Some dogmas of the modern world are evil, and some are merely stupid. A few might actually be true. As reactionaries, we often face the choice of how widely to spread our quarrel. Do we fight all the beliefs of the Leftist establishment with which we disagree, or only the evil ones? The answer depends both on the extent of a given reactionary’s passions and also his current social status. Is it a case of saving one’s ostracism for that one issue closest to one’s heart, or a case of already feeling so cut off from one’s fellow men that one might as well let loose on everything?
I lean toward the first position myself. Patriarchy–the principle of “embodied personal dependency“–is “the hill to die on” for me, and I don’t want people getting distracted over things I don’t care about. Maybe this says more about my personality than anything else, but that’s how I see it. Staying on topic means sometimes sacrificing the pleasure of skewering bad arguments. For example, I sometimes run across bad arguments for the proposition that all races simply must have equal average intelligence. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that the claim is wrong or that most arguments for it are bad. But some are really bad arguments, and I’ve even read them coming from actual anthropologists who presumably know better. “Intelligence has nothing to do with skin pigmentation, so all races are equally smart.” (Compare: Dogs have wet noses. Humans have dry noses. There’s no connection between intelligence and nose moisture. Therefore…?) “Evolution is really slow and couldn’t possibly have affected humans differently since they left Africa.” (Therefore, all races have the same skin color?) It’s as if they’re taunting me, deliberately flashing that soft underbelly, making absurd arguments, just daring me to point it out. Do I want to offend people? Yes, but not over that! I don’t care about negro IQ. White IQ was a standard deviation lower less than a century ago (and rapid variations of IQ does seem to me a reasonable argument, by the way, for the great importance of environmental influence), and whites then were a more intelligent, creative, and civilized people than we are. Stick to the point and hate me because I want to take away your condoms and reinstate patriarchy!
The traditionalist movement should avoid unnecessary and distracting commitments, so I would recommend avoiding the formation of a conservative orthodoxy on the following:
The cause of homosexuality. Who cares?
Foreign policy. I have no beliefs here, only two strong prejudices. First, I am in favor of killing communists. Second, I oppose going to war with anyone else who isn’t already in the process of invading the U.S. I may be the only person in the world who favors neither side in the Israel-Palestine dispute. Conservatism as such has no foreign policy, except for fighting communists (which–just to make sure we’re all clear on this–I support). Since the USA is farther down the road of Leftist degradation than the PRC, even that imperative doesn’t have any straightforward application in the world today.
Global warming. We don’t have a dog in this fight. My own quite bland Throne and Altar posts on AGW generated more hostility than anything else I’ve written (anything else, that is, not having to do with our “elder brothers in faith”), but the degree of animosity seems entirely disproportionate to the degree of disagreement. (Read my consensus posts on climate change here and here before you disagree.) A climate change skeptic is someone who thinks that humanity doubling the world’s CO2 concentration (which we are doing) will raise the world’s average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius. The conventional wisdom represented by the IPCC is 2-4 degrees. These are not order of magnitude differences. To say that one of these estimates is right is to grant that the other must be plausible. Yes, there are large systematic errors in the computer models, but that doesn’t mean that they are overestimating the problem; they could be underestimating it.
Our elder brothers in faith. Few on the Right, including among the Orthosphere’s readers and contributors, can imagine that there might ever be any good reason to criticize the Jews. Compare this, for instance, to the nasty things writers and commenters here routinely say about Puritans, Episcopalians, and liberal Catholics. I disagree with your Jews-can-do-no-wrong mentality–it seems to me that they have all the foibles of a standard liberal Protestant sect, and my opinions on their influence are basically the same as Larry Auster’s–but I also realize that it’s not worth fighting and destroying the Orthosphere‘s readership over this ultimately unimportant point. Regarding this one victim minority as off limits doesn’t prevent us from making our larger case. Also, I am hopeful that demographic changes among the Chosen People, i.e. the rise of a more Orthodox strain of Judaism, will remove my apprehensions about their enormous cultural power.
Those other monotheists. There are good Christian conservatives with a variety of beliefs about Islam. Of course, all would agree that Islam is wrong to reject the revealed truths of the Incarnation and the Trinity, also that it is wrong to allow polygamy. Most of us would grant that to the extent Islam is an evil, it is less evil than liberalism, but I know some of my colleagues (e.g. Lydia) won’t even agree with that.
Obamacare. Of course, I oppose the forays of the government into subsidizing evils like contraception and abortion, but the idea espoused by some of my colleagues that forcing people to be on health insurance is somehow tyrannical is something I don’t follow.