Prolegomena to Any Future Metapsychics

I remember one conversation in particular during a college bull session, when I voiced the opinion that temperance in the appetites being necessary for happiness in life, abstinence from strong drink and sexual excess would therefore likewise be necessary, I was harangued with a five-minute stemwinder by a young zealot, who, foaming at the mouth and red in the face, thundered at me that disbelief in God was the only rational position a soul could take on the issue. Eventually, through his clamor, I was able to impart to him that I was an atheist of absolutely pure conviction, and an evangelist of godlessness. The passionate partisan of disinterested rationality was dumbfounded, for he equated the idea of government of the passions by the reason with an irrational belief in God, and he equated the idea of degrading self-indulgence in sensual pleasures with the idea of dispassionate reason.

Yet was it unreasonable of him to assume that any man who supported temperance and chastity was a Christian? Perhaps not.

Consider the following quote:

The Right-Left axis aligns an astonishing collection of beliefs that at first glance seem to have nothing in common… Why on earth should people’s beliefs about sex predict their beliefs about the size of the military? What does religion have to do with taxes? Whence the linkage between strict construction of the Constitution and disdain for shocking art?

This quote (or so I am told) comes from Steven Pinker’s book The Blank SlateMr Pinker’s argument (or so I am told) is that there may be a genetic predisposition toward one political leaning or the other. I have not read the book and voice no opinion on it.

Without reading this particular author’s answer, let me confess that I find the topic of exploring the originals of ideas a fascinating one. As far as I know, it has never been made the subject of a rigorous study. Nor do I propose to make such a study now. I do however propose to coin a neologism to describe such a study: Let it be called metapyschics, since it looks at the root causes of ideas in the psyche or mind of man, that is, the rules or logic or hidden ideas behind the ideas we know. This essay is no more than a prologue suggesting a profitable line of research for those investigating this new discipline.

On the proposition in general that one’s political and cultural beliefs are genetic, I must confess I am genetically programmed to reject this idea with umbrage and disdain, and therefore there is no point in debating it with me, nor offering evidence.

I am also, sadly, programmed to suffer the illusion that I have free will and that I came by my beliefs honestly.

A word about my history is needed here:

My wife was born and raised as a hippy Christian by a Buddhist Jew, and I was raised in a military family as an atheist libertarian Houyhnhnm of the Stoic philosophical school by an agnostic Vulcan. She and I spent our college years debating matters economic and esoteric, and, agreeing on nothing except our love for each other, fell blissfully into courtship and wedlock and an endless round of role playing games and novel writing marathons. The match was made in the heaven in which I, at that time, did not believe.

Since neither she, a devout leftwing Christian, nor I, a semi-anarchist Stoic atheist, fit anywhere on the normal Left-Right spectrum of the Culture War, we were constantly mistaken for followers of schools of thought we either did not follow or soundly rejected.

And, even from a young age, she wondered why the particular ideas of Left and Right tend to be clustered together. As quoted above, why on earth should people’s beliefs about sex predict their beliefs about the size of the military?

Myself, I never wondered, being told since youth up what the reason must be.

And the reason is not genetic disposition any more than it is the jar of malign planets shedding influences from sovereign natal constellations.

Moderns believe in genetics only because it is not fashionable to believe in astrology.

If the same men who lived now had been raised during the Renaissance, they would be solemnly assuring us that a weakness for Guelph politics or for the practices of Ganymede were due to a retrograde planet in Virgo, or an unlucky opposition to Gemini.

After becoming a father, and after 9/11 and realizing to my shock that my fellow libertarians had no interest in joining forces with me to protect my children from either prenatal infanticide or sexual perversion or drug pushers or suicide bombers, the limitations of the principle of ‘Do As Thou Wilt be the Whole of the Law’ became shockingly clear to me. It is a peacetime philosophy only, and only among men who adhere to certain basic ideals springing from the Western cultural tradition, i.e. men who adhere to Christian cultural norms even if not Christian men.

So it is not by indoctrination or upbringing or any other early influence which persuades me to become an arch-conservative and ardent Constitutionalist, but, rather, the logical deductions from identifiable axioms which form the skeletal principles, and the lessons of history and niceties of judgment which flesh out how those principles are to be applied.

Unlike a cradle conservative, my conservatism is creedal.

