April 26, 2017 § 55 Comments
It is not possible to “balance” the requirements of a rational, intelligible, coherent doctrine with the “requirements” of an incoherent doctrine.
I don’t mean that it is merely difficult to do so. What I mean is that the very idea of doing so is unintelligible, because asserting the unintelligible is always unintelligible despite what may seem to be a superficial plausibility. It may sound plausible that twas brillig in the slithy toves. But the fact that a doctrine superficially strikes us as possible or plausible does not guarantee its rational coherence.
Said differently: the principle of explosion makes everything explode, as a matter of rationality. As a social reality, popular rationally incoherent doctrines have further implications: implications we’ve explored here before.
Incoherent doctrines – precisely because they are incoherent – cannot be contained, limited, or balanced against intelligible priorities. It isn’t possible to ‘balance’ an imperative for round squares against the imperative to eat, worship God, raise children, do good, avoid evil, etc.
So the notion that liberalism can coexist happily alongside competing priorities simply assumes that liberalism is a rationally coherent doctrine, capable of being prioritized alongside other intelligible priorities.
April 25, 2017 § 117 Comments
What unifies liberals is certainly not practical consensus over what policies to pursue. Liberals have been killing each other for centuries in violent disputation over which authoritative policies do and do not “authentically” liberate, who is and is not the oppressor, etc.
When it comes to what policies do and do not authentically liberate, the New York Times in the Current Year[tm] disagrees vehemently with the New York Times of just decades ago.
What unifies liberals is commitment to liberalism: to the idea that the exercise of political authority is justified inasmuch as it pursues liberty, and (concomitantly) equality of rights among the liberated.
I understand reluctance to assert (or appear to assert) a straw man. But it is no straw man to observe that in fact liberalism is rationally incoherent, all the way down — with all that that incoherence implies (e.g. weaponized principle of explosion) as a political ideology situated in particular, real, social contexts.
Liberalism attempts to make a unifying principle out of ruthlessly enforced disunity. If you won’t agree to be my brother, I will crack your skull.
April 13, 2017 § 50 Comments
Saying that sexual desire is good in itself is like saying that hunger is good in itself. That is, it isn’t even really true at all.
Hunger is good only inasmuch as it proposes to man the genuine goods of eating to be pursued in our fallen condition: preservation of life, growth, nutrition, and the social goods of breaking bread together or of men hunting or plowing as brothers, in honor. As a sense of depravation or craving, hunger is often aimed at disordered ends and is a prison for the incontinent. Thus we have the vice of gluttony.
Sexual desire likewise is only good inasmuch as it proposes to man the real goods of marriage: of mutual love between spouses and the creation of new life from the physical expression of that love. As a sense of depravation or craving, sexual desire is often aimed at disordered ends and is a prison for the incontinent. Thus we have the vice of lust.
The main difference between hunger and sexual desire is that a man can’t live without eating. Sexual desire though is not going to kill you.
The heroes, architects, and analysts of the secular ‘morally neutral’ manosphere see the desolation wrought by modernity, and propose a great feast on stones and dust. What shall we eat, if not the stones and dust that surround us? What shall we drink if not the plentiful seawater and gasoline?
(Originally posted as a comment here.)
March 31, 2017 § 3 Comments
March 28, 2017 § 11 Comments
Folks who live in liberal societies tend to see having a large number of options as a good thing. The basic idea is that government should mind its own business and allow subjects to live and let live: should do as little as possible to ensure that the rights of free and equal individuals are enforced, and beyond that should “permit” individuals to evaluate for themselves which options they think are substantively good.
This is of course an incoherent mess prone to producing mass slaughter and other degeneracy when it crashes into reality: a doctrinal mashup of contradictory nonsense defended by the modern political monoparty with motte-and-bailey equivocation. A liberal sovereign delegitimizes his own authority, and the authority of his peoples’ traditions to protect and enforce what is substantively good, and adopts a philosophy of quantitatively maximizing choice independent of whether those choices are or are not substantively good. In practice this takes all of the things people really care about off the table, since the things people care about most tend to be controversial and often controverted. What remains is the pervasive presence of disgusting and dehumanizing options.
Liberalism has to abolish politics, has to produce a vast homogeneous bureaucratized managed cafeteria of degenerate, trivial, dehumanizing troughs of slop into which atomized autonomous free and equal human animals can put their snouts.
