Some Slogans of Satanic Audacity

I passed a university bus this morning, and emblazoned on its side was the slogan “Driven to be Unstoppable.”  All of the university’s busses presently sport such bumptious sentiments as part of an ongoing “national reputation campaign.” The eponymous slogan of this campaign is “Fearless on Every Front,” and the obvious purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness (and money) with some lively tub thumping.

The slogan is not absolutely true, of course, since it is fear that causes tubs to be thumped, and national reputation campaigns to be undertaken.  The university is obviously afraid of what will happen if it is not more widely noticed.  And in those quarters where it does not suffer from obscurity, the university is also, and just as obviously, afraid of a bad reputation.

Thus, taken at face value, the slogan “fearless on every front” is what logicians call a self-refuting proposition.  To assert the slogan is to demonstrate its falsity.

You may waive this away as pedantic logomachy, and you may be right in doing so, but there is a deeper problem in this claim to comprehensive fearlessness.  A man who fears nothing necessarily cares for nothing, since fear is an anticipation of harm to some good.  The brave three hundred at Thermopylae were not fearless, since their bravery presupposed a profound fear of what would happen to Greece, and the honor of Sparta, if the Persian army made it through that pass.

It should be needless to say that wise and learned men have written a great deal about the virtue of courage, and have taken pains to distinguish true courage from qualities such as audacity or recklessness, which have a semblance to courage, but are essentially different.  A courageous man does not “loose heart” in the just defense of that which he rightly fears to lose.  He is not devoid of fear (i.e. “fearless on every front”), but rather fears what it is right to fear, and braves what it is right to brave.

If we dig into the fine print of the Fearless on Every Front campaign, we find that the university is not, in fact, fearless on every front, and that its fears are not restricted to fear of obscurity and fear of a bad reputation.  The fine print explains that this “national reputation campaign” is designed to draw attention to the ways in which “Texas A&M is fearlessly addressing society’s most critical problems” and “fearlessly pursuing knowledge and excellence.”

From which it follows that Texas A&M fears a society in which these critical problems are unaddressed, and in which knowledge and excellence are unpursued.  This is all well and good, but it is not comprehensive fearlessness. Comprehensive fearlessness implies apathy, not courage, since any eventuality is equally welcome to the man who fears nothing.

The man who is fearless on every front may fear nothing because he has taken the Stoic doctrine of απαθεια to its logical conclusion of utter indifference.  Or he may simply be a fool.

* * * * *

It seems to me that the slogan “driven to be unstoppable” expresses the same idea that Friedrich Nietzsche expressed with the phrase “will to power,” and that St. Augustine expressed with the phrase libido dominandi.  It is a confirmation that Thomas Hobbes was right to say,

“I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.”  Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan1.11.

I think Hobbs’ diagnosis is correct.  Every natural man aspires to absolute despotism, or, if you like, is “driven to be unstoppable.” Every one of us has dreamed of a world in which our will is law, which is to say a world in which our will is not “stopped” by supervening laws of nature, morality, the state, or religion.  Nietzsche gives the name superman to anyone who not only dreams of such a world, but is unstoppably driven to realize that world.  St. Augustine calls this same man a sinner.  In the philosophy of Hobbs, he is called a savage.

It should be needless to say that wise and learned men have written a great deal about the nature and exercise of human will.  Until Nietzsche and the modern age, these wise and learned men viewed the will with grave suspicion, and advised that it be “stopped” in any number of ways.  There were, of course, many unlearned men for whom “Driven to be Unstoppable” would have been a suitable motto.  Genghis Kahn, for instance.  And, looking a little higher than men, there is Satan.  He was really “driven to be unstoppable,” so driven, in fact, that he declared it “better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

Wouldn’t that make a handsome slogan on the side a university bus!

* * * * *

You may think that I am indulging in the worst sort of carping criticism, and that I am simply making hay out of advertising slogans that should be treated like the insincere folderol that they actually are.   You may be right, but I have two repulsive stacks of papers to grade, and my drive to tap out carping criticism is well-nigh unstoppable just now.

But then again, you may be wrong, and these slogans may be omens of ill portent.  Taken at face value, they absolutely repudiate the Great Tradition, with its subtle understanding of courage and its skeptical attitude towards the will.  They exhibit a withering contempt for just about everything that wise and learned men have written for hundreds years, and would seem themselves to be expressions of Satanism.  If you prefer the word Modernism, you’ll hear no objection from me, since the two words are synonymous.

When a medieval seat of learning chose its motto, it aimed to express Christian humility (i.e. fear of the Lord) in the scholarly language of Latin.  For instance, Oxford University:

Dominus illuminatio mea
(The Lord is My Light)

When a modern seat of learning chooses its motto, it aims to express Satanic audacity (i.e. Will to Power) in the huckster language of Madison Avenue.

32 thoughts on “Some Slogans of Satanic Audacity

  1. The current big slogan at SUNY Oswego belongs to the library, which broadcasts it in the form of an enormous banner hung gonfalon-like over the library entrance: “Innovation, Cooperation, & Collaboration.” Collaboration seems about right, to me.

  2. Pingback: Some Slogans of Satanic Audacity | @the_arv

  3. Yes, we’re stacked to the rafters with collaborators. The more they talk about being in the resistance, the more of a collaborator they are sure to be.

  4. Pingback: Some Slogans of Satanic Audacity | Reaction Times

      • Holy smokes, that crafty advertising agency sold the same campaign to two universities on opposite sides of the globe, perhaps hoping no one would notice. I’m getting the sense that “fearless” means willing to compete, individually, with seven billion people in a world without borders

      • I note in passing that the three-word slogan associated with this campaign (Unleash your fearless) turns fearless into a noun. Oh, the pain, the pain!

  5. I’d think it has less to do with competition and more to do with boldly going to where the social welfare rates are highest.

  6. Under the category of Satanic slogans, this one shows itself everywhere on my campus in the form of a poster: “Spread Pride.”

      • You forgot narcissism, which is already extraordinarily widespread on college campuses. The “Spread Pride” slogan, by the way, and in case you haven’t guessed, is connected with one or another or perhaps with many of the sexual agendas, which makes it all the more crass.

      • As I once wrote

        In a way, the homosexual movement has done the world a favor in so thoroughly claiming the words “pride” and “proud”. “X pride” now means “homosexuality in X”. For centuries, the Devil and his Enlightenment minions have done a pretty good job of romanticizing pride as the beautiful vice of the creative and the defiant. Nowadays, who wants to go on about their school pride, like in the great athletic rivalry days of yore? You’d just make rival schools think you’re a bunch of queers.

  7. I have just discovered your blog, and I think it magnificent. Thanks for writing. Reading such heresy against the zeitgeist heartens me.

    One quibble though, that I think you will appreciate my editorial comment on: you’ve made the same mistake twice in two posts, confusing ‘lose’ with ‘loose.’

    In this post: “A courageous man does not loose heart” should be “lose heart.”

    In Profound Sexual Stupidity: “they will in time impair, perhaps even loose, their capacity for natural sexual function” should be “perhaps even lose.”

    You’re obviously a very good writer, perhaps a better one than I am. It’s a bit jarring to see you make such a basic mistake. I’ve done the same in the past (consistantly misusing ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ for example) and I appreciated being called on it.

    I’d email this to you, but don’t see a link. You don’t need to post this publicly, it’s meant for your eyes only.

    Thanks for being staunch. I’ve rss’d you, and hope you keep feeding me. I’m a bit starved, and can use the nourishment. Thanks again.

    • Correction and criticism that is made is good faith is taken in good faith. I can sometimes turn a phrase, but not always spell a word.

      • Prof. Smith: I for one encourage you to keep (mis)spelling the word lose as “loose.” It is one of your most endearing qualities, IMHO (in my haughty opinion). Not that you don’t have many endearing qualities, but the misspelling lets your faithful readers know that you are only human, and therefore one of us commoners.

      • I feel the spirit of my fourth grade teacher hovering over me with that familiar reproving smile on her face.

