2019/08/29

The Politics of Post-Modernism

Volvo

The Z Man presents a brilliant post connecting the dots between the Enlightenment, post-modernism, and the Left's march toward nihilist chaos.
Post-modernism is the 20th century academic movement popular in philosophy, the grievance studies and the humanities. It denies the existence of a universal, stable reality, insisting everything is arbitrary and subjective. It is a reaction to science and technology that explains reality in objective terms. The post-modernist claims that reality is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own personal circumstances, within the social construct of society and the perceived reality of others.
This is why the Left is now so vehemently anti-science. A generation ago the proper leftists had a Darwin fish on her Volvo. This was supposed to be a signal that the owner was a member of the “reality based community” not a believer is magic, superstition or, of course, a religion. The Left insisted they were the sober minded realists, rooting their opinions in facts and reason. Their opponents were basing their opinion in fear and the irrational belief in nonsense, like tradition and religion.
In reality, the owner of that Volvo was signally a rejection of the very idea of objective or transcendent truth. That is, after all, what religion offers. It is a set of transcendent truths that define the reality of mankind. The point of a religious text, like the Christian Bible, is to have an objective set of rules that are not up to the whims of a cleric or a religious institution. Scripture is God’s rule book and not up to debate by man. The rejection of religion, is the rejection of such an objective set of truths.
Fast forward to the current year and the Left has moved on from rejecting religion and the reality of religion, onto the rejection of science. Genetics and evolution are nature’s rule book. If you prefer, they are the rule book of nature’s god. This biological reality is not only the framework of life, but puts hard limits on human organization. The rejection of science is the rejection of the possibility of reliable knowledge about the natural world and the nature of man. The guy in the sundress calling ximself “they” is the embodiment of this rejection of knowable truth and factual reality.
Of course, the practical benefit of a world unbound from facts and reasons is that the actors in such a world are unbound from the limits of reason. It is the ultimate freedom, as everything is possible and everything can be justified. It’s also why the Left insists their opponents demonstrate that their objections match up with some set of arbitrary standards selected by the Left. If their opponents are bound to reality, while the Left is free to form whatever construct it needs, the outcome is certain.
Here, Z describes the end state of the centuries-long corrosive process which undermined the epistemological foundations of the West.

That process needs to be pointed out to people because it proceeded in stages--each seeming an end in itself, yet each inevitably precipitating the next.

For centuries the intellectual life of the West abided by the maxim, "Unity in what is necessary, liberty in what is disputed, and in all things charity." The bedrock of Christianity, informed by Scripture and unified by the Church's authority, preserved a coherent understanding of man and the world..

The first rupture was the Reformation, which severed Scripture from its unifying authority. The Reformers sought to uphold Scripture alone as the final spiritual authority, overlooking the fact that Scripture is not self-interpreting.

Now, the downward spiral into Clown World probably would have been avoided if no one had pushed the line further. But once the precedent for kicking out legs supporting the West's chair had been set, it wasn't long before somebody concluded that if you could do away with the Magisterium, you could do away with Scripture, too. Enter the Enlightenment, which upheld reason alone as the ultimate authority, albeit unmoored from the context and authority that gave it coherence.

From there, it was a short, quick step to throwing out reason.
There can be only one form of post-modernist rule. The rejection of founding truths, the axioms of the human condition, provides not justification for political power, social status or even a social order. The void of nihilism can only be filled by the will to power and the necessary application of force to attain power and impose order. The perpetual revolution of post-modernism, the endless questioning of objective reality, is the only way for radicalism to attain power and maintain it. The on-going insanity of the Left is the necessary precursor to perpetual Progressive rule.
The endless cultural revolution is like rats gnawing at the support ropes. If left unchecked, there can be only one result from such a process. The endpoint of this perpetual social revolution, the institutional skepticism of reality, is a world without any order at all, even that imposed by the strongest. Even the reality of fear falls away and we fall into a world where it is a war of all against all. In this regard, what the Left has become is war on the very nature of man and the reality that shapes him.
This is the logical endpoint of the Enlightenment. Post-modernism did not spring from nothing. It is the continuation of political philosophy starting with Rousseau, through Nietzsche and into the current age. Western liberalism was born of the irrational belief that man comes into the world as a blank slate and can be fashioned into anything through the proper social structures. Ever since, the goal of liberal political philosophy has been to build the right social structure to achieve universal equality.
Since the utopian goal of universal equality is impossible, it leaves only the equality of nihilistic chaos. A world without truth is a world where noting is false. This is the ultimate equality, where everything is opinion and all opinion is equally worthless. While the Left may seem irrational, they are acting on that old Enlightenment impulse to achieve universal equality. If we cannot be equal in the utopian paradise of our own making, we can be equal in the utter and compete destruction of society. After all, the one place where all men are equal is in the cemetery.
And now you know why the Left is a fanatical death cult. They crave universal equality, which requires universal murder.


For a chilling vision of a world where the post-modern managerial state triumphed and a small band of partisans struggle to restore a semblance of natural order, read my military thriller series Combat Frame XSeed.