March 28, 2017 § 37 Comments
Liberalism – making freedom a political priority – is, at bottom, rationally incoherent. But it is easy to see how folks committed to it might come to see having more options – independent of whether those options are or are not of any objective value – as something to be encouraged and pursued. Doctrine abstracted and analyzed in itself is one thing. As an active social force in a population of real people it is another. Under liberalism authority and tradition come to be (selectively) seen as something to be overcome, so the number of available options tends to proliferate in direct proportion to the amoral trivial banality of those options. You can live in any kind of city you want as long as it sports modern architecture, Starbucks, gay pride parades, and its own vibrant Little Somalia.
Against my better judgment I got into a combox back and forth with a commenter on donalgrame about whether modern men have a harder time pursuing the good in marriage and family than modern women: whether women, objectively speaking, have better options available than men when it comes to pursuing the good in sex and marriage. I’ve noted before that modern people can get as much sexual stimulation as they want: what has become increasingly difficult is pursuing the good in sex and marriage, not pursuing ultimately self-destructive and unsatisfactory hedonism.
One of the things that constantly comes up is that, because men and women are different, the kind of immoral sexual stimulation available to women differs from the kind of immoral sexual stimulation available to men. Sure, men can immerse themselves in pornography and masturbation all they want, and can even go to a strip bar or hire a hooker. But the average woman has greater empowerment to fornicate specifically than the average man, because in modern hookup culture 80% of the women are fornicating with 20% of the men.
It follows (!) that men have a harder time pursuing the good in sex and marriage than women.
But at the end of the day, this is like arguing that meth heads have it so much better than heroin addicts. Modernity does indeed produce a marketplace of all sorts of degenerate choices; but anyone who can’t see that making good choices has become harder for everyone is living under a rock.
March 23, 2017 § 41 Comments
As previously observed, every concrete choice made by a human being starts with a large number of potential reality-outcomes and collapses it into a particular concrete outcome. Choices are irrevocable option-reducers: they empower one particular possibility, breathe fire into it and make it a reality. They take mere (but real) potential and convert it into actual reality: they merge the matter and form of possibility to make something concretely real. In the wake of doing so, every single choice leaves behind a multitude of roads not taken, options which now rest outside the realm of real possibility.
Freedom as an objective state can be understood as having real options: as having available choices not yet made. (Subjectively, freedom can be understood as a particular subject having available choices which correspond with what the subject wants to choose).
Acts of authority are human choices which, like all human choices, eliminate options. Because they are specifically acts of authority-as-authority they eliminate options available to subjects, to those subject to the particular authority in question. For every single actual empowerment produced by the choice of a human authority, a multitude of mutually exclusive options, of roads not taken and now ruled out, are destroyed.
In short, every act of authority always and necessarily reduces objective freedom. When folks subjectively like the results it feels empowering to them: their wishes correspond to their real options. When folks subjectively don’t like the results it feels constraining. But it is a fundamental mistake to see empowerment of the good as “freedom.” Empowerment of the good means that good actions are empowered and that the right sort of people are sent to prison.
Liberalism attempts to make increasing or sustaining freedom – availability of choices – into the (or a) primary justification of authoritative acts. When liberals suggest that they are pro choice they really mean it: the most “consistent” liberalism is an anarchism which forces itself on everyone. Ultimately, maximizing objectively available choices means not making or even “allowing” any actual choices: it means embrace of the eternal formless void out of a fear of better options. In this sense a ‘conservative’ liberalism is indeed anti-choice. In a perfect liberal paradise all choices are available but nobody falls into the imprisoning trap of actually making one. In a perfect liberal paradise the clock can always be turned back to before any particular choice was made: reality must stand for reelection over and over again, in saecula saeculorum, amen.
In the real world, consistent loyalty to liberalism as a political doctrine is impossible. In practice, then, liberalism becomes weaponized incoherence.
It is of course common to equivocate here: to suggest that liberalism merely says (tautologically) that people ought to have the available choices that they ought to have, and sets one purpose of authority to be ensuring that subjects are really able to choose what they ought to be really able to choose. These “things subjects really ought to be able to choose” – with the support of those in authority – we label “rights”.
But if that is the case we need to accept that more rights mean objectively less freedom, not objectively more freedom. Rights are rules which authoritatively discriminate and reduce the space of all really possible options to a more constrained space of really allowable options. Given that this is the case it seems that the only honest approach is to unequivocally shun the deontology – and even the language – of liberalism entirely. When we say “everyone should be gay and should embrace gayness without resistance” we might just mean that everyone ought to be happy. But talking to modern people that way just makes us madmen, garrisoning the motte on liberalism’s behalf as we gaze at the padded walls.