In 1925, America was riveted by the Scopes trial, in which the teaching of evolution was debated. It was previously held that only creation should be taught. This “monkey trial” divided America.
With the support of industry and government, “science” won out over “religion” (these two terms are in scare quotes because the sides in this trial were interpretations of both not shared by all).
It’s not surprising that the conflict persists to this day. Easy victories are like salves: they cover the appearance of the symptom, but not its underlying cause. The nation is still divided on this issue.
A third way appeared, and fragmented into two parts. “Intelligent design,” or the supposition that God as a brilliant watchmaker has created the cosmos such that his brilliant Design emerges through many mechanisms possibly including natural selection, and “Teach the Controversy,” which says that we should teach evolution but add in a short statement about how many people believe in creation instead.
Neither of these seem to satisfy the sides in this debate, which seem to care less about truth and more about winning. The science side think the religion people are ignorant, stupid and backward and have no problems volubly expressing that. The religious people are leery of “scientism,” in which knowledge of details presumes to speak for the whole.
The idea of teach the controversy could be applied to more than natural selection. Part of the reason this debate is so fervent is that the “science” faction wants to win before diversity brings about even more religions in America. Then they’re no longer fighting the elderly white Christians, but several dozen religions who do not yet have the power to challenge them.
This calls to mind pluralism itself. Our modern society is founded on the idea that the individual is most important, and thus that we will always have a plurality of different views with no consensus as to what we all should believe.
That viewpoint is heavily entrenched. On the left and right it is accepted; in the trailer park and urban loft, it is prized. It is a type of sacred notion for modern people, which is that each person can be whatever they want to be, independent of either reality or the need for unity.
Pluralism naturally leads to utilitarianism. When there is no standard of values, there instead arises a standard of acceptable results. Utilitarianism is the idea that whatever most people accept us being “good” is thus designated as “good,” even if it conflicts with reality or knowledge.
You can see this principle at work in fast-food restaurants. What food might be good for us is forgotten; what people want is cheap sugar candy-food that seems cheap and is easily accessible. At least, it’s more popular than more complex offerings. Thus it surges ahead in popularity.
However, pluralism is a victim of its own success. It appeals to people by saying, “Now your viewpoint is as legitimate as any other!” Most people being simpletons, they sign up quickly and gloss over the reciprocal principle, which is that now every viewpoint is as legitimate as any other.
This means that a religion which worships sausages is equal to an ancient religion with a vast history of wisdom, or even to science. This means science is optional.
“Now wait,” the modern says, sweating as the trap closes in. “Science is above all this. Science isn’t a belief. It’s objective. You can prove it.”
What he means to say is that science is material, and it deals with tangible things, thus any proposition made about material things can be tested. There’s only one problem: science says nothing about the organization of material things, such as how to best run a civilization or how one should live as an individual.
For this reason, people see science as insufficient, and they are correct. They thus find a belief system that addresses what they really need, and fit science in…where they can. The instability caused by pluralism is what causes science to become just another equal viewpoint, which means that it is de facto optional.
Our modern sense of equality and materialism makes us masters of details, and oblivious to the large picture. We see trees, but no forest. As a result, we are caught unawares by the failure of pluralism, because “in theory” it was a great idea.
Maybe we’re not descended from monkeys after all. Maybe we are still monkeys, fooling ourselves by thinking that our material abilities make us wiser than we are.
Many people adopt this comfortable and popular idea: there is no difference between left and right, really. All this theory stuff is airy nonsense they use to compel you to act against your own interests.
These people forget that there’s a simple chain, as old as language itself. A person observes something; she calls it a name. That name spreads because other people don’t like something about it. As a result, they design a counter-strategy and then that, too, gets a term.
In this way, a binary order is imposed on the world. Yes to the second term, no to the first. Or in practical example: yes to the spear, no to the sabre-toothed tiger.
It’s also very popular to bemoan how language misleads us. The educated hippie stands in front of us and says, “Well you see, we’ve just crammed the whole of all possibilities into this yes/no numeric assessment, so we’re missing all the stuff in-between.” Sometimes that applies, but not here. Here, the question is Do you want to survive? (Yes/No)
Those who want to survive are going to say yes to the spear, and thus no to the sabre-tooth, because the two are in a mechanical everyday sense, opposites. A spear is a solution to the problem of sabre-toothed tigers.
If you’re a Marxist college student, tenured professor, or even immensely ideologically popular president like Kennedy, Clinton and Obama, you can get away with rejecting this “false dichotomy.” That’s because you will never inherit the consequences of your choices. Generally they are made for you by others.
When you feel like you do not have to worry about the consequences of your actions, you can focus alone on methods without bothering to tie them to reality.
If you have a goal, you have a method to match, based on what you know of the world around you. But without a goal, you can pick any old method that seems pleasant to you or, even better, seems pleasant and sociable to others. That way, you can be like President Clinton and come up with magical plans that “everyone” enjoys.
Of course, your plans don’t work, because they are made in that abstract and arbitrary space of theory once it has become disconnected from reality. Your audience is no longer nature, as it would be in a science lab or architecture clinic, but other humans. What they decide that they like, wins.
We write a lot about conspiracy theories on this blog, and how they’re phenomenally useless. The reason is that people look for a method, or something external to their decision-making process, to blame for their problems.
For example, it’s also popular to say that the masses are brainwashed by their televisions, misled by their leaders, deceived by their institutions and manipulated by corporations. It’s all lies. The fact is that the masses brainwash themselves through their own desire for pleasant illusions instead of complex realities.
Which sounds better: (a) the problem is that people prefer cars with giant engines, so we’re all drowning in smog, and you have to either educate (ain’t gonna work) or coerce them into giving up these big engines; or (b) large corporations have brainwashed people into buying giant cars, smash the large corporations and we’ll be free!
We all know which one “sounds” better.
People want easily-chewed truths, so they pay the person who lies, and thus they brainwash themselves and as a bonus they get to blame it on others. They want two candidates in an election who both lie. That way, whichever one they pick, they “did the right thing” and “got screwed by the system.”
This gives them zero accountability, and also a victim complex. In a society of equals, the only people who get attention are those who are unequal. These are those who have less than others. If you find a reason to pity yourself, suddenly you are “owed” equality by the rest. They will accommodate you. It pays to be a victim.
The essence of conservatism is that conservatives believe that ends come before methods. Your method is selected by your goal, and the reality around you, not whether it sounds good to your buddies.
Liberals on the other hand are pure moralists. They believe that methods are more important than ends. In other words, it doesn’t matter if your method works achieves your goal or fails in reality. What matters is that it makes other people feel equally accepted.
A realistic worldview will be compatible with the conservatives more than the liberals. Even watered-down, nancypants corporate stooge television “conservatives” have more of this than their liberal counterparts. They may not have enough, but the only way they’ll get enough is having people like you urge them to do so en masse.
The essence of conservatism is knowing that consequences matter. People brainwash themselves to escape this truth, and thus force themselves into a position of having to justify their actions, which they then do through broad moral imperatives with no end-point, like “equality” and “civil rights,” or even “stopping global warming.”
They have no intention of achieving these things. They have found an excuse however that makes all their behavior seem acceptable and perhaps even altruistic. They have gone from selfish reality-deniers to heroes, at least in the eyes of others.
Self-deception is a human hallmark. Like other forms of entropy, it is always there, and not invented by some external force, but issuing from within our societies. Unless we explicitly endorse a contrary philosophy, we end up enmeshed in self-deception and, not surprisingly, our civilization collapses.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Star Wars was huge. Not huge in the way that the Iran hostage crisis was huge, but huge in the sense of always being in the background of every conversation.
Looking back on it, it’s clear why: Star Wars was not only great sci-fi, but it explained where we’d come from. The destruction of Alderan, or Hiroshima if you prefer. The jack-booted stormtroopers and individualistic rebels fighting them. The mystical connection between science and a Buddhist/Christian hybrid religion.
At the time, it wasn’t uncommon for people to talk about this film. It was reasonably common for women to discuss it. When they did, many of them would swoon over Han Solo. Who? He was a character who was down on his luck, always late on his payments, and making it hand-to-mouth as a smuggler.
Middle-class American women went nuts for the guy, and it wasn’t just Harrison Ford. The mystique intrigued them. Instead of a boring day-to-day existence of keeping the family together, or of going to work and then doing that, here was this romantic and devil-may-care lifestyle.
They just about melted over this guy. This was the antithesis of the work-husband, who went out there and slugged it out in the cube-farms and offices of America, bringing home the bacon. In comparison to this lovable rogue, the work-husband was drab, boring, even an obligation and source of misery.
Nevermind that not a single one of these women would have accepted a marriage proposal from Han Solo. You’d have to be insane to do so. Intergalactic smugglers don’t have health insurance, car insurance, life insurance or regular money. You’d be living like a slave Leia, locked away in his ship as he dodged bullets.
Like so many popular things, “romantic” is great in theory but horrible in reality. This is because the same thing that makes romantic appealing, which is that it’s irresponsible, also makes it dysfunctional. It’s an illusion through-and-through that any of these women would want to live that way, which is why they love the illusion.
After all, the best illusions are the ones we would never consider as real-life decisions. That way they hover above us, delicious alternatives to our hum-drum (speak for yourself) lives, impossible and thus forever immortal, abstract, clean and smooth, untouched by the daily chaos and obligation.
It’s worth noting that if these women had 18-year-old daughters, and Han Solo showed up in his Millennium Dodge Falcon to haul them off to the Alderan bowling alley for a night of cheap beer and heavy petting, these “romantic” women would very un-romantically be calling security in their gated communities.
They may have been drugged with the dream of a temporary illusion, but these women were not fools. When the water heater breaks, you don’t want Han and Chewie to put it back together with duct tape. You want reliable work-husband to research 400 plumbers and find the right one, or spend half the weekend doing it himself, to his standards.
Wherever we go in life, the distraction divide exists. We know what is practical to do, and yet we dream of the other side. The other way. Some alternative, a different life. And by the nature of needing to dream, we project into it impossibility and an untouchability that guarantees it’s inapplicable to any life we would want to lead.
Political choices are the same way. When people are asked to solve problems, they are conservative. When we start talking about outer-space concepts like morally correct and socially successful, we end up with a consensual reality of things people want to believe are true. What they wish their lives were, not what they must be.
This is the nature of the self, liberated from constant labor by technology and the organization of first world societies (hygiene, laws, police, etc.). Looking for a way to be more powerful, it thinks of what might flatter it and make it feel truly important, which is invariably the dream of the other side and not reality.
When misled by others, it then chooses that option as if it were real. Self-pity is its blank check here. The wealthy white woman from the suburbs must look over her comfortable life and declare it “boring.” The first-world college students must look to the third world as a form of greater truth or excitement in living.
This is part of the consensual reality in which most modern people live, fed by the chatter of their friends, a constant overload of media, and well-intentioned government education. It’s a dream and an illusion, but it feels good, so they walk toward it like sleepwalkers, feeling good about themselves proportionately to their denial of reality.
Whichever society finds a way to survive into the next millennium will do so by smashing the tendency of rampant individualism that provides this orgy of egomania. It will center people on a reverent attitude toward life itself, and evade any mention of dreams that do not involve that world.
