I am pleased to report that an essay of mine, René Guénon and Eric Voegelin on the Degeneration of Right Order, has appeared (Part I of two parts) at the Sydney Traditionalist Forum. I hope that it might be of interest to Orthosphereans. The essay discusses the disastrous cultural and civilizational consequences of the ancient empires, especially those empires whose ambitions intersected in the Central Asian region known in Antiquity as Bactria. Both Guénon and Voegelin were fascinated by the seemingly perpetual flux and reflux of imperial ambitions in that region, where global powers remain locked in contention to the present day. The essay explores Guénon’s discussion in Spiritual Authority & Temporal Power of the “Revolt of the Kshatriyas,” a social upheaval that weakened the Indian states in the Fifth Century BC and made them vulnerable to Persian and Macedonian intervention; it also explores Voegelin’s discussion in The Ecumenic Age of “concupiscential exodus,” exemplified by Alexander’s Asian campaigns, as a destroyer of the civilized order. I argue in Part II, which will appear in the same venue next week, that the commentaries of Guénon and Voegelin on this topic are eminently applicable to the modern condition.
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.)
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.
It is a well-known implication of Darwinian evolutionary theory that one thousand monkeys, furnished with as many word-processing devices, and ensconced both gratis and in perpetuum in a mid-priced traveler’s hotel such as the Marriott Suites, would, by their inveterate although quite random keyboard activity, eventually produce either –
1. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged; or –
2. The generic mission-statement of any graduate-level “studies” program at any state-supported consolation-university in North America.
I place my bet on Atlas Shrugged, but in my circle of intimate friends, to whose wisdom I defer, the majority of opinion favors the generic mission-statement. A consolation-university, by the way, is any state-supported, doctorate-granting institution of higher education that is not, for example, Ann Arbor or Berkeley. Let us say that Michigan State and UC Irvine are paradigms of the consolation-university. (Not that I hold any brief for Ann Arbor or Berkeley. My consolation-university was UCLA.)
In a comment here at the Orthosphere, Wm. Lewis quotes Lawrence Auster to great effect in responding to the claim made by some that Protestantism is the mother of Liberalism:
Some commenters have observed, correctly, that formerly Protestant countries are in the vanguard of liberalism and its destruction of the West. This is due not to some defect within Protestantism; formerly Roman Catholic countries are also being destroyed by liberalism. We also see leaders within the Roman Catholic Church advancing liberal destruction (e.g., American bishops advocating open borders), so vulnerability to liberalism is unique neither to Protestantism nor to Roman Catholicism.
Whence this weakness to liberalism? Any number of factors could be cited, but one of the most important is the inherent risk, as Lawrence Auster put it, of Christian society: Continue reading
“And what tune is it you pull to, men?” “A dead whale or a stove boat!”
Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851)
A hundred years ago, the word Leviathan would have struck most people as a name suited to a great steam ship. Such was the opinion of President Woodrow Wilson when he renamed the commandeered German liner Vaterland in 1917. It was a natural association, a hundred years ago, when men and women understood biblical references and knew Leviathan as a great, smoking creature of the deep.
A guest post by Mark Citadel:
I write to you as an outsider. A sincere Roman Catholic might not write such a letter out of his admirable respect for the Papacy, and a letter written by a non-Christian might mean little to you. And so it falls to me to say what must be said. I want to start by saying that we of the Eastern Orthodox tradition consider ourselves to practice our faith in the character of the earliest Christians, and though it might seem arrogant, we hold that through tired eyes Orthodoxy has witnessed many great tragedies; the Diocletian Persecutions, the fall of Constantinople, the abduction of thousands of Serb boys and Greek girls to serve as Janissaries and courtesans, and of course the scourge of Bolshevism that cloaked the entire East in poverty and despair for almost a century. Though you consider us schismatics, I would hope that you do not think us fools, and your cordial relations with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I, as well as your historic meeting with His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus, leaves me with hope that you will consider this carefully.
At his blog, [Correction: A commenter says she’s a woman] in a post having nothing to do with the present topic, EvolutionistX writes
Take the most common argument against homosexuality: “God says it is a sin.” Young people are fairly atheist, believe in separation of church and state, and think a god who doesn’t like gay people is a jerk. This argument doesn’t just fail at convincing young people that gay marriage is bad; it also convinces them that God is bad.
By contrast, a simple graph showing STD rates among gay people makes a pretty persuasive argument that the “gay lifestyle” isn’t terribly healthy.
She’s not the only one to make such an observation. Radio talk show host Michael Medved has said much the same thing, that we should avoid religious arguments against homosexuality in the political arena.
Problem is, if God doesn’t oppose homosexuality then there’s ultimately nothing wrong with it. Continue reading
…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.
In a private discussion, Sage McLaughlin – long an important commenter at VFR, and now a contributor at WWWW – pointed out that there are only two ethnic groups in America today: