We Have to Go Back


All the way back. Not to the 1950s. The rot had already spread far and deep by then.

Express a desire to turn the clock back to a better time, and nine out of ten Americans will instantly assume you mean the 50s. That's because there are no real traditionalists in US pop culture or politics--just two flavors of Liberal.

When a populace spends decades marinating in a single ideology, they'll naturally jump to the conclusion that your rejection of the white chocolate vs. milk chocolate dichotomy means you want dark chocolate. Only with difficulty will you be able to explain that you want steak.

It's clear to anyone with eyes that Liberalism has failed, catastrophically and completely. Those with keener insight will see that Liberalism failed because it succeeded. A branch cut off from the vine technically becomes free, but that's a secondary effect. The ultimate, primary result is withering.

You can tell that Classical Liberals are rebranded Leftists because they argue like commies, i.e. dishonestly. Point out that radical individualism is a poor solution to our broken families and shattered communities, and they'll give you the "It's never really been tried!" shtick. It never dawns on them that Modernism hasn't achieved utopia, despite a field trial three times longer than Communism enjoyed, because it's impossible.

The other objection you'll get comes from generally honest, well-meaning people who are genuinely concerned that dialing back Modernism means giving up cancer drugs and indoor plumbing. This false narrative arose from anti-Catholic propaganda later taken up by nu atheist fedora tippers.

The notion of a "scientific advancement gap" in the Christian Middle Ages is pure fiction. James Hannam is just one researcher who's taken his turn torching that old straw man. In reality, the Middle Ages produced a cornucopia of technological innovations, including eyeglasses, perspective in art, the tidal mill, the heavy plow, the blast furnace, mechanical clocks, and the printing press, to name a few.

In practice, no one bothers explaining why abandoning Modernism would promptly hurl us back to the stone age. The causal relationship between the Enlightenment and current technology is simply assumed. If pressed, a Modern might make allusions to an open public square and the free exchange of ideas fostering scientific advancement. But this assertion rests on a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Correlation, as those who fucking love science are fond of reminding us, is not causation.

What we're finding out now is that the free exchange of ideas no more ensures the best ideas win than filling a vat with champagne, Kool-Aid, and sewage ensures the champagne rises to the top. Indeed, the sewage usually proves more buoyant.

Truth and the good place hard limits on desires and behavior. Thus a philosophy that holds up liberty as an absolute must by definition jettison any acknowledgement of objective truth. It's a good bet that the scientific method died in the cradle everywhere except in the Medieval Christian West because only Christianity supplied the necessary condition of a rational God who made man in His image.

The direct implications of Christian cosmology, which weren't lost on Medieval scholars, are that the world operates according to consistent rules, and man's intellect is really capable of discovering and grasping those rules. We don't call the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity the Logos for nil.

Liberalism trades Christian authority for a public free-for-all where any idiot's cockeyed ramblings carry equal weight to the most learned scholar's exacting conclusions. In so doing, Liberals cast about in a litter box for grains of truth while cutting themselves off from its source.

The Liberal counter-argument goes that we can separate the intellectual wheat from the chaff using reason. But they conveniently forget that the human intellect is not infallible and needs to be properly formed. Garbage in, garbage out.

What's really at issue isn't a question of the perfect political system or the best conditions for technological innovation. The crux of the matter has always been a question of authority. The same people who called Conservatives science-deniers for questioning if men could control the weather now insist that sex is a social construct because under Liberalism there's never an adult in the room to put his foot down and say no.

Playing "what if" is always a gamble. But not only is there no hard evidence that the Enlightenment directly advanced technological progress, I suspect we might be at an even higher technological level without it. Even if we grant that Modernism gave tech a boost, the momentum is demonstrably gone. Not only haven't we gone to Mars or colonize the moon; the newest generation of smartphones actually have fewer features than the last.

Liberalism squeezed quite a bit of mileage out of its Christian patrimony. Now it has not only stalled, but is rolling, driverless, toward a cliff. If we visualize years as miles, there's a service station about six hundred miles back.

The arts have to go back, too. Rest assured, I'm doing my part.

The Ophian Rising - Brian Niemeier


  1. Brian
    A really excellent post! As for Chrisanity caused the Dark ages.Eveyone just memory holes tje Moslems invasions and raids for the last 1400 years. In fact it was 5he French who put an end to it when they occupied and settled Algeria with the French foreign legion.
    Also books by Jean Gimpel and Carlos Cipolla will disabuse anyone of dsrl ahes. Regine Peroud's books on women in the Middle ages also blows up another myth. In fact the Black death caused the regression in women's status.St Thomas Aquinas provides a possible reason because widows were easily tricked by con men and grifters.
    I'll stop the diatribe but anyone of good faith will be open to the liklihood that the past isn't as horrifying or stupid as it's made out to be


    1. Leftists can't help but paint their enemies as stupid or naive. It's projection, but the action lessens their psychic pain. If they could conceive of an enemy that was smarter, or more moral, or more ethical ... then their world would be over.

    2. Exactly. Their ideology forms the core of their self-concept. They honestly think they're the most intelligent, virtuous people in the room because Progressivism.

      It's why they say right-wing opinions make them feel unsafe and why they equate dissenting speech with violence. Calling their narrative into question really does cause them physical pain.

    3. Xavier -
      Brian gives you an image near the First Age of Middle Earth rather than the Third Age, the time of Tolkien's Hobbit and LotR.

