Wednesday 29 May 2013

Dark Enlightenment: a perfectly descriptive phrase for a Sarumanian project


Some secular Right bloggers have taken to using the paradoxical or oxymoronic phrase 'Dark Enlightenment' to describe their political position - and to my eyes this self-consciously 'cool' term provides an accurate impression of their stance.

It's the kind of phrase Saruman would have used to explain his special perspective, his 'new' stance or third-way - as he might represent it - positioned in-between Sauron and Elrond, between evil and Good, and taking the best of both into a new synthesis...

Yet of course, in reality, at bottom, Saruman's vision would amount to the same as Sauron in all vital respects - except having Saruman as the new boss ('same as the old boss'); just as Sauron turned-out to become essentially the same as Morgoth.

Any things which deny the lordship of Eru Illuvatar, The One and Father of all - and set up any-thing else in His place - will sooner or later, and probably sooner, amount to the same thing (Morgoth/ Sauron/ Saruman) - whatever the initial intentions.



Anonymous said...

Yes, you're absolutely right.

And what's funny is that they call themselves "reactionary", "conservative", "traditionalist", etc., even though in reality many of them are serious progressive, revolutionary, technological nihilists and "transhumanist" types.

AlexT said...

Perfect description! I had the same feeling the first time i heard the phrase 'Dark Enlightenment'. It's a branding exercise meant to attract young people looking for something to attach themselves to. Anything trying to pass itself off as cool is always a big red flag for me, as we are told to reject the 'glamour of evil'. Also, you made a great point a few posts ago about how all of the DE advocates are rooten in anger and hatred, and it reminded me of this:

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?

Wm Jas said...

You do know they're including you in the "Dark Enlightenment," right?

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - Well, you notice that I am not actually linked to anything except the conceptual hub of Christian Traditionalists - and the one and only link between CT and the rest of the network is a blogger called Dalrock who is supposedly both a Christian and yet somehow also an expert in teaching techniques for tricking women into providing sex without strings...

Barnabas said...

Off topic, but I thought you might be interested in this.

Barnabas said...

Dalrock is an ardent supporter a man's right to refuse marriage based on current legal and social problems but I never see him say that this should include lifelong celebacy.

Alat said...

Mr. Charlton, our decaying civilization would be a in much, much better situation if women nowadays had to be tricked into doing that...

BTW, I gather you've never actually read Dalrock's blog. He is a Christian, but only a plural majority of his commenters are as well.

Kevin Nowell said...

This is true; but, I do think that the "Dark Enlightenment" can be a path to authentic Christianity as people discover they share a lot of beliefs in common with orthodox Christian beliefs. Atleast in some cases some of the time. Or atleast in my particular case it had some impact on my conversion.

But I do agree with your point. Its amazing how everything always comes back to Lord of the Rings. So much truth packed into such a simple story.

The Continental Op said...

The DE is heavily indebted to Moldbug. Any sane Christian man who has read Moldbug knows why that is a major problem.

Shire Sheriff said...

Saruman is a conservative, not a reactionary. He was corrupted because he kept up with the tactics of his times and the wisdom of his contemporaries, and scorned the knowledge of those who merely traveled the land and related their experiences honestly.

We have merely come under the realization of a dark truth: that men are not women, that Western Man is not Eastern Orc, and that those who deny it are compromised or complicit. Wrath is the proper and holy response to seeing the depths of the deception and the spiteful pettiness of the tactics used to maintain it.

The Continental Op said...

Dalrock is OK. There are biological realities, one of which is the difference between men and women. As the French say, vive la différence! The difference is a reality, but our world denies it. Mayhem has ensued.

Dalrock is interested in exploring how successfully to negotiate these differences--specifically with respect to Christian marriage--in a world that denies them. Roissy, however, is the Dark Artist, interested in how to negotiate these differences with respect to a successful sexual encounter.

There's a big difference.

Bruce Charlton said...

@COp. The DE is heavily indebted to Moldbug.

I credit Moldbug with teaching me that Conservatism (and Democracy) is not viable.

But the critical process does not stop there, because secularism is not viable either; and I think Moldbug realizes this at an intellectual level, and is probably trying to recognize it with his heart.

asdf said...

Did any of the Lord of the Rings characters turn the other cheek?

I didn't find the reply in the other thread sufficient.

Let's take the recent even that seems to have spurred this. Some foreigners attacked and stabbed a British soldier. Nobody attempted to fight them off. We are to take from this that the "Christian" thing to do is to have fought these people. I see no reason to believe this. Would Jesus have fought those people? He never fought for people being killed by the Romans. He didn't even fight to save his own life. Would Jesus have fought off these men?

