August 13, 2017 § 75 Comments
Oz conservative asks why liberals always see themselves as anti-establishment, despite the fact that liberalism has comprehensively dominated politics for centuries.
One reason is that as an incoherent doctrine which (precisely because it is incoherent) reduces the good in politics to will – to whatever any given group of liberals happen to unreflectively want and expect – liberalism necessarily produces opposing factions. Different groups of people want and expect different things. Each faction, understanding itself to be in possession of the authentic implications of political freedom, sees its competitors as subhuman tyrants who must ultimately be either converted or killed.
Tyrants of course are the establishment. If they weren’t the establishment they wouldn’t have the power to be tyrants. Liberals from their own perspective are scrappy rebel underdogs seeking freedom and (concomitantly) equality for the brotherhood of those who are oppressed under the established order. So another reason liberals see themselves as anti-establishment is because they ultimately have to see themselves that way. Liberal governance justifies its own exercise of discriminating authority on the basis that its own governance frees those who would otherwise be oppressed.
And this provides additional insight into the reason why a nice tame liberalism – the sort in which right-liberals or conservatives still believe despite centuries of uninterrupted defeat – is not possible. Liberalism always needs to find new “establishment” tyrants to destroy, or else its very reason for existence disappears.
Endless revolution is always and necessarily baked into the doctrine that pursuit of freedom is what justifies the concrete exercise of authority.
August 11, 2017 § 119 Comments
In general there is a lot of resistance to morally evaluating the means we choose to accomplish our ends in their own right, independent of those ends. Modern people resist evaluating behaviors in themselves against objective moral criteria.
It is certainly true that, in order to be morally evil, a particular objective kind of behavior must actually be chosen by a moral agent in an act of the will. It is also true that choices of behavior are preceded by the formation of interior subjective plans, intentions, mentalities, and dispositions, all of which are themselves subject to moral evaluation. Later behaviors are often preceded by earlier behaviors, carried out in preparation for the later behavior. And it is possible for a moral agent to suffer from an error of knowledge: for the person making the choice to be mistaken, to think that the kid waving a toy gun is actually a criminal waving a real gun.
A subjective error of knowledge is of course (and obviously) entirely different from the person making the choice having a malign subjective opinion that it is morally acceptable to shoot children waving toy guns. Malign subjective opinions don’t change objective moral reality. Subjective opinions don’t in themselves change objective reality at all, although disordered preferences can certainly give rise to disordered behaviors.
Once we accept the premise that good ends don’t justify evil means it follows that we must be able to morally evaluate means in themselves, independent of ends, and reject those means which are morally evil. We’ve already stipulated a good end. It further follows that we can’t start with the principle of double effect and reason our way backward from the good end to conclude that the chosen means is not evil.
The means we choose to achieve our ends must always, first, and foremost be evaluated morally in themselves, independent of those ends.
And this is a logic bullet that most people just aren’t willing to bite.
August 8, 2017 § 73 Comments
Diversity fideism has taken another scalp, thereby proving the victim’s point.
Any subhuman oppressor who attempts to politely discuss inclusiveness and open sharing of all opinions within a diverse modern high tech organization must be ejected from polite society, deprived of voice and income. Young intelligent twenty-something lightly pigmented men who very gently and apologetically notice that men and women are — despite stipulated wide individual variation and the occasional surgical adventurer — generally different qua populations, pose a terrible threat to billionaire masters of the universe who also happen to be young intelligent lightly pigmented men.
What constitutes ‘fact’ doesn’t depend upon empirical reality: it depends upon narrative-established victim status. That over 90% of work related fatalities are men is not a relevant fact at all: nobody is lobbying to close the dirt nap gap.
That individual women who accomplish the same things as men in the same position make the same pay is not a relevant fact. (That they actually shouldn’t be paid as much for the same work is something which must never be proposed at all. That is even worse than noticing that importing a pliable Mexican underclass harms the prospects of a more darkly pigmented and less pliable American underclass).
That women as a population earn less than men on average is a relevant fact; but only inasmuch as it is founded on the idea that women are not moral agents making their own decisions. The observation that women qua population might be making free choices which affect average pay is not a relevant fact. White men are awful oppressors and the reason they dominate Fortune 500 boards is unfair bias.
These are foundational propositions in the Current Year version of the modern creed, dogmas not subject to empirical falsification and set in opposition to transcendent evil. Blind faith in the ruling class religion of total open-mindedness and the nonexistence of authority must never be questioned, no matter what your lying eyes may tell you.
July 31, 2017 § 223 Comments
Consider the phrase “the just powers of government derive from the consent of the governed”.