You may, dear reader, disagree with the axioms, or, more likely, regard the judgment calls as disproportionate, that I regard trivial dangers as grave and grave dangers as trivial. Reasonable men in a jury can disagree on whether the law applies to the facts they are given, and reasonable judges can disagree on interpretations of the law: only a child takes honest disagreement to be a sign of mental derangement or moral corruption.

My point here is not that my answers are correct. My point is only that I have them. If I am wrong, I am wrong for a reason I can articulate.

If I am wrong, one can blame my judgment, but not my genes. I had the same genes before and after my conversion to conservative thinking.

Because my conversion was deliberate, step by step, each adoption of each conservative value was, to me, for a known reason springing from a known principle. There is no mystery to it, and I need neither the mystical stars of astrology nor mystical molecules of genetics to explain it.

So let us examine, not what conservative principles are, but why certain ideas tend to be clustered as they are. The answer, I think, will surprise no honest man:

A man’s several beliefs about art and culture and politics and sex and war and taxes are based on his underlying view of man. Of necessity his view of man must influence his view of the basics of the human condition.

I offer the thoughts following to investigate and explain and perhaps to support this theme.

The first part of the answer is, unsurprisingly, the most basic. It is also the hardest for the skeptic to accept, and one which the mood and atmosphere of our modern age is dead set against.

You see, unlike what everyone from Sesame Street muppets to tenured professors to professional pundits has told you, and unlike what every tale from earliest comic book to haughtiest progressive film has told you and taught you and urged you to believe, you are at the core a rational being.

Now, let us be most careful, since this is a most easy principle to mistake. You are not Spock. You are not a rational being in the sense that you make all your decisions (or any of them) with the dispassionate detachment of a judge on the bench or a scientist at a workbench. I am not claiming you think logically and unemotionally. That privilege is reserved for Houyhnhnms and other fictional creatures.

When I say “you are a rational being” I mean not that you control the faculty of reason. Perhaps you do to some degree, perhaps not. I mean you are controlled by the logic of your philosophy.

You might object that you have no philosophy. This is impossible. You may have one that you have never questioned, never articulated, one whose reason shapes your conclusions without your awareness, but you don’t have none.

For the purpose of clarity, let us use the word ‘worldview’ or ‘world’ to describe both the articulate and the inarticulate system of ideas and judgments and perceptions and conclusions you and I and all other rational beings use to observe, assess, react, and decide how we live our lives.

Your worldview operates by its own internal logic. Once you accept the axioms, you tacitly accept the conclusions. Certain conclusions you can fight, or resist, or bend aside from their natural course, but this comes at a cost, both in expense of mental effort and in loss of mental integrity; and therefore it is correspondingly unusual.

To restate: The reason why ideas tend to be clustered together is because ideas have a nature of their own which cannot be wished away or set aside by an act of will. Ideas have a certain logic to them, a natural ‘fit’ which allows some clusters of ideas easily to fall into place. The outliers occur when that logic or natural fit is defied or denied on a case-by-case basis. The thinker has to go to the trouble to carve out an exception: if he fails to do so, the ideas, of their own innate power, will tend to draw together.

In other words, reason is supreme. Even those who deny reason are subject to it. If one idea logically implies another, it is costly or tedious or difficult or even impossible to hold to the one and reject its conclusion.  It can be done, but only by taking the effort to invent or adopt a special pleading or special exception to apply to that case: and this effort is by its nature inefficient.

Let us call this the principle of Natural Logic of Worlds.

We can state the principle thus: Worldviews are holographic and organic. Holographic, because from one part the rest can be deduced; organic, because once you accept one basic belief about the world, you are under a strong inclination or influence to accept the logically related beliefs; this is because these logically related beliefs grow one out of the other like the members of an organism. The relation of these beliefs one to the other is not a matter of human decision or willpower. Thoughts have a life of their own, a logic of their own.

Now surely you are thinking, “But, wait! No one has ever taught me the opposite of this belief that you call the Principle of Natural Logic of Worlds. Neither any muppet nor any tenured professor has told me anything of the kind.”

I beg to differ. The lesson is there, continually repeated and continually emphasized, but always tacitly. It is the essential belief and foundational axiom of modern philosophy and modern worldviews, and it dates back to Kant.

The opposite belief in the Natural Logic of Worlds is the belief that Man Makes His Own World.

When you are told ‘Believe in Yourself’ this is a slogan that can only be uttered by someone who tacitly rejects the notion of the Natural Logic of Worlds. The slogan ‘Believe in Yourself’ is not merely asking you to avoid a crippling lack of self-esteem which may make you unsuccessful in business and in mate-seeking. It is asking you to accept that life is what you make of it; that you create your own reality.

When you are told, ‘Don’t Stereotype’ and ‘Don’t be bigoted’ and ‘Judge Not, Lest ye be Judged’ these slogans are not merely asking you to be as careful and dispassionate and objective as a scientist or juror when coming to assessment of the character of others, and not merely asking you to leave vengeance to the Hand of the Almighty who can read the hearts of men. These slogans are also telling you to be ashamed if you notice that certain ideas in the thoughts of men and certain behaviors in their actions are clustered together with certain professions, philosophies, backgrounds, cultures, cults, and races. These are NOT calls for objectivity. These are calls to join the general mutually shared game of pretense which pretends that life is malleable and human nature is fluid and that life is what you make it and that you make your own reality.

When you are told, ‘that idea is old-fashioned’ or ‘everything is relative’ or ‘this belief is Eurocentric’ or ‘all points of view are valid’ these slogans are not merely cautioning you to read up on the latest findings in your field nor merely asking you to listen to all witnesses with evidence to give to the court of your conscience. These slogans are not telling you Einstein’s theory of physics. You are being told that the place from which you stand to make the observation, or the person who makes the observation, determines what the observation shall be: him, the observer, and not the thing observed. You are being told human nature, including yours, is malleable, and that your reality is of your own making.

Let us call idea that Reality is of Your Own Making the Gnostic Principle, or Gnosticism. (The terminology is inexact, but indulge me.)

If it is difficult or impossible to believe that state censorship of speech and thought is wrong without also believing that private ownership of firearms is right, then this is because there is a natural connection in logic between those two ideas, an organic connection between them perhaps not obvious at first. The Principle of Natural Logic says you do not get a vote on whether this connection exists or not: if you believe in the First Amendment, sooner or later you either abandon integrity or abandon opposition to the Second Amendment.

Nothing could be a graver insult or a more ridiculous absurdity to someone who believes in the Gnostic Principle. To tell a man who makes his own world that there is something in his world he cannot make or cannot unmake is effrontery. It may even be oppression.

“Surely a rational creature” (so argues that Gnostic) “can select what beliefs he wishes based on what judgments he makes? There are many a Leftwing who believe most strongly on your right to free speech, but who also believe strongly that the danger of gun crime outweighs the benefit of a provision meant only for State Militia to arm themselves against possible insurrection and tyranny, never meant for personal protection! The one idea is unrelated to the other! Each idea is judged on its own basis, without prejudice!”

The Gnostic worldview is parallel to the worldview of the modern materialist, who says the mind is nothing but matter in motion, in that both downplay the reality and the tenacity of ideas. The modern so-called scientific thinker tends to overestimate the solidity and persistence of the material worlds.

For example, I have heard some materialists claiming, despite astronomical evidence to the contrary, that the universe is infinitely old, and must continue to exist forever: the materialist metaphysical principle of the eternity of matter in this case trumps the best model based on current physical evidence of a Big Bang and an eventual entropic Heat Death.

Likewise, the modern so-called scientific thinker tends to dismiss evidence of consistent laws operating in realms of the purely mental, such as formal logic, geometry, economics, ethics, and so on, because the metaphysical principle of materialism relegates to thought a role only as a side effect of matter or an illusion. Only matter has substance: thought has no substance. The rules of logic or geometry or economics are no more real to a materialist than the rules of chess.

Again, I have heard materialist, with no sense of shame or pause for thought, arguing that the rules of geometry are either contingent on sense impressions or arbitrary conventions.

Psychologically, the freedom of all thought to be utterly arbitrary and fully arbitrary flatters the craving for godlike power in the souls of the Gnostic and the materialist and the modern so-called scientific thinker. He cannot tolerate to be told there are matters where he had no vote. While he might be willing to accept brute material facts exist independent of his veto, because he respects matter as real, he cannot accept the idea of brute ideal facts. The fact that his thoughts must perish when his body perishes (so argues the materialist) proves that thoughts are not facts. For him, only the harp is real; the music perishes when the strings are still.

