Naming the Enemy: Babel

It is important to name one’s enemies. Only thus may they be quite completely recognized for what they are, or therefore effectually fought. The reluctance of our chattering classes to name Islam an enemy of the West – as Islam has forthrightly declared herself to be – has forestalled our prosecution of her war against us. If we were able to muster the clarity of thought and vigor of will to name Islam our enemy, our war with her could be soon over (saving lots of Mohammedan lives), and everyone better off.

From my very first encounter with Moldbug’s appropriation of “cathedral” as a way of referring to our homegrown Modernist, Leftist and Materialist enemies of Truth, Virtue and Beauty as manifest in the West, it has irked me. Cathedrals are noble. They may be the very best, most beautiful thing man has ever done. It seems a literal profanation to apply our term for these gorgeous holy temples to one of the most ignoble, evil things man has ever done, a thing indeed demonic in its origins and supervision.

I would like to keep “cathedral” unsullied for good things – like cathedrals.

The term is by now however so widely known and used in our little corner of the web that it is unlikely anything anyone might say will dislodge it. I have for some time nevertheless been casting about for another term as pithy and trenchant, but more apt, that might have a shot.

It would have to be a single word, conveying both the established institutional aspect and control of the commanding cultural heights enjoyed by our demon-haunted adversaries, as well as the devilish nature of their lord. A single word with the many connotations evoked by “Cult of Moloch.”  “Cult of Moloch” was the best I had come up with. It’s accurate enough, for that cult involved regular and massive sacrificial immolations of first born children. But while “Cult of Moloch” is more evocative for those in the know than its ordinary equivalent, “culture of death,” both are too long. There is also the problem that most people don’t know Moloch from Adam.

“Leviathan” is good – short, not unfamiliar, catchy, connoting vast size and tremendous inertia – but it, too, usually requires some explanation, and anyway Hobbes has already put it to another, valuable use.

This evening, a fit candidate at last occurred to me: Babel.

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A Thousand Essays

The Orthosphere yesterday reached 1,000 posts since we began writing here in early 2012. Meaningless in itself, this passage nevertheless marks a milestone. It is fitting then to reflect on how well we have met our original purpose, of providing a traditional, orthodox Christian perspective on the maelstrom ever in progress here on Earth.

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Cultural Phase Changes are Mediated by Preference Cascades

I’ve written for years about the coming Phase Change, such as the one that overtook the Warsaw Pact. Such social phase changes are mediated by preference cascades. According to Kevin Baker writing at Quora:

The concept of the Preference Cascade is credited to Turkish economist Timur Kuran. Glenn Reynolds described the idea in a 2002 op-ed, Patriotism and Preferences. In short, average people behave the way they think they ought to, even though that behavior might not reflect their own personal feelings. Given a sufficient “A-HA!” moment when they discover that their personal feelings are shared by a large portion of the population their behavior may change dramatically.

The boy who cried that the Emperor was naked triggered a preference cascade. The Fall of Late Classical Civilization (in Persia, the Levant, Africa, and Iberia) to Islam might have been due to a preference cascade. Ditto for the Bronze Age Collapse. Many collapses are due to preference cascades, including – obviously – financial panics. When the morale of a great army or of a whole nation suddenly vanishes all at once, it is due to a preference cascade. Great Awakenings and mass conversions are mediated by preference cascades.

The American Revolution happened because of a preference cascade. So did the French, and the Soviet, and the Glorious. All the great epochs began and ended with preference cascades.

Numerous commentators are interpreting the recent Brexit vote, the sudden rise of the European reactionary Right, and the Trump phenomenon as evidence of a radical rightward preference cascade.

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Some Thoughts Concerning Brexit

Brexit

First Thought: I remark with some astonishment that this is the first time since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory that an electoral majority has roundly repudiated the liberal establishment.  Astonishment is not a thought; it’s an emotional reaction.  My generally grim view of democracy predisposes me to assume the worst of voting majorities.  When a majority votes rationally, the obvious must be – to them, at last – hyper-obvious.  Thus my astonishment.  The two hyper-obvious stimuli of Brexit’s passage are (1) loss of sovereignty, the obverse of which is the rise of a remote bureaucratic dictatorship; and (2) Muslim immigration.  (Whenever “immigration” is mentioned in current British political discourse, it means, of course, Muslim immigration.)

