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More thoughts on the blue state of mind

The '60s, bracketed as they were by the school prayer and abortion decisions, stand for definitive public rejection of the transcendent in favor of a wholly this-worldly understanding of reality. In the absence of a superior point of reference, the social order became the ultimate moral reality and human choice the ultimate authority. For those who accept the '60s, including those who set the standards and tone of mainstream respectable public life, the consequences include the following:

  • "Inclusion" is now a supreme moral imperative. Since the public social order is ultimate reality, to treat some people, classes or ways of living as more closely connected to it than others is to that extent to exclude them from participation in reality and therefore to annihilate them. That's one reason Nazi imagery pops up so quickly in response to failures of inclusiveness. Similarly, to be a minor-league social dropout, to homeschool your children or live in a community that's insufficiently diverse or whatever, is to avoid reality and your obligations to reality. It's a violation of your obvious fundamental moral obligations as a social being. (Note that the attempt to put the public order into equally close connection to all possible persons and ways of being deprives the public order of all content. Ultimate reality becomes a void, to be filled by sensation and fantasy.)
  • Since the public order is ultimate reality, and ultimate reality must be unified and one, there can be only one public order, and that order must be the same everywhere. The UN and other internationalist ventures therefore become metaphysical necessities. Also, since belief involves evaluation and judgment, and the social order provides the standards for the latter, the social order becomes the final standard for all reality. If something isn't certified by experts, didn't appear in the New York Times and isn't on TV it doesn't exist. Certainly you can't say anything about it or draw conclusions from it.
  • There is no distinction between politics and religion. Politics is a religion, and religion, to the extent it remains something legitimate, can only be commitment to correct political views and causes. After all, this world is all there is, and the highest goals and duties of human life therefore form a single this-worldly system that can be viewed indifferently as religious (having to do with the highest realities) or political (having to do with the intentional recreation of social order). All that remains of the specifically religious is "spirituality," a psychological or poetic leisure-time activity for sensitive souls.
  • For a religious person to downplay the political (meaning left-liberationist) aspects of his religion is to be self-centered and avoid the real issues. It's either false consciousness---he's been suckered by structures of oppression---or a matter of putting a good front on an obvious attempt to maintain a position of unjustified advantage and comfort. And for anyone to see limits on what can be achieved through politics is to be cynical and most likely self-seeking or even malicious. It is to deny hope and turn your back on the only possible higher principle. To oppose progressive politics on principle, of course, is all that and worse. It is truly demonic.
  • The political aspects of religion cannot, however, have a substantive connection to religion as traditionally conceived. Since the transcendent is non-existent, to let anything transcending this-worldly concerns into public life is to attempt to dominate public life by irrational and arbitrary will. As such, it's an attempt, for whatever reason, to establish tyranny. Hence the fear and loathing of the "Radical Religious Right," an ill-defined tendency in American life that stands for views that after all are mostly a somewhat liberalized version of the views of pre-60s America.

What all this shows is that Western man is attached to a comprehensive rational habit of thought. That's where enterprises like philosophy and science come from. It's doubtful that habit will change fundamentally and in fact it seems to be spreading to other parts of the world. A result of it is that we try to see everything as a single system. That creates problems if we are totally this-worldly and so understand the most basic and authoritative part of the system as something we can grasp and try to control. In that case totalitarian control of all reality becomes a possibility and therefore a goal: everything has to be reduced to a single clear principle that one can control for the sake of bringing about what he sees as the right state of affairs.

The way to avoid such a result is to view the most basic and authoritative part of the system as something that radically exceeds our grasp and imparts to the other parts of the system a certain mutually-independent reality while nonetheless maintaining overall order. To think systematically---philosophically and scientifically---is to look for controlling factors. The long-term outcome of the search for controlling factors is either this-worldly totalitarianism, if the world is thought to be a self-contained system, or religious faith in a transcendent creator God.

The '60s represent a choice of the first alternative. The fact that it represented itself as an attack on system, power and control changes nothing. All it attacked was minor powers that stand in the way of control by universal power. "Do your own thing" means that nothing you do can be allowed to matter. That means that there has to be someone else running the show. The supreme moral principle we have now as a result of the '60s is "inclusion," which means that everyone everywhere has to stand in exactly the same relation to a single all-embracing universally identical system of power, and has to approve of that state of affairs and find anything else horrifying. What more is needed for totalitarianism?

Comments

Saying inclusion is real implies there is unreal inclusion, which we cannot conceive of. “I include my cat as real and your cat as unreal.” The same holds for ideas. An idea cannot be real or unreal, assuming these two words have meaning beyond their everyday usages. Inclusiveness is real but exclusiveness is unreal? Not a comprehensible question really, just a jumble of words that sounds like an interrogative English sentence. The nominalist would have us believe real and unreal have a special meaning should it suit their purposes and as defined by them.

Social order is certainly a desirable goal, but it cannot trump everything else. Sparta had social order but at a terrible cost: the annihilation of Sparta. 20th Century Germany and the Soviet Union are two modern examples. (Are America’s goals in Iraq similar?) What are the alternatives? Social order is one goal subsidiary to the good, the true, and beautiful. Germany sought order above all three of these higher goals, as did Sparta and the Soviet Union. Is it good that Americans are dying to help a country that never wanted our help and is ungrateful for it? No, but America is surely imposing a kind of social order in Iraq.

Choice is not the ultimate authority in America though it is a mantra intoned by liberals. Liberals insist women have a choice whether or not to kill their unborn babies. This is the liberal logic:

All women are right to kill their inconvenient unborn babies.
Joan killed her unborn baby.
Joan was right to kill her unborn baby.