The Indiegogo campaign for the third book is running right now. Get all three eBooks for the price of one, and choose from a host of other tantalizing perks, including paperbacks signed by the author!

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Combat Frame XSeed: CY 40 Second Coming - Brian Niemeier

26 comments:

  1. Brian

    Excellent post.
    So TL;DR
    The rejection of reality is a form of evil. It's the oldest lie that we are gods.
    xavier

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  2. The Death Cult is just extrapolating to the logical conclusion of their philosophy, though the various iterations of the cultists probably cannot see it.

    Your post here was spot on as to how it will play out on their side: those most unapologetically criminally insane will bubble to the top and lead the parade.

    Virtue Signalling is their Suicide Pill. Unfortunately, it's a time-release capsule.

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    1. This is why neither Conservatives, nor Libertarians, nor any kind of Liberal can defeat the Death Cult.

      The Left takes Liberalism to its logical end. Conservatives and Libertarians start from Liberalism but stop at arbitrary line-drawing.

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  3. The enlightenment gave us wrong ideas on freedom which conservatives erroneously hold to this day. With freedoms comes duty, and it is because we have become increasingly enamored with freedoms while neglecting or shunning our duties (especially our moral ones as we allowed degeneracy to spread unabated on the basis of “freedom of speech”) that we find ourselves in our increasingly dire situation

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    1. Precisely.

      The same dudes who drafted and passed the Bill of Rights also passed laws that made skipping church on Sunday a crime.

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    2. CrusaderSacren

      So basically we need to reevaluate medieval political philosophy and adapt it to our times?
      Interesting proposal.

      xavier

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    3. I’m saying that Brian is right, accepting freedom as an absolute good is to accept the liberal premise and is a nonstarter in terms of strategy. If you begin there you’ve already lost

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    4. The Left has won every social issue by framing it as a civil rights issue. This forces Conservatives to paint themselves into a corner arguing why civil liberties shouldn't be expanded. As Z Man is fond of pointing out, the Left sets up every new push for degeneracy as a morality play. Conservatives always rush to cast themselves as the mustache-twirling villains, thus giving the Left the moral high ground.

      The correct response is to reject the Liberal frame entirely and seize the high ground by presenting a superior moral vision.

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    5. Brian

      So basically we need to regress even further and look again how the Apostles and the early Church fathers Christanized the ancient world. Then reapply the lesson to today.

      Got it.

      xavier

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    6. Small bone of contention, "With freedoms comes duty", this returns us to the same place, it elevates freedom. Duty requires certain freedoms. If my duty it to protect my community, I require a firearm, or other weapon of the day. My duty to raise my children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD requires the freedom to religiously instruct them.

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  4. But before Protestantism ruined the coherence of Western thought, it had it's predecessor in the Nominalism of William of Ockham. That Ockham and his "razor".

    From what I've read and tried to understand, it riddled many of the universities back when it appeared as so-called "political correctness" has infested colleges today. It was this intellectual poison that infected Luther and Calvin and such centuries ago.

    So we have to trace this poisoned river of anti-thought further back to it's source. And it's not when the infamous 95 Thesis were nailed to that Wittenburg church door.

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    1. Roy

      That would be the sophusts but Paul Lucas had a meta tweet thread about magical thinking that might be helpful.
      Perhaps Tom Holland's upcoming book Dominion where he argues how Christianity was so radical and revolutionary for its time.
      Perhaps his book could provide some additional insights

      xavier

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    2. The ultimate source of the dimming and disunity afflicting human thought is the Fall. The ultimate enemies, as always, are sin and Satan.

      My intent in the OP wasn't to find first causes. It was to trace a chain of historical events. Though myriad controversies, heresies, and even schisms preceded it, the Reformation marked the first serious rupture in Western intellectual tradition. It kicked the first leg out from under the West's chair.

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  5. The exact location of the authority of the Church had been contested, successfully, before. What HADN'T been done was to take all the virtues and aspirations of the entirety of Christian culture, re-badge them as not Christian at all, throw in some poison pills, and then run a decades-long propaganda campaign claiming the former as something new, "The Enlightenment" being little more than an intellectual branding exercise; and the latter as something good.

    Protestantism, like all former Christian schisms, maintained the correct idea that virtue was Christian and Christianity was virtue. This is true via being essentially redundant; of course the values of the culture are a part of the culture.

    The Enlightenment truly kicked both legs from under the stool at once, by claiming that virtue was achieved by Reason and was roughly synonymous with Education. Which sounds somewhat noble as rhetoric, but is utter balderdash as an argument.

    The argument prior was "Who is being a good Christian?". It was divisive within and between Christian traditions, but the question was clear and the grounds for debate were defined. The Enlightenment sniffily declared that "ACKCHEWALLY Good has nothing to to with Christian!" and that furthermore, good was defined not by the life of striving for virtue, but by being a Smart Boy.

    I maintain here, as previously, that the Reformation has been granted magnified cultural importance by historical accident and by symbolic distinctiveness. I don't see how refusing to acknowledge the Pope is different from refusing to acknowledge two OTHER Popes, or Vatican 2, or the other various rejections of that authority; but the rejection of iconography and vestments makes the distinction into a sharp cultural divide.

