The sincerest form of flattery

The ruling class tell us to admire the Jews and the blacks.  But if these groups have admirable traits (and indeed they do), would it not be good for other groups to emulate them?  In fact, the true division is not between those who love and those who hate them, but between those who wish to worship Jews and blacks and those who wish their group to learn to be more like Jews and blacks.  The philo-semite abases himself before Jewry.  The anti-semite sees the Jews’ determination, boldness, and ethnic pride, and he wants this for his own gentile people.  The anti-racist abases himself before blacks.  The racist sees the negro’s confidence, loyalty to his people, and positive self-regard, and he wants this for his own people.  You may say if you like that we racist anti-semites are jealous, that we have an inferiority complex, but at least we are addressing our inferiority in an intelligent way.  One should emulate those with positive qualities one lacks.

Catholicism is dying of self-hatred, and we above all others could learn from the Jews and the blacks.  I’ve said emphatically that we should copy the Jews in every way possible–they are the absolute model of success, health, and survival-optimization.  Blacks are touchingly loyal to their race.  I have seen that, when alone or in friendly company, they freely poke fun at themselves, but in the face of a hostile outsider, they close ranks.  This is understandable and, indeed, as it should be.  Another genuinely admirable quality of black Americans is their love for and pride in their own people.  This seldom takes the form of boasting over this or that measure of objective success–such measures favor now one people and now another; they are too fickle matter on which to base tribal pride.  A people that really loves itself will pride itself on its inimitable style, an ineffable (and, hence, unfalsifiable) quality distinctly its own.  The black was once said to possess–what was it?–soul.  Such claims function less to articulate objective truths than to provide a language with which to express and fortify love for a people.  Andrew Greeley once wrote a book arguing that Catholics possess a distinctive imagination.  That’s exactly the sort of humbug we need.

23 Responses

  1. I see you agree with my last rejoinder to the Lonely Professor. Life always has priority over truth. I like what you say here about unfalsifiability. This is why myth is better than history. And why, if you must have history, you must ignore the works of enemy historians. Military men understand that destruction of enemy morale is of the essence in warfare. In culture wars it is everything.

  2. Without truth, to what end do we fight these culture wars. Sounds like a house built on sand. Truth is the only rock foundation.

  3. If you have truth and die, the truth dies with you. If you believe your culture or religion is a “truth bearer,” your first duty is to preserve the bearer. Preservation of the bearer requires useful fictions. I don’t mean outright falsehoods, but stories that hearten the truth bearer, give him the courage to go on bearing the truth. Men on a mission need to face reality, but they should not listen to naysayers.

  4. “Life always has priority over truth.” Is that a true statement, which dictates how one should lead life? If so, then truth has priority. If not, then truth also (at least some of the time) has priority.

  5. Well, if we’re going to copy the Jews in every way possible, this is going to mean a radical upheaval of Catholicism as we know it (CAWKI). For CAWKI (and especially when practiced by the most “devout”) is a litany of traits of highly defective people which inevitably result in FAILURE. I’ll be blunt. Catholics are, in general, really rather stupid. I’ll say it again. CATHOLICS ARE STUPID.

    I could write an entire essay on the topic.

    But for starters, the realization that power in society is more than military/political and spiritual/religious. There is also economic/financial, knowledge/information, and cultural/social. Catholicism (and the right in general) COMPLETELY abandoned the battlefield in these latter three. Now they’re shocked to find how far society has lurched left – after all, how many Republican presidents weren’t elected? Jews didn’t abandon the battlefield there – because unlike Catholics, they are actually rather smart.

    Now, if you visit the mainstream traditionalist Catholic blogs, you’ll see a nonstop dissing of scientists as at best pointy-headed intellectuals and at worst atheists, and artists as sissies and not “real men” who shoot guns and drive sports cars. BUT IF YOU WANT TO WIN THE CULTURE WARS YOU NEED SCIENTISTS AND ARTISTS.

  6. And spiritually, it appears to be an integral part of Judaism that complaints against God are actually taken seriously and allowed, rather than dismissed as “blasphemy”. Abraham, after all, wrestled against God and was praised for so doing.

    And I don’t care what St. Paul said – he was a mass murderer – and my response to shall the pot complain against its maker is, guess what, I just did.

    Why is this important? Because it makes legitimate our reactions to things. Why should we fight against evil, after all, if God is allowing it for a greater good? By fighting against the evil we are also fighting against the greater good.

