The End Of Atheism

If you are over the age of 40, perhaps a bit older, you have lived long enough to see a great fad get going, peak and then fade away completely. Lots of fads run their course in a few months, obviously, but social movements tend to build slowly and then stick around for a while, before disappearing down the memory hole. One of those fads is atheism, which had a good run in the 80’s and 90’s. It started to peter out in the 90’s, had a brief revival in the aughts, but now seems to be headed to oblivion.

The so-called “new atheists” are not ready to throw in the towel on their reason to exist, as it were, but that’s to be expected. Harris and Dennett moved all their chips into the middle of the table with the atheism stuff. It got them the attention they desired, so as a gambler will wear a diamond pinky ring to recall his one big score, these guys still proudly wear their atheism. All of them have moved onto other things, but they will expound upon their hatred of religion if the crowd demands it.

Of course, anytime the word “new” gets attached to something old, it means that old thing is now dead. It also means that old thing had some serious internal defect that eventually killed it. The “new right” made an appearance when it was clear Conservative Inc. was just a ruthless money racket. The previous iteration of “new right” appeared in the 70’s when everyone agreed the old right was dead. The reason “new atheism” got going is everyone agreed that regular old atheism was creepy and weird.

The central defect of atheism, old and new, is it is an entirely negative western identity and entirely dependent on Christianity. Specifically, it requires people of some status to defend Christianity and the Christian belief in the super natural. Atheism has always been the oxpecker of mass movements. Everything about it relies on its host both tolerating it and thriving on its own. It’s why atheism has had its spasms of success when Christianity in America has had a revival, as in the 80’s and the 2000’s.

Atheists will deny this, of course. They will argue, as Dennett often does, that the steep decline of Christianity is proof their arguments were superior. The reason they no longer talk about their thing is they won and their enemy is dead. The fact that there are plenty of Muslims and crackpot feminist airheads around spouting magical oogily-boogily never seems to get their attention for some reason. The only guy to venture into this area was Dawkins, but the Prog quickly reminded him who pays his bills.

That’s always been the tell with atheism. Belief in something as insane as male privilege or implicit whiteness should get their attention. After all, these are not just beliefs in the supernatural, they are primitive beliefs in the supernatural. Men of the classical period had more plausible and complex beliefs than people like Amy Harmon. She is a click away from demanding human sacrifice. Yet, the new atheists were never much interest in those magical beliefs. They were too busy hounding the last Christians.

That’s another tell. Atheism has always been a popular pose on the Left, because it was a useful signal. The bad whites loved their boom sticks and sky gods. The good whites rejected all those crazy beliefs. It’s why atheists tended to focus on the mainstream of Christianity, like Catholics and mainline Protestant churches. Mormons were always an easy target. They avoided the Jews and black Baptists. Sure, once in while a zinger against the tribe would be tossed in, but the enemy was always white Christians.

The decline on atheism is a good example of the perils of negative identity. When you define yourself as being in opposition to someone or something, you inevitably become a slave to it. Your very existence depends on it. As the main Christian churches collapse in scandal and bizarre attempts to move Left, the enemies for atheists to attack are getting more difficult to find. Attacking Christians is like beating up a puppy. Only the severely mentally disturbed think Christians have any power today.

The other thing working against atheism is it has been mostly male. That’s an interesting thing, given that the American Atheists was created by a woman in the 60’s. Then again, Madalyn Murray O’Hair was just a cat’s paw for the usual suspects. Her role was to be the point the spear in the war to decouple Christianity from American civic and cultural life. Since then, atheism has been a male thing. Given the declining status of males on the Left, particularly white males, it is no surprise that atheism is dying.

Given the state of affairs in the West and the crippling decline in the Christian churches, it is hard to see atheism having another revival. Christianity appears to morphing into a private, bespoke thing in order to survive outside the Progressive orthodoxy. That makes it a worthless enemy for atheists. You can never know, of course, but it looks like public Christianity is done for. That means atheism is done for as well, unless it moves onto Judaism or Progressivism and that will never be allowed.

Rugged Individual Sociopaths

Imagine in a discussion about the sex abuse that goes on in Hollywood, someone said, regarding the victims of the abuse, “I guess I’m meant to cry tears of sympathy for all of these people who were molested. Somehow I just can’t muster a single tear. You made your choices. Nobody put a gun to your head.” That would no doubt elicit gasps and a good deal of the familiar point and sputter. If nothing else, people are expected to show a little empathy for the victims of predators, especially when it is kids or young adults.

Empathy is essential to a high-trust society. It allows people to cooperate, rather than spend their time defending themselves from others in society. Empathy allows people to engage with others, trusting that the other side is acting in good faith and not trying to cheat the other party. It makes it possible to engage in things like charity and social improvement. When you can put yourself in the mind of a person outside your kin-group, share their feelings about things, cooperative society is possible.

It’s why liars and cheaters can never be tolerated. Their actions put the trust of society into question, which means their lack of empathy costs everyone. In some respects, the lack of empathy is worse than the crime itself. A man who kills another man in a dispute, but feels remorse, can be rehabilitated. A man who steals from another man and is unable to understand why it is wrong or celebrates his act, can never be rehabilitated and can never be a part of society. He can never be trusted, because he lacks empathy.

This basic insight into the nature of society has been a central element of the Western Right since de Maistre. It was always the radical that imagined human society as based entirely on self-interest. Humans would either cooperate because it worked to their advantage or not cooperate because it was to their advantage. Humans were infinity selfish and altruism was just a consequence of society and culture. Therefore, set the conditions of society just right and people will cooperate with one another.

The Right has always rejected that, until recently. The quote at the start of this post is a variation of this tweet from Matt Walsh. He is, according to his handlers, “a writer, speaker, author, and one of the religious Right’s most influential young voices.” In addition to that, they claim “He is known for boldly tackling the tough subjects and speaking out on faith and culture in a way that connects with his generation and beyond.” In reality, he is reproducing official dogma for the Official Right, what remains of it.

What that tweet reveals is that Official Conservatism™ thinks it is perfectly fine for sophisticated parties to prey on unsophisticated parties. In his case, it suggests the religious Right would be OK with the strong preying on the weak, as in the example at the start of the post. After all, pederasty is by definition a crime because one party, the adult, is sophisticated, while the other party, the young person, is not. Therefore, it is assumed they cannot bargain in the sexual marketplace on fair and equal terms.

Now, there is nothing in the writing of Matt Walsh to suggest he is in favor of pederasty, but there is no reason to think he would oppose it. After all, if he is so utterly lacking in empathy that he cannot muster even a bit of sympathy for people saddled with egregious school debt, his fitness for society is in question. His brand of flamboyant sociopathy is what we would expect from a serial predator or maybe a banker. You have to wonder what is wrong with someone who is so proudly callous toward his fellow citizens.

This is exactly why Official Conservatism™ is headed for the dustbin of history. It no longer offers a philosophical alternative to radicalism. Instead, it embraces the same callous and materialist view of society as the radicals. It starts from the premise that we are just random strangers flung together by serendipity, ruthlessly trying to advance our self-interest. The only difference between the radical and the so-called conservative is the former still thinks this can be remedied, while the latter embraces it.

A civil society is one in which the individuals naturally balance their interests against the interests of the whole. Popular government assumes this to be true. The people will debate and persuade one another about the proper balance. A democratic society composed of sociopaths quickly descends into gang warfare, where ever-shifting alliances of individuals makes war upon one another in a zero-sum game, ruthlessly exploiting the available resources. That’s a prison yard, not a high-trust society.

That’s why people with a soul should look at the student debt problem with sympathy and horror. It’s not just that these kids are saddled with debt. It’s that they and their parents are being preyed upon by sophisticated parties, with the aid and protection of the state. It is a form of economic piracy, in which the crown is quietly supporting the pirates, at the expense of the people’s commerce. Conservatives have always rejected this. Christians have always rejected this. Today, the “religious right” embraces it.

This inability to comprehend the basic building blocks of Western society is also why they cannot understand how open borders are a disaster. For someone like Matt Walsh, people are interchangeable, not only with one another, but with other economic units. In the materialist world view, social capital matters only in that it can be exploited for economic gain. In the zero-trust, Hobbesian world of the modern conservative, the greater the diversity, the greater the openness, which makes exploitation easier.

Authentic conservatism has always understood that Western society is built on trust and trust comes naturally to the familiar. Our greatest natural empathy is toward our family and then our kin group. From there is extends, but weakens, to those who look and sound like our kin. It breaks down entirely when it reaches those who are alien in appearance, speech, and custom. Therefore, high-trust societies can only exist in societies with a shared heritage and a shared biology. Diversity and trust are mutually exclusive.

The Cancer of Fanaticism

In my school days, teachers would often say that historians remained puzzled as to why so many good Germans stood silent as the Nazis took over or how Russians just allowed the Bolsheviks to go on a murder spree. The point was to have us think about these events as something other than just a good guy versus bad guy thing. The lesson of history was that the forces of good had to be active, not passive. Otherwise, the people seeking to exploit and subvert society would not meet any resistance.

Perhaps for school kids, it was a fine exercise, but it was the sort of thinking that motivated the Nazis and Bolsheviks to murder. These were not people who thought of themselves as evil or on the wrong side of history. To the contrary, they saw themselves as the champions of light, fighting the forces of darkness. As such, they were duty bound to use any means necessary to win. Maybe the people at the top were more cynical, as is usually the case, but the rank and file were the truest of true believers.

The only person I have read, other than myself, who bothered to contemplate the mindset of the typical Nazi, Bolshevik or Progressive was Eric Hoffer. His classic book, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, is the field guide to understanding the mind of the political zealot. Over the years I have referenced it many times, when posting about the American Left. Hoffer’s book is not the definitive work, more of a skeleton key to unlock a mode of analysis. It is a starting point in thinking about the Left.

For example, the conventional way of framing politics is the old Left-Right scale, where Hitler is on the Right and Stalin is on the Left. This scale was useful during the Cold War as a rhetorical device, but it never made any sense, as a way to describe the modern political universe. It’s why stupid people and the historically ignorant argue that the Nazis were actually leftists or that fascism exists today. The demands of that political scale require everyone to seek the undefined to middle, to avoid being Hitler or Stalin.

A better scale, especially in the current age, is probably one that has the true believer at one end and the non-ideological skeptic at the other. Unlike the old Left-Right scale, there is no one at the either end to point to as the most extreme example. Instead, it is impossible to be entirely free of belief, as humans are not robots. Therefore, there are no pure skeptics. At the other end, there is always some way to be just a bit more pious than the most pious, or at least appear to be, so it is a line that extends out indefinitely.

