Nominalism & Genocide

If nominalism is true, and there are no universals, then there is no God; for, God is the very universal of universals, the sum and source of the whole category of the universals, and so he is the universal in virtue of whom all other universals subsist, and operate, and participate.

If there is no God, then there is no image of God. In that case, men are not made in that image, or for that matter in the image of any other universal – such as, e.g., the universal, “human nature.” There is then nothing to man but whatever we happen to call man, for whatever reason, or no reason.

It is not surprising, or shouldn’t be, that early moderns apprehended the deletion of an objective human nature and the objective human excellence such a nature inevitably entails as a liberation, and an opening of man’s awareness to a radically honest, clear-sighted and simply rational reckoning with what he truly is – whatever that might happen to be. Not that such a reckoning had never before been possible, for of course it had, always. The difference between the moderns and their forefathers is that the latter had seen with clear eyes that man truly is sinful, Fallen, in need not only of moral reformation but of salvation. It was the rejection of sin as an objective ontological category that the moderns felt as liberating. The modern age began when nominalism matured to the point where the philosophes could recognize, and indeed feel, that because human nature did not exist, nor therefore need any thought of propriety thereto ever constrain conduct. The modern age, that is to say, began when intellectuals could cogently argue from first principles they found credible that man is *not* sinful.

But then, if there be no fixed human nature, no beautiful ideal of human excellence that beckons us, and to which we ought to aspire (and, indeed, innermostly and foremostly *want to achieve,* as being the best fulfillment of our sort of being that is possible to us), then we are whatever we might happen to be, *and nothing more.* There is then nothing more really to be said about what it might properly mean to be a human being, or what sorts of acts that propriety might entail. Nominalism then implies antinomianism; ergo, it implies the death of thought, and so of all deliberation, all that long struggle to understand reality and to conform our acts thereto, in which all our conscious life consists, and by which it perdures.

When nominalism deletes the imago dei, then, it deletes all of human morality, all limit on behavior, and thus all human order, whether social, moral, or even physiological. Then even the constraints on our acts set by our own innate bodily preferences, which we cannot modify but rather only discover as the first foreconditions of our concrete feelings, are as nothing. Does your body want to avoid pain, and seek pleasure? What of that? A fig to the dumb, unsophistical loves of the body! Suppress them, for the sake of whatever is at hand! On with the floggings, the tortions, and the cutting!

What happens when we jettison the imago dei? What happens when men are, as the archetypal post-modern expression has it, “whatever”?

Men and their babies are then nothing but clumps of tissue, meat machines, animals that may be deleted at whim, individually or en masse, by anyone. Such deletions, furthermore, are without moral valence or character. They are nothing more than the adventitious outworking of the endless and (therefore) meaningless contest of all with all, of the random flux of the will to power. Are there some who feel still some scruple about the mass murder of this or that category of human animal? Such old fashioned folks are holdovers, alas, still laboring under the illusion that there are such things in reality as scruples, the poor things. Such moral knucklewalkers are on the list of low men, that will all, sooner or later, be destroyed by the incorrigible, random flux of history, through the agency of those enlightened ones among its survivors who end up discovering that, lo, they happened to be on the right side of it.

Once we shall have firmly abandoned the imago dei, and all the countless ways our mental habits, our customs and laws still presuppose it, we may look forward to an enlightened and ruthlessly rational social order, in which all the misfits are quickly killed, or else enslaved and killed slowly, step by tiny step.

 

41 thoughts on “Nominalism & Genocide

  1. Pingback: Nominalism & Genocide | Neoreactive

  2. Liberalism’s denial of man’s imago dei leads us to inhumanity and at heart their’s is no different to the perpetrators of senseless genocide in the century past. Look your tyrants in the eyes and see that they are the same. Western leaders like Barack Obama are no morally different in their outlook than Stalin. They may not employ the same method, madness, or even political ideology, but at root their perception of man is the same. He is an animal, to be used for the ends of ‘progress’. If he cannot be used, it is just best to remove him from the system entirely. Some do this, some don’t, and some wish they could.

  3. There is no God, but a man of vision, a special man, can become a God, and to him all is permitted, all is forgiven, and all is heroic. I think this sums up German Romanticism, and it does not deny morality, far from it, it affirms the ultimate morality, the possession and right of the very few. Whom we must obey, or they will kill us. Unless we kill them first.

    • As a synecdoche of German Romanticism, that rings true. But if that’s so, then German Romanticism itself rings false. What can be overturned by killing is neither ultimate nor, therefore, morality.

      • I’m surprised that this has not opened up a can of worms. There are many aspects to this. First off, this argument is the type of arguments that both Christians in America and traditional Shintoists in Japan used against Eugenics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_in_Japan

        “Opposition to the eugenics movement persisted amongst several right-wing factions, including members of the Diet of Japan and obstetricians, who perceived eugenics as suggesting that the Japanese people were only animals, not inhabitants of the “country of the kami” (神国 shinkoku?) as believed by the Japanese national Shinto tradition.[5] Yoshiichi Sōwa (曽和義弌?), author of “Japan’s Shinto Revolution”,[6] wrote in 1940, “When we look up into the past, the people of our country are descended from the kami. Are they claiming we must sterilize these people?”[7] Similar resistance to these theories occurred within conservative and traditional Christian communities in the United States.”

        At the same time, you see some Ancient pagans partaking in proto-Eugenics like the Spartans. Then again the Greeks did pride themselves on their rationality and their rationality did lead up to the discovery of the Natural Law.

        At the same time this argument: “Once we shall have firmly abandoned the imago dei, and all the countless ways our mental habits, our customs and laws still presuppose it, we may look forward to an enlightened and ruthlessly rational social order, in which all the misfits are quickly killed, or else enslaved and killed slowly, step by tiny step.”

        Interestingly, the word “Spartakoi” means “The Equals”. That being said, the Eugenicists and Darwinists have some great ideas, ideas that can be combined with those of the Romanticists that Thrasymachus mentions. The Nation can be seen like a human body, as a living breathing organism as Spengler propounds. If I have a dangerous pathogen within my body, am I not to eliminate it? Liberalism is civilizational and spiritual syphilis. The disease and the vectors that spread the disease into the national body should be removed.

        Now misfits and others of those types, I would agree with traditional Christians upon and the right-wing Shintoists. But for the enemies of civilization and of culture, there should be no mercy.

      • I see what you are saying about the Modernist enemy, Svar, but I don’t see what tangible link that has to eugenics, which focuses on a pursuit of a genetically ‘better’ man. Our conflict is ideological in nature (though I don’t discount a metaphysical component to the enemy’s evil), and so criticism of eugenics can be valid while still affirming your last point. The body politic is infected, with Liberalism, but the solution is political (or extra-political if you want to get dicey) rather than scientific.

      • @ Mark Citadel

        “I see what you are saying about the Modernist enemy, Svar, but I don’t see what tangible link that has to eugenics, which focuses on a pursuit of a genetically ‘better’ man. Our conflict is ideological in nature (though I don’t discount a metaphysical component to the enemy’s evil), and so criticism of eugenics can be valid while still affirming your last point. The body politic is infected, with Liberalism, but the solution is political (or extra-political if you want to get dicey) rather than scientific.”

        With the eugenics stuff, I was just throwing out ideas. I don’t know where I stand on the issue. It’s just that too many Christians and conservatives are too accommodating towards a fanatical, verminous enemy on the grounds of “tolerance”. You don’t tolerate cancer do you? No, you chemo the shit out of it. Christians and conservatives don’t get that liberalism is a disease that has ripped apart the fabric of society.

        The scientific and medical aspects that I use are just metaphors.

        What does extra-political mean?

      • You’ll find no disagreement on that point. I have said on many occasions that the difference between a Conservative and a Reactionary is that the Conservative sees a political opponent in the Liberal, the Reactionary sees an enemy combatant or a foreign occupying army.
        There is no room for negotiation, moderation, or pragmatism. Nothing but the total annihilation of Liberalism will suffice to save the Christian Occident. It is indeed a cancer, perhaps the mother of all heresies in fact.
        I use the term extra-political to denote actions that take place outside what would be considered acceptable political activity in a given state. For instance, Salvador Allende’s election in Chile was political, whereas General Pinochet’s subsequent aerial bombing and military storming of the presidential palace was extra-political.

      • @Svar — I guess you probably aren’t self-aware enough to appreciate the irony of calling for extermination of liberals under a post that is trying to be anti-genocide. “If I have a dangerous pathogen within my body, am I not to eliminate it? Liberalism is civilizational and spiritual syphilis” is straight out of Mein Kampf.

      • Well Kristor and I don’t have to agree on everything, Verminous. I am guessing that Kristor is a traditional Christianist type while I am a Romanticist type. Also I don’t want to exterminate “liberals” because I love certain types of liberals like environmentalists/ecologists/conservationists, working class socialists like Orwell, Shaw, London and Huey Long, and those curmudgeonly Mencken, Twain, and Ambrose Bierce types. They’re not useless vermin but are the types that move civilization forward. Cultural Marxists with their Culture of Critique and deconstructing are just a pathogenic vector of disease.

        [Paragraph deleted by Kristor as a violation of the Orthosphere’s Comments Policy:

        Comments containing personal insults toward contributors or other commenters will be deleted at the discretion of the blogger in response to whose post the comment has been made. By all means feel free to express disagreement, but do it respectfully … Comments containing personal accusations relevant to the discussion at hand (e.g., claiming that a commenter or contributor is “working for the other side”) will also be deleted unless accompanied by compelling evidence.

        You’ll catch more flies with honey, Svar. Sweet reason, that’s the spirit. Flame wars, on the other hand, are both boring and uninformative.]

      • Funnily enough, Verminous, your tribe has traditionally failed to show self-awareness and that’s why you keep going from “Never Again!!” to “Oh no, not again!!”. But hey, keep promoting your sick Weimar agenda full of freaks and queers.

      • @a.morphous – you don’t seem to understand the moral difference between somebody wishing to solve an intra-state ethnic dispute with targeted and co-ordinated eugenics programs, and seeking the destruction of a global ideological cancer that is itself responsible for millions of deaths.

        Liberalism ≠ an unwelcome ethnic group

        Now, I know Liberals are confused as to what constitutes an ethnic group, since your side continually tries to call any critics of Islam ‘racists’.

        You may view this passion for Liberalism’s defeat in the same way that Liberals sought the destruction of National Socialism during WWII. I’m sure you viewed that as some kind of just war. But of course, Liberalism’s opponents can NEVER have a just war, because only Liberalism is just, does that about sum it up? Any dissent is the act of the unjust who must be ruthlessly punished.

        Let us remember, Liberalism is the aggressor. It is Liberalism that started this struggle, and for their part it has been a murderous struggle. Today it continues, over 3000 unborn children slaughtered per day in the United States alone on the altar to Molech that is Liberalism. I do not have sympathy for the devil, nor his acolytes.

        If you want to find atrocity, look in your own backyard first.

        To paraphrase Codreanu, for the 300 years that we have resisted the pains and humiliations of Liberalism, it should be said that the hour of victory is not far off. Those among this resistance who have fallen, will one day have the names and tombs of heroes, and those who have killed us and will kill us, shall bear the names of traitors and be cursed from generation to generation.

      • @ Kristor

        Sorry. I was practicing my ranting skills. Having the ability to rant in a driving way is a great skill especially when used to rile up the masses.

        “You’ll catch more flies with honey, Svar. Sweet reason, that’s the spirit. Flame wars, on the other hand, are both boring and uninformative.]”

        As an aside, I never understood that saying. Sure you’ll get more flies with honey than say with vinegar but you get the most flies with shit, something that I have seen to be true. More people are won over with my bull-shitting than with my sweet talk or my vitriol.

      • LOL!

        Yeah, but steak is a fly magnet, too.

        What I never understood about that saying was why it would be good to attract flies in the first place.

      • @ Mark Citadel

        At this point, I don’t know how to describe “liberalism”. The main issue are the Cultural Marxists.

      • Liberal as defined as ‘in opposition to the World of Tradition’, read: Modernist. One who favors the Modernist, post-Enlightenment perception of history and politics. The Liberal is the constant revolutionary.

        Cultural Marxism isn’t an amazingly useful descriptor. It has ties to Italian theoretician Antonio Gramsci, who developed ‘Cultural Hegemony Theory’ in the early 1930s, which was then subsequently used to devastating effect by Western Communist sympathizers who had no means to conduct their own revolution. It also is linked to the early work of the Frankfurt School.

        The problem is that it was merely an accelerant wielded by foreign-aligned agitators to exacerbate decay that was already occurring. Karl Marx and his acolytes were the bastard children of the French Revolution and Enlightenment philosophers. He’s not the root of Modernism, which predates his birth by about 50 years.

      • @Mark Citadel

        I definitely agree: Cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School have only greased the skids of a movement that has been a long time coming. It provides a battle cry for the activists, but it is not the source of the problem itself. Cultural Marxism would make zero headway in a society that was not already dedicated to the fundamental principles of egalitarianism as it is merely a more virulent form of that deadly cancer.

        The Enlightenment in and of itself, with its rejection not just of tradition, but of basically all philosophical reasoning up to that date, is the source of the problem. It draws on a few skeptics from Greece and that’s pretty much it. All of it based on the same type of faulty arguments that liberals use to this very day: People of the past were idiots because (insert idea moderns find unreasonable here), so, therefore, if we believe them, then we must believe in a flat earth or the flying spaghetti monster or whatever. No matter how far back you go into the Enlightenment, it entails a rejection of basically all pre-moderns.

      • @ Mark Citadel and Nathan Jevans

        I am not certain if the cause of the problems within Civilization is due to natural degeneration or subversion.

