The pervasive insanity of modernity

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Imagine that you are explaining — and this always verges on justifying when faced with a questioning audience — modern society to a child.

You would gently mention how over two centuries ago, people decided that government was to blame. Thus they embarked on a reign of terror where they pulled whole families out of bed in the night and dragged them off to show trials and bloody public executions while crowds cheered. Then the same group of people spread war across Europe, expanding recklessly before being eventually driven back at great cost in lives, time and destruction.

How could this be? the child might ask. Because, as a child will note but a properly socially chastised adult will not, it sounds insane. And we celebrate it to this day as the beginnings of freedom and wisdom.

The problem with insanity cannot be explained by the young or middle-aged, but it is clearer to the old. They view it as a kind of contagion, something one works carefully to avoid because it always present, lurking in the dark corners of the rooms along with all the other germs, parasites and terrors we wish to avoid. An older and wiser person might observe that once you are forced to accept one insane idea as sane, you will find yourself looking for more insane ideas to declare insane and adopt. It’s the Stockholm syndrome, on a mental level; in order to survive with the first insane idea you must declare insanity normal and seek it out to prove to yourself that this condition is actually so.

Ever since the French Revolution, we have been trying to find ways to explain those events to ourselves as something good, when in fact they were the opening of an abyss. We try to find in them a principle we can support, in order to hide the principle we fear we detect in them. We hope to hide away our doubt behind emotion. And yet, we return to concerns: is mass murder really good? What about the fanatical war, that was almost identical to the events of WWI and WWII, which really slaughtered us? Killing children, and whole families, almost like The Holocaust. None of these things are good, yet we’re supposed to overlook that and welcome our new liberal overlords.

We are told that liberalism brought good reforms. It overthrew the monarchy, which we are taught to believe was oppressive and inept. It abolished slavery, which is considered the ultimate evil in our modern time. And it introduced a series of issues that are familiar to us today because our society is still beating the tin drum of these ideological imperatives: equality, women’s rights, end to social hierarchy, freedom, and a lack of social distinctions and exclusivity. But all of these reforms are from the perspective of the individual who wants zero restrictions on his person or desires. These are revolutionary reforms of license, meaning they remove from us social standards of behavior and reverse civilization itself, so that we as individuals can indulge our baser natures.

Since then, every movement and thinker (with a few exceptions) has followed the revolutionary template. Declare centralized order bad; demand people power; remove rules and thus open new areas for exploitation by social, economic and political forces. Following this template guarantees new territory is carved out of the carcass of the dying old order, and personal profit and fame to those who rush into the breach. It is again license, or personal benefit at the expense not of others directly, but of the social order that all depend upon. With each revolution, society dies a bit further and the general state of social order, hygiene, honesty, leadership, and public services declines toward the third-world level which announces the termination of society as an autonomous agency for all practical purposes.

And yet we keep on doing it because we have been taught that insanity is sanity and that mass murder and destruction of civilization are good if you have good intentions. Further we’ve been taught that good intentions are measured through others and that what is popular is right. Finally we are steeped in propaganda, most of which spread by the free will of others, that anything other than the revolutionary ideal is hatred, murder, destruction and primitivism — in short, all the things that the revolution is in itself.

Recently a movement cropped up calling itself the “Dark Enlightenment.” It has a simple core idea: the Cathedral, or centralized order, has demanded a false elite be created through political correctness. Thus the correct idea is to overthrow this false elite and replace it with people power. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the same old Revolutionary jive dressed up as a new enlightenment, which is why the movement is stagnating. The Dark Enlightenment, for all its posturing, is still a liberal notion, just like white nationalism is a liberal notion, and at this point, most new right and third front ideas are as well. It takes vast mental work and bravery to escape from the paradigm of our time because it is so pervasive and ingrained that it seems as natural as breathing.

In the “Dark Enlightenment” lexicon, the opposite of the Cathedral is the bazaar. Where the Cathedral is based upon idealized collective issues forced into consensus and acted on by institutions, in other words a classic top-down arrangement, the bazaar is bottom-up and non-organized. It is what happens when people get together and do what makes sense to them without deference to the elites. It sounds good until you realize that a similar justification was offered for the French Revolution.

I propose a more radical idea: the Cathedral is the result of the bazaar. In fact, the distinction between the two is nonsense. With the aristocracy, we put the best people in power and it was only because of their gentleness that they were overthrown. With the bazaar, we let individuals choose what they “think” is right, a term they conveniently interpret as meaning whatever they want to believe is true. Thus the bazaar always chooses insanity, and chooses leaders who are either insane, or who know how to manipulate the insanity and thus are heartless sociopaths who care not a whit what happens to their people.

Over and over, the cycle repeats. Our first step is to get outside of it, but we can’t do that by simply declaring war on it and demonizing it. We must actually think in an entirely different way, not a new way or an old way, but a logical way. This logic is different however in that instead of focusing, like ideology, on only one axis at a time (freedom/oppression), it must focus on the whole picture. How beautiful is your life? How elegant are your cities? How honest, alert, thoughtful, and genuine are your fellow citizens? What about your time — is it spent on meaningful things? Do you sense that your society as a whole is rising toward being a better version of itself, raising all of us with it?

For too long we have ignored common sense. The Revolution was murder, theft and cruelty disguised as crowd-pleasing platitudes like “freedom” and “equality,” which mean nothing outside of their ideological context. Our daily lives went from elegant and purposeful to pointless and appearance-driven. Even worse, we made insanity into a form of logic and have been applying it to problems ever since, which explains why they increase and we do not. The Dark Enlightenment is the latest dogma to fall into the comforting lull of this lifestyle, and it will not be the last. But for those who love life, and want to glorify it with a rising society and not more of the same, another way must be found.

16 Comments

  1. Guglielmo Boogliodemus says:

    Thanks again for writing about your view in a clear and concise way that all can understand. I for one, appreciate your efforts.

  2. crow says:

    Ah. Good. Welcome back. We missed you!
    Another way has been found:
    Forget every rote-learned notion of God and Good. And instead, start looking, earnestly and with determination, for the real God, and the real Good.
    In the trees, and the fields, in the mountains, and in ourselves.

  3. Foam Penguin says:

    We missed your work. I missed it.

    Glad to see somebody finally shoot down the Dark Enliberalment for what it really is.

    I personally believe that these notions you speak of on Amerika are foreign and alien to Americans because their whole country was born of multiculturalism and revolution. The idea of having a native race and culture worth preserving is not even conceivable to them, it was leftist to the bone from the very start.

    First revolt against the British, then revolt against each other with civil war, then deciding it would be most stable to forego violent civil war for a two party political civil war that never ends.

    Every 4 years, a revolution in this glorious country.

  4. Squarekiller23 says:

    It’s great to have you back, Brett. I, and many others, sincerely appreciate what you’re doing here.

    1. Thanks to all for your kind words during my recent vacation. It is encouraging to hear so many thoughtful voices finding benefit in anything that I do.

  5. I’ve never heard of the term bazaar used really by Dark Enlightenment types…

    Eric S Raymond writing about technology makes this comparison

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Bazaar

    1. Exactly, and it’s clear the DE interpretation derives from that.

      1. How is it clear?

        Seems to me you’ve just made an assertion lacking in evidence.

        You’ve neglected to become involved in where most of the discussion is happening (Twitter) and are out of the loop.

        For one thing DE remains a catch-all term encompassing a number of different schools of thought, from the Manosphere related ones through to people promoting HBD.

        1. crow says:

          Ah, Twitter. Source of all knowledge.
          No wonder I am such a dimwit, having studiously avoided any form of social networking, on principle.
          I am curious as to exactly when and why it became de-rigeur to provide ‘proof’ of any assertion one may feel moved to make. Who can enlighten me?

  6. […] I pointed out the fatal contradiction at the heart of the “Dark Enlightenment”: that it is based on a fundamentally liberal idea of overthrowing elites and replacing them with […]

  7. Repair_Man_Jack says:

    I like the Bazaar model better than Moldbug’s Cathedral. Te Cathedral requires too many intricate moving parts. Like the CCCP, it would have fallen victim entropy long, long ago.

    1. The essence of conservatism is that we use culture instead of control structures. Collaboration + what may gently be called “reality-based cumulative learning” leads to a better mental place than High Command issuing holy writ through Ideology so we may all be under Control.

  8. Dr.Doom says:

    Hierarchy is the natural order of things, which is why it has been abandoned. Sometime during the Industrial Revolution the idea that nature could be tamed by man and that humans had the power to recreate reality seeped into the collective subconscious that became public opinion.
    The only real problem with hierarchy in the modern sense is that it is no longer based on nature, especially human nature. A corrosive narrative has been inculcated through media manipulation into the populace that hierarchy is an evil thought and that a pseudohierarchy based on moral imperatives derived from what is colloquially termed “political correctness” is a new way of approaching childish notions such as unfairness and perceived injustice.
    The Will to Power that created the Aristocracy of old is now heresy to the new cult of humanism which demands equality of outcome based on a simplistic false narrative that inequality is evil.
    Humanism is actually a religious cult with dogmas varying from environmentalism/global warming and forced charity through confiscatory taxation of the “Rich” for the benefit of the average person. However, this is in fact a fiction, for there is actually a pseudohierarchy of chosen leaders that are equal, but still better than you. These are the “experts” with sociology degrees and soft science accreditation, but portray themselves as superior beings through their “compassion” rather than actual knowledge.
    The Christian Identity Movement has called this the worship of the underman or the Noble Savage in the form of the debased Negro Rapper, Sports Star or Pimp, and this is actually not far from the truth. Since this pseudohierarchy is based on “compassion” rather than wisdom or knowledge, obviously they need to invert the reality of a natural hierarchy of Natural Selection or Fitness and instead place the lowest class at the top and invert the pyramid so that the masses of unwashed illiterates are held up as paragons and self-disciplined individuals of Strength and Character like Caesar or even Jesus are placed at the bottom as pariahs.
    The Dark Enlightenment is a reaction to this unnatural inversion of reality that places them, the White Christian Heterosexual Males at the bottom of a society built by people such as themselves. The catastrophic collapse of the rule of law and order into the chaos of polyglot deracinated atomized individuals is the desired result of these pseudohierarchists that reformed Western Society to the lowest law of the jungle.
    These people are aware of the chaos, but this is the desired result for them, because they themselves would be naturally relegated to complete irrelevance in a naturally ordered Hierarchy. The Dark Enlightenment is actually a rebellion against this unnatural order of things, but unfortunately for them this is not a competition of ideas but actually a velvet glove for a Communist subversive takeover of Western Civilization.

  9. […] Unfortunately this makes the underground Right extremely trend-oriented. That has both a powerful lifting factor for any seemingly new idea, but also a faddishness, so that these ideas last for only a few months or years and then burn out. At first it was third position, then the concept of an alternative right, then the Orthosphere, and most recently, the “Dark Enlightenment.” In a recent article, I pointed out that the Dark Enlightenment is following a liberal template and ideal. […]

  10. […] criticism of neoreaction and a […]

  11. Alfred says:

    In essence, the “dark enlightenment” is the realization that the enlightenment itself was a mistake, thus the old order is to be re-adopted.

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