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Anarcho-Tyranny → Monarcho-Liberty

There is always an oligarchy, whether or not it is explicit. Where there is no recognized aristocracy – where, i.e., there is a liberal political order – oligarchic society inevitably devolves sooner or later to anarcho-tyranny.

Liberalism is founded upon two fundamental principles: Equality and Liberty. The former implies the latter. If all men are equal, then no man is suited either by nature or historical happenstance, nor therefore is he legitimately entitled, to exercise authoritative sway over his fellows, so as at all to constrain their liberty. If all men are equal simpliciter, then all men are free equally and perfectly, and none may rightly rule.

But of course, Liberty and Equality are contradictory. You can’t have both. The only way to let men be free is to let them be unequal. The only way to make men equal then is to eliminate their liberty, so as to make them all the same. To make all men equally free – which is to say, equally powerful – is to institute anarchy; and the only way to do it is by tyranny. Thus, our current state: anarcho-tyranny.

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The Most Important thing a Non-Liberal Blogger can do…

…is teach basic truths. You don’t have to be esoteric, profound, edgy, or popular. You just have to teach important truths.

We live in a time of universal destruction. Intellectual destruction. Cultural destruction. Moral destruction. Religious destruction. And so on.  The noblest thing a blogger not in thrall to the liberal zeitgeist can do is teach important truths. Because man needs truth.

That way you can sleep well at night and keep your head high during the day.

More about the Proposed Christian Pact

In the post proposing the Pact, I wrote

The pact would start with members of the three varieties of Christianity affirming their right to disagree with one another, both in the sense of holding different convictions and of speaking publicly against the errors of the other parties.

This point needs clarification. Here are some situations I had in mind when writing these words: Continue reading

A Pact between Factions of Christendom?

Protestants, Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox might regard each other as different religions (then again, they might not), but our enemies certainly don’t. For liberals, Moslems, homosexualists, feminists, radical environmentalists, et al, the three versions of Christianity are just slightly different flavors of the same poison. Or, to switch metaphors, our common enemies see Christians of all sorts as essentially the same pack of rats who deserve to be exterminated. Continue reading

Dread, Love and Disgust

Sentiments are at the root of all politics, and consequently at the root of all political divisions. Vast labor is expended to bury this fact under mountains of rebarbative reasoning, but a very little honest reflection will excavate the truth that politics begins in the heart.   In the heart of the Right, dread, love and disgust are the essential and defining sentiments. This is not to say that these sentiments are absent on the Left, only that they are neither essential nor defining.

The Right is a decidedly motley assembly of people who, in one fashion or another, oppose, deplore or dislike the Revolution. The Revolution comprises all those changes in which modernization has turned the old order on its head. The Right does not oppose, deplore or dislike every change that has taken place since the seventeenth century, only the radical innovations and satanic transvaluations that cause modernists to boast of a novus ordo seclorum. Continue reading

The Verdict of Paris

I’d been thinking I ought to post something about the massacre in Paris last weekend but without knowing quite what. Then today I realized that I had already posted on the subject, *before it even happened.* In On the Delicacy of Civilization, I distinguished in passing between crimes *within* a civilization and attacks upon it from without. Like market failure, crime is a vice and weakness of civilization. It may redound to civil death, but such deaths are endogenous, analogous therefore to kidney failure, cancer, or heart disease. In a sense, such deaths are processes of civilization.

An attack from without is more like … well, like an attack on a person, than it is like a disease. Diseases make attacks more likely, insofar as they are evident in outward weakness, as is usually the case with disease. But they don’t cause the attack; they rather only reduce its apparent cost to the attacker, thus inclining him more to attack.

As I pointed out in that post, any high civilization organized on the basis of a supposition that its denizens will not try to destroy it is quite vulnerable to sabotage at the hands of a fifth column of alien aggressors from another, antithetical civilization.

Among the galaxy of confusions evident in our leaders, the confusion between crime and attack is among the most important and often manifest. We hear always about “bringing terrorists to justice,” when justice ain’t in it. Such talk is confused, and confusing. One cannot but think that, the confusion being so very obtuse, it must be intentional, and tendentious.

Among all the things I might say about Paris, this only has not (so far as I know) been said already a thousand times: the attack in Paris. as being directed against the Power of the West, was directed *against the liberal order.* It is the liberal order that suffers from the attack. To the extent that it succeeded in jarring the liberal elite away from liberalism and toward a police state (Francois Hollande has already proposed some changes to the French Constitution), *it undermined liberalism.*

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