Feminism versus the Gedanken Policy Test

Few proposals of social reform fail the Gedanken Policy Test as completely and ignominiously as feminism. Clearly, then, any sane society would repudiate feminism.

Not because it hates women, but because it wants to survive; indeed, because it wants more women (the supply of women is the rate limiting factor of social survival: few women few children few women … so, women are precious; men on the other hand are cheap, ergo relatively expendable (in war, the hunt, dangerous work, and so forth)).

To recapitulate the Test:

Here’s the experimental set up. Take two experimental subjects. They are two nations, or two peoples, that are exactly similar in every way – same population, same genetic inheritance, same natural resources, same climate, same customs and traditions, same system of political economy, same religion, same technical and industrial capacities, same wealth, same everything. Assume no natural disasters or benisons that afflict or benefit either group differently. Both are faced with exactly the same set of environmental factors.

Having taken this step, you have controlled for all the factors of social success and failure, other than the policy you are interested to test. So, now, you are ready to test your proposed policy. Apply it to one group, but not to the other. Which is more likely to prosper: the group that adopts the proposed policy, or the group that does not?

Notice that we are not asking which group will be nicer or more fair or more just. Justice, fairness and niceness are optional only for societies that have managed to prevail and survive in the competition with their neighbours. We are only asking which group will be wealthier, more powerful, larger and more capable; and which group will have greater morale, commitment, ingenuity, all the moral, emotional and intellectual factors of demographic success. So, it’s purely a question of natural selection; like asking which is likely to do better, as between a pig and a pig with opposable thumbs.

The nifty thing about the Gedanken Policy Test is that it excises from our consideration all questions about how society should be ordered according to some scheme or other, or according to what we think society ought to be. Ideology ain’t in it; nor are any of our preferences or biases. So, the Test can be conducted without rancor, and with no grinding of axes. About its findings, there is no reason to feel either upset or angry, on the one hand, or triumphantly vindicated, on the other: they are what they are.

OK then: how does latter day feminism fare under the Test?

Continue reading

Today is Weimar; Today is the Reign of Elagabalus; This is Belshazzar’s Feast

I remember back in the 70’s reading about Weimar and Elagabalus and Nero, and thinking, “How could anyone have been so nuts as to believe any of that obviously perverse and stupid stuff, let alone act on it?” Yet we seem to fall into such fantasies pretty regularly, especially in times of general prosperity and calm. Any number of other such wild and absurd episodes could be adduced: the French and Soviet Revolutions, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, ancient Persian Mazdakism, the Marquis de Sade and his circle (he must have had a pretty extensive circle, who bought his stuff, or we could never have heard of him, no?), Bloomsbury, the Frankfurt School, transhumanism, on and on.

Also, less violently but more radically and pervasively, Freemasonry and the occult – theosophy, New Age, and so forth.

I.e., Gnostic Pelagian utopianism, in all its instantiations.

And, now, right now, today, abortion, porneia, divorce, wokeism, globohomo, transsexuality, and – especially, and at their root, and at their most energetic and fulsome – anti-Christianity; which is to say, when abstract doctrinal push comes down at bottom to pragmatic bloody shove, infanticide and the genital mutilation of children.

That’s where it always ends, no? These Gnostic transvaluations of value always terminate upon the mutilation and death, or just the prevention, of children; i.e., of humanity.

Continue reading

On Anger

Last night in our weekly rehearsal for Sunday’s Mass – always an occasion of beauty, of rigor, of earnest effort, of failure, and of humor (so, therefore, a fit analogue and venue of the spiritual life) – my choirmaster recounted the story of a client who had arranged for a memorial Mass at our parish. She had repeatedly deferred the appointment of their meeting to arrange for the music, then shown up for the fourth such appointment 45 minutes late. She started out angry at him, and in that anger continued throughout the interview, and then the engagement. The service itself was delayed almost two hours, with parish ministers – the choirmaster, the organist, choristers, priests, acolytes, and so forth – left waiting about twiddling their thumbs as the cortege wended its tardy way to the church. Not to mention those mourners who had shown up on time.

The patient minsters of the mortuary had too suffered in like manner.

His charitable and sapient comment on the angry deportment of his interlocutor at their first meeting, which I found intriguing, and so here repeat for consideration:

As I met with her, and with her untoward anger, I kept reminding myself: people are angry when they fear – or know well – that they are in the wrong. Their outward anger is a defense against that inward accusation. So, in the spirit of Christian charity, I tried my best to feel sorry for her, and wish her well, even as she berated me without reason.

