.
Piffle. Such a minor offense, if you can CALL it an offense. A minor misdemeanor.
The fact is, those aliens have committed multiple crimes – crimes that, in fact, DO hurt Americans – quite a lot.
- Their presence in this country leads them to be a net drain on the economy – The Office of the Census reports that 63% of immigrants get some sort of government subsidy, often some form of welfare. Even after residing here for many years, they are MORE likely to use this government aid than citizens.
- A person who is not legally resident in this country cannot work without breaking the law (a crime). Those exempted from this include those given refugee status, resident aliens with work permits, and DACA recipients (many of whom are not truly eligible, but were given that status by the Former President Obama, with fake stories – a crime).
- Many try to by-pass the laws about non-citizen ineligibility for work with phony documents. They may be wholly made up, with fake paperwork and numbers (a crime), or stolen/purchased from one who is a legal citizen/resident (a crime).
- Identity Theft is not only a crime, but causes both great expense and time to straighten out by the person legally owning that identity – that cost is born by the CITIZEN whose identity was stolen. Worse, there are Americans who have been put in jail because of a crime committed by the fraudster, who have been denied health care because of medical issues of these criminals, and who have had their Income Tax Refunds STOLEN by these people. A few have even been audited because income of the criminal that was reported by the employer was not known to the CITIZEN who did not include it on his return. Read more about Identity Theft by Aliens here.
- The 9/11 Commission signaled out Identity Theft as a major way that terrorists are embedded into this country (a crime).
- BTW, the IRS, when they find a stolen identity, does not contact the actual holder of that identity to let them know their identity has been stolen.
- If that alien has children who are not citizens, they are often enrolled in public schools (a non-reportable crime, thanks to a Supreme Court decision). See here for a map of which areas have high numbers of illegal aliens in schools. The Supreme Court has already ruled that illegal aliens MUST be enrolled in schools, and that the schools cannot charge them the normal fee for non-residents of that city. The problem is growing, and the longer we continue to tolerate illegal aliens in our country, the more children will be born as US citizens – which the family will use to argue for “regularization” of the aliens’ status. One great thing that Betsy DeVos has done is to bring up the issue of schools acting like “sanctuaries” for aliens.
- If they, or a member of their family not a citizen gets sick, they go to the hospital, and receive care for free, often with Obamacare enrollment on which they LIED about their status (a crime), or failed to provide documents. Some health care centers, funded with Federal money, have ignored alien status to treat patients not eligible. Let’s not forget that when a poor person is enrolled in Obamacare, he gets a Tax Credit (a crime).
- Some collect food stamps to help support their family (a crime). A report from a case manager about Food Stamp Fraud. Others get housing subsidies, income support through Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – technically, not welfare, but – it really IS.
So, the next time someone tells you how important immigration is to this country, you might want to reference this post.
BTW, you will also want to read the Front Page Magazine article, by Michael Cutler, that sparked this post.
I know, I know. Amazingly, most tourists don’t see a riot and think, “Oh, GREAT! A real, authentic slice of Parisian life!”
They are more apt to think, “I’m never coming back to this increasingly Sh–hole country!” And, for France, like many other European countries, that depend on the tourists’ dollars to prop up an unstable and unmanageable economy, that decision means Things Are Going to Get a LOT Worse.
I realize that the young have no understanding of history, but – the Arc is special. It represents the epitome of a France that is civilized, strong, and a leader.
For cryin’ out loud, even the Actual Nazis treated the Arc respectfully.
I found this yesterday on Youtube. Despite its length, it is worth more than 1 viewing.
Towards the 2nd half, both Peterson and Shapiro discuss in depth the aftereffects of the Enlightenment and touch upon how it overextends itself thru Rousseau and his ‘Noble Savage’ idiocy, leading to the madness of Collectivism and its descendants. I believe this part of the discussion in particular is of tremendous significance.