Another way to think of it is the skeptical end is zero, the complete lack of belief or faith, if you will, and the total acceptance of observable reality. No human is built with a desire to reach zero. It’s like looking into a blast furnace. No matter how beautiful it is, the closer you get the more intolerable. Just as no one can walk into and experience the purifying flames of the furnace, not one can ever fully embrace reality. As a result, the most cynical among us are clustered at some safe distance from the point of absolute reality.

At the other end, the next point on the scale is like the next step on the road to paradise and each step is more inviting than the next, at least to those built to seek it.  Unlike the other end of the scale, there is no intense resistance, so the only thing that can keep the believer from seeking greater purity is a leash of sorts, either internal or external, that limits their ability to seek the ultimate goal. In the post-Christian West, we are learning that some men lack that internal governor and will go as far as they can to reach paradise.

That is, of course, what lies beneath the great ideological struggles of the Western world since the French Revolution. They may not be explicit, but that is what lies beneath all of them. Communists of various stripes thought they could create the worker’s paradise in the industrial age. The radicalism of Robespierre became a secular religion, in which men were gods. The fascists were a utopian reaction to the utopian radicals of their age. They simply had a different vision of paradise, which is why they embraced the same methods.

We see this today with the America Left, which has, in fits and starts, become increasingly radical and increasingly untethered from reality. Into the 20th century, it still carried with it the Christian restraint of accepting that paradise, if it exists at all, is in the next life. That’s all gone now and the believers are filled with the passion of the zealot. All that matters to them is the next step on the path. Whoever is the most pious, the furthest along on the journey, is the standard until someone else can prove to be pious, further along the path.

That explains the dog-piling we see from these fanatics, whenever they discover a heretic or obstacle. They lack anything resembling human compassion, so the heretic serves only one role for them. That is as a point of comparison. The more outraged and exited one is about the heretic, the more pious they are. The heretic, becomes point zero on the graph, so the further one is away from the heretic, emotionally and spiritually, the further along they are on their journey to paradise. Thus the endless piety contests.

It’s why someone like Howard Dean feels righteous in calling for the imprisonment of Andrew Torba, for the crime of existing. Dean is not a bright man, but he is filled with the passion of the true believer. For him and the rest of his cult, the point of shrieking at Torba is not a practical one. It is spiritual one. They are showing how far along the path they are away from the sinner and toward the land of milk and honey. Dean probably would have called for Torba’s murder, but he did not have to in order to show he was the most pious.

That is the great challenge of the post-Christian era. The limiting principle of Christianity, that grace was for the next life, is gone. That means all of the lunatics are off the leash and society has no intellectual framework for putting them back on the leash. As a result, the West is afflicted with a metastasizing cancer in the form of increasingly deranged true believers, determined to extend their quest for self-abnegation to the whole of society in order to bring about the end times. Either the cancer is removed, or the host will die.

The Energy Of Religion

The other day, I caught a little of Jim Goad on Luke Ford’s podcast. I did not stick around long, as Goad went into a childish rant about religion. It was a bit embarrassing to see a middle-aged man carry on like a toddler demanding his binky. Then again, the sum total of atheism is a childish rant, demanding someone else explain the mysteries of religion to the satisfaction of an atheist. “Tell me how a loving God would let bad things happen to good people” is the typical rant. It is a question that can never be answered to their satisfaction.

Atheism is a good example of a negative identity. If Christianity did not exists. atheists would have to invent it so they could rail against it. You’ll never hear an atheists talk about the majesty or beauty of atheism. In fact, they never talk about it at all. Instead, it is endless complaining about religion, especially Christianity. The atheist defines himself entirely by his opposition to religion. It’s why they almost always inform you they are an atheist within five minutes of meeting them. They are like vegans in that way.

Atheism is nutty on two fronts. One is the core irrationality of it. The existence of God, gods or some supernatural force that animates the universe is unknowable. The big religions get that, which is why it is at the core of those faiths. For that matter, what we understand to be the universe could just be a kid’s science experiment in another dimension. Our world exists in a terrarium on the desk of some kid in the lizard people dimension. These are things we cannot know. That is the nature of faith.

This is where a “bible believing Christian” tells me I’m wrong. They know God exists because of something they read somewhere in their bible. Well, you don’t know that and saying you do puts you outside Christianity. The Catholic Church had a word for people who went around saying they knew things about God. They called them heretics and burned them at the stake. You can believe in God, you can believe he plays a hand in man’s affairs. You can believe anything, but you can only know what is knowable.

Belief is one of modern man’s oldest traits. It is assumed it co-evolved with language, for the simple reason both involve abstract thinking. The future condition tense, for example is about something that might happen in the future. This is not something that is real, that you see and touch. it is something you imagine. To express that, to even think it, you need language that can contain the idea. That is what language is, after all. It is a container to hold ideas and concepts that you can transmit to other humans, across time and place.

Belief works the same way, even simple beliefs that existed with primitive early man. To imagine a spirit force that animates the wind or the tides requires the ability to imagine that which cannot be seen or touched. Conjuring a spirit force as the explanation for the tides requires the ability to infer things from observation. This belief becomes a container to hold this idea. The stories that came to surround the existence of the spirit force are also containers, to make it easy to transmit this abstract idea to others over time and place.