The early Christian church was clearly pacifist before it got absorbed as the state religion. And it largely became the state religion because one power hungry murderous politician general realized he could use the Christian community in a rival murderous politician generals territory to undercut him. So he mashed Christianity together with the existing Sol Invictus and credited his new "Christian" god with helping him kill a bunch of people at a battle.

The entire non-pacifist Christian tradition isn't really what Jesus taught. Rather its some combination of Christian thought and that of other western traditions.

Anonymous said...

God is truth- Jesus specifically said "I am the truth". The truth must be good, and lies must be evil. The idea that the truth is evil, and we can come up with a better truth by believing hard enough, appears to be based on some things Jesus said about if you believe something, it will come into being. I don't think this is true, I intend to look into it. I suspect what Jesus really meant was believe in the truth, and knowing the truth you will have the ability to do things.

All kinds of leftism are based on obvious, grotesque, ridiculous lies, and humiliating and degrading people by forcing them to assent to these lies. Jesus said we should be as wise as serpents but harmless as doves- know the truth, even if it is dark, but not use it for bad ends. But modern liberal Christianity insists that we be willfully stupid.

Bruce Charlton said...

@asdf - Pacifism is a very recent notion - I suppose a few hundred years old at the very most, but really emerging in the 17/1800s among the intellectual elites of the West?

It just seems crazy to argue that early Christians were pacifist - starting with Constantine, many were great war leaders for goodness sake! If the Byzantine Empire was pacifist they would not have lasted 1000 years. Alfred the Great? The most Christian nation leading up to 1917 was Russia - pacifist? On the negative side, what of all the European religious wars? - were they fought by pacifists?

What you assert is just nuts!

Pacifism emerged strongly as Christianity *weakened* among the upper classes. Pacifism is now dominant in proportion as Christianity has almost disappeared among the elites.

Self-identified 'Liberal Christians' are indeed pacifist/ pro-enemy - but, as I have often argued, liberal Christians are not Christian; and perhaps the most dangerous enemy of Christianity.

What may be confusing you is that Christianity must be chosen, it cannot be imposed by force (although a 'Christian way of life' can be imposed - or forbidden).

Plus of course when God becomes incarnate and lives among men, this is for Him to become much much weaker.

It would not make Christian sense if Jesus had instead used His divine and irresistible strength to overwhelm any and opposition by superior force and become some kind of violent gang leader, warlord, King, Emperor of the world - would it?

But for Jesus - the Son of God - to work mostly (not entirely - think of the overturning of the tables of the money lenders in the Temple) by persuasion and example, is not pacifism.

The Crow said...

Perfectly reflecting reality, Jesus might well have said "I am the truth".
He might well have been saying, by that, that the truth and he were inseparable. That he was telling it like it was. That he was honesty.

I often wonder how much of what his disciples and other onlookers understood, was what Jesus intended.
Indeed, if humans then, were anything at all like humans now, then they probably completely missed the point. Then the translators had their day...

FHL said...

I believe asdf referred to Constantine as a "power hungry murderous politician general" who
"realized he could use the Christian community in a rival murderous politician generals territory to undercut him."

The Amish are pacifists. I also believe they are Christians, and I mean I believe they are real, believing, true Christians.

I think that historically, Christians have acted and believed in a pacifistic method when they were under persecution, but when the church had control of the state, they did concern themselves with warfare.

I do not think this is hypocriticism, since I do not think Christians of any denomination or character have ever denied a nation's authority to conduct war if needed. Many early Christian martyrs were soldiers in the Roman legions. They were often executed by their commanders for refusing to participate in pagan rituals and worship of the emperor. (And although they were soldiers by trade, they did not resist when called to the chopping block or the loins' den or the arena.)

As for the Lord Jesus Christ, He is GOD. Why didn't Jesus use force to defend the good people? Who is good besides God? What did you want Him to do, blow up the earth?

He came to us as a doctor, and in His mercy viewed us a patients who were sick.

FHL said...

And an additional note: if Jesus Christ came down and beat up all the oppressors, we would still be dead in our sins, and thus by his work on the cross He saved us. If He had merely stuck to taking out worldly oppositions, we would have been doomed since we would still be under the burden of the law. This is because, like Dr. Charlton mentioned, Christianity cannot be forced, it is a thing of the heart.

