The Inevitable War of Incompatible Cults

Cults are incompatible when their doctrines contradict and entail taboos that conflict irreconcilably, in such a way that they cannot be practically and honestly and harmoniously honored by and in a man, or therefore in any society of men. E.g., one can’t live and render each his due unto Caesar and YHWH if Caesar insists that what belongs properly to YHWH should be given instead to him. No man can serve two masters, nor can any people.

When incompatible cults continuously interact, war between them is inevitable. The choice for Christians before the Edict of Milan was between apostasy and persecution. Rome was at war with Christianity.

Likewise today, it is more and more difficult to live as a Christian in the West. More and more, our choice is between apostasy and persecution: either we agree to live by the taboos of liberalism, implicitly rejecting those of Christianity, or we shall be persecuted. Islam and Christianity are likewise incompatible, as are Islam and liberalism. All of these cults but one will eventually be deleted.

Now it may be that taboos are taken lightly by one cult or another, so that people can get along, avoiding hot war with each other. It may be, in other words, that people make unprincipled exceptions. But what cannot be carried successfully into practice cannot be correct. If to live you must make unprincipled exceptions to the taboos of your cult, that is a sign of its weakness and poor fit to reality. Any such exception to the taboos of a cult is an implicit repudiation of it in act. When a people shrug off the taboos of a cult, they sap its moral relevance to their lives as lived, thus vitiating the cult itself, root and branch, thereby reducing its magnificence and influence – i.e., its ability to mount a convincing case for itself. Absent a Great Awakening of some sort that persuades men of the truth of its core dogmas and the importance of sticking with them even at the cost of conflict with neighbours, it must then fall into desuetude, as has happened to the Christianity of liberal Christians.

That vigorous incompatible cults are inevitably at war does not mean that violence is the only way the contest between them may be settled, and a victor known. Moral collapse of a cult is much likelier after a great military defeat, but such a defeat is not a prerequisite. The indiscipline and timidity – moral, and implicitly intellectual and practical – of a sufficient number of individual men can sap a cult of fortitude almost overnight, ushering in cynicism or despair, or both.

The morale of a cult may also collapse before a memetic onslaught that it cannot answer, either because it has no good arguments, or no will to make them, or no thumotic urge to resist such arguments as it cannot answer philosophically. Liberalism is radically incoherent, so it has no philosophical arguments that can work except by obfuscation. Cast a harsh and unforgiving light on liberal misdirection and incoherence, and you’ll get jerks of the knee, fueled by outrage at the violation of a sacred taboo. Liberalism is logically bankrupt. But then so is it gutless, and timorous. How not, when its adherents can make no good sense of it? Who can be courageous in defense of a mess of oxymorons and contradictions in terms? Or, how could any sane man think such a mess worthy of anything other than deletion from history, notwithstanding that it is his own?

Finally, cults can collapse because they obviously and spectacularly fail to work as well as their competitors, as happened with the Fall of the Warsaw Pact vis-à-vis the vigor of the capitalist West, and with the collapse of Classical Paganism before the demographic wave of Christian reproductive and commercial success. The logical bankruptcy of liberalism means that it can’t work in any world with conservation laws; so is it literally bankrupt – busted in every sense of that word.

Note that beauty is an aspect of working well. Chartres and Salisbury, Bach and Palestrina are effectual proposals for the proper organization of human life, arguments from beauty as sublimity of act congruent with and expressing the order of the cosmos to the truth of the cult that produced them via an apprehension of that order, and agreement with it. Cults that cannot produce such beauties can compete with Christianity on that score only by denigrating or destroying them.

Cult wars do not necessarily play out on battlefields. But one way or another, cults that preach incompatible taboos must war on some field or other until one emerges victorious, and predominant: if not the field of battle, then of wills or arguments.

Onward, then, Christian soldier.

30 thoughts on “The Inevitable War of Incompatible Cults

  1. Pingback: The Inevitable War of Incompatible Cults | Neoreactive

  2. Good stuff – usefully clarifying. I liked that you used ‘cults’ in a technical sense – including Christianity – rather in a pejorative sense to mean everything-but-one’s-own-beliefs.

