Is individualism the essence of the West?

That’s what it looks like to non-Western traditionalists.  From Brazilian commenter Marcio Silva:

I’ve been following a debate between the Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho and its Russian counterpart, Aleksandr Dugin. While both are traditionalists in a certain sense of the word – they are both Christians, and properly reject all the main tenets of the Modernity on all its fronts and forms. However, Dugin is clearly an Eastern one, with an emphasis on what he calls “Holism” (which would be what Webb calls “Virtuocracy” with a strong strain rooted on the Demoticism – In short, I would describe it as a form of Orthodox Christian National-Bolchevism). Dugin is extremely influent in Russian high spheres, being one of the most trusted advisers of Vladimir Putin (That is, unfortunately, not the case for Olavo).
What should cause Americans (and Western) conservatives pause is that he sees absolutely no distinction between the Christian West and “Materialist West”. Describing materialism and individualism as the “true traditions” of the West, he concedes that if there are any actual conservatives/traditionalists in the West (and in the US), their only role would be as “soldiers of the Eurasian project” acting as fifth columns to destroy the US and the West, submitting the whole world to the “Sacred-Eurasian (Russia and China) Empire”. He certainly concedes that the Muslim World and even Latin America are their allies of convenience in the fight against the US, but I clearly don’t see any practical reason to respect and keep the autonomy of its “zones of influence” (Dugin’s term) under the shade of a hegemonic Russian empire. While Olavo de Carvalho tried to argue to there is an epic struggle in the West between the Materialists-Utilitarianists-Globalists and the Christian (and eventually even a reduce number of Jews) Conservatives/Traditionalists, being the complete destruction of the US the main goal of the former group, Dugin argued that such thing is completely incidental to Western History.

As for the “true traditions of the West”, we have to be clear which civilization we’re talking about.  Everybody knows what “the West” means today:  democratic, secular Europe and its offshoots.  Is this the same civilization as St. Louis or Petrarch?  Is it the same civilization as Plato and Julius Caesar?  I would say no; these are three different civilizations.  There was the Hellenic civilization, defined by its polis and paganism.  This was replaced in around the 4th-5th centuries by the civilization of Christendom, defined by Christianity and its “two swords” of Church and state.  This civilization was supreme in Europe until about 1700, when the worldview of the Enlightenment that was to constitute a new civilization was born.  Over the course of the 19th century, Christendom died, and a new civilization, which we may call Western civilization, took its place.  Western civilization is more or less defined by individualism and materialism, as Dugin accuses.  He would be wrong to see it as the essence of Christendom, just as Dostoevsky was wrong to see what he objected to in the West as being rooted in the Catholic Church, and just as de Maistre and other Catholic traditionalists were wrong to see liberalism as nothing but the working-out of Protestantism.  I do not believe that either the Great Eastern Schism or the Reformation represent a civilizational rift, but rather they were intra-civilizational clashes.

21 Responses

  1. just as de Maistre and other Catholic traditionalists were wrong to see liberalism as nothing but the working-out of Protestantism.

    Have you expanded on this in some other post? I find the claim you are dismissing pretty plausible. The movement from the interpretive individualism (wrong phrase, maybe?) of Protestantism in theology to the interpretive individualism of Modernity in everything seems kind of obvious to me.

    When a Modern or Protestant asks “What must I believe in order to be a Catholic,” both have similar problems with the answer, which is 1) belief is not enough, and 2) to the extent that belief is constitutive, “whatever the Church teaches” is what you gotta believe. And they have the same problem because they are coming from the same place—individualism is just obvious and foundational to them. They think the Church is just a group of people who happen to believe the same thing: the way the Masons or their own congregations are.

    When I converted from materialistic, modernistic, atheism to the True Faith, I experienced this as a wrenching change in world views. From this side, both my former beliefs and Protestantism look, to me, like neighborhoods in the city I left. On the other hand, Eastern Orthodoxy looks like an adjacent neighborhood in my new city (not one I have any desire to move to, of course).

    Or are you just leaning hard on “nothing but” which obviously can’t be literally true?

  2. “I do not believe that either the Great Eastern Schism or the Reformation represent a civilizational rift, but rather they were intra-civilizational clashes.”

    Could you expound on why you think that?

  3. Going off what the others have said, I think a strong case can be made that liberalism has its roots in the Reformation, which was in turn inspired by certain strands of late-Medieval philosophy and theology.