Unfortunately for our modern dreaming, this society will not be romantic but Romantic. It will endorse the lawless and chaotic, the heroic and the eternal. What it will not endorse is the raging supremacy of the individual ego that in its zeal for power, creates a utilitarian society of mundane boredom and calls it progress.
To the best of my knowledge, conspiracy theories as a social phenomenon occur only in democratic societies. I take it that this is a very telling fact, and that at bottom conspiracy theories are a symptom of the perverse psychology found among democrats (note the small ‘d’). In general, all conspiracy theories take the following form:
P1:X is identified as a problem that concerns a large group of people. P2: A world without X would be a much better world. P3: All previous solutions proposed to solve X have failed.
Conclusion: Some one person or group is causing X to continue for their own benefit.
David Icke proposed a theory that an alien life form called Reptoids are in charge of all the worlds governments and banking institutions. Reptoids choose presidents, start wars, and cause natural disasters—all of which are bad things, on the whole. According to this theory, these aliens have a stake in all of these wars and presidents, so they make sure that nothing gets in their way or alters the predetermined course of action.
As in every argument, within this one there are hidden premises (called enthymemes). If we can discover what these are, we can see first hand the faulty reasoning that leads to all conspiracy theories—not just this especially crazy one. The most important enthymeme in this case is that all of our previous attempts have been good and noble, and ultimately would have succeeded, if it weren’t for those meddling kids! Er, Reptoids.
But this is a pretty rash assumption, is it not? Why should we actually believe that we can solve all of life’s problems or that people have solved life’s problems, only to be foiled by an invisible despot like the Reptoids or the Illuminati or the all powerful Jew? Well for starters, we believe these things because ever since the enlightenment philosophers and scientists have been telling us that as history moves forward it progresses.
Things get better, and life gets better. To paraphrase Kant, a people become enlightened when they stop being lazy and start thinking for themselves. This, my friends, is the culprit behind conspiracy theories. “Surely, the fact that I work a dead-end job can’t be my fault. It must be [insert group here].” A more honest appraisal would claim that life is always fairly tough, and that you will have to work hard just to get by.
Of course, not all democrats think this way. The ancient Greeks toyed with democracy, and they were old fashioned pessimists. (Who but a pessimist could formulate the Wisdom of Silenus: “The best thing in life is to never have been born; the second best is to die as young as possible.”) Really, it is only liberal democrats that think this way. When a collective group of people starts to honestly believe in progress, they become arrogant and complacent. They no longer hope that the future will bring good tidings, they actively expect it.
Ultimately, the democrat is addicted to the belief in his own power, yet not in a way that promotes action or striving. He fails to conceive that the forces of nature and providence are stronger than him, and that in the end, it is completely natural that he is not in charge of a lot of other people. What the democratic mind is absolutely prohibited from is moderation when it comes to self-worth.
The democratic mentality, unless tempered with a strong cultural framework or education, will almost always lead to arrogance, hubris, and a victim’s mentality. When these three traits combine into a single human, we find the prototypical liberal, who is unhappy with life and the lives of others, but continuously demands more and more from life in an attempt to redeem it.
This is not to say that there aren’t cases in which people are actively being suppressed by malevolent forces, like in North Korea. The problem is when people take this explanatory model and try to explain all sorts of things with it. “I’m in debt; the Jews did it.” “I can’t get elected to a local office; the Masons are plotting against me.” The weather has been bad this year; The government must be using chem trails.” Sometimes, things are just bad, and sometimes people just fail. It happens, and in 85% of the cases it is not the fault of someone else.
For the last sixty years, the West has been in the grip of a mania for diversity. This thread goes back centuries, but its most recent occurrence was in the French Revolution. There, the revolutionaries wanted “liberty, equality and fraternity,” but they also made another demand — for internationalism.
Internationalism is the idea that every individual is a worker, every worker has rights which come before all else, and only the oppression of kings, politics, business and religion holds them back. To be free, the individual needs to smash national borders, be atheistic, anarchistic and socialist or near-facsimiles.
These ideas were considered radical in 1789, although they’d been repeated centuries beyond that. To this day, the basic message is the same: the individual versus the state. Only no rules and no borders, no gods and no masters, will allow the individual to come into her full potential.
To achieve this end, the revolutionaries of today have a singular purpose. The majority and its values systems support things like religion and states, therefore the majority must be smashed. Tribal warfare demands ethnic cleansing and the best way to do this is to dilute and eventually outbreed the majority.
What’s left will be perfect blank slates. Raceless, cultureless, nationless, atheistic and truly international, these people will have allegiance to two things only: the orthodoxy of liberalism, and the consumer society that empowers them to be free.
Although the orthodoxy of liberalism includes socialism, that has never been a practical goal and the leaders have always known it. What it is however is a convenient thing to say at parties or bars that makes people think you’re a good guy, and perfect cover for the elites. “We are working for the Equality of the People!”
If you wonder why the modern mania for diversity is so manic, it is because it is a life-and-death struggle. It’s ideological warfare. Liberalism requires it to smash its only opposition, which is organic and traditional culture.
In fact, we fought two disastrous and fratricidal world wars over this. As liberalism spread through Europe, culture-based “nations” were replaced with political-orthodoxy-based “nation-states.” These were inherently internationalist, although they slowly geared up to this state.
Diversity is the means by which the liberal parties of the world hope to take over the world. It is part of their agenda of equalization, which requires smashing hierarchy and thus in turn smashing any culture or values system.