    But then, I generally believe that "march or arch of history" arguments are wrong, and worse because they're so convincing, being as they are narrative logic, and that being so important to humans. History is not a machine, and certainly not one on rails.

    In any case, as always, an excellent post.

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    1. "The exact location of the authority of the Church had been contested, successfully, before."

      Citation needed. If you're referring to the Eastern Church, it's tangential to the topic at hand since my post specifically concerns the West. Besides, the East acknowledges Petrine primacy. The dispute is over how to interpret the doctrine. If you mean Western challenges to Papal authority prior to the Reformation, those would be heresies, and to call them "successful"would be to claim Christ mistaken when he proclaimed that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.

      "Protestantism, like all former Christian schisms, maintained the correct idea that virtue was Christian and Christianity was virtue."

      I'll cosign that.

      My readings of Protestant theology and my interactions with our Separated Brethren led me to observe that Protestant theology is, by necessity, practiced _against_ something. It is inherently combative, and many Protestants tend to project that theological combativeness onto Catholics.

      Catholic theology, by contrast, is practiced _for_ something, viz. greater understanding of the Catholic faith through reason.

      That's not to say that all Protestants are personally hostile to Catholics, much less that no Catholics are prejudiced against their brothers in Christ in imperfect communion with the Church. What it means is that Protestant theology must first concern itself with justifying the split with Rome before it can plumb the depths of divine Mystery.

      Just as without Christians there would be no atheists, there would be no Protestantism without the Catholic Church. This intuitive understanding of our fraternal connection informs post-Tridentine Catholic ecumenism. Outliers aside, the chief Catholic sentiment is a longing for return to union.

      "The Enlightenment truly kicked both legs from under the stool at once, by claiming that virtue was achieved by Reason and was roughly synonymous with Education."

      No argument here.

      "I don't see how refusing to acknowledge the Pope is different from refusing to acknowledge two OTHER Popes, or Vatican 2, or the other various rejections of that authority ..."

      The Reformers didn't simply reject one or more anitpopes pretending to the throne, or even Petrine primacy in general. The unprecedented and graver rupture with Tradition was rejecting the whole Magisterium, of which the Papal office is a subset.

      The first generation of revolutionaries always assume they can overthrow their one bugbear while keeping everything else, and they never suspect that the next generation will make a b├ęte noire of one of their fathers' non-negotiables.

      For our purposes, the direct intellectual chain of causation running from the Reformation to the Enlightenment is quite clear. Not only did rejecting the Magisterium remove any coherent rationale against throwing out the Bible, the Protestant shift in focus from a communal to a personal relationship with God paved the way for Liberal individualism.

      "In any case, as always, an excellent post."

      Thank you. Your comment was superb.







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    2. "The unprecedented and graver rupture with Tradition was rejecting the whole Magisterium, of which the Papal office is a subset."
      Ah, OK. I see how your argument works now.

      "Not only did rejecting the Magisterium remove any coherent rationale against throwing out the Bible"

      Hmmm. I think that's a weaker argument; however:

      "the Protestant shift in focus from a communal to a personal relationship with God paved the way for Liberal individualism."

      THAT is very solid. I see the logic.




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    3. Denying the Church is denying Christ, since the Bride is one with Her Spouse.

      Similarly, rejecting Mary as your Mother is rejecting and thus sinning against the Holy Spirit, with Whom She's likewise been made one.

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    4. Dunstin, I am afraid I do not understand what you are saying.

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  6. Shorter version: the cultural divide was much sharper than the intellectual one. Protestant thought arrives at the same conclusions as Catholic thought - IMO because it back-doors so much traditional interpretation. But the two,three or four branches of the schism (considering post-schism Catholicism as one of the branches because the definition of branch I'm using is chronological, not lineage) maintain a deep cultural divide.

    So, ask me or Brian, who is the son of God? Who was he born to? Where and when? What is sin, how may I be free of it? How was forgiveness made possible without destroying justice and holiness? And we'd answer in unison without pause or consultation.

    But I am not at home in a Cathedral, and he would not have been at home in the literal lined tin shed I was raised in the faith in. Intellectually we agree, but neither feels the familiarity of "home" in the other's territory - regardless of each being respectively the context for the other coming to the Lord in repentance and faith.

    So... cultural, more than intellectual; as ever, these are just my thoughts, and offered as such for whatever worth they may be. Thankyou once again Brian, for the discussion and the irenic and kind disposition you present.

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    1. "... who is the son of God?"
      Jesus the Christ of Nazareth, true God and true Man.

      "Who was he born to?"
      By the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Theotokos, Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Mother of the Church.

      "Where and when?"

      In the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
      in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt;
      around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;
      in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;
      in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
      in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome;
      in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace,
      JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man.

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    2. "JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man."

      Jesus Christ is Lord; and God raised him from the dead; amen.

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  7. The mystical body of Nietzsche is following her progenitor into the insane asylum, within which we, the Same of Christ, are held captive.

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