  7. > Now, if you visit the mainstream traditionalist Catholic blogs, you’ll see a nonstop dissing of scientists as at best pointy-headed intellectuals and at worst atheists

    I call bullshit. I’ve read traditionalist Catholic web writings for decades and have never once heard a blanket insult directed at all scientists. And trad Catholics are usually if anything excessively worshipful towards classical culture.

    Your point about Catholic stupidity is more interesting, because I’d like to point out another aspect of it. Stupidity doesn’t just affect what strategies one can think of; it affects what strategies one can execute. Demanding brilliance is not itself brilliant. One must fight with the army one has. This does place a restriction on the ways that that it is possible for other groups to imitate the Jews, but I believe there’s a great deal we can learn from their social technology.

  8. LP @ I think we’ve come close to agreeing, so I won’t split further hairs.

  9. LP @ I agree that we need all the smart people we can rally to our cause, particularly in the arts. Scientists are probably not much use as scientists, since we won’t be assembling weapons, but their presence vastly enhances the credibility of the Church. And their absence skews lay intellectuals towards the arts and letters crowd. I suspect arts and letters intellectuals may drive scientists out of the church faster than the dishwashers and cab drivers. Like Bonald, I have not noticed a surplus of anti-science types among trad Catholics, although there is sometimes an animus against certain scientists. You will find anti-science in the writing of some postmodern academics, but these people are very far from being Catholics.

  10. Bonald’s And JMSmith’s arguments make sense if you are a chiliast. As such they sound dull and uninspiring; not used to that coming from them.

    The only two options are to worship or wish to emulate the Jews? Now I can’t get my mind around that.

  11. I have seen that, when alone or in friendly company, they freely poke fun at themselves, but in the face of a hostile outsider, they close ranks.

    Do you do this on your own blog though? Last week you were giving aid and comfort to the Calvinists!

  12. buckinky @ I would have thought that survival would be less important to a chilliast, since there would be no need for truth bearers to survive if the Truth is coming in glory tomorrow. My sense is that we are warned against expectations of the Parousia because that would encourage a casual attitude towards survival. My argument with LP was not only about religious truth, but religious truth emphasizes my point because it puts the truth bearer on a mission. A Darwinist may feel the urge to spread his truth, but he must know in his heart of hearts that an urge is all it can be (and probably a maladaptive urge doomed to extinction). We also have the question put by Jesus in Luke 18:8, which suggests that survival is an open question.

  13. JMSmith,

    Yes, indeed, it’s surprising how little use scientists are in a culture war.

  14. If there are any Calvinists here, they are very well-behaved. There must be some forum in which we can critique our own arguments.

  15. Survival is not a given, but that doesn’t mean we look for tips on survival from the Jews, who do so through dishonesty and subversion. It is better not to survive than look to the Jews for how to do it.

    The chiliast is impatient with the direction or pace of progress in the Church and so scraps this or that essential part of the Church by judaizing, i.e. taking cues from the Jews.

  16. > It is better not to survive than look to the Jews for how to do it.

    There’s where we disagree.

  17. Bonald:

    Alright, you might not think scientists much use in a culture war. It’s time you went to the eye doctor, for you are suffering from severe myopia.

    The Left, and the Jews, don’t share your opinion. They have in fact spent quite a great deal of effort and resources to get scientists on their side. Since you admit at least the Jews aren’t stupid, maybe there is some sort of return on investment they expect to recoup? And maybe, if you think it worthwhile to emulate the Jews, you might at least pause to think why they thought it worth the effort? And if you’ve really hung around traditional Catholic blogs for very long, you know that it’s at least 50-50 that some poster will put “science” in scare quotes on the first page when it reaches some conclusion he doesn’t like.

    Anyway, I’ll tell you the answer. People happened to notice how the Church wasn’t actually in the forefront of science/medical/technological breakthroughs which really made a difference in people’s lives. The Church decided to fight modernity wholesale (scientific advancement being part of it) instead of fighting to seize its reins and lead it in the right direction. This was a fatal mistake. Instead, its scholastic philosophers were busy fighting to the bitter end the obvious truth that (for the physical world, anyway) the worldview of medievals was flat wrong. (We still have this today, with people like Fr. Ripperger arguing evolution must be false because scholastic reasons.)

    How can you POSSIBLY expect me to support a culture war if I’m going to be attacked for upholding what are well-known scientific truths? Instead I will tell you (and others) that you are full of it. And people will listen to me, because I have the scientific “cred”.

    Or perhaps you will say that scientific/medical/technological advancement isn’t really all that important, and let’s long for the days when life expectancy was south of 40. Good luck with that.

