The Art of Arguing in Bad Faith

Much confusion surrounding modern public debate is dispelled once we realize that one side argues in bad faith.

This is not done by accident nor oversight. Bad faith in debate is a core dogma of the partisans currently dominating all world institutions, the groves of academia, the bullpens of the media, the halls of power and the boardrooms of industry.

To be sure, all sides of any argument may have partisans who disregard courtesy, logic, and honesty in their zeal. True enough. But one side in the modern public debate adheres to a philosophy that condemns bad faith arguments as illegitimate.

Only one has standards, which, alas, they occasionally betray. The other side has hypocrisy. By definition, a standard only applied to enemies, and never to oneself, is not a standard, hence cannot be betrayed.

The other side promotes bad faith arguments as their special province, justified by necessity and history, et cetera and ad nauseum. Factual correctness is optional. Political correctness justifies all.

Which side? Surely this too clear to bear repeating.

They have called themselves Leftists or Progressives, or even, ironically enough, Liberals, but they change their names frequently.

Such name changes are done for rhetorical reasons, as propagandistic rebranding, and is another example of debate in bad faith.

For the purposes of this column, let them be called Woke, despite that this term, like all their terms for themselves, is misleading or downright deceptive. Awake is the one thing they are not.

To argue in good faith means to be loyal to the unspoken agreement all debates presuppose, namely, that one will concede any point where proof for the opposite is convincing, or puts the matter beyond reasonable doubt.  To argue in good faith means to be willing to admit one’s position is wrong when it is shown to be wrong.

Ironically, arguments about the Faith are always in bad faith because matters of theological conviction are not matters of opinion, but matters of fealty to God. Faith in such a case is akin to arguing with a man that he should not love his wife, or a patriot his flag. It is a matter of the will, of the moral order, not a matter to be settled by dispassionate reason.

It is for this reason that the phrase Odium Theologicum was coined, namely, that the bitterness and hatred of two sides debating matters not open to be settled by dispassionate reason. Such debates are held and such tracts are written in order to sway the undecided, not the opposing denomination.

Political or philosophical debates can be held in good faith in both parties share foundational assumptions in common, and if both parties agree that reason arbitrate the outcome. Both parties, in other words, must agree beforehand, if only tacitly, that their partisan loyalty is subservient to reason, which means, in other words, any point will be conceded once found to be inconsistent with the foundational assumption shared by both parties.

In such a case, for example, Whigs and Tories in Great Britain of an earlier era could debate matters of public policy in good faith as both agreed, as a foundational assumption, that the monarchy they served was valid, and their form of government legitimate. Likewise, in America, in days of old, such issues as Direct Taxation, Female Suffrage, or the Popular Election of Senators could be debated because both sides tacitly agreed the Republic they serve is valid, and the form legitimate. Both sides, in other words, would agree to abide peacefully by the outcome of a lawful vote.

Those days are passed.

In days of old, the conservatives were liberals in the sense of Locke, that is, antimonarchists holding that the men consent to be governed by such form of government as seems fit to enforce, with equal and impartial justice, their God-given rights to life, liberty, and property. Rebellion is permitted, perhaps required, when the government becomes destructive of those ends.

In days of old, the liberals were liberal in the sense of Rousseau, that is, antimonarchists holding that man’s natural liberty, such as might be found in Eden in prehistory, was curtailed by institutions such as private property. The government is therefore charged with creating and granting rights as needed in order to return man to the natural conditions of Eden.

Rousseau and Locke agreed on those things which the American Revolution and French Revolution shared in common: an agreement to abolish monarchy and disestablish the national church. Good faith discussion and debate was possible between them, as the laws and institutions best suited to safeguard a Lockean concept of liberty was largely compatible with a Rousseauian concept of liberty. Both might well agree on the practical need for a First Amendment protection of the Right to Free Speech, for example, even if disagreeing on whether sedition could be lawfully outlawed or pornography, or both, or neither. There will always be debate on specific applications of general principles.

When no agreement on general principles is found, no debate is possible, in good faith or otherwise.

In time, our once patriotic Rousseauian liberals degenerated into liberals in the sense of Marx, that is, anarchist totalitarians.

