Currently the Left rules us because they have assumed moral authority, or attitudes that most believe are correct, regarding how humans should behave. Our belief system reflects principles and values that state that the individual is more important than any larger order, especially any innate one like culture, heritage, or position in a hierarchy.
If we translate that to practical terms, it means that our society runs on contained mob rule, or everyone doing whatever they want with some limits in order to keep that from destroying our fundamental principle of individual autonomy. The health of our civilization is not even considered, although we have an ersatz substitute in the state, its flag, and its economic and political system.
For those who have been paying attention, this ideology of our time is winding down. It gained legitimacy in 1945, took over in 1968, then accelerated after the fall of the Soviet Union because we assumed that our consumerist system had tamed it, but now after 9/11, we see that in fact the West is heavily divided because of its pluralism. We have lost unity and purpose.
We have lost a sense of who we are, as well. This means that the ground upon which we base our moral authority has eroded. Back in the day, we could say that we were a distinct group and that this group had certain values; instead, we are defending our political and economic system solely on the basis that it works better than anything else.
But, looking back to 9/11 and the surrounding events, it becomes clear that we are not unified at all. Terrorists do not just waltz into a country, slide past all security, and conduct a major attack with that country being sloppy because no one is doing their jobs as anything but pro forma activity. They struck us because we are disunified and disinterested.
At the time the planes hit, my Leftist neighbors celebrated, and one conservative I knew opined that there was no way he could care about what happened to a bunch of office stooges in New York. Others simply shrugged; they were here for the jobs, the housing, and the relatively stable society, and to them, this was just another loss to be written off.
Since that time, all those advantages have gone away. The jobs have become even worse, the housing is expensive and taxed to oblivion, and the society has lost stability and revealed that it has no core, only many special interest groups — political, racial, religious, ethnic, regional, specific issues — fighting it out for domination.
This means that a vacuum has been created in the moral authority department. If the basis of our belief in our system was that it worked better, this has been refuted, and as people defect from believing in the one true path, the system grows defensive and retaliates against those who might resist, driving more people away from it as they see its true final form.
Most have failed to recognize how deeply the rot goes, and that the principles of our society are themselves losing legitimacy, mainly because their legitimacy has failed:
A free society like the United States is built on principles of equality, individual rights, equal treatment under the law, etc. These principles undergird the moral authority of America’s institutions. However, our history has violated these principles as they apply to women. For centuries male Americans presumed that the patriarchy, or male supremacy, was a self-evident divine right, so freedom’s discipline of principles did not apply where women were concerned.
Over time, this lapse of democratic discipline undermined the moral authority (interchangeable here with legitimacy) of the American democracy and its institutions. The Women’s Liberation Movement and Sexual Revolution disciplined America with democratic principles, establishing the point that one’s sex could not deny one’s rights as an individual. In democracies, moral authority is always one’s own responsibility (not a divine or ideological right) — and it can be earned only through fidelity to principle.
A vacuum of moral authority is formed in our society from simply knowing that one’s sex is associated with sexual abuse, oppression, and sexism. Men (and American institutions that have been dominated by men) must acknowledge historical sexism to show themselves redeemed of it, but once they acknowledge it, they lose moral authority over everything having to do with sex, equality, social justice, and so on.
In the West, we adopted individualism with The Enlightenment™ and brought forth the idea that the individual had rights which were so sacred that no real-world effects could invalidate them. In other words, we bought into a means-over-ends analysis that said that we should use certain principles to guide us, no matter what the effect.
This pleased the bourgeois voter. They liked the idea of hard boundaries to restrain others who knew better from recognizing reality and enforcing it, mainly because this impeded the takeover of our society by commerce, merchants, and mobs organized around the utilitarian principle of whatever the largest number thought was good should be law.
For a time, that approach seemed to work, mainly because we were cruising on the momentum of the past. Our societies, filled with strong and independent people, grew because those people applied themselves and tried to do what was right. Over time, however, equality changed their minds so that they no longer focused on social order, but only on themselves.
This was inevitable, because any society that sets up a defensive principle of the individual over all else starts to essentially punish those who think of anything larger than themselves that is not part of a role granted to them by that society, like the military or public service. In private life, the idea of anything but me-first-before-all-else died away.
With the rise of our postwar wealth and newly diverse status, social standards collapsed. New Americans from Southern and Eastern Europe did not see things the way WASPs did, and so we could no longer claim to both have a single standard of behavior and also be granting those other their equal share of the power. Over time, this ethnic diversity led to racial diversity.
For an ethnic group which finds itself an outsider, the first goal becomes seeking camouflage. They achieve this by adulterating social standards further; if WASP standards are too strict, import a bunch of people from the third world and suddenly, we have anarchy but with the benefits of civilization that a single standard set up.
Over time, we have seen how this temporary order broke down. When social standards dropped, so did behavior; people became more manic, more entitled, and likely to describe themselves as victims so that society owed them things. We implemented thousands of small restrictions in order to enforce equality, and built up a tax-and-spend state to subsidize it.
This created truly alienated citizens. Government was not seen as a friend, but a parasite taking their wealth and threatening them if they ran afoul of the taboos and pretenses associated with holy equality. Fellow citizens were not on the same team but unknowns, presumed hostile, with the warring of groups being seen as an excuse to fight only for your own group.
Identity politics arose out of this because with every person advocating only for their own group, each group had to defend itself against the others, and this created a defensive and paranoid outlook. Members of other groups could not be trusted and, since reporting diversity failures was discouraged, people sought ways to simply avoid those groups.
America and Europe fell apart in a miasma of white flight, police violence, race riots, inter-ethnic crime, and distrust of government and fellow citizens. People became selfish; cheating on your taxes served as a national pastime, breaking the law became normal, and no one had much respect for law or faith in our future.
These rights which we had created to shield us, under diversity, became the exact opposite: something which enslaved us, obligating us to tolerate each other when all we cared about was that our group got ahead before another group did us in. At this point, citizens began demanding rights for their group alone, and the abolition of rights for other groups:
Congress was also warned that some students have come to see free speech as a politicized weapon used to intimidate them and insult them, a dangerous precedent that does not impart the principle’s founding ideals.
…Frederica Wilson, a Democrat from Florida, pushed back on this point. She asked about the relationship between hate crimes and free speech and pointed to incidents such as the murder of Richard Collins III at Maryland and to a fraternity that hosted a party that contained offensive Mexican stereotypes.
“So yes, I am concerned with what is taking place on our campuses. Students are being singled out and harassed on the basis of their race, religion, sexuality, and physical ability,” she said. “I fear that the value of free speech is being used as political cover in a manner inconsistent with the First Amendment to harass and assault our most vulnerable student groups. We must not make the mistake of creating a false equivalency between the responsibility we have to protect the rhetoric of white supremacists and defending our female, LGBTQ, black, brown, Muslim, and disabled students from hateful attacks.”
In WASP society, free speech carried its original meaning: no one could stop you from publishing a political essay, speaking the truth from a pulpit, or making statements against the government. It had no bearing on what other people said to you or what you said to them, and because we were one unified group, offenses were treated as eccentricity rather than an attack.
With the rise of multiculturalism (a.k.a. diversity) we no longer possessed that standard of civility. Some ideas attacked the very legitimacy of other groups, and this caused them to claim injury, while demanding the right to themselves criticize additional groups. At this point, free speech has become a battlefield.