Consider the following (and forgive me if it doesn’t all hang together cleanly, as I’m writing this from a stream of consciousness and have a hard stop at 3:30PM local time:)
Both men criticize the post-Enlightenment thinkers who proclaim that the principles of the Enlightenment are completely divorced from the beliefs and precepts of the Catholic Church and the combined body of Judeo-Christian thought. It doesn’t take much effort to realize that those who either advocate a wholesale rejection of Judeo-Christian principles or assert that Liberalism is based on an Enlightenment that is completely separated from Judeo-Christian influence are extremely silly people, as Western Civilization’s foundation is built in major part on Judeo-Christianity, a body of ideas and institutions that predates Western Civilization by at least 3000 years. One need only remember a few glaring examples of this: the response Jesus gave when asked whether one should pay Roman taxes (a response which led directly to the separation of Church and State), or the theological canon created by Augustine with regards to whether scripture or science should be consulted to answer questions about the natural world (where Augustine told the zealots to shut the hell up with their nonsense about scripture being the only source of truth and knowledge, pointing out that you can’t figure out how fast a rock will be falling from a 100 foot drop from reading the Bible, but could find the answer readily if you simply spoke to a physicist.) There are also Judeo-Christian tenets which are derived from earlier influences of Syriac culture, reducing any claims of an absolute sundering between Liberalism and the history of civilized Man to the level of the preposterous.
Peterson and Shapiro go on to point out how this idea of the ‘purity’ of Enlightenment-based Liberalism has nevertheless crept further into the fabric of Western Civilization, deeply eroding the religious portion of our culture’s foundation and, consequently, ‘bleeding out’ a great deal of what has given it meaning and purpose. These gentlemen are recognizing a critical phenomenon in the evolution of Western Civilization that was recognized by Toynbee over 70 years ago, who also saw this rising secularization of Western society as having the effect of ‘hollowing out’ the culture.
Granted: the Church held back the development of Western Civilization during the Dark and Middle Ages thru its indulging in the exercise of secular power over a fragmented polity trying to recover from the collapse of Hellenic culture and rebuild itself into a viable society. Yet the Church itself experienced tremendous convulsions during this period. Example: the destruction of the Templars in the early 14th century who, having turned from militant zealots into extortionist bankers, were crushed by France’s Philip IV. Example: the Catholic-Protestant schism of the 16th century. Nonetheless, this ‘winnowing’ of the Church had a salutary effect. It forced it back into a role as a purely spiritual institution, shaping it for maximum utility to a budding Western Civilization. Recall that after a collapse, a society will do the hard work that the previous culture did not have the will to do – it will abandon institutions that have failed and are no longer useful, retain those that are still of use, and reshape ones that need to be ‘re-engineered’ to make them maximally effective. This is what happened to the Church. One can justifiably argue, in fact, that the birth of Western Civilization would have been IMPOSSIBLE without Judeo-Christianity in its new ‘form’ included as part of the foundation.
We may be well assured, that a writer, conversant with the world, would never have ventured to expose the gods of his country to public ridicule, had they not already been the objects of secret contempt among the polished and enlightened orders of society. – Edward Gibbon, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Chapter 2.
Note how towards the end of the discussion Peterson and Shapiro agree quite fervently that the decay of spiritual life in America is a prime component of its current malaise and that a revival of spiritual strength is essential to the revitalization of American society. They cite the adoption of spendthrift consumerism, the decline of the institution of marriage, the moronic and shameful ‘hands off’ concept of child rearing, debauched behaviors on the part of youth (drugs, tattoos, piercings, brandings, a greatly extended juvenile period, a sense of defeatism, listlessness and lack of purpose) and the fervent adoption of leftist ideological/pseudo-theological canon as proof of a lack of genuine spirituality, with its instillation of social/behavioral/moral norms, sense of belonging to a community and sense of lifelong purpose. Clearly this tracks quite well with the Toynbee Civilization theorem, but it is worth examining more closely.
Is the decline of Judeo-Christian religious observance one of the causes of the decay of Western culture?
My thoughts are that the correct answer is NO. In my view, it is not a cause, but a symptom.
Creative Minorities arise in dynamic, healthy societies to solve existential crises that the ruling clique (the previous Creative Minority) is unable to contend with successfully thru the curse of ‘comfort with the familiar.’ Whatever solution the new Creative Minority develops will, however, create a new set of problems which will fester over time and flower into a fresh crisis.
As discussed in my earlier rants, the distribution of economic wealth and power is the central problem of both Western and American civilization today. For Western Europe, this problem emerged over 300 years ago. It has resulted in three great conflicts that attempted to bulldoze the problem thru the creation of a Western European Universal State – the Napoleonic Wars, the combined cataclysm of WW1 and WW2, and finally the Cold War of the 20th century.
The outcome of each conflict provided only a partial solution to the crisis; thus, all of these stopgap resolutions ultimately failed. Of course, the French Revolution and Napoleon’s belligerent adventurism broke European aristocracy. But those whose mindsets/outlooks reflected the aristocratic character endured, rephrasing the old concept of ‘noblesse oblige’ into the ‘class struggle’ of the proletariat against the capitalist bourgeoisie. It is this movement – the same challenge with a new ‘face’ – that drove the world wars and the war by proxy between the West and the External Proletariat of Orthodox Christendom embodied by the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe’s Warsaw Pact.
With the 3 1/2 beat rhythm of response and failure having manifested itself in the last 200 years of Western European history, we can see that Western Civilization is now firmly on the road to decay. The final Universal State of the EU is proving to be ‘autoschediastic’ or ad hoc and is already disintegrating after a bare 30 years of life. The still quite youthful American Civilization, however, is encountering this problem for the first time.
The ‘face’ of the challenge that is confronting American Civilization, though at heart the same as that which has defeated Western Europe, has changed in appearance yet again. It built on the centralization of power in Federal hands that was the solution for American Civilization in the Civil War, gained strength and legitimacy in the Great Depression and WW2, and received a tremendous burst of energy from the revolt of the Baby Boomers in the 1960’s, picking up a new ‘identity politics’ mask to switch out from the already battered Marxist facade to facilitate its growth. But while the veil/mask has changed, the goals and methods remain remarkably intact – the undermining and destruction of the current order and its institutions formed by the Renaissance and Enlightenment and its wholesale replacement with a pyramidal structure of top down control by a new elite, aristocrats in all but name, who would impose their definition of societal harmony with all the political, legal, social, economic and educational/doctrinal tools and weapons of coerced conformance.
Peterson and Shapiro advocate a return to spirituality to reignite a sense of purpose and community in the American polity. I disagree. What is necessary is to shatter the vehicle of authoritarianism that Progressives have commandeered to overthrow Western and American civilization – the central government, with all the power it has unconstitutionally assumed from the States and the people.Decision-making power for 90% of today’s outstanding domestic issues must be returned to the regional, state and local level.
The Swiss show us the way today. Western Europe is instinctively exploring this path at the national level (Brexit, to be followed by Italy and Austria) and even locally/provincially (Scotland and Catalonia.) The Romans, believe it or not, showed us the way over 2000 years ago. When establishing colonies in conquered territories, the Romans limited the size of new cities and towns to about 10,000. Once a town reached that size, they would try to siphon off excess citizens by establishing a new settlement at some moderate distance from the original. Thru experience, the Romans had learned that for a city or town to be able to sustain itself comfortably thru its own local means, handle its civic problems and maintain a unified and content polity, it had to remain small.
This is the right way forward for America. Federalism needs to return with a furious vengeance, so that the concentration of legal and financial strength in Washington DC, along with all the corruption, graft, racketeering and influence peddling which such centralization of power inevitably attracts is decisively and irretrievably wrecked. We are a nation of 325M people scattered across a continent, folks. Even without the deliberate sabotage of our cultural institutions by the Left thru canards such as ‘multiculturalism’, ‘diversity’, ‘fairness’ and illegal immigration from regions of the world deliberately favored by the conformity to absolute authority inherent in their home cultures, we would be hard pressed to find complete unity amongst the people in the states of New England, the Mid Atlantic, the Southeast, the old Northwest ‘Rust Belt’, Texas (which is completely unique and beautifully so), the northern and southern Midwest, the Rocky Mountain West, the Southwest, California, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. By reducing issues to local, state and regional concerns instead of elevating everything to a national level, a sense of community, civic duty and belonging will return, and a sense of spiritualism is sure to grow concurrently.
I like to put historical quotes and multimedia in my essays to reinforce the story and make the essay an entertaining read. However, I’m including the video below not because it really has anything to do with the treatise above; I just think it’s a super cool tune. 😉
I’m old enough to remember when this was a badly needed counter to official Soviet and other Leftist propaganda in Europe (Radio Free Europe was, I believe, the original idea).
I do believe, in a time when there is widely-available information dissemination world-wide, this agency may have outlived its mission. It’s become a comfortable retirement income for aging, overpriced journalists.
Easier than firing people – which allows the let-go person to pose, with the assistance of his journalist friends, as a VICTIM of the Horrible Orange Person – is to eliminate the agency entirely. Allow the non-partisan clerks/tech people to transfer to other jobs. No inter-agency movement for the news staff, unless reliably non-partisan.
They will still bitch, but their blatant partisanship has earned them loss of a government spot. This shutdown has the advantage of lowering the cost of government.