This view holds that government is charged with creating and granting rights to create Eden, but that each form of government is superseded by the next evolved stage of government, so that revolution must be permanent and continuous, until such time as Eden manifests itself, Man’s nature is changed and perfected, and all forms of government softly and silently vanish away.

Marxism in theory is anarchist in that it theorizes all government to be illegitimate and unnecessary if not deleterious to man, hence doomed by Darwinism to pass away. It preaches that once the social order promoting private property is abolished, men will evolve into socialist men, or super man, able to live as angels do, without law or need for law.

Marxism in practice is totalitarian in that places no restrictions on any act of government, howsoever evil or sadistic, alleged to be necessary or convenient to forwarding the goal of world revolution and engender the subsequent Utopia. Mass-deception, mass-expropriation, mass-starvation, mass-enslavement, mass-murder never trouble the conscience of the true believer even in the slightest.

One sees it in the glassy emptiness of their soulless eyes, one knows it by the nonchalance with which Walter Duranty and the New York Times suppressed news of the Ukrainian Famine, one hears it in the lunatic chanting of those promoting a Maoist Cultural Revolution here and now on college campuses.

When a return to Eden is the promised reward, any hellish deed is an acceptable price, especially when such a hellish deed benefits you and yours, and inflicts misery, torture, and death on the happy middle classes and white races you do deeply despise. (The role of sadism, the morbid pseudo-sexual delight in the pain of others, is not to be understated in the psychology of the revolution. See the Terror of France for details.)

Social Marxists preach that the nation suffering the least race-bigotry in history, the only nation ever to go to war to abolish slavery, is innately and systemically racist. Likewise, they preach that the nation affording more privileges to women than any in  history is a patriarchy, innately and systemically misogynist.

This is a jaw-droppingly and preposterous contradictions of plain fact. The word “gaslighting” was coined to reflect the absurd nature of asking witnesses to disbelieve their own eyes, to doubt their sanity and common sense, while denying the self-evident and asserting the absurd.

The Woke coin themselves by this ungrammatical term in order to signal that they are enlightened enough to see non-racism as racist, and non-misogyny as misogynist. They are acute enough to perceive systemic racism amid a regime of affirmative action, or misogyny amid a matriarchy. According to them, our inability to perceive these hidden phantoms is because we are sleepwalkers. Their ability to overcome and see through the delusions of the world-system is not a sign of paranoia but of enlightenment.

Hence they call themselves awake. They claim that things which occur by nature, the inescapable side-effects of mortal man’s life in the mortal realm, are in fact sinister social constructs erected by the architects of the social order, the demiurge of the world-system, in order to deceive the masses and oppress the weak. Only they, the Woke, thanks to esoteric inner knowledge communicated to them by mystical enlightenment, penetrate the pervasive falsehoods.

They claim special spiritual insight into the true nature of reality. This insight is that reality is not real. Nature is not natural. It is all arbitrary social constructs meant to deceive and imprison the benighted victims of the social order.

Social Marxists preach that all racial differences are arbitrary social constructs meant to oppress the minorities. Once whiteness is eliminated, utopia will spontaneously create itself out of nothing and for no reason.

Likewise they preach that all social norms of male and female behavior, decency and perversion, even one’s biological identity, are arbitrary social constructs meant to oppress women and sodomites. Once femininity is eliminated, fatherhood abolished, and childrearing is communal rather than maternal, utopia will spontaneously create itself out of nothing and for no reason.

They see the path to Eden is barred, not by Cherubim with  flaming swords, but by the social order. By you and me. By normal and civilized men. We, who have never done them any particle of harm, are the enemy of the Woke, because they blame us for the ills of earthly life.

This is clearly not a political doctrine but a theological one, namely, the heresy called Millenarianism.

Also called Chiliasm, this heresy preaches that the eschaton (the end of history) is at hand, a period of apocalyptic cataclysm will usher in a thousand year reign of peace and justice and carnal pleasures, here and now on earth.

The particularly pernicious secular version of Chiliasm concocted by Marx preaches that the continual genocide-scale world revolution to overthrow all worldly sovereigns, laws, and institutions, especially private property are necessary for the Utopia thereafter to evolve, much as the chick must break the egg in order to be born.

Ergo violence of all kinds, protests movements, riots, arson, mass murder and acts of random terror, or whatever best demoralizes, denigrates, disrupts and disintegrates the social order, or the social mores on which the social order is based, is obligatory.