As humans settled, their observations about nature mixed with their own ability to alter nature. The first breeding of dogs, for example, surely changed how people thought of animals and their fundamental nature. Throw in the complexity of human relations that arises from settled life and it is no surprise that belief became more complex. Those containers had to hold more complex abstract ideas, so simple beliefs based in nature were replaced with complex religious systems that could encompass complex ideas.

Put another way, just as our complex communications systems are part of what defines us as modern humans, our complex belief structures define us as modern humans. Belief, especially in the form of mature religious systems like Catholicism and its offshoots, is an incredibly efficient way of preserving and transmitting human experience and inferred knowledge. The Christian Bible contains vast stores of knowledge about human relations, just about everything one would ever need to know about human society.

A good way to think of this is to consider the gas tank in your car. It is for holding gasoline, which is the most amazing energy containing system we possess. Vast amounts of energy are contained in small quantities. That energy is so easily released, it requires only a small spark, yet it is so stable and safe, we lug vast amounts of it around at high speed on our highways. To top it off, it is relatively cheap. A thousand generations of human technological advance resides in that gas tank, powering your car down the road.

That’s why it has proven impossible to replace. By now, the West has probably invested close to a trillion dollars trying to come up with a replacement for gasoline and the equally amazing internal combustion engine. International huckster Elon Musk has driven himself to madness trying to build electric cars. Yet, we are no more closer to replacing the internal combustion engine than fifty years ago. Like solar power and renewable energy, the world of the electric cars remains an avatar that is always over the next hill.

Religion, and for the West that means some iteration of Christianity, is the gasoline and internal combustion engine of our culture. The long war on religion is not much different than the war on oil. The one difference is that unlike with cars, we did not wait for a replacement before junking the old technology. Instead, the West abandoned what worked for the fantasy of something better. We keep trying to make civic religion the replacement, but like Elon Musk, we are being driven mad trying to make it work.

The New Druze

In the late 10th and early 11th century, a form of mysticism evolved that incorporated elements of Islam, Greek philosophy, Gnosticism, bits from other esoteric faiths, that existed in eastern Mediterranean and what we now call the Middle East. The person credited with spreading this new faith was a guy named Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi. He came to Egypt in 1017 and began preaching and attracting converts. He was branded a heretic and executed in 1018 by the sixth Fatimid caliph.

The Caliph, al-Hakim, was not hostile to the new faith, so much as hostile to ad-Darazi, who he thought was suffering from megalomania. His move against ad-Darazi was to put Hamza ibn ‘Ali ibn Ahmad in charge of this new religious sect, which would eventually be known as the Druze. The sixth caliph plays a central role in the Druze faith despite being outside the faith. His actions during his reign as caliph made it possible for the faith to spread and altered its course with the decision to execute ad-Darazi.

This is an interesting bit of serendipity, but it has a connection to our own age in a few important ways. The most obvious, if you are a fan of the period, is al-Hakim is often blamed for starting the crusades. His decision to persecute Christians sent ripples through Europe, eventually leading to the call to recapture the Holy Land. Of course, as with everything about history, that’s debatable. There were other forces at work, but it is generally accepted that al-Hakim played a crucial role in the clash with Christendom.

Eventually, of course, two main strains of Islam came to dominate the Arab world, while Christianity dominated Europe, but The Levant has remained a place with lots of religious diversity. The Druze live mostly in Lebanon. The Samaritans are in the Palestinian territories. Maronites, Eastern Orthodox and Melkite Catholics exist in Lebanon. Syriac Christians and Alawites exist in Syria. Of course, various flavors of Judaism dominate in Israel. It is not an accident that instability is the only constant in The Levant.

That’s an obvious lesson when examining this part of the world. If one wanted proof of the axiom, Diversity + Proximity  = Violence, The Levant has more than enough for any argument. The pathological zeal of Western leaders for inviting the world into Western lands, can only have one end. That’s the same we see in Lebanon, a country blessed with a great location, abundant natural resources and natural barriers to larger enemies. Yet, it is a land riven by sectarian violence and the lack of a unifying identity.

There is another lesson from the history of The Levant and that is the cauldrons of diversity tend to create more diversity. The reason this part of the world was popular with schismatics and holy men is it was where the action was in the Middle Ages. Cairo was a wealthy, cosmopolitan place compared to cities of Europe. There were scholars well versed in Greek philosophy, wealthy patrons willing to sponsor scholarship and a wide range of thought to draw from for the creative minded spiritual leader.

That’s something to keep in mind as Europe works to invite the world and all of its religions to settle in the West. Throw a bunch of people together with a wide range of beliefs and inevitably it spawns a bunch of new combinations. The flow of Muslims into Europe, a land that has abandoned Christianity for various secular passions, is going to spawn new spiritual movements. The recent conversion to Islam of an AfD leader is the sort of thing that is happening with increasing frequency. Islam is now a thing in Europe.

The other aspect to this is the West is now open country, when it comes to the religion business. Just as Catholicism faced a dying collection of pagan beliefs, Islam is now flowing into a world held together by habit and pointless social fads. The soul of Europe died a long time ago. To be a European today means to be a deracinated stranger in a land that is increasingly unfamiliar to you. That makes Europe fertile ground for a confident religion brought by people thinking they are on the winning side of history.

