religion and politics don’t need to make sense

In my previous post I made the point that conservatives see politics as something that is open to debate while liberals see their own political beliefs as religious dogma that is not subject to debate. This is of course hardly original or startling although there are still conservatives who have failed to notice such an obvious fact.

There is something much more interesting that follows from this. Religion does not need to make sense. It is a matter of faith. You do not enter into debate on the subject. Rational argument is irrelevant to religious belief. It naturally follows that the same rule applies to any political ideology that functions as a substitute religion. Debate cannot be permitted.

What must be understood is that it’s not that liberals are unwilling to enter into political debate. They cannot do so. To do so would be to admit that their faith is subject to doubt. It would mean admitting that heretics might be right and the orthodox might be wrong.

The history of the decline of Christianity in the West provides compelling evidence that liberals are, from their point of view, quite correct in rejecting the possibility of discussion. They have a faith and they are satisfied with it. It gives them a reason to live, it gives them a feeling of moral superiority and it gives them a warm fuzzy emotional buzz. From their point of view their political religion works perfectly. The fact that it might make no sense at all and that it might all collapse like a house of cards if subjected to rational argument does not matter because they have no intention of allowing that to happen.

Conservatives just don’t get this. They still insist on assuming that politics is something that can be discussed and debated rationally. They still insist on thinking that political ideologies have to be logical and have to make sense.

This is why conservatism has failed. They can come up with impressive rational arguments in favour of their own economic and social policies but people don’t respond to rational arguments. People don’t decide how to vote based on rational arguments. They make such decisions based on emotions. If voting for a particular party makes them feel morally superior they will do so. If voting for a particular party gives them an emotional rush they will do so.

People do not vote based on a rational assessment of their own interests. There is nothing remotely rational about voting behaviour.

People do not choose their political beliefs by weighing up evidence. They choose the political beliefs that will make them feel good.

People need to feel that their lives have meaning. Choosing a political belief that is emotionally satisfying and that feels morally right helps to give a person the feeling that their life does have meaning and purpose.

Liberalism can only de fought and defeated by an opposing ideology that works the same way – an ideology that appeals to the emotions, that makes a person feel that they are fighting for something good and worthwhile, that feels morally right and that gives meaning to the life of those who believe in it.

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conservative delusions: politics as a subject for debate

To say that liberals treat liberalism as a religion rather than a political ideology is to state the obvious. What is perhaps less obvious is that this is not a recent development. And what it is important to emphasise is that many conservatives still do not comprehend this. Conservatives have the quaint idea that liberals see politics as something that can be debated. Liberals do not see it this way. Disagreement is not disagreement, it is heresy and it is a sign of moral wickedness. Politics is not something that is open to discussion.

The particular flavour of the Social Justice cult is also the result of a mixture of religious enthusiasm and feminisation.

If you go back to the 1960s when the Old Left started to decay and the New Left took its place the religious fervour was already there. The New Left had no interest in economics. They had sold out to capitalism. They were not interested in changing or reforming or destroying the capitalist economic system. The New Left was all about morality and emotion and power. They were on the side of moral probity. Anybody who opposed them was therefore, by definition, morally wrong.

The New Left was feminised. It attracted women, it attracted homosexual men, it attracted weak girly-men. It adopted a peculiarly feminised attitude towards dissent. If you were a dissenter you weren’t someone who disagreed with them. You were a bad person. You made them feel bad. You were immoral.

The New Left made a lot of noises about freedom and especially freedom of speech. Conservatives tended to accept these protestations at face value. Big mistake. The New Left never saw freedom of speech as anything but a weapon with which to attack their enemies. They never had the slightest intention of granting freedom of speech to their opponents. Older Australians may remember the way Australian university students shut down lectures by distinguished visiting psychologist Hans Eysenck in 1977. Eysenck was suspected of thought crime. Forty years ago the social justice warriors were already using violence and intimidation to silence anyone guilty of heresy.

The New Left saw all freedoms in this way – as potential weapons. Sexual freedom was a weapon with which to destroy the family. Feminism was promoted as an ideology that offered freedom to women. In fact of course feminists never intended that women should have actual freedom. Women were to be free to do what the feminists told them to do.

