Despair spreading

Not sure what’s brought it on just now.  Things seem to me to be falling apart at about the same rate they have been for quite a while.  Still, here are two powerful statements of loss of hope for the future from prominent reactionary bloggers.

Larry Auster

Laura Robins


28 Responses

  1. Watching the forces of evil rising and on the march, taking victory after victory, is certainly not easy on the soul. Indeed, it is an open invitation to despair and nihilism. RESIST IT! Your soul-death is what the enemy hopes for most of all.

    Check out the advice that the Lord provided for the Exiles in Babylon. As far as I tell, this is still good advice today. We are no less living in the Enemy’s kingdom today than the exiles in 550 B.C in Babylon. Our mentality and spiritual position should be the same as theirs.

    This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:

    “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
    Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.

    Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

    Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

    “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.

    Jeremiah 29:4-9

  2. @Bonald – I think you are completely wrong in your usage of hope and despair!

    Both of these bloggers remains hopeful, they do not despair (a sin) – but they are *pessimistic*.

    That is to say their evaluation and prediction is that the situation is irreversible (implicitly, irreversible by human efforts – with God anything is possible).

    This is precisely my own view. I am solidly pessimistic but remain hopeful – because if there was repentance and a turning to God, then ‘anything is possible’. But without repentance this will not happen.

    I am utterly un-interested in looking for subtle signs that our society might be turning-around, realizing its peril etc. – the sign I am looking for is repentance; and *if* this was to happen it would not need to be looked-for – it would hit our society with the volume and force of a nuclear explosion.

  3. Lawrence Auster still has a positive aim. He recommends that we “build up a traditionalist organization/community which serves as a spiritual and social life raft and which, as the mainstream society gets worse and worse, will attract more and more people.”

    As for Laura Robins, I went through that kind of grieving years ago. I know that much is going to be lost. What matters to me is the step by step process of trying to recover and retain whatever can be recovered and retained. I don’t want the next generation to have to start from scratch.

  4. We all succumb to despair periodically, me probably more than anyone else in the orthosphere (maybe even more than everyone else combined!). Sorrow is just the appropriate response to the state of the world today, and where the world is going. We sold our souls for material comfort and soon we won’t even have that.

  5. These articles show a loss of hope for the near future, for America and Western “Civilization.” They do not indicate despair in God’s providential purpose for history.

    As Dr. Charlton reminds us, despair is a sin. Indeed, it is a mortal sin.

    Looking at the liberal-technocratic West, it’s really hard to imagine how the drift could be reversed without a near complete dismantling of the present order. It’s a house of cards anyway.

    I thought present-day reactionaries understood this. Isn’t this why we’re reactionary?

  6. It’s not so much despair as much as the realization that society will not turn away from secular liberalism but will follow it totally until its destruction and the very end. Building up our own communities and living for God should be the goal. I think the blogger Bruce Charlton (?) said that the good is getting better and the bad is getting worse.

  7. The religious are having far more children than the religious (and the traits that tend to make people religious are heritable), but it takes time for that kind of demographic change to gain momentum. The road away from leftist lunacy was always going to be a long one. Plus the inevitable takeover of the religious is going to cause its own problems: the strong preference of religious people for personal explanation over impersonal explanation may throw a huge monkey wrench into the workings of science.

  8. It is worth remembering some leftist failures:

    1. However much they have weakened the heterosexual nuclear family, they have utterly failed to install any other sexual arrangement as an ideal.
    2. They have failed to convince anybody that unchaste women make just as good mates as anybody.
    3. They have failed to convince anybody that modern art/architecture/music is just as beautiful as the truly classic stuff.
    4. Though they have managed to slow it to a snail’s pace, they have failed to stop research into HBD.
    5. They have failed to find a way to convince liberals to reproduce themselves.
    6. They have been forced to conclude that markets are necessary.
    7. They have been forced to enact harsher law enforcement to keep crime in check.
    8. They have failed to eradicate the traditionally religious from modern societies.

    Liberalism is at its apogee right now, but at the very moment of its absolute triumph the seeds of its own destruction can be seen working their way through the system. Just don’t be fool enough to expect some apocalyptic crash.

  9. Auster is just endorsing the obvious, that what reactionaries need is lifeboats. Nobody is letting us near the tiller of this here ship. As several have said, this is not despair.

  10. Liberals are not trying to do 1, 3, 5, 6, or 7. They have convinced lots of women of 2, and that’s all they have to do. You have 4 completely backwards. The fact that “research into HBD” is necessary at all is proof of liberalism’s mind-boggling power. On 8, they’re not done yet, but their progress has been pretty impressive so far.

  11. I would add that ‘liberals’ have almost-completely *succeeded* in the real, underlying (demonic) goal of stimulating Christian apostasy, getting people to embrace secular materialistic hedonism, and gaining official endorsement then enforcement of the inversion of Good (i.e. sin, ugliness, lies).

  12. Yes I have said that, and so has Proph. What we mean by it (we recently discussed this by e-mail) is probably something like the bad is getting worse, and the good is getting easier-to-discern – the good isn’t really better than in the past, in fact it is much worse – but it stands-out more obviously.

  13. Liberals are not trying to do 1, 3, 5, 6, or 7.

    Not any more (except for #1), which is my point. You are myopically fixated on the present. There have been serious attempts to do all of the above.

    On 8, they’re not done yet

    Much more aggressive attempts have been made in communist countries and utterly failed. The irreducibly traditional religious tend to bottom out at around 10% of the population. They’re not going anywhere.

