Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Better to Rule in Hell


(fm the BC thread "The Man in the Mirror")

wretchard,
without the benefit of conspiracy (...) both the conservatives and the left

Yes and no, which is to say maybe no. There is an asymmetry between the two sides that stems from their philosophical antecedents.

The Right is a heterogeneous fusion of several strands that often work against each other. These include both faith based and traditionalist communitarian influences that emphasis a respect for institutions and precedents and the rationalist and Liberal traditions that emphasis the market, skepticism open inquiry. Both have been relied upon to support a system depends on the rule of law and tolerance for minorities and their novel ideas while defending an open system of government that holds the rulers accountable to the people. The sources of knowledge are in Nature as discovered through a process of scientific study open to anyone and through the wisdom of the people as communicated to their representatives. Both streams of knowledge depend on a preexisting reality and a spirit of honest participation in working within that reality that ultimately was seen to come from God.

The Left is less diverse or at least more internally consistent in its influences. It can be traced back to the Dialectic of Hegel and then through the cabal of the Jacobin Clubs all the way back to the Gnostic heresies of the Middle Ages or earlier. What is common that distinguishes them is a belief in belief as transcending reality. They believe that a small group with a special secret knowledge, that is not available to the masses, have the power to triumph over the reality of creation and defy the laws of Nature to remold humanity and change history for some greater good. To these people that reality cannot be properly perceived by normal means because of the ignorance and corruption of man.

These beliefs and their encouragement of a reliance on closed self replicating authorities to dominate society and denigrate or destroy all possible alternatives have periodically been very influential even within the mainstream. For example the efforts of the Medieval Church to suppress the study of nature and to restrict access to the Bible showed the influence of those same forces the Church had condemned as heretical. There is a natural tendency to become somewhat like the enemy you struggle against.

The Left is always more likely to both accuse the Right of entering a conspiracy and also to resort to a conspiracy themselves because that is the model that they see as the proper way to gain and hold power. A Left wing administration is an ongoing conspiracy burdened by the unhappy necessity of governing. For the Left revolution is not really a means to Marx's Utopia but is an end to itself. It is the permanent rebellion of the enlightened angels against nature. Milton understood their motives.

Consider how they resort as their first position to falsifying data to prove their position over Global Warming. They assume that they have to engage in conspiratorial activities and they project onto legitimate businesses the assumption that everything those businesses do is part of some grand dishonest conspiracy in a struggle against the left. They believe this even if their adherents have entered into positions of influence within the organizations they seem themselves competing with. They believe their suspected rivals are engaging in conspiratorial manipulations as the they would without regard to the cost to any business of doing so while still attempting to perform some task in the marketplace. Leftists always act shocked to discover that a businessman is actually in the business of making shirts instead of participating in some titanic CIA operation to track down the Leftist.

While conservatives may enter into a conspiracy they do so in the expectation that they are doing so temporarily and it is an unnatural act. At the risk of entering into a "no true Scotsman" fallacy by my standards those ostensibly conservative movements that organize themselves as ongoing conspiracies against society such as militia movements or supremacist splinter groups, as opposed to ad hoc responses to real conditions such as the Tea Parties are, should not be viewed as being of the Right at all. They are a deformed projection of the Left.

As an aside this view of the special role of the bearers of a secret wisdom in guiding humanity may explain some of the affinity between the Left and Islam. If you assume that people are inherently corrupt and that the truth can not be learned either by the scientific study of nature nor by the expression of the popular will as expressed through freely chosen representatives under a transparent system of law then you may turn instead to a circular set of truths that need no validation from reality and which justify their adherents using any means necessary to dominate and control the masses.

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