With the election of Donald Trump, many who supported him are asking themselves what they stand for. Are they conservatives? Moderates? Or merely against the far-left direction that the country has taken since WWII, including the disastrous policy of diversity?
Underneath all that Trump stands for, there is a simple principle: realism. He believes in assessing his ventures by their results, not the feelings generated, and expects to see those investments functioning smoothly and making people wealthier. Otherwise entirely a moderate candidate, he differs only from the bulk of politicians in this way; he opposes politics itself, and prefers results-based realism.
Most writers remain locked in the prison created by the categorical boundaries of words. They wonder if this means that Trump is in favor of the “free market” and “freedom,” or other abstractions that serve as proxies or symbols for what we ultimately want, which is a healthy nation (and, if we are sane, a restored and self-improving Western Civilization).
What they forget is that all of these things are means to an end, and that end is the goal of a healthy nation and thriving Western Civilization. Currently we do not have that because we stopped cooperating toward that purpose, and instead focused on the human individual and its “reason” as the be-all end-all of social goals. From that, we got a society which could not remain united.
Having a purpose such as health, however, does not unite a herd. They do not all understand it, which means that it must be left to wise elders or otherwise competent people. This offends the mob. And yet, it is the only stable state of humanity because most knowledge exists in specialized domains. You do not elect your pilot on a transcontinental flight, nor your neurosurgeon, or even your arborist. You choose the competent.
Conservatism — for those of us who still use the word, knowing that “mainstream conservatives” is based mostly in the first word — is that which conserves, which means keeping up those time-proven ways of life that produce the best civilization, including a transcendental view of life such that we hold it holy and revere it. Unlike Leftism, conservatism is complex and nuanced with depth and breadth (Leftism is simply “equality now!”).
This approach requires tearing objectives down to their most basic targets, as measured in terms of results and not social appearance and emotions as Leftist “successes” are. At the end of the day, it is realism through consequentialism plus a desire for excellence and beauty in all forms. We want sanity in our society, after centuries of insanity accelerating after WWII, and we cannot point to intermediaries or proxies for that.
For example, “freedom.” Freedom from what? To sane people, we think of the ability to go about our lives and do that which is not destructive. However, when we say the word freedom, we tear down that complex idea and replace it with an unbounded abstraction. We have no idea what we are fighting for, but it can fight back, because anytime anyone does anything destructive, he will claim “muh freedom.”
Free markets are the same way. These are a means to an end; basically, everything but free markets amounts to some type of socialism and always fails so spectacularly that we want to avoid it forevermore. Wealth redistribution — this is all that socialism is, in reality — converts thriving places to impoverished ones where half of the beets on the truck are rocks and all the potatoes go toward vodka.
Conservatives need to refocus on goals and not methods. Using methods, or “means-over-ends,” in place of goals is a Leftist trope because it enables them to replace functional things with social conceits. Applying ourselves toward purpose and goals allows us to achieve the fulfillment of conservatism, which is preserving the way of life that works out best.
Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization. Hereditary inequalities breed social and artificial inequalities; every invention or discovery is made or seized by the exceptional individual, and makes the strong stronger, the weak relatively weaker, than before. Economic development specializes functions, differentiates abilities, and makes men unequally valuable to their group. If we knew our fellow men thoroughly we could select thirty per cent of them whose combined ability would equal that of all the rest. Life and history do precisely that, with a sublime injustice reminiscent of Calvin’s God.
Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way. Utopias of equality are biologically doomed, and the best that the amiable philosopher can hope for is an approximate equality of legal justice and educational opportunity.
Instead, we might ask why we need either, since both are proxies for something else.
“Freedom” as used in the passage means the ability to not be held back by the fears of others that someone will rise above the norm and become better at something than the rest. The solution to that is not freedom, but hierarchy, so that there is a way to advance this person and give him authority. “Freedom” merely separates him from the rest in a Darwinistic sense, and so accomplishes part of the task, but there are two other tasks: giving this person the ability to exercise this ability, and limiting or removing those who are of substantially lesser ability.
