Two Apposite Apothegms

“Each period of history has some topic of predominant interest, which indicates the prevailing spirit of the age.  Certain words  . . . appear in every page of contemporary annals, and then go out of use altogether . . .”

“Constitutions,” The North American Review (1821)

“The influence of false philosophy . . . is a malaria to the general intellect, a brooding fog over the whole mind of the age . . . diffusing everywhere a pestilential, stupefying power.” 

Review of The Friend, by S. T. Coleridge, in The North American Review (1835)

Creeps, Toadies, Goons and Martinets

I remember my eighth-grade history teacher telling the class that one of the many blessings of living in these United States is that citizens could not be harassed by retroactive laws.  The quiet fervor with which I recited the Pledge of Allegiance the next morning was perceptibly amplified.  I already had a guilty conscience, and the thought that today’s acts might merit punishment under tomorrow’s law was more than I could bear. Continue reading

Why so worried?

Few Orthosphere readers have accused me of being overly optimistic, but I think I can relieve the anxiety of some on the Right who fear that, with the Democrats in full control of the federal government, the Left will be emboldened and significantly accelerate their crackdowns. My fellow reactionaries only have to remember what they already believe and have often said. All real power is held by some combination of the mass media, large corporations, the “permanent government” (civil service), and elite universities. Leadership in these institutions definitely has not changed hands. They can be emboldened only to the extent that they were previously restrained.

I hear that they are stepping up the expulsion of conservatives from social media. I’ve been hearing that for a long time, and I suppose it’s always true, but these media are only appropriate for short messages, which can only repeat common opinion. We reject the entire established worldview, and this cannot be fit into a tweet. A Conservative are now being expelled might actually be better off, since without Twitter and Facebook records it will be much more work for strangers to put together the case to have him or her punished in more serious ways.

It will certainly be a shame if we lose longer-form internet publications like this one. I also hear that the Left now has a more powerful justification for censorship in the need to crush “insurrection”, but this excuse seems to be of narrower potential application than the others the Left already has in its arsenal. For example, it would be much easier to make the case that the Orthosphere should be shut down and its writers lose our jobs because we are committing hate speech, creating a hostile environment, perpetuating “whiteness”, than trying to make an argument that we are plotting to overthrow the government.

I do have a strong bias toward assuming things will remain the same. It often serves me well but sometimes fails spectacularly. Still this is my guess. Things will keep getting worse for dissidents at about the same rate they have been for the past year, which unfortunately is pretty fast.

Note about my militant atheist students

Fairy 1I would like to point out, in a manner that does not originate with me, that being very against and even very mad at some entity that you have decided does not exist is perverse. In fact, to carry on an agonistic attitude to God, it is necessary for Him to show up in order to be insulted and rejected. Attacking empty air is the behavior of a madman. If God does not present Himself, but instead retreats in the manner of Russians before Napoleon and the Germans, then the militant atheist is in the equally odd position of actively pursuing his hated one across the icy steppes, braving starvation and chill weather to catch a glimpse of his beloved, um, I mean, enemy. In the Fall semester, I had one student ask me what percentage of the course was going to mention God so he could decide whether to continue with the class or not, in a manner that suggested that he had a God allergy, and thus needed “accommodating,” another who wanted me to simply remove religious references from an ethics course – so much for Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Berdyaev, critiques of attempts to create naturalistic foundations for ethics, and most of the other articles – and two more, in another class, started posting rude and derogatory comments about the readings and, by extension, me in “discussion” submissions – one even claiming that bringing up God in an article defending the notion that life is worth living was “shameful.” My rather satisfying response to the students turned trolls was to ban one of them, since he had been warned, from further comments and for me to apologize on their behalf to the rest of the class for exposing them to such gross behavior. Continue reading

Is the Demisexual a Prude in Drag?

There is on this campus a Center that helps students with unusual sexual desires take pride in feeling, and perhaps acting upon, their unusual desires.  Stated dysphemistically, the Pride Center helps these students to overcome shame, since shame naturally attends deviance, be it deviance of a sexual or some other sort. Deviance that is not stigmatized as a mark of inferiority, and as a reason for shame, is normally valorized as a mark of superiority, and a reason for pride. Continue reading

The Way to Profit in Superlatively Phony Times

“I’d have this rule that nobody could do anything phony when they visited me. If anybody tried to do anything phony, they couldn’t stay.”

J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (1951)

God hates phonies at least as much as Holden Caulfield hated phonies, and those who propose to call on him had best beware that he strictly observes Caulfield’s rule.  He admits no phonies to his house, and the minute you try to do anything phony he is going to show you the door. Continue reading

The Cruel Joke that Never Ends

“Whole worlds can be fake, yet carry on.”

Curtis Yarvin, née Mencius Moldbug, “2020, the year of everything fake” (Dec. 28, 2020)*

To understand Yarvin’s proposition, you must first understand that a “world” can be fake while containing any number of things that are not.  A “world” is an interpretation of things, and an interpretation can be false while the things interpreted are entirely true.  We see this in the phrase “my world fell to pieces,” and we see it more memorably in the experience that phrase describes.  “My world” that fell to pieces was my false and fanciful arrangement of those pieces.  “My world” was a misinterpretation of those facts. Continue reading

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

“They had not the courage, or else they were destitute of the power, to avoid, by means of their internal resources, that extermination which appeared to them, under the circumstances, to be inevitable.  They were thrown into a most anxious state of despondency and alarm.” 

John Penford Thomas, My Thought Book  (1825)

I daresay the events of this past year have thrown many of you into “a most anxious state of despondency and alarm.”  I know they have had that effect on me.  The lines in my epigraph describe the mental state of the Britons around the year A.D. 400, when the Roman Legions had withdrawn from the province of Britannia and the wild Caledonians were threatening “mischiefs of murder, pillage, and devastation.”  That day differs from ours insofar as the Roman Empire was failing and the Global Empire is triumphant, but the mental state induced is in either case the same: despondency and alarm: a conviction that a calamity has occurred and nothing can be done to reverse it. Continue reading