Also, sometimes saints will do seemingly crazy things (Acts 16:28), but well, they are saints! Saint Paul can do stuff we think is reckless... but that's Saint Paul! Even his handkerchiefs cured the sick!

Christian monks in Egypt have been known to just take off walking towards another monastery or church or town, a several day trip through the desert, without bringing along any food or water.

Others have moved mountains.

But that's not you, and that's not me.

So it's pointless to talk about them as a sort of example of how to tackle a specific situation. These stories, while true, are meant for inspiration, not for you to go out and attempt to duplicate them.

FHL said...

I apologize for any annoyance I may cause, this is my third comment, but I am growing increasingly more and more angry with the way people are discussing Christianity, not just on this blog, but on other ones as well.

Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross for YOUR SINS, as a willing sacrifice! He chose to take the punishment (death) for you, so that you would have eternal life with Him. "For God so loved the world, that He sent His only son..."

YOU (as well as you, and you, and me, and all of us, and you there lurking about silently- you too!) are the reason He was nailed to the cross! If He was to defend Himself, if He was to leap off of the cross unscathed, it would be YOU that He would be defending Himself against, it would be YOU and your evil plans (as well as me and mine) who would suffer.

Jesus Christ did not offer Himself up as a sacrifice so that you could put Him on your resume, stitch a cross to your flag and feel superior, puffing yourself up with pride and worldly vanity... He died for YOUR salvation, He suffered, died, and was buried to save YOU from YOUR sins! (and my salvation and my sins too, of course)

He was not weak, He was not foolish, and if you think so it is only because you fail to recognize that the whole purpose of His coming, the whole purpose of His death and glorious resurrection, the whole purpose of the religion built around Him and His glory which exists on every continent and in every nation, is for the salvation of your soul from the punishment of eternal death which you deserve due to your own sins!

So I am sorry that "Christianity TM" did not live up to expectations, and that it did not get you the power that you desired; perhaps you can return it, maybe even full value if you purchased it within the last 60 days.

But Christianity, TRUE Christianity, can only be accepted or rebelled against. It is not a product. It is either this or eternal death!

Bruce Charlton said...

@FHL - That hit a nerve in me, a nerve which needed hitting.

It is easy to fall into a blasphemous way of talking about Jesus in trying to refute criticism; and I fell into partiality and shallow glibness, and lost sight of the basic reality you describe.

Good to have you back commenting FHL!

josh said...

Moldbug led both Bruce and I (and probably others) to eventually discover Christianity, so there is something in his writing that at least points toward Truth.

pwyll said...

I was recently baptized into the catholic church, and despite the fact that Moldbug is atheist, I credit him as one of the major reasons why this ended up happening.

Arakawa said...


Moldbug has a strong sense of where demonic influence lies in modern life. (Moldbug's analysis of how the Left is coordinated has memes play the place of demons, but it amounts to the same thing. Nor is he shy to name the Devil by name in his writings wherever the Devil's hand seems to be at work.) His criticism of what he calls Universalism has the vital ingredient of showing how people who delude themselves to be 'fighting the good fight' on the Left are really driven by tawdry and base motives such as greed and the lust for power -- i.e. being seduced by temptations concealed within lies.

Once you're sufficiently convinced of the existence and potency of the demonic, you inevitably start to wonder how it is the world has survived thus far, and assume the existence of something in the world that holds back total descent into evil... and if you can't identify anything, the only thing left is resignation or quiet despair.

BenML said...

This is the mistake Heartiste and others make.

josh said...

That's true. I actually did believe in Satan before I believed in God. I remember saying as much.

Bruce Charlton said...


Though I am somewhat sympathetic (though as yet unconvinced) to your position that an honest Christian must be a pacifist, your example is odd. I don't know what I would have done had I been there, but I know what I should have done: picked up a rock and brained one of those bastards. This is my conviction regardless of any other beliefs regarding (...) the evil of globalism, the relative in-group/other status of the attackers and victims, etc. The only other alternative that I could respect would be physically placing my body between the attackers and the victim, something I know I would not have the courage to do. If your religion is telling you that the proper response to that situation is prayerful reflection on our need for grace and nothing else, I don't know what to say to you.


Bruce Charlton Continues...

I understood asdf to be arguing that this is what Scripture said *Christians* ought to do and that was a reason why asdf is NOT a Christian - I did not suppose asdf was actually arguing in favour of pacifism, but maybe I misunderstood...

Gabe Ruth said...

Thanks for clarifying, that does make more sense.