  14. I’d like to pick up on statements by bgc and Bill. A lot of us have, I’m sure, become anti-liberal by way of repentance. Many of us were at one time trying to conduct our lives according to liberal ideas, but then found this didn’t work so well. In my case it lead to frustration (because I acted on false premises), guilt (because I more readily sinned), and cognitive dissonance (because what I “knew” in theory conflicted with what a knew from experience). Conversion to traditional ideas removed the “pain” of this frustration, guilt, and cognitive dissonance because traditional ideas reflect reality, but it left the pain of penitence. I’m sorry that I lived that way.

    I know there are plenty of cradle conservatives, but as in the case of religion, it’s the converts to traditionalism who best understand what is at stake. The prodigal son feels his fathers love in a way that’s fundamentally different than his brother because he can contrast it with (a) dining on husks among the swine and (b) what he knows ought to have been his just deserts.

    When one repents of liberalism, there is at first a feeling of euphoria. Suddenly it seems that one is, for the first time, going with the grain of reality. If only everyone would repent, how much happier everyone would be. This is followed, of course, by depression, as one watches people helplessly struggling in the trap that one has, one’s self, so recently escaped.

    This is compounded by what Bill says about being kept away from the tiller. Few of us have much power to influence the world around us, but anyone who repents of liberalism and converts to traditionalism will almost at once find his power and influence reduced. You may not be branded with one of the deadly epithets of liberalism, but you will be edged out of most decision making. If you become a “crank,” you’ll be made into a “harmless crank”–unless, of course, they decide to shoot you.

  15. I keep in mind Chesterton’s quote how many times in history it looked like Christendom was going to the dogs, but in each case it was the dog that died.

  16. Rubbish. Some subgroups have tried to do some of those things. Liberalism per se has never tried to do any of them.

    Communism was a failed liberal experiment. But they came around. Americanism works better with less fuss. The fact that they are getting better at what they do is not a victory for us.

  17. The prodigal son feels his fathers love in a way that’s fundamentally different than his brother because he can contrast it with (a) dining on husks among the swine and (b) what he knows ought to have been his just deserts.

    I would add (rather extra-textually) that the prodigal son can also contrast his father’s love with the “love” of all his erstwhile friends who helped him drink and whore through his inheritance. Also, we prodigal sons are repenting after dad is dead, which is kind of sad.

  18. Liberalism per se has never tried to do any of them.

    Which just goes to show you understand nothing about liberalism. Nothing.

    The fact that they are getting better at what they do is not a victory for us.

    Push doesn’t work. The communists proved that. Pull has its limits too. What are they going to do, make alcohol, drugs, porn, fornication, TV, rock music etc. more available?

  19. Liberalism is a system of applying abstractions like liberty and equality to human beings. And abstractions have no limits. Therefore there is nothing internal to liberalism to keep it from trying to absolutely reduce humans to abstract things.

    Liberalism also tends to work by by small groups of people (kibbutzes etc.) throwing out trial balloons. Some of them stick and some of them don’t, because some are just too contradictory to human nature to get any traction, which makes it all very interesting to note when and where liberal ideas catch on and when they don’t.

  20. Which just goes to show you understand nothing about liberalism. Nothing.

    Back atcha, there, ace.

  21. “Liberals refuse to state any definite substantive good to which liberty and equality must be effectively subordinated. If liberty and equality were clearly subordinated to something substantive, virtue, the will of God, national greatness, then that other thing would be the supreme political good and the view would no longer be liberal. Because of that refusal liberalism is enduringly unstable. Since liberty and equality cannot be subordinated to anything definite they tend to become more and more absolute. Every limitation that is not purely formal or that differs for different people, personal wealth or sex roles, for example is eventually damned as illiberal. Radical change can often be the practical consequence.”

    Anyone guess the source on this one.

  22. Satan is a more encompassing and more accurate term for what we are up against than liberalism.

  23. “Anyone guess the source on this one.”

    He’s good, isn’t he?

  24. Why guess when you can google? It’s from James Kalb. It’s not quite right, though, since a man who lacks substantive goods is not free, he is aimless. On liberalism, there are substantive goods, but they are furnished by the individual will. In its weak, Millsian form, the will is constrained by regard for the equal rights of other wills; in its strong, Nietzschean form, it is constrained (when it is constrained) by the superior strength of other wills. But in all cases the individual will is the ground and source of all value. Freedom is merely a means to unleash the creative force of the human will.

    Needless to say, orthodox Christianity sees individual human will in a very different light.

    The liberal project of unleashing millions of individual wills to do as they please has had mixed results. The liberal explains this as a result of ever more recondite and insidious “structures of oppression” (Kevin Minogue’s phrase). This is why they will hammer away at social institutions until none remain. They hope one day to unleash the gods within.

  25. One can’t be free and aimless?

    Kalb is brilliant. Here’s the rest of the essay:

  26. Matthew said:

    Looking at the liberal-technocratic West, it’s really hard to imagine how the drift could be reversed without a near complete dismantling of the present order. It’s a house of cards anyway.

    It *is* a house of cards. They have to strain harder and harder and harder, just to maintain the Potemkin Village. Every new right they discover, every new disadvantaged group they discover, makes the load of pretense that much heavier. And now, there is no_more_money.

  27. Agreed. Probably not despair, unless we call St Benedict’s appraisal of Rome despair too. We allow ourselves to grieve, so we can perform the funeral rites.

    I think it’s just the natural prelude to enjoining MacIntyre in we’re ‘not waiting for Godot but a new St Benedict’. I myself have no inclination to prop up our particular imperium so earthbagbuiding blog, permaculture, Catholic land movement and distributism, and new religious orders (or living ones) intrigue me.

    Can’t be all that long before Jesus breaks the siege that is the Silent Planet. [Just finished reading the wonderful Perelandra – Voyage to Venus :)]

  28. […] several things I’ve been reading in the orthosphere. At Bonald’s, The Man Who Was… offers a brief catalogue of reasons not to despair about the present […]

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