      • @Svar – most definitely subversion, aided by natural entropy. Once things are going badly, it makes things far more likely to go very badly in the future. However ‘natural’ it is depends on what you mean by natural. Is it forewarned? Certainly. I don’t know if I’d describe it as predestined however.

      • @citadel:

        you don’t seem to understand the moral difference between somebody wishing to solve an intra-state ethnic dispute with targeted and co-ordinated eugenics programs, and seeking the destruction of a global ideological cancer that is itself responsible for millions of deaths.

        You don՚t seem to understand that in historical practice these have tended to be conflated.

        You may view this passion for Liberalism’s defeat in the same way that Liberals sought the destruction of National Socialism during WWII. I’m sure you viewed that as some kind of just war.

        And how did you view it?

        But of course, Liberalism’s opponents can NEVER have a just war, because only Liberalism is just, does that about sum it up? Any dissent is the act of the unjust who must be ruthlessly punished.

        You seem to be complaining that justice isn՚t on your side. How is that my problem?

        Let us remember, Liberalism is the aggressor. It is Liberalism that started this struggle, and for their part it has been a murderous struggle.

        If this kind of whining is the best form of justice you can summon for your side, no wonder you have lost. All history is struggle. You aren՚t going to defeat liberalism by whining about how mean it՚s been to its enemies.

        for the 300 years that we have resisted the pains and humiliations of Liberalism, it should be said that the hour of victory is not far off.

        That՚s also the sort of thing the Nazis liked to believe. Fortunately, they were just as deluded as you.

        I have to admit that while I՚m not a very good liberal, the more I see of liberalism՚s enemies the more faith I have in it, in both the sense that it is good and that it is likely to win.

      • I was responding to your ridiculous outrage at Svar, that his perception of the Liberal enemy is “right out of Mein Kampf!” And thus I have pointed out that Liberal outrage at what National Socialists did is hypocritical in the extreme. It wasn’t so much a complaint as to how evil your side actually is, but rather showing you that you are in fact objectively worse than the Nazis, even if we just go by numbers alone, and so your Nazi-inspired outrage is illogical.

        If you can’t see sarcasm in my proclamation that ‘only Liberalism’s cause can be just’, then you have a very poor grasp of it. This is how your side views the world, when in fact the opposite is true. Liberalism is entirely unjust.

        Your obsession with the Nazis as moral monsters belies an inability to look at yourself.

        “You aren՚t going to defeat liberalism by whining about how mean it՚s been to its enemies.”

        No, but that is not what was being debated. Svar’s point was to be ruthless with Liberals, to which you are aghast quite clownishly. You are unawares endorsing Svar’s point, that no amount of whining will solve the problem, and in fact a more forceful solution is needed.

        “I have to admit that while I՚m not a very good liberal, the more I see of liberalism՚s enemies the more faith I have in it, in both the sense that it is good and that it is likely to win.”

        Likely to win in what respect? It already is the dominant cultural force in the world. But a record-holder is only a record-holder for so long, until someone else crushes his efforts into the dust of history. You suffer from ‘Rome’ syndrome where you think empires last forever, that we are at the end of history. We are not. Unfortunately for you, there is a long way to go and the countdown to entropic destruction represented by society’s decay is already underway.

        Putting your hands over your ears and yelling “NAZI!” doesn’t change a thing, though I know it works very well on Conservatives.

      • @ Mark Citadel

        “You don՚t seem to understand that in historical practice these have tended to be conflated.”

        Translation: As a Jewish man, I have no ability to be nothing but a Bolshevist and therefore anti-Communism = anti-Semitism.

        In all honesty, he’s right on this. I am sick and tired of panty-waist conservatives and Christians bitching about the “Liberal Media”. You can’t breach that topic without talking about the Jewish Question.

        “If this kind of whining is the best form of justice you can summon for your side, no wonder you have lost. All history is struggle. You aren՚t going to defeat liberalism by whining about how mean it՚s been to its enemies.”

        Wow. This guy is the last person to be talking about self-awareness. Fine, we won’t whine, we’ll just eliminate civilizational parasites and vermin. That was my argument from the very beginning: “You don’t argue with parasites or vermin, you deal with them”. But then you cried about the Nazi’s waaaaahhh. Who’s whining?

        “That՚s also the sort of thing the Nazis liked to believe. Fortunately, they were just as deluded as you.”

        Oh, as if, the Germans were not humiliated and treated like crap after WWI. The Nazi’s saw the Bolshevik Revolution and the degeneracy of the Weimar Republic and put two and two together.

        And deluded? Aren’t you the head case who believes that trannies and queers are perfectly normal? I mean they may be normal in your culture, but civilized peoples think otherwise.

      • @svar

        But then you cried about the Nazi’s waaaaahhh. Who’s whining?