Before the stage when open violence is feasible, a continual attempt to undermine the morals and standards of civilized society is obligatory. This especially includes coarsening society, encouraging blasphemy, pornography, homosexuality. It includes the denaturalization of women, the denigration of virginity, the abolition of motherhood. It includes the vandalism of art and popular entertainment. It includes the erosion of liberty and the orchestration of recessions, depressions, and the eventual collapse of the economy. It includes anything to undermine the family, isolate the individual, encourage factionalism and enmity, and weaken the social fabric.

All acts of debate and discussion fall under this obligation. The votaries of this particular worldview regard the human tongue as a weapon in their holy Jihad against the social order, or a tool in their schemes of social engineering. You are not a person to them. You are livestock.

You are Eloi. They are Morlocks.

You are a transitional form in the Darwinian scheme of ongoing evolution. Ape-man was exterminated to make room for man. So you shall be exterminated to make room for socialist man or super man, or whatever comes next.

Obviously, Morlocks do not debate matters or bandy words with Eloi, any more than a farmer hold solemn discussion with his swine whether and when to serve bacon for breakfast.

Consider the prime pernicious side effect of the line of esoteric religion that was propounded by Rosseau and Marx. According to them, man’s original sin, which ejected him from the primordial bliss of prehistory, was civilization.

Civilization flourishes when laws and customs are erected to protect and promote a social order where men can live in mutual peace, trusting contracts and covenants to be enforced. Enforcing covenants, especially the marriage vow, promotes family life by deterring adultery and bastardy. Enforcing contracts deters fraud, which enables even strangers to trade the fruit of their labor for their mutual benefit with a reasonable degree of trust.

However, according to the secular version of Chiliasm founded on Rosseau and Marx here called Woke, it is these very laws that create the lawbreaking. Norms create antinomians. Customs create nonconformists.

Wokeness holds that no individual is responsible for his actions. All men are victims of the arbitrary circumstance of his birth, of his genetic heritage, of his upbringing, which in turn are determined entirely by the social law, customs and conventions of the strata of society into which random chance places his family.

Moreover, laws and customs and social roles are not determined by nature or by history or by matters of fate over which man has no veto. Man is omnipotent. Society is the way it is, benefitting some at the detriment of others, because and only because those most benefitting by the current social order have ordained it to be so. This is to allow them to retain their unearned benefits. Any loyalty of the lower orders to the social order is always misplaced, a matter of unenlightened, uneducated, or improperly formed class consciousness, race consciousness, gender awareness. Any act of vandalism or terror which promotes social awareness is laudable, as the goal is to undermine and overthrow the social order.

By this logic, the social order arbitrarily creates the distinction between lawful and unlawful behavior, or between successful and unsuccessful behavior. The dividing line is more than arbitrary, indeed, it is pernicious, on the grounds that the line is drawn solely along that boundary meant to preserve the unearned advantages of the successful, and the prevent the unsuccessful from their due. Society draws the line between law-abiding and scofflaw, and some men just so happen, through no fault of their own, to fall on the far side of the line.

In this view of the world, no one is rich because his forefathers worked hard and honesty to produce useful and beneficial goods and services needed by his neighbors, nor did anyone every wrestle civilization out of hostile wilderness, nor is the act of defeating savages and supplanting roaming gangs of stone-age cannibals with prosperous farmers in well-tilled fields desirable, or even excusable.

The bourgeoisie or burghers who dwell in walled towns and make their livelihood by trade, upholding Christian standards of decency and modest decorum, and the prime enemy. They are the ones who fall above the arbitrary line, and happen to receive the rewards of life amid laws and customs that reward industry, propriety, sobriety, humility, chastity, fidelity, patriotism. They are the devils of this Cult of Woke, the accursed Victorians and teetotalers, stuffy and hypocritical, whose middle-class homes are somehow built on the piled bones are centuries of slaves and battered women. The actual details of the absurd accusation are difficult to decipher, and need not be.

The meaning of the accusation is nothing. The act of making the accusation is all. The bourgeoisie, the law abiding, the decent, the men of common sense who do not hate the world, we have never done anything wrong. Abel did nothing wrong. Abel was condemned for doing something right: making a correct sacrifice acceptable to heaven.