I have puzzled online about liberal anger since the old days at VFR. I’ve searched for links to those items, but … well, you know how that is, I suppose (I’ve been at this a long time; I have no idea how Zippy used to keep track of and link to his old essays (nor, when I asked, did he)). My choirmaster’s insight struck me, hard, as new, and worthy, in our effort to understand our more and more deranged liberal interlocutors.

They are angry – at us – because they know, or at least worry, that they are wrong. That is why they feel as though they are under attack from such as we, even though we are only minding our own business and talking amongst ourselves.

They are not angry first at us. We are but proxies, outward whipping boys upon whom they can vent and so relieve the agony of their own internal contradictions. They are angry first at reality; and, so, at themselves. That is why they are so prone to depression, as compared to such as we.

 

Hypothesis: We are Ruled by Meta-Doctrine

Michael Anton recently hypothesized that we are not ruled by people, but by doctrine. He discusses the claim approximately between timestamps 7:30 and 10:00. Anton: “The real sovereign is the doctrine.”

The claim is plausible. We cannot identify any individual or group as having real authority/power, with the possible and highly limited exception of the Supreme Court. Every other source of power can be blocked by other powers. It has always been the case that people act because of a combination of beliefs and constraints, authority being the ultimate constraint. With almost every extant authority capable of being countermanded (especially on behalf of members of Official Victim Groups) it seems that, by a process of elimination, belief is the ultimate ruler. And doctrine establishes the beliefs of the people, so doctrine seems to rule.

But the claim also seems incorrect. The word “doctrine” implies specificity, but our leftist rulers have doctrine which constantly changes. They are not like, for example, Marxists, who preserve a set of beliefs that have a clear connection to their founder. Also, the left claims not to have doctrine, but only self-evident beliefs that are said to be “our values,” such as Democracy and DIE.

*

We can resolve the paradox by postulating that the ruler is not doctrine, but meta-doctrine: Not a specific set of beliefs, but a set of impulses/attitudes/hunches that manifest differently from place to place and from time to time.

* Continue reading

What You Can Do Right Now

You are not going to prevail against the FBI, the IRS, Facebook, Google, or their equivalents in the rest of what remains of the West. Not if you go up against them directly. So, don’t try. Render unto Caesar. Give them what is needed to get them off your back. Live to fight another day, in another way.

In what way?

By a direct spiritual assault upon the Enemy, and his minions, the enemies of Man.

How?

The spiritual war is fought one body at a time. Mundane wars, likewise; but only inasmuch as they resemble their spiritual archetype.

Let your body be your battlefield, and so with it your worldly life. Perfect your holiness. That is at bottom your only weapon against the Enemy. It is the only field of battle on which you can fight him, practically; so, it is the only battlefield on which he can be fought, at all. And if you are holy and righteous altogether, like Galahad, he cannot, when push comes at last to shove, ever touch you; for, you shall then belong utterly to the Lord God, who is the font of his being, so still his King, and thus his conqueror. So in Christ shall you conquer him, who would destroy you, and all that you love.

If in your decisions from one moment to the next you frustrate the Devil, and bid him get behind you, well then, you have done far more to deal with the perfidy at the high places of our worldly governments than you could possibly have done by going up against them directly, who are after all no more than the hapless stupid clueless minions of their Dark Lord.

Your outward governors are enemies capable to you at all only inasmuch as you let the Enemy govern you inwardly.

Defeat him within yourself! It is at bottom fairly easy, if just you pray; the Lord Jesus will help you, if you do. And so shall he through you help Christendom; thus, derivatively, the West.

On, then, brothers. Deus vult.

Pray the Jesus Prayer, & Be Done With All the Rest

Hunting as I do daily over the links provided by our valuable and indefatigable allies at Synlogos, I am struck again, as I have of late been more and more often, with the bootlessness of it all.

Our struggle looks doomed. As usual.

What mundane prince might save us? None, at the last. For, we are all doomed to die. We are doomed to lose all that to which we have devoted our lives, including our progeny and their heirs, all of whom shall like us, and like the grass, wither away. That shall all happen, no matter the outcome of the midterm elections, or the war in Ukraine, or … of anything else whatever.

Mundane princes then are in the final analysis neither here nor there. While it behooves us as a matter of plain duty to attend to their motions, still in the end they amount to nothing. All that matters to us in our private persons is our ultimate reconciliation – each of us – with ultimate reality.

Pray then with me the Jesus Prayer, as often as you can remember to do so:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Nothing could be more lethal to our worldly adversary, and to his designs.