        I think you misread me, I was not whining, but making an observation, specifically that your views were close to Nazism, which you have subsequently confirmed.

        I am curious how the high-minded among you (Kristor, eg) square all their talk about God’s law and metaphysics and the imago dei with the rantings of people in love with murderously violent thugs.

      • “people in love with murderously violent thugs.”

        Again, more illogic. You trade on Liberally tinged inferences rather than tackling the narrative that has been presented. Your original assertion was that commitment to the destruction of Liberalism as an ideological force was synonymous with the actions of the Nazis, a very common tactic from the left side.

        When proved incorrect in addition to being reminded that your side’s hands aren’t exactly clean, you have proceeded to go off on an accusatory tangent, guilty of the “whining” that you accused me of!

        If you want to engage with Svar’s original point, I’m sure all would be appreciative of keeping it intellectual and based on what he actually wrote (scroll up to reread it), rather than going to ad hominem attacks just because he has a staunch opposition to Liberal dogma.

        Again, use intellect in criticism and praise of the article or subsequent comments. That is what Kristor was no doubt looking for when he wrote the piece, rather than slinging personal accusations.

      • “I think you misread me, I was not whining, but making an observation, specifically that your views were close to Nazism, which you have subsequently confirmed.”

        No, you weren’t whining. You were schnitzing so hard, [deleted per the Orthosphere Comments Policy].

        “I am curious how the high-minded among you (Kristor, eg) square all their talk about God’s law and metaphysics and the imago dei with the rantings of people in love with murderously violent thugs.”

        First off, don’t conflate my views with Kristor’s, [deleted per the Orthosphere Comments Policy]. Not because of me, but because of Kristor. My views are more extreme mainly because I have been fatigued by the Bernie Madoffs, Herbert Marcuse, Sigmund Freud, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Jordan Belforts, Roman Polanskis, Barney Franks, and George Soros of the world.

        Murderously violent thugs? Wow, the lack of self-awareness in the Jewish mind is amazing. We didn’t kill the Tsar and his family and then dunked their bodies in acid. We didn’t rape nuns and murder priests in Franco’s Spain. We’re not killing Palestinian children in the Gaza strip. [deleted per the Orthosphere Comments Policy, as a slur against Jesus]. We don’t glorify the genocides of various races in a religious text. We didn’t decide to crucify the Christ. We don’t have explicitly predatory views towards Outsiders written into another religion book (Talmud). [deleted per the Orthosphere Comments Policy]. My hatred is a response towards your behavior.

        Jews make the Nazis look like saints. And like you said, they were murderously violent thugs. Atleast they weren’t fraudulent, predatory cheats and morally-depraved sexual degenerates on top of being murderous thugs. It’s like choosing between a a violent Rottweiler (the Nazis) and another violent Rottweiler (Jews) except the second one has rabies and AIDS. Any sane person would choose the first.

      • Svar, you must conduct yourself as a gentleman here. Your comments are so enraged that you stand in danger of being banned from the site. You’re not converting anyone to your way of thinking with this kind of overheated rhetoric, you’re only embarrassing yourself.

        Do unto a.morphous as you would have done unto you. If that means insulting him, then you’ll have to find another forum to do it in.

        I have seen no evidence from a.morphous that he is Jewish. I don’t see how it would matter to his substantive points whether he is. Please refrain from ad hominem, and explain your substantive arguments coolly, rationally, and civilly. If you can’t refute him logically, then *it is not yet within your power to refute him,* at all; and no amount of raving or insults is going to change that fact.

        Consider this, too: when you lose your temper on account of a bit of snark, you confer a hedonic reward on the snarker. You encourage him in his snark. In so doing, you exacerbate the conflict and disorder in the world.

        A.morphous can be quite a reasonable fellow, but – difficult as I myself find it, at times – his reasonable, even friendly side only appears when one responds to his inveterate snarkery with irenic charity, clarity, and implacable good cheer.

      • @ Mark

        I don’t see the point of debating these liberal types. I just like to amuse myself by forcing uncomfortable truths into their faces. You have to match their extreme verbal aggression with some of your own. They don’t work on logic and logic also doesn’t work for the masses either. You have to win over the crowd, not your opponent. These are not friendly G.K. Chesterton-George Bernard Shaw debates. GKC and GBS were debating but they both agreed on one singular premise: Western civilization was good and worth continuing. These types just want to destroy. You don’t argue with that. You contain, isolate, or eliminate those types. Conservatives keep making the mistake that this is just a friendly debate and that the other side share that same premise. That’s why conservatives lose continually.