Likewise, the middle classes of Christendom are condemned because Europe, from the Middle Ages onward, abolished gladiatorial games, pederasty, polygamy, slavery, divorce, contraception, abortion. See the Didache for an example of early Church teachings on this point, or read the homilies of St John Chrysostom against slavery. There simply is no parallel in pagan lands.

Christendom created institutions, such as academic colleges, currency, and the joint stock corporation, that encouraged the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution. Again, these cannot take place outside the Christian world unless introduced by it into the pagan world.

But since the worldview of the Woke Cult follows the Marxist dogma that no man is responsible for his place in society, all goods are unearned, all evils undeserved, no social order can be anything but unjust. No fealty to the social order, not patriotism to one’s flag nor fidelity to one’s wife, can be considered anything but deception and self-deception.

This is because the Woke dogma dismisses even the possibility of fair and equal trade or mutual benefit between two unequal parties. The rich man cannot give the poor man a wage in return for a day’s honest labor. The man cannot wed a wife. The first is an exploiter tantamount to a slaveowner. The second is tantamount to a rapist. Everything in this worldview is tantamount to its exact opposite.

In this worldview, all things are Darwinian struggled between enemies who can never declare quarter, can never come to terms, can never agree to a peace. Any such agreement, as we see above, would create a dividing line between those who keep the agreement, the law abiding, and those who violate the agreement, the scofflaw. Since man is omnipotent whenever he erects or protects the a social order, man is impotent whenever he is born into the social order. How Wokesters elude this obvious contradiction in their lore does not here concern us: it is matter for another day.

The sole point needed here is that making a social contract creates a victim group who have a claim on the goods and services, the honors and privileges enjoyed by the scapegoat group, whoever it is. The scapegoats can be anyone: Whites, Jews, Straights, Males, it does not matter. The scapegoat does not even to be real. It can be the feared and fearsome neo-Nazis, who always seem to be Federal Agents engaged in entrapment.

The social order by its nature creates a victim class and a scapegoat class. The victim class is Cain, wronged and woebegone. The scapegoat is Abel. By daring to fall on the near side of the dividing line between lawful and scofflaw, Abel, intentionally or not, participates in and hence supports the system of systemic privilege that oppresses Cain, and causes his sacrifices to be unsuccessful. Therefore Cain must murder his brother and let the earth drink blood.

This is not based on philosophy or psychology of these partisans, but on something deeper. In an earlier column, I coined the term Eautology to refer to the study of man’s self-image and sense of selfhood. I propose that a man’s eautology influences and perhaps determines his psychology and philosophy.

In this case, these wretched souls have rejected God the Father, and also fatherhood, kingship, and any related concepts of authority, truth, and justice. All such things, in their worldview, are arbitrary dividing lines meant to exile them and them alone form the good things in life, the lauds and praise and peace and plenty. They want the gold without digging in the mines. They want fruit without toil. They want energy without burning fuel. They want to be called beautiful while sagging with flab. They want monuments torn down, and everyone to get a participation trophy, even those who did not participate. They do not want to live. They want you to die.

This is their view of themselves and their place in the world. They are the victim of the world-system, which is a conspiracy against them. The happiness of the innocent offends them. They seek revenge.

Hence, they will always side with the guilty over the innocent, with the undeserving over the deserving, with the evil over the good, the vicious over the virtuous, the ugly over the beautiful. Always.

Because this is their eautology, that is, their view of self and of the self’s place in the world, their theology and philosophy and psychology will follow suit.

Their psychology is one of narcissistic paranoia. They believe themselves to be like secret kings, whom the social order keeps from a honors and wealth and happiness they did not earn, but which is nonetheless rightfully their own.

Their philosophy is nihilism. In order for their fixation that they have been wronged by the world, regardless of merit or demerit of their acts, they must dismiss all judgment or merit or demerit, whether that judgment come from men or come from the silent verdict of nature, to be false and arbitrary. The judgement of history must be merely a deception meant to wound them. There can be no virtues that lead to wealth and happiness, and no vices that lead to addiction and misery.

In this philosophy, all truths must be a matter of opinion, and all opinions must be insincere special pleading. Hence, no capitalist can honesty argue that the free market diminishes world starvation, even though this is blatantly obvious to all observers. Any capitalist who makes any argument is merely trying to benefit the capitalist class, that is, himself.

