The Lust that Lies at the Bottom of Everything

“We need to make an application of Freudian psychology to an even more fundamental libido than the libido with which the Freudians themselves have been concerned—namely, the libido dominandi.”

Irving Babbitt, Democracy and Leadership (1924).

“Libido dominandi, the lust of government, is the greatest lust.” 

James Harrington, A System of Politics (c. 1650)

“When the minds of men are once erroneously persuaded that it is the will of God to have those things done which they fancy, their opinions are as thorns in their sides, never suffering them to take rest until they have brought their speculations into practice.” 

Richard Hooker, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1553)

At my son’s urging, I yesterday watched Joe Rogan interview the dissident virologist Robert Malone.  Much of the three hours was devoted to discussion of biologic questions that are, to me, highly arcane; but my interest was sustained by Dr. Malone’s occasional allusions to his intimations of a dark conspiracy.  He senses, just as many of us sense, that a secret and sinister hand is at work in the world.

Unfortunately, Rogan and Malone are both content to explain this dark conspiracy by greed.  I am not about to exculpate the pharmaceutical manufacturers, or to deny the reality of greed, but do not believe those who “follow the money” ever get to the bottom of a dark conspiracy.  Money is merely a form of power, and men lust for money only because it is a means to place other men, temporarily or permanently, under their command.

“Waiter, I’m ready for you to take my order!

Because money is a means to the end of domination, greed is only a superficial manifestation of the deeper lust that St. Augustine called libido dominandi, or the lust for power.  All men are born with this lust to dominate, rule, and command.  They naturally satisfy this lust to different degrees, and in various ways, and a few even manage to curb and mortify their lust for power; but, as James Harrington wrote in the middle of the seventeenth century, libido dominandi is man’s greatest lust.

It is the lust that lies at the bottom of all others.

* * * * *

All men are born with the lust for power, and almost all men try to disguise this lust by saying, often very persuasively, that that they desire power only so they can do good.  When Richard Hooker was writing in the sixteenth century, men disguised their libido dominandi with pious declarations that they desired power only because they needed it to do God’s work.  They were not moved by the lust to dominate, rule and command!  Perish the thought!

Nowadays men disguise their libido dominandi by piously declaring that they desire power only because they need it to “save lives,” bring about “social justice,” “protect the environment,” “fight hate,” “save our democracy,” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Some men, no doubt, desire power so they can do good; but there are many more who promise they will do good, or claim they are doing good, because they lust for power.  I am not such a misanthrope that I deny all men any trace of goodness, but I know as well as you that most self-styled do-gooders are little Caligulas in disguise.

* * * * *

Every one of us was born with the libido dominandi.  Like our other lusts, our lust for power is not evil so long as it is reasonable, ordinate and just.  But, like our other lusts, our lust for power is naturally boundless, and will thus naturally expand until it is checked, either by internal restraint or external opposition.

Because it is naturally boundless, our lust for power also seeks to defeat internal restraint and external opposition, and it most often does this by disguising itself as a desire to do good.

As the American critic Paul Elmer Moore put it in 1917,

“The moment you identify the moral sense with the human will . . . you are in imminent danger . . . of confounding your law universal with the libido dominandi and of seeing in the categorical imperative an excuse for forcing your own sense of right upon reluctant mankind.”*

This is exactly what Richard Hooker meant when he wrote, in 1553,

“When the minds of men are once erroneously persuaded that it is the will of God to have those things done which they fancy, their opinions are as thorns in their sides, never suffering them to take rest until they have brought their speculations into practice.”

It is just such a thorn that nowadays moves the the secret and sinister hand that is at work in the world.  This is why it lusts to force its sense of right upon reluctant mankind.

*) Paul Elmer More, Platonism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1917), p. 276.

19 thoughts on “The Lust that Lies at the Bottom of Everything

  1. The lust to dominate lies *near* the bottom, I agree – but not at the very bottom.

    There at the very bottom lies a spirit of pure negation, and destruction of all that is divinely created and good.

    Tolkien displayed this in the trajectory of Morgoth – a picture of Satan. Melkor/ Morgoth begins by trying to mimic (through corruption) the divine creation of The One – he makes orcs, trolls, dragons. But through the ages his hatred of all that is of-God, is beautiful, true or good grows and grows – and as this negative-spirit grows as he uses his power in a more and more spiteful, negative and destructive way – even when it harms and weakens himself. By the time he is defeated the greatest of the angels (Valar) has become shrunken, weakened, fearful and cowardly. Ultimately, if Morgoth had been wholly successful in tainting, despoiling and reducing the created world to rubble; he would need to kill *himself* as a ‘final’ act – since he too was and is created by The One.

    https://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/2011/08/morgoth-versus-sauron-tolkien-on-nature.html

    I believe this trajectory can be seen in our globalist establishment over the past two years. The early evil intent (Great Reset/ Agenda 2030) was explicitly a system of surveillance and control; but since they took power in 2020 Their actions have become less coherent, and ever-more sheerly destructive of all that is human, Good and divine.

    Ever more of their actions are destructive of the capability of the surveillance-control system; and serve merely to harm, torment, create fear and resentment, misery and despair… And this is done even at the cost of the security, health, happiness and pleasures of the rulers.

    Evil feeds on itself, and They are in the grip of evil. From power to destruction, from control to chaos. To desire the chaos of universal death is – I would say – the *extremity* of evil.

    • I concede the reality of Ahrimanic evil, but am inclined to see it as a lust for power gone sour. Men who disguise their lust for power as goodness often believe they are, in fact, agents of goodness. As you say of Melkor, they turn to rage and destruction when they see they cannot do anything good. I think we see something similar in the ugly anti-art of “artists” who discover they cannot make anything beautiful. We are so often told that vandalism is a protest by the oppressed that we forget it is more often an expression of spite. If the Great Reset fails, I fear our punishment may be nearly as bad as the Great Reset would have been.

    • That is true, excepting cases of truly shameful behavior. I agree with you that shame is very often misused as a weapon, to bully, humiliate and control an individual or group. But shame is at the same time a legitimate part of human society.

      • It’s tricky because shame is viral. Those who have been shamed desire to shame others to decrease the feeling of their own shame. It convinced the one wielding shame of their own righteousness. But there is nothing true, good or beautiful about it when scrutinized honestly. It’s evil in the truest sense of the word.

      • How would you correct genuine misbehavior? A child can be beaten, shamed, or reasoned with. Reasoning seldom works, and when it does work, it is really shaming by a parent who acts sad and disappointed. What about a man who is cheating on his wife. Should other men in the community ignore it, or should they beat him? I understand that an individual who has been abused by cruel shamming will have an aversion to shaming as such, but it seems to be the only alternatives is indifference or physical beatings.

      • I suggest you use shame as a means to correct genuine misbehavior very carefully. As you point out, it is the easiest means to use but it comes with a heavy price both on its perpetrator and it’s victim and it perpetuates more shaming down the road. Those who use shame regularly don’t like to see this truth. But it makes sense because the spirit of shame is deceitful and hides itself from itself just as Adam and Eve did when they disobeyed God. Before that, they were “without shame.” (GEN 2:25)

      • So, do you advocate beating or letting everyone do as they please? Reasoning seldom works because immoral conduct is seldom illogical. How would you chastise a wayward child? Or would you just leave them alone and hope for the best?

      • I can hardly see how “get[ting] off” on shaming others is somehow morally inferior to … getting off on *not* shaming others; both positions, it seems to me, proceed from the same definciency taken to its extreme on either side of the question. As I’ve said many times in the past, and reiterate here, “anything taken to the extreme is bad.” And by “anything,” I literally mean Any. Thing.

        But I’m normally not one to accuse others of “getting off on” shaming or its opposite in any case. I’ll leave that determination to you experts. *wink, wink*

      • I tend to err on the side of letting other people go to the dogs. This laxity is probably shameful, but no one has yet shamed me for it.

      • I tend to err on the side of letting other people go to the dogs. This laxity is shameful, but no one has yet shamed me for it. I tend to err on the side of letting other people go to the dogs. This laxity is probably shameful, but no one has yet shamed me for it. I think my definition of shaming is much broader than WS’s, since it includes any expression of disapproval. I personally find it helpful to know when other people disapprove of my actions. It causes me to think twice, and sometimes even to change.

      • People can certainly offer corrections in an honest, authentic manner. This is non shaming in my estimation. The passive aggressive manner in which Terry Morris chooses to communicate is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

      • I personally find it helpful to know when other people disapprove of my actions. It causes me to think twice, and sometimes even to change.

        Ditto! Although I will admit I tend to be resistant at first. That is where the “thinking twice” part comes in. It takes a while to process it all and form the correct conclusion. But I believe you are right – shaming has likely done me much more good in my lifetime than had my “shamers” decided it best to let my shameful behavior go and “hope for the best.”

      • When their wickedness is revealed. What they would say is: “It never happened” and “you absolutely deserved it”.

    • This moron can’t differentiate between shaming due to lust for power which is about usurping God’s place and overturning his laws, and shaming to force conformance with God’s laws. The real ones. Shame all faggots and trannies and sluts. Even Hooker would not tell me that if I shame hookers I have become “erroneously persuaded that it is the will of God to have those things [not] done which [I] fancy [not]” but rather Hooker verily would acknowledge that God’s law calls for stonkng adulterers to death; either that or Hooker is himself guilty of the Satanic lust for power which seeks to invert God’s law.

  2. Revelation 2:6
    “I must say to your credit that we both have a common disregard for those who want to abuse their position to *control people!” (The business of the *nikolaitoon – from niko, to conquer, and laos, people.)
    Mirror Bible translation, Francois du Toit

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