We can see a contemporary example in this through the speech codes which are enforcing political correctness — an attempt to remove speech contrary to our dominant principles so that we are programmed with those principles by the remaining content we are allowed to say — becoming not liberators of speech, but ideological censorship:
In contrast, the arguments about behaviour never seem to end up having a common goal. Except, in some sense, the argument itself. Have you read the Twitter feeds and other things by the people who seem to care more about the non-technical side? I think your ‘hyped stories’ is about as polite as you can put it. It’s a morass of nastiness. Instead of a ‘common goal’, you end up with horrible fighting between different ‘in-groups’. It’s very polarising, and both sides love egging the other side on. It’s not even a ‘discussion’, it’s just people shouting at each other. That’s actually the reason I for the longest time did not want to be involved with the whole CoC discussion in the first place. That whole subject seems to very easily just devolve and become unproductive.
…So that’s my excuse for dismissing a lot of the politically correct concerns for years. I felt it wasn’t worth it. Anybody who uses the words ‘white cis male privilege’ was simply not worth my time even talking to, I felt. “And I’m still not apologising for my gender or the colour of my skin, or the fact that I happen to have the common sexual orientation. What changed? Maybe it was me, but I was also made very aware of some of the behaviour of the ‘other’ side in the discussion. Because I may have my reservations about excessive political correctness, but honestly, I absolutely do not want to be seen as being in the same camp as the low-life scum on the internet that think it’s OK to be a white nationalist Nazi, and have some truly nasty misogynistic, homophobic or transphobic behaviour. And those people were complaining about too much political correctness too, and in the process just making my public stance look bad. And don’t get me wrong, please — I’m not making excuses for some of my own rather strong language. But I do claim that it never ever was any of that kind of nastiness. I got upset with bad code, and people who made excuses for it, and used some pretty strong language in the process. Not good behaviour, but not the racist/etc claptrap some people spout. So in the end, my ‘I really don’t want to be too PC’ stance simply became untenable.
Torvalds found out that in our PC time, to keep your job means that you have to bleat out the same ideological principles that animate our society, all of which originate in egalitarianism or the political arm of that Enlightenment™-era view that the individual is more important than any order larger than the individual, including social unity and reality.
In order to maintain his position, he finds himself forced to write censorship codes that exclude certain speech, in the name of preserving free speech, simply because some of that speech grinds away at the dominant paradigm of our time. Free speech becomes censorship in such conditions.
This means that we have lost moral legitimacy because our positions have inverted themselves. Free speech has become freedom to speak only what the regime accepts; freedom of religion means your religion becomes infused with the ideology of the regime; freedom of thought means that in mainstream discourse, only regime-friendly ideas will be discussed.
Ideology proves fatal to civilizations because it creates an idea bubble. People live in a world of ideas, principles, rules, laws, and social approval, none of which have anything to do with results; in fact, these things are hostile to any real-world measurement because they exist solely in human minds and seek to “correct” inequalities in nature.
Your average modern citizen exists almost entirely in this idea bubble and when he sees contradictions, rationalizes them: ethnic violence is justified revenge, theft is wealth redistribution to make equality, and punishing those who dissent is merely forcing humanity along the path to progress. Reality becomes forgotten and so we become vessels filled with pleasant illusions.
This creates a rationalization line which divides citizens into two groups. The realists want to look at results in reality, and the denialists want to keep pretending that the idea bubble is so much better as a method that it must be preserved at all costs.
As we witness the horrific results of Leftism all around us, more of us are forced onto the realist side. As happened in the Soviet Union and Revolutionary France, the system is not working. Instead, it is crushing us, with only those who are ideological fanatics being content with it, and even they seem malignantly unhappy and neurotic.
With that, our measure of legitimacy shifts from the idea bubble to results in reality. If these ideas are so great, why are they not working? If the thoughts they seek to suppress are so wrong, why must they be censored? If the answer is that these taboo thoughts might be true, then our system of rights has not become a friend, but an oppressor.
Past moral legitimacy measured whether we were being consistent with what we saw as our founding principles. Current moral legitimacy involves whether our ideas work because so little does. As the regime presses down on us, they are stripping moral legitimacy not just from our present interpretations, but from the core assumptions of modern society and egalitarianism.