Likewise, no Christian is allowed to argue in favor of monogamy, or against abortion and contraception. Any such argument is opinion, not fact, and he is merely trying to benefit the masculine class, or the married class, or some other class allegedly benefitted by the deterrence of underpopulation or the abolition of infanticide.

And from the philosophy that truth is untrue, vice is virtue and reality is unreal, can only come the type of secular messiah-mockery properly called Antichrist.


When God Almighty exiled Man from Eden, the ground was cursed to bring forth thistles and thorns, and the labor in the garden become toil. Woman was condemned to subordination in matrimony and pain in childbirth. Men was put at odds with nature, and eternal enmity between man and the serpent of sin was confirmed.

To restore Eden without the aid of Christ, the secular political messiah must perforce become a False Christ or Antichrist.

The first measure, as imagined by classical Marxists, was to rid men of toil. Marx believed that nature was abundant, and that early man lived in communist tribes. The tribesmen lived in true equality, and shared all property in common. Eden will be restored once all property is once again held in common. So the fable spun by Marx from moonbeams tells the tale.  Marx hence was concerned primarily with abolishing economic institutions.

The second measure as imagined by the current Marxists, that is, Social Marxists, also called Woke, is to rid brides of submission to bridegrooms, and rid motherhood of children. The anti-natal and pro-extinction movements, allegedly part of ecological conservation efforts, are actually part of this.

Social Marxists are concerned with abolishing social rather than economic institutions, primarily with abolishing femininity in the name of feminism. Eden will be restored once women are no longer women. Once all children are groomed for premature sexual adventures, there will be no virginity. Purity will be a social stain. Motherhood will be an inconvenience best solved by prenatal infanticide. Marriage will be a matter of sexual convenience dissolvable at will between two or more of either sex and any sexual identity, which flourish and change like the flavors at an ice cream shop, as seasonal demand changes. Childrearing will be communal, and all children reared by the state to serve the state. That has been the goal of intellectuals since time immemorial. See Plato’s REPUBLIC for details, or Plutarch’s Life of Lycurgus, or Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD, or Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM.

As a secondary matter, Social Marxists are concerned with souring race relations by stirring up the enmity within the brotherhood of man. This is the enmity of Cain and Abel revisited, where members of one race or class in society are told to be jealous of another. His sacrifices have been rewarded with bounty, and yours have not. You must kill him and let the earth drink his blood.

In that case, the sacrifice of lamb or grain was sacred ritual meant to propitiate heaven. In the current case, the sacrifices being scorned are the hard work and heroism endured by successful classes and races to benefit themselves, and, incidentally, to benefit the unsuccessful.

Envy is easy to create when no difference of history or behavior between the races and classes can be discussed, including those which have a direct bearing on success or unsuccess. We do not discuss crime rates, gang culture, anti-police policies, bastardy, absent fathers, or the welfare state promoting these ills. The only thing to be discussed is the invisible and all pervasive original sin of systemic racism, which, being imaginary, is everywhere and nowhere, and hence no such discussion can ever be in good faith. Such discussions are designed not to be in good faith.

Finally, the Marxists who come after Social Marxists, for whom there is yet no name, will culminate the work in a third stage, which will be the rebellion against human nature itself. Transhumanists even now daydream about abolishing their human limitations of intelligence and lifespan by mean of neural cybernetic technology, genetic manipulation, or other science fictional horrors. The enmity between man and sin will be abolished once we are all serpents, no longer sons of Adam, and no longer subject to mortal limits. Once all sins are lawful, or so we are promised, toleration will overspread the world, and nuzzle us into the warm embrace of eternal peace. What is not said is where this warm place rests. It is not in heaven.

The absurdity of the conceit cannot be overstated. The attempt to reverse the curses of Eden is merely folly, more fitting for the babble of Tom O’ Bedlam than any sober discourse.

Tom O’ Bedlam cannot have an honest discussion about any topic, once his eautology pictures him as an eternal victim imprisoned in a world-system of eternal deception, for then his psychology is one of narcissistic paranoia, his philosophy one of nihilism, and his theology a chiliastic secularism following a False Christ or Antichrist.