Beyond Left and Right

The late great Eric Hohher observed that a mass movement can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. This is often misread, but what Hoffer had in mind was that the movement needs an enemy. It can live without a great cause, but it has to have an enemy. The struggle against evil allows the movement to create its own origin myth and justify its failures as sacrifices. It is why the Progressives have been so good at inventing new monsters to slay. Without monsters, they have no reason to exist.

The modern American Right, in contrast, was never good at inventing bogeymen, because it was always a Progressive heresy. By that I mean the Buckleyites eventually came to accept all the assumptions of the Progressives with regards to the human condition. The difference was they had a different devil to confront. Theirs was the Red Menace and the its Soviet sponsors. What kept movement conservatism moving was the fight against the commies, even when they ceded all the important philosophical turf to the Progressive.

An example to see this is the recent column by National Review editor Rich Lowry. National Review is the flagship publication of the American conservative movement. In theory, at least, they describe the boundaries of what is and what is not conservative, by defining the principles of modern conservatism.

President Barack Obama won’t explicitly say that Donald Trump is on the wrong side of history, but surely it is what he believes.

The president basically thinks anyone who gets in his way is transgressing the larger forces of history with a capital H. During the 2008 campaign, he declared that John McCain “is on the wrong side of history right now” (the “right now” was a generous touch — allowing for the possibility that McCain might get right with History at some future, undetermined date).

Obama has returned to this phrase and argument obsessively throughout his time in office. It is deeply embedded in his, and the larger progressive, mind — and indirectly contributed to the left’s catastrophic defeat on Nov. 8.

The notion that History takes sides ultimately traces back to the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel and borrows heavily from the (genuine and very hard-won) moral capital of the abolitionists and the civil rights movement. Obama is given to quoting Martin Luther King for the proposition that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. Whoever is deemed to be on “the wrong side of history” by progressives is always loosely associated with the opprobrium directed toward the Southern Fire-Eaters and the defenders of Jim Crow.

Now, Lowry is no one’s idea of a deep thinker so he can be forgiven for not seeing the the ridiculousness of the highlighted section. If Progressives have all this moral capital from their past fights over race, then they are by definition on the right side of history. How could it be otherwise? That’s the logical end point of Lowry’s assertion that the Left was on the side of angels in the great moral crusades of the last two centuries. It would be bizarre for Progressives not to use such a thing as a weapon. They see it as an obligation.

There’s something else there. Lowry goes out of his way to kowtow to the Left on the issue of race. What he is doing, even if he does not know it, is signally his submissiveness to his moral superiors. These are the words of the loser letting his betters know he is not going to be any trouble. Lowry is letting his alleged adversaries know that he agrees with them on the big issues and that there is no need to question his belief in orthodoxy.

The orthodoxy is the New Religion with its three pillars of egalitarianism, multiculturalism and anti-racism. The only real quibble the Official Right has with the people in charge is how to go about turning the New Religion into public policy. It is probably why they are obsessed with restarting the Cold War and waging a Crusade against the Muslims. Official Conservatism™ needs a devil. Otherwise, it becomes just another school of thought among Progressives.

There’s always been a problem with the New Religion and that is it clams run head long into objective reality. The sort of spiritual egalitarianism preached by the intellectual forebears of Progressives was perfectly sustainable as it was impossible to disprove. The modern version of it is hilariously absurd. Boys are not the same as girls. Nature does not bestow her gifts equally and this scales up to group differences. People tend to notice that the NBA is all black and the best lawyers have a precious metal in their name.

This is the central issue of our age. Our betters insist that all men are equal, full stop. Filling up Cologne with Arabs changes nothing about Cologne because people are the same everywhere and culture is a myth. Everyone else recognizes this to be dangerous nonsense. Thousands of generations of evolution have resulted in a planet full of people with different skills, culture and attitudes. Sweden is the way it is because it is full of Swedes, instead of Arabs.

The determination of our rulers to stamp out large parts of observable reality is what is eroding their legitimacy. This is why Official Conservatism™ has failed. It has no response to the ongoing crisis that is the inevitable result of the New Religion. It has become a mass movement afraid of offending anyone, therefore it is left with gooey platitudes about principles and its role in public life. It’s why it is difficult to tell the Right from the Left these days. They believe all the same stuff now.

The great fight that is shaping up is between one side that insists, despite all the evidence, that all humans are equal in every way. it is only the differences in culture that result in differences in people. For our purposes, economics is in the culture bucket. The other side says man is naturally hierarchical and that groups of humans have unique attributes suited for where they evolved over thousands of generations. This means that different people will have different cultures, different gifts and different liabilities. This is why people naturally self-segregate.

Observable reality is on the side of the latter.

64 thoughts on “Beyond Left and Right

  1. While the orthodoxy of the New Religion may be its three pillars of egalitarianism, multiculturalism and anti-racism, it’s practice is that some people are more eqaul than others, all cultures are equal except white and/or Christian and finally, only white and/or male and/or Christians can commit acts of racism. Supporters truly believe that they are or will become the ruling elite. It is indeed a perverted form of religion that allows no fact to oppose their faith.