This phrase is a liberal slogan, and as a well adjusted modern person you aren’t supposed to consciously notice the different things that it means. What you are supposed to do, as a good conservative, is defend it when it is criticized by taking advantage of the fact that it means different things. When one of the meanings is criticized, the criticism can be parried by claiming that that isn’t what the slogan really means at all (at least not to you): it really means one of the other things that it means. Pay no attention to the body bags, mass graves, and fetal organ marketplaces: that kind of thing can happen anywhere.
One of the things that the slogan means is that no actually functioning government has been overthrown by violent revolution: that the dictator hasn’t been assassinated (yet). This meaning of the phrase is always true by definition, and makes no distinction between liberal and illiberal government regimes.
Another meaning takes the term “just” in the phrase seriously and proposes that the consent of the governed is what morally grounds legitimate government authority and concomitant powers. The consent of the governed is what makes government powers just in liberal regimes, as opposed to illiberal regimes which lack this moral grounding. Consent of the governed is what morally distinguishes liberal regimes from illiberal regimes.
This meaning is self contradictory, because justice always trumps consent by definition. That is why we have jails. The positive law – governance – in its essence tells those subject to the law – subjects who did not choose their own state in life – what they must consent to, or else. If J always trumps C then C cannot be the moral justification of J.
A third meaning asserts that only particular structures of government are moral: constitutional republic, democracy, or what have you. You can think of structure as being like the organization chart of a company or other institution. Organizational structure describes who presently reports to whom, how decisions are made institutionally, what policies and procedures are normative in various ordinary scenarios; that sort of thing.
Which particular org charts are and are not thought to be good depends on who is asserting the slogan and what their opinions happen to be about various organizational structures. The great thing about fighting over org charts is that they provide endless meaningless entertainment and distraction.
The idea that the basic problem of authority and governance in modernity is that we don’t have the right constitution and political structure, is akin to thinking that the basic problem with Planned Parenthood or the Nazi party is how they are organized.
July 29, 2017 § 70 Comments
First assume that any theory is better than no theory at all; even when the theory in question is manifestly and demonstrably destructive, evil, deceptive, and just plain wrong. The important thing is that in the hierarchy of answers we accept, admitting ignorance and expressing a willingness to accept reality as it is, is at the bottom of the list.
The magic question of modernity is “what alternative do we have?” Failure to answer this in a way that the questioner finds satisfactory is disqualifying.
July 24, 2017 § 6 Comments
The house always wins.
Of course, the house doesn’t always win, if we take the term “always” literally.
What the saying actually means is that the house wins just a little bit on average; and that winning-a-little-bit-on-average is good enough to assure its long term triumph: the long term defeat of its enemies, foreign and domestic.
A finger on the scale is all it takes to make the house win on average, with a time horizon that encompasses more than just the fleeting hope of winning a jackpot today that we would have considered impoverishment yesterday. The secret to winning a long game, against a wizard who keeps an invisible finger on the scale, is to unequivocally refuse to play at all.
Unless we exorcise him.
July 24, 2017 § 111 Comments
Modernity defends itself through equivocation: by asserting the truth of some basic superficially unobjectionable doctrines and — this is the important part — rhetorically rationalizing that these doctrines are what distinguish good, distinctively modern societies from bad, distinctively regressive societies. The whole point of these modernist doctrines is to set up oppositions: freedom versus rule by a monarch, equality versus aristocratic titles and privilege, sola scriptura versus distinctively Catholic doctrine and practice, feminism versus patriarchy, consent of the governed versus congenital positions of servility and authority, etc. etc.
Liberals diligently drowning priests and nuns, beheading aristocrats, and aborting unborn children in mass-murder factories while working hard to make sure that nobody so much as thinks about actually punishing the murderesses never stop to ponder if the doctrines they assert actually genuinely support the blood and bone distinctions being made in reality by the sharp implements employed.
One of the ways we can help bring clarity to the situation is to craft accurate descriptions of these superficially unobjectionable doctrines; descriptions we can set on fire and lob over the walls into the motte where modern conservatives (those who work hardest to conserve modernity) live, breathe, and have their being. I’ll start with a few, and encourage folks to improve upon them or think of others.
- Freedom means that a free society puts the right kind of people in prison for the right reasons.
- Equality means that every aristocrat, commoner, criminal, slave, proprietor, debtor, trespasser, invader, disrespecter of royalty, savage, apostate, and heretic gets what he has coming to him.
- Sola scriptura means that every true doctrine of the Christian faith is consistent with the Scriptures as assembled into the Biblical Canon and interpreted by the Apostolic Church established by Christ.
- Feminism means that women are people too. Female people, who go into an irrational hormonal storm every few weeks and need men to look out for them and tell them what to do.
- Consent of the governed means that nobody has managed to assassinate the dictator.
- Minarchy means we want everyone to get along and play nicely with each other, and unicorns that fart fairy dust.
Feel free to suggest your own in the comments.