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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Civilization and the urge to destroy

Cultures automatically create a countercurrent of ideas that would destroy them. These ideas must be vigorously challenged.

T the urge to burn down is not unique to modern times. It is part of human psychology for all civilizations to generate a cultural countercurrent to express repressed ideas. Just as we are fascinated by things we can never possess, we are fascinated by ideas that we can never admit. We are programmed to destroy as well as create.

It is sometimes said that liberal societies create countercultures for the purpose of neutralizing threatening ideas. The strength of a classically liberal society is that it can entertain contrary ideas and survive, and even be strengthened by the challenge.

Our civilization has been in a constant battle with many such ideas. The genocidal communist dictator Pol Pot, for example, believed in eliminating inequality. He tried to eliminate it by killing anyone who had more of anything than anyone else. It was a fatally flawed idea that ultimately destroyed the future of his country.

A related idea is multiculturalism. Its basic tenet is that one culture is no better than any other, and thus our civilization has no more reason than any other to exist or occupy territory. The ultimate goal of multiculturalists is to achieve a one-world government.

But this idea too has a fatal flaw: it ensures that little resistance will be made against any outside invader. If a terrorist attacked a multiculturalist, his only consistent response would be to lie down and wait for death; killing is, after all, part of the terrorists' culture and we should accommodate it.

The multiculturalists reply with denials: there are no invaders. Ignore those unhappy looking fellows over there charging at you with bombs strapped to their waists, whose comrades fifteen years ago smashed passenger planes into our buildings. They are basically jolly chaps with rich inner lives who have some legitimate grievance, perhaps having only just learned about the Crusades. If we reasoned with them and gave them some of somebody else's money, they would settle down and contribute to our rich shared culture.

People adopt such ideologies not because they have reasoned that the ideology is objectively true, but because the ideology provides them with a justification for what they want to do. Despite appearances, multiculturalists don't want to destroy our civilization outright; what they want is to justify their own cowardice at not defending it by pretending that it does not deserve to survive.

This is why we see books like Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. For Zinn and his followers, history really is just another weapon, just as it was for Lenin and Stalin. For them, history can never be ‘neutral’ or ‘objective’; history is nothing more than a narrative that can and must be imposed by the victor on the victim.

The same is true of all of civilization's accomplishments: our science and technology are merely a form of aggression against nature. Our literature is merely a justification of colonialism and slavery. Our mathematics and logic are merely tools of the patriarchy. For the perpetual revolutionary everything must be painted the same color.

It's not, strictly speaking, that they don't believe there's such a thing as truth. What they believe is that power, not objective reality, creates truth. Truth is ideology: if you want power, you must first create a truth that justifies it.

This is why they manufacture narratives about how fascist and racist their own society is, and how wonderful those societies that wish us harm, and why they experience such a frisson at any disclosure about how greedy and nasty their own ancestors were. To destroy something one must first believe it unworthy of survival.

To multiculturalists there is no contradiction in claiming on the one hand that diversity is strength and on the other admitting that they wish to see the end of native Europeans as a distinct ethnic and cultural group. That even asserting that such a group might be worthy of survival elicits vicious verbal abuse is evidence of how much ground we have ceded to them.

In its purest manifestation, as in the environmentalists' voluntary extinction movement and in critical race theory, we see what multiculturalism would lead to if unopposed: a belief in using the power of the state to silence those of their fellow citizens who challenge their power and hegemony.

Europeans have already taken the first step: it is already illegal there to express unapproved ideas. Gradually, as multiculturalism merges with critical theory, they begin to adopt the idea that freedom of speech is only a tool of the oppressor.

Traditionalists often point out that the American government has not yet suppressed free speech, though it may be gnawing at the edges. But one only has to note how carefully they must parse their words. Whether from a desire for respectability or anxiety that their souls may not be bold enough, it deprives us of an effective defense.

Ideas must be fought with argument and knowledge. As our educational system and our freedom of speech continue to erode, we are increasingly deprived of the ammunition we need. In the next few decades the ideas we are afraid to address today, if left unchallenged, will continue to mutate until they become virulent.

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