Irony sharpens irony
June 29, 2014 § 88 Comments
Some folks may be interested in a few responses to some of my recent posts.
I don’t twitter myself, since I can’t seem to fit much worth saying into 140 characters or less. But apparently there has been talk that some folks might be inclined to stop taking me seriously. That sounds ominous, so you might want to check it out.
Free Northerner doubles down on what Foseti called the “one key tenet of the neoreaction”, that “Progressivism is a nontheistic Christian sect” and therefore “[Richard] Dawkins is a non-theistic Christian”. There isn’t anything especially new that I can see, but there is an obligatory lengthy quotation from the Prophet Moldbug. Where I come from, a statement like “Richard Dawkins is a non-theistic Christian” popping out of your logic-box is called a reductio ad absurdam. The thing to do when you hit a reductio like that is examine your premises.
Free Northerner also helpfully confirms that no, not a single soul in the group of bloggers who self-identify as neoreactionary expressed the slightest awareness that the Mark Shea affair might not reflect well on neoreaction. In addition, he recruits none other than C S Lewis to argue that the term ‘adult’ is an anti-concept.
More twitty stuff, contending that those who reject antiessentialism as stupid, wrong, and nominalist Just Don’t Understand Cladistics[tm]. Also, one commenter helpfully explains that by using the magic word “cladistics” you can turn men into fish, and Richard Dawkins is a Christian in the same sense that a man is a fish.
June 28, 2014 § 40 Comments
Below I made the contention that “human biodiversity” is basically nazi or close kin to naziism, because national socialism and HBD are both liberal modernity minus the ‘noble lie’ of zero group differences.
In the comment thread Kevin Nowell asks a question that, lets face it, probably occurs to many of the folks who read here. (I’m not picking on Mr. Nowell: it is an excellent question, I’ve spent years pulling the positivist weeds in the garden of my own mind, and I still find the little buggers here and there sometimes).
This gets to the root of where some of the things you write conflict with the way I and perhaps others think. When you write about HBD or “neoreaction” or the “patchwork” or whatever concept you are writing about you are, it seems to me, thinking and writing not just about that particular concept or idea; but, about all the people who hold that idea, the other ideas they generally hold, and other ideas that are generally associated with that idea.
In my humble opinion this association of ideas with movements muddles conversation. If one wants to talk about the claim that there are biological differences across races there should be a word to describe this claim. I thought HBD was this word; but, if it is really something more, a word describing a whole movement or a whole worldview well now I need a different word that is limited to just the idea. Or do you think that is not possible?
Most modern people have this notion that it is possible to talk about some interesting and complex aspect of reality without ‘importing’ all sorts of implicit and assumed metaphysical baggage, if you will.
But it isn’t.
My reply frustrated Mr. Nowell, and Malcolm reiterated the question. But there is no such thing as “a word limited to [nothing but] the idea”. Language and meaning don’t work that way, as much as positivists may believe or wish that they did. “Assume positivism is true, then tell me what I want to hear” is begging the question at a basic foundational level.
We can already use the term ‘racial differences’ to talk about racial differences. The reason folks prefer ‘human biodiversity’ is not because it is easier to type or makes for a shorter acronym. The reason folks prefer it is precisely because of its metaphysical baggage. Same goes for other erstwhile popular neologisms, like Game and neoreaction.
“Cultural Catholicism” and marriage nullity
June 28, 2014 § 43 Comments
The phenomenon of “cultural Catholicism” can be baffling to adult converts to the Faith, because for the most part adult converts to the Faith are, by self-selection, people who take religion seriously. They cannot imagine what it is like to go to Mass still drunk and hung over from the night before and have to leave Mass early to vomit. They cannot fathom hearing the same words over and over for years, even reciting them yourself, without knowing or much caring what they mean or how they fit into a theological schema.
In short, religiously serious people drastically underestimate the power of indifference.