  2. The Democratic party was the party of slavery in 1861 and they’re the party of slavery now. The rich control all the money and import things from abroad while they get us peasants to do the holding down of the slaves. Just like slavery in the South they pay the slaves just enough to live off of. They tax us to make sure their slaves stay in place and periodically they import more to keep wages down

    Some Democrats think it’s all about racism, blah, blah, blah but it’s really about money. The SJW are idiots. They don’t have a clue. The only ones that do are the Jews and they, of course, make all the money while you peasants defend their slave deals so the Jews won’t call you racist or shall I say, call you Nigger like they used to do to poor Whites in the South.

    Back in the day the Democrat slave masters used to tell the poor Whites,”You don’t want to be a Nigger do you?” and they would fall right in line. No master we don’t want to be Niggers.

    Now the Democrat slave masters tell the SJW,”You don’t want to be a racist do you?” and they fall right in line. Anything to not be a racist. The whole time they’re flooding the country with aliens that don’t give a tinkers damn about the US. Good slaves that will pack 15 people in a trailer and work for just above food and clothing.

    We should call them what they are the slavery party.

  3. Here is an  absolutely glorious and devastating  takedown of the Beltway Right and National Review, most especially those cucked pricks Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowrey. You guys have got to read this:

    They are more than irrelevant. They are the enemies burrowed deep inside out body politic. 

    (BTW, I don’t agree with the author’s take on the John Birch Society. Their core message was prescient: against Statism and Globalism. If Buckley had taken up even 1/4 of their positions [especially on the U.N. and the actuality of the Commie influence in our government]  we would not be in the mess we are today.)

    Buckley and his cabal were the progenitors of every cuck we have today. So what if he intellectually skewered the homosexual Vidal on TV? He also gave a national platform to Vidal and brought on the mainstreaming of faggotry we now see in the GayStapo onslaught on every cultural norm we used to have in our country today. If they had simply kept it in the closet instead of being “Out and Proud” we wouldn’t now be in the position where Christian bakers and pizza-makers are losing their livelihoods (not to mention Brandon Eich being drummed out of Firefox). The whole transgendered debacle wouldn’t have cost Target tens of millions of dollars in stock price and I, among many many others,  have not spent one thin dime since this bathroom policy was implemented. America is simply sick to death of this shit. 

    Just go to the CDC site and you’ll find that 85+% of all aids and all other STD’s are the result of homosexual perversion. Don’t buy the bullshit about IV drug users being a huge part of the AIDS epidemic. They are  a small minority. And now the CDC is pushing to stop blood bank testing because of this butthurt cohort (pun intended).

    Just as our host is “All Blacked Out” I have no use for the fags. I grew up just outside of Hollywood and was sexually assaulted no less than four times before the age of 16 by them (none successful..I was able to physically ward them off each time). I know firsthand of the predatory nature of this cabal. Over 75% of child predators are homosexual. That’s a damn fact.

    Buckley and the Beltway Right are more than partially to blame for this rise of the homosexual Mafia and the stain it has left on Western nations and yet it still continues, unabated.

    • Fuel Filter;
      I’m with you on abominating the rainbow mafia* and its malignant takeover of our ‘so called’ elite and the cultural damage it is doing. Hollywood is a big reason why many moslems despise us, believe that Allah is giving us into their hands, so then are ok making common cause with the progs.

      My take (in retrospect) was that NR was attracted to the apparent philosophical consistency of Libertarianism once the unifying (and very real) threat of international communism removed itself from the Overton Window (but not from reality, witness BLM) with the collapse of the USSR. The fundamental flaw of Libertarianism IMHO is its secularism. The just assume a Western moral order somehow arose ex nihilo. Anyone acquainted with IT, not to mention the Second Law of Thermodynamics is well aware of how much work is involved in maintaining any sort of order. IOW, things run downhill, not up on their own so constant ‘pushing’ is required to hold where you are now. In shot, they assume entitlement to God’s moral order while denying Him any credit for it.

      Once secularism and utilitarianism became the order of the day, they had no defense against being converged by their fellow elitists. WFB’s first book was GOD and Man at Yale. His successors abandoned God and, having done so, lost any unifying moral principals, hence purpose.

      * I too was assaulted by a homo perv as a young teen, in the Boy Scouts no less, in 1959 no less. Like you I discovered that getting a good bloody nose has a marvelous (however temporary) effect on cunning pervs (So scout X just walked up and punched you, out of the blue, for no reason eh_? You really expect anyone to believe that_?)

  4. Zman, I’m not sure we read the same article. Firstly, Lowry wrote the article for Politico as a contributing editor, although he is an editor at National Review. I was trying to find the article at National Review and couldn’t. I didn’t want to give Politico any clicks if I could avoid it. But they, NR, didn’t have it archived. So back to Politico to read.