        Notice how in my first post, I actually say I disagree a little bit with Kristor. And yet, Verminous keeps conflating us together as a way to insult Kristor. I’ll admit my views are harder and I am far less patient and much younger(therefore less likely to want to be diplomatic) and to conflate Kristor with me is an obvious passive aggressive jab towards him.

        These types screech for civility but they never provide it.

      • @Svar – I have seen a.morphous take stabs at reasonable debate in the past, but this wasn’t one of his finer moments. You have disagreements with Kristor, and no doubt we will also disagree on many points theological and political, but this is not a problem.

        In any case, as much as there is a fire in me against the things that a.morphous espouses, this is Kristor and company’s blog and I find it to be a tremendous resource so I would not want to clutter it with a tirade against a.morphous, and I’m sure Kristor would have the same respect on my blog.

        Letting things get too heated is possibly one of the factors that has led to the now myriad problems plaguing the NeoReactionary side of Reaction with entryism and a co-ordinated campaign of personal destruction there that has seen multiple abdications. As the explicitly religious sector of Reaction grows, I don’t want to see these same problems emerge.

        @Kristor – I apologize if any of my conduct has been uncouth or unacceptable on the Orthosphere. Modernism causes a red mist to descend sometimes.

      • @ Kristor

        I want to apologize as well. My rhetoric has been way too incendiary and inflammatory.

        “Consider this, too: when you lose your temper on account of a bit of snark, you confer a hedonic reward on the snarker. You encourage him in his snark. In so doing, you exacerbate the conflict and disorder in the world.”

        I am not really enraged by his behavior. I actually feel that a.morphous is just a troll and this is what’s going on between us: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/yabyabyab/trolling101.png

        And here’s a little article by Chilton Williamson Jr. on hating: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2015/May/39/5/magazine/article/10827142/

        The hedonic nature of hate is quite interesting. In all honesty, I just enjoy ranting and a.morphous is a fun target. I’m pretty sure he likes to snark and we’re a great target for it. Hell, I like to snark conservatives and I consider myself on the Right! For instance, while I do believe that Jews as a group have had a deleterious effect on society as a whole, there are many decent Jews like my next door neighbors(Orthodox) or Paul Gottfried. Many of the more intellectual Jews of this nature have added to my intellectual formation like the aforementioned Gottfried and to this I am quite thankful.

        Sometimes when you deal with ad hominem slingers, I feel it’s best to agree and amplify. If they call you a Nazi, don’t cower and show weakness: out Hitler, Hitler. Show them how much you don’t care. If more conservatives were to stop cowering when liberals say those scary mean words like “racist”, “anti-semite”, “nativist”, “gun-nut” or “homophobe” and just not care, maybe, just maybe, the conservative Right would have been enough to hold the center if not turn the tide.

        “Yeah, but as gentlemen, it behooves us to provide it ourselves nonetheless.”

        I feel that conservatives as a whole are too focused on niceness and less focused on winning the Culture Wars. That is my greatest frustration and I feel that we are now in Crisis mode and that civility is not a luxury we can afford to such an unrelenting enemy. Sometimes lions have to become foxes. Sometimes you have to fight dirty.

        @ Mark

        ” I have seen a.morphous take stabs at reasonable debate in the past, but this wasn’t one of his finer moments. You have disagreements with Kristor, and no doubt we will also disagree on many points theological and political, but this is not a problem.”

        I don’t have many disagreements with Kristor. My disagreements with him are not on the “What” but on the “How”. I consider Kristor to be a friend and a mentor. I probably do disagree with you on many things. But not on the First Things.

  4. “For, though all things come to pass in accordance with this Word, men seem as if they had no experience of them, when they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its kind and showing how it is what it is.”

    Heraclitus, Fragment No. 1

    ρ (“r”) is a “tool for copying every sort of motion.”
    ι (“I”) for imitating “all the small things that can most easily penetrate everything.”
    φ (“phi”), ψ (‘psi’). σ (‘s’), and ζ (‘z’) as “all these letters are pronounced with an expulsion of breath,” they are most appropriate for imitating “blowing or hard breathing.”
    δ (“d”) and τ (“t”) as both involve “compression and [the] stopping of the power of the tongue” when pronounced, they are most appropriate for words indicating a lack or stopping of motion.
    λ (“l”), as “the tongue glides most of all” when pronounced, it is most appropriate for words denoting a sort of gliding.
    γ (“g”) best used when imitating “something cloying,” as the gliding of the tongue is stopped when pronounced.
    ν (“n”) best used when imitating inward things, as it is “sounded inwardly.”
    α (“a”), η (“long e”) best used when imitating large things, as they are both “pronounced long.”
    ο (“o”) best used when imitating roundness.