Conservatives at the time understood that the New Left agenda was dangerous but they made the mistake of seriously underestimating the extent of the danger. Or rather they wildly over-estimated society’s ability to survive the New Left’s social experiments. And they made the huge mistake of thinking that the New Left really did believe in freedom of speech.

So where do the neocons figure in all this? The New Left is right-wing on economic issues mostly because economic issues don’t affect them in a religious or emotional way so they take the line of least resistance, and as a result they get generously funded by rich capitalists. The neocons are much more excited by economic issues but what really marks them out is that they approach foreign policy as a religious issue. Anyone who opposes their foreign policy is not just mistaken, but morally wrong and a bad person.

the burqa ban – a victory or a defeat?

The Netherlands has banned the wearing of the burqa in some public spaces and many on the right are applauding this as a great victory. But is it really?

Think about it. Is it really a terrific idea to give the government the power to arrest people for expressing their religious faith publicly? Do we really believe that such a power will never be turned against other religions? Such as, for example, Christianity. Because let’s be quite clear – if it’s OK for the government to arrest a woman for wearing a burqa then it must also be OK for the government to arrest someone for wearing a crucifix. And if you don’t think this power will ever be used against Christians then you must have been asleep for the last fifty years.

The burqa ban is in fact a great victory for the forces of secularism. The aim of the secularists has been to marginalise religion, to make religion something that can only be practised furtively and in private. They have been waging war on religion and the burqa ban is a significant win for them. They have established that nobody has the right to profess their religious faith in public. They have established that religion is something that should be subject to government control and regulation.

My feeling is that many on the right are so blinded by their hatred of Islam that they are not seeing the real picture. Religion is under attack by the forces of secular liberalism. All religions are under attack. This is a war to the death. The secular liberals intend to create a world in which religion will be banned.

The Dutch Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren claims that the ban does not violate fundamental rights, because it will enable Muslim women “to have access to a wider social life” because if they do not cover the face “they will have more possibilities for contact, communication and opportunities to enter the job market.”

This is quite sinister if you think about it. In fact it’s extremely sinister. What she’s saying in effect is that Muslim women should not be allowed to live their lives according to their religion. Instead they are to be pushed into adopting secular western lifestyles. Because naturally the government has the right to tell people how to live their lives, even to the extent of telling us that religion will no longer be a permitted part of our lives. Some of these Muslim women are evidently putting their families first instead of concentrating on their careers. But don’t worry, the government will not allow that to continue.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration. You can be vehemently and passionately anti-immigration (as I am) and still think that the burqa ban is a very very bad idea. It’s another step on the road to feminist totalitarianism.

looking to the past, but which past?

Traditionalists and social conservatives have a very natural tendency to look to the past. Gaining inspiration from the past is quite healthy.

The problem, when you’re faced with a civilisation like ours that is bent on self-destruction, is deciding exactly which past we should be looking to. Some pasts may be useful to us in trying to rebuild civilisation whilst other pasts are not so useful. We need to regard the past with a critical eye.

Take nationalism for example. Since the great evil of our age is globalism it’s tempting to think that the antidote must be nationalism. Nationalism in fact is not all that traditionalist. It’s a fairly modern concept. It did not exist before the early modern period. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 was an important step in the recognition of the modern nation state as the basis for European civilisation.

If you’re a traditionalist it is worth noting that the modern nation state is entirely secular and can only be secular and is fundamentally hostile to Christianity, and to religion in general. The nation becomes a replacement for God.

The modern nation state is not particularly favourable for any traditional institutions. It tends to be hostile towards regional identities and it’s not exactly wildly pro-family.

Perhaps we need to look back, not to the great age of nation states, but to the great age of other political structures. For example, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Or even the Ottoman Empire.

These were in fact remarkably successful entities. The empire of the Habsburgs lasted for for four hundred years. The Ottoman Empire lasted for about six centuries. They were reasonably stable. They did not fail. They were deliberately destroyed in 1918. In both cases the destruction of the empire led to chaos and a hundred years later we are still dealing with much of this chaos.

As a recent post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village points out, the fall of the Ottoman Empire explains most of our current ills.

religion, sex and craziness

Audacious Epigone has an interesting graph on religious affiliation, sex and mental health. What makes it interesting is that there really aren’t any surprises there at all. Women are crazier than men, Christians are slightly less crazy than atheists, Jews are crazier than Christians. Muslims are the least likely to have mental health problems, which makes sense since their religion isn’t a dead religion.