But let’s propose another choice:

All white people are right to kill their inconvenient black neighbor.
Joan killed her black neighbor.
Joan was right to kill her black neighbor.

Therefore, it is clear choice cannot be an ultimate goal, as Mr. Kalb explains. Let’s get closer to the core issue by including only neighbors that are black infants.

See Mr. Lawrence Auster explain in detail how liberals act on the worship of a Tower of Babel (my analogy) in his, “How Liberal Society Promotes Open Borders and One-Worldism” at FrontPage, an online Website. (I don’t want to crash this site by attempting a link.)

The modern belief in inclusion is none other than the renaming (nominalizing) of the ancient worship of the Tower of Babel, which God ended with an extreme measure. You see, the nominalist might propose in rebuttal that God only wanted to end a common language or propose Heaven knows what. (Poor Maureen Dowd—I thought she might give up nominalism and risk her fame and fortune in exchange for the good, the true, and the beautiful.)

Examples of the stoicism Mr. Auster talks about, which is required by inclusion, are the books and movies "1984" by George Orwell and "THX 1138" by George "Star Wars" Lucas. The State in those fictional books and movies requires everyone to be stoic or suffer execution or torture.

Mr. Kalb wrote:

"The '60s, bracketed as they were by the school prayer and abortion decisions, stand for definitive public rejection of the transcendent in favor of a wholly this-worldly understanding of reality. In the absence of a superior point of reference, the social order became the ultimate moral reality and human choice the ultimate authority. For those who accept the '60s, including those who set the standards and tone of mainstream respectable public life, the consequences include the following:

"'Inclusion' is now a supreme moral imperative. Since the public social order is ultimate reality, to treat some people, classes or ways of living as more closely connected to it than others is to that extent to exclude them from participation in reality and therefore to annihilate them."

Jim, what you say in the second paragraph above strikes me as an original insight. In our discussions about my "Liberal Christianity and Open Borders" article, we each found different ways of explaining the idea that the religion of the Other is the substitute for the religion of God, but basically it was that if we get rid of the transcendent above, we need a this-worldly "transcendent" as a substitute. However, what you're saying here is different and new. You're saying that if there is no transcendent, if this world is all there is, then to exclude anyone from your society is the ultimate crime, since you're excluding him from reality itself.

This is the exact converse of the experience that freed me from the fear of the racism charge and allowed me to start writing about immigration years ago. I've probably described it to you. In a nutshell, I was afraid of opposing mass non-white immigration because I feared it would make me evil and hated. Then, one evening on a bus heading into Manhattan from Newark airport, I experienced, in imagination, a love that connected me with Chinese immigrants (it could have been any non-white group, but this was the experience at the moment). It was an imaginary experience, in my mind's eye, but it made me realize how, on a spiritual level, human beings are all connected with and can love each other; but that in this world, certainly in the present stage of development, differences still matter. This freed me to start writing against open immigration.

In other words, it was the articulation of the world into the spiritual, where there is oneness, and the secular, where differences matter, that freed me from the fear of being a racist or of being seen as a racist and allowed me to start writing about the immigration problem.

But here you're describing the opposite reality from what I experienced. Here you're saying that it's the _de-articulation_ of the world, the elimination of the transcendent and the squeezing of all spiritual values into this immanent world, that _requires_ us to be suicidally inclusive of the Other.

Oh this is so true. I knew it all along, in a vague and inarticulate way, and cannot even believe the brilliant Mr. Auster did not really see it earlier; he did see it, but just has forgotten he did. Mr. Kalb and Mr. Auster have said similar things already at Counterrevolution; otherwise, probably I would not be trying today to contribute.

"Mr. Auster did not really see it earlier; he did see it, but just has forgotten he did."

Mr. Henri has read my mind. As I was writing the comment, I couldn't be sure if this thought (that the denial of transcendence makes inclusion an absolute imperative) hasn't been discussed before. I don't _think_ that it has been, but it's possible that it was and I've forgotten. Or that it was discussed in somewhat different terms. But something about the way Mr. Kalb has stated this makes me see something that I _think_ I haven't seen before. :-)

However, it has happened that I'll get excited at some new thought, forgetting that the same thought had come up years ago and that I've even written about it. I think this is an occupational hazard when you spend years trying to understand the same set of closely related subjects.

Lawrence,

There is no opposition between a conscious or higher love of Man (as opposed to a mechanical or ordinary one) and the politic of ethnic particularism. To use that favourite liberal buzz-word, conscious love includes all that its subject is. It does not quibble with his weakness or failings. For such is to cease to love him. Therefore, it does not seek to perfect or improve him. Conscious love is an act of acceptance of the subject and all his connectivity to reality. The one and the other are not separate.

Our ordinary waking state, being mechanistic, exiles us from the real and from the possibility of higher love. It is the state of being bound to a false personal reality, freedom from which is the greatest and most misunderstood imperative of the human heart. In this reality, to which you ascribe emanence though, in truth, there is no universality by which it may be so, bastardised adaptions of conscious love flow like grain from a hopper. The depressingly political among them tend for the most part to commence from the perception of Man's imperfection and proceed with insane notions of how he might be raised.

Currently, this insanity chiefly takes the form of racial egalitarianism, which is white racial destruction. This is hate, not love - such is the error in which we live.

In our all-too-ordinary waking state the safest course is to do nothing, for we do not know what we do. Doing nothing - quietism - accords with the settlement of evolved Nature (an emanent reality, no doubt). In the modern political world its first and finest expression is the Conservativism of Pitt, Liverpool, Walpole, Salisbury.