When the Alt Right talks about social order, this is what they mean: no more exercise of power against one another, including rights and freedoms. Instead we need a hierarchy where each person has a place, and those who are broken are removed instead of causing the problems that we see in mass culture and liberalism. At first this sounds cruel, until one realizes that without it, we allow “the rest to oppress the best” and we end up as a disorganized mob of selfish individuals as is the norm in the modern West.
Allow me to start this post with JPW’s Cognitive Dissonance Theory on Free Trade. It gives me a nice launching pad for a discussion on freedumb versus empowering chaos. They exist in synonymy as opposite sides of an increasingly common coin. The empowering chaos is a ladder for the agile known as creative destruction. The freedumb and all of its negative externalities mordantly skulk in the back-blast area of Free Trade’s creative destruction bazooka. Just like the Valley of Ashes outside of East and West Egg in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.
Free Trade has winners and Free Trade has losers. The winners win really big. They win so big that they are the guys writing your econ text and telling you all about gains from trade and the magic of comparative advantage. The losers end up being posterized by the new economy. They get written about by cheap, evil National Review Conservatives who extol how utterly useless they are for not getting with the program.
So if you read the canonical works on international econ, you’ll hear all about the winners at Davos instead of how the Thai Bhat got ru-rued by arbitragers working for George Soros. So when you see the Thai Bhat crash or your neighbors get foreclosed on in Indy because of the glories of international trade, it leads to a dissonance. All the textbooks from that econ course where I scavenged a B-Minus told me Free Traders were the good guys. Those text books represent a narrative written by the winners. The losers are laid off and flunking out of OxyContin rehab. Their text on economic jihad would be dyspeptic at best and is about to as likely to be forthcoming in AD 2016 as George R. R. Martin’s next Song of Ice and Fire novel. The experts are all on the winning team, look like beautiful people and they express themselves so thoughtfully. The losers look like Saruman’s orc band from the 2nd LOTR Movie. Free Trade therefore must be an unalloyed good. I’m screwed up if I don’t see and extol its glories. That’s how we fail to see truth when history is written by the winners and suffered by those prostrate in ignominious, soul-crushing defeat.
So I’ve planted the seedling of an axiom athwart the elitist narrative of Anarcho-Tyranny for which Free Trade was a temporary proxy. Lighten up, Francis. Let’s hold our horses on whether potentially toxic freedom will end up being the conquering force of all history. Let’s unpack and define two terms I’ve tossed in as grenades.
Freedumb consists of the right to do stupid things, in stupid ways and *YOU* can’t make me stop doing it. Practitioners of freedumb don’t have good enough minds to prepare for chaos. They can’t see past two dimensions and add a 3rd axis for Time Preference. They are the hapless victims of Anarcho-Tyranny. Chance picks them off and fornicates them comatose like a grubby PUA with a handful of Roofie pills. The mockers go tsk-tsk-tsk. Playing stupid games will entitle you to win some stupid prizes. And as the ranks of the stupid burgeon with fresh new victims, the maintenance costs of our Amerikan orc band will increasingly stress the resources of our society.
Empowering chaos is the flip side. It’s when opportunity meets preparation. It strikes like lightning where chance interacts positively with the prepared and capable mind. Ultimately, the paths of those reveling in their heroin drip of freedumb are segregated from those that climb the chaos of Anarcho-Tyranny as their ladder out of some constraining abyss.
As the winners of this arrangement increasingly separate, it will be proven out that he who dares, wins! As our religious, nationalistic and social order fades into the twilight ether of a seemingly benighted history; those who dare will dare to be selfish. They will build that very wall they castigate Donald Trump over. It will just encompass a far smaller and more personal circumference. Peggy (((Noonan))) explains below.
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they’re living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they’re going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than non-elites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley’s off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it. I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.”
So what do? Can’t we all just feel The Bern™? Let’s just buy a few more kegs and refuel freedumb’s ongoing Visigoth Holiday. Socialism and Liberaltarianism will feed us all soma to ease the pains consequent the excesses of freedumb. We can (((tolerate))) anything to placate the louse-infested mob until our walls encompass completely our own elitist motte-and-bailey. Then why would the Eloi care whither the cretinous Moorlocks? It all works like clockwork in Brazil and Venezuela…oh, wait.
