The acid eating at tradition is cheap information. This is to say that the acid eating away at cultures – all cultures, properly so called – is cheap information.
And information is from now on essentially free.
Can there then ever again be such a thing as a coherent traditional society?
Sure, tradition is necessary; it is the atomic stuff of culture as such. But is it even possible anymore? Are we looking at the death of culture?
In the quest for as many eyeballs as they can attract, content providers on the internet have no option but to appeal to the lowest common human denominator; which is to say, to the basest, most vicious thing about us, all: our concupiscence. Concupiscence is remarkably homogenous from one country to another. It boils down always and everywhere to the Seven Deadlies. So the internet is bound to promulgate the Seven Deadlies, and to make war on all things human that prevent or heal our indulgence in them – such as the traditions that all societies have instituted, to prevent them and palliate their effects. E.g., families, sexes and their roles, true religions, mores and customs, nations and their rites and costumes, their languages and cuisines, and so forth.
The internet then is on the whole a titanic engine of subscendence, pushing all people and all cultures toward a maximally sinful, maximally stupid, maximally ill and maximally mad way of life. Let’s be clear what this means concretely: the internet is systematically pushing all human cultures ever more toward the Cult and Culture of Death.
That’s what global culture is. It is the zero of local culture, and so a fortiori of idiosyncrasy, and so of idiosyncratic or local excellence and moral virtue; for, idiosyncrasy, and for that matter conformity, are possible in the first place only in the context of a distinct cultural milieu. And distinction – then likewise the discernment and discrimination, the mere *thought,* that follow upon it – is just what the internet is willy nilly most interested to destroy. The machine that is dedicated solely to the production and promulgation of memes is interested to destroy all barriers to that promulgation. It wants a maximally bland and homogenous population of individuals, in which any notion is as likely to stand out as any other, so that each provider’s stock in trade has a shot at a global audience of at least a few thousands.
Where there are no local traditional cultures, every man is an idosyncrat, utterly self-determining; and so, everyone is just alike, and equally alone.
There are of course beneficial aspects to this new state of affairs. The global homogenization is likely to result in the universal use of tools and techniques that work really well: free market capitalism, denim, pants, knit cotton, double entry accounting, html, Excel (thanks be to God for Excel!), global standards (of measurement, performance, reporting, and so forth), just in time inventory, the best way to get rid of tree stumps, joint stock corporations, and so forth. These are all works in progress, but they are in fact progressing. They keep getting a bit better. This progress is implicit in the logical discipline necessary for coding – and (so) for life.
So, the basic universal tool kit is likely to get lots and lots better over time.
And the acid of cheap information eats away at bad ideas even more than it dissolves traditions. The internet puts insanity on display for all to see, and most do see that it is insane – if they don’t, then we deserve the death of the human species that will ensue. Some bad ideas can be more alluring than the good ones, but the good ones are more durable; and most bad ideas look really, really stupid, prima facie (this is the universally interesting topic of the fail videos online). Viz., the Democrats are looking pretty doggone stupid right now, to anyone with the foggiest notion of how things work in the real world. It’s comical. Laughter is the best medicine for that disease, and our adversaries are utterly humorless; this is why our side’s advantage in the meme wars is so valuable. We’ve got all the good jokes, because our adversaries are handing them to us on silver platters, every single day. And we’ve got all the good belly laughs.
Nevertheless the acid of cheap information eats away at all ideas whatever. What’s the problem with that, though? Won’t it result in the destruction of all the really bad ideas, so that the only thing left is the pretty good ideas, which can then compete with each other, breed, and so forth? I mean, doesn’t natural selection handle the problem rather tidily? Truth needs no protections, and all that?
Truth indeed wants no defense, for he is a Lion, who cannot be tamed, and who shall out in the end, and then prevail utterly. It can’t be otherwise. But it isn’t Truth we are worried about after all, is it? He’s eternal, so worry on his behalf is rather inapt. It’s not the Lion one must worry for, but the victims of the Witch. It’s men we must be worried about; male, female, young and old. It’s frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, who want protection, and education.
People want the Lion, but “they” say (as if they had any way to know) that he hasn’t been seen around these parts for some time. Meanwhile, here’s the Witch with her goddamned Turkish Delight, every single freaking time we go online.
The protection and education of men, against the sweet sticky suasions of the Witch, is the perennial, traditional function of tradition. Tradition is our inheritance from forebears who have done already a lot of thinking on behalf of their children: us.
When no tradition is sacrosanct, everything is always up for grabs; for reinvention – which is to say, attack – at the whim of the next clever sophistical sophomore who can write and has access to the internet, and who thinks he knows better than all his fathers. Under such conditions, only some of the mightiest and most educated intellects are safe from perversive persuasions.
Is it possible, under such conditions, for *any tradition whatsoever* to perdure?
I ask the question. I do not know the answer. I fear that it is no. I doubt it is possible, in the Age of the Internet, to form a coherent traditional society that can ward off virulent memetic ingressions from other domains of the intellectual realm.
How would a society that had reacted radically against the perverse and pervasive subscendence of global “culture” need to be organized in order to immunize itself from the sly soft constant subtle alluring attacks of the Cult and Culture of Death? Could such a society continue to use the internet? If it did not, how could it survive the day to day practical competition with other societies, that did? How, that is to say, could it survive the competition with the global Cult and Culture of Death, that had pervasively conquered all other countries?
I don’t have answers to these questions yet. I’m worried about it.