  3. Unfortunately, I think in the end this will be settled on a kind of ‘battlefield’.

    We should push the discourse of viewing Liberalism as a cult into the popular discourse among Christians, to dispel the illusion of neutrality. People view Liberalism as a way of life, something that in the West is apparently distinct from religion, and so feel the two can be reconciled. They do not see the Cult of Progress behind. It must be unmasked. Once there is a clear “us” and “them”, this is when things will heat up.

    • Call it something other than the “cult of progress” and you probably have a more winning strategy. After all, people don’t generally associate the term “progress” with the destruction of fundamental values and mores, regardless that that is essentially what progress has come to mean.

      • This is entirely dependent on the view of time in relation to society. It is a fraud that society begins at one end with lesser and moves to the other end with increasing greatness. The correct understanding in exactly the opposite, so that progress is actually an apt description. If we are walking to the fiery gates, every step is progress.

  4. Pingback: The Inevitable War of Incompatible Cults | Reaction Times

  5. “if not the field of battle, then of wills or arguments.”
    Not arguments. That is liberalism. Cults are by definition built on different premises and thus arguments are inconclusive between them.
    One more cults that are in immediate danger of perishing in USA. i.e. The christian cult:
    “Why should we quarrel? They will swallow everything in order to keep their material advantages. Matters will never come to a head. They will recognize a firm hand and we need only to show them once or twice who is the master.”
    Hitler quoted in Paul Johnson’s History of Christianity.

    “The Gestapo carried out repression when necessary. It was rarely needed to be severe. Of 17000 Evangelical pastors, there were never more than fifty serving long terms at any one time. Of the Catholics, one bishop was expelled from his diocese and another got a short term for currency offenses. There was no more resistance despite the fact that by September 1939, all religious schools had been abolished. Only the free sects stuck to their principles enough to merit outright persecution.
    The bravest were Jehovah’s witnesses. They refused any cooperation with the Nazi state which they denounced as totally evil. A third were actually killed. They were the only Christian group to arouse Himmeler’s admiration.
    Paul Johnson

    • … if not the field of battle, then of wills or arguments.

      Not arguments. That is liberalism. Cults are by definition built on different premises and thus arguments are inconclusive between them.

      I get your point, but I think that’s a little too sweeping. Paul and his interlocutors on the Areopagus were not engaged in a liberal pursuit. And it is certainly possible to demonstrate to a man that the premises of his cult conclude to contradictions or absurdities, thus shaking his confidence and opening his mind to the possibility that he has been mistaken in them, or in his arguments from them.

  6. I disagree that Liberalism is “incoherent.” There is much in our world beckoning a “justifiable” self-annihilation. There is nothing incoherent about desiring to pleasure one’s self to death in the face of General Entropy. The cult of Liberalism is a pact amongst those wanton of indiscriminate sexual behavior. The “equality” sets in when all accept, ie., tolerate, the primacy of indiscriminate sexual action. Psychologically, “legitimate” indiscriminate sexual action is consequence-free. The path to this “legitimacy” is mob mentality. “We” are here amongst a cult of self-annihilators desirous of radical sexual autonomy. And in the “equality” of degeneracy does a pseudo-legitimacy manifest.

  7. Cults can coexist in a common territory, but they cannot exist in a common society. They can exist side by side, with little interaction of any sort whatsoever, much like the castes of classical Hindu society. Anthropologists call this commensality. The term comes from biology, were it denotes animals that eat together, like horses and cows in a common pasture.

    Of course some cults are incapable of commensality, and it may be that every cult has a potential to repudiate commensality and strive to possess the pasture.

    At first glance, liberalism appears to be a champion of commensality, but this is an illusion. The liberal never sees himself as one of the animals in the pasture; he sees himself as the farmer who owns the pasture. And as a farmer, he sees it as his life work to get the horses to mate with the cows, until “his” pasture is filled with hows, or courses.

    • Hindu castes are not the correct examples of commensality, sharing as they did the Hindu cult, and also forming a coherent Hindu society with each caste having its own well-defined niche.
      Better examples are Jews in medieval Europe and dhimmi Christians in Moslem Near East.

      • I know there is disagreement about this, and I’m far from expert on the matter. Older writers tend to describe Indian castes as more or less separate societies; modern writers as something along the lines of the Western classes. I’m inclined to go with the older writers, and suspect the modern writers are writing myths to underpin modern Indian/Hindu nationalism. The reason Europeans called India a “subcontinent” was because it contained too much religious and ethnic diversity to fit their idea of a country or a nation.