      • I fear it is too late. An alarm bell will now ring whenever Prof. Smith is constructing in mind a sentence containing the word, “lose.”

      • You’ll have to stop and think about it, as I do for “its” and “it’s”, and for “prostate” and “prostrate,” among others.

      • pbw:

        Only if he hasn’t been doing it on purpose all along. 🙂

        Humorous anecdote on the subject:

        About a year ago I was quietly following a discussion in another forum wherein one poster kept spelling “lose” as “loose.” His chief interlocutor finally called him out on the issue, providing examples of proper use of the terms in sentence form. To paraphrase his chosen form of correction, the man wrote ‘you’re going to *lose* this argument, whereas your momma is *loose*.’ Finding that latter part to be morally objectionable, I interceded, scolding the man on his choice of examples and suggesting that in the future he should probably cite examples like “loose fitting jeans,” or something like that, and strictly avoid insulting another man’s mother. To which he immediately struck back, calling me a “Morality Nazi,” among other mean and hurtful things.

        Well, what can I say to that, other than that I can’t seem to win for loosing.

      • You’ve given me my mnemonic to avoid this error in future. I will see that double o as two loose and braless boobs, the double o in boob being a backup mnemonic. So, the next time you’re accused of moral nazism, you can point to this as evidence that you’ve done you bit for vulgarity and moral turpitude.

  8. “driven to be unstoppable”

    I know you Aggies just got your law school, but that, written on a bus no less?!? Hope the Aggie transit system has good insurance coverage.

  9. It’s been a while, but I enjoy the Orthosphere to much to stay away. So hello again 🙂

    Your post is excellently written, as usual on this platform. However, I think you do Satan a disservice, so to speak. You give the moderns to much credit. Or I misunderstood, which is also possible — wouldn’t be the first time I enter the Othosphere with my opinion and leave with yours 🙂

    To the point — you write: ‘There were, of course, many unlearned men for whom “Driven to be Unstoppable” would have been a suitable motto. Genghis Kahn, for instance. And, looking a little higher than men, there is Satan. He was really “driven to be unstoppable,”’

    This is exactly correct. “Overmen”, Satan and Genghis Khan follow their personal desires whereever they go. In the book of Job, Satan wants to turn Job from God and has no problem at all with killing children. He has no qualms about morality or justice.

    The moderns, especially the university — on the other side — are precisely full of qualms. Are we whites disadvantaging minorities? Are we men putting women down? Are we humans allowed to eat animals? Clearly, Satan would not have such qualms. If a man, he’d probably enjoy taking advantage of women. Can you imagine a university modern even think “Yes, women are disadvantaged, and that’s great for me and my friends, so let’s keep it that way”? Clearly not. So where’s the Satanism?

    My answer is that the modern individual has replaced traditional christan qualms with modern leftist qualms. He put one idealism (be a Good Leftist) for another (be as Christ).

    We agree that Leftism leads to destruction, that it dissolves societies etc. So maybe it is Satanic “in effect”, if you believe that Satan wants to destroy the world. However, it certainly isn’t Satanic in outlook. An institution “driven to be unstoppable” would probably think of finding the intellectual elite and making the best out of them in terms of money, technology and power — certainly not about sensitivity training, african american studies etc.

    In short, please explain how the many moral qualms that moderns have are compatible with “expressions of Satanism”, as Satan is understood by Catholicism.

    Another question: What are some good bible passages to read more about Satan, how he thinks and what he does? I only found the book of Job so far to have a decent amount of details. Those “king of tyre”-places didn’t tell me a lot. Surely there must be more? How do we even know he wants to destroy the world and not just Not follow orders — i.e. Nonserviam? If you wish, please make me a Satanic Bible Passages Readin List 🙂

    • Satanism is the attitude embodied in the character Satan, and can be professed whether or not one believes Satan actually exists. Milton’s Paradise Lost may be our best guide to the Satanic attitude. At its heart, this is hatred of God, or more precisely, of the fact that there is a God. Or if you prefer a philosophical construction, it is hatred of logos, order, nature. It is hatred of everything that constrains the will. That’s why Milton has Satan say that it is better to rule in Hell (i.e. do as he pleases under abominable conditions) than serve in Heaven (i.e. obey in ways that are perfectly pleasing).

      Modernism was at first a revolt against God, but once it had finished with that and declared that “God is dead,” it had to become a revolt against Nature. Natural sex, sexuality, and kinship all have to go because they constrain the Satanic will. It doesn’t matter if this makes everyone miserable, because, as Satan said, “it is better to rule in Hell.

      The essential answer to your question is that Satanism is the spirit of rebellion for its own sake. What it finds is that each round of rebellion creates a new set of oppressive structures, and hence necessitates another round of rebellion. If you haven’t read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, you should take a look at that. It’s the story of a failed Satanist.

      • Thanks for your reply, JMSmith. I once again have to beg your pardon for my typos 😦 To hasty with the submit-button today.

        I find your characterisation of Satanism striking and convincing — much more so than those given by LaVey in the “Satanic Bible” or other modernist views, like the “Temple of Set” 😉

        “it is hatred of logos, order, nature. It is hatred of everything that constrains the will. That’s why Milton has Satan say that it is better to rule in Hell (i.e. do as he pleases under abominable conditions) than serve in Heaven (i.e. obey in ways that are perfectly pleasing).”

        We absolutely agree on Satanism. But on Moderism, I just don’t get it. It’s a revolt against one set of principles — namely yours. But it just *does not* replace them with the Satanic doctrine of *Unconstrained Will*. Liberals are perfectly happy to impose norms which “constrain the Satanic will” — political correctness being the obvious example. So how do you get the two to be similar?

        I sometimes have argued for the “Unconstrained Will”-Position. I explained the Moral Error Theory (the idea that there are no true moral statements — see Mackie’s “Ethics – Inventing Right and Wrong”) and combined it with the personal fact of having desires. And all my liberal interlocutors were always absolutely against me 😉 Some things, according to them are *simply* evil. I agree with you that they can’t make a *truly* good argument for this without God. But they still believe it! So where’s their Satanism? I feel like I’m missing something obvious here… but I just don’t see it. They empathically do not hold the “Unconstrained Will”-Position and vocally oppose it.

      • Most American liberals subscribe to the polite Satanism of John Stuart Mill, not the raw Satanism of Nietzsche. They will tell you that your right to swing you fist ends at the tip of their nose, as if nose tips have some extraordinary and obvious moral status in a universe that is (on their account) otherwise devoid of moral constraints. This is because they have smuggled in a doctrine of equality. They are what Nietzsche scorned as “last men” who use equality to protect their “little pleasures.”

        “Everyone wanteth the same; everyone is equal: he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse . . . . They have their little pleasures for the day, and their ittle pleasures for the night.” Prologue to Thus Spake Zarathustra.

      • “as if nose tips have some extraordinary and obvious moral status in a universe that is (on their account) otherwise devoid of moral constraints.” There you have it. For them, some things have moral status. Minorities have the right not to hear hate speech, you nose has the right not to be bashed, women have the right to have a third of the CEO-positions and so on. To them, there’s a *lot* of things which have “moral status” in a universe that is “otherwise” devoid of constraints. To me it’s clear that they just have *different* constraints than you. They allow abortion, you allow monarchy, they ban hate-speech, you ban gay “marriage” — or any number of examples.

        Now I agree that your constraints are better suited to producing a long-term healthy society. Sure. But to call them Satanic just because they have *different qualms* makes no sense to me. Satan has *no* moral qualms. *Un*-stoppable — not “Stoppable by something different”.

        “Everyone wanteth the same; everyone is equal: he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse” — this passage I know well. And do you seriously claim that it describes Satanists? Just call the leftists leftists, or modernists, anything really… but why Satanists? The only similarity is that both deny Christianity. But there are so many differences and outright oppositions between leftism and Satanism….

        I see you using that term to describe them as an imprecision that is a smirch on your otherwise very sharp reasoning.

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