They are not nihilists. They are narcissists. Their goal is to make a society dedicated to the individual only. They are blaming their own problems on a lack of “freedom.” As history shows us, however, the more individualistic a society gets, the more it must because of the wide disparity in behavior treat individuals as generic in a utilitarian sense, and the more it needs a strong police force. For this reason, it quickly turns into the type of tyrannical government that is the norm in the third world.
When you see an Occupy Wall Street rally, a protest for Trayvon Martin or Troy Davis, or even a meeting of the Democratic party, you are seeing this narcissistic crowd that is hoping to transform our society into their liberal orthodoxy. They are doing this out of selfishness, because their demand for equality is a masked demand for no oversight. They want whatever they desire, any of their defects, weird behavior, etc. to be forced to be socially acceptable.
The essence of this desire is radical individualism. Its first demand is always equality, which is a way of achieving pluralism. Pluralism means that every viewpoint is equally valid and accepted. Once pluralism exists, it’s a logical step to diversity, which is simply another form of pluralism. A convenient form that smashes the non-pluralistic, e.g. those with standards or a goal.
Diversity, pluralism and equality create each other. If you achieve one, it will bring the other two in. It’s a matter of time and degree. If you bring in any philosophy or social system that supports them, like democracy or socialism, it’s only a matter of time before the parent ideal is on the table.
For this reason, the fight over diversity is more than about whether or not you like people of other races. It’s about what type of society you want. Do you want a first-world society, where culture and values make most decisions, and people are generally in agreement? Or do you want a third-world society, where no one is in agreement and freedom is high, but the society is totally disorganized, accomplishes nothing and is run by tyrants?
That’s not very PC to say. In our society already the narcissists have begun cutting away at the idea of hierarchy and standards. There are no winners and no losers. Everyone is equal. You can’t say that the third world is unhygienic, disorganized, violent, predatory, disease-ridden, etc. and you can’t imply it’s because their societies are dysfunctional. That’s hurtful.
Speech codes are one of the many ways they control your mind. Another is social pressure or peer pressure. All of your friends watch movies and TV, listen to music, read magazines, listen to comedians, etc. and all of these — every single one — is some flavor of liberal. A few are on the verge of being moderate conservatives, but even then, not quite.
It’s voluntary propaganda. You take it in to be socially equivalent to others, and it works slowly on your brain.
Yet you also have a logical brain, and it balks at much of what you take in. Like a student with a drunk teacher, you filter out everything but what you need to know, at least as best you can. You’re aware on a subconscious level that much of what you’re being told is completely incompatible with what you know of reality.
By reality, we’re not speaking of tangible objects. We’re speaking of process and design, like how if you put too many radically different numbers into an equation for an average, you get a number that doesn’t resemble any of them.
Your society is telling you that you’ll get a better number, but you know you’re going to get an unexceptional one.
Diversity is the same way. Much like two objects cannot occupy the same space, two cultures (which are essentially values systems) cannot occupy the same nation. Each culture has a choice: (a) assimilate, and be destroyed but be prosperous, or (b) resist, and be an outlier, and be less prosperous.
If they assimilate, the values of all these cultures are destroyed and replaced with a lowest common denominator. This is a kind of compromise, like you see happen at committee meetings. You don’t get any of the good stuff, but you get the least controversial remnants.
In fact, this gives rise to what we might call the Stevens Threshold:
Diversity (of any kind: racial, religious, ethnic, cultural, philosophical and class-based) cannot form a functional society because in the absence of a single order, a lowest common denominator is achieved, which falls below the levels of organization required for first-world civilization.
The opposite of diversity is not racism. Racial unity is important and no one sane will ever deny that. However, racial unity alone is not the solution. Instead, a cultural mandate is required which unites heritage, values, language, customs, philosophy and worldview into a single society.
You cannot achieve this mandate through negative (“Kick out the Green People!”) activity. You can only achieve it by building cultural unity, a strong sense of “Us” or who your cultural group is, and then by offering those who don’t fit a positive option for an exit, like reparations with repatriation.
As we watch this country tear itself up again over race, it’s important to step back and take a logical look at things. You do not need enmity for other races. What you do need is to state a clear and radical idea: diversity doesn’t work. It never has, and it never will, because it is fundamentally illogical. And it makes victims of us all.
When the symbolic value of an act touches on a larger phenomenon than the act itself, and does so in such a way that a story is convincingly told from at least one point of view, it because a behavioral meme.
Take Trayvon Martin. On the surface of it, this is an average story: a volunteer claims assault and self-defense, others claim murder. By itself the case is not controversial; add a mostly-white neighborhood that had become tired of constant threats, and make the participants of different races, and it’s a vortex of chaos.
What has happened here, as happened with Rodney King and Marquette Frye, is that a touchstone visual event occurred. We don’t know if Trayvon’s killing was a crime, but to many people, it looks like one.
The white Anglo-Saxon majority, who vote Republican, are seen as the opposition by the assorted minority groups and white liberals who make up the Democratic party. The left blames the right for racism, and the right points out that those who clamor for equality are generally not productive citizens or they’d have equality. (On very brave days, the right points out that diversity doesn’t and cannot work.)
As a result, both sides join a conflict that cannot have a winner because it is not being fought over the real issue: should we have diversity, or not.
Diversity does not work. While an interesting theory, it does not translate to reality. It creates enmity and nothing more. That is what those who want to divide us (leftists/liberals) want to do. The problem is not blacks, but it’s also not whites. It’s diversity itself.”
It’s tempting to have racial anger. If you believe the left narrative, a man was wronged, leading to his death. If you believe the right narrative, it’s unclear why the Trayvons of the world are still underrepresented. If you look at this situation as a realist, you see only the question of whether diversity is functional at all.
