Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Marcher-Lords of Mediocrity. — Mediocrity bestows the title of excellence upon those who secure its far-flung borders.
A Deadly Curse. — O, let our enemies grow strong in the habits of safety!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Sub Specie Modernitatis. — All that which our forebears thought to note as degeneracy: well, they must have been mistaken, for it led to us.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Pretty Dichotomy and True. — “Equality is a pretty lie because it pretends to assert commensurability with respect to incommensurable things. When we give up on the idea of equality though it is tempting to replace it with the idea of inequality. This is a mistake. Like its yin equality, the yang inequality carries with it a connotation of commensurability: two things which are unequal are quantitatively comparable along some axis, and one is greater than the other along that axis. So to conclude that (in a comparison of incommensurables) inequality is the case from the fact that equality is false is to make the same mistake that got us here in the first place.” 1

With due respect for the author, I must nonetheless disagree. No connotation of commensurability or quantifiability is carried within the concept of inequality per se. Whether or not two things are commensurable, they are unequal by dint of being in fact two things and not one and the same thing. (Incommensurability means we cannot tell of two things which is the better, the greater, etc, not that we do not know that they are unequal in some way.) “Incommensurable” is not a third option between “equal” and “unequal”. There is no third option. Either A or not-A, equal or unequal. Hence, giving up on the idea of the equality of things — i.e., regaining humble sanity — just means accepting their inequality, commensurable or not.  
. . .
1. Zippy Catholic, “All men are not created unequal”, Zippy Catholic (weblog), 14th November 2012.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Gripes and Bad Faith. — It is anti-democratic to complain about the result of a democratic election. Yet, weirdly, the democratic participant is wont to believe that only he is permitted to complain about it. Lending words to his incoherence, he tells the non-voter, who, unlike him, has not endorsed the election by his participation, that he, the non-voter, must not complain about it. Weird, yes, but not out of keeping with the democrat’s ever-present urge to invade the non-democrat’s territory and claim it as its own.
He who does not vote in an election has no right to complain about its result.
Naturally we dutiful non-voters strongly deny the truth of this and are not wholly disinclined from telling the little blighters who claim it to buzz off and die. But we may also say to them:
I. If you vote in an election, then you must endorse the legitimacy of the process including its result, or else be guilty of bad faith. (You agree in participation of the process to be bound by the rules thereof, which include the acceptance of the legitimacy of the result.) 
II. You voted in the election. 
III. You must endorse the legitimacy of the result, or else be guilty of bad faith. 
But (you complain): 
IV. The result is a disaster. 
V. You must endorse the legitimacy of a disaster about which you complain, or else be guilty of bad faith.
To that, we may kindly add: Can I get you another drink? You look as though you need one.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Apropos of the Social Body. — It is not the surgeon we should fear; it is the anaesthetist.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Food for Unthought. — Appeal to reason through rational argumentation does not work well today because the mindset of secular leftism is irrationalistic. That mindset is also disjointed, incoherent, and given to distraction. Hence, one moment a man is claiming that rational argumentation is “mere word-games”, “fiddling with language”, etc, and the next, he is claiming something on its basis.
  The secular leftist accepts no greater authority than his own desires. Reason cannot lead him. (Nevertheless, to a promissory idol of those desires, he may give the honourable name of reason.) As long as rational argumentation remains the slave of those desires, he can praise it, but otherwise he scorns it as unconnected with reality, which for him is merely the occasion for his desires. (His inheritance from romanticism.)
  Since he will go only where his desires lead him, regardless of whether those desires are rationally ordered, rational argumentation has little force against him. Indeed, he even draws strength from the rational argumentation made against him. For argumentation suggests to him a matter open to question, and anything that is open to question, but which is not in accord with his desires, he finds easy to dismiss.
  Secular leftism, like all evil, is parasitic upon good. Rational argumentation is food for secular leftism as blood is food for leeches.
. . .
Adapted from a comment made to Bruce G. Charlton, “The Counter-Productiveness of Arguments for the Reactionary”, Bruce Charlton's Miscellany (weblog), 24th October 2012.
Mass-Media in a Nutshell. — “Typical of adolescents the mass media display impulsivity and unstable moods; alternation between hedonism and blaming; between aggression and cowardice; sarcasm and sentimentality; impossible idealism and indignant charges of hypocrisy; wild recklessness and paralyzing guilt; snide arrogance and hero-worship is obsessed with novelties, fashion and peer approval; is extravert (needing continual external stimulation); and is emotionally cold, selfish and manipulative while burning with resentments, bursting with personal entitlements, prone to self-pity, and zealous for abstract ‘justice’ which other people fail to live up to.”

Bruce G. Charlton, “The Adolescent Society – Uganda to the UK”, Bruce Charlton's Miscellany (weblog), 10th October 2012.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Fine Persecution. — Every society has before it an ideal of the kind of society it ought to be, and every society, in order to uphold that ideal, needs to persecute those within it who are at odds with that ideal. Once again, however, the deep mendacity of liberalistic society manifests itself in that it denies the persecution which it carries out against its hated enemies, namely, those at odds with its ideal. This denial of the persecuted status of its enemies — along with the ridicule of them when they claim it — are additional elements for the intensifying of their persecution.
Mark of the Animal. — It is an odd prejudice which holds that it is not a limitation of science that it does not answer the most basic metaphysical questions, but rather a failure of metaphysics that it asks them. Consider the weirdness of this train of thought: a rational-empirical method of ours, which has the scope to answer questions a, b, and c, does not answer questions x, y, and z, therefore, questions x, y, and z are illegitimate as rational questions in general. This has more the character of animal territoriality than of rationality.
A Refutation of the New (i.e., Individualistic not Socialistic) Libertarianism, Effected in Much Fewer Words than this Title, by Means of a Simple and Glaring Fact which at Least the Old (i.e., Socialistic not Individualistic) Libertarianism (e.g., Marxism) Recognised. — Man is a social animal.
Humans and Triangles. — That human nature is unchangeable and everywhere the same does not mean that all humans are always and everywhere the same. Likewise, that the nature of triangularity is unchangeable and everywhere the same does not mean that all triangles are always and everywhere the same: there are equilateral, scalene, and isosceles triangles, big triangles, little triangles, more perfect ones, less perfect ones, red ones, green ones, iron-wrought ones, and so on. Humanity and triangularity are the bare determinations or essences by which something counts respectively as a human or a triangle in the first place rather than as a salmon or a square.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The change from a culture of honour to a culture of dignity was accompanied of course by a great loss of dignity.
Modern life draws deep from the surface of things.
The expectation that someone will turn up and do the logically impossible is the reverence that misology pays to inventive genius.
Let niceness be reckoned amongst the most powerful forces of the underworld. Once the Devil is unchained, niceness invites him to tea.
With every step of the social and political movement for emancipation, there arises the kind of man who is more in need of repression than the one before, and so advances the movement for enslavement.
Art and religion are always a danger to the mechanical regime. They threaten the restoration of humanity.
Stereotypes possess high-predictive value. It is odd that so many self-declared friends of science reject them.
A Celebrity Speaks. — “At least 260 species of animal have been noted exhibiting homosexual behaviour but only one species of animal ever, so far as we know, has exhibited homophobic behaviour — and that’s the human being. So ask which is really natural.” 1
  Countless species of animal have been noted exhibiting coprophagy, some species are even able to fly, but only one species of animal, ever, so far as we know, has exhibited rational and moral behaviour, albeit sometimes boasting the ability to make glaringly-bad arguments — and that’s the human being. So ask which is really natural. 

. . .
1. Stephen Fry, quoted by Richard Alleyne, “Stephen Fry: 260 animals have gay tendencies but only humans are homophobic”,, 5th October 2012.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Nuclear Age. — How does one rationally argue with people who are so sunk in irrationalism that they refuse to admit — when it suits them — the validity of logical thought? With those who take the nuclear-option against one’s arguments (but not, of course, against their own): that logic itself is just word-juggling with no rational link to reality? The answer is easy and soothing: one should try not to. But the realisation of the pervasiveness of this so-called postmodern attitude is hard and shocking.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Voltarian Spuriosity Translated. — I disapprove of what you say, and, whilst vilifying you, I will not pass up the opportunity to sound magnanimous.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Idea of a Sham-King. — “A king’s duty is to remain above politics” — impossible: he who remains above politics is not a king — “. . . and call a halt when the ship of state is about to crash into the rocks.” 1 If he can call a halt, then he is not above politics.

. . .
1. Taki, “The Magical Mystery of Monarchy”, Taki’s Magazine, 21st July 2012.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Under Egalitarianism. — To praise as superior is still permissible, and even commended, so long as it is clearly untrue.
He who seeks to cast off what he feels to be the burdens of history and inheritance may well succeed in achieving the levity of an idiot.
If the fact/value dichotomy were a fact, it would derive no value from it.
The cosmopolitan belief in world-peace and universal brotherhood would have remained a poky little European affliction had it not been for warfare, global conquest, and mass-extermination.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Wallow-Drunk. — “I think ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are either zombie or capture algorithms when not tied narrowly to a system’s persistence optimization”, says some fellow [1], who, I would guess, believes he is being scientific or rational: it is always the image such men are after, however far it may drift from reality; and I would say that this man has ended up much closer to modern performance-art.
     It is amazing to think that it has taken only a few hundred years from relative calm to this kind of madness. Lately I have had in mind the role of romanticism: the intoxication with feelings, the beautiful-soulism, the individualism which bids a man to fancy that he can define reason and truth in line with his passions, and the irrationalism which has made a fatal pact with the image of reason, science, and progress. [2] But the roots of the madness go very deep, seen in the mechanical philosophy of the seventeenth century, seen in the nominalism of the late middle-ages, and then we look at Old Greece, and there it is again: some kind of intoxication, some desire for formlessness, some humanity-denying animality. It was such that Plato saw and set out to fight.
     Things are not repeated in quite the same way, but it seems that man, when he reaches a rank whereat his humanity is starkly reflected back at him, may, if wisdom has not reached the same rank, conceive a desire to sink into beasthood, as if the sight of what it is to be specifically human frightens him with its calling and responsibility. For that calling is the good life, the rational life, the examined life, and the responsibility is always to it, far away from a life of moral indolence and devil-may-care free-spiritedness. But what a ghastly thing to the man who wishes to cut loose in a spree of thrills and feelings! Better to be a wallowing swine than a striving man — or so the pig-philosophers teach. [3] 
     By this desire for sinking, however, I do not mean the longing for a simpler life. On the contrary: therein one can be fully human. Oddly it seems that man can use all the sophistication of his rational nature to try and thwart that very nature. In our advanced technology and in our complex, long-accumulated systems of thought, we are far better able to bestialise ourselves than were the Old Greeks.

[1] Hopefully Anonymous, comment of 16th December 2010, to TGGP, “Barack Obama as Rockefeller Republican?”, Entitled to an Opinion (weblog), 2nd December 2010. (Transhumanists, in denying their human nature, that is, in refusing to understand themselves as essentially rational animals, or as anything spiritual, but rather in mistaking themselves to be mechanically-determined, algorithmic genebots, or somesuch, are slipping from the human towards the merely animal, whilst pathetically dreaming of reaching the godly.)
[2] See Irving Babbitt, Rousseau and Romanticism (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1919). Therein: “Man is in danger of being deprived of every last scrap and vestige of his humanity by this working together of romanticism and science. For man becomes human only in so far as he exercises moral choice.” p.262.
[3] For vain protestation against the accusation of pig-philosophy, see J.S. Mill, Utilitarianism (London: Parker, Son, & Bourn, 1863), above all, pp.11-14.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