And the craziest group of all? Jewish women. Which pretty much explains the entire history of the feminist movement.

It’s not very often that one has the pleasure to see a graph that confirms all of one’s cherished stereotypes!

the future of religion, part 2 – Islamised Europe or a European Islam

On the subject of the future of religion another post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village asks Will the future see an Islamised Europe or a European Islam?

Personally I’m not convinced that either is inevitable because I’m not convinced that even Islam can stop the steamroller progress of the death cult of secular liberalism.

I also fear that a European Islam might be a bit like modern Christianity – in other words basically secular liberalism with a few quasi-religious trappings. Of course Islam does lack some of Christianity’s worst weaknesses, such as the masochistic turn the other cheek stuff and the cult of hugs and feelings. Islam might be better able to resist the feminising tendencies.

What it comes down to is a religion’s ability to fight off the poison of feminism, and it’s an insidious and deadly poison indeed.

A European Islam, or even an Islamised Europe, would certainly be preferable to the sewer that liberalism has in store for us.

I should make the point (and this applies to my previous post as well) that these speculations about the religious future of society do not represent the future I would like to see. The future I would like to see is a return to something very like the pre-Reformation unity of Christendom, and something very like pre-Reformation Christianity. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Of the futures that are actually likely to happen, or are at least possible, most are rather unpalatable. The religious fascism I speculated about in my previous post and a Europeanised Islam are not the futures one would have hoped for. It’s a matter of choosing the least worst option. Secular liberalism offers a never-ending descent into degeneracy and decadence and despair. Any alternative would be better than that.

the future of religion

A recent post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village tackles the question of finding a substitute for belief in God. This is a question that people like Jordan Peterson seem to be grappling with, although in Peterson’s case without any success.

The first question to ask is whether any society has managed to survive without religion. The answer is, it depends on what you mean by religion. Did the classical Greeks and Romans actually believe in their gods? Or in any god at all? They seemed to be pretty sceptical but the fragmentary nature of the sources makes it difficult to know just how much the average person in the classical world believed in religion.

One of the strongest arguments in favour of religion is that it provides the only viable foundation for morality. I think it should be noted that if the classical world was characterised by scepticism it was also characterised by depressingly low levels of morality.

What about Asian civilisations such as Imperial China? Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Shintoism don’t seem to be religions in quite the same way that Christianity or Islam are religions. Nonetheless they seem to have worked fairly well as the basis for building civilisations and they seem to have done rather better on the morality front than the Greeks and Romans.

It might therefore be possible to base a genuine civilisation on a religion that is more like a civic or communal faith than the relationship with a personal God that is the way most of us think about Christianity. It has to be stressed however that the great danger is that such a religion will be wishy-washy and vague and woolly-minded and hopelessly feminised, just like modern Christianity. That just isn’t going to work. What is needed is a civic religion that is strong and virile and hard-headed.

There has to be a focus of devotion and if it’s not a personal God then there seem to be only two alternatives – the focus has to be worship of the state or worship of a king. Kings are hopelessly out of fashion and the ridiculous and pathetic constitutional monarchies of Europe have discredited the idea of monarchy altogether. The focus of devotion is therefore going to be the state.

That sounds like plain old totalitarianism but it isn’t, or at least not necessarily. The totalitarian societies have that so far come into being have been little more than slave states, with ordinary people being nothing more than anonymous cogs in a machine. A state religion could, perhaps, offer a great deal more. It could offer a genuine sense of purpose with the people being part of the state rather than servants of the state. It would be a very difficult trick to pull off but it might be possible.

Such a system could be described as a kind of religious fascism. It could incorporate some elements of Christianity and of paganism.

The question is, is there a viable alternative? Liberals like Jordan Peterson would like to think we could have a kind of touchy-feely secular religiosity that is compatible with liberal democracy. This is mere delusion. Liberal democracy is a dead end. It offers nothing but futility, emptiness and death. It is a death cult. What is needed is something that would allow us to sweep liberal democracy into the dustbin of history. Whatever the future turns out to be like Jordan Peterson is not going to like it. He’s going to be doing a lot of crying.