    For a modern treatment of a similar argument, you might want to look at John Milbank’s “Theology and Social Theory.” Interestingly enough, he analyzes Maistre and Bonald at one point, although I think his reading of at least Maistre is off the mark.

  4. Sir.

    I was wondering if you might further comment on your reference to Dostoyevsky. As an (Eastern) Orthodox Christian, I recently shared his sentiments regarding Roman Catholicism on Facebook and was hoping to get your response in detail to what he said.

    I do find myself in agreement on many matters with yourself and other commentators from Roman Catholicism. Of course, much of the Orthodox commentary in this area is hidden to me by the language barrier.

    There is certainly a strain of thought–which certainly would Dugin as an inherent–which pits the Russian East vs. the decadent West. Although I am somewhat sympathetic to this view (the Church in Russia certainly suffered as a result of attempts to reform Her through importing certain things from the West)–I am more willing to adopt the view that the Schism was intracivilisational. The problem is that, as some Orthodox commentators have noted, it happened because Old Rome wanted to adopt “the West” as an ideology and jump ship for a pagan civilisation, not a Christian one. I am sure you will disagree, but I would appreciate your thoughts at any rate.

    Yours in Christ
    John

  5. For one thing, if you look at the issues that divide the Christian Churches–the procession of the Holy Spirit, justification, the relationship between nature and grace–it’s stuff that wouldn’t even make sense to another civilization. Other civilizations don’t take different positions on these debates; they’re not part of these debates at all. More particularly, the Christian churches are all socially very similar. They all share the Bible and the person of Jesus as sacred objects. Even the deists and atheists in Christendom (and indeed almost to the present day) are anxious to argue that Jesus is on their side, a phenomenon that must seem truly bizarre to non-Western agnostics. In all the Christian lands, the Church is a corporation organized independently from the state. (Hellenic and Muslim civilizations aren’t like this.) The clergy form a distinct class (rather than, say, being a phase each man goes through at a certain part of life). It is understood that a person should have only one religion (as opposed to the mix-and-match of differing traditions common in the Orient). This is because of the dogmatic principle all Christians share; a religion, we assume, should make some truth claims. In a Christian mileu, even those who reject the dogmatic principle take it as the default position while arguing against it in principle (and largely succumbing to it in practice). Christian peoples share a civilizationally unusual insistance on monogamy and exogamy in marriage. All these things are taken for granted by Christians, but they are distinctive features of our civilization.

    Liberalism, by contrast, is so far separated from Christianity that there’s nothing about it that particularly marks its origin in Christendom. It might as well have evolved out of Islam as out of Christianity, and I think it could have evolved more easily from Buddhism. And, indeed, liberalism is spreading easily in lands that have never expressed an interest in Christianity.

  6. Hi Bill,

    Elsewhere I’ve said that Protestant theology doesn’t seem to me to have anything to do with liberalism but that Protestant historiography (time of purity followed by long ages of corruption, then original purity restored by revolution, rejection of accumulated tradition for a “direct” contact with the past) does easily fade into the liberal/Whig view of history.

    I was never a Protestant, so you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s never seemed to me like the right to read the Bible however one cares to has ever been the core of Protestants’ spiritual life. Things like that get emphasized when they’re defining themselves against Catholics, but in their own religious life, their personal relationship with Jesus, their hope in Him for their redemption, is paramount. Sort of like how the Pope doesn’t play a big part in my day-to-day spiritual life, although he comes up a lot when arguing with Protestants.

  7. Hi James,

    I always suspect that those Radical Orthodoxy guys are trying to make orthodoxy so abstract and meaningless that they can sneak liberalism in. Isn’t Milbank a supporter of homosexuality and socialism (something to do with the price mechanism ignoring the analogy of being)? I also get annoyed by all the Scotus-bashing. Still, I’ll give anyone a chance who gives Maistre and Bonald a respectful hearing.

  8. Hi John,

    I’m not sure what the filioque is supposed to have to do with paganism. If Catholicism inevitably leads to liberalism, we took a long time getting there. It would be more reasonable, I think, to just call us heretics, which would make us part of the same civilizational dialog. A more common complaint I’ve heard from the Orthodox is that Catholics are too rationalist in our religion. Whether or not that’s true, one must always realize that the word “rationalism” means something entirely different when applied to Aquinas than when it is applied to Voltaire.

    I don’t know as much about Dostoevsky’s critique as I should. In both “The Devils” and “The Brothers Karamazov” his characters opine that Rome accepted the three temptations offered to Christ, and I infered that this was his own opinion. It seems to have been based on anti-Catholic stereotypes propagated by Protestants throughout the world.