Nevertheless I am led to understand that the phenomenon of cultural Catholicism is very real. I’m not going to look up any polls, because we all already know what they say. Large numbers of Catholics practice contraception and don’t believe in the Real Presence, just as two examples of divergence between pewsitters and doctrine. Many of those Catholics receive the Eucharist anyway.
And many of them marry in the Church.
Now, I am not even slightly sympathetic to the post-hoc psychobabble rationalizations commonly used to justify annulments. In the thread at New Sherwood Jeff Culbreath catalogues some examples that would be hilarious if there weren’t large numbers of people taking them seriously.
But I am perfectly willing to believe that many ‘cultural Catholics’ approach the marriage altar sacreligiously, either firmly convinced that the Church is wrong or entirely unaware of and ambivalent to doctrine. I am sure that many approach thinking that if their spouse ever cheats they will divorce and marry someone else. Like adults speaking in the world of Charlie Brown, whatever is said by the priest is just noise, part of the ritual: a stream of jabberwocky with no connection to reality. What else might we expect from a population of Catholics who don’t even believe in the Real Presence?
And given that marriage ideas have marriage consequences, it follows that, just as there are unquestionably large numbers of sacrilegious receptions of the Eucharist, and an unknown number of sacrilegious confessions, there are are almost certainly large numbers of invalid marriages.
And I’ve already given my suggestions as to what ought to be done about it.
HBD on its own really is Nazi
June 27, 2014 § 71 Comments
The fact that there are basic and intractable differences between the races is as obvious as it is politically incorrect. One only has to look at the ethnic makeup of a professional sports team and a successful technology company to get the point. The notion that these differences only exist because of oppression by evil white racists, and that the terrible affront of substantive racial differences can be remedied if we get even more aggressive with even more comprehensive programs of mandatory tolerance, is well past its sell-by date.
Liberalism only functions at all because it implicitly divides humanity into the übermensch and the üntermensch: the free and equal superman, self-created through reason and will, and the subhuman oppressor that is interfering with the emergence of the free and equal new man. The free and equal new man is supposed to be politically emancipated from the chains of history, tradition, aristocracy, hierarchy, unchosen obligations, nature, and nature’s God. But things keep getting in his way, and that requires a Solution.
If you take liberalism and force it to acknowledge the truth that racial differences are real and intractable, the Solution necessarily takes on a racial dimension. It has to be a eugenic Solution; a Final Solution.
Pastoral suggestions for the upcoming Extraordinary Synod
June 26, 2014 § 60 Comments
New Sherwood brings us up to speed on plans for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. I figured since it is obvious that the Vatican is reading here, and has possibly gotten the message that the proposed Kasperite exception is actually viciously cruel to everyone, I’d add in my two cents on two other pastoral questions. The first question is what adjustments should be made to the annulment process in the light of current conditions. The second is what other pastoral matters need to be urgently addressed.
To the first question, I propose that annulments based on matters of ‘internal forum’ be immediately dismissed – and the marriages in question be considered presumptively valid – unless there is compelling, objective, third-party evidence of defective consent at the time of the wedding. The loose way things are run now makes material adulterers out of some unknown number of poor souls based on intrinsically faulty, question-begging appeals to subjective memories people think they might have of thoughts they may once have thunk. This is terribly cruel, from a pastoral point of view.
To the second question, I propose that if it really is true that so many marriages are invalid, there ought to be a full-court press to educate the public about the truth of Sacramental Christian marriage (it is after all not complicated: it is something a ten year old can understand); and in conjunction with this there should be widespread promotion of convalidation in order to repair the sacramental irregularity of all of these putatively invalid marriages. If that many people really are in invalid marriages, they need to be told as much and given the sacramental means to do the right thing.
Zippy’s corollary to Conquest’s Second Law
June 25, 2014 § 77 Comments
Every powerful social movement that is not explicitly Catholic (non-Protestant Christian) sooner or later becomes anti-Christian.
Update: It turns out I am just getting up to speed.