Because there will eternally be a reaction. You can consider it good, consider it evil; but must, to truly achieve ratiocination; acknowledge reaction as a component of the Tao. Man cannot tolerate long the spreading, dystopic blight of the ashen valley. It can be a controlled, thoughtful climb-down from a dangerously excited state to a more manageable ground state where we can “all just get along.” It can also explode, as a simultaneous emission, and release kilotons of destructive social energy from a point far greater than critical mass.
So let’s talk turkey about our current Anarcho-tyranny and both its positive (Empowering Chaos) and negative (Freedumb) outputs. Wealth has been created, futures and protective traditions have been destroyed in dystopic synonymy. If you don’t think outside Whig History enough to buy my Tao explanation of reaction, go back and re-read your Isaac Newton. Chaos, unleashed via Anarcho-tyranny, may serve some as a ladder. It certainly serves as a forcing vector. The reaction thereunto is implicit and mathematically necessary to describe any physical system in manner sufficient to be np-complete.
Whig-Man, by your own laws and paradigms; the reaction must be intelligently nurtured and channeled. It cannot be wished away. The return to formalistic order under the aristocracy of the capable is what will prevent the reaction from being ISIS, from being Anders Breivik or Ted Kaczynski or this coming weekend in Bulletmore, Murderland. How long? Not long. Demotism’s incestuous conjugation with Anarcho-Tyranny is amusing us all — to death.
…tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy. – Plato
Plato describes the joys of Democracy well in The Republic. Andrew (((Sullivan))) muses on what the great philosopher has to tell us about our current society.
The very rich come under attack, as inequality becomes increasingly intolerable.
Can anyone doubt that this has happened both on The Left and on The Right. George Soros wisely LBO’d both Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter so that the Leftist cattle would be herded and eventually stashed back into their veal fattening pens. The Right seems more pleasantly rogue with Donald Trump attempting to grow into the role of Optimate. With the left populists properly babysat and dominated by their Silicon Valley Overkings; the extent to which the Cathedral is threatened by resentment of the elite will be decided by one simple question. Whither/wither Right Wing Populism?
Patriarchy is also dismantled…Family hierarchies are inverted…
The end result of feminism is something that a lot of men really enjoy. They get widened sexual access and no real responsibility for the resulting offspring. For women on an intellectual, social and professional level of Carly Fiorina, feminism is a screaming buy. For those who struggle without structure and who get picked off by high time-preference, low moral fiber, sexually predatory men; this is what feminism does for them.
“A father habituates himself to be like his child and fear his sons, and a son habituates himself to be like his father and to have no shame before or fear of his parents.” In classrooms, “as the teacher … is frightened of the pupils and fawns on them, so the students make light of their teachers.”
YouTuber Tommy Sotomayor has mused on how this has worked out and chronicled it in all of its phantasmagoric detestability here, here, here, and here.
So you destroy the elite, you destroy the dad, you go rip-@ss on what’s left of the family. This ripens your society for what? Well, at first, it’s Ollie, Ollie Oxen. Free! Free! Free! But as the consequences of freedumb pile up and we begin amusing ourselves to death; we begin to see the horror. How does one react to horror? Plato, Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Williamson all opine that you ultimately get the Father Führer. I think you’re lucky if that’s as bad as it gets.
You see we’ve posited a society that is supposed to take diverse parts and fuse them like a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget into some form of workable hybrid. E Pluribus Unum, I presume. But here’s what happens instead. You get lots of people that just can’t make this work. You trust them with more power and responsibility than they will ever be worthy of. They have more freedumb than they know how to handle. It leaves this Mook to wonder “E Pluribus WTF?”
Much of contemporary ire at capitalism is in fact directed at property. Or rather, property rights. Or if we look deeply, past the wall of resentment-for-success that the Left has erected: rights themselves.
If you come out and say you are against freedom, justice and rights most people will consider you insane. That is the nature of dying empires: people insist on truths, and enforce them on each other, that are not actually true.
