Monday, 14 January 2013

Bad language and 'Right Wing' blogging - another example of 'things coming to a point'


It is quite easy to discern Christian Reactionary blogs from Secular Right blogs in terms of bad language.

Bad language = not-Christian, indeed anti-Christian (whatever alternative pretense may be asserted).

Of course, bad language is merely a symptom of the soul - but it is a very clear one.

Whenever this blog attracts commenters from the secular Right, I can guarantee a great deal of moderation screening; and the typical commenter (and indeed blogger) at a secular Right blog takes a delight in bad language (especially sexual description) which is, frankly, creepy to a Christian.

This applies to many (not all - e.g. that 'perfect gentleman' among the Alt Right, Dennis Mangan!) of the even the best of Secular Right blogs, bloggers and commenters, as well as the worst - for example, one of the danger signs about Mencius Moldbug is his (literally) perverse delight in bad language.

Of course bloggers refraining from bad language and screening bad language from their comments does not, in itself, show that they are Christian - but it does help make the world a better place.



Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

That's a coincidence. You posted this just as I was in the process of writing a post (not finished yet) about bad language and my recent decision to stop using it.

Bruce Charlton said...

Or synchronicity - Lawrence Auster often writes about this kind of thing.

The stimulus to my point here was reading the comments to SJ's admirable post -

It reminded me of some 10 year old non-dominant boys who try to gain status by using newly-learned obscenities - my daughter has complained of being annoyed by this sort of thing.

FHL said...

This sort of thing took me so incredibly long to figure out, it embarrasses me to no end. The fool I was, I actually thought I was "deeper" than other Christians because I noticed that I had committed more sins (and how would I know this? Obviously, I can't. I just assumed it, from pride...). Ugh! So idiotic!

I'm still not sure if I'm free from this demon...

And this trap doesn't just concern swearing. This sort of trap lurks around all the time in modern society, e.g., in how you consume alcohol and act around those who do, in the attitude you carry towards cigarettes and tobacco, in social interactions with the opposite sex, and hell, it's found even in social interactions with the same sex if they are close enough in age to seem like competition... almost any social interaction within a secular setting will come with such a trap, where you are forced to choose between acting like a sheep or a wolf.

Not to toot my own horn, but I'll quote myself from a previous comment ( because I believe identifying this trap is very important yet it is often overlooked. I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

"Modern man is ashamed of his own innocence and prides himself on his understanding of evil, while the Christian is ashamed of his evil and knowledge of it and seeks understanding of Good."

Bruce Charlton said...

@FHL - Keep saying it: it's a lesson we need to learn!

Bruce B. said...

I agree about Mangan. I also appreciate the respect with which he treats (real) Christians. He acts like a grown up.

I curse a lot at my toddler-boys (3 and 5 years old now) when they destroy things around the house (which happens daily). It’s all under my breath and no one hears it but it’s still a bad habit that I’m working on.

dearieme said...

I find it hard to lose the habit of bad language - far harder than, for example, learning to avoid sweet food, or giving up smoking, or reducing alcohol intake. (In fact, the latter seemed to happen spontaneously as I got older.)

Why should that be?

Bruce Charlton said...

@dearieme... because (ahem) you are a Caledonian gentleman.

Such are bimodally distributed between foul-mouthed boozers and teetotallers of the Rev IM Jolly type:

JP said...

I had to get out of the habit of swearing when I had kids. The hardest part was not swearing in the car. When you're by yourself, shouting at other drivers does no great harm... but then suddenly the kid is in the back.

Swearing is really hard to understand in blog comments. You have all the time in the world to respond and emotions should not be running high - what is the need for bad language? But clearly weak-minded people think swearing adds power to their arguments.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - I suppose my point was mainly about blogs - I would not like to place a blanket prohibition on bad language of all types and in all circumstances; there always are exceptions to any general rule. But they should remain exceptions.

V. said...

Thank you for posting this, Bruce. I often get creeped out when perfectly good bloggers will suddenly link to or positively reference sites like Woman and the Dragon, which contains detailed description of sex acts (under a Christian-themed header image for extra blasphemy). Just because something has a "Christian reactionary conservative!" label doesn't mean it's safe.

A lot of young people have simply never been fed the idea that some things are bad for the soul, and that they are under no obligation to "give them a chance" or "face reality" or whatever. It took me far too long to realize I could just openly refuse such things. (I've found that when I *do* openly refuse such things in front of others, I'm far more likely to receive relieved admiration than hostility, but that's another story)

JP said...

A lot of young people have simply never been fed the idea that some things are bad for the soul

Oddly enough I believed that "some things are bad for the soul" even when I was an atheist and didn't believe in souls.

Bruce Charlton said...

@V - I too wasted a lot of time, made myself miserable, made myself less-good by a kind of felt-obligation to 'expose' myself to sordid stuff, bad things. What nonsense, what wicked nonsense!

Mostly I just quietly avoid this stuff now - but if I need to explain I tend to say something like - I am a Christian, and this stuff is anti-Christian.

Matthew C. said...

A spiritual mentor of mine used to say "what gets your attention, gets you!"

A wise man. . .

alexi de sadesky said...


"Modern man is ashamed of his own innocence and prides himself on his understanding of evil, while the Christian is ashamed of his evil and knowledge of it and seeks understanding of Good."

I know the feeling. Well put!

Daybreaker said...

From the other side, simply abstaining from bad language pushes you away from the left and then the secular right, and toward the Christian right.

If you decide "I for one will not be like that," it makes sense to avoid those that are.

If you don't, you can be reduced almost to silence by interlocutors who speak in streams of obscenities, such that what they are saying cannot really be disentangled from how they are saying it. (For example, a commentary on grades of domination, servility and flattery within a faction of a political party expressed in terms of who is performing what sex acts on or for whom, and who is eating and drinking what substances from whom.) If in disagreeing you don't quote them and reply in similar terms they'll say you're misrepresenting them, and they'll be right. If you do, your own comments and arguments become strings of verbal sewage.

And - I don't know why it's true, but it seems to be - bystanders tend to assume that when one side is being profane and abusive and the other side isn't replying in kind, party A has a certain moral advantage.

In the main, replying to incivility with civility doesn't work.

So, regardless of any dislike of profanity, the decision not to engage in it pushes you away from those who use it a lot.

First that pushes you away from the left, which is over a dozen times more profane than the right. (That's not my opinion; someone did a count based on blog comments.) Then the same impulse moves you to prefer the Christian right to the secular right.

Minor points of behavior (like keeping kosher or not using obscene language) are powerful influences on who you hang out with and get influenced by, in the long run. That's the point of a lot of Old Testament ritual law. It's not the point of keeping your profanities occasional and exceptional - but the effect is all to the good, as far as I can see.

Kristor said...

Bad language is appropriate at times, but usually only when it is merely accurate. To describe a horrific sin as "damned" is one example. I heard another on Sunday, when listening to Bernard Cornwall read (on CD) from his book Agincourt. He was describing the late stages of the battle, in which the field itself was a knee-deep bog of "mud, blood, and s**t." It was the only time he used the word in many chapters, and it carried very great power.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Kristor - Another example of merely accurate bad language is in the title of this recent posting:

Samson J. said...

Been busy; just one brief comment: I appreciate the appropriate usage of quotation marks in the title here - that is, Bad Language and "Right Wing", not "Bad" Language and Right Wing.