Furthest Right

Hobbes Versus Kant, Or How Cosmopolitanism Destroys Us

The Left likes to bring up talking points that are designed to program your mind to be favorable toward the Leftist agenda. Their most recent talking point has them bemoaning how divided Americans have become and how partisan and acrimonious politics is.

If you read between the lines, it becomes clear that this statement of theirs is a passive-aggressive attack. A conservative won, therefore the country is divided because it is not fully Leftist anymore. Even more, they are urging us to stop being what we are, and instead to compromise… which, since the Left never gives up any ground, means effectively going full Leftist.

A more sensible viewpoint is for us to observe that history is cyclic. Much as individual humans shuttle between delusion and stability, societies rocket back and forth between stability and instability. When working ideas that create order are found, societies become stable, but then they forget, and so must decline and hopefully rise again.

We are fighting the Civil War all over again. That war, which Leftist zombies insist was about slavery, was a clash of civilizations between a non-urban/traditional South and an urban/cosmopolitan North. Cities make people anonymous, and cosmopolitanism means they reject the idea of a single standard of behavior and values.

The South wanted social order, and the North wanted to exert control over the part of the country which made the raw material upon which the city depended. Without conquering the farms, the city was unstable.

Cities, after all, do not produce anything; they “add value” by taking raw materials and converting them into products, most of which are sold on the basis of convenience or novelty more than quality. This makes them unstable because they require people different than them whose values conflict with theirs.

Country values after all are realistic, or based on achieving production and defending against real threats; city values are social, or based on making others like you enough to succeed in the popularity contest of life. These two clash because social popularity is based in ironic denial of reality, or perhaps even reality defiance.

The two are thus opposites. City people like that which makes a group happy, where country people like what works. The same division that sparked the Civil War lives on today, as the Left-leaning cosmopolitans attempt to deny the Right-leaning realists, resulting in a new fundamental division of the United States:

He said he found the current political and cultural moment, “deeply, deeply, deeply disturbing,” and lamented how there seemed to be an impassable political divide between the coasts and the middle of the country.

“That disconnect is very, very sad,” he told me. “It’s a seemingly molecular disconnect.”

Hint to the USA: you will win zero wars this way. You will build zero new industries. In fact, you will do nothing but become a Brazil- or Russia-styled failed state. There is no future here, unless you like suicide, but democracies normally self-destruct at about this point in the cycle, so maybe it is unavoidable.

A seemingly molecular disconnect accurately describes what happens to a nation when two groups compete for power, one of which is based on order and nature, and the other of which derives its power from human opinion, feeling, and conversation. The two groups want different civiliations; there is no middle point except delaying the inevitable.

The root of this originates in two different perspectives. In one, symbolized by Hobbes, life is exactly as it appears in nature, mainly a competition for adaptation and supremacy. In the other, symbolized by Kant, life consists of an application of reason to avoid all of that terrifying nature stuff, even thought reason usually reflects how people justify and explain their actions, rather than the impetus that informed those actions.

In the Kantian view, people are basically good and can be programmed to do better; in the Hobbesian view, sort of like that of the Calvinists, people are different, with most of them being simply opportunists who will lie, cheat, and steal if not supervised by others.

We can observe the contrast between Hobbes and Kant in different political philosophies:

Bolton’s public career, and his writings in COMMENTARY and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, make it clear that he sees the life of nations as nasty and brutish (and sometimes tragically short). Bolton doesn’t subscribe to the alternative, Kantian vision, according to which the expansion of law’s dominion is supposed to render war obsolete. John Kerry would disdainfully describe Bolton as a “19th-century” mind, but the new national security adviser might well take that as a compliment. After all, our geopolitics today in many ways resemble the era of great-power rivalry and competing spheres of influence.

Kant could be seen as the ultimate extension of the Renaissance™ and Enlightenment,™ a thinker who believed that thinking could conquer all problems independently of the social hierarchy we set up in order to give our most realistic people the most power.

Hobbes, like Machiavelli and Aurelius, comes to us from the slightly pessimistic grim realistic camp where one can recognize the real source of scarcity in our world, which is a paucity of good people and an overwhelming number of mediocre but over-confident ones.

Our time went far into the Kantian vision, forgetting even his warnings about how it can be misinterpreted, and as a result forgot that the differences between humans are more important than even the similarities. Nationalism works; elitism works; an informed and benevolent misanthropy and xenophobia works. People are not inherently good.

Since we rejected all of those older notions, we have become obsessed with forcing their destruction upon our society. We overthrew the kings, abolished social classes, removed gender roles, and finally, invited the world in so that we might formalize our obliteration of natural inequality. And still we are unequal, and now also mediocre.

Returning to the first article, we should look at something few people want to mention, which is that working for the system is quite profitable:

Shalom introduced me to Jennifer Cook, 49, a Clinton voter. Cook, who said her family earns more than $200,000 a year—including dividend income from a family business—cited a “malaise” that has gripped her and her friends since Trump entered office. Is there anything Trump could do to win her over? “Nothing,” she said. “Absolutely nothing.”

Next, I chatted with Rod Morrison, 66, a British expat who became a U.S. citizen in 1994. Morrison also still supports Clinton, despite the buzzing business at his marketing company, where the majority of his clients are Republicans. He had come to the co-op to return some vegan cat kibble for Daisy, his aging tabby. Recently, his wife had switched Daisy to raw rabbit, which she seemed to enjoy. “Pascal won’t touch it, but Daisy and Mr. Rat gobble it up!”

Like Morrison, everyone I met seemed to be financially well off, a sign of just how much money is still sloshing into pockets of Blue America. In my quest to understand this brand of voter, I visited Chelsea Market, an upscale, enclosed urban food court. Sort of like a food court you’d find at a mall in Indianapolis, except without Chick-fil-As or Wetzel’s Pretzels. In their places stood establishments such as Corkbuzz Wine Studio and The Green Table, which, according to its advertising, was “one of the city’s first farm-to-table restaurants.” It served “farmer’s market salads and daily soups, along with sustainably-raised fish, pasture-raised poultry and grass-fed beef.”

Just like the North, the city people have found that it is profitable to work from the social angle. Those who are popular, or work with what is popular, receive more money than those who focus on creation. They also learn to defend their interests by insisting upon a cosmopolitan order that excludes non-cosmopolitans from power.

If you wonder why the current American political scenario is as it is, this divide explains it. The city people want a classless society where the most crass can become powerful, and they know how to manipulate each other so each intends to do it, and they want it to be multicultural to destroy the last of that dirt people culture.

Us dirt people — out here in the suburbs, the exurbs, the rural areas, and really anywhere people create something with hands or brain — want nothing to do with the mechanistic, chaotic, cultureless, and soulless city existence. To us, it is chopping life into little bits and living in cubicles, missing the bigger point.

The two cannot coexist. The Left wants to bully us into centrism and compromise, but that really means just letting the city people have their way. All of our values conflict with theirs. This puts us on a collision course, and guarantees that the country as it was cannot exist further in the future.

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