After all, diversity of religion causes problems, too much diversity between social classes causes problems, and even political diversity causes issues. Putting people of different views together in the same society ensures constant infighting.
That in turn ensures that nothing important will ever get done, which means that frustration, inefficacy and rage will boil over. Just waiting for that touchstone event. And when it comes, they riot. That’s an outcome that benefits no one.
Instead, it should be noted that a society needs unity. When more than one out of every hundred people have radically different opinions, individuals tend to clam up and resist sharing of themselves at all. The result is entropy.
The best form of unity is not racial unity. It is cultural unity, which includes heritage but is not limited to it. Cultural unity ensures that values, heritage, religion, rituals, calendar, foods, literature, art, etc. are on roughly the same plane or starting point.
You will be tempted, when you see outrages, to rage. Instead, think logically and practically at the same time.
Diversity cannot work: two groups cannot occupy the same space without destroying each other and forming a third group, which will be the lowest common denominator of each.
Anger also cannot work: emotional reactions cause you to target the symptom, not the cause, and in doing so, possibly hurt a lot of people needlessly and cruelly.
Our society is gearing up for more racial conflict. The left and most moderates will try to placate, but that just shoves the underlying issues under the rug. The issues as I see them are: does diversity work? and, Why are most minorities stranded in a permanent underclass, which benefits no one?
This isn’t a USA-only issue. Across the West, wherever countries have tried diversity, conflict has resulted. France is dived over “the national issue”, or whether the French want to remain French. You can’t take a generic person and turn them into a Frenchman with the right night education classes, clothing, accessories and Bodeker guides. In England, the government tells us that only white people can be racist, which in effect means racism is a one way street: minorities demand, white people give.
All of the above constitutes the larger picture. This issue is bigger than Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman or whether you think you’re so angry you want to lash out and mangle the “Other team.” The point is that instead of having temper tantrums, we should be even braver and start thinking hard about diversity. It’s not the fault of blacks that race antagonism is high, nor of whites. The problem is diversity and with our society in denial, it’s the thing we’re most afraid of discussing.
The modern time: after the fragmentation of the Roman Empire, the schism of European Christianity, the Enlightenment and then the liberal revolution of 1789.
Its defining attribute: equal validity of all people’s aspirations, or in other words, no one right way for society to act, in which people must then find a role. There is no goal. The individual does whatever he or she finds equally valid.
The result: politics itself. Since we cannot count on a common goal, and thus organizing people toward that goal, we must pander or terrify instead. The science of mass manipulation was born.
From this comes all of the disasters of the last two centuries. 1789 was only a decade from 1800, when European re-arrangement along lines of the nation-state took its modern form. Only a hundred years or so later, the world was plunged into its first apocalyptic full-scale modern war.
When you look at this event curve from the perspective of history, it’s the blink of an eye. A change was introduced as idea, and overnight it swept Europe, and then swept Europe into war. Finally in the 2010s people started to question the idea, because after all of our contortions we still can’t make it work and collected disaster looms on the horizon.
Politics emerged from the need for this mass manipulation. It was as if society made a decision to no longer lead itself as an organic entity, but to lead itself around through deference to an external authority: an ideology, an economy, a morality or even a symbol.
This was convenient, because it meant that no opinion was more valid than others. Saying “I think that’s not a good idea” is “personal” in a society of equals, but claiming that there’s no more money in the budget, the voters nixed it, or it’s against equal rights is removed enough that it operates as an impersonal justification.
Paradoxically, if you want a society dedicated toward the individual, it has to become impersonal, so that it doesn’t impinge on that individual at all.
An impersonal society however must have no purpose and as a result, all activities that humans undertake are compensatory. When your society has an ideology, you have reached the stage where it never actually changes direction. Like a contemporary office, it just adapts to the times but never changes the agenda. You just attend and carve out a space for yourself.
The result of millions of people simultaneously carving out a space for themselves is a tragedy of the commons. The modern entitlement complex comes from this sense of having no influence on any actual change, except perhaps a deepening of the ideology of society (a liberal ideology), and thus wanting to carve out more for the self. And if we’re all equal, and someone else has something, don’t I deserve it too? Actually, they’re not asking; they’re telling. They’ve been forced to go to work, obey laws, and heed the ideology. Thus they demand equal entitlement.
If one gets something, everyone in the crowd must have it. If that destroys it, oh well.
When the crowd destroys the object it covets, it cannot blame itself because that would invalidate its principle of rule. Thus it must always manufacture enemies. Having a Hitler crop up is a once-in-a-lifetime streak of good fortune. No one really thought a man outnumbered 20-to-1 had a chance. It was a business opportunity.
This affliction is not just for the middle class. Whether they are drinking away afternoons in the bodega, or jet-setting millionaires inventing new schemes to help misbegotten places, or even the gangbanger culture of the inner city or the dropout culture of hipsters, they are all compensating for a lack of real direction to their civilization or power in life.
Pluralism means no purpose. It means many purposes at once, which means they are all equally irrelevant, until one “wins” by being most popular. As history shows us, most popular is a race to the bottom. It’s the lowest common denominator, compounded by the arrogance of those who know little and the underconfidence of those who know more.
As a result, modern life is hollow. On the surface, there are many reasons why (justifications) and ideologies (inclusion tokens for the group). There is no substance underneath however. Modernity is more than anything else a process, because in order to be pluralistic, it cannot have a goal.
The modern person is a walking corpse. On the surface, they are adorned with unique ideas and combinations of clothing, activities, beliefs, books, etc. Underneath, they are all the same — equality was a self-fulfilling prophecy — in that they have an equal level of confusion because they are missing parts of the function of civilization itself.