That does not mean Europe will be Islamic. Islam is all over the world, but it always adapts to the local environment. Islam in Asia is Islam with very Asian characteristics. Islam in the Caucasus is a mountain man version of Islam. Biology is the root of everything and that means cultural items like religion flow from it. The Islamification of Europe will inevitably result in something that is very European. The Germans will have their take, the Danes will have theirs and the French will do something French.

It also means all sorts of other permutation that result from mixing Western empiricism, Oriental mysticism and traditional Christianity. The Druze we started with in this post combine Ismailism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism and Hinduism. It is an esoteric faith that is also an ethnicity. The Druze do not accept converts and they do not allow out-marriage. A person who marries outside the faith is no longer Druze and their children will not be Druze. Imagine something like that happening Bulgaria.

The point of this somewhat disjointed post is that Europe is dead. The West is dead. The civilization that was created by the culture born of the Enlightenment carries on, but the culture that is the West is dead. Something will come to replace it and that something will, in whole or part, be carried by the people now attempting to replace the Europeans. The resulting culture that rises next will be some combination of the ingredients being tossed into the cauldron, but it will look nothing like the ingredients.

Life After The Afterlife

Is it possible for humans to have a transcendent moral code if they no longer believe in an afterlife? Some Christians today argue that it is impossible to have any sort of morality without belief in Christ, but that’s largely a self-serving claim. God’s role in the affairs of man, in the Christian context, is primarily as the ruler of Heaven. Those, who live a moral life, a Christian life, will spend eternity in Heaven at the foot of Christ. The people who live wicked lives, will be condemned to an eternity out of the sight of God.

All of the word’s great religions have an afterlife. The Abrahamic faiths, of course, all share a similar conception of Heaven and Hell, with God ruling the former and Satan ruling the latter. Eastern religions have more esoteric and mystical approaches. Buddhists believe in a cycle of death and rebirth. Through eventual enlightenment, they hope to escape this and achieve Nirvana, an end to suffering. Hindus believe that through knowledge and wisdom, you can achieve a liberation of the soul in the afterlife.

The conception of an afterlife as a reward and an escape from human suffering is relatively new to humanity. The Greeks did not have an afterlife. A Greek lived his life so he would be remembered. Maybe his shade would end up in Hades, but that was not much of a reward. The morality of the Greeks assumed that punishment for angering the gods happened in this life. Sacrifices to the gods were all about getting good fortune now, not after death. The gods played an active role in the affairs of man, only while he lived.

The Egyptians had an afterlife, but it was only for the elite. Given their habit of burying servants with the dead, the afterlife could also include the attendants. Like the great man’s other possessions buried with him, it was assumed he would need some slaves and servants once he entered the afterlife. It does not appear that this conception of an afterlife spawned a corresponding moral code. It was not a reward for a life lived well, but a reward for having been born to the right parents and the right station in life.

It is largely believed that the people who gave mankind the concept of an afterlife, one open to everyone who lived righteously, were the Zoroastrians. They believed those who lived on the side of good spent the after life in the House of Song, which they also called the Abode of Light. The Zoroastrians taught that everyone, who followed a proper code, could live forever and that the soul mattered. Those who sided with evil in this life would be condemned to an eternity of darkness and torment.

The Zoroastrians also gave us the duality of God on one side and Satan on the other. They used different terms. Ahura Mazda is the creator of the world and father of the two spirits, Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu. The former is the “good” spirit, the latter, is the destructive  and evil one. This conflict between good and evil is central to Zoroastrianism and provided the foundation of their moral philosophy. It is also the first known example of a religion basing a moral code on something beyond the here and now.

The Jews picked this up from their time in captivity. The Pentateuch has no reference to Satan, but the Book of Job, written much later, has the familiar Satan figure. In Daniel, Heaven and Hell appear for the first time. Given the history of the Jewish people at this time, it is most likely that they borrowed these concepts from the Zoroastrians. The Satan that Jesus describes is pretty much the Zoroastrian Angra Mainyu. Christian morality is entirely built on the concept of the afterlife and the battle between good and evil.

This is why Nietzsche blamed the Zoroastrians for morality. He and most Europeans scholars of the age were familiar with Zoroastrianism and understood its influence on the Abrahamic religions. Thus Spake Zarathustra is his effort to turn Zoroastrian moral philosophy on its head. Rather than an eternity of good versus evil, he has an re-imagined Zarathustra discover his error and correct the mistake of morality. Nietzsche is a tough read, but the implication is there can be no morality without the supernatural.

The question for our age is can we maintain a moral code when no one believes in God or an afterlife? This is clearly something our betters struggle with, even though they don’t think of it in these terms. The New Religion that Progressives are trying to impose upon us has no explicit god or eternal reward for the faithful. Instead, they are forced to conjure mystical stand-ins like the “tides of history” or appeals to nature. Even their appeals to science are really just appeals to an unnamed and mystical deity.

Right wing Progressives suffer from the same dilemma. It’s not an accident that you never hear conservative pundits make explicit appeals to Christian morals or even Jewish morality. Instead, they argue that Donald Trump is immoral because he vexes the shade of Ronald Reagan or Bill Buckley. They may not come out and call these guys deities, but they certainly treat them as prophets. Put another way, lacking any moral authority they have turned Reagan and Buckley into apostles of a messiah that is never mentioned.