But let us look into rights. These are comforting because they are absolute. And as is sometimes said, any great strength is also a great weakness. That absolute nature also makes them inflexible, forcing our minds to adapt.
With rights, all aspects of life become properties. If you have a right to do something, that is a property that you can trade or sell to others. This also gives all things some form of cash value.
More sinister is that rights convert ends into means. Things like local areas, civilizations or customary practices are now “protected” by rights which means they are valuable as themselves, but not in themselves. They no longer have inherent value, but have value in trade alone.
Under rights, objects and ideas which should be ends in themselves — like civilization, nature and tradition — become simply more things that can be sold. Rights force a dollar value on everything because someone has a right to sell each part of it.
Rights exist in a sense of being timeless, mechanical and having rigid boundaries. They are like walls of language protecting us from others. They trigger automatically, like a home defense robot, and let us force society to clear other people out of our way.
But this in turn makes us agents of our rights. We no longer can do anything for the sake of doing it alone; it must be justified with rights, explained as freedom or justice, and therefore made acceptable to the other rights holders. This amounts to a dispossession of us from our own countries and land.
Yes, some laws can be made to protect things like customs and traditional areas. But these must be specific, and by their very nature they make it easier and more efficient to not engage with tradition, but to leave it behind with all of the red tape and hassle involved.
Before we had rights, we had roles. We belonged to our societies, in some capacity or another, roughly suited to our abilities. We did things because they needed doing. The things themselves thus had the rights, or were the ends, and rights were the means.
When rights passed to individuals, that process was inverted. The rights now became the ends, and everything else the means. We sacrificed our civilization to ensure that individuals had rights. And now what is left? A commercial wasteland, not because of capitalism, but because our rights made all aspects of life into property.
As with all things modern, “rights” sound good on paper until you work out the mathematics of their many effects on the objects and people around us. At that point, they look like less of a good deal, and more of a shedding of responsibility in order to consume all that we know. Today’s parties for tomorrow’s famine.
Police said the arrest should act as a warning that offensive videos would not be tolerated.
…“The clip is deeply offensive and no reasonable person can possibly find the content acceptable in today’s society.”
He added: “This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone posting such material online, or in any other capacity, that such views will not be tolerated.”
How did we get here? This is full totalitarianism: post the wrong thing, get arrested, and become unemployable for life, which is why they arrested him and put his name in every newspaper, of course.
Who cares about the video. It may be deeply stupid and offensive. It would never occur to me to watch it, anyway. But: we are arresting people for posting videos now? How did we fall so far?
With its bluster about democracy and freedom, and inability to render a functional version of either, Western Civilization has become merely comedic.
This comical farce shows the descent of intelligent people into the black hole of their own thinking, because once the principle of reality-denial (called “equality”) is erected, everything else becomes satire-worthy nonsense as well.
The reason for this comedy is that we seem oblivious to the fact that our society has come full circle. We denied the need for kings, then made little tyrant-kings out of ourselves. We wanted freedom, and instead what we have gotten is the regulation of freedom. We demanded justice and got underdogs used as a weapon against normalcy. We claim to be enlightened and educated but really we are propaganda-bots.
At this point, the toilet bowl lid is closed. The lever is being depressed, and the water is swirling. It is dark and stinky. But no one wants to be the first to notice the metal tunnel into the ground that is our fate. Keep swimming, buy something, and maybe it will all be alright.
In the hands of the Crowd, any idea becomes perverted. The only solution is to hand them purposes, and check those by results, which creates the situation they fear and try to avoid: judgment. Judgment is passed over whether a purpose was achieved, and whether the results were of the right quality, and this reflects on people. We call this accountability on a social level and responsibility on a personal one.
Free speech was quick to hit the butcher block. Originally designed to protect analytical speech — political writings, scientific publications, religious preaching and writing and art/literature — free speech quickly became perverted into permissiveness for any kind of obscenity. The trials of the 1920s adn 1950s over whether a book was art or pornography now seem obscene, but we are looking back with selection bias at the books that distinguished themselves not for the salacious nature of their content, but their literary merit. The standard used for those books was applied to books with less literary merit, at which point the standard itself became moot.