So Little a Thing. — Latter-day men are loath, in many subtle ways, to acknowledge truth. [1] Take the little matter of bowing. Formerly men would set forth this little bodily token in acknowledging the truth of their standing. It is by the repetition of such tokens that truth is etched upon them. Yet nowadays they fancy that they are freer or of higher worth since they do not have to bow to their lords. Here today untruth runs through everything. It is called for everywhere. There is not a day that goes by wherein our so-called freemen do not demand to be hoodwinked or lied to. They hold their little tokens of truth-spurning pride to be of greater worth: let us seem to be as we wish to be, they cry, and do not make us acknowledge the world by body or by mind; tell us that we are all of the same rank, or even that we are lords, and our lords, our hirelings. Very well, say their managers: this is one demand at least for which we shall readily seek to uphold a plentiful supply. What untruth could be more soothing to the sore and freed envy of the masses? — an untruth and a bare-faced lie repeated, strengthened, and boastfully taken up as a hallowed truth by those whom it is meant to mislead!
     In keeping with the depersonalising of the world, latter-day men are loath to acknowledge the rightfulness of any person standing over them. [2] Only systems, procedures, and processes are allowed this higher standing. Bowing to a person is for them a token of unrightfulness; for they link this to higherness and lowerness amongst persons: why should one person be higher than another? Being crushed under the dead weight of systematic process, on the other hand, being far from equal to it, not knowing how to begin to match it, or even how to live through it as persons — all this does not seem to bother them so much, but, on the contrary, they take it as the onrush of justice after a long dark age.
     Since they will not acknowledge, or let stand, personal power over them, so they demand impersonal power — procedure and process — as the impartial judge of all things: a clockwork god. Yet, steeped in the sins of pride and envy, and drunk on utopian spirits, they do not reckon upon the outcome: that the impersonal power over them will not acknowledge them as persons. By its nature it cannot. It has neither the will nor the facility for such: only persons can acknowledge persons. But how ironic that the revolutionary struggle on the part of the masses for their acknowledgement as persons of equal worth in the state has driven the building of a state which cannot acknowledge them as persons at all! Now it must render them into fit objects for its operation. Hereby it looms to bring them justice after all, namely, having shaped them into unpersons so far as it is possible to do so, and having done so by the freeing and the encouraging of their base materiality, it threatens to do only what is fit for them: to treat them as such.
     That to which bowing is an acknowledgement would have spared them this downfall, this gross indignity against manfulness; indeed this undoing would never have stricken the bond in the first place, for that power called for persons on both sides, it called for true men, to which sadly the latter-day world is too weak and sickly to give birth in numbers.

[1] They are of course loath to acknowledge truth in greatly unsubtle ways too. Race, for instance, the denial of the stark reality of which is weird.
[2] The drive for depersonalisation has been noted for some time. Cf.: Max Stirner, Der Einzige und Sein Eigentum (Leipzig: Verlag von Otto Wigand, 1901 [1845]), p.112: “Was will das Bürgertum damit, daß es gegen jeden persönlichen, d. h. nicht in der ‘Sache’, der ‘Vernunft’ u.s.w. begründeten Befehl eifert? Es kämpft eben nur im Interesse der ‘Sache’ gegen die Herrschaft der ‘Personen’! . . . Das Bürgertum will einen unpersönlichen Herrscher.” [“What does the bourgeoisie want by inveighing against every personal command, that is, against every command not founded on ‘cause’, on ‘reason’, etc? It is simply fighting in the interest of the ‘cause’ against the rule of ‘persons’! . . . The bourgeoisie wants an impersonal ruler.”] See also: the works of Carl Schmitt, in particular “The Age of Neutralizations and Depoliticizations” (1929), appended to The Concept of the Political, tr. G. Schwab (London and Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007); and latterly those of Alasdair MacIntyre, Paul Gottfried, Bruce G. Chalton, and James Kalb, amongst others.
The Rule of Gearwork. — No art or skill can ever be fulfilled to the utmost merely by the following of rules and mechanical procedures. An art or skill behoves judgement, practical wisdom, know-how, understanding, a feel for the never-to-be-repeated circumstances, and so forth. It is for this reason that liberalism is so life-clumsy, unwise, and soul-crushingly wretched: its managers and administrators — never statesmen of the old art, let alone kings or lords — are but stopgap-helpmeets of rules and mechanical procedures. If one of them brings his judgement or wisdom to bear, he thereby steps outside the field of what liberalism holds as strictly rightful: he steps into the human field wherein liberalism sees only whim and arbitrariness; he steps away from the hallowed rule of law towards the loathed rule of men. I say “stopgap”, for there has yet to be found a way to replace men wholly with technical process, although it is that to which liberalism tends by its misthought of rightfulness (no man to rule over another; same freedom for all; no privileges; and so forth), and hence it must brook the intervention of men into the bureau-technocratic process, it must brook this slight rule of men, this thin willfulness, this depressed exercise of human judgement, reason, and wisdom, so long as it is scattered across tens of thousands to lessen the personal aspect; but it does so with gritted teeth, as it were, and narrowed eyes. Every personal intervention into the management of human affairs is a sign that a process truly neutral to sundry human values, perfectly “fair” to all cases, indifferent to wilful turns, is not yet fulfilled, that the process still contains personal elements out of which personal interests can arise to upset the dispensing of the perfect “justice” of neutral indifference. Liberalism awaits the day when all men will be overthrown. Kings and athelings were merely the first.