Regular readers know that my approach is “realism,” or measuring results and not intentions. It sounds like a made-up word, realism, but it constitutes a complete philosophical approach: observe reality and adapt to it, then discipline the mind to that.
This gets us around the problem of having to enforce conformity. Most human systems follow the basic archetype of setting a (universal) Right Way to do things, and then forcing everyone to obey it, instead of the natural selection approach of seeing what succeeds and then keeping that around.
Plato uses this method as an example in his analysis of civilization and how to preserve it, suggesting that the usual human method is intended to opposes anarchy and disorder:
The main principle is this — that nobody, male or female, should ever be left without control, nor should anyone, whether at work or in play, grow habituated in mind to acting alone and on his own initiative, but he should live always, both in war and peace, with his eyes fixed constantly on his commander and following his lead; and he should be guided by him even in the smallest detail of his actions — for example, to stand at the word of command, and to march, and to exercise, to wash and eat, to wake up at night for sentry-duty and despatch-carrying, and in moments of danger to wait for the commander’s signal before either pursuing or retreating before an enemy; and, in a word, he must instruct his soul by habituation to avoid all thought or idea of doing anything at all apart from the rest of his company, so that the life of all shall be lived en masse and in common; for there is not, nor ever will be, any rule superior to this or better and more effective in ensuring safety and victory in war. This task of ruling, and being ruled by, others must be practiced in peace from earliest childhood; but anarchy must be utterly removed from the lives of all mankind, and of the beasts also that are subject to man.
The usual human method seems like the correct response to the threat of anarchy, or more properly individualism, in which each person does what they want — this does not overlap fully with what they need — and shatters social unity, resulting in the undoing of civilization.
For those of us who are nihilists, the usual human method seems ridiculous, because people are simply what they are, and they are not equal. You will not find n+1 honest cops for n citizens, no matter how you try, and most people will not understand the affirmative steps they need to take. You can make them avoid the bad, but unless you watch their every movement and make enlightened suggests, you cannot make them do the good.
Nihilists recognize that there are no universal truths, values, or symbols. We are a variety of realist, but unique in this recognition; other realists still hope for the universal law that forces everyone to do the right thing, like an assembly line in a factory. Nihilists recognize that some methods of adaptation work better than others, so there is a right thing within each civilization according to its environment and potential; however, we realize that not everyone can achieve the mental process that allows them to visualize, understand, and act accordingly.
Thus we suggest something even more “fascist,” which is limiting the power of people based on their abilities, and suppressing the vast herd of people who are imitating each other and acting out for their own convenience. Traditionally done via caste systems, this consists of a social hierarchy in which the people who share both high moral values and high mental ability become the leaders, and society follows their guidance and aesthetics instead of that of the turbulent mob below.
The mob, in retaliation, comes up with a new form of (universal) Right Way: individualism, but for all, which translates into a slough of terms like pluralism, humanism, collectivism, utilitarianism, and of course, egalitarianism.
For them, the easiest selling point is equality. “Don’t you want to be able to do what anyone else can do?” appeals to the fearful and defensive in every human animal, and it is hard to take a stance against it without looking unsociable or outright anti-social (nihilists do not worry about the latter).
This quickly becomes popular and creates the death spiral of mob rule. Individualism becomes the standard gradually, expanding each time they find someone who could not do what anyone else could do, and soon all customs, behaviors, beliefs, standards, values, and ideals are abolished.
It takes centuries to hit.
A realist conservative stops looking for the (universal) One Right Way and instead focuses on the question of what is real, which requires rejecting the utilitarian idea that whatever most people think is true should be officially true. Two conditions define realism:
There are two general aspects to realism, illustrated by looking at realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties. First, there is a claim about existence. Tables, rocks, the moon, and so on, all exist, as do the following facts: the table’s being square, the rock’s being made of granite, and the moon’s being spherical and yellow. The second aspect of realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties concerns independence. The fact that the moon exists and is spherical is independent of anything anyone happens to say or think about the matter.