    What “I” read was kind of a post-election piece on why progressives lost the election and the hubris that led to their downfall. His take on “their” view of HISTORY was interesting and they do use it to great effect against the Right. Of course, with the Left, good intentions mean everything regardless of results. And of course, to the Left, any opposition is responded to with calls of racism.

    I don’t care to defend Lowry but your post and the comments aimed at NR seem a bit disingenuous to me. I would give Lowry credit for making his opinion known in a very liberal rag. That’s my take. I really don’t find much to fault with what he wrote.

  5. There is, I think, something telling and distinctive regarding the choice of devils as regards the Buckleyites and the Progressives, and the implications and ramifications that arise out of that choice.

    The Buckleyite devil – godless communism – was a threat whose locus was external to the United States. Yes, there were bad Americans, like the Rosenbergs, who must be guarded against, but America itself did not give rise to the evil that must be combated. During their heydey, the Buckleyites could thus conceive of an essentially good America engaged in a struggle with a foreign adversary.

    The most enduring of the Progressive devils is the Sin of Slavery (SoS), and America’s repeated failures to address and atone for that sin. The SoS is intrinsic to America and renders the ideals expressed by its founders and in its founding documents as lies. As the founding was a lie, so all the other attempts to address the SoS – the Civil War, the Civil Rights era, the 0bama presidency – must also fail due to the intrinsic racism lodged deep in America’s heart. But most importantly, the purveyors of that racism, those who keep racism alive and thwart the coming of the egalitarian utopia – are not foreign adversaries, but other Americans, namely white Americans. Thus, Progressives must be at continual war with their own countrymen.

    So one of the things the Buckleyites failed to notice, so busy were they signalling for Progressive approval, was that when the Progressives went searching for the next batch of white Americans to demonize because the promised 0bama utopia failed to materialize, a big chunk of those singled out were the very people who formerly constituted their audience. And when they did notice, instead of coming to those peoples defense, they piled on – just for the approval – and thus guaranteed their own irrelevance and oblivion.

  6. Official Conservatism has failed because – at the end of the day – Aldus Huxley has been proven right. Just substitute natural gifts for manufactured gifts, and you’re there. He acknowledges the hierarchy, and the role of the State in producing and maintaining that hierarchy. He acknowledges the pursuit of a perpetual state of happiness over a pursuit of life well lived. The 9 years war is their bogeyman, as his History (capital H), which they battle. And of course they have their saints (Ford).

    I have friends who think I’m crazy because I think legalizing weed in Colorado was stupid. I don’t deny people have a right to vote for it, but the contradictions are piling up. We are to simultaneously “have a conversation” with our kids about pot, but not really tell them it is bad for them, and at the same time acknowledge the benefits to tax revenues and “schools”. We damn tobacco here in one of America’s healthiest states, but we promote a product that puts more tar into your lungs than an unfiltered Marlboro from 1947.

    It’s a drug. Drugs, briefly, make you happy. Pot is soma, eat a few edibles, disappear into your high, plug your ears and scream “la, la, la” at any thoughts which are not happy, happy, joy, joy.

    Official Conservatism has no answer to this. And most of their answers to everything else involve variations on the same Government solution that the socialists are promoting.

    We’ll wind up with a National Popular Vote for President someday because that’s what makes people happy, and Official Conservatism will whine about it but do nothing substantive to stop it.

    • Hoffer’s True Believer, And now Huxley’s Brave New World. I’m really beginning to like this “Friday Book Club” thing that you’ve starting here, Zman.

    • I dropped my subscription to NR over the pot issue. They basically switched on it because Richard Brookhiser got addicted to it on the pretext of his supposed Multiple sclerosis and then began berating anyone who thought otherwise as a heretic. When I attempted to drop the subscription, I discovered that I had paid for years in advance because of their deceptive marketing campaigns where they made you think your subscription was about to run out. At the time I was running two offices in two cities at a full time rate and had little time to keep track of such things. I wrote to them asking that they stop sending it to me, but it still came. They probably got tons of these letters, because one of Buckley’s last books was titled Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription. At that point they didn’t give a damn about their base. And now what was once their base doesn’t give a damn about them.

    • Sorry, but you are totally wrong about pot. It actually protects the lungs against cancer. I’ve personally seen that it stopped the leg tremors for a quadrapalegic vet, when commercial drugs didn’t help. And I’m in a group for folks with COPD that find that cannabis oil does seem to help them breathe better. Personally, I think they should have legalized pot but not allowed edibles. Do you really think our society is well served to throw people in jail for possession of pot?

      • I agree with your argument, but it is pointless to argue with old people. just try and make them comfortable, and keep them out of the way of harm.

    • Sugar and other anti-nutrients are far far far more harmful than cannabis. As are prescription drugs. You are the a But Person; “I am for personal liberty, but…”.

