Tuesday, April 30, 2013

why most conservatives just don’t get it

It has been obvious for quite some time that the Left is winning the culture war. This is due, to a very degree, because of a lack of any kind of organised opposition from the Right. Many conservatives, and this unfortunately includes most of the leadership of conservative parties, just don’t believe that the culture wars matter. In fact many conservative leaders are only too happy to join in the work of destruction in the tragically deluded belief that they can thereby purchase cheap popularity.

What these kinds of conservatives (and this applies especially to neocons and libertarians) fail to understand is that the culture wars do matter very much. In fact they are the decisive battlefield on which the struggle between the state and individual freedom will be played out.

The reason for this is simple. The objective of cultural marxism is to destroy the twin pillars on which western civilisation has always stood, the church and the family. In the west we have always looked to the church and the family for moral guidance, and for support when we are in trouble.

Once these two institutions are either destroyed or hopelessly enfeebled then a vacuum is left which the state must then fill. That process is already well underway. Without a strong church and a strong family unit the process will continue until the state controls everything.  You cannot have small government if the church and the family are no longer there to fulfill their traditional roles. Bigger and bigger government and more and more interference in our lives are the inevitable results. The kind of utopian small government vision so dear to the hearts of neo-cons and libertarians is simply an impossibility.

Issues like gay marriage do matter, or at least they should matter, to all conservatives. It is another step in the destruction of the family. It makes marriage merely a matter of sexual convenience rather than the basis for family life.

The failure of neo-cons and libertarians to understand these basic facts has caused them to stand on the sidelines during the culture wars, and even to aid and abet the enemy. They thus bring about a situation in which their own defeat becomes a certainty.

Part of the problem is that many conservatives just don’t understand the workings of the bureaucratic mind. They’re used to the idea that success is measured by profits because that’s the way it works in business. But a bureaucrat cannot measure his or her success in that way. There is only one way by which a bureaucrat cannot measure his success, and that is by expanding his bureaucratic empire. If a particular government department employs 40,000 people and five years later it has grown to employ 60,000 people than the bureaucrats running that department are successes. The fact that even when it employed 40,000 people that department served no useful purpose is entirely irrelevant. It has grown, therefore it is a success.

So, inevitably, whenever the government becomes involved in any sphere of life the tendency is for the government’s involvement in that area to increase and to go on increasing. If you allow the government to become involved in education then eventually the government will control the whole education system. That is in the nature of bureaucratic empire-building.

In the private sector the entrepreneurial spirit looks for new fields in which profits can be made. In the public sector the same kind of spirit looks for new spheres of life in which the government can interfere and this provide a brand new field for bureaucratic empire-building.

Over the past half-century or so the bureaucratic spirit has discovered an exciting new field of opportunity in international organisations such as the UN. Such organisations are even more congenial to the bureaucrat mind than national goverments since international organisations are in practice answerable and accountable to no-one. There is simply no way for anything to get in the way of bureaucratic empire-building.

Once this process starts it can only end in one way, with an all-powerful state which will be either a hard totalitarianism in the style of Soviet Russia or a soft totalitarianism in the modern European mould. It makes no effective difference since either way you end up with zero personal freedom. Socialism always leads to fascism. The two are inseparable.

By refusing to take sides in the culture wars neo-cons and libertarians have not only cut their own throats, they have doomed all of us to a totalitarian future.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kumbaya Christianity

Atheism is a failed belief system. It fails because it is ultimately unsatisfying. It provides no hope, no inspiration and no moral foundation for society. At both the personal and social levels it is a failure.

Unfortunately if you happen to live anywhere outside the United States that doesn’t leave you with much of a choice. I have always despised the practice of borrowing the spirituality of other cultures. That is equally unsatisfying.

That only leaves Christianity. But in Australia, as in most of the West, the dominant strand of Christianity today is a wishy-washy Kumbaya Christianity. The mainstream churches, without exception, have made so many compromises with secularism that they are no longer recognisably Christian. What they have to offer is Christianity watered down to make it acceptable to non-Christians. Even worse, it is Christianity watered down to make it acceptable to anti-Christians. It is a Christianity that has embraced political correctness and that has adopted all of the assumptions that underlie the dominant belief system of today, secular socialism. It is warm and fuzzy and non-threatening, but it is not Christianity.