    Plato, Cratylus

    “In the first place, Herodotus, you must understand what it is that words denote, in order that by reference to this we may be in a position to test opinions, inquiries, or problems, so that our proofs may not run on untested ad infinitum, nor the terms we use be empty of meaning. For the primary signification of every term employed must be clearly seen, and ought to need no proving; this being necessary, if we are to have something to which the point at issue or the problem or the opinion before us can be referred.”

    Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus

    Tradition…

    • Indeed, as your quote from the Cratylus makes clear, even the sounds we use to name things have intelligible relations to the things we name. As intelligible, they cannot be wholly adventitious, but must rather be concretely and coherently (albeit perhaps tenuously) derived from some actual nexus of things with each other. The modern presupposition that discourse is disintegral with the rest of reality – that thought and language and discourse are a world quite disparate from the corporeal world – is radically incoherent. How can language be *about* things to which it has no natural or essential relations, and that do not touch it? The modern answer, kicked up a notch by the frankness of post-modernism: “It can’t.”

      Eliminating universals, nominalism eliminates what is essentially real in the things we think about. It leaves behind only what is nominally real. This empties thought of real meaning – i.e., of real consequence outside the world of thought. It makes all our names vacuous.

      Nominalism, then, ends by repudiating the possibility of naming anything, of calling anything, of saying anything. In a nominalist world, you can’t even say that that nominalism is true.

      • In Plato’s Cratylus, the argument revolves around the question whether language is motivated (that is, connected to reality) or conventional (that is, entirely arbitrary). Socrates appears to argue (as best I can interpret the text) that language might currently be conventional, but that it began as motivated; whereas his opponent in the debate says that if language is nowadays conventional, it must always have been conventional. I like Socrates’ argument, that the current conventionality of language does not imply an unmotivated origin and that, therefore, the thesis of the motivated origin remains plausible.

      • I’m with Plato on this. If the cosmos is integral, then there is no such thing as “mere” coincidence, but rather on the contrary there can be no causal effect of any sort that is not intelligibly ordered, through and through. What might seem random or coincidental, then, is just meaningful in ways that we cannot or do not apprehend. On this view, causation *just is* meaningful, on any number of levels – perhaps, per Gödel, infinitely many levels. This intelligible meaningfulness of all causation is what orders and regularizes things, so that we are able to have opinions (in the Platonic sense) in the first place, whether right or wrong – so that, i.e., we find reality regular, coherent and intelligible, and thus fit grist for the formation of opinions about it. You can’t have even a wrong opinion about chaos. To have an opinion of any degree of accuracy, you must intend your opinion toward some ordered thing or other.

        And among such opinions about things are opinions about what it is most fitting to call them. Think for example what it would be like if we called buildings by the names of fruits. It’s a silly idea, right? But why? Because fruits and buildings are *essentially* different kinds of things. If they were not thus essentially different in reality, why then we would see no problem with calling buildings by the names of fruits, or vice versa. In other words, if nominalism was a true account of the essences of things, then there would be no way to tell what it would make sense to call any of them. There would be no way to pick them out from each other, no way to distinguish between fruits and buildings.

        I find this just staggering.

  5. This was an excellent post. I have posed this question before – was there anything in particular about Western Christendom that caused it to embrace nominalism and ultimately lead it to the spawning of the many tentacled hydra of modernity?

    The thing that is strange to me is that those aspects of the West that occidental “conservatives” point to which they claim demonstrate our exceptionalism are essentially liberal and modern (science, democracy, etc.) The only way to make the classical liberal/ traditionalist “fusion” work is to claim that there is a fundamental divergence between classical and progressive liberalism. I’m just not sure if that is actually true. Hence, my slow creeping towards reaction.

    • It’s a good question, Cassiodorus. I shall think about it, but at first glance it seems to me that there is nothing special about Western Christendom that caused it to embrace nominalism. If we think of metaphysical and epistemological truth as Right Doctrine, then nominalism is one of the standard Great Heresies. It’s just one of those intellectual shortcuts, to which any sophisticated mind is liable to be tempted from time to time. Materialism, acosmism, monism, and pantheism are also among the Great Heresies. These Great Heresies crop up all the time. They are tempting because they are just easier to use than the fully adequate Right Doctrine, which requires painstaking definitions and clarifications if it is to be properly understood. To an intelligence that has not yet quite reckoned Right Doctrine, the Great Heresies can seem superficially more rational and consistent, as being more accessible, simpler and more easily comprehended; and they echo just enough of Right Doctrine to seem credible, rather than fishy.

      That’s my hunch, anyway. Somebody point out how I’m wrong, please; it’s an interesting question, as I say, and I’d like to have an answer I feel good about.

    • “was there anything in particular about Western Christendom that caused it to embrace nominalism and ultimately lead it to the spawning of the many tentacled hydra of modernity?”