      • No, they are not. Btw, I’m for personal liberty with the following liberty-enhancing requirements:

        – All lawsuits against pot growers, manufacturers, distributors, advertisers are banned particularly as it pertains to health-care related issues such as, but not limited to, lung disease and cancer. You may not sue tomorrow for health impacts created today.
        – All individuals who smoke pot must so-state on any health insurance form, and be charged accordingly. Let the actuarial tables decide. Full disclosure is required. Lying on healthcare forms grounds for immediate cancellation of policy.
        – State and federal governments may not collect taxes on pot for any purpose other than the regulation and law enforcement necessary to regulate it. i.e. no “for the schools” or roads or hospitals or anything else.
        – Eliminate any caveats for DUI. If people have marijuana in their bloodstream, and they get pulled over, maximum fines. Individuals are responsible for managing their drug intake, not government, and if you can’t stay off the roads, you should be fined heavily.
        – Children born to drug users who experience withdrawal symptoms reported immediately to DHS. (This is one of the lovely side effects my wife is seeing in Colorado. Tremors, shakes, low birth weights, brain issues.) Your rights end where the child’s rights begin.

        I understand that pot users just want to get high. My feeling on the matter is “Fine, but individual liberty means you live with any and all consequences of said choices.” I think a lot of pot users would be fine with that…

        …right up until they want to win the lawsuit lottery or get mad that their health insurance costs more.

        • “I’m for personal liberty with the following … requirements” <= self negating sentence.

          the fact that you are so worked up over something so inconsequential as cannabis, marks you as an unserious person.

          you have absolutely no idea how the "war" on drugs was used to destroy liberty after liberty, with the added bonus of doing nothing to stop or reduce the use of drugs!

          • It hase been a long week for me so my mind is not clear. I read “cannabis” as “cannibalism” which had me in stitches.

          • Why do you oppose my simple solution to alleged claims of “individual liberty”. Seems to me that pot smokers want to have their pot, but are unwilling to live with the consequences unless Society bails them out.

            People who pick and choose like that are unserious.

          • Where does it stop? We could get into discussions about whether, for example, people injured while skiing should pick up the bill for treating their injuries, given that they should live with the consequences of risks they voluntarily take in recreation.

            It gets messy.

          • God forbid people live with their choices instead of socializing all risk. I blew out my knee skiing when I was on active duty. A guy that worked for me years later was retired military. When we were talking about it, he asked how much disability I got each month.

            I didn’t know that I could do that, particularly since I had knee surgery in an Air Force hospital. I never even crossed my mind to pimp the system like that. I’ll never forget what he said,

            “Oh, everybody does it. I have a 15% disability for x, and I get a small check for it every month. For your knee, you could have got 10-20% no problem.”

        • @Hokkoda
          Smoked it off and on infrequently for decades, beginning in 1962 and ending in February of this year. Your list seems very reasonable to me, although I’d apply it to alcohol as well.

          • Personally, I think that pot is worse than alcohol by several degrees of magnitude, but I don’t have strong feelings about it. If the price of repealing Hart Cellar and protecting the Second Amendment is legalizing pot, Hell, sell the stuff at Wal-Mart, for all I care. Most of our current drug laws were created under Woodrow Wilson, our very worst President (despite his rather sensible views on race), and anything institute under that control freak lunatic deserves scrutiny, at the very least.

          • I have no problem with that. People always seem to want freedom, but not the personal responsibility and basic morality that it requires.

        • My wife came home from work on Tuesday, and told me about the new mom who freaked out in the clinic when her baby started manifesting withdrawal symptoms.

          She wasn’t freaked out that her underweight baby was very sick. She was freaked out because the law requires my wife to report it.

          If people are allowed to hide behind cancer patients and PTSD soldiers to advance the drug into the mainstream, I can point out that increased access to the drug is going to come with some severe downsides. In addition to the mother being a disaster, she now has a child who is a burden on the system, and who will grow up with all manner of psychological and developmental problems.

          Don’t do drugs kids!*

          *Until you’re 21, at which time the State has decided it wants your tax revenues “for the children”.

          • I practiced medicine for over thirty years and retired this year, so it’s not like I’m out of date.
            1. I think medical licensing should be abolished. The monopoly it has created is the reason it is not affordable. This also means that prescription rights should be abolished. That people should be able to purchase whatever the market makes available to them. Including pot.
            2. In my statement above I never said anything about this because making pot legal by itself doesn’t have any effect whatsoever on the monopoly. In fact doing so without abolishing occupational licensing makes the situation worse.
            3. That said, pot is a worthless, toxic shitweed. It is carcinogenic and addicting. It lowers testosterone levels in men with all of the other attendant problems by interfering with steroid metabolism. I’ve seen thousands of men with hypogonadism and impotence, and when the workup ended up revealing cannabis as the cause, I can only remember two guys who said that they would quit. That’s addiction.

          • The problem is that the anecdotes are one sided. The “legalize” side always tromps out a bunch of sick vets and cancer patients to hide behind. That probably wasn’t your intent, but it was true to form for weed advocates.

            In our zeal to live in the now, consequences be damned, world, people are flat out ignoring things like the long term consequences of tar in the lungs and babies being born with addictions. That is never discussed. We just get the same old “beer is no worse”, “sugar is worse” kinds of baloney.

            We can do better, and there’s nothing wrong with saying some things are not just wrong, but penalized. We don’t need to throw people in jail for possession, but we sure as heck can drive up the costs to them personally so they don’t become a drag on society.

          • How many years do we need to study this stuff? You are giving the old hard line, “make it illegal and throw people in jail for having a seed” argument. There’s no evidence of tar in the lungs from the most recent studies. I’ll say it again. Society decided that these issues are not enough to criminalize tobacco or alcohol. Both of the substances have a lot more evidence of causing disease than pot. When do you intend to drive up the costs of drinking? What do you intend to do with the folks that aren’t willing to put up with that? Voters in these states are voting to make pot legal. it would seem to me that they don’t buy your arguments either.

          • No, addiction is the friend that drank from the time he was 13, right up until he had an aneurysm in his stomach and almost bled out. He was able to live out the rest of his life drinking near beer.

            I’ve known too many people to quit using pot, including myself, with no side effects. It’s habitual, not addiction. I’ve known a lot of folks that couldn’t quit smoking and some that died of lung cancer. Yet they are still sold in stores. We are talking about whether or not we should jail people for the use of these substances. We have too many people in jail for stupid stuff right now.

        • Just to let you know, since you don’t seem to have any personal experience with medicinal marijuana, it doesn’t get you high like old school pot. It’s designed for pain relief. I had some of the stuff the quadraplegic grew. You couldn’t really take more than a hit or two of it. It was stupifying and unpleasant as far as I was concerned. We have had years and years to study the effects of pot. If the things you are talking about were true, it would have been used in all the arguments to keep the stuff illegal.

          And yes, freedom means you accept the consequences of your actions. People smoke and wind up with COPD or lung cancer. They drink and get cirrhosis. Children get fetal alcohol syndrome. Yet we don’t throw people into jail for these actions. Change the schedule for pot at the federal level as there are clearly medicinal uses for it. Let the states decide what they want to do. I am tired of seeing sick people suffer because someone is concerned about drug use.

  7. Both sides are in agreement as to the Darwinistic aspect of things. The difference is the emphasis on divergent versus convergent evolution. One side insists that because divergent evolution happened in the past that future policy should reflect that reality, the other side sees a world that is getting smaller and where divergence may have taken place in the past but where convergence is the acting principle of continuity, and should determine policy.
    The main difference between these is that one is forward looking, whereas the other looks mainly to the past. These are value judgments. The difference between these is that one looks mainly to the reality of things in the here and now, while the other lays claim to the ability to see an ongoing trend that may or may not be taking place and projecting that into the future, which is by definition Popper’s form of historicism. In other words the philosophy of the left remains chiliastic, while that of the right is based in reality.
    Some things never change.

  8. Without even reading the rest of Lowry’s piece it is clear you are being unfair to him and not carefully framing his argument. As you should know, the classic conservative position has always been that men are equal before God (we are endowed by our Creator…) because the Christian position is that we are all God’s children loved infinitely by Him and worthy of basic human dignity as a result.

    That’s why slavery was a moral evil and why hatred of other races is also a moral wrong — although forcing equality on unequal ethnic/racial groups can be just as evil.

    Nothing Lowry says above suggests that he is arguing Progressives of today are on the “right side of history” just because those who fought slavery in the past were doing the right thing. Why you make this logical leap is beyond me.

    • “Without even reading the rest of Lowry’s piece” hahahahaha

      tell me, how do Lowry’s boy sized balls taste (now that you have given them a good tongue washing)?

      • Slavery may or may not be a moral evil in all circumstances. While the Christian Church hedged the institution about with all sorts of caveats, it did not flat-out condemn it until the 19th century, which was a bit late if it is always and everywhere a moral evil. Also, Lowry was not just talking about slavery, he was talking about the “Civil Rights Revolution”, which was NOT about all men being God’s children – all Christians believe that – it was about getting rid of a basic right, the right of free association. It was this repudiation of a basic right that caused conservatives like Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley (yeah, really!) to condemn the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not any belief in lack of humanity of blacks or anyone else. This is why all real conservatives must condemn the Civil Rights Revolution, not because of racial realism, but because enforced association denies a basic human right, one far more important that where Rosa sits on the bus. One would think that this would be obvious, but I guess that it isn’t.

        • By the way, lest anyone think that I am just blowing smoke about Christianity and slavery, here’s Cardinal Gerdil (1718 – 1802) on the institution;

          “Slavery is not to be understood as conferring on one man the same power over another that men have over cattle. Wherefore they erred who in former times refused to include slaves among persons; and believed that however barbarously the master treated his slave he did not violate any right of the slave. For slavery does not abolish the natural equality of men: hence by slavery one man is understood to become subject to the dominion of another to the extent that the master has a perpetual right to all those services which one man may justly perform for another; and subject to the condition that the master shall take due care of his slave and treat him humanely (Comp. Instit. Civil., L, vii).”

          The Church traditionally frowned on slavery, discouraged it, and fought valiantly against its abuses, but it was not regarded as being against the Natural Law. Let’s not re-write history here.

          • Aquinas famously made strong arguments that slavery was indeed against the natural law but that due to man’s fallen nature, slavery could be tolerated as part of the positive law (e.g. when enemies were captured after a war, they could be made slaves.)

            The church has a long history of developing doctrine (which grew out of the basic Gospel message) that eventually slavery had to be considered a moral evil. There is a reason that Saints as early as Patrick in Ireland are notable for fighting against the practice. Certainly, going out and capturing and/or enslaving your fellow man for menial labor because it was profitable was never O.K. with the Church (and why numerous Popes issued Bulls against the practice.)

            As for the right of free association, I agree 100% that the Civil Rights Act was over-reach and problematic for all sorts of reasons. BUT, that idea goes both ways and there were also plenty of people who wanted to integrate but were prevented from doing so thanks to segregation laws (i.e. you literally had to keep separate sections for blacks and whites in your business even if you didn’t want to.) So the situation was more complicated than you let on, and I don’t have a problem acknowledging that some good came out of that period along with the bad we both agree on.

          • You are certainly correct that, for most of Church history, slavery was considered… problematic,but it was not considered against the Natural Law for most of the last 2000 years. Aquinas certainly made the argument that you attribute to him, but most did not agree, and slavery as a moral evil was not Church doctrine at the time of the Civil War, which is the period under consideration. So we today can regard those who fought against slavery as fighting against a moral evil if we choose, but their contemporaries could not do so, since it was not regarded as such at the time. Their consideration would have been a prudential one; were the abuses of slavery in the USA circa 1865 such that a war that would kill over a million Americans (many of them freed slaves), damage constitutional government irreparably, and tear the fabric of the Republic to shreds, justified? (of course, they could not foresee all of this, but many foresaw something like it). Many might answer “yes”, but those who answered “no” surely have a point, especially since slavery was abolished in every other country without bloodshed. Even so, I personally regard partial-birth abortion as a moral evil, but I would not start a nuclear war to end it, and I would not regard anyone who advocated such a course of action as a moral exemplar, as Lowry does the abolitionists. I don’t want to put words into the Angelic Doctor’s mouth, but I personally think that Aquinas would agree.

            As for Civil Rights, it’s true that in certain states, businesses could not be integrated, but those who wished to freely associate with minorities were always free to do so in their own homes, and there was always the option of moving to a state without legal segregation, which was most of them. So those who wished to enjoy the joys of integration could do so in pre-1965 America, if not on an unlimited basis; those today who might want to sample the possible attractions of segregation have no such option. I agree that, as in all great historical changes, there was good mixed in with the bad, but to me, it’s obvious where the balance lies.

            At any rate, Jeffrey S. despite the fact that I disagree with you, you are obviously a Christian gentleman, who is basically on our side. All the best…

          • Thanks for the spirited debate — we do indeed share many of the same concerns and while I consider myself more of a traditional Christian conservative, I certainly don’t share many of the modern Republican party’s PC illusions about race or human sexuality.

            As for history, while I’m a Union man, any serious student of the Civil War should read Shelby Foote’s three volume masterpiece — if they do they will hopefully will come away with an appreciation for the many good men of the South (particularly Lee and Stonewall Jackson) and a sense of what a tragic event the War was in our history.

            God bless you and Z-Man’s readers!

        • in Roman times, a person could sell themselves into slavery, which makes the moral issue very…complicated 🙂

        • Deep down in my reptilian brain, there’s a voice (I know, I know!) saying “I don’t want Rosa sitting in the back of the bus, I don’t want her on the bus at all! Let ’em manufacture their own guddam buses!”

          Perhaps the presently popular amphibian will begin croaking out something similar and then won’t the “well-meaning” throw up their hands in dismay.

          • Pardon me for chipping in at the corners, but the problem begins and ends with gratitude, or the lack of that virtue. The Left ruins people living on the margins by informing them all their faults are caused by others. People of any stripe who practice gratitude are easy to take.

          • There’s lots of truth to this. The people of Yemen used to say the “God only punishes ingrates” and they may have a point there, regardless of their other shortcomings.

    • Exactly. Lowry is giving short shrift to the left’s view that they are on the right side of history. Doesn’t this sentence make that plain:

      The political dangers of this point of view should be obvious:

      And then he goes on to explain why. Writing doesn’t get any clearer.

  9. There is a basic duality in everything, “Is”-“Isn’t”, ever since the Heavens was separated into Light and Dark.
    And we know who “We” are only in opposition to “Other”, “Not-We”. This has been the secret to Jewish success, and why they consider true acceptance and assimilation as great a threat as genocide. And it also explains why so many of the rest of us so often have anti-Jewish feelings.The difficulty is if you define your group so narrowly and exclusively that almost everyone else becomes Other. This has been the Jewish secret and problem for three thousand years. Analogous problems seem to affect Blacks, who additionally tend to be the most visually distinctive of peoples. And in my opinion it is also a mistake made by certain White identitarians who try to define True Whiteness too narrowly.

  10. I think even now Rich Lowry is being given more credit than he deserves. I see a large child in a man’s suit, braces just removed this week (but some sort of retainers in place back where they cannot be seen), allowed to sit at the grownups’ table and spouting gibberish posing as serious thought. His pal Jonah is stuck in the outhouse, prattling on about his ass and worse, intermixed with puerile sophistries. French and his wife (they are a matched pair, even though he’s the NR employee) are dreadful wannabes looking for something important to be. And on and on.

    None of them has ever satisfactily defined big C Conservatism. Not ever.

    • NR died when Buckley purged Brimelow, O’Sullivan, and Sailer, and replaced them with childish mediocrities like Lowry, Goldberg, and Lopez. Buckleyite conservatism had probably passed its sell-by date anyway, what with the end of the Cold War and all, but the purge ensured that it would die with hardly a pathetic whimper, as it is doing now. All neo-conning aside, these puerile children were simply not in the same intellectual league as Burnham, Meyer, Van Der Haag, Rusher, and the other founders of the magazine. Disagree with them as you might (and I often did), the founders of NR were at least serious men and true intellectuals, who had grappled with the serious issues of the day. Lowry et al are just midwit low-tax liberals writing odes to Martin Luther King. Good riddance.

  11. The ‘wrong side of history’ has always struck me as the possibly the most arrogant and stupid phrase ever. History cannot have a side: it is just what it is.

    I accept that one can interpret history from one side or the other so the assumption of interpretation isn’t quite as arrogant. You can look, say, at a world war and show that these were the causes and with it examine the elite making ill-informed decisions, or perhaps report it from the enemy PoV or show the event by focussing on the grunts who had to actually do the dirty work. While all offer angles, they do not alter history.

    But if your Obama says that history has a side to stand on, he must be right. I am led to believe the man was never wrong in anything.

    • I don’t mind standing up for the “wrong side of history”. Villians always have more fun and are the most interesting characters in the play.

    • Arrogant, stupid, and presumptous. Alex Tocqueville-Time does not arrest its course for nations any more than for men…When we think things are stationary, it is because we fail to see their movements.

    • In Obozo’s case it is just the manchilds way of saying “I’m right, you’re wrong,” “I win, you lose.” He is very smart don’t you know. He has a JD from Havvaaard on de Chas don’t you know!

    • History having a side is yet another example of prog incoherence. If history has a side/direction, then it has a directing force/process. But if that process is materialistic like evolution or something else similar, then there is no intended direction, just the random results of competition among random variants. If that’s the case then there is no real progression in a moral sense.

      OTOH, if history has an actual side/direction then something is directing it. Or, someONE. And who/what might that be_? Seriously, how can there be dialectic in pure materialism_?

  12. The stamping out of “large parts of observable reality” also precludes the checking of premises. And this, my friends, is how shit happens.

  13. Heh. I seem to recall Francis Fukuyama proclaiming the End of History back in the early 1990s, based on similar reasoning — there’s no Left or Right anymore, as the basic assumptions of liberal democracy have defeated all others and are now shared by everyone. I guess restarting History just takes a hijacked airliner and a tower or two… The assumptions of liberal democracy are, in fact, fictions of affluence. Back in the 90s we were rich enough to pretend that equality is possible, and if we had to reconfigure all of society to get it, well, that’s just a matter of spending enough money. If we’re still looking for monikers, the Alt-Right could be called “the anti-Fukuyama party” or just “the gods of the copybook headings.” It’ll be fun watching liberals ever-more-frantically try to legislate Reality away in the last months of the Obama administration….

    • Re Fukuyama: As a pre/mid ’60’s student I discovered that there was a school of anthropology (one of many mutual contradictory schools) called Cultural Evolution. It was later anathemized as being too, you know, likely to leave the innocent student with the impression that some cultures might be, you know, more fit than others.

      Interestingly enough Fukuyama’s magnum opus, The Origins of Political Order, walks right up to Cultural Evolution but refuses to recognize it though it stares him in the face. No doubt this is for fear of being banished.

  14. I think your last graf is an incomplete analysis; it appears (underline ‘appears’) that your comparison encompasses only–or largely–that which is material.

    It is correct that “culture” is a major determinant of various peoples’ predilections. But “culture” is a direct derivative of “cult.” Thus, a flawed culture is a result of a flawed cult, not of material differences. Yes, NBA players are largely black. But that’s not “culture.” How they think and act on those thoughts IS ‘culture.”

  15. I would argue that “Official Conservatism’s” problem is precisely that it is not a Progressive heresy. Allow me to explain, starting with Pharaseeism.