Part of the problem is that modern church leaders seem to be embarrassed by the Old Testament. The Old Testament cannot be made politically correct, so they simply ignore it. The danger of ignoring the Old Testament is that you end up with a religion that is unbalanced. The New Testament is too easily interpreted as a vaguely spiritual form of socialism. That is not the message that Christ delivered, but by cherry-picking the New Testament you can come up with an interpretation that politically correct Marxists will accept, and that is what has been done.

Modern church leaders feed us platitudes about tolerance and diversity, the same platitudes we get from our politicians. This is not Christianity. Christianity is uncompromising in the duties it enjoins upon believers, duties that are not compatible with today’s secular society. Christianity does not say it’s OK to be gay. In fact it says the opposite. Christianity does not say that adultery is OK. Jesus may have offered forgiveness to the woman taken in adultery, but he also told her to go and sin no more. He did not tell her it was acceptable to continue in her sin.

Sin is another big problem for modern churches. It makes them very uncomfortable. The very idea of sin implies that there are moral rules, and that upsets anyone who is committed to moral relativism, diversity and modern notions of tolerance.

Kumbaya Christianity is doomed to failure. It is doomed to go on compromising with the Left until it becomes entirely indistinguishable from secular socialism.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Romanticism, Shelley and the rise of the teenager

The Romantic movement in art and literature arose in Europe in the late 18th century and would to a considerable degree dominate those fields until the mid-19th century. While the Romantic movement would produce some notable artistic achievements there’s no question that on the whole its influence was as disastrous as it has been far-reaching.

Romanticism has left three catastrophic legacies that have contributed towards the decline of western civilisation - the cult of Nature, the cult of self-pity and the cult of feeling.

The Romantics had a remarkably silly view of Nature - sentimental and hopelessly idealised. Nature was seen as a kind of atheistic Garden of Eden in which cute little furry animals frolicked happily and people lived as noble savages until civilisation arose. The Romantics were the first Europeans to indulge themselves in self-hatred and hatred of their own civilisation. If only Nature had been let alone! The fact that animals in a state of Nature live lives of constant fear and misery never occurred to the Romantics. They simply ignored unpleasant things like reality.

The self-pity, which has now become the outstanding characteristic of our culture, can be seen quite clearly in the sordid lives of Byron and Shelley. Shelley took things even further than Byron. His whole life was a flight from responsibility and an indulgence in selfish pleasure. But of course being a Romantic he still managed to be miserable. He championed free love, and treated the women in his life appallingly, leading at least two to take their own lives. Shelley was in many ways the first teenager, and he remained a teenager until his death. He displayed the combination of self-pity and arrogance and of selfishness and starry-eyed idealism that have become such characteristic features of the modern teenager.

The third dismal legacy of Romanticism is the cult of feeling. The Romantics were suspicious of reason. Thinking can be hard work! They decided that it was unnecessary to think - all one had to do was to feel. We’ve seen what that has done to our society.

Shelley again provides a telling example. He cultivated the image of the sensitive poet who courageously denounced injustice. His political ideas were na├»ve and adolescent but that didn’t matter. They were based on feelings, and that’s what counts.

Shelley was one of the first examples of the arty champagne socialist, a type that is all too familiar to us today.

The various isms that have blighted our civilisation since the 19th century - socialism, atheism, feminism and environmentalism - were all part of the baggage left behind by the Romantics. Again Shelley provides a fine example - his second wife Mary was the daughter of the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Shelley was an atheist, a socialist and a vegetarian. He managed to be equally irritating on all these subjects.

Shelley was the James Dean of the early 19th century. He was the first whining obnoxious teenage rebel. Romanticism did not encourage one to grow up. It instead encouraged a self-indulgent wallowing in phony emotion. In this respect it has been the most influential of all movements in art and literature, and its influence is today stronger than ever.