Tuesday 15 February 2011

Characteristics of an anti-PC, populist, common sense political party


With the profound weakness of orthodox types of Christianity in the West (due to their long term corruption by Liberalism) - the main opposition to Political Correctness currently comes from populist, reactionary, common sense, secular groups (of which the best known is the Tea Party in the US; but perhaps there are also somewhat analogous groups in Western Europe).

From my Christian perspective I regard any such grouping as seriously sub-optimal - indeed at best a temporary expedient.

Nonetheless, supposing that common sense secularism was actually to become powerful - what then? Could it, would it provide a better alternative future than PC? What would that future be?

This can be predicted by considering the probable characteristics of such a grouping - and weighing-up the pros and cons.


Since so much of Western society is now corrupted by Liberalism and implicated in PC, such a group would have to come from outside this - and in rejecting the psychotic delusionality of PC it would need to offer a common sense alternative which would be obvious to plain, middling, productive people outwith the intelligentsia and their underclass of state-dependents.

And since it would be reactive, we can infer its main features.


Here is a non-exhaustive list (in no particular order) of characteristics of a possible Common Sense (CS) party contrasted with the PC party:

Reality is real and fixed v reality is relative and plastic
Direct force v indirect propaganda
Face to face v mass media
Concrete v abstract
Immediate v ultimate
Instinctive v educated
Popular culture v High art
Practical v theoretical
Can-do technology v professional science
White v Non-white
Hereditary versus cultural
Native v immigrant
Apprenticeship v formal education
Men v women
Recognition v certification
Selfish v altruistic
Personal authority v bureaucratic procedure
Het v homo
Heart v head
Gut v intellect
National v international
Tribal v favouring the 'other'
Familial and nepotistic v universalist
Real v ideal
Rough justice v procedural law
Spontaneous morality v moral inversion
Courage v tolerance
Loyalty v subversion
Useful to others/ mundane v  self-developmental/ useless
Productive/ money-grubbing v ideologically-sound/ parasitic
Duties v rights
Charity v needs
Accepting hierarchy v working-towards equality



In place of the PC ideal of impersonal procedural bureaucracy, a CS party would probably favor personal authority - and since the personal authority is based on an ethic of tribal selfishness it would inevitably lead to corruption and nepotism - since these emerge spontaneously.


So which is the best of this unappealing choice?

Well, it depends on what will happen, and what we would regard as the likely outcome.

The worst future political outcome I can forsee is probably not 'mere' chaos - which would allow the emergence of a better-organized and transcendentally-motivated Christian society;  but the imposition of a powerful, totalitarian, autocratic, theocratic rule by 'others' which might be hard/ impossible to shift once established.

And this is precisely the prospect which PC not only fails to prevent but actively facilitates.


So, if this calculation is correct, a secular commonsense party would be preferable to PC - partly for fear of something much worse, and partly on the basis that it would not last; but would soon (spontaneously) become pagan (because paganism is the default of humans left to their own devices); and paganism could then plausibly be converted to Christianity.

This contains the unpalatable suggestion - especially unpalatable for religious conservative intellectuals such as myself, who value highly the best in history, philosophy, literature, music, the arts and sciences etc -of supporting a kind of 'know nothing' party, for whom anti-intellectuality would be a core value.

Of having to choose to go along with something profoundly disliked, for fear of something intolerable.

This is, of course, what happens when a nation has chosen short-termist expediency again and again and again for decade after decade - shirking and avoiding tough choices.


The above bleak analysis is based on the assumption (which I hope is false, but suspect is not) that we cannot (in practice, given the scale of modern corruption) go directly from PC to the kind of sustainable society based on truth that I would prefer - but only indirectly.



a Finn said...

As I have watched the decaying Finnish state church, I remain wary of any state churches and I am a bit suspicious of any officially Christian societies. Only good things I can say about the state church, is that it maintains historically valuable buildings and areas, and performs outward forms of marriages and funerals. The latter can then later be more easily adopted by some groups that give real content and significance to them. As I have watched and learned about congregations and religious communities, one can notice the following:

a) The decline of a Christian group, it's Christianity, and often the shortening of it's life span is in fairly direct relation to it's ingroup-outgroup border strenght. Congregations that are open to the world, inveigle all the peoples to join and embrace them all, are likely to lose their Christianity. In essence they say:

"Come and join, we tolerate you, who ever you are, whatever you do. We like diversity, we celebrate all diversity. We incorporate your beliefs, your participation, culture and performances. And don't worry, we will smother all critiques against you and oblige everybody to join to adulate you, so that you will feel supremely liked and wanted."

Soon this group can't be discerned from secular liberals, and it's likely death is a relief.

b) We can observe that this "Come world, join" -policy was created by the resource and money needs (and greediness) of the leaders, who didn't have any other means to make a living. As it is usual, but not Christian, to try maximize income without caring about consequences, so the leaders try to maximize the number of members to maximize donations and other support. Quantity displaces quality. Liberal marketing and selling displaces Christianity.

c) So, to stay Christian, the group has to be self-sustaining without new members, or only a few members are accepted with strict ethnic-cultural-religious-ability-skill-knowledge -criteria. In essence, regardless of how the group in practice says it, it says to outsiders: "We don't need you, we don't want you, we don't like you, we don't accept you, you are the wrong kind of person. If you still happen to want to join and you fullfill some basic criteria, let it be known, that you must go through very hard, testing and long times to join."

This doesn't prevent exchange, interaction, missionary work and commerce with outsiders. Social interaction with outsiders often follow some rules, though.

d) These latter groups should be networks of small groups. Weak and dysfunctional groups dissolve and disappear, good groups survive.

e) If there is enough of these latter groups in society, more than some critical mass, as an outgrowth of the groups, society can be genuinely Christian, and last a long time. Still the groups always outlast the society.

Otherwise the Christian society follows the trajectory of large complex organizations, which are in one way or another bureaucratic, with all the attendant vices:

Distant buraucratic men living in imaginary world created by numerous information bottlenecks and distortions, and self-serving, reckless and inane agendas, telling the reluctant, hostile, listless and indifferent masses what to do and how to live. Etcetera.

Still, Byzantine can of course teach us:



Every group that is anything, will outlast the city of sin, the Big Apple, The new Babylon.


Every group network could strive to live longer than what the pyramids' age is now. Then they are permanent groups. Jewish groups, the longest lived group network, is over five thousand years old.


Thomas said...

Your list strikes me unfortunately as 100% correct. The problem is that, while reading the list, you can basically see the word "facism" flashