Something that is easy to miss in the insanity of the current age is the fact that the people running the revolution are not just mediocre people, but they have the most mediocre dreams. Unlike revolutionaries of the past, they don’t speak of moving past this age of trouble and strife to a new age of man. There’s no sense that mankind can ascend to a higher level of existence. Instead, all of their energy is directed to that which touches on the imponderables of the human condition.
The assault on Confederate symbols is the most obvious. There’s no thought given to why these statues were erected by the people living in these communities. What little thought there is to the people who erected them is simplistic and childish. In fact, the need to know anything about the statues was so vexing and offensive to the people assaulting them, they quickly moved from attacking Confederate symbols to attacking all symbols that were connected with the past.
There’s certainly a strong anti-white element to this. They have to deny it for partisan reasons, as to do otherwise is to give the other side a victory, but only Progressive ideologues and their conservative enablers can deny it. The appeal, however, is in the simplicity, as it requires so little from the partisans. This is why they have moved so quickly from Confederate iconography through “symbols of whiteness” onto all items with a nuanced connection to the past.
This vulgar dullness is often read as just fanatical violence by rich kids seeking attention or authenticity within their movement. Others want to see it as just decorating common street criminals with politics. The thing is though, many of the rioters and statue topplers are the children of ruling class types. Just as the left-wing radicals of the sixties were the children of the bourgeoisie, today’s street radicals are children of the managerial elite. These are bourgeois revolutionaries.
The blandness of this revolution reflects the tastes and sensibilities of the people who produced the ideology and the radicals themselves. Look around at the creations of our modern rulers and the remarkable feature is the ugliness. If someone had dozed off in the 1960’s and been revived in this age, they would be sure the communists had won the Cold War and imposed their aesthetic on the West. Relative to the post war years in America, the modern aesthetic is offensively ugly.
The synthetic ugliness of the current year West surpasses the ugliness of communism in that it is the product of material excess. The dreariness of communist architecture, for example, could be explained by scarcity. They had to make do with what they could produce, which meant concrete and steel. The modern West is brimming with material excess, but insists on an aesthetic that captures the hopes and dreams of the career civil servant. Today’s style is depressed postal clerk.
This is, of course, the fruit of egalitarianism. When a society embraces the natural hierarchy of man, even the people at the top are looking up for inspiration. They are sure there is something better and more beautiful a little higher than where they currently stand. There’s no limiting principle to capturing the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. The aesthetic of such a society is one of increasing beauty and complexity in the art of the people.
In an egalitarian society, this is thrown into reverse. Everyone is discouraged from looking up, as that may suggest apostasy. Instead, the best only look up in order to get a better grip on the self-imposed ceiling, which is always pulled down. Everyone else is compelled to look down for a new lowest common denominator. Only in the most vulgar and debased can everyone be included. The result is a community that looks like film noir, but is awash in pornography and degeneracy.
This makes perfect sense, as egalitarianism inevitably flips the natural order on its head, elevating the bottom over all else. The ideological enforcers in the human resource department are no different from the ideological enforcers in communism. These people are not selected for their skill, but their stupidity. They are too stupid to contemplate what they are doing. Instead, they puff out their chests and stiffen their backs for having memorized the latest party fads.
The same is true of the volunteer auxiliary police patrolling the public space for unapproved thoughts. Imagine the dullness and ugliness of someone who takes the job of Facebook moderator. It is no wonder so many of them are South Asian. The Indian subcontinent’s primary export is the narrow-minded functionary, best fit for the ticket window of the train station. The fact that suicide is not common among the staff of social media firms confirms the dullness of them.
At first blush, it seems like a paradox that a system capable of marshaling human effort to produce such spectacular material excess also produces such mediocre men. It’s as if the engine of material progress uses the creativity and passion, the hopes and aspirations of the people as fuel to make consumer goods. Just as the failed materialism of communism denuded the land of culture and beauty, liberal democracy is doing the same, just with high tech materials.
If it were just ugliness, one could think that perhaps the next phase of man is a post-beauty world, where the aesthetic is defined by efficiency. That’s not so, as the people are also made vulgar and simplistic as well. What passes for intellectual endeavor in the modern academy is striking for its narrowness. The innovative thinker is one who manages to lop off some new bits of human knowledge. The goal of intellectual life is to reduce the stock of human knowledge.
This is most evident in politics. The market place of ideas that is supposed to be the wellspring of liberal democracy has resulted in a bazaar full of weirdos all selling the exact same goods. The defining feature of the modern elections is their pointlessness, as no matter the result, policy never changes. In modern politics, innovation is treated like superstition. Anyone suggesting something different is treated like he has been possessed by a demon or is in league with Old Scratch.
Perhaps liberal democracy has reached a point where a small number of capable people can keep everything running, while the mediocre and stupid run riot. Maybe that is the world at the end of history. Given the recent madness, there is a strong case to be made for this argument. On the other hand, history says man cannot live without beauty, even the simplest expressions of it. The inexplicable beauty of the world has always demanded our attention. Will we want to live without it?
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