Free speech then extended to displays and acts and became a viable method for businesses to defend whatever venality they sought to put on display, and for individuals to turn political protest into loud, screaming invective which invariably led to violence. Triumph of the rabble yet again, this change created a hidden casualty, which is that people assumed angry protest was the way to influence politics, and abandoned the mechanisms of our Constitution and society for that influence. This threw power to lobbyists and others who promptly took up those methods, delighting in how they were now outside the public consciousness and thus unmonitored. The media took the hint and scrupulously ignored them as well, only in part because screaming fat half-naked people generate better headlines.
Now we have reached an age where free speech is an offensive weapon. Since free speech no longer applies to the lone individual in a creative process, but to the behavior of the screaming mob, it can be used as a weapon to displace unpopular speech. If someone says something with which you disagree, simply summon ten thousand of your friends to scream at him and call him names, then the media will report on it, and then his life is destroyed. This was the 1990s-2014 method by which liberals achieved total dominance in public life, and until GamerGate and the anti-Cuckservative backlash, it was basically accepted that once you called someone a “racist” debate was over and the Two Minutes Hate on them had begun.
Even more, the market itself has made free speech obsolete except in a negative context. Six major companies own most of the newspapers and television channels; an equal number of companies control most of the internet. If you go looking for something and it is not on the first two pages of Google search results — which, since they count popularity of a site over content, reflect the biggest sites and companies out there and in turn exclude the little ones — you will never know if it exists and certainly most people will never hear of its existence. This is how control works, but it has carefully occurred through free speech. Companies have a right to free speech and market control, and to exclude whatever they like, and individuals have the right to form hate mobs.
The originators of the concept of free speech would not have recognized the present-day version. Their goal was to avoid the excesses of Europe in the previous centuries, where overzealous leaders had blocked research, jailed people, and eventually — under leftist leadership — would murder many of them for their political views or social class. For this reason, the Americans amended their Constitution to include fundamental rights as defense of the citizen against controlling government. The first of these was free speech, which as mentioned above targeted analytical speech of an advanced level, such as political writing or literature. It was never intended as a legalization of the crass, offensive and pornographic that did not also have a serious literary or political purpose.
Our problem in interpreting free speech is the trivialization of it. Free speech protected political, cultural and artistic discourse; now it protects commerce and angry outbursts from sweaty lumpy people. Not surprisingly, it has reversed its purpose much as it has its audience; it no longer defends the Thomas Paines of our day, but the rights of others to suppress them. In the hands of the Crowd, everything becomes a weapon. Clearly we would benefit from reversing our free speech standard back to its original definition, but the larger question rises over whether “rights” — universal obligations without reciprocal obligation — themselves can ever become more than a weapon of the herd.
People love generic answers. The broader, the better. That way you can retaliate with the answer whenever a difficult question comes up, knowing that the generic nature of the answer means that it will include the issue being talked about. Something in it will address it, even if vague. Such is the case with our modern platitudes: freedom, democracy, equality, brotherhood, peace and justice. We use them as excuses not to think, and they camouflage our lack of actual goal.
“Freedom” ranks most highly as it is used by both left and right. When Islamic wackoes behead goats and rape journalists (I might have that backwards) we say they hate our freedom. When the KKK stages a rally to protest ongoing diversity crime, or a devout Christian baker refuses to decorate a cake with two men having anal sex for a gay wedding, our pundits talk about the “freedom” they are protecting by silencing these dissidents. Freedom belongs to all, you see, and so if anyone is excluded, none of us are free. It’s like being in a gang but with bigger words.
What troubles people about freedom is that it is a concept without an object. It is entirely a negative idea, which is the absence of something. Of what? Restraints, of any kind, with all of us inserting an asterisk automatically to exclude widespread taboos like child molestation, murder, rape, arson and theft. Some of freedom’s most ardent advocates find this lack of direction troubling, and try to give it a slant to the left, as mouthbreathing turnip-picking prole Kevin Carson does in an article bemoaning the lack of leftist ideological foundation to freedom:
A libertarian movement with this demographic as its core base is doomed to extinction. The reason is that these people, for the most part, aren’t interested in winning hearts and minds among the general public. They’re not interested in recognizing the concerns of poor and working people, women, LGBT people or people of color as legitimate, and showing ways that an ideology of human freedom can address those concerns in a meaningful way. They’re interested in being superior, in being the last tiny remnant of rational people who’ve not bowed their knees to the collectivist Baal.
