Thanks to the forethought of my wife, my family and I were lucky to have been able to travel to Madras, Oregon for the recent solar eclipse. Madras was one of the best places to see it, because of the low likelihood of overcast in the high desert of central Oregon during the summer months. As it happened, there was dense wood smoke instead, from the wildfires that have been burning all over the west in recent weeks. But on the day of the eclipse, we were fortunate that, thanks to a shift in the prevailing winds, the smoke had temporarily abated somewhat, and our view of the sky was quite good.
The eclipse was beautiful and spooky, unlike any other thing; happy intellectual fascination atop wild visceral dread.
But the most striking thing about the whole event was how the press disseminated totally false information about it.
Reading a book of evangelical theology this afternoon, I realized that there are a few reliable ways we can be sure that an author is a liberal weenie, and that the text he has written is therefore ideologically driven, ergo tendentious (whether witly or not), and probably wrong in its arguments. It is very simple, at least in books of theology. We can be sure that an author is a weenie if:
He uses “impact” as a verb.
He uses “image” as a verb.
He avoids using masculine pronouns in referring to God.
He uses “gender” to indicate sex.
He uses “gender” as a verb.
If furthermore there is ever in a writer about ancient texts anything like environmentalism or feminism, egalitarianism or communism, relativism or nominalism, we can be sure that he has read them anachronistically, and therefore wrongly. We can, in short, be pretty sure that he is a hopeless idiot, and what is worse, not even therefore much useful to his sinister god.
What can we take from this? That we should never, ever, ever in a million years commit any such howlers.
Probably I have missed a few. I welcome correction of any such omissions.
“When gnostic experience is consolidated, the social raw material is ready for existential representation by a leader. [….] Such people will prefer each other’s company to that of the rest of the world, they will voluntarily accept counsel and direction from indoctrinators, they will neglect their own affairs, and they will extend generous material aid to the leaders of the movement. An especially important function in formation of such societies will have women, because they are weak in judgment, emotionally more accessible, tactically well placed to influence husbands, children, servants, and friends, more inclined than men to serve as a kind of intelligence officer concerning the state of affections in their circle, and more liberal in financial aid.
“Once a social environment of this type is organized, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to break it up by persuasion. […] They are impermeable to argument and have their answers well drilled. […] In brief: The attitude is psychologically iron-clad and beyond shaking by argument.”
For the Gnostic: “Social evils cannot be reformed by legislation; defects of government machinery cannot be repaired by changes of the constitution; differences of opinion cannot be settled by compromise. ‘This world’ is darkness that must give way to the new light. Hence coalition governments are impossible. The political figures of the old order cannot be re-elected in the new world; and the men who are not members of the movement will be deprived of their right to vote in the new order.”
Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics (1952), Chapter 5, “Gnostic Revolution”
When you reduce selection pressure as the West has massively done since the Industrial Revolution, you get a lot more depravity (you get r instead of K), because the relative penalties to error and vice go way, way down. And vice versa: when you increase selection pressure, the relative rewards to virtue go way, way up, so you get lots more virtue.
We have no immediate prospect of an uptick in natural selection pressure, although the handwriting is on the wall. It’s out there (it always is).
But Trump is imposing artificial selection pressure (in part because he and his ilk can comprehend the writing in flame on the wall (to the depraved at their banquet, it is gobbledygook, nonsense, mere noise: mene, mene, tekel upharsin)). His basic message is simple: Playtime is over, no more pretend, everybody out of the pool, time to get dressed and back to work.
The liberals are going crazy because this strictly artificial – i.e., merely social, rather than biological – increase in selection pressure pushes the same neural and cognitive levers as would be triggered by a sharp uptick in natural selection pressure. It feels to them like a sort of death. They are terrified of death. Trump makes them aware of their death. Like death, he just doesn’t care about their whining (as much as they are used to). So they panic, and then they turn to defensive rage. It’s a tantrum.
The search strings by which surfers of the web arrive at the Orthosphere sometimes pique my interest. Most are just what one would expect, involving such words as “Trinity,” “Atheism,” “Reaction,” “GNON,” or “Vatican.” But now and then we get a really odd one. This morning’s list featured a string that almost had me spitting out my coffee:
How to change tradition minded boyfriend.
I hope that boyfriend keeps reading on the traditionalist web …
The more you can attribute blame for some bad thing to others, the less blame you need to shoulder yourself, and the less guilt you then need to suffer. And as guilt lessens, so does the costliness of the personal sacrifice adequate to its expiation.
It’s amazing how quickly liberals – and especially Social Justice Warriors – descend into rage, into foaming at the mouth, screaming, insults, violence – whenever they suffer the least jot of cognitive dissonance at the hands of a based Reactionary interlocutor. How come?
Chaos, as Hesiod puts it, “was the first thing that came to be.” In a three-generation struggle, Zeus at last succeeded in imposing civilized order on the chaotic substrate of the cosmos. Chaos, for Hesiod, might be first, but order is last; and order is infinitely preferable to Chaos. In Hesiod’s story, after Zeus settles matters with the violent Titans (the Jotuns of Scandinavian myth), he must face one more challenge in the arousal of Typhon or Python, the Chaos-Monster. In Hesiod’s vision of things, Chaos always lies in wait to erupt on order and subvert it. Order is a struggle. Chaos is the lapse back into what is easiest and most primitive. So too in the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the Several States of America, order is a latter imposition on Chaos, but Chaos lurks in its lair, ready to squirm out again and mess up the just apportionment of the civilized dispensation. Thus, as the Drudge Report rehearses, “Agitators Plot Inauguration Chaos.” What else would they plot? After all, their motto is, “It is forbidden to forbid.” That is to say, order is forbidden; Chaos is mandated – and the Law is the enemy of the crowd. Drudge quotes a Daily Caller story as follows: “On the day of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration protesters are planning an anti-capitalist march, road blockades and disruptions to inauguration balls…
In a little over a month, I am told by this morning’s newspaper, the university will host a performance called “Considering Matthew Shepard,” which it describes as a “musical response to the tragic death of a young man” interspersed with “the thoughts of poets and selections from Shepard’s journal and his parent’s writing.” The newspaper reminds those who may have forgotten that Shepard was, nearly twenty years ago, “beaten, tortured and tied to a fence,” that he died of his injuries six days later, and that he suffered this gruesome fate “because of his sexual orientation.” The advertised event will memorialize this brutal homicide in a “truly heartfelt story” that combines “incredible voices” and a “very important message” in an “an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Continue reading →