While we’re at it, the GPO – Government Printing Office – is a relic that needs to go. Farm out the jobs to local government offices, to be printed up by local printshops (a godsend to their bottom line). Place the files on the web – any printer can quickly set up a small run for less than the cost of moving the paper around the country.
I just got home last night, after 9 pm. It was a good trip – time with family (never enough), and a very hurried trip back, trying to get ahead of the encroaching weather.
No accidents, thankfully. And, I was smart enough to NOT schedule a sub job today – I can concentrate on straightening the house, organizing the bills/paper, and doing laundry – LOTS of laundry.
Today, I spent a few minutes getting caught up with friends on Facebook. One of them is Baldilocks – Juliette Akinyi Ochieng – who blogs at Baldilocks and Da Tech Guy. She’s written a book that is on Amazon.
Other interesting things – a Deadly Lacrosse Game, that leads to war! That war was one in which my direct ancestor, William Ice (Indian Billy) was taken after the adult females were killed, along with his sisters (neither was released when William was – at the end of the Pontiac War – they may have been sold/traded to other tribes).
A wonderful paen to Western Civilization.
This morning, I was browsing the usual suspects before heading out to work, and I came across an interesting article on [H]ardOCP, one of the tech sites I frequent. Silicon Valley is showing greater wealth inequality over time. Individual incomes are dropping, save for the top 10%. Housing costs are driving out service workers like firemen, retail workers, etc… Only the wealthy can afford to actually live in the communities they serve. Normally this would not be news on The Declination. If a place is expensive and hoity-toity, don’t live there. Hell, don’t even work there – go somewhere where your work is actually appreciated, not looked down upon as icky or plebeian.
However, this is California, land of Socialism, Progressivism, and wonderful hopey-changeness or whatever. This is where every lunatic environmental wacko can hold up production of a solar power plant. This is where some idiot governor once thought to charge everybody $1,000 a year registration fee for being permitted to own an automobile. California, land of high gas prices and terrible air. Environmental land of litter and gang shootings. And don’t forget San Francisco with free human feces on every downtown sidewalk.
To say California is a mess is an understatement. We on the Right often assume this is due to incompetence. And while I acknowledge that possibility, I ask my readers to entertain an alternative: this is quite probably intentional.
On Drudge this morning, I found a brief snippet about Jack Ma, richest man in China, being a member of the Communist party. Does this surprise you? Communism has never been a ground-up, grassroots movement from the lower classes, despite the popular reputation as such. Rather, it is an ideology led by the second-tier wealthy scions who fancy themselves to be intellectuals. Thomas Sowell had the right of it:
Most people who read ‘The Communist Manifesto’ probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of ‘the workers.’
Marxists merely presume to use the lower classes against their enemies in the middle and upper classes. Ultimately, they don’t want to deal with the dirty, teeming masses in their living rooms, or even their zip codes. Socialists have had the run of California since the early 90s, and yet their vision has resulted in the second-highest poverty rate in the United States (adjusted for cost-of-living – something Leftists rarely bother with). A quote from the original source:
“Do we want to be a community where our firefighters and teachers aren’t living with us, they’re living separate, in far off communities?” Hancock said.
Yes, that’s exactly what they want. They are better than us, you see. They are our intellectual betters, our moral betters, in all ways that matter, they are superior. They are the elite, they are the experts aggrandized and celebrated by Tom Nichols as the proper rulers of this planet. Why should they tolerate a firefighter in their midst? If nothing is on fire, then he shouldn’t be seen or heard. Icky dirt-under-the-fingernails workers need to stay far away. And while they are at it, let them eat cake if the bread is gone.
Socialism is Feudalism repackaged and rebranded as some peasant-friendly, wonderful ideology of plenty.
In reality it’s California writ large. It is haves and have-nots… with a lot more have-nots than haves. It is starvation for the masses and cake (hey, you can have it AND eat it too) for the experts. It is maximal separation between those that do and those that pretend to think. Leftists tell us that Capitalism is to blame for all this, and yet how can that be when, where they rule, there is greater separation, greater inequality?
I don’t pretend to care overmuch about relative wealth. There will always be haves and have-nots. Yet they do make mouth noises about this, then do the exact opposite. We are accustomed to calling them hypocrites, assuming that the mistake is accidental, a consequence of hubris, perhaps, or merely of ignorance. Consider the possibility that it is intentional, that this is what they wanted all along, and all the mouth-noises about the proletariat is just a cloaking device for sending us back to the age of Feudalism and rule by nobility – without even the courtesy of noblesse oblige this time around.