With every day, the anxiety spreads in overlapping waves. No one knows what to do; yet they are told what “should” be done. Like kulaks they march toward the Great Ideological Fulfillment, and yet it does not fulfill. The disconnect forces them to compensate, deep into cognitive dissonance.
Soon they know nothing but the path they are on. They are blind to other possibilities. All they know is that reward comes from ideology. They fear, so they seek enemies. They are hollow, so they fill the void with murder or consumerism. And they spread the disease. Soon all are walking corpses, staggering through a wasteland, proclaiming the victory of progress.
On the trails of Texas, lore had it that you could break a stampede by holding out your hand with palm facing outward, splitting the herd around it. That metaphor applies more places than you find cows.
Metaphors can be useful because we live in an age of doubt. This doubt hits us three ways: we are unsure of what is true; we are afraid to confront prevailing “wisdom”; we doubt ourselves and our ability to understand reality.
We are unsure of what is true because there is no starting point. Older societies had culture and heritage, and with that, folk wisdom. It might not always be right, but at least it’s a point of reference. In a relative universe, that may be better than a static truth. It’s a consistent rule that can be modified as needed for specifics.
We are afraid to confront prevailing wisdom because it is reinforced by three highly powerful systems: popularity, consumerism and democracy. Have you ever seen people doing “the wave” at sports events? Popularity is like this: a motion that passes through people, re-arranging them around what others think is important. Consumerism is what happens when people buy things according to whatever trend is popular. Democracy is another popularity contest, this time for political power, with the lowest common denominator coming out ahead.
We doubt ourselves because we doubt our ability to understand reality. Who are we to say modern society is wrong? It has all this technology, military power, economics… it seems unassailable. Everyone else seems to be OK with it. It’s hard or impossible to prove it’s wrong, except that it has a stench of bad logic and thus even worse results to it. But who will stand up first to oppose it?
These forms of doubt define our lives and corral us like cattle toward a series of goals that are defined by those whose job is to keep society in line. Their job is not to lead; their job is to look within, patch up problems, and generate enough positive PR statements to turn a profit. We call them “presidents” and “activists.”
Even if we do get up the gumption to express our doubt of the empire of doubt, social pressure is massive. We are surrounded by people who have a vested interest in thinking everything will turn out just fine. “I just got the mortgage paid off, thus Rome can’t fall this decade!” We meet maybe five exceptions a year, if we’re lucky.
Inevitably the process continues. The society of doubt projects its doubt onto us because it is not self-critical. Like a giant fungus, or moss, it keeps growing. It just does what it does, which is take care of itself. It is numb, oblivious and insensible to alternatives or consequences.
As a result, people waste their lives. They go to school, and spend too much time on pointless busywork trying to “get ahead” based on “hard work” and not native ability. Then they do the same at college and/or graduate school, then repeat the process in their first decade on the job. They may discover in their 40s or 50s that they have “succeeded” and thus life is materially easier. But they must keep dominance and fatten up that retirement fund, so they plow ahead.
When they finally retire, they wake up and have to figure out what their lives meant. Not surprisingly, they are bitter and vindictive — their best years went away, dedicated to serving people less competent than themselves. Their lives are wasted on the irrelevant simplistic hazing and hoop-jumping required for the pretense of the herd that we are meritocratic, egalitarian and progressive as a society.
Civilization becomes a parasite when it no longer has a goal except itself. Even the humblest of civilizations start with a goal, which is to grow. Once grown, they need new objectives and mountains to climb or they collapse inward and cannibalize themselves. Rome did it; our civilization is doing the same right now and has been for several centuries.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to reverse this process. It takes brave people to stand up and offer solid criticisms, and solid alternatives. The first people to thrust out a hand with an unyielding palm facing the stampede are the people recognized as salvation. Not at first, but soon.
While most people are incapacitated with doubt like insects stunned by the paralytic sting of a wasp or spider, there are some who have not yet allowed their personalities to be dominated. As they take on the risk of social censure and stand up to object, their numbers grow, and the decay begins to reverse itself.
Introduction to the Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola
by Paul Furlong
Routledge, 2011, 157 pages. $138.
With the opening of the 21st century, Julius Evola began his rise in the Anglosphere. New Right publishers have taken up the considerable task of importing his work from the Continent and translating it, with varying levels of success. On April 15, Arktos released the first official e-book edition of an Evola work on Kindle. This slowly growing familiarity with the New Right’s philosopher-king has in turn raised a problem for leftists, for, like Oswald Spengler before him, Evola is not a dismissible writer.
When a liberal wants to investigate the right wing, he usually settles for identifying the “right” with celebrities like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, and derives great satisfaction from discovering their errors or finding a book that claims to do so. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a search for truth, and everything to do with smug satisfaction.
The liberal investigator does not read Evola, because if he makes that mistake, he must realize he is dealing with a far bigger problem than he had previously thought. In fact, this is very similar to the approach “skeptics” take to parapsychology. It is great fun indeed to laugh at Uri Geller or John Edward. It is not fun whatsoever for a skeptic to read Randi’s Prize or Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, because this shakes the deepest foundations of his world. To keep the peace the skeptical world keeps quiet about these books, and the liberal world similarly keeps quiet about the Nietzsche-Spengler-Evola tradition of modern world-seeing.
We can see in several instances a writer who maintained a solemn, academic neutrality throughout most of his book becoming noticeably shaken when he reaches the subject of Evola. Dreamer of the Day (1999), a mostly neutral biography of a totally unrelated person, has a tangent about Evola several chapters long, apparently because author Kevin Coogan was so concerned about the man’s “perverse” philosophy. In Mussolini’s Intellectuals (2005), which refers to Evola as “bizarre and sinister figure” on its back cover, A.J. Gregor devotes an angry chapter to denouncing the idea that such a demon as Evola could have anything to do with real Fascism.