No, pal, you don’t understand your own badly-articulated and philosophically-incoherent concept: freedom means independence from the needs of others and their ideological crusades, in addition to the choice to take up those crusades. When you defend freedom, you are defending those who will set up small towns and by mutual assent exclude any number of groups. Exclusion is one of the fundamental properties of freedom, as it is with other rights, which generally are based upon property rights (you might consider social order instead, in which every rank has a purpose and a duty to the commons in a collaboration/cooperation model). They can exclude other races, other religions, other sexualities… you name it. Welcome to freedom.
If you want to know why libertarianism is both taking off and collapsing, it is this: many of us do not want to follow the ship down under the waters. We live under a tyranny of the plurality where any group that forms a consensus on an issue wins out over those who merely want to live normal healthy lives — there’s nowhere to vote for that — and the herd tends to run away with its ideological objectives for the feelgood buzz it gets from sharing those ideas. It helps them bond, you see, because the herd is composed of generally unhappy people because most people are unhappy, resentful, self-pitying, bitter and in the grips of victimhood philosophy, mainly because if you have not found something of value in life and are not outright mentally disabled, one or more of these is almost always to blame. Very few are actually innocent victims; most are just personally disorganized and mentally incompetent to make decisions.
Those who want to impart a leftist design onto libertarianism and the concept of “freedom” forget the nature of freedom: freedom itself is independence from obligation. It means they take care of themselves, and the rest of you do the same, and if you have failed to do so, it is because you are morally deficient or simply less competent and are being eliminated by the process of Natural Selection (sounds like a second-shelf beer) which liberals love in any other context but the human. Evolution happens when the competent few can escape from the rest and finally, without interference from the insane herd, set up a better way, whether that is a farm or a classical civilization.
Leftists talk up their defense of minorities but they refuse to acknowledge the one minority throughout all of human history. That group comprises the people who think beyond the immediate, plan toward the future, study reality and make their dreams happen. Inventors, conquerors, artists, writers, philosophers and many religious leaders belong to this category. They do not slavishly adore a method like “freedom,” but instead aim toward a higher degree of civilization. This goal can both never be reached and can always be striven for, resulting in — like maturity, improvement in sports or another discipline, or organization themselves — a perpetual quest to make ourselves better.
We have 6,000 years of civilization on the books. We know what works and what does not. Good/better/best are your options; which do you choose? Leftists choose “good” with apologies, but others want to aim for better or best and to do so, they have to get away from the herd that will enforce good or “good enough” on us all so that none rise above its egalitarian level and make the rest feel bad. This is not complex politics; it’s pre-school social dynamics. And yet all of the voices in our mainstream media deny it.
The good that comes from libertarianism occurs in the frame of mind that libertarianism instills. In it, each person is responsible for their own lives and the results therein. They cannot scapegoat others. They must make of life something better than its default, and rise above the mediocre, or accept being of a lower order of ability, society, intellect, and morality in tandem. This restrains the vast majority of humanity, who are heading downward on the evolutionary curve, from restricting the others from rising above. Libertarianism also teaches the idea of engineering a better society through indirect methods.
Liberals understand one method of improvement: get funding, create an agency, and apply rules equally by force. Nature does not work with such universals. Instead, it offers particular circumstances in which an actor — person, animal, computer, civilization — can choose to rise or can adapt to its lack of ability to rise, accept the mediocre and make excuses for this failure. Liberalism is one of those excuses, and libertarian-tinged liberalism is just liberalism in another form.