I say that the roots go back to Kant, because it was Kant who posited a noumenal reality beyond the reach of our sense impressions, which neither empirical evidence nor rational deductions of pure reason could reach. Once reality is separate from the perception or model of reality, and reality is unreachable, it is short step to conclude, as Nietzsche does, that reality is only whatever flatters the willpower, and that a man makes his own meaning in an innately meaningless universe. It is equally short a step to conclude, as Sartre does, that man cannot make any meaning in the meaningless universe, therefore man must find meaning in himself. At a blow, such doctrines shatter the epistemological basis of moral reason, and open the Pandora’s box of self-indulgence. If there is no God, and all things are permitted, then the modern philosopher is free to copulate with his concubines and catamites and carriage  horses without fear of reproach from his own conscience.

Reading the biography of modern intellectuals from Rousseau onward, it is easy enough to believe that their true motive for all their apologetics was nothing more than excuse making for their sexual malfeasance and abominations. But, whether that is the intent or not, that is the outcome: modern epistemology says we cannot know reality. Where there is no knowledge, there can be no judgment, and no condemnation.

By coincidence, the two dominant worldviews of the modern political scene, socialism and capitalism, both lend themselves to the Principle of Gnosticism.

The Socialist wishes to remake man and to revise society into utopia. This cannot be done unless man is malleable. New standards cannot be written unless the old standards are not standards are all, but merely opinions relative to their age and place, an unevolved form that is destined to change to new forms.

The Capitalist wishes that the customer is always right, and he wishes no disputes over metaphysics to mar the smooth and peaceful workings of the marketplace: the destruction of the Reformation and Counterreformation convince the Capitalist not only not to have an Established Church, but not to have an established set of moral values, aside from the minimal values of honesty in business and diligence in labor and sanctity in property ownership and fairness in hiring needed to allow the market to operate efficiently.

Hugh Hefner and Bill Clinton, who would have been scourged as a pornographer  or hanged as an adulterer in a Christian civilization, are feted and applauded for being sexual revolutionaries in a postchristian postcivilization which Capitalism foments.

The pornographer wins the admiration of Homo OEconomicus because he has turned his magazine empire and gambling dens into a financial treasure, and he lives in a mansion. Like the friends of Job in the Book of Job, the Capitalist has the unfortunately tendency to regard mere material wealth as a sign of favor. It is the reward from the only god he adores, the marketplace, for the only virtues he regards, industriousness, productiveness, popularity, shrewdness, sharp dealing, dumb luck, and the ability to please one’s customers and to break down their sales-resistance.

The adulterer is praised as a martyr because of his suffering at the hands of evil Grand Inquisitors of a new ‘Sexual McCarthyism’ —  because the Capitalist mentality holds any matter not effecting job performance to be private, therefore of no concern to the buyer/voter. (I coin the awkward term “buyer/voter” because Capitalism regards democracy as merely another market place, with votes instead of dollars that one wins using modern marketing techniques.)

The idea that a man who cheats his wife lacks character, and therefore will cheat his constituencies is an idea that says, in effect, a Natural Logic of Worldviews connects ideas and principles and actions. The idea that adulterers are corrupt and cannot serve as Commander-in-Chief flies in the face of the Gnostic Principle.

In other words, the Gnostic Principle is the principle that all ideas are atomized. Just because you believe one thing, or take one action, does not necessarily mean you will believe or do another. To say otherwise is an affront to the godlike sovereignty of the all-powerful self-will in the realm of ephemeral ideas.

The Principle of Natural Logic is the principle that to will the end is to will the means to that end. You are free to stand or fall, but not free to set your own standard; free to see or to close your eyes, but not free to hallucinate; and you have a right to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

So much for the abstract; let us look at the particulars.

We will use the examples taken from the quote above: those who favor fornication over chastity have a strong incentive, that is, a reason of internal logic, to disfavor the military and prefer it kept small; likewise those who favor chastity over fornication have a strong inclination to favor the military and prefer it large. Christians tend to favor low taxes and small, unintrusive government; whereas Antichristians tend to favor high taxes and all-intrusive government. Strict Constructionists tend to prefer classical themes and models in the fine arts; Activists tend to prefer horrific rubbish that insults and shocks the aesthetic sense.

These various ideas seem to have no relation on the surface. Why cannot a small-government low-tax fellow like John Galt not also admire shockingly revolutionary new forms in art? Why cannot a Spartan fellow both favor harshly militaristic government and sexual perversion?

What is the natural logic of these ideas?

To repeat, ideas are either assonant or dissonant. Any of these ideas that are normally not found together can be found together in statistically odd or outlier populations, provided the thinker has thought of a justification or philosophy or matrix to enable him to reconcile dissonant ideas. All an assonance of ideas does is make it easier or create an incentive for certain ideas to fit with each other. A dissonance of ideas raises the price by demanding an extra mental effort from the thinker who wishes to hold both.

The six ideas in our example are sex and war, wisdom and lucre, law and art. These ideas are so basic to the human psyche that one finds them imagined as archetypes or pagan gods in the racial psychology: Venus and Mars, Saturn and Pluto, Jupiter and Apollo. I submit that one’s basic view of human nature, the one basic idea of man’s role in the cosmos, informs or influences these other six fundamental ideas.

Christianity introduced to the world an idea implicit in Jewish theology that man is responsible for himself and his ultimate fate after death. This is antithetical to the Eastern idea of Karma, or the classical idea of Fate and Necessity, or the modern ideas of Marxism or Freudianism or ‘Selfish Gene’ Pseudo-Darwinism, all of which give one reason or another to say that man is the passive patient of forces that decide his fate, either because of past lives, or because of ancestral genetics. The Christians say that if you go to Hell, you have none to blame but yourself. (Calvinists say those created for damnation never stood a chance to escape to begin with, but are still to blame, a paradox which lies outside the scope of this essay to explore, but which does not form a true exception to the general rule.)

Christianity also introduced the idea implicit in Jewish thought the God is no respecter of persons, and married this to the Classical Athenian notion of each man being equal before the law (isonomia). This idea is antithetical to pagan and oriental notions of caste and priest-kingship which sets particular divine individuals, demigods or favored races, on a higher spiritual footing than others. Christianity is uniquely individualistic in its approach. The thinking of the Enlightenment was truly revolutionary, but in one sense was profoundly conservative, since it draw out the liberal political implications of Christian metaphysical belief. Since the day when St Ambrose humbled Theodosius, or St Gregory humbled Henry IV, no Christian sincerely believed that kings and emperors were specially or particularly favored of God, or granted the spiritual superiority of a Brahmin or Pharaoh.

Not even the Anglicans, who were so extraordinary that they decreed Henry VIII to be the Pope of England, and Queen Elizabeth Popess, were so unchristian as to think these secular rulers possessed spiritual sanctity above the normal run of mortals: rather, it was that the thought the Pope in Rome to be overweening, not the King in London undervalued.

The other crucial and particular revolutions in the Christian worldview which sets it strikingly apart from its pagan and Jewish roots is the role of women.

The subject is difficult to discuss since the shrieking madness of modernism has bent its every effort to spreading lies and jabberwocky on the topic, and it would require volumes to answer every bogus argument and baseless accusation laid against the Church. We moderns have been told that divorce liberates the modern woman, and chastity chains her, and that motherhood is only sacred when the mother (usually a single mother) enjoys the privilege to kill the helpless child in the womb at her pleasure. We have been told that to come virgin to the marriage bed is not just unusual, but appalling, and to expect children to wait until eighteen to rid themselves of hated virginity is absurd and naïve.

In other words, we have been told nonsense so appalling that the sheer effrontery of the illogic and the falsehood protects it from criticism. You can debate with a man who says dawn is when the sun first appears at the horizon; you cannot debate with a man who says noon is midnight.

One can but stare, as if at a train wreck, at the modern spectacle of so much human misery, broken families and broken hearts and wasted lives, sacrificed on the altar of sexual liberation. Yes, modern sex has been liberated from logic, from self-control, from medical prudence, and from life itself. And we think ourselves enlightened because we lack all prudence in matters of sex, and infect our underage daughters in countless numbers with venereal diseases.

The imps in Hell crook their beaks in mirthless smiles and dance leaping jigs with knees akimbo about the fires, laughing cold laughter, at the signal success of this victory. To make man miserable with sin is would be the delight of the fallen angels, if those sad creations could know delight; to make man boast of his sin as if it were virtue would be their delight far greater.

Time forces me to be cursory where I should be expansive: I will say only that the pagans were cruel to their womenfolk, as they were cruel to all weak things, and indulged in polygamy and divorce and abortion and other practices whose purpose and effect is to desecrate virginity and motherhood alike. The Christian respect for life and rejection of divorce and insistence on fidelity and chastity, monogamy within marriage and abstinence without, is unique. The Protestant acceptance, first of divorce, then of contraception, now of homosexual marriages between female priests, has weakened and mocked what was once universal Christian teaching and practice, but this does not change the uniqueness of the teaching nor its fundamental nobility.

So, the view of man that emerged during the Imperial Roman period, and was developed through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, and ages of Discovery and Enlightenment and Industrialization that followed was a Christian view. Man (male and female both) was regarded as an individual, and Woman was regarded as sacred, either as maiden or matron, virgin or mother, not something merely to be used for a human end.

The Christian view of man is profoundly mature, and, based on two thousand years or more of experience and wisdom, is balanced and proportionate, nuanced and pragmatic, idealistic where it needs to be even to the point of extravagance, silent where no consensus has emerged nor revelation revealed, and proven again and again to work.

The modern view, springing from Nietzsche and Darwin, Freud and Marx, put an end to the common acceptance of man as sacred or unique, much as Copernicus had put an end to the heliocentric theory. Man was no longer the center and cynosure of the cosmos.  God was dead; man was a naked ape; virtue was unhealthy self-repression; philosophy was the ideological superstructure of selfish class interests. There was no cosmos, no order, merely an abyss filled with the particles of Lucretius falling like snow, without divinity nor humanity nor virtue nor thought. And all poems died, and all sculpture became merely screams of horror or Rorschach blots, which mean nothing but what you say they mean.

The modern view of man is Antichristian. That is all there is to it.

It is profoundly shallow. It is the philosophy of children who have never studied philosophy, combination of simplistic ideas, rank nonsense, hatred and arrogance, mentally unbalanced, crude and unformed, and its highest ideal aims at the destruction of idealism. It is extravagant where it should be cautious, craven where it should be bold, incoherent in theory and impractical in practice, leading nowhere but to misery, self-indulgence, violence, and death. And it prides itself on being the stark opposite of all these things.

Again, a volumes could be written about the difference between medieval political theory, which supported sacral kingship and universal imperium, and modern republicanism, which rejects monarchy with passionate zeal. It would be a long and difficult process even to sketch the evolution from medievalism, which was perhaps the most organically sound and well-structured polis man could devise, to the creeping totalitarianism of oligarchic England and absolutist France in the early modern period, to the modern reaction against those impositions on ancient rights and liberties, which found its flower in the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

I cannot now dwell on the point, and, again, must be cursory: the American Revolution was a rebellion of conservative Christian landowners eager to preserve their ancient rights and liberties as Englishmen, which spring out of a cultural tradition and common law and canon law reaching back to Medieval and Roman Imperial models, or to the free elections of burghers and bishops, or to the civic militarism of Athens in the classical world. The French Revolution was an anticlerical revolt meant to uproot all ancient institutions in the name of reason and modern science, and redesign and sculpt mankind to be fit for utopia, with the machine of the guillotine as its instrument of sculpture.

All modern political thought springs from these two revolutions in theory. The American theory was that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that governments are instituted among men to secure these rights. The French theory was that all intellectuals are superior to the rich and powerful, whom they must torture and kill in countless multitudes in retaliation for the unfairness of life on earth.

The Russian Revolution followed in spirit and in method the French, and the rise to power of Fascists in Italy and Germany followed the Russian Revolution in rhetoric, means, methods, and aims, differing only in how rapidly and to what extent the revolution to create utopia was to be carried out, or which groups were to be slain by machines descended from the guillotine, but more modern.

The American Revolution was profoundly influenced by Christian thought, and the institutions developed from it have proven so far to be unable to take root in any culture outside of a Christian one. The French Revolution was anticlerical and antichristian, the Russian moreso, and the Fascist only somewhat: all three proposed to remake human society on more scientific and rational lines, the Russian and Fascist theory explicitly embracing Darwinism as the exemplar and excuse for aiding the natural cosmic process, in Russia, of evolution of society to a higher economic plane, in Germany, of eugenics.