In other words, a reality outside of our heads exists, is consistent, and is independent of our intentions, judgments, feelings, emotions, and thoughts about it. It is real. It is not universal, in that not all perceive it the same way, but we are all ruled by its patterns and consequences within it. From that comes the shorthand for (political) realism, which is the notion that we measure our actions by their consequences and not our intentions or the reactions of others to them.
Conservatism, on the other hand, consists of two other planks: we preserve the best of all time, or what we see as eternally good in terms of adaptation. From this we get the formula of conservatism, which is measuring by consequences in order to determine what has worked, and having some transcendent appreciation for the order of nature in order to determine what is “best,” or produces maximal quality results over the longest span of time.
This clashes with the basis for all modern philosophies, utilitarianism:
Act consequentialism is the claim that an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion.
These claims are often summarized in the slogan that an act is right if and only if it causes “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” This slogan is misleading, however. An act can increase happiness for most (the greatest number of) people but still fail to maximize the net good in the world if the smaller number of people whose happiness is not increased lose much more than the greater number gains. The principle of utility would not allow that kind of sacrifice of the smaller number to the greater number unless the net good overall is increased more than any alternative.
Classic utilitarianism is consequentialist as opposed to deontological because of what it denies. It denies that moral rightness depends directly on anything other than consequences, such as whether the agent promised in the past to do the act now.
Classic utilitarianism is closer to pure consequentialism, or measuring by results instead of intentions and social factors. It becomes part of utilitarianism, which backdoors in the idea that we measure in terms of numbers of people instead of intangible orders.
If you want to know what traditional society is, start looking into the idea of intangible orders such as nature, culture, faith, and aesthetics. In these, people served as parts of a greater whole, and the biggest unit in civilization was that whole; in a utilitarian society, the biggest unit is the individual.
This outlook clashes thoroughly with egalitarianism, and that is why you do not see it mentioned in our time. Modernity is defined by its move toward utilitarianism, displacing the notion of larger orders such as those that might make by birth some men kings and some peasants.
Realist conservatives, on the other hand, affirm that egalitarianism cannot work in any of its three-headed glory (democracy, consumerism, and social popularity; the use of these is sometimes called demotism but is more accurately described as utilitarianism). This places us in total conflict with modernity in all of its forms, and explains why we do not make it into the mainstream.
The above simply covers our philosophical viewpoint, not any of the cultural, political, and social ideas downstream of it. However, it also serves as a dividing line. One one side are the realist conservatives who will inherit the future, and on the other, the mainstream conservatives and Leftists who want to maintain the status quo.
Utilitarianism became recognized during the peasant revolts, was seen in practice with the Mongol invasions that followed, was given intellectual legitimacy during The Enlightenment,™ became official policy with the French Revolution, and was then granted total control during a succession of wars and revolutions from 1830-1945 which established egalitarianism as the only principle we had in common in our governments in the West.
People went along with it because it seemed to be succeeding, but that stopped in 2008 when the economy crashed yet again despite all of our policies attempting to prevent it. Not only that, but other Leftist programs had reached terminal failure as well, and people started to notice how much money was siphoned out of the economy — a safe bet is about a third — to fund government and its entitlements programs.
Many noticed that for years we had existed in the state of being an echo chamber. We declared our ideological objectives, and everyone got rich fulfilling them, although as soon as the income taxes kicked in we started having recessions. No one noticed, or failed to pretend not to notice, and so the system just kept chortling along, covering the world in suburbs, fast food, parking lots, and a new anti-culture based not on your nation but the (universal) One Right Way.
Humanity left realism fully behind, and went into ideology, or theories about how the world “should” be in human terms instead of realist actions leading to our adaptation to our environment. This caused us to reject realism, and turned our public conservatives into conservative-flavored liberals.
We have trashed our world, destroyed our national cultures, ruined our genes pools, and enslaved ourselves to paychecks and tax debt, all in pursuit of the (universal) One Right Way that consisted of human intentions, or the desire for each individual to be able to do anything.
Our only solution lies in escaping ideology and going back to realism, which will necessarily bring in conservatism as we look at the past to see what has worked best, and displace those things which do not work as well. This is the future; Leftism is the past.
Tags: conservatism, fascism, plato, realism, realist conservatism, utilitarianism