      The tragedy of the Fall of Gondolin of the self-doomed Noldor is balanced by the fact that Tuor's arrival heralds the beginning of the end of Morgoth's reign on Middle Earth. The son of Tuor and Idryl, Eärendil, carried a Silmaril to Valinor to beg the aid of the Valar. Note also, Eärendil is the father of Elrond Half-elven.

      (See the appendices of The Return of the King and The Silmarillion and here.)

  2. Tuor arrives at Gondolin by Ted Nasmith

    Very appropriate image, Brian. Well done.

    1. Another man of perfect taste!

      That image was my desktop background a few years back.

    2. It's not Minas Tor? The main city pf the Lord of the rings. I thought was :)

    3. Xavier -

      See my reply above -- I obviously can't figure out how to post today.

  3. 'They have to go back.' We have to go back. Everyone must go back, or suffer the consequences of the cliff. The only way forward is back.

    While the issue of technological advancement is interesting, what I think many are discovering is, it doesn't matter. The things that bring me joy have nothing to do at all with modernity. Scripture and commentary on it, a Lord's Day feast, and laboring for the glory of God were available long before modernity.
    Modernity merely offers us temporary pleasures, but at the cost of eternal joy.

  4. Excellent post, and it gets the message out there (along with the Liberalism failure post). I’ve noticed I get less resistance in conversations about Liberalism - all of it - failed and can’t be receistated, but I still get a lot of push back. Many people can’t conceive of a different system, and what systems existed in that past that worked and could be tweaked and amended for the future, all they know is propaganda of how evil the kings were.

    For fun, the next time you hear something like “the kings and nobility were terrible” ask them which kings and nobles and what was it that they did that was so terrible? Whatever they say, there are at least 10-50 modern democratically elected politicians or free market corporations who did said thing 100 times worse.

    1. Yep. It's all a massive gaslighting campaign designed to force people into a false binary: red team vs. blue team.

      What's irritating is how many Christians parrot that blatantly anti-Christian propaganda. FFS, Madeline Albright's slow slaughter of 500,000 Iraqi children would make Genghis Khan blush. Ivan the Terrible couldn't have fathomed the mass infanticide carried out by Planned Parenthood and funded by Republicans.

      Their ignorance is of no consequence. We'll all get intimately acquainted with a non-Liberal order sooner than many think. The question is, do we get Brave New World, Mad Max, or Dune?

  5. "... under Liberalism there's never an adult in the room to put his foot down and say no."

    Which is why any modernist decrying postmodernism is full of it. Every single problem currently resulting from idiots eating tide pods to condom snorting to the reemergence of flat earthers all exist precisely because there is no unified source to hold it all together. They exist because they have no reason to trust you or me or "prevailing wisdom".

    Nebulous terms like "common sense" don't exist if there's no objective source to tell you what is "sense" in the first place. Otherwise it's just mob rule or tyranny, which is exactly what we're living under now.

    But I suppose you could always collect the uneducated inferiors in camps and reeducate them. That's about the only way to get that unification dream of theirs to work.

    Let's see if liberalists figure any of that out on their own.

    1. It's just more "Marketplace of Ideas" Underpants Gnome thinking.

      1. Give every opinion an equal hearing.
      2. ????
      3. Transcendent, universal Truth!

      The truth is, there is not and never was a free marketplace of ideas because no one really believes in it. The next time someone's prattling on about the sacrosanct public square, ask him if Richard Spencer should be allowed to speak. What about NAMBLA? What about Satanists?

      You might get a Left-Libertarian sperg with no reservations against opening up the floor to everyone. Ask him if he thinks people who want freedom of speech abolished should be able to speak. He'll say yes. Ask him why. He won't be able to respond without implying that some ideas have more merit than others, which requires an appeal to a standard of truth above and beyond Liberalism.

      That's what Kalb meant when he said that Liberalism lies about not having right and wrong answers. We're currently at a stage where the Left has peeled off the skin suit and is openly enforcing right and wrong answers while Conservatives urge a return to the old imaginary arrangement. It's another attempt to "fix" the Left when the Left are the ones being consistent.

      Anyone appealing to the marketplace of ideas at this point is just seeking refuge in a comforting lie.

    2. One sees this same thing in Protestantism and in many debates between Prots and Apostolic Christians.

      Which makes since as someone (I forget who, maybe someone here?) described liberalism as a secular heresy of Protestant Christianity.

    3. @Taarkoth: The Protestant Revolt was the earthquake that softened up the traditional source of intellectual and spiritual authority in the West. The Enlightenment, Postmodernism, and SJW-ism have all been aftershocks of varying intensity.

      Don't get me wrong. I'm not pointing the finger at my contemporary Protestant brethren. They're no more culpable for events that happened five centuries ago than I am for Cardinal Humbert excommunicating Patriarch Michael.

      It's the law of unintended consequences on a grand scale. Each new crop of revolutionaries always thinks they're the end of history. Somehow, they never anticipate that the next generation will take it a step further. The Reformers rejected Tradition and the Magisterium but didn't foresee the Enlightenment throwing out Scripture. Similarly, Modernists failed to anticipate Postmodernists dispensing with reason, though unlike the Protestants, they had no excuse not to see it coming.

    4. Brian

      Do you think is advisable to reinstitute the index of prohibited books? Or is it better to refute the bad books and then forget them?


  6. People talk about the 50s because some of us have seen them. My dad was born in 34 and become an adult in the 50s. When I was a kid the 50's were 20 something years ago. In 20 years though there won't be many people who remember the 50s and it will be through movies and TV programs that are artifacts by which it can be partially inferred.Then maybe people will talk about the 80s as a traditional touch stone.