Among Forsaken Graves

Yesterday afternoon I waded through part of the old Mumford burying ground.  Mumford is a hamlet on a low sandy terrace in the midst of the Brazos River floodplain, about twelve miles from here.  The terrace is a relic of an older floodplain, formed in the depths of the Pleistocene, and it now stands about five feet above the general level.  Five feet may not sound like much, but it sufficed for the terrace to protrude as an island when the undammed Brazos rose and flooded its environs. Continue reading

The Call that Calls For the Uncalled For

“Bewildered and dulled by the new life around him for which he is unfitted, the unfortunate savage becomes more than ever a creature of instinct and approaches the condition of an animal.” 

Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, Scenes and Studies of Savage Life (1868)

Sproat was describing the deadly despair that finished off the shattered Indians of Vancouver Island in the 1860s, but his words speak to anyone who has outlived his world.  Each of us lives and moves and has his being in a world of motives, meanings, and germane materials, and we disintegrate and die when that world disappears.  Darwin cited Sproat as an authority on the deadly malaise of anomie that completed the destruction of savage races in the nineteenth century.  I cite him as an augur of the deadly malaise of anomie that is destroying loyalists to the civilized races in the twenty-first. Continue reading

On Big Lies

“Big lie propaganda is comparable to judo or ju jitsu, in which the victims own momentum and exertions are used to defeat him . . .” 

Department of the Army, Defense Against Enemy Propaganda (1963)

Big lies are designed to hoodwink little liars.  Big lies work because little liars wrongly suppose that all lies are like their own picayune fibs, and because little liars lack the imagination to conceive of falsehood on a grand scale.  Big lies work equally well on most honest men and women, since the lies these honest men and women pride themselves on not telling are, in most cases, picayune little lies. Continue reading

One Big Demonic Globalist Voice vs Many Small Truthful Voices

One of the most profound distinctions (so-called ‘polarities’) forced upon us by these times, is the stark choice between each person making his own inner-discernments about the truth of reality; or else a willing and willed embrace of what we know to be a world of lies and manipulations, emanating from the institutions of The Global Establishment.

Bruce Charlton, 3/8/2021.

I sometimes misunderstand Bruce, but he seems to be saying that we have two choices: submit to the big, ubiquitous, demonic voice of the corrupt world system, or discern truth inwardly. In my view, his words are correct but they miss the most important thing: Discovering the small truthful voices. We don’t have to discover truth all by ourselves. It’s not just me versus the world. It’s us versus the world.

Possibly Bruce regards it as an obvious given that we can encounter truth through the voices of others. Maybe the inner discernment he speaks of is nothing more than the act of choosing which voice to believe. (That is, after all, the key choice that any person makes.)  But in his current writings he emphasizes the untrustworthiness and wickedness of the current authorities and institutions, and the need for inner discernment. He doesn’t write much about the importance of the small truthful voices which can still be found in books and online. Continue reading

Sinister Sentimentality

You are no doubt familiar with this pithy apothegm from Joseph de Maistre:

“In my life I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, and so on. I even know, thanks to Montesquieu, that one can be Persian. But as for man, I declare I’ve never encountered him.” *

I will adapt this to the moral panic of the moment and say,

“In my life I have seen Chinamen, Indians, Afghanis, and so on. I even know, without needing to have read Montesquieu, that one can be Persian. But as for an Asian, I declare I’ve never encountered him.”

Continue reading

Trolley Problem Updated (again)

Most people will not drown a passing stranger if terrorists tell them that the alternative is that they will kill five innocent people. They will not push a fat man off a bridge in order to save five other lives. There is a good reason for this, and it is that the prohibition on murdering innocent people is the most fundamental of all moral rules. Once that is removed, then that is the end of people living together. And yet, the majority of people think it is OK to pull a lever that means the death of an innocent person, in order to save five others – though they will not drown or push that one innocent person. This contradiction then has morally nihilistic implications – namely it suggests that morality makes no sense and moral intuitions are not just unreliable, but irrational.

Previously, I had suggested that the lever acted like a magical talisman that distorts our moral intuitions, putting enough emotional distance between us and the impact and significance of taking an innocent life, much as Dresden was bombed with incendiary bombs dropped from thousands of feet up in the air that roasted people alive. There is a good chance that the occupants of that same plane would be loath to push someone into an oven, lock the door, and then turn the temperature up and listen to them scream as they baked to death, even though the result is identical and just as painful either way. Continue reading

Gumption and Ghostwriting

“The deep South dead since 1865 and peopled with garrulous outraged baffled ghosts.”

William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom (1936)

“There never was anything to those folks but money and darkies, and now that the money and darkies are gone, those folks will be Cracker in another generation.” 

Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind (1936)

There is more than one way to become a ghost.  One is to die.  Another is to survive in a world that is not your world.  Death releases the ghost from the body.  Survival confines the ghost within the body because there is nowhere else for that ghost to go.  This is often because the world in which that ghost might have lived, and moved and had its being has “gone with the wind.” Continue reading

Clare Graves, Spiral Dynamics, and the Purple/Blue Hybrid

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The pathological version of Green thinking flattens Clare Grave’s hierarchy of moral development because it rejects the notion of superior and inferior. Strangely enough, the tendency has been to reject all of Western civilization as though leaving the caves and the savannah were terrible mistakes, and that we would be better off without such amazing cultural contributions as those of Homer, Plato, and Shakespeare.. This connects to Rousseau’s fantasy that life in “the state of nature” was a paradise. If you read Discourse on Inequality (notice the title) it is clear that “the state of nature” never existed. Rousseau imagines a completely solitary man wandering through the forest, lying down to sleep when he is tired, drinking from the river when thirsty, and helping himself to fruit from trees when he is hungry. There is no notion of parents, or family. Women get pregnant from chance and random encounters in the forest, and no one ever makes the connection between sexual intercourse and pregnancy. Rousseau, in real life, impregnated his housekeeper multiple times and immediately sent the children to orphanages where they died. He commented that he had no interest in his housekeeper as a person and that she served merely to relieve him of sexual frustration. He obviously had no interest in his children either. Arguably, Rousseau’s attitude towards romantic love, sex, and children has become rather popular – with some people seeing children as nothing but a nuisance and a misery to be got rid of through abortion or birth control – and sex as impersonal and unrelated to love. Continue reading