In particular, the most interesting idea to come from liberalism can be found in the idea of viewing society as a corporation. It should send citizens a bill for taxes, then do something with that money which shows an actual return in physical reality. In this view, feelgood warm fuzzies from diversity programs and child protective services fall short; public schools either produce results or get replaced, much as they would in the free markets that libertarians adore. Unlike the great liberal experiment, this approach requires that we take responsibility for our future and measure it by results, not feelings.
I suspect that Kevin Carson is a bigger racist, sexist and gender-normer than those he criticizes. In their view, nature works better than okay and each race, sex and sexual orientation has a place in its order. It may not be together in one big happy, or serving in cloned assembly line part style — sorry, I mean “egalitarian” — identical roles, but it is a place. Carson fears that if liberal White Knights like himself do not intervene, these groups will die out. It is merely his pretense which is the method he and people like him would use to seize power, which is the opposite of the “freedom” concept he claims to espouse.
The herd hates it when people break away. If it has a single idea, hidden behind the rationalizations it gives for its power, the herd follows one code above all else: everyone must be included. Everyone must get along. All are part of the group.
A common argument made against any dissidence from this totalitarian standard is “But we all bleed red.” Notwithstanding the fact that this is nonsense — all mammals bleed red — it violates the most fundamental human right, which is that of exclusion. We have nothing approximating “freedom” or “liberty” until we can keep others out of what we create.
Human history shows us a repeated pattern in which a problem exists which no one can solve because their thinking is organized around an assumption that is shared through social means, e.g. “everyone agrees that the Sun revolves Earth.” Then up stands a lone dissident who sees the situation differently and comes up with a better idea. He or she is then opposed by the herd.
If you let them, the herd will destroy all good ideas in this way. Not just different ideas or new ideas, but good ones. Realistic ones. Ideas derived from observation of reality and comparison of its patterns. These ideas are frequently known — as it was known that Earth revolves the Sun — at the time when they become controversial, but are mostly hidden because most people choose to ignore them. They filter out these ideas because such ideas are not sociable, and they want to do what the others are doing.
All of human advancement comes from opposing the herd. Every society that has failed represents a victory for the herd, which promptly shouts down any good/realistic ideas and replaces them with sociable illusions. If you want your society to die, hand control to the herd. But the herd will attempt to control you with guilt, using pithy but meaningless phrases like “we all bleed red.”
The grim fact of the matter is that we as individuals are more different than we are similar, but we are not sui generis. What makes a great individual is that this individual having attained a degree of mental and moral organization that makes them powerful, not something specific to their personality. This is the opposite of individualism because the source of greatness is not in the individual, but in the surrendering of the individual to reality and absorption of the patterns of reality into the behavior of the individual. We call this process “learning.”
Most people on the other hand are narcissists. For them, reality exists to serve their idea of self, so they want to impress themselves upon reality. They tend to do this by vandalizing it with vainglorious monuments or by forcing others to conform to their vision, which allows them to pretend that their idea is objective truth. They demand equality because it protects their narcissism from being revealed for what it is, which is a negative personality trait.
With that in mind, we have two choices. We can accept everyone and watch as negative personality traits become the norm. Or, we can refuse everyone except those who have gone through the maturation process and become mentally capable enough to see narcissism for the illusion that it is. Nature does not tolerate stagnation and so we are either rising or falling. With “we all bleed red,” we are always falling.
Beyond Human Rights: Defending Freedoms
by Alain de Benoist Arktos, 117 pages, $19
This highly dangerous book contains a disturbing thesis: that the implements of democracy, namely human rights, have become a moral proposition that is obstructing the political goals of democracy including personal freedoms.
Most importantly, de Benoist also offers an option to the cancerous expansion of “human rights” as an all-encompassing goal that rapidly migrates from defending human rights to subsidizing them as a matter of outcomes.
In this longer essay but short book, he posits that a renewed focus on shared maintenance of social freedoms is a more important goal than human rights, and achieves the ideal that human rights promises but never manages to deliver.
His thesis divides social goals into two camps: moral and political. In his view, democracy and freedom are political goals, meaning that they address the whole of a society. On the other hand, human rights are an individualist goal, and thus address only the individual, helping to fragment a society.
