A qualitatively new level of totalitarianism

Leftism pre-2020: “People are free to run their lives and associate with each other as they please, as long as they don’t discriminate or promote hatred.”

Translation: People can form groups but cannot recognize any organizational principle except credentialism (“discrimination”) and cannot collectively embrace any belief that deviates from the Leftist consensus (“hatred”). In addition, all but tiny groups must make at least nominal efforts to achieve “diversity”. Illiberal organizations are not really permitted. However, non-ideological organizations are allowed and even encouraged, and some of these promoted genuinely valuable goods: friendly socialization, neighborhood improvement, artistic or scientific advance.

Message to white men: You will be discriminated against, but if you keep your head down and your mouth shut and you work hard enough to be unambiguously better than your diverse competition, you can achieve a comfortable life.

Leftism 2020: “Silence is violence. It’s not enough to be non-racist; you must be antiracist.”

Translation: All human groups must have as their primary purpose the exaltation of the Negro and the humiliation of the Caucasian (including the organization’s own “shameful history”). Non-ideological organizations are no longer allowed; at best, organizations are allowed to have non-ideological secondary goals.

Message to white men: Die!

Why it matters

And all of the organizations–social, athletic, scientific, artistic, literary, social, neighborly, economic, educational, religious–all fell into line, every single God-damned one of them. This wholesale embrace of totalitarianism by everyone everywhere in the world was the single worse thing about 2020, even worse than the ruinous COVID-19 lockdowns that destroyed small business and organized religion everywhere.

No organization is what it was a year ago, at least not at the deepest level. To repeat the example I’ve given before, only one year ago it would have been thought preposterous that the collaboration of which I am a part would be emailing political manifestos to its captive graduate students. That sort of thing wasn’t done, no matter how Leftist the faculty. Now we all have diversity officers berating us for failing to speak forcefully enough.

The medium-term consequence, my friends, is that we’re all going to lose our jobs, and I have no idea how we’ll be able to find new work or support ourselves thereafter. No matter what your job is, you’ve suddenly found that attacking Western civilization and the white race is a–is the–core function of your employer organization. It wasn’t part of the job description when you were hired. It’s nothing you ever agreed to. But now it’s your job, and your employer is not going to keep you if you refuse to perform a core part of your job. Silence–passively refusing to endorse the new core mission, even while not explicitly speaking against it–will not be tolerated much longer. “Your silence is violence.” “You must be anti-racist.” Thus speaks the totalitarian consensus, and no one is challenging it, not a single God-damned one!

I really don’t know how to protect from or prepare for this–“keep your head down, keep your mouth shut” really was the only trick in our arsenal. The good news is that it probably will still work to keep Antifa mobs off your front door, although I’m less certain even of that than I used to be. Leftists do not believe in censorship, but they do believe in accountability–loss of employment, expulsion from schools and athletic teams, loss of access to communication and financial services of those who fail to conform–and in calling out–harassment and and ostracism of dissidents–which only involve nongovernmental sanctions, thus respect the First Amendment, and thus are totally okay. Again, no one is objecting to this in principle; at most they claim that some people are being misidentified as racists (or transphobes, or…) and are thus being unjustly inflicted with the punishments that would be just if inflicted on real racists.

As a proponent of censorship, my objection is not that this is censorship, but that it is irresponsible, lawless censorship. Consider that for every crime other than racism it is considered a bad thing for judgment and punishment to be delegated to unregulated private initiative. For every other crime, it is considered a matter of basic justice that offenses be defined clearly and not punished ex post facto. There are good reasons for that.

Church-State relation is an unsolved problem

How I love the expression “unsolved problem”. It probably comes from writing scientific papers and proposals–scientists are always happy when they can point to an “unsolved problem” or an “unanswered question” to justify their existence. It opposes the Whig historical view that there is one true way to organize society, that this way is obvious, and that the past is a realm of dark ignorance and wickedness because they didn’t see it that way. “Unsolved problem” comes off as a traditionalist position compared to a Whig-progressive consensus, not because it regards past ways as ideal, but because it puts present and past ways on a level, each incompletely satisfactory. “Unsolved problem” raises the possibility that an unknown satisfactory solution exists, but it doesn’t assert such–perhaps there is no solution, only trade-offs between incompatible goods.

According to Whig history, millennia of squabbles between Church and State were stupid and pointless because they didn’t adopt the obvious and perfect progressive solution of “separation of Church and State” (SCS), presumably because prelates were uniquely and wickedly “power-hungry”. However, no serious Christian can be satisfied with SCS, because it just means that a rival religion–some variant of atheism–establishes itself as the de facto established faith. We have seen many times that SCS is no protection against religious persecution.

So what about those millennia of squabbles? Making the Pope a subject of the Emperor dangerously subjugates the spiritual to the temporal power. Giving the Pope his own temporal domains dangerously entangles him in Italian and European politics. Erastianism, Gallicanism, ultramontanism, bishop-princes, concordats,… everything that’s been tried has advantages and dangers. Our ancestors were neither stupid nor evil. It’s a difficult and unsolved problem!

The Catholic doctrine of open borders

They say that walls and nationalism and racism are sinful. The clergy of the Western Church are required to sacrifice the attachments of family and children, an eschatological sign of the kingdom to come where “they neither marry nor are given in marriage”. How cruel of the clergy to demand from us, the laity, a sacrifice of love, a mortification, a kind of celibacy, for which the particular graces of our vocation do not assist us!

Transsexuals

The damned thing of it is, I wouldn’t have even minded calling him “Loretta”, calling him “she”, it if made him feel better. Polite fiction is what makes society possible. It’s the being forced. I didn’t think of it as a sign of submission, but they clearly do.

White fragility

“All I did was say you were being racist. Why are you getting so defensive? Sheesh…”

Could it be because I’ll lose my job and any hope of getting another one if people believe you? End the totalitarian thought control, allow whites not to lose their jobs for being “racist”–for loving their own kind just like all other peoples do–and you’ll be amazed how robust whites suddenly show themselves to be.

Cross-post: Culture is an unsolved problem

Among those who are willing to entertain hypotheses other than “systemic racism” for the woes of American blacks, pathology of black culture is an often-suggested culprit. They try to put it delicately, but the gist is that black culture is anti-intellectual, discourages responsibility and hard work, encourages its men to respond aggressively to minor perceived slights, and resists law enforcement while protecting and celebrating the criminals that prey upon it. There would be no shame in admitting to most of this, since none of it is unusual among the cultures of mankind. To give just one example, one needn’t look back very far in Western history to find many examples of whites romanticizing criminals. I think it’s pretty clearly true that such aspects of black culture do indeed impose inconvenience and suffering on the majority of blacks who are reasonably conscientious and law-abiding. Saying that black culture is whites’ fault, whether this is true or not, doesn’t change the problem or help formulate a solution.

The implied solution would be for black culture to become more like white culture. Whites have presumably figured out how to do culture. Just look at affluent liberal white neighborhoods. Low crime, encouragement to studiousness and responsibility, high civic engagement, a surfeit of compassion overflowing to third-world strangers, stray animals, anything anyone could imagine as an object of pity. Only the Jews and the Asians might be said to exceed these splendid whites; they’re just like whites, only more so. On the other hand, lower-class, rural (“racist”) conservatives are the the only group of whites blighted with a trace of black oneriness.

In fact, the white solution to culture is not as satisfactory as it superficially appears. There is a reason God cares more about the motives in mens’ hearts than outward acts, a reason Augustinians and Calvinists believe that the good works of the reprobate are only splendid vices. Notice how uncritically these same whites jump on every moral panic the media feeds them, how their infinite compassion immediately vanishes when dealing with anyone their moralistic crazes mark as a scapegoat. See how they denounce their own parents, their own children, anyone the moralistic mob turns on! How remarkable it is that they are immediately willing to credit any accusation against one of their friends that comes from a victim group. Such noble even-handedness, that any human sentiment of loyalty should be so totally alien to it! A man with only white friends has no one in the world who will give him the benefit of doubt. A room of a dozen affluent liberal whites is a room of as many spies. If black culture is “snitches get stitches” culture, white culture is snitch culture. I’m no longer shocked by the number of Germans who reported to the Stasi on their neighbors and friends–Americans are no different. At the sight of such shameless treachery one recognizes white conscientious, white civic-mindedness for what it truly is, an overriding terror of ostracism.

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Religion and the restraint of morality

A common claim among religious conservatives is that morality is fundamentally grounded on religion–not necessarily on divine command, but at least on a religious worldview broadly conceived.  Atheist individuals, they grant, may be morally scrupulous, but this is because they have inherited a moral code from their residually Christian society, a code their own metaphysics cannot justify, and as this residual Christianity erodes, we can expect society to slide toward nihilism.  Atheists counter that they are more moral than religious people because religious morality is inferior–either it is unthinking bigotry and thus insufficiently rational, or it is motivated only by fear of punishment and thus insufficiently disinterested.

Neither claim matches my observations.  From what I see, atheists tend to be more passionate about moral issues than ordinary people.  Rather than being nihilists, a fairer accusation would be to say that they are themselves moralistic bigots, seeing every issue through the lens of presumed absolute evil and absolute good.  This suggests that the actual role of organized religion is not to instill moralistic zeal, but to restrain it.

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