In Christian theology, there is basically one and only one decision to be made, either by man or angels: to serve or to disobey. The Virgin says, ‘be it done to me according to they word’ and so is elevated to the post of the queen of angels. The Devil says, ‘I will not serve’ and so is cast down from being the prince of angels to being the prince of darkness. The choice is simple and binary: yes or no. God elevates the humble, and casts down the proud.

The modern view of the world, and the view of man’s place in the world, is divided between these two.

On the one hand is the American Revolutionary view, which is the mature view, and the Christian view.

It says man is responsible for himself, and invested with sacred rights that no man can rightly take away. Man is fallen from a high estate, fallen so profoundly that no human power can restore him.

On the other hand is the French Revolutionary view, which is the immature view, profoundly Antichristian — albeit, of course, taking most of its axioms from Christian thought nonetheless, merely twisting or ignoring what happens to be inconvenient.

It says that man is not responsible for himself, and that something else, genetics or environment or economic conditions or social rank, produce undesirable outcomes, and that technical competence in manipulating these factors which control man, genetics or environment or economic conditions or social rank, will produce desirable outcomes. Man is an evolved ape who will rise naturally to a higher estate, and human power, used with technical cleverness, will shorten the time of this rise.

The American Revolutionary view says that the state belongs as a servant to the people. The French Revolutionary view says the people are cogs in the machinery of the state, and the people therefore belong as property to the state.

So then: the natural join between the idea of chastity, which is a form of self control, and the idea that since Caesar cannot be trusted with power over the lives of men therefore each man must do for himself as best he may and left to enjoy the fruits of his own labor, which is a form of self control, is the idea of maturity. Mature men uphold both self control and self reliance.

Immature men seek to submit to all powerful passions and to escape consequences and condemnation; they furthermore seek to magnify the power of Caesar in the hope that the State will act as nanny and nursemaid to solve immediate ills and usher in the eventual utopia. Immature men condemn self control as oppression and regard the concept of self reliance as impossible or unrealistic.

High taxes goes hand in hand with a powerful and all meddlesome Caesar; low taxes ensure that the government will be kept small, modest, and no threat to the public.

Part of self reliance is self protection. Mature men know that war is inevitable, and that if you want peace, you must prepare for war. They see a large military as an inevitable if evil necessity. For the immature man, nothing is inevitable and nothing is necessary, on the grounds that a sufficiently clever technical competence in social engineering can solve social problems, including war. The immature man is also a coward, and is envious of heroism, and suspicious of the institutions on which military values and virtues and institutions rest. Being immature, he can see only the surface phenomena, and thinks that only the surface is real. A shallow and superficial solution to the problem of war is to disarm. If there are no soldiers, the idea runs, there is no war.

More profoundly than this, however, runs the idea which is the true source of the divide. The American Revolutionary idea, being profoundly Christian, cherishes obedience. The French, being antichristian, rejects obedience, and cherishes revolt for the sake of revolt.

The military is both built on the concept of obedience as its paramount concept, and serves as an instrument to crush insurrection and revolt. Those who romanticize revolt cannot concentrate on the idea of an external enemy. No external enemy is real to them in their imaginations. The enemy, the only enemy, is the established order: the state, the king, the father figure. To admit that external enemies were a credible threat would be tantamount to the admission that the established order has a legitimate purpose and a legitimate role. Admitting this cuts against the fundamental glamor of revolt against the established order.

The mature view of the world and man’s place in it says that there are many enemies and evildoers, including the evil inside one’s own heart, and one must be watchful against foes foreign and domestic, and to watch without ceasing.

The immature view says that there is only one enemy. He has a different name for every different flavor of the immature view, but all evils in the world are laid at his doorstep, whoever he might be: The Man. The Establishment. The Jew. Wall Street. The Phallocracy. The Father Figure. The Authority. God. Merely do away with him, and all peace and justice and wealth will fall into our laps from smiling rainbow clouds where flying ponies play.