Because moral goals are closer to the individual, they become more popular, and then over-ride any political goals. Those tend to require more thought, since one is measuring not idealized solutions but a series of cause/effect relationships and their influence over years, demographics and social institutions.
de Benoist is one of those rare people gifted with the ability to sort through a lot of technical material and make it not only clear but interesting. His approach in this book is straight out of the fifteenth century, as processed through postmodern academia: he introduces his topics in a logical outline by walking through the different thinkers of influence on each, and clarifying definitions and origins of each idea before analyzing it.
He then conducts his analysis from all angles, with compassion for the idea at hand, as if determined to bring out its best side. After that, he dissects it into its essential idea and then contrasts that to the core ideas of related ideas. The result is a process of deepening analysis which leads to a concise conclusion, which in turn leads to another comparison.
The result is a quick and informative read that takes the word-hound all over the map of ideas. In many ways, this book is a useful history more than an analysis, as it shows us how ideas both snowball and simplify to their most basic concepts over time, often in ways contrary to the intentions of their creators.
Recalling the saying of Proudhon, “‘[W]hoever invokes humanity wants to cheat,’ Carl Schmitt had already remarked that ‘[t]he concept of humanity is an especially useful ideological instrument of imperialist expansion, and in its ethical-humanitarian form it is a specific vehicle of economic imperialism.’…Historical experience shows that the best intentions can have catastrophic effects. It also shows that the right of interference never resolves any problem but tends, on the contrary, to multiply them, as one has been able to see in Kosovo, in Afghanistan or in Iraq….Hardly had the French Revolution proclaimed human rights than, to render them more effective, it instituted the Terror. (89)
This type of analysis adeptly weaves between political justifications and actual political motives, and undermines human rights like other absolutely “good” political symbols as the blank check for interference that it has become. A repeated theme of the book is how, much as William S. Burroughs said “language is a virus,” ideas are viral as well and gradually take over their hosts and obliterate the original intentions behind them.
de Benoist writes convincingly about the relationship between human rights and commerce. As he traces the concept, the emergence of human rights as an effect creates a requirement for some cause that supports those, which can only be fulfilled by a market as by defending property rights it creates a sphere of individual autonomy and yet co-existence with a working social unit, of sorts.
From this he traces the rise of modern nominalism, where human civilizations do not so much have “goals” as they have functions built around the unstated goal of maintaining a market and facilitative social sphere in which individuals project their own functions. Yet as de Benoist adroitly notes, this in turn requires a strong government to impose the facilitative vision; he repeatedly demonstrates how individualism requires collectivism and some form of oppressive enforcement in order to function.
To posit that what comes first is not the individual but the group does not at all signify that the individual is ‘enclosed’ in the group, but rather that he acquires his individuality only in connection with a social relationship which is also a constituent of his being. That does not signify either that the desire to escape despotism, coercion or ill treatment does not exist everywhere. Between the individual and the group, tensions may surge. That fact is indeed universal. But what is not at all universal is the belief according to which the best means of preserving freedom is to posit, in an abstract manner, an individual deprived of all his concrete characteristics, disconnected from all his natural and cultural affiliations. (66)
Ultimately this reveals the conflict that de Benoist seems in the evolution of human rights: human rights is an absolute that conflicts with freedoms because human rights requires strong and ideologically fanatically enforcement. The result is always “‘The emancipation of individuals…,’ observes Marcel Gauchet, ‘far from entailing a reduction in the role of authority…has consistently contributed to enlarge it.'” (83) As de Benoist illustrates, freedoms require a sense of community, while human rights destroy that community from within by their uncompromising divisive tendencies.
Arktos have chosen to issue this book in both paperback and hardcover with their usual attention to detail. There are no editing mistakes, but even more fortunately, the editors include numerous footnotes to concepts, phrases in languages other than English, and historical events so that the reader can peruse this book much as she would any modern text.
What is best about Beyond Human Rights: Defending Freedoms is that despite its gentle but persistent assault on a sacred cow, it leaves us with a sense that we may be able to find what we desire after all, if we only stop looking for it among the philosophical dead-ends that have enslaved us for centuries.