This is, of course, the root of our current cultural troubles. For example, on whose authority was racism made a mortal sin? If it is, what happens when you commit this crime? From whom do you ask forgiveness? If the racist and the anti-racist molder in the same ground together after death, what’s the point of being a devout anti-racist? Perhaps that’s the real reason Progs are digging up Confederate soldiers. They lack an afterlife beyond the graveyard, so that will be their heaven and only the righteous will be buried.

Now, it does not follow that we are condemned to an age of might makes right. The Greeks got along fine without worrying about the afterlife. They did have a set of gods, who had to be mollified. Otherwise, bad things would happen to man in this life. Given the shape of our nature cults and the fanaticism of our secular elites, it is clear that we have not evolved past the point of needing a transcendent morality. That suggests some new deity will replace the Christian god and we get a new conception of the afterlife.

Alternatively, the recent efforts to fashion a civic religion will founder as it lacks the necessary moral authority to induce voluntary compliance. The Christianity that flowered in the middle ages may be on the ropes, but something new will surely spring from its ruins. Perhaps the flood of Islam into the West is part of that process. That’s not to say that the West will embrace Islam, but that the soul abhors a vacuum. Maybe we are on the edge of a great religious experiment, like that which birthed Zoroastrianism.

Free Speech In The Custodial State

A point I’m fond of making is that without freedom of association, you cannot have any other liberties. You can have the appearance of choice, like when you stand in the breakfast cereal aisle at the grocery store, but you can never have real choices. The state not only puts you in that supermarket, they put you in the aisle, along with a bunch of other people. In order to prevent a riot from breaking out, the state must supervise your speech, your actions and make sure you focus on picking from the options on the shelves.

Whether or not our rulers know this is debatable. A feature of post-modernism is that the people in charge forget everything learned by prior generations regarding the human condition and human society. People used to know the link between free association and other liberties. It is why the state regulated public airwaves. Because it required effort to avoid speech broadcast over the air, that speech had to fit community standards. Speech that took effort to consume, like pay services, were free from state censorship.

Anyway, the Left is in something close to a full panic over the oral arguments in Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The reason for this is the way Judge Gorsuch questioned the attorney for the homosexuals. He correctly pointed out that the “remedy” for the alleged discrimination, is to force the baker to say things in public that he would never say and that he finds offensive. Gorsuch did not say this, but this is how Chinese communists punished heretics in the Cultural Revolution.

Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Put another way, the “remedy” for those not wanting to associate, in this case do business with, another group of people, is to frog march them into the public square and force them to say things they think are false and possibly evil. Of course, it is the only remedy, short of genocide, that is possible in a society without freedom of association. Once the state can force you to be around other people, people you may not like, they have no choice but to supervise your speech, your thoughts and your every move. You are a slave.

That is the reality of the custodial state. The people in charge see themselves as your caretakers, like a baby sitter or care giver. In reality though, you are their slave, because like a slave, you no longer control your body. They control where it is and what it is permitted to do. In this particular case. the state is trying to force this baker to perform his services for the homosexuals. The efforts to punish him are no different from a slave master flogging a runaway slave. It’s to send a message to the rest of the slaves.

The homosexual Slate writer senses this reality, but he cannot bare to face it because it means questioning the One True Faith. Even worse for him is that homosexuals have created an identity, a sense of worth, based on this notion they are a protected class, given special liberties. A white man can be run out of his job by Antifa loons and no one from the local Civil Rights Commission is coming to his aid. Homosexual terrorists can stalk the nation’s Christian bakers and they get the full support of the state.

What makes this case frightening to the Left is that there is no way for the court to rule in favor of the baker, that does not undermine the foundation of the modern special rights movement. Let’s say they carve out a religious “exception” to the laws providing homosexuals with special status. The court is, in effect, saying that religion ranks higher than sexual proclivity. The gays move down a peg. What happens when the court has to choose between Jews and Nazis? Or Muslims and Jews? It quickly becomes untenable.

This is also why the Court will have no choice but to rule against the baker. The three lesbians and Breyer, of course, are predictable votes against liberty, but Kennedy and Roberts have proven to be reliable defenders of the Progressive movement. Kennedy authored the ridiculous gay marriage ruling, after all. Roberts is smart enough to see how ruling for the baker will unravel the Progressive project, so he will probably come up with some tortured logic to justify the state compelling forced confessions from heretics.

This is the other consequence of eliminating freedom of association. The cost of restoring it always appears too high. Most Southerners before the Civil War understood that slavery was untenable, but the cost of ending it was worse. That’s what’s facing the guardians of our custodial state. They know the regime cooked up to address blacks in the 1960’s can only lead to tyranny, but unraveling it offers near term costs that seem more frightening than whatever comes at some later date. Things will just have to run their course.

It will not end well.

 

The Church Of Cuck

Back in the salad days of Buckley Conservatism, it was largely understood that the butch wing of the coalition was the so-called religious right. These were the people willing and able to muster big crowds for pro-life marches and organize grassroots support for local candidates. The free market types and foreign policy hawks lived on campus and in the bureaucracy. As a result, they were always nice and polite, apologizing to the Left behind closed doors, over their alliance with those disgusting dirt people in the Bible Belt.

That was a long time ago in a different country. Official Conservatism no longer has a religious right and they no longer care about social issues. National Review, the flagship publication of “movement conservatives” is edited by a homosexual activist who champions the gay agenda on the site. Occasionally, someone from this crowd will make some noises about social issues, but it is mostly nostalgia. Like Boomers listening to the oldies station, Gentry Conservatives will talk about abortion to be reminded of better days.