    Christianity began with the observation that Pharaseeism was a really awful, terrible religion with horrifying holiness spirals, among other very bad things. Christianity was thus a complete repudiation of Pharaseeism, so accordingly it was deliberately engineered to be well-inoculated against Pharaseeism and holiness spirals and all that, which is the reason Christianity survived more or less intact in many different environments for nearly two thousand years before completely giving way to Puritanism.

    Progressivism is Puritanism, which is basically Puritans becoming more holy than Jesus, Jesus being demoted from Son of God to mere Community Organizer, and eventually God being dropped from the pantheon altogether.

    One of the interesting characteristics of Protestant low church “denominations” (let’s call them sects) is that these sects are continually splintering off into new little tiny variations on this or that biblical interpretation. Puritanism can be considered to have been a Christian sect and was on reasonably good turns with other Christian sects. It wasn’t until Progressivism properly came into began after WW2 that it completely broke with all Christian symbolism, imagery, language, dropped God from the pantheon, and through this became not just another Christian sect but a full-blown heresy. And you will recognize that this is precisely when Christianity became passé in this country, with Progressivism seeking to slowly strangle it to death. A heresy typically hates its parent religion.

    Anyway, this brings me to Official Conservatism. Official Conservatism’s (original) intellectual strain didn’t evolve from Progressivism, and so hate Progressivism and seek to eradicate it from this Earth. Because Official Conservatism was not a Progessive heresy, it was not inoculated against the strategies and effects of Progressivism and how to combat them. Thus, Official Conservatism tried peaceful coexistence, but of course nothing can peacefully coexist with Progressivism, so that peaceful coexistence rapidly turned into Official Conservatives suckling at the teat of Progressivism and Progressives wearing the skin of Official Conservatism like an ill-fitting suit. I would argue that Official Cinservativism was deliberately intended to be a revival of the founding classical liberal/libertarian bent of the country; I’m sure it was entirely coincidental that the thing chosen to be revived was the thing that ancestors of Progressivism have been beating up and stealing the lunch money of for the past 300-odd years.

    All of which brings me to my final point: if you want to be a heretic you have to first have been the thing you now reject and revile, and your goal must be complete domination of your heresy over its immediate ancestor, which in our case presently wields unimaginable power.

    So if you’re looking for a viable Progressive heresy, one with a future, the only one to date is NRx (and the so-called alt-right, whose core is NRx).

    Here, have a gentle introduction.

    • There isn’t anything to argue about George. The prog way is a total fail. Cultural Marxism got nothing to offer dirt people. Nada. Zilch. Zero. N.O.T.H.I.N.G. They never had nothing to offer but the worst of the human race.
      Read what this guy wrote here below, is there any question the human extinction movement has anything to offer beyond the fundamental principles and reasoned principles contained within his sublime thoughts?:

      ‘I discriminate.’
      “The entire human race are neither my brothers nor kin. There is nothing noble about non-discrimination—concepts such as love, trust and brotherhood lose all meaning when discrimination is removed.
      Sorry, bleeding hearts—love does not exist without discrimination. The person who “loves everyone” actually loves no one.  Imagine if I loved everyone as much as I loved my wife…this is a ridiculous notion—I love, honor and would lay down my life defending my wife before any other human on Earth precisely because I discriminate. Similarly, I strive to fill my inner circle with people who are strong, noble of character and wise because I discriminate..”


      • Obviously this clown confuses the notion of being intelligent and a discriminating person with the act of discrimination, that of belittling or demeaning another because of one characteristic or another. Remember the kid wearing glasses, or the fat kid, or the skinny kid, or the black kid.

        Heck, my Dad told me that when he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. where I was born, people thought we were blacks because they had never seen a “brown” person before. Imagine that. And this was in the early ’50’s and he was in the 82nd Airborne at the time.

        My point is that of course people are discriminating. We do it all the time. Even when we buy products we choose based a set of features that appeal to us and that we can afford. But that is not the same as racial discrimination. What an idiot.

  16. This strike a cord with anyone else? Sure reminds me of the reaction of the left after having been served a heaping steaming plate of irrelevancy on 11-8. It comes from :

    “Toxic people blatantly deny their own manipulative behavior and ignore evidence when confronted with it. They become dismissive and critical if you attempt to disprove their fabrications with facts. Instead of them actually addressing their inappropriate behavior, somehow it always becomes your fault for being sensitive and “crazy”. Toxic people condition you to believe that the problem isn’t the abuse itself, but instead your reactions to their abuse.”

    • In other words this is known as “Gaslighting” a subset of that is known as “Kafkatrapping”. I’ll give just one example of each.

      Gaslighting is commonly known. There is even a Wikipedia entry for it. It manifests itself, for instance, in many divorce proceedings, especially among women where they turn around their own faults, sins and dirty deeds on the man (projection) and, instead, play the victim when she was the perpetrator.

      Kafkatrapping is regularly seen in AA where the denial of something is evidence of being guilty of that same thing (“See, your denial of being an alcoholic is proof you are one.”)

      Both are evil beyond belief.

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