One of the most striking things I have ever heard uttered in American politics in my life was Hillary Clinton’s now-infamous recent characterization of the White working-class partisans of Donald Trump- a figure, for the time being, firmly established in the public consciousness as the voice through which the White working class speaks- as a “basket of deplorables” who are “irredeemable”, and moreover “are not America”. Read more
What do you get when you take a pitcher full of 18th. century European police-State and stir in some vintage Enlightenment ideology all the rage in fashionable high-society circles at the time? You get what was called “Enlightened despotism”– an especially toxic cocktail in which the inflamed self-aggrandizing hubris of modern Statism at its worst combines with the technocratic and Utopian wish-fulfillment beliefs of modern intellectuals at their worst to create a new kind of sociological poison, which I rigorously term a sociolytic. Read more
The principle that “the wise shall govern the strong” is a law of Nature so basic that human society is inoperable and indeed altogether inconceivable without it. Democracy as such is an illogical Utopian fiction that doesn’t exist anywhere and cannot. In human society anywhere we find it, men in the physical flower of their youth allow themselves to be bossed around by senior men they could easily overwhelm, and legitimate authority assumes the form of a pyramid such that positions of authority, by definition, are fewer to the extent that the scope of authority attached to them is greater. These arrangements are universally justified, one way or another, by the mutual belief that the seniors and the few are more knowledgeable in important respects than the juniors and the many, and therefore rightfully direct the action of the social whole. Read more
The alt-right hardly needs introduction; by this point, its reputation precedes it. Notorious for its transgressive (and uproariously funny) online humour, its crudely insolent and crass populism, its over-wrought conspiracy theories, its facile opinions on race and nation, and its often puerile notions concerning the relationship between the sexes, it is, for all that, a fully-fledged political force right now. While an absolutely unorganized congeries internally, it has nonetheless come to be represented at the level of American national politics by Donald Trump, who in his public style, if not exactly his policy preferences, appears to be its organic political embodiment- and who, it so happens, is the Presidential candidate for one of the two historic governing parties in that country. It has accordingly, if unintentionally, been explicitly acknowledged by the opposition and its propagandists, with the result that the alt-right now has presence in the national consciousness as a household word in ordinary political discourse alongside established categories like “progressive” or “conservative”. Read more
I have already attempted to draw your attention to the philosophical roots of the looming crisis of the State, and wish to direct your further attention to the subject here. You are worldly men of action with precious little time for the luxury of reflection; as such, you may scorn philosophy as so much useless speculation, a fitting pursuit perhaps for some mousy ascetics in ivory towers far removed from the fray of practical affairs, but beneath the dignity of those tasked with getting things done in the real world. And I would readily concur, if there were nothing more to the liberal arts than that. But all practical action is informed by a philosophy. Contra the absurd “materialist” teachings of Karl Marx, the intellect regulates the actions of the physical body that acts, not the other way around; and the intellect, unable to rely on what is innate to it in affairs as complex as politics, is in turn regulated by a philosophy imbued in the intellect through outside learning. Read more
I am but a lowly private citizen, a nobody who represents nobody, who speaks for nobody, and who writes for almost nobody; but I am nonetheless taking it upon myself to point a finger of indictment at you, the public men, the “masters of the universe”, the incumbents of political power.
Please do not mistake my intentions here. I am not some kind of naive and unworldly moral crusader horrified to have discovered that men as we find them sometimes vie for power, prestige, and influence; I am not St. Augustine come to exhort you that Man was originally made for animal husbandry and not lordship; and I am no Utopian daydreamer urging you to step down and let the State wither away in the interest of human “liberation” and the establishment of a land of Cockaigne where everybody says and does whatever pleases them. Read more
Ideology is often thought of simply as factually false information: something that lies, distorts, cooks up non-existent data and then presents it as fact while suppressing actual fact, and so on. This sense of the word, “ideology” is synonymous with propaganda, considered as intentional and calculated efforts to deceive and disinform in the form of e.g. biased media coverage, junk science, disingenuous advertising, political rhetoric, etc. designed to mislead public opinion on this or that issue of the day.
At another, level, more profound and insidious than that of mere propaganda, ideology exerts its influence less by fabricating or suppressing facts than by shaping how the individual subject of ideology makes sense of the morass of facts given in sensory experience. At this level, ideology is less a matter of outright deformation of the factual than of its interpretation, and relies less on mendacious concealment of inconvenient facts than on shaping the perceived significance of those same facts. Read more
If you’re going to do something, the old metics said, you might as well do it right. By this they meant that even if what it is that you’re doing isn’t optimal with respect to your ultimate ends or purposes, you’ll still wind up better off if you do it correctly rather than incorrectly. If what you’re doing is in enough agreement with right Reason to be said to have a nature, by conforming to that rational nature in design and execution you’ll end up with something that has the image of the Divine in it; something that has its own proper virtues, even if those virtues aren’t exactly the most efficient means of getting you where you want to be; and, if nothing else, you’ll at least get to partake in the old metic’s pride in a job well-done.
From the start, the USA constituted itself as a Liberal democracy, and in the design and execution of both its formal written Constitution and its national customs and traditions strived to be as consistently Liberal as it could be. Liberalism, of course, is destined to end up at destructive cross purposes with the proper ends of State and society- and yet, done right, it has certain undeniable virtues all its own. Read more
President Trump has assumed undisputed charge of the Republican Party. I say President Trump in advance of the results of the forthcoming Presidential election, not as a forecast, but as a statement of present fact- for he already is President, having been elected by an authority higher than any pithy democratic ballot-box, namely Spirit (in the Hegelian sense of the term). Read more
Ever wonder just why it is that folks on the Left get so easily outraged and personally offended when somebody disagrees with them? To be sure, everybody has felt at least a little disgust and opprobrium towards ideas they believe immoral and depraved, eye-rolling exasperation at ideas that are blatantly illogical or otherwise in error, heat in a debate, and so on like that. These sentiments are all perfectly natural and, when properly ordered, indeed healthy. But the Left seems to have a special propensity to take dissenting thoughts and points of view as urgently threatening even where they concern only minor points of order, and react to them with horror and loathing morbidly exaggerated beyond due proportion, less because of any particular contents of those thoughts and points of view than simply that they dissent and disagree with the (actual or supposed) Leftist consensus. Thus it happens, for example, that SJWs ostentatiously affect being grievously traumatized by the mere fact that some speaker gave a public lecture on campus, even though none of the putative victims actually attended the lecture or even had any idea what it was supposed to have been about aside from having heard that the speaker was critical of the agenda of the Left in some way. Read more