        “It must be born in mind the India is not a united country containing a homogenous population, but a congeries of countries inhabited by races . . . who speak a variety of languages, hold many creeds, observe widely different customs, and present every type and degree of civilization.” (Sir William Wilson Hunter, Rulers of India: Clyde and Stratnairn [1891])

        “India must always remain a constellation rather than a single star, continent rather than a country, a congeries of races rather than a single nation.” (George Nathan Curzon, Lord Curzon in India [1906])

        “India is a sub-continent, not a country. It is no more a country than Europe is a country. Not so much. The people are not of the same religion, nor of the same race, nor of the same degree of civilization; and they have no common language.” (Francis Younghusband, Dawn in India [1930])

      • True that India presents a great deal of regional diversity. But the castes are not those that inhabit different regions but share a common territory, and each occupying its own well-defined occupational and social niche.

        Eg, one has a caste of cobblers and leather-workers, a caste of street-cleaners, a caste of shop-keepers, a caste of money-lenders, a caste of herders and so on. The Hindu society is built up from these castes. They do not inter-marry –thus defining and preserving the caste, but the castes themselves share the common hindu cult and there is necessarily a great deal of interaction between them.

      • It’s best to think of Classical India (pre-Muslim) in a way like Medieval Europe. While there are numerous ethnic, linguistic and religious groups among the commoners, there is an elite religious, intellectual and linguistic culture that is pan-Indian. Sanskrit, like its Western cousin Latin, provided a common language throughout India, Indo-China and Indonesia by which a common intellectual heritage could be shared. The great Buddhist monastic universities like Nalanda accepted all comers, regardless of national origin or religion, as long as the prospective student could pass the entrance exams. We have a good deal of information about this from Medieval Chinese students who had traveled to Northern India to study.

  8. Kristor, liberalism is such a broad term, what you actually mean by “liberalism” is managerialism, anarcho-tyranny, and Cultural Marxism right?

    • No, I mean liberalism. Anarcho-tyranny, managerialism and Cultural Marxism are latter day elaborations of liberalism, which is adequately specified in the famous quote from Justice Kennedy:

      At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life …

      The liberal ideal is every man a cult of one.

      • Okay, than what do you consider the socialist and collectivist (not Marxist, almost fascist) views of Jack London, Sam Gompers and Huey Long?

      • This encapsulates Mr. Richardson’s notion of Liberalism as “autonomy theory.” Here the basic idea is that one can self-create essentially redefining himself and the world around him at will. Of course, there is ALWAYS THE NEXT radical step and this step always follows a definitive AND NOW DATED self-creation. That next radical step is a self-annihilation to restart the process of a new self-creation. SO self-annihilation IS THE PRIME ACT of Liberalism. It is in the self-annihilating act that one PROVES he is liberated. This entire process REGRESSES back to the homo-sexual “nature,” which if properly understood using the equation same = exact same = self, then Liberalism is literally pleasuring one’s SELF to death. Liberalism = pleasurable self-annihilation.

      • Svar…

        The “socialist” and “collectivist” are just cloaks hiding and obscuring a self-annihilating ethos. The “right” to self-annihilate is now Western “white man’s” “highest value.”

      • “The liberal ideal is every man a cult of one”
        Then the socialists and the progressives are certainly not liberal, in fact, they are highly unliberal.

        Liberalism may be better defined as the denial of the political nature of man whereby mankind is organized into particular, morally authoritative, self-ruling units we may call nations, or tribes or (still better) the Cities.

        The libertarian denies the moral authority of the City–that is your Justice Kennedy.
        The progressive denies particularity and wants World State.

        The political nature divides men into neighbors and strangers.
        But for libertarian, all men are equally strangers to all.
        For a progressive, he would make all men neighbors to all, by force if necessary.