An Atypical Comment Upon Current World Affairs

We here for the most part and by preference abjure commentary on the affairs of the day, which are in the nature of things mostly foolish nonsense, bound to vanish sooner rather than later beneath the vast slow tides of history, and of her storms.

Which of course we do here like to notice. History is fun, informative, and so formative. Current events, not so much; they are like yesterday’s rain on the tide.

Nevertheless, something Important – perhaps, indeed, epochally important – seems to have just happened.

Continue reading

Authority

Some general thoughts about authority. Not intended to be comprehensive.

*

Human society cannot function without authority. There must be authorities, and the people must, for the most part, respect the authority that the authorities possess.

As an attribute, “authority” means the right to be believed or obeyed. There are authorities who are rulers, and there are authorities who are experts. Real experts, that is.

The right to be believed comes from demonstrated mastery of some field of knowledge. It is defined by the truth, not the person. The right to be obeyed is less easily defined. It is defined by the society in which the authority and his subordinates is embedded. It is partly subjective, because the people will not respect a ruler who appears deficient. It is partly objective, as the rules of the society generally determine who has the right to rule.

There is currently an obvious crisis of authority. In part because the existing higher-level authorities are proving themselves to be unworthy (the higher the level, the less worthy), and in part because of the spread of philosophies which condemn or undermine authority. These are mutually reinforcing trends

But the existing authorities are not completely unworthy, and the people are not completely mistrustful. Without any authority, human society collapses and humans live like animals. Since society has not collapsed, and humans mostly do not live like animals, some authority remains.

But there is a crisis. The main cause of the crisis is the spread of a “democratic” way of thinking. Because of democracy, rulers cannot simply rule. They have to secure the explicit approval of the voters / customers / clients. To do this, they must devote themselves full-time to manipulating and intimidating the people. The people see this and respond with increased distrust, which amplifies the cycle. Continue reading

Bend the Knee to an Unjust King

A guest post from our dedicated commenter Scoot and his colleague and interlocutor Hambone:

The virtue everyone loves to hate is obedience. Obedience is easy when it is easy, but there’s a common misconception that having a bad authority exempts us from the duty of obedience. As the late great Zippy Catholic used to say, it is a fallacy of modernity to confuse the question of which authority is just with the question of whether authority in general is just. There’s a fundamental truth hiding behind this misconception that we as fallen humans are often afraid of: That all authority comes from God. Not just good authority – all authority.

If democracy has every man as a king, then the collapse of spiritual authority that snowballed out of the Reformation has every man a Pope. This endlessly fractures the Body of Christ and allows wounds and heresies to fester and spread. “Bad” Popes, Bishops and Priests have been accounted for since the beginning, like their predecessors in the Temple of Jerusalem who did not live up to their offices. How many more such rotten priests might we expect, when every man is a priest untrammelled? The same goes then for political authority: the usurpation of the royal office by the demos is just as unjust as the usurpation of the demotic or familiar offices by the tyrant.

There are three reasons we ought to humble ourselves and bend the knee to unjust men.

Continue reading

On Our Recent Discussions of Christianity

The Orthosphere and Bruce Charlton’s Circle have lately been discussing the nature and current state of Christianity. This is an urgent matter so I’m compelled to respond.

I) Charlton:

In sum: I ask traditionalists for something very specific: an explicit acknowledgement that – here-and-now – the effective and resistant faith of even the most traditionalist and church-orientated of real-Christians has a personal and intuitive foundation.  [emphasis in original.]

Given the correct understanding of the meaning of intuition, this is true. But I sense that Bruce is using a somewhat incorrect definition.

Since reality exists and is what it is independent of us, knowledge ultimately refers to something out there, unless it is knowledge of one of our inner states. Religious knowledge is no exception.

Intuition is man’s faculty of knowing something to be true without engaging in a process of reasoning. “You just know it.” But since man is not omniscient, he must have confirmation that comes from outside his mind, something that is really out there.

It does no good to complain that by verifying it you make it no longer intuition. Because reality exists external to man, his intuitions are sometimes wrong. And since he can be wrong, man needs confirmation even of his intuitions.

The act that is purely subjective (purely personal, if you will) is not knowing, but rather apprehending this knowledge. Taking it inside of us, affirming it, relying on it, living by it.

Intuition is needed for the simple reason that all reasoning is ultimately based on premises that are not subject to formal proof. If everything must be proved formally we have an infinite regress, with the result that we know nothing. Therefore, it is inescapable that some things are accepted without formal proof. But since man is not infallible, he needs confirmation even of his premises. It may appear contradictory, but it is inescapable. Some things must be formally unproved, and since we are capable of being wrong we must seek confirmation outside of ourselves. Continue reading