    My impression is that the differences between Eastern and Western Churches have been greatly exaggerated by both sides. For example, one often hears from Catholics that the Eastern Churches were entirely state-controlled. When one looks at Byzantine and Russian history, though, there are Church-state conflicts that look quite analogous to what happened in the West. As another example, mysticism and monastacism have a biggger history in the West than Easterners usually acknowledge. Not that there aren’t real differences between the two Churches, but they are more theological than cultural.

  9. I agree to some extent about Radical Orthodoxy. I think it was R. R. Reno who argued that the Anglo-Catholicism of the Radical Orthodox theologians leads them to sometimes ignore the historical Church in favor of a more abstract vision of Christian Tradition.

    When it comes to homosexuality, I believe Milbank has said that homosexual marriage is an “ontological impossibility,” but that the Church should recognize homosexual unions in some way. On the other hand, Pickstock and some of the other RO theologians do support straight-out homosexual marriage.

    As for Socialism, Milbank argues that Nietzsche was correct to see it as a working out of the Platonic and Christian tradition of the West, so I presume that he sees himself as sticking to orthodox Christianity when he endorses socialism. However, Milbank also stresses the importance of the family to the social order. In general, I think Milbank reads later thinkers, such as Comte, back into Maistre and Bonald throughout his discussion of their thought.

    So, I think Radical Orthodoxy is definitely a mixed bag, and that someone like David Bentley Hart is probably better from a Catholic point of view, but they do have some valuable insights.

  10. Boland, in stressing the Hellenic element, I believe you underestimate the influence of Rome

    According to the Romans’ own account of it, Romulus founded his city by recruiting those who had, for one reason or another, felt it advisable to quit their own cities. Hence, the story of the “Rape of the Sabine Women.” True or not, that is what they believed and it shaped their thinking.

    What is quite clear and supports the story of the origins of the city, is that the Romans were a people who hated work, despised commerce and lived by plundering and enslaving their neighbours (Any resemblance with the European settlers of North America is purely coincidental).

    To be successful at this (and they were very successful) it was necessary to cultivate certain genuine virtues: courage, perseverance, self-control, prudence, discipline, constancy in misfortune, devotion to the community. This lends a superficial attraction to the whole project (Perhaps, the same can be said of European settlers of North America; but, any resemblance &c)

    Liberty meant sharing in the government, which is to say, in overseeing the sharing of the spoils and the most honourable as well as the most lucrative professions were those of the soldier, the politician and the jurist (Again, any resemblance &c)

    The obvious conclusion from this is that civil society, the state, call it what you will, is conventional, not natural. Think of the men who signed up with Romulus. They were becoming shareholders in a common venture. The logical conclusion from this is legal positivism, “Law is what the people enact and establish.” If the state is a purely artificial creation, there can be no Natural Law, for the state is an escape from the State of Nature. There can, of course, be a Ius Gentium [the customs of all nations], but that is not at all the same thing

    Of course, similar ideas can be found in Greek speculation; the Romans made it real and concrete, embodied in a real and victorious empire.

    The endless appeals to classical, and, especially, a Roman model, during the Enlightenment and its consummation in the Revolution, is obvious to anyone familiar with their voluminous literature.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but I was drawn to it, both as a classicist by education and a civilian by profession and, so, steeped in the original literature from which my conclusions are drawn.

  11. Hi Michael,

    I certainly didn’t mean to slight the Romans, my favorite pagans. I include them as part of the “Hellenistic” civilization. Whether that is appropriate is an argument worth having, but I note that Spengler and Toynbee do the same.

  12. Liberalism, by contrast, is so far separated from Christianity that there’s nothing about it that particularly marks its origin in Christendom. It might as well have evolved out of Islam as out of Christianity, and I think it could have evolved more easily from Buddhism. And, indeed, liberalism is spreading easily in lands that have never expressed an interest in Christianity.

    I couldn’t disagree more, Bonald. Liberalism is, in fact, a uniquely Christian, in my view uniquely Protestant, heresy. It couldn’t have arisen from Islam because of its low view of Man, and by extension human reason. Liberalism derives its (heretically) high view of Man from Christianity. Liberalism couldn’t have arisen from Buddhism because of its radical diminution of purpose and ultimate rejection of immanence. Liberalism derives its (heretically) high view of human suffering and striving. it’s unending task to immanentize eschaton, from Christianity.

