Collapse is what man does. It is what we do best; in it, we do our best. It is what we are specially adapted to cope with. It has formed us again and again. Civilization today is what it is, and has reached its present heights of power, capability, knowledge and coordination, because of the many civilized orders that preceded it, and that worked brilliantly until suddenly they didn’t. From their failures, we may keep learning how not to fail. Tradition is the lore of past collapses; new collapses cannot but refresh tradition, even as they edit and reform it.
Naturally and rightly we seek to avoid it, because collapse is always costly, and painful. But so is life; is there any human life that suffers no collapses, no irreparable disasters? The question answers itself. How then might any society of humans ever do otherwise? We ought then look upon the coming collapse as a runner looks forward to a race, or a singer to a recital – or even as a runner looks forward to a workout, or a singer to her scales. The adversity of collapse makes man himself, and more than he has been.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
In other words, better to be ruled by The Donald than by Madam Commissar Hillary. Continue reading →
My first post on disutilitarianism began with the realization that simply rubbing together the different utility functions of individuals is by itself completely impotent to reconcile them. You can’t build a society out of disagreeable men unless they have some prior common basis for reaching a mutual agreement about how to proceed, despite their differences, in a coordinate way. And their different preference schedules cannot themselves furnish any such basis.
I want this, you want that: unless we have some idea that an agreement between us would be better than disagreement, we have no way even to get started talking together, and all we may then do is war.
Take a group of people and plop them down together in any given set of material circumstances. Given the resources and stressors present in those circumstances – not, i.e., introduced by the people themselves – each of them will develop a different schedule of preferences about what should happen next, so as to maximize each his own net hedonic utility. Only when the constraints of the circumstances on what is practically possible are extremely tight – only, that is, when there are only very few options that are tolerable for any of them (as when, e.g., the flood waters are approaching) – will the utility functions of the whole group approximate to unanimity.
Only rarely, then, will all the members of a group completely agree about what should best be done. Almost always, they shall find that they must negotiate with each other in order to reach a joint decision about the fitting uses of the resources at hand. The greater the number of options furnished by their material circumstances, the more likely are they to disagree with each other incompatibly.
When this happens, the question between them is which of them will have to suffer some disappointments or other in order for the group as a whole to achieve an acceptable mix of disappointment and satisfaction – of, that is to say, costs and benefits. It is here that market and gift exchanges begin – and with them negotiations, crimes, laws, politics, and so forth – the whole panoply of common life. Because resolution cannot happen except in virtue of some degree of disappointment, it cannot but produce resentment, which of course threatens always to end in violence.
The problem of society as such, then, is to find ways of increasing the likely degree of compatibility among utility functions, so as to salve resentment, reduce intramural violence and improve coordination.
How does homosexuality – so obviously lethal to reproductive success – keep propagating? It’s really quite simple.
When I read Moira Greyland’s horrifying account of her repeated sexual molestation as a child at the hands of her homosexual parents, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen, everything suddenly clicked into place. It’s not so much that there’s a gay gene (although there might be); or a gay virus (ditto); or a preconscious nisus among gays to spread their perversion through predation upon the young, “waking up the natural homosexual feelings that all people have,” so that they themselves can feel that they are somewhat more normal and unobjectionable (seems not unlikely); or that homosexuality is a search for the approval of an absent or distant or mad parent (a reasonable theory, prima facie). All these factors might be at work. But they are not needed to secure the propagation of homosexual behavior down through the generations.
The orthosphere – or as Bruce Charlton first proposed we call it, the kalbosphere – continues its penetration of the Christian Right. The lead article in the most recent edition of First Things is by Orthospherean Jim Kalb, his second appearance in that journal this year.
Technocracy Now is another of Jim’s incisive analyses of liberalism. An excerpt:
When white males do wrong these days, everyone takes them to be responsible, and so culpable. Other sorts of perpetrators are almost always treated as themselves somehow victims, devoid of effective moral agency or ratiocination, unable to act rationally in service of the good, and thus essentially insane, chaotic, like a storm or a flood. Their crimes are wholly adventitious, “random attacks” that hurt someone “in the wrong place at the wrong time” because of essentially harmless youthful hijinks or a “botched crime” that would otherwise have been carried forward to a successful and unobjectionable conclusion. The crime then does not generate any moral guilt, but only the legal sort. Thus the sense among liberals of the injustice involved in incarcerating felons: they didn’t really do it, their environments did.
This is our clue to the fact that, despite the ruin of the ancient patriarchal system in the modern West, everyone still subconsciously thinks that only white males possess full moral agency. They feel that their own moral agency is derivative of the agency of white males, and as derivate is therefore but partial. Whatever their failures, then, or the defects in their lives, they blame on white males, whom they still apprehend as fundamentally in charge of the way things work. You can blame him only who has himself done wrong; and in the modern West only white males are understood as thus quite fully competent, and therefore culpable. The less that white males actually do, the more are they blamed for what happens. And lots of white males agree with this analysis; they hate and blame their own ilk just as much as everyone else does.
Almost everyone feels, in other words, that patriarchy is still in full effect. And they are hot with resentment at the patriarchs. They insist that the patriarchy must be overthrown, when they themselves have been in charge of things for fifty years or so, and the patriarchs have (almost) all recused the office of patriarch. Why?
In ancient Greece, the scapegoat was selected each year via ostracism. The men of the polis would assemble, and each would write the name of his least favorite fellow on a potsherd – an ostracon. The ostraca would be collected, and the man most generally resented would be the chosen victim, banished forthwith.
Where execution of the scapegoat was wanted, it too sometimes proceeded by way of ostraca. The victim was flayed and then dismembered with their sharp edges – the death of a thousand cuts.
The servants of Moloch are pleased to harvest body parts from viable babies. What absolute moral limit would stop them from doing the same with those of children? Or adults? Like, say, ritually unclean Low Men, sub-human knuckle draggers who reject their cult? I.e., you?
By “you” I mean to indicate, not just orthospherean tradents, but conservatives and imperfectly PC progressive liberals. Once the reaping gets started, there’s no reason to stop it.
How will it work? First, they’ll classify political incorrectness as a mental disorder. Then, they’ll institutionalize those who refuse to correct their politics. Then, they’ll start reaping organs from mental defectives. All that’s needed is a way to understand the victims as sub-human. The ritual immolations can then proceed without incurring additional guilt.
As rejecting the patrimonial cult, the tradent renders himself ritually unclean by its terms, and may therefore expect to be exploited sooner or later as a scapegoat. Modern society seethes with resentment, guilt and shame. To avert total meltdown, it needs regular expiatory ritual immolations of unclean scapegoats. When someone in the dysfunctional system must be designated the problem child, and all the blame for the dysfunction laid on his shoulders, and expelled from the community, that someone will probably be the tradent, who by his refusals to worship Moloch shall already have nominated himself for ostracism and banishment.
Be the scapegoat, then. Choose to be the scapegoat. Choose exit; choose escape for yourself and your own family from the system of the modern world, from its moral and aesthetic categories and imperatives. Plan it; put it into effect. If you choose exit from insane society, and put that exit into practical effect, implementing it all your quotidian acts, you can’t be too badly hurt when you are banished from it. Start on the project soon enough, and you’ll be so far gone that it won’t occur to them to ostracize you when they are next looking for a victim.
An effectual scapegoat must be selected from within the community. Let us be without it, then. The more of us who betake ourselves away from the precincts of the Revolutionaries, the sooner and more often they’ll start chopping each others’ heads off.