A bleg: are there any grownups in neoreaction?
June 23, 2014 § 150 Comments
I posted the following in the thread below:
NRx is the community that had great backslapping fun by lying to Mark Shea – about themselves no less, and a lie that only worked because of their insignificance and obscurity – and congratulating themselves with great revelry on how clever and witty they were to get him to believe the lie.
I haven’t done due diligence on le affaire Shea, but I haven’t seen a single post anywhere from anyone associated with NRx suggesting the tiniest bit of an inkling that that was actually juvenile behaviour and something of which to be ashamed.
A quick Google search did not turn up any adults in NRx who were ashamed of juvenile lying behavior or thought that it reflected poorly on their community. Are any readers aware of something I didn’t find?
With the car in neutral, you are going nowhere
June 22, 2014 § 19 Comments
“You see,” said Aslan, “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.” – The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
Modernity likes to see itself as standing neutrally above all of reality: as a transcendent stage of humanity in which the prejudices, biases, and oppressions of bygone years have been left behind by the human elite. Religious conflicts between superstitious tribes have been replaced or at least regulated by a dispassionate, clinical neutrality that stands above all of those petty conflicts and keeps the peace by not permitting any one tribalism to tyrannize another. Modernity focuses on formalisms and methods, eschewing the unsolvable dilemmas of metaphysics/religion and frequently viewing the latter as illusory, at least from a practical standpoint.
Modernity further insists that its formalisms and methods must be metaphysically neutral: otherwise they are inauthentic, just more superstitious tribalism by another name. Marxism viewed classical liberal capitalism as inauthentic for this very reason: capitalist society was more or less isomorphic to medieval feudalism, with just different labels being used, and thus was lying about its commitment to freedom and equal rights. Catholic positivists will tell you that sure, naturalism is false philosophically, but doing good science requires a methodological assumption of naturalism — never mind that all the most profound scientific discoveries were made by scientists with very ‘opinionated’ metaphysics, and never mind that the methodological qualifier on a lie doesn’t make it any less a lie.
God is not mocked, and it isn’t even rationally coherent, let alone actually possible, for human beings to make fences to keep Him out of the various places we want to treat as our own little domains where we are God.
To associate with neoreaction is to deny God
June 20, 2014 § 135 Comments
He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. – Matthew 12:30
I am quickly reaching the conclusion that neoreaction or the “dark enlightenment” is an essentially secular, anti-Christian movement founded on an intransigent postmodern deconstructionism. Blasphemy against Christ and His Church is central to neoreactionary thought.
Here is Foseti:
If pressed, I’d go further. If I was forced to pick the one key tenet of the neoreaction, I’d pick this understanding of Progressivism. To the reactionary, Progressivism is a nontheistic Christain sect. If you don’t understand Progressivism in this way, you simply don’t understand Progressivism.
Here Foseti quotes the godfather of neoreaction, Mencius Moldbug:
If there is one general weakness in the conservative strategy, it strikes me as this unwillingness to admit that “liberalism” is actually mainline Protestantism, which is actually Christianity.
There do appear to be a few at least partial dissenters, filling the role that good conservatives fill in all essentially modernist movements: adding respectability and preventing mistakes from being corrected. But any movement that considers verbal games insinuating that Richard Dawkins is really a “non-theistic Christian” profound, as some kind of big “agree and amplify” of protestant heretics, is either a dead end or worse.
And it is certainly no place for serious Catholics.
UPDATE: Added epigraph.
I told you so
June 19, 2014 § 12 Comments
If you want to write a neoreactionary screed, spend some time with the postmodern essay generator to learn the style.
The main problem with postmodernism isn’t aesthetic, of course. De gustibus non est disputandum and all that. The main problem with postmodernism is that it is a pack of self-refuting lies, stuck in the very modernity that it pretends to reject.
More reflections on how smart neoreactionaries are, and how cool it is that they are the smartest guys in the room. Who needs substance when you’ve got great clothes and a big IQ?