  18. Glad we could clear that up, but to be a Catholic tribalist you have to be, you know, Catholic.

  19. LP @ Science is hard, so it is not surprising or discreditable that scientists have little time to study other subjects. History, for instance. When you say “the Church decided to fight modernity wholesale,” you betray a knowledge of the matter that is similar in scope and depth to my knowledge of, say, the Higgs Boson. Draper and White are not the last word on the subject, modernity takes in a great deal more than the scientific method, and there is in modernity much that ought to have been fought.

  20. It is certainly surprising! But I think it nevertheless true. Having scientists from one’s group is a good thing because science is worth doing, but it does very little to help dominate a culture. Indeed, scientific truth is one of those goods that can only be pursued successfully if done so for its own sake. As Bertrand Russell said about philosophy, science will answer only its own distinctive questions. The very attempt to use science in a culture war only corrupts it. Having most scientists on one’s side is an effect of winning a culture war rather than a cause.


    1) One certainly hopes that scientific discoveries do not depend on the prior beliefs of researchers. Therefore, stuffing sympathetic personnel into a field shouldn’t affect its conclusions. A person with different loyalties might indeed investigate different questions. Religious/political demographics probably do affect research programs in the social sciences, but I dout they are of much relevance to the real sciences.

    2) Nor do scientists get a privileged role in interpreting their own discoveries. Nobody cared that Kepler took his model of the solar system to be itself a model of the Trinity.
    Fermat, Leibniz, Maupertuis, and Euler all thought the principle of least action is a sign of God’s perfection. Eighteenth century French atheists claimed to base their worldview on Newtonian physics but took no interest in Newton’s own wacky Arian millenarianism. Descartes thought his physics had demolished 17th century materialism, just as Heisenberg thought his physics had demolished 19th century materialism, and Lemaitre had destroyed the materialists’ eternal universe. Maxwell used the indistinguishability of elementary particles (atoms, for him) to advance a novel design argument. Today, the fact that many scientists thought their discoveries were irrelevant to–or perhaps even supportive of–Christianity is regarded as a historical curiosity. The narrative imposed on the history of science since Copernicus is of the great liberation from Christian superstition. This narrative comes largely from French men of letters rather than scientists themselves; the latter having been converted to it not earlier than the late nineteenth century.

    3) In any case, the philosophical interpretation of scientific theories is I think much more difficult than most people realize. Those who think it’s easy to read ontology out of physics or biology are most often reading their presuppositions into it. After nearly a century, many physicists are not shy in saying that we still don’t really understand quantum mechanics, even though it’s straightforward to use, most likely because some unacknowledged metaphysical prejudice is still being worked out of our system. As another example, that parts are ontologically prior to their wholes is an assumption which detailed scientific study of cells, atoms, etc can neither confirm nor disprove.

  21. I’m struck by the assertion that Jews “are the absolute model of success, health, and survival-optimization.” Is this actually true?

    Prior to the previous century most Jews were impoverished and despised, subject to semi-regular persecution and condemnation tacitly or explicitly sanctioned by the ruling elites. Does relatively minor success in the west over a period of a few decades really make them the “absolute model of success”?

    Even today, Jews are outbreeding at an essentially catastrophic rate: more than 60% of Jews married since 2000 are married to non-Jews and those in mixed marriages are significantly more likely to raise their kids as non-Jewish (only 20% raise their children religiously Jewish). How does this optimize for survival?

    It seems like you’re conflating success in a relatively short period of profound and unstable civilizational dysfunction with success more generally. To suggest that this flash in the pan of Jewish flourishing means we should mandate a fundamental transformation of a Catholic identity that dominated the world for centuries seems to me an absurd (and, despairing, frankly) overreaction.

  22. @JMSmith:

    Yeah, there’s more to modernity than the scientific method, and there’s some things in modernity which should be fought.

    Neither of which contradict my assertion that the Church decided to fight modernity wholesale, and that was a mistake, for there are many things in modernity which are good.

    Do you deny that the Syllabus of Errors was more or less a declaration of war against modernity?

  23. Registering my agreement with ACM’s comment.

    In fact, the true division is not between those who love and those who hate them, but between those who wish to worship Jews and blacks and those who wish their group to learn to be more like Jews and blacks. The philo-semite abases himself before Jewry. The anti-semite sees the Jews’ determination, boldness, and ethnic pride, and he wants this for his own gentile people.

    Surely there should be some third option. I certainly do not want Christians to be more like Jews (except maybe Orthodox Jews, but even that would come with some serious qualifications).

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