      I’m not entirely sure about this. Evola certainly felt so, but this was likely on influence from his dabblings in the occult. His predecessor René Guénon thought it was something else, though its not entirely clear what. I stress often that I think Evola’s critique of Christianity as being the start of troubles is verifiably false because Modernism did not take hold in the east of Christendom at all, and these places only fell to such influences via the German import of Marxism. I do think Christianity made some mistakes however, at different times in different places, things like undue aversion to mysticism.

      “The only way to make the classical liberal/ traditionalist “fusion” work is to claim that there is a fundamental divergence between classical and progressive liberalism. I’m just not sure if that is actually true. Hence, my slow creeping towards reaction.”

      It isn’t.

      The reason Classical Liberalism retained many of Tradition’s trappings and thus has initial appeal is because the men who made up the vast majority of its citizens still enjoyed the Traditional milieu (albeit a form of it that had been degraded by the economic changes brought about by the Age of Discovery). This is why one might scratch their heads and wonder why the Founding Fathers of America didn’t let women or blacks vote.

      However, having fundamentally altered the structure of the government and the philosophical assumptions that under-girded society, this was just an ‘afterglow’, and was destined to burn out. In fact, we are now in what I refer to as the ‘pitch black’ stage of the Kali Yuga, where all vestige light from the previous age has been extinguished, which explains why much of what we see today seems objectively ‘crazy’ as in, psychiatric ward crazy.

      You cannot take the Enlightenment and then not end up where we are today. It’s entropy. One thing leads to another. Conservatives don’t actually know anything about pre-Enlightenment civilization other than pretty laughable caricatures invented by the original Modernists. Take for example premier American Conservative author Mark Levin who writes in his book ‘Ameritopia’ about the various tyrannical utopian visions from Hobbes to Marx to Barack Obama, all the while exalting the Founders for their wisdom.
      The problem is, the Founders never went up against any of this. Levin’s ‘Ameritopia’ has only been realized in the Modernist system that the Founders themselves concocted. He has to go to the utopian fantasies of people like Hobbes because he cannot draw any parallel between the current Liberal dominion and the pre-Enlightenment systems of government.

      It’s beyond belief that someone can talk of the virtues of a small central government and then try to sell you on Liberal Democracy, which has produced the largest most invasive governments in the history of mankind (only succeeded by its bastard stepchildren, Communism and the various other forms of Socialist Authoritarian regimes).

  6. Look, Kristor, the basic mistake of the genociders was jumping from “there are no oughts” to “therefore I ought to follow my own desires, hatreds etc.”

    I don’t fully understand why it happened so, but my Buddhist training made me very suspicious about my desires and hatreds, but perhaps people who were shaped by the Western culture of 1880 to 1950 maybe did not really learn to distrust their desires or other emotions.

    Please understand that you are not doing anything new. Literally every argument that goes on to say atheism causes immoral behavior argues one way or another saying that people are full of horribly destructive desires, that they want to jump on every occasion to follow them, and all that keeps them away from that is a very strong rule, taboo saying it is wrong, where “is” is the same verb used in “2 and 2 is 4” or “the Sun in shining”, so basically the moral rule perceived as something very strongly real. This is not a new one.

    On whether it is a good one, well, if we interpret it as a prediction of human behavior or an explanation of historical human behavior, that is at least an empirical question, so I feel fairly comfortable about it. It seems large scale historical evil happens when people turn their political ideologies into quasi-religions. When they have only recently turned atheists, so they still feel the need for a Big Cause. In the longer run, they cool down and become docile and petty, hedonistic and pursuing many tiny hobbies – like typical modern liberals, which is another set of problems, but less dramatic, less bombastic, and probably less evil.

    Whether it is theoretically possible to not jump from “there are no oughts” to “I ought to follow my desires”, yes it is possible. For example people can think “many desires are dangerous for my own wellbeing, let alone that of others”, or “hating whole ethnic groups or social classes makes me a hateful person, is that even good for my psychological health?” or people can think “okay, no oughts are given, we make all the oughts, so let’s look into what oughts worked historically best?” and then they can even be to a certain extent conservatives in an atheist way, although far less conservative than you are, but still more than what is fashionable today. That is roughly what I am doing.

  7. Mark,

    What about contemporary conservatives who make the claim that the American experiment in “ordered liberty” (say of a Russell Kirk type) is the natural unfolding, or at least an organic aspect of Christian thought and doctrine. For example, the Declaration of Independence (such conservatives claim) speaks of irreducible rights, rooted in the theological principle of imago Dei and making the case for equality, not caste.

    Often, I read about making the important distinction between the revolution that came out of France versus the revolution that came out America.

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