It’s not just a matter of the Official Right dropping social issues and social conservatives from their thing. It’s more that the religious right has become infected by the same parasites as the rest of the old Reagan coalition. In the 1980’s, Christian organizations decided to fully join the political system and as a result they became political organizations themselves. This opened them up to infiltration by the same sorts of people who animate the diseased corpse that is the academy. The religious right is now full of cucks.

This week, while campaigning in an Alabama church — as a Bible-believing Christian, I’ll note that this story is already off to a questionable start — Judge Roy Moore, the state’s embattled Republican Senate candidate, faced down a rather spirited heckler. “The entire time, all the girls are lying?” the man shouted, right before he was escorted out of the event. “Why would they lie?” If you’ve been following our very depressing national news cycle, you know the story: Moore, age 70, has faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct dating back four decades, two of them involving underage girls, including one alleged assault of a fourteen-year-old. No charges have been filed, and that’s unlikely to change; the statute of limitations on any potential crimes stemming from the allegations appears to have long ago expired. Moore, for his part, argues that his accusers are part of a coordinated hit job orchestrated by Washington-establishment insiders. “They don’t want to hear about God,” he declared this week. “And they don’t want to hear about the Constitution of the United States and its foundational principles in God.”

We’ll get back to the Constitution — and Moore’s understanding of it — in a moment. But for now, let’s hear what the pastor of the church said, his doughy chin raised high, once the heckler had been neatly dispatched: “I would remind everyone,” he sniffed, “that this is a worship service.”

The opening two paragraphs reads like something you would find in Mother Jones or The Nation. It is the sort of framing that the Cult of Modern Liberalism has used against Christians for generations.

I’ll get this out the way: If you’re in Alabama and you want to vote for Roy Moore, vote for Roy Moore. But let’s at least try to keep things real: If you vote for Moore, you’re doing it because he’s not a Democrat, rather than because he’s some holy soldier on a special mission for God.

I would be willing to wager that the first draft of this was something like, “If you’re voting for Roy Moore, you’re doing it because he is not a Democrat. Just don’t call yourself a Christian.” That was the tone of the piece and the underlying message. To come right out and say it would require something resembling courage and that’s a mortal sin in the land of the cuck. After all, the merchant wing of the movement is going to be peddling Jesus themed wine and cheese baskets as part of the next fundraiser.

The fact is, there can be no interpretation of the events in Alabama that would lead a committed Christian to support the Democrat over Moore. Moore is staunchly opposed to abortion. The Democrat is willing to install Planned Parenthood approved abattoirs in the nation’s grammar schools. Even the most isolated  “Bible-believing Christian” can understand the difference between a venal sin and a mortal sin. Moore’s sins, whatever they were, are trivial, compared to supporting wholesale baby murder.

In fairness to “Bible-believing Christians”, the authoress of the NR piece is just some bubble-head hired to write down what she is told. Still, many of the people now claiming the mantle of leadership in the religious right are more concerned with their relationship to Washington than their relationship with Jesus. That’s because party politics is always about compromise. If you choose to get in bed with one party or the other, you are going to get up with their fleas, or worse. That’s what happened to the religious right and the GOP.

The Southern Baptist Convention being overrun by howling lunatics is the most recent example. A generation ago, the sorts of people hooting about white supremacy would have burst into flames if they walked into a Baptist church. Today, they feel perfectly comfortable walking the halls of their well appointed offices of the SBC. It’s because the people in charge now feel more at home with Progressive loons than they do with the people in the pews of their own churches. These churches are run by cucks now.

It goes back to the old line from Robert Conquest. “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” In the case of American churches, they stopped being explicitly Christian. Once they diluted their purpose by getting into politics, they were made vulnerable to infiltration by Progressives, who naturally seek to corrupt the organic institutions of a society. Once the religious right went exclusive with Northern conservatives, they were open to infiltration by Northern Liberals.

Suicide Cult

I have a friend who was a reverend in the Episcopal Church. He is technically still in the church, but he has decided to find another vocation. The main reason is that most of the people running the church are women, along with a high number of homosexuals. The result is the people running the church care more about social justice and their genitals than anything else. Like most of the mainline Protestants churches, the Episcopal Church has become a circus of degeneracy and general lunacy. As a result their pews are empty.

That said, you can learn a lot about the direction of the Cult of Modern Liberalism by watching the mainline Protestant churches. They are so desperate for attention, they tend to give the game away by going overboard in the latest Progressive fads. Their internal war on heterosexual white men has been going on a long time now, long before the rest of the Progs decided to make war on the honkyman. This story out of Virginia shows the true nature of the statue toppling stuff and its ultimate goal.

Leaders at the church that George Washington attended decided that a plaque honoring the first president of the United States must be removed.

Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia will take down a memorial marking the pew where Washington sat with his family, saying it is not acceptable to all worshipers.

“The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,” leaders said, a reference to the fact that Washington was a slaveholder.

“Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques.”

“Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of ‘all are welcome- no exceptions,'” they concluded.

A memorial to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will also come down.