Other writers approach Evola by muting his spiritual program or attributing to him things he didn’t do.The earliest English biography of Evola, Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist (1981) by Thomas Sheehan, assures readers that Evola was merely concealing a secret racism, a complicated feat because Evola’s racism is quite open and well-explained in all his books. This attempt to deproblematize Evola’s views by merely pointing out their opposition to the norm is standard.
I should point out that Evola’s many writings on a variety of esoteric subjects often warrant the acclaim they’ve received. Reading Evola can be bracing; his articles from the UR Group collected in Introduction to Magic, for instance, exhibit a clarity and rigor that is rare in such material. And while Evola’s esotericism and politics are really a “package deal,” as with Schwaller de Lubicz, one can glean much from his insights into a variety of occult themes without having to accept his politics. This, in fact, is the argument many Evola supporters make …
[The] danger becomes clear when we realize Evola’s intentions: to use fascism to inaugurate a society based on Tradition. … Evola agreed that liberalism, egalitarianism, individualism, freethinking, and the rest of modernity’s ills were the dry rot bringing down Western civilization. (215-6)
Note that Lachman, in his honesty, cannot avoid praise for Evola, and note again how flimsy his reflexive opposition becomes. He does not quote Evola at length, but instead brings out the big guns of political correctness: Fascist! Hater of democracy and freedom! You don’t want to read this guy, promise me! These epithets are blasted as if Lachman has “realized” a hidden agenda that none of Evola’s supporters were able to figure out. Really what he has “realized” is that it would be better not to think too hard about Evola, and instead the best use of his writing would be to distract readers with accusations about things Evola didn’t do.
The next three pages of Lachman’s book are occupied with a very silly biography, in which Evola is vaguely associated with the Holocaust and blamed directly for the 1980 Bologna massacre. This lazy charge is also made by Philip Rees in Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right (1991) and Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity (2001). The latter book opens its chapter about Evola with the words, “On August 2, 1980, Italian neo-fascist terrorists…” making an event that took place 6 years after Evola’s death the centerpiece of his life. This is as inane to me as blaming Marx for Stalin’s Purge, or Spengler for World War II. A radical philosophy that becomes reflected by the times does not imply that the philosopher approves of any and every kind of violence. Nevertheless, given the mainstream silence surrounding Evola up until now, is very easy to draw aspersions like this and thus ensure that readers will not investigate the Baron further on their own.
It is in this climate that the first book-length study of Evola in English has been released, Introduction to the Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola (2011) by Paul Furlong. Unfortunately this book was published for academic libraries only and at the price of $138 per copy, for a lukewarm and left-wing study, it is not likely to find its way into the libraries of many Traditionalists. Thankfully, my friend E.S.B. procured a copy and sent me this review under the condition that I do not publish his full name.
Introduction to the Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola
Paul Furlong, London: Routledge, 2011. 157 pg. $138.
Review by E.S.B.
Abstract: Attempting to understand Evola from the perspective of a liberal modern seems like a fool’s endeavor, but here it is. The results of this exercise are somewhat mixed.
Paul Furlong, a professor at Cardiff University in Wales, has attempted to condense the long writing career of Baron Julius Evola into a single very slim volume and explain his interpretation of the Baron’s teachings. As this is part of a series called “extremism and democracy,” one can predict the results. Furlong’s essential thesis is that the study of Evola is valuable because he “shows the position of the anti-modern intellectual exists” (157). I believe that contrary to his statement that Evola’s “ideas and arguments are not usually cogent enough for us to say we should study him because what he has to say is interesting in itself” (136), Furlong is genuinely fascinated with the difference between Evola’s thought and mainstream thought, both that of Evola’s day and of the present.
While it is impossible to deny that Evola is “elitist, racist, anti-semitic, misogynist, anti-democratic, authoritarian, and deeply anti-liberal” (149), Furlong, who no doubt finds all these qualities very objectionable, nevertheless sees a kind of worthy depth in Evola’s career, and it is by this fascination that Furlong can approach the Baron in a generous spirit. Although he plainly believes Evola to be intellectually inferior to some degree, he nevertheless snaps at people who would perform “logical short circuits” by simply declaring Evola to be racist and therefore not worthy of any sort of consideration (113). What is most interesting in Furlong’s dissection of Evola is not his dull illustrations of his influences, which are completely open and even written about to a great extent by Evola himself in Il Cammino del Cinabro, but his sensitive and very exacting reading of the change of tone in Evola over his career. Furlong has gone to great lengths to procure earlier editions of Evola’s major works and compared them with the state that somebody buying an Inner Traditions edition might find them in. There are even a few attempts to look at Evola philologically and to correct some of the infelicities of translation common to the English versions of his works.
One notable example E.S.B. provided to me: “Evola regarded himself as l’uomo differenziato’ — sometimes translated as ‘the man who is different’ but more precisely as ‘the man who has become different.'” (10) The “sometimes” translation is that of Inner Traditions. I would translate this more smoothly as “differentiated man”, but the emphasis Evola gives to differentness as an arisen state and not an inherent one is quite important, and its mistranslation a major slip by Inner Traditions.
The difficulty with the book is that Furlong, as indicated by the title, attempts to analyze Evola from the perspective of the political, or even the social. One of the major tenents of Evola’s thinking is that these factors are totally contingent on the spiritual. Thus, in fact, Evola might be better regarded as a kind of religious teacher. As Furlong notes, Evola is primarily influenced by Guenon, Neoplatonism, and Hinduism, and is centrally concerned with the accomplishment of self-mastery, and when he presents a political plan, he only provides the barest outlines. Furlong presents two theories for why this is: either that Evola means this as a purely contemplative exercise or that he is trying to leave the field wide-open for any kind of political action. It is easy to imagine another version of this book with a different title that treats Evola as a kind of Western paṇḍitaḥ, bringing the gospel of non-duality to the West.
