The following are excerpted from the overview of the thought of Auguste Comte (who coined the term, “sociology”) in Irving Zeitlin, Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory, 77-85: 

“Comte saw a “deplorable state of anarchy” in his time. […] He hoped to call [his] “science” [of sociology] to the attention of statesmen who “profess to devote themselves to the task of resolving the alarming revolutionary constitution of modern societies”.

“Order and progress, which the ancients thought irreconcilable, must be united once and for all. Comte regarded it as the greatest misfortune of his time that that the two principles were regarded as contradictory. What he called the retrograde party was for order, whereas the anarchical party was for progress.”

“Comte is especially indignant at the metaphysical view that “represents all government as being the enemy of society, and the duty of society to keep up a perpetual suspicion and vigilance….”. Liberty of conscience is a dogma which had value as a weapon against theological dogmatism but is no longer useful because it can never be a positive organic principle- that is, the basis for the reorganization of society”.

‘Equality is another dogma: It has limited historical value as a weapon, but must not be turned into an absolute. It is an anarchic principle and hostile to order, as is the dogma of the “sovereignty of the people”, which condemns the superior to dependence on the masses and opposes reorganization on different principles”.

“Comte despised intellectual anarchy and regarded it as the main cause of social disunity…True moral order, Comte believed, “is incompatible with the existing vagabond liberty of individual minds if such license were to last; for the great social rules which should become customary cannot be abandoned to the blind and arbitrary decision of an incompetent public without losing all their efficacy”. Comte feared and disliked social criticism and its disorganizing results. Criticism of the traditional patriarchal family, for example, had led to the legalization of divorce, and hence to personal and domestic disorder. Questioning and criticizing time-honored institutions is destructive and threatens to undermine all social life.”

“As Comte proceeds in his exposition of social statics, he considers the individual, the family, and society, “the last comprehending in a scientific sense, the whole of the human species, and chiefly, the whole of the white race”. Not the individual but the family is the true social unit, because the family is the school of social life. Man is a social being whose social nature is formed in the family context…The subordination of women is natural and will continue in the new society…”Sociology will prove that the equality of the sexes, of which so much is said, is incompatible with all social existence”.”

I originally taught myself politics many years ago by reading a lot of cuckservative thinkers. From them I learned to think of Comte as some kind of diabolical supervillain and pioneering architect of Leftism. It is likely that this characterization came to them as a hand-me-down from somebody who really was a Leftist supervillain, but one dear to the hearts of the cuckservatives- namely John Stuart Mill, who described Comte’s thought as “the most complete system of spiritual and temporal despotism that ever issued from the brain of any human being” (quoted in Zeitlin. p.85). And now I know just why. Live and learn, as they say.


14 thoughts on “Wtf I Love Auguste Comte Now: Another Red-Pill Moment for Me

  1. (A) Comte was diabolical. Have you seen the “calendar of saints of progress”? It’s a grotesque travesty.

    (B) Mill was an enthusiastic Comtean; you should read his essay outlining Comte’s system, it’s actually very good (and very informative). His letters back and forth with Comte are also interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, I admit I over-stated it dramatically- I almost forgot about the insane parts. Comte is a complex case, but then again so is every Modern thinker really worth reading. Many of his ideas although flawed (sometimes to the point of the depraved) nonetheless need to be revisited and taken very seriously.

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      1. Comte was in many ways the Yudkowsky of his day. I suppose we may well wish our generation’s Yud was one-tenth as interesting or on-hundredth as conservateur as the original, but Comte is still a leader of a deranged progressive cult.

        What is most interesting in Comte is his methodological ideas, both in terms of the systematic interrelationship of the sciences (a crisp statement of a fairly old idea) and in terms of his ideas on sociological method in particular (a very fresh approach, combining disparate elements from Bacon, Hegel, and the Encyclopédistes into a characteristically literal-minded doctrine).

        Part of the problem, though, is that the very parts of his “sociologie” that are most vividly crafted are the most pozzed. His causal holism is the immediate precursor of “It’s dey culcha”. His three-stages theory is the immediate precursor of /r/atheism.

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      2. I’m not sure what you mean by “it’s dey culcha”- but culture stands at the apex of the hierarchy of control of a social system, playing a role roughly analogous to the operating system of a computer. Do you mean to argue that cultural determinism is pozzed, and if so, why?

        Yes, the idea of the “positive” stage to follow the “metaphysical” stage has to be one of the stupidest ideas ever; here Comte might as well have invented the fedora. The concept of the “metaphysical” stage, though, does seem descriptively adequate to what we’ve been in since the Enlightenment, since that time unable to define just why all men are equal or the arc of history bends towards justice without relying on dubious metaphysical props that increasingly assume the form of unstated and unstatable assumptions.

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      3. By “it’s dey culcha” I’m referring to the extreme form of sensationalism (opposition to innate ideas) opened up by Locke, pursued in an extreme form by his acolytes (esp. Condillac and Tracy), taking up by Marx, and now retconned by progressive liberalism into the Zero-th Amendment: all peoples are created equal, all differences in adult outcomes result from upbringing/education, inequality of outcome automatically proves some prior inequality of opportunity.

        (This, of course, is the justification for Comte’s abandoning his “resolution and composition” approach to the sciences when he reaches la sociologie itself. There are no underlying laws for sociology to discover which are not rewritten in the upbringing of each subsequent generation.)

        >here Comte might as well have invented the fedora

        lol, I pray I live to see the day where someone uses this line in their survey-course lectures

        >The concept of the “metaphysical” stage, though, does seem descriptively adequate to what we’ve been in since the Enlightenment…

        An enormous topic in itself (whether considered wrt the descriptive adequacy of Comte’s formulation of the “stage” or in its own right). If you ever want to kick around ideas about this over e-mail, hit me up

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  2. Yes, J.S. Mill is the arch-villain of epic proportions. If there ever was a guy to blame for subverting classical liberalism and turning it into progressivism, it was him.