These churches are big on the “all are welcome” stuff. They hang banners outside their empty churches with this slogan, usually decorated with rainbows. My suggestion is the alt-right toughs should take pics of themselves dressed as Hitler, posing in front of these stupid signs. That would make for a hilarious social media campaign. The fact is, the only people welcome in these hell holes are Progressive nutters and sexual deviants. As is always the case with The Cult, the opposite of what they say is usually the truth.

If you have any doubts about any of this, take a look at the roster of clergy running this church. The rector has two last names, suggesting she is keeping her options open. A good rule of thumb is that a woman with two last names is a nut. That’s probably why she hired a tranny as a youth counselor. Her second in command is a former actress, a profession known to attract the stable and virtuous. Two more women fill out the priestly class of this old church. It’s not hard to see why they are waging jihad on George.

That’s the thing with these churches. They are run by social justice warriors who see the church as a vehicle to inflict Progressive morality on their congregations. You can be sure that no one in the church gave a damn about George Washington. These hens spend all day clucking about what they read in the New York Times or heard on NPR. They came up with the idea of evicting the father of the country, because they wanted attention. It is virtue signalling, but their idea of virtue originates outside the Episcopal Church.

Of course, this was always the end point of the Rebel Flag burning and statue toppling. It is the thing everyone knew all along. It may have started as a tantrum by Cloud People aimed at the Dirt People, but it was going to end as a orgy of self-abnegation. These people hate their own kind. They hate their ancestors. The reason is, they hate themselves and the way to erase themselves is to erase their past. Progressives dream of the day when they no longer exist and any memory of them is gone too.

God speed Christ Church.

No Tomorrows

All human societies have some form of belief system, usually based in the supernatural or in unexplained mysteries. People who study these things think that belief is one of the earliest modern human traits. Language and religion, the formalization of belief, most likely evolved together. That certainly makes sense. Religion has always been a handy store of knowledge and language is the way in which it can be transported from one generation to the next. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense for both to coexist.

That is speculative, but what is not speculative is that all known people have had something we would consider to be a faith system. Primitive people have primitive belief systems, usually based in natural phenomenon like the seasons and elements. American Indians have a whole collection of deities based in nature. More complex societies create more complex myths, legends and belief structures. The Greeks and Romans had very complex systems. Christianity, obviously, is a rich and complex belief system.

We in the modern West tend to think we have moved past this stuff. The educated classes, while not willing to say they are atheists, scoff at the religious. The most you will get from the upper classes is the line about being spiritual, but not religious. The truth is, Western elites are believers like all people in all times, maybe more so. It’s just that their beliefs are informal and ad hoc. The people toting canvas sacks to the market are doing so because our better say nature demands it of us.

Belief systems describe a people. The ancient Egyptians had a highly complex belief system like many ancient people. Their religion, however, was unique in that it was entirely focused on the afterlife. They did not make sacrifices and pray for the here and now. They built monuments, complex burial systems and temples in order to prepare the living for the after life. There is a good argument that this focus on the after life is what allowed the Egyptians to keep their culture going for 3,000 years.

On the other hand, the Greeks were not very concerned about the after life. Their focus was on the here and now. The gods interfered in the lives of men, so it made sense to focus devotion on swaying the gods to act on your behalf or against the interests of your enemies. The Greeks did have the concept of an afterlife, but it was not the focus of their belief system. Immortality for man was possible by having sons, who would carry his name, or dying for his polis, which would live on and remember his name.

The Greeks may have been more concerned with the present, when it came time to worshipping the gods, but they had a nice long run, roughly 1000 years. It was not as if they were hedonists, living only in the moment. Even so, this focus on the now had some odd results. For instance, we know just about every Egyptian ruler and his deeds. We even have some of their corpses. The Dorian Greeks, on the other hand, burned their kings, as well as any record of them. We know nothing about them as a result.

This brings up an important point about our present age. The cult of Gaia, for example, is long on rhetoric about the future, but its focus is on present virtue. The greens are not trying preserve the environment for future generations. They are hoping their efforts snuff out future generations. The same is true of anti-racism and multiculturalism. These are all about the present. Calling them suicide cults is useful rhetoric, but in fact our virtuous rulers don’t think past tomorrow. it’s all about grace today.

This is particularly true with regards to migration. Nationalists like to cook up complex theories as to why our rulers are wedded to the idea of mass immigration. Some say it is cheap labor. Other say it is cheap votes. Still others see it as spite. All of those things are true, but the real motivation is virtue. Instead of a public ceremony where they sacrifice a bull or consecrate a church, inviting in the poor and downtrodden is the big public act of virtue. The consequences are down the road. The grace is today.

It’s not just vanity. We are the first people to have no conception of an afterlife. Even the Greeks believed in the after life and they believed there was judgement of souls. They may not have made that the focus of their faith, but they still believed there was something beyond this life. This spiritual hopelessness of Western elites may be why the Cloud People couch everything in terms of personal fulfillment and self-actualization. It is a way of crossing the River Styx without actually believing in it.

 

The nuttiness of modern elite culture may simply be a neurosis arising from the conflict between the natural, bone deep desire of man to be remembered, colliding with the lack of any reason to be remembered. Even the humblest of men will carve his name into a tree or scratch his name on his prison wall. “I was here” is the primal scream. Today, that impulse has no cultural vessel into which it can flow. The lonely barren spinster yells “I was here” and the only thing that happens is the cat stirs and then goes back to sleep.

Maybe this is it for us. Maybe there is no tomorrow for the West.