Unfortunately, Furlong decided to focus on his much more sensational political thought, such as it is, which as far as I can tell is only in Evola because of his realization, which I believe to be correct, that religion, politics, art, and the rest are all really just different names for the same thing— although some modes fit some ideas better than others. Evola’s political thought, Furlong admits, is largely derivative of Gentile and other thinkers of the time, distinguished only by its extreme degree, but the difference comes from the way that it is supported. One does not need to agree with Evola to see that the true value of the Baron’s thought is to once again reunite these separated fields, not to simply prove that intellectuality does not need to be yoked to the idea of progress, which is only surprising to the most temporally provincial type of intellectual.
Furlong in general provides a good, if uninspired, reading of Evola. His concern with the political aspects of his thought, especially his supposed personal connexion to political violence, which he finds to be mostly bogus, if perhaps morally connectable because of his unwillingness to disown violence perpetrated with his ideas as justification— “From his point of view, there is no reason why he should. The path to wisdom is individual” (102). Probably the most significant single fact gleaned by Furlong in his work is the realization that Ride the Tiger and Men Among the Ruins were written together, not, as previously understood, that the former is a sequel to the latter. Furlong’s unwillingness to jump into the pool, as it were, seriously held back his efforts in this book. He even throws in an absurd saw about how Evola failed “to speak out against the Holocaust after the war” (115)— apparently momentarily forgetting the Baron’s total disregard for all historical events of any nature, well-established by Furlong elsewhere in the book.
But once somebody gets a taste of Evola, they are almost sure to want more. I doubt Furlong will ever find himself an Evolian, but his restraint in his criticism of an author upon whom it is popular to heap abuse and slander means that this work actually is valuable to those interested in Evola on his own terms. Inner Traditions would be well to heed some of Furlong’s points about their translations. However, the very high cost of the volume, which is printed by British academic publisher Routledge, should discourage any but the most serious students of the Baron, or at least those without access to an academic library with a generous interlibrary loan policy.
Thanks to the reviewer for his patience with my stupid revisions.
Sometime during the past decade, a quiet revolution infiltrated alternative music from the outsider corners of the music scene.
While the hipsters were busy strumming acoustics in DIY mimickry, and mainstream music drifted more into a rap/jazz/rock fusion, an underground music grew that does not aspire to be trendy, or current; it wants to be ancient, and eternal, with a type of profundity that modern music evades like a kid dodging questions from an authority figure.
We might call the new style ambient neofolk. Equal parts industrial, soundtrack music, world music and synthpop, it takes the basic framework of modern synthpop and layers it with samples from the past, choral singing and complex instrumental work. Unlike popular music, its goal is to create an atmosphere and maintain it, instead of being quirky.
To my ear, the originating ancestors of this music are 1980s synthpop and industrial fusions like Dead Can Dance or Ministry. These songs follow their framework: a verse-chorus loop expanded by different layers, broken by interludes that form a unique song structure, and using melodies from the past to maintain an ancient and somber mood, in which a playful voice emerges.
Created in the footsteps of bands like Blood Axis and Kreuzweg Ost, who make sonic collages from samples of voices and music over synthpop beats, Winglord is upbeat and mostly dominated by the voice of its synth-piano and underlying bass keyboard. The result is more listenable than the pure collage approach, and like 1980s Ministry its rhythms and tempo changes are infectious and rewarding like pop, without the musical equivalent of high fructose corn syrup.
The Winglord style of ambient neofolk combines the infectious power of old industrial and synthpop, the ideas of black metal, the atmosphere of neofolk and the grandeur of movie soundtracks. If you a Vangelis or Poledouris soundtrack ever took your breath away, you have an idea of the kind of emotional surge that this music imparts on a regular basis.
This album represents a significant improvement over the first Winglord release, Heroica. While it was musically solid, it was unsure of itself stylistically, which caused the musicians involved to over-play certain themes and add intricacy that distracted from the intense mood that was otherwise in the process of creation. With The Chosen One, the band have resolved many of those difficulties and give us an album with no fat or fancy to weigh it down.
No review of this album would be complete without a tribute to what are undoubtedly influences, the power-pop of VNV Nation and the brooding ambient folk songs of Lord Wind. Winglord is less obviously pop than VNV Nation, and less obviously meditative than Lord Wind, which forms a happy medium for the above-average listener who wants the emotions of their music to soar above the morose aspects of life.
In fact, this is what makes Winglord such a success: it is motivational, a type of addictive beauty that makes you want to create more of it. Like the dark winding caverns that black metal bands like Summoning conjure up, Winglord use minor key melodies that they can expand over the course of each song. But these melodies return to triumphant themes, a melancholy will to survive that is also joyful. Experienced observers will note similarities to post-Summoning project Ice Ages.
Unlike soundtracks, The Chosen One can be listened to in a more active role than background music. Like its industrial and pop ancestors, it is catchy and hard to clear from your head. However, it preserves the spirit of martial industrial and neofolk, and evokes the emotions and outlook on life that defined the vision of a former time.
It is unlikely you will hear this music on mainstream radio. The hipsters will keep flogging the exceptions to the rule, and the rock ‘n’ rollers will keep endorsing hedonism, like abandoned egos afloat in an ocean and screaming invective at the sky. For those who want a sustaining and encouraging communion with beauty, the second Winglord album delivers.