It is the conspiracy theory theory of history: one bad guy is responsible for all ills in life. The bad guy must be in charge of life, since the ills are ubiquitous. Overthrow this bad guy, and, like the sacrifice of a scapegoat, will carry all live’s woes away. The bad guy is always The Man, never oneself.

Obviously a large military is not needed as proof against The Man, since the military is The Man.

It is the most simplistic, the most stupid, and the most shallow approach to the problem of evil in life and how to deal with it imaginable.

In America, the chief check on the growth of the power of Caesar is the Constitution. The mature man, being mature, trusting to experience and to practical wisdom, rarely will repair a watch that keeps time: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. He sees the Constitution as the chief bulwark against the seeping flood of tyranny.

The immature man, who wants the government to run his life for him, sees the Constitution as the chief barrier to social progress. He is in favor of the seeping tyranny, because, being immature, he has no experience to tell him that tyranny is a bad idea, that Fallen Man cannot be trusted with power, nor will the immature man heed the wisdom of experience.

The chief weapon to dismantle the Constitution is the indirect erosion of pretending it says something other than what it says: this method allows activists to see in the Constitutions umbras from which new rights emanate, and once a new right is established, this can ride roughshod over all other institutional checks and balances.

The chief defense against this form of attack is Strict Construction, that is, to read in the Constitution what it actually says, not to invent new meanings out of one’s own proud imagination.

Aesthetics is once again a topic so profound and various that volumes would be needed to explore it. Here again I can only be cursory. Art is the concrete and particular emotional representation of one’s abstract view of life.

Christian art followed classical models and introduced Gothic extravagance and perfected naturalistic representation and profound romanticism to produce works of fine art in all fields markedly superior and in far greater number and fineness than any work of antiquity or the East. The art was disciplined yet creative, and sought to express beauty both natural and supernatural. It requires a maturity to work such art, to go from novice to journeyman to master, and an education to appreciate such art.

If an artist makes a reference to a classical Roman poet, for example, one needs must know the poet to catch the reference, and this requires work.

Modern art is deeply immature and ugly, although it proceeds allegedly by breaking forms and disobeying disciplined rules or techniques, allowing art forms to produce umbras in which emanations can be found, wherein can be seen whatever the viewer wishes to see, but nothing pretty. In reality, the idea is based on Communist theories of agitprop: the artist’s political mission is to create nausea and disgust and disquiet, and to subvert the established norms, so that fair seems foul and foul seems fair.

To pretend to appreciate such chaotic trash requires a studied hatred of all that is good and fair in life, and a marked absence of talent or patience. That what hangs in modern art galleries could be fingerpainted by a retarded child is not seriously disputed. The viewer must take on faith that what he is seeing is profound with some meaning beyond his ken, and must pretend he sees the deep meaning, lest he scorned and cast out among the hoi polloi, where there is wailing and the gnashing to teeth. It is the visual representation of the jarring ugliness and meaninglessness of the godless world, a cosmos without order, the abyss of Lucretius in which mindless snowflakes of eternal matter pointlessly falls or causelessly swerves.

Modern art is an expression of the same temper of immaturity and rebellion as all these other modern ideas: it is taking a guillotine to the muses.

The Modern mind, obsessed with foolish Hegelian notions of evolution and eternal upward progress, regards the destruction of old forms as always beneficial: hence the legal theory is to rewrite law from  a meaningful form to whatever is most destructive of the law, or respect for law, and the aesthetic theory is to remove order, form, symmetry and discipline in all arts and to adopt formless nonsense whatever is most destructive of man’s sense of beauty.

It is most important for the modern mind to call beauty merely an expression of the all-conquering all-subjective will, so that a sonnet may have thirteen stanzas if I say so, and a jagged question mark be a nude descending a staircase. Anything else might hint that something beyond man exists and greater than he.

Beauty is also of God and leads back to him by stirring man out of his narcissism and self-absorption, and the modern man is therefore under a strong strategic necessity to abolish and diminish beauty, or to make it subjective, or meaningless. The thought that beauty, particularly natural beauty, by definition cannot be random and therefore must be sign of a deliberate design is to be avoided at all costs.

Again, the nexus between the seemingly unrelated ideas is clear enough once one examines the root idea.

The root idea is maturity versus immaturity, self-discipline versus self-indulgence, complexity versus simplicity, order versus revolt, Christ versus Nothing.