    The purest liberals (by far) are Unitarian Universalists; they are what every other liberal in every other religion (or non-religion) strives to be. And it is no mere coincidence the UU evolved out of Congregationalism, ex Puritanism, ex Anglicanism. Their history represents the more or less complete epidemiological vector of liberalism.

    And, by the way, where exactly is liberalism easily spreading where there has never been much interest in Christianity? Not that we could read much out of that anyway: Liberalism is a highly successful mutant meme complex that outcompetes Christianity even in traditionally Christian lands. It might very well make better inroads where Christianity has failed to in the past… but, again, I’m having a hard time thinking of solid examples.

  13. “other Catholic traditionalists were wrong to see liberalism as nothing but the working-out of Protestantism.”

    I also disagree. I am not terribly educated but with my limited understanding I will try to convey my thoughts (I am copying a blog post, so that explains some of the stuff at the top):

    I recently read a blog piece from Throne and Altar which got me to thinking about what the structural difference between protestantism and Catholicism were. He asserted that liberalism was not the working out protestantism, and I knee-jerked disagreed and, having a little time this evening, thought about why.

    Liberalism as I understand it is individualistic – necessarily – it revolves entirely around the gratification of each individual’s desires as much as society may permit. The tie-in between Protestantism and liberalism, and the reason why I think liberalism is the working out of protestantism, is that protestantism is based off the notion that each individual has the right to interpret Christ’s words without the mediation of the Church (a notion definitely contrary to Christ’s words), whereas Catholicism is based off the notion that the Church only has the right to interpret.

    When Protestantism appeared on the scene it introduced a new way of thinking about what an individual should be allowed to do – not that individuals should not be allowed to think on their own or anything like that. Because it took an ax to something so sacrosanct as the interpretation of Scripture and made it an individual’s right to interpret, it opened up a Pandora’s box on Europe. It was a momentous occasion in the worst way possible. Of course, liberals would call this the best thing that could have happened for Europe, but it in fact signified the downward spiral towards the Enlightenment because it placed the individual over the Church.

    Any time the individual’s rights are placed over the rights of God, society will go to hell. The enlightenment couldn’t have, wouldn’t have happened without the individual being placed over God in some form or fashion.

    Our Lord, knowing the disparate opinions and disagreements which would arise of all these different people reading His word, MUST have created the Church. If He had not, His entire Life would have been in vain. A mediator which would correctly interpret and maintain the Faith as He taught was an absolute necessity.

    With the great number of first generation Protestants exercising a new-found liberality to interpret scripture on their own, there is an introduction into the mindset of a new generation of people; they are raised with the understanding that individuals have the right to question God-given authority. Any other questioning of authority, e.g. political authority, would not have had such an effect on society as this one had.

    I agree with his saying that Protestantism was an intra-civilizational dispute. But I would say that the foundation of its beliefs, that the individual can determine the meaning of Christ’s words on his own, were the groundwork for the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was the successful conclusion of Protestantism’s fundamental thesis.

  14. Hello Steve,

    I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. As for examples of the broader attractive power of liberalism (broadly defined), I would cite the success of Marxism in China and secularism in India and Turkey. Liberalism gets its breadth by working on a lowest common denominator of human desires: it promises everybody peace, prosperity, pleasure, and freedom. You don’t have to have a particularly high view of man to take this bargain. In fact, it helps if you don’t.

    By the way, do Christians really have a higher estimation of humanity than pagans, Jews, or Muslims? All would place men between animals and divinity on the chain of being. All think that the gods have thought humanity worth establishing relations with.

  15. Hello Ms. Zapp,

    I think there is still a big difference between Protestantism and liberalism. Protestants still believe that the bible, however interpreted, has authority over them. And the freedom of interpretation was not originally understood as a screen for throwing off religious constraint, as it would later become when Protestantism became infected with liberalism in the eighteenth century. The first Protestants presumed that the word of God is generally pretty clear and unambiguous, and it doesn’t need much interpretation of any kind, just obedience. So when they would accuse this or that Catholic practice of being “unbiblical”, they thought such claims were evident from the scriptural texts. In the last couple of centuries, we have seen that biblical texts can indeed be twisted to mean just about anything, but it’s not clear to me that they can be twisted to mean anything by people in good faith. Basically, people who claim a warrant for universalism or sexual license in the Bible seem hell-bent on reaching these conclusions, and so they manipulate the text in a way no honest person could countenance. And what makes them so insistent on reaching these conclusions? Liberalism, in every case.