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  3. Ideologies that tamper with natural creations, such as the jury-rigged, organically grown entities we call cultures, should act with care and caution before they bring out the scalpel …

    … and they always seem to go for the butcher’s knife, don’t they? Or the huge machete even?

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  4. Dear Doug,

    I find your articles are one of the deepest and most thought-provoking in the Reactosphere, and that means mostly everywhere right of the center. My other favorite is Darwinian Reactionary, whose Millikanite philosophy demonstrates very well what is wrong with modern philosophy. If you have the time look up his blog, I think his philosophy could be linked to your philosophy.

    I was very much surprised, in a positive way, by the idea that the old meaning of liberty was precisely personal power. It really makes a whole lot of things more understandable. Just like back then with Copernicus, I am not yet 100% sure it is true but it seems to make a very useful model at least.

    I would like to ask two questions.

    1) This is why conservative people tend to like things that mean personal power, such as a car instead of public transport or a bicycle, carrying a gun, and being physically strong and fit? And this is why liberals not? If so, can you recommend other things in this personal power increasing category that are 1) doable in the short run and on the personal level 2) probably lead to having a better life 3) undermine the leftist system somewhat? Being self-employed, starting a business sounds like another good candidate. What else?

    2) I remember someone (maybe you) quoted an old NR article saying that the concept of small government today may mean measurements like how high % of GDP is government spending, but the old, traditional meaning of small government was a government that cuts with the grain existing in society, not against it. And linking this to your concept of personal power, one of the most basic grains to cut with is simply accepting dominance hierarchies arising out of people having inequal amount of ability to harm and hurt each other. This does not mean accepting utter tyranny of the strong over the weak, it means codifying their relationship, their rights and duties in the way that reflect this fact. For example, traffic laws in Europe are rather extremely pro-pedestrian, to the extent that people are now quite oblivious and walk in front of a garage buried in their phone, not taking care that they could step in front of a car driving out. So basically the question that law must answer is on whom is most (never all) of the onus of avoiding a pedestrian getting hit by a car: the pedestrian or the motorist? And the answer is that a man armored in a ton of fast moving steel is naturally dominant over a walking man, simply because he is more dangerous for the other than vice versa. The natural instinct is that the pedestrian bewares the car more than the car driver takes care to not hit him. The car driver has personal power. This is not 100%, of course drivers must be careful too, but naturally something like 70-30, 60-40. When the law turns it into something 30-70, it is cutting against the grain.

    Another good example was the fag system in British grammar schools, the young boys, called fags (no relation to the American slur, a fag most often means a cigarette in Britain) served the fagmasters, the older boys, the fagmasters protected the young boys from bullying. If a young boy gets bullied he talks to his fagmaster who talks with the fagmaster of the bully who, perhaps, in his own age category may be a bully too, but he will surely derive little pleasure for allowing little boys to bully each other so he is likely to put a stop to it. In my school only teachers had a personal power to stop bullying so when they were on a coffee cigarette break, things got rough quickly.

    What do you think about this approach? Small government means find the person who is likely to have, due to unequal ability to cause harm, some personal power over some other, like a husband who could easily defeat his wife in a fist-fight. Codify their relationship, the dominant stays dominant but will not be allowed to be abusive, and will owe protection from others to his charge, while the other person owes service and obedience, but not to exploitative levels, and their basic rights and dignity must not be violated. This would be the recipe for small government. What do you think?

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    1. Thanks for the kind words! Your comment could not have come at a better time; I’m just finishing up a thorough reading of an old book, Karl Ludwig von Haller’s “Restoration of Political Science”, which treats this very subject at enormous length and hope to write an extensive exposition soon, which should appear both here and at Thermidor Magazine within the next two or so weeks. Haller proposes a theory of human natural sociability in which dominance hierarchies form spontaneously wherever human beings interact as those who are weaker in some way attach themselves to those who are stronger in some way in order satisfy some need they cannot satisfy on their own, thus forming relationships that are asymmetrical but voluntary and mutually beneficial. Sovereignty, in this conception, exists wherever some actor (individual or corporate), having accumulated enough resources of various types to make himself/itself independent and answerable to no superior, uses the personal resources at his disposal in order to exchange various types of favours he is in a privileged position to provide (such as protection) in exchange for payments or other services rendered by his dependents through various contracts he enters into with those dependents. According to Haller, this makes for very small government, since this type of ruler enacts relatively few general laws and the subjects generally remain free to do whatever they want outside of the terms of service of the contract. Haller argues that such relationships tend to be self-ordering and self-stabilizing and only exceptionally become abusive (since the exchange is not purely utilitarian, but creates affective and moral ties between superior and inferior). But they do sometimes become abusive, as any power relation can, and it is of the essence for religion to do whatever it can to try to get both the Sovereign and the subjects to voluntarily conform to Natural and Divine laws in their conduct towards one another. Religion is singularly competent to prescribe appropriate rights and duties to both parties while simultaneously preserving the hierarchical character of the relationship and respecting the temporal independence of the superior man, who of necessity cannot be legally tried in his own courts or otherwise compelled to act by juridico-political means.

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  5. Also, re: how to increase personal power, in light of Haller, an answer would be to cultivate some talent or accumulate some resources that can be parlayed into making other people depend on you. Haller argues that such relationships exist at every level and in every walk of life great or small, and that the only thing that makes the Sovereign different from anybody else upon whom people depend is that the Sovereign is not dependent on anyone else in turn.


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