  9. TD, is that why many Old Right figures were involved with these individuals (especially Long)?

    The biggest mistake the paleoconservatives made was to ally with the libertarians when they could have allied with the traditional Old Left and acquired the American Working Class

  10. I’ve never quite made it through Thucydides because it’s so depressing. Greeks tearing each other apart according to which faction gained power, the Persians playing both sides, plagues, arrogance, it’s no wonder the Greeks invented a word like hubris. At this distance it’s not so easy to be sure what a democrat was, or an oligarch, in those days. But it is a pattern repeated over and over in Western history- the preference for fighting one another over fighting the hostile outsider. The hostile outsider for centuries has been Islam. If the Franks and the Byzantines had combined forces during the Crusades there would not be much left of Islam today. Wouldn’t it make a wonderful storyline for a novelist to imagine what the modern world would be like if a strong Byzantium had survived to the present? There would be no Turkey while Palestine, Syria and Egypt would be Christian. But over and over, we have preferred to fight one another. And I wonder if the cults discussed here are more the excuse for this internicene strife than the cause. That being said, the hostile outsider may have always been less dangerous than the hostile insider.

  11. It seems everybody is convering in the same direction these days: studying group dynamics.

    I too took a strong interest into it, largely inspired by Nydwracu & Nick Land.

    The interesting thing about group dynamics is that they lend themselves very well to a truly scientific investigation, even back in the mechanical Enlightenment spirit – somehow the human faculty of reason is largely on the individual level, and groups function almost as mindless machines driven by “pneumatic” laws. It is all very predictable. It is something even Descartes types would like.

    I.e. the primary reason modern people know about next to nothing about group dynamics is not that such a science would be contrary to the Enlightenment methods, but rather the very existence of such a thing contradicts the Universalist mythos.

    And, no offense, orthos, I like you and all, but everything I learned so far about group dynamics suggests you have almost no chance – perhaps, if you manage to find a way to get really rich, perhaps then a slim chance.

  12. Kristor,
    Is is a false accusation that I misrepresent your views. I made a precise point that while speculating on the future prospects of comity between the Christian sects in the era when liberalism would have been defeated, you totally ignore what Bible itself has to say about it.

    Do you think this is irrelevant comment? Your idea about taboos etc would apply to every religion, but if are Christian, you need to appreciate the particular context of Christianity.

    • Vishmehr, *please* read more carefully. I *did not say* that you misrepresented my views. I said that you misread the post. You repeatedly respond to assertions that no one has made. Your misreading is so pervasive, and so profound, as to render many of your comments just absurd, wildly inapposite to the subject of the conversation.

      E.g., I say that Christians of diverse sects can possibly live together in comity, and you take me to be saying that they definitely will, and respond with splutterings and expostulations at the notion. Splutter away, but don’t pretend that your splutters are relevant to anything I said, until they are.

      E.g., I say that modernism and Islam are doomed to fall before the Truth on account of their error, and you take me to be suggesting that they will fall at some proximal date certain, and disagree strenuously with what I did not say. Disagree with whatever you like, but don’t ascribe arguments to me that I have not actually made.

      I take you seriously, believe me. I believe you are trying to make serious points, and I am ready to entertain them respectfully (indeed, I am pretty sure I agree with most of them). But you have to make points that are truly apposite to what has already been said in a discussion if you want to participate in it fruitfully.

      This is the very first time you have mentioned the Bible in this thread. Your assertion that you had made a very precise point about it is just false.

      The post is *intended* to be about any sect. It is intended as a set of observations of a most general nature. Nevertheless I fail to see how I have omitted to appreciate the Christian context.

      Now, you may disagree with some of the things I have actually said, and if so I would be interested to hear of your disagreements, as I might learn from them. But you have not in this thread yet disagreed with anything I have in it written.

      • Ok. This got posted in the wrong post. That’s why my remark about Biblical prophecies.
        To more substantive point:
        You write:
        “I say that modernism and Islam are doomed to fall before the Truth on account of their error, and you take me to be suggesting that they will fall at some proximal date certain”

        I do not and never did take you to suggest that they will fall at some proximate date.
        My point was that the Bible and certain recent Popes have spoken of a Great Apostasy to come. Indeed, we may already be living through it. You assume a sort of naturalistic mode that is unsuited to the prophetic times. Modernism will then fall, not because of its own stream, not because it is unsuited to continued existence of the race or the nation, but because of supernatural interventions of the sort described in the Book of Revelations, for instance.

        Post-the fall of modernism, we do not enter into some comity of Christian sects but the Reign of Saints. For a Catholic, this must mean, vindication of the truth of Catholicism and the undisputed reign of the Catholic Church–not a comity between rival sects–there would be no rival sects.

  13. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/08/23) | The Reactivity Place

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