    Perhaps it would be better to say that liberalism is not the working out of Protestantism, but that Protestantism has some features that make it particularly vulnerable to liberal subversion.

  16. It seems that the doctrine of private judgement undermined the authority of scripture in two ways.

    Firstly, why should revelation be confined to the canon of scripture? The more radical reformers, like the anabaptists led logically to the Society of Friends with their emphasis on the inner light (for which they could quote scripture in abundance)

    Secondly, it provided no security for the text of scripture, for it was inevitable that this would be subjected to the same process of textual criticism that the Humanists applied to classical authors and to Justinian’s Corpus Juris.

    I am told that some Fundamentalists regard the KJV as inerrant.

    As to the perspicuity of scripture, no one has demonstrated better than Newman, the impossibility of deriving the doctrines of the blessed Trinity and the Incarnation from scripture alone, without the aid of tradition, or the distinction between the ceremonial, civil and moral precepts of the OT. For Newman, the path from Protestantism, to Unitarianism, to Deism, to Scepticism was logical, as well as historical.

    But, more than that, it was the irreducible diversity of religious belief produced by the principle of private judgement that, both logically and historically, gave birth to political liberalism, with its demand that religion belonged to a private sphere, into which the state had no right to intrude. Subsequent developments of liberalism were simply an expansion of that private sphere of personal autonomy.

  17. Hello Mr. Paterson-Seymour,

    These are good points, although it seems to me that Catholics are equally vulnerable to textual criticism assaults on the Bible. A large divergence in scriptural interpretations would indeed make it hard for religion to serve as society’s consensus, putting it on the road to being a private hobby. On the other hand, in most early modern Europe, the disagreements were manageable (after the wars of religion and royal absolutism effected a sorting out between Catholics and Protestants). Even in nineteenth-century America, Christianity could act as an informally established religion, because the consensus between sects was so great. Perhaps you’ll say this was just a case of the Protestant principle taking some time to destroy consensus and fragment communions, and this may be true. I might be more comfortable with the claim that Protestantism leads to liberalism if we add that a change of essence happens along this progression, so that we are not led to the implausible claim that all Protestants are crypto-liberals.

  18. Hello again Mr. Bonald,

    Your “favorite” Brazilian commenter returns :-). I apologize in advance for the length of the post and for the fact that a good deal of it might be judged as a cruder rehash of points made by abler commenters (particularly, the ones that are professional classicists). First of all, I am very glad to see that my comment could be leveraged to introduce the pungent question about the true nature of the West. Second, I offer some clarifications/qualifications: it is my understanding that there are two or three “non-western” traditionalists that the post refers to: one is Dugin, another is Olavo and a third that is (possibly) myself. Being that the case I think is important to make clear that as “non-western” (I certainly do not think of myself in this way, despite it could be accurately described as my condition by birth) traditionalist, I do *not* think that individualism is the “essence” of the West. To be even more precise, I do think that the place of the individual in the Western history and thought is distinct from other civilizations, but I believe the connection between this particular form of individualism and liberalism itself is far from established. On one hand, individualism can mean selfishness, greed, indifference, and refusal to accept one’s duties and limitations to his desires. However, individualism also means that Western man once saw herself as individually saved by our Lord, as individually responsible before God for his acts, as individually in debt to his family, to his community and to his nation. Perhaps more importantly, he saw others in the same light, and knew that such others had also a unique standing before God, a view that prevents the turning of others in instruments to the realization of man’s selfish desires, his whims, his machinations, his personal views of the “perfect world” or the “paradise on earth”. On other hand, while the opposite of such individualism – collectivism – could be seem as solidarity and self-sacrifice, it also means that the real individuals (the ones to whom salvation – transcendental salvation – applies) can be made instruments of real or imaginary social benefits (That was one of the points made by Olavo while on the debate). While equating individualism to liberalism, please ask yourself: in addition to the godlessness abomination of Communism/(National)Socialism, is not the Utilitarianism (I am using it as a blank term for several forms of Liberalism and Libertarianism) also collectivist in the sense that it blatantly disregards the moral and spiritual health of real individuals, turning it (or most horribly the lack of it) on a instrument to the realization of the “will to power” of the imaginary “Man-god/Superman”, that knows no limits to his selfish and childish desires? It is my contention that we should never equate “Thomistic organicism and Socialist collectivism” (in the words of Edward Feser).
    Third, I humbly offer a succinct exposition on what I believe to be the actual malady of the West. I would say that problem of the West is not “individualism” per se, but rather the sickness of the soul that several philosophers/thinkers identified on its many masks. Eric Voegelin called it “Gnosticism” (and he clearly pointed out that such impetus as one of pre-Christian origin), Fr. Seraphim Rose called it “Nihilism” and Olavo de Carvalho called it the “Revolutionary Mind” (http://bit.ly/4qvusP). It is my evaluation that the term “Revolution” is the one that describes it in the most effective way. If I would have to describe it, in a synthetic and unifying way, I would say that the hallmark of it is the idea that the “paradise on earth” is possible to be achieved within the historical process (as opposed to the Christian view that it is achievable only outside of history) and within the reach of human (and not God’s) action. To make a very crude adaptation of Joseph Schumpeter’s diagnosis of Capitalism, the West seems to be only civilization that generates the elements of its own destruction, in the form of the revolutionary intellectuals. However, such seeds only came to fruition, as pointed by you, in 1700s (it is my understand that both Voegelin and Olavo point out some movements in the 1300s and 1400s as pivotal to the establishment of the revolutionary 1700s). To conclude a lengthy post – and to prevent you from banning me to comment on your blog again for “first degree dilettante verbiage” 🙂 – I would say that “revolution” (and not individualism) is what is going to kill the West, but I am also not sure if we could call it the “essence” of the West. The “revolution” was born inside of the West, will kill it, but is no more the “essence” of it than cancerous cells are the “essence” of a cancer patient.

