Alternate Realities: Two Movies on One Screen

Some of the people Marc Maron interviews are interesting to listen to, but fairly regularly they will suddenly go off on some political tangent. He is a self-described neurotic who suffers from anxiety and dread as, seemingly, his main emotional states and tends to catastrophize. He has said that he truly expected Jews (like him) to be rounded up into camps by Trump. Never mind that Trump has Jews in his family and was very friendly to Israel during his presidency. The fact that no such thing happened he seems to regard as some kind of fluke.

Being Woke he regards as simply being “nice,” and considerate to the feelings of others. Somehow, extreme anti-white racism is not part of the picture for him. Jan. 6th participants getting years in jail for misdemeanors and trespassing, while Summer of Love rioters being instantly released. Recently, he asked a guest, “What is virtue signaling?” ???!!!!

I have mentioned this phenomenon before, but I am as astonished each time it happens, and it is the phenomenon of Woke leftists and the like convinced that they are on the back foot, back up against the wall, about to be swamped by “fascists” who is anybody who disagrees with them. Every person who deviates from the current party line, which changes all the time, is a threat to democracy and the return of Hitler. Maron and his guest, some actor called Bradley Whitford, ended the podcast unironically or apologetically referring to all us normies as fascists. Whitford quoted Margaret Atwood, that little darling, as saying that it’s fun to be a Nazi. Either she is speaking from experience or she actually thinks it would be fun to be a Nazi. It doesn’t sound good either way. Maron and Whitford seemed to agree so we’ll see if they ever decide to have fun. So far, so normal. But, the bit that really got my attention was when they bemoaned the supposed fact that progressivism always loses and is about to be vanquished. Oh, how I wish that were true. Tell me more! What do we need to do? I’ll take the minutes. The list of institutions that progressives control is encyclopedic. It becomes a case of how many institutions you can remember to mention. I wish the Right could “lose” in the manner that progressives are “losing.” When every department of education at every college is a propaganda brainwashing outfit such that teachers cannot graduate without at least pretending to go along with Woke thought and every dissident academic either keeps his mouth shut or gets booted, and the media backs every progressive policy promoted by the Democrats simply because they back anything done by them, (the list goes on) what more can you want?

It’s the fear of the monopolist. They have everything to lose. Things can only get worse. Maintaining an absolute monopoly is a taxing business. Since any deviation from monopoly means you no longer have a monopoly, monopolists are likely to suffer from paranoia; a red under every bed. I mentioned some years ago that I talked to a Left professor (you know, the only kind) who thought that because there are a couple of “right wing” think tanks, and maybe one or two colleges that don’t follow the party line (Hillsdale being the main example) that education is not absolutely dominated by Leftist thought. These pitiful deviations from a stranglehold made him very upset and sure that his opponents were massing and threatening. I would compare it to the US military being worried about a seven year old with a wooden sword and a newspaper pirate hat.

This catastrophizing is presumably also linked to utopianism and secular millenarianism. Since utopia has still not been reached, things are bad. Infinity minus 101000 is still infinity. No matter how many steps one takes to progressive utopia, one is still infinitely far from one’s destination. I guess that could instill a sense of hopelessness and pessimism, while us normies count every step as being in the wrong direction.

Perhaps, progressives can be compared to an outstandingly fat person obsessed with food who will never forget the day they were denied another helping, and take it as proof that they are in a state of total deprivation and food insecurity, as the new trendy phrase puts it.

The podcasters I listen to argue that Leftists are unstoppable until we reach the point of system collapse, which we will since so many of their policies are unworkable, such as trying to make us all drive electric cars and rely on solar and wind power, making the electricity supply unreliable and meager while also making us more reliant on it. Part of the problem is that the Right has no coherent alternative to offer with no unified vision of any kind. The Right will anathematize anyone to the Right of them, while the Left embraces the kookiest Leftist nonsense. Fox news has pro-transexual segments and is fine with gay marriage (I am told, I don’t watch it). Ed Dutton mentions Jonathan Haidt’s moral categories to try to explain why. Personally, I’m suspicious of Haidt because he is fundamentally on the Left. Thomas F. Bertonneau didn’t have much time for him either for the same reason. The claim is that liberals care about “equality” and harm avoidance. “Equality” is appealing to those low in the social hierarchy who hope to benefit from redistributive policies (except they are not “re-distributing” anything since nothing has been “distributed,” so they are really confiscatory policies). While conservatives care about those two, but also loyalty, obedience, and sanctity. Those last three mean nothing to a liberal so they feel no compulsion to follow any conservative arguments. But, conservatives do include equality and harm avoidance and tend to be open to arguments that appeal to those and thus to make concessions to the Left. It could be added that the liberals embrace a lack of self-restraint, at least seemingly, while conservatives point out that self-discipline is a key factor in personal freedom since without it, you are the victim of passing desires and not free at all. The Left is the good cop permissive parent, in some ways, while the Right is the bad cop parent who says no. That pretty much matches the Mom (Democrat) and Dad (Republicans) division that has always existed. On the other hand, a good parent lets their kid leave home and make his own life for himself, whereas the Democrats want to micromanage every aspect of even one’s thoughts.

Bari Weiss had Patrick Deneen on, author of Why Liberalism Failed. He argues that Enlightenment fantasies about autonomy and freedom are simply reaching their logical conclusion. It is not so much a matter of a Gramscian takeover of the institutions but an ever-expanding emphasis on individualistic “freedom.” This strain of thought inherent in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution used to be balanced out by social restraints, the church, the “little platoons,” of clubs and associations, but once those are removed any socially coercive tendencies that force people in a more communal, group-oriented direction go with them. Deneen says that de Tocqueville Democracy in America foresaw this; that individualism would lead to eventual social dissolution.

