Notice: The Orthosphere May Be Moving

Our domain is expiring quite soon, and we are having some frustrating difficulties renewing it. So we may need to copy the Orthosphere to another domain in the next few days. We’ll keep you posted.

Do any readers have expertise with the process of moving a whole WordPress site from one domain to another? If so, and if you are willing to help us figure out how to do it, please comment below and we’ll contact you by email.

Thanks, all.


Pushing the Eschaton

It is in the discourse of the Right a commonplace that liberal policies implement Ponzi schemes; that their wild prodigality can be justified only on the basis of magical thinking which supposes that economic and cultural goods pour forth inexhaustibly from some mysterious cornucopia, rather than as products of unstinting, intelligent, diligent, difficult, costly labor rightly and prudently directed. In this liberalism has always reminded me of the cargo cults that sprang up among natives all over Oceania in the 20th Century after their contact with Europeans, especially during and after WWII. But of these cargo cults I had had only the most cursory knowledge. I knew only that some cargo cultists thought that if they mocked up a semblance of an airstrip, planes full of goods would land to disgorge them (“If we build it, they will come;” we see the same sort of thinking at work in those who suppose that if they just show up in a nice suit or arrive in Sweden, life will be for them thenceforth all wine and roses (and blondes)).

I’m reading Mircea Eliade’s The Two and the One, wherein he discusses the cargo cults. Now that thanks to him I now know a bit more about them, my hunch about liberalism has borne out to a truly spooky degree. Consider the following extended passages (page 125 ff.), and feel the prickle of the hairs on your neck as you begin to comprehend the true immensity of the intellectual gulf that separates us from latter day liberals:

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The Imago Dei & His Lord

The dignity of each man qua man, ergo his liberty under his sovereigns – of nation, tribe, clan, family and household, each in his properly subsidiary domain – derive from the fact that all men are images of God, and may not properly therefore be treated as means, but only as ends; for, as God is not a means of some magic of our own intended for our own worldly aims, but rather the proper aim and intention of all means and magics, all arts and sciences, all acts of any sort, so likewise with his images: men.

Men may not therefore be simply used by their rulers, willy nilly, as if they were chattels. Their commands must rather find fulfillment in virtue of the free assent of their subjects (the ancients after all sought prior consent to sacrificial immolation even from the bestial victims of their rites – which is to say, from all the animals they slaughtered for meat). This pledge of fealty must be freely undertaken if it is to qualify as a pledge in the first place. Formally, it is a vow of sonship, of filial obedience to a fundamentally paternal authority. From this sort of free pledge, explicitly given at the inception of their terms of service and utter loyalty, derive the iterated pledges given by soldiers and sailors in response to the commands of their officers: “Yes, sir” or “Aye aye, sir” – both of which mean literally “Yes, sire.”

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The Quale of Mystical Experience

The phenomenological character of mystical experience is not that hard to understand, at least in principle, and as a matter of abstract theory. Withdraw attention from all particular things and their qualia – including oneself – as all mystical disciplines insist their students should do, and in the limit the only quale remaining will be that of sheer being. But to experience sheer being is to experience something of what being is like for God, who is Being as such. Being is the basic good, the good of which all other goods are portions; so the feeling of being as such is blissful.

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Silly Retortion on the Left

According to the current Leftist narrative, everything evil in the world is the fault of white Christian men, for this world is the world that such men built and have maintained. If this is true, then either white Christian men are just that much better than every other sort of human, and therefore in justice *ought* to rule the planet, or else they are the only sort of men who have free agency, ergo any real power. Notice that the second alternative is just the most extreme version of the first: if white Christian men are the only sort with real agency, then they are categorically superior to all others, who are their pawns and puppets, whom they have always ruled, and will always rule, despite appearances to the contrary.

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What Is It Like To Be Uncaused?

The problem of free will is that to the extent that our acts are uncaused, they are irrational, but that if they are wholly caused (ergo wholly rational), then they are not free, but rather are straightforward functions of their causal inputs – in which case, they do not actually exist as entities disparate from those inputs.

It would seem that if we are somewhat free, we are to that extent irrational. There’s the rub.

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The Revolution Devours Her Young

I remarked the other day that for all practical purposes Islam cannot any longer attack the West except by attacking liberal institutions; for, the institutions of the West are all liberal.

But the same is of course true for liberals themselves. The only way they can attack the Establishment is by attacking liberals, because the Establishment is pervasively liberal. There are no right wing institutions out there, other than a few think tanks and magazines that don’t have budgets for the sorts of jobs that liberals are fit to do, with the result that few liberals infest their offices.

Who now is the Left attacking, and destroying? The Progressives who run the universities. Schadenfreude ain’t in it.

The Verdict of Paris

I’d been thinking I ought to post something about the massacre in Paris last weekend but without knowing quite what. Then today I realized that I had already posted on the subject, *before it even happened.* In On the Delicacy of Civilization, I distinguished in passing between crimes *within* a civilization and attacks upon it from without. Like market failure, crime is a vice and weakness of civilization. It may redound to civil death, but such deaths are endogenous, analogous therefore to kidney failure, cancer, or heart disease. In a sense, such deaths are processes of civilization.

An attack from without is more like … well, like an attack on a person, than it is like a disease. Diseases make attacks more likely, insofar as they are evident in outward weakness, as is usually the case with disease. But they don’t cause the attack; they rather only reduce its apparent cost to the attacker, thus inclining him more to attack.

As I pointed out in that post, any high civilization organized on the basis of a supposition that its denizens will not try to destroy it is quite vulnerable to sabotage at the hands of a fifth column of alien aggressors from another, antithetical civilization.

Among the galaxy of confusions evident in our leaders, the confusion between crime and attack is among the most important and often manifest. We hear always about “bringing terrorists to justice,” when justice ain’t in it. Such talk is confused, and confusing. One cannot but think that, the confusion being so very obtuse, it must be intentional, and tendentious.

Among all the things I might say about Paris, this only has not (so far as I know) been said already a thousand times: the attack in Paris. as being directed against the Power of the West, was directed *against the liberal order.* It is the liberal order that suffers from the attack. To the extent that it succeeded in jarring the liberal elite away from liberalism and toward a police state (Francois Hollande has already proposed some changes to the French Constitution), *it undermined liberalism.*

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