  19. Great to hear from you Mr. Silva,

    My contention was that the revolution/gnosticism hasn’t just weakened and corrupted the civilization of Christendom, but that it has gone so far that we should now say that we are living in a different civilization, one with no real connection to Christianity or Christendom. I called this new civilization “Western civilization”. By this definition, neither Dante nor Cervantes nor Newton belonged to Western civilization–they lived in Christendom and died before Western civilization came into being. I realize that this is an unconventional terminology, so I want to make sure that I’m properly understood. When I agree that “individualism” is the essence of “the West” I mean a civilization that’s only 2 to 2.5 centuries old. The crucial question is whether there is any significant remnant of the old civilization left.

    I am less inclined than you to try to salvage the word “individualism”, but I’m happy to agree that the positive individualism you describe is a part of historic Christendom and is a good thing. Jacques Maritain called this positive individualism “personalism” to distinguish it from anti-social “individualism”. Personalism involves having a sense of one’s personal responsibilities, one’s personal relationship with God, one’s personal apprehension of the truth, etc. On the other hand, I don’t see how there’s anything distinctively Western (by anybody’s definition of “Western”) about this. All civilizations with moral codes and divided responsibilities (i.e. all civilizations) must inculcate some sense of personal responsibility in their members. For example, every Muslim is vividly aware that he will someday stand before God, “naked” as it were, and be judged on his individual acts.

  20. I’m sad, Bonald, sad because I find you a very sharp thinker and yet you are limiting the uses of your brain. You are limiting it because you are considering everything from a spirituo-philosophical angle and refusing to integrate other insights. The Protestant roots of Liberalism were demonstrated by Moldbug and Voegelin. The individualism of the West being genetic, biological, coming from the Church’s ban on cousin marriage resulted in outmarriage resulted in reduced genetic predilection to ingroup preference was demonstrated by the HBD sphere.

    I am sad because despite your extraordinary intelligence, much of the Deep Right blogopshere is leaving you behing because you are not talking about what everybody is talking about, like HBD and behavioural genetics. You somehow insist to work like a 18th century philosopher who has to rely on speculation and some classics because there are not other tools at hand.

    (This doesn’t mean Dugin is right, of course.)

  21. This is the kindest rebuke I’ve ever received.

    I write about the aspects of things that interest me, naturally. However, comparing my earlier and recent writings, I’m surprised by how much more prominent “identity” issues have become. (When the blog was about a year old, I even made an offhand comment once that racial issues didn’t interest me. At the time, they didn’t.) I do seem to have been carried along with the general conversation. Partly this is because, although the Deep Right isn’t reading me, I’m still reading them. Reading Steve Sailer every day, for instance, naturally keeps racial issues in one’s mind. Partly it’s that, although social/sexual issues are as relevant as ever (with persecution of dissidents escalating), it feels like there’s nothing left that hasn’t already been said about them.

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