Of course, this “do what you want” anti-hierarchy, anti-history, anti-institution notion is being coupled with the most repressive, authoritarian, mind-control garbage since Stalin and the Soviet Union. And unlike the Soviet Union, supposedly the majority of Americans are happy to go along with it and regard dissident American thought as a “threat to democracy.” Paul Gottfried and Joseph Cotto argue that there is no silent majority anymore. The Christian Right are a negligible force, while white college educated women have become Woke fanatics. There is also no meaningful shared idea of what being “American” is. They attack the idea that one can go from being an English protestant ethnostate to one founded on an “idea.” The Constitution, Cotto argues, cannot save us since it must be interpreted and enforced by a corrupt legal system. The Constitution means whatever judges tell us it means.

The New Zealand law professor and politician Geoffrey Palmer wrote Unbridled Power. In it, he argued that unwritten constitutions, such as that which NZ and the UK had until recently, are perfectly fine. A written constitution is unnecessary in times of plain sailing, and it is worthless in a constitutional crisis. Words on paper are powerless.

Personally, I favor the view that the elite (those in power regardless of which party is currently in office) want all to be dependent on the state, and certainly to be controlled by them. Relatively wealthy working class men, plumbers, electricians, contractors, are effectively independent. They did not go through the brainwashing regimen of our universities and, with their money, they are not reliant on a Human Resources department or affected by ESG policies run by Black Rock’s Fink, or DEI nonsense. It is towards them that the mighty resources of the state and the media are targeted. They still have the capacity for independent thought and so it is they that Biden targets in his Satan speech.

5 thoughts on “Alternate Realities: Two Movies on One Screen

  1. Two centuries ago, we were conquered by a weird millennarist cult that had as a dogma the belief that liberty and equality were going to produce the paradise on Earth.

    This cult would have ended up in the dustbin of history as any other millennarist cult (read “The Socialist Phenomenon”, free on the web) if the bourgeois had not used it as a propaganda to take the power from the aristocrats. For the bourgeois, liberty meant “we don’t have to submit to the Ancien Regime rules”. Equality meant “we are not inferior to the aristocrats”. The bourgeois waxed lyrical about “all men were created equal” while having slaves and restricting the vote to men with property. How convenient.

    The problem was that the bourgeois revolutions won and the cult became the official ideology of the State, as the justification for the revolutions. So it was the first time in history that a millennarist cult was backed by the powers that be. People were indoctrinated in this cult through the school and the media. In addition, this coincided with the progress of the brainwashing techniques (compulsory school, media, psychological studies).

    To make things worse, the cult was very stupid, very dangerous and very attractive. It was very stupid (you can’t found a political system on liberty and equality, because the liberty and equality of a person is the lack of liberty and equality of another person). It was very dangerous because liberty and equality are the synonym of entropy (the antonym of structure). No structure (a human body, a cell, a society) can endure the liberty and equality of its parts. So the cult was a dissolvent acid for society. But the huge wealth produced by the Industrial Revolution managed to hide the sign of this dissolution.

    It was very attractive because it aligned with the “scowling id” of human beings (“less work”, “more sex”), which has been developed for the more entropic environment of the Paleolithic. As a result, the human instincts are always trying to go back to the Paleolithic and they saw the cult as sweet (read JMSmith’s “There must be Chains and the Lash for the Scowling Id” here in the Orthosphere).

    The dissolvent acid of liberty and equality started dissolving the self-regulation of the scowling id by means of personal conscience and social stigma (read “Bring back stigma” free on the web), while dissolving the structures that made conscience and stigma possible (the church, the “little platoons,” of clubs and associations, the neighbors that knew each other and controlled each other). As a result, self-restraint decreased so life became a fight of everybody against everybody.

    The conflicts multiplied and, since conscience and stigma were gone, the only way of dealing with them was with the State. As a result, we went to an increasing totalitarianism. Freedom and totalitarianism are two faces of the same coin, as Rousseau knew. This is why “this “anti-hierarchy, anti-history, anti-institution notion is being coupled with the most repressive, authoritarian, mind-control garbage since the Stalin and the Soviet Union.”

    So, yes, we are reaping the logical consequences of an absurd ideology. If I think that men are cars, the logical consequence is that men are entitled to gasoline. If I think that men must be free, the logical consequence is that they must be free to decide if they want to be a man or a woman. We planted the seed of the destruction of Western society in the Enlightenment and now we see the destruction reaching its logical conclusion.

    This is why the Right always loses. They accept the absurd premises (liberty, equality) but they don’t accept some logical conclusions of these premises. IMHO, the Right has only one course of action before the collapse: trying to create little platoons.

    The Left, as any millennarist cult, try to see itself as the underdog surrounded with powerful enemies. This allows them to mobilize the troops and to justify any action while retaining the moral high ground. Cheating on election is good because we have to stop Hitler. Their leaders and media spread this victim mentality that preys on broken people, which are mostly leftist. “The woke cries out in pain as he strikes you””

      • Thank you, Richard. I only wanted to tell my opinions about some of the questions you asked in your excellent article (such as the destruction of platoons, the victimhood of the Left, the paradox of freedom and totalitarianism, the Right as a eternal loser).
        But it was difficult for me to answer without explaining the whole picture I have been thinking and reading for years and years. I tried to do it as best as I could and as short as I could but I don’t think it was very accomplished. Somebody else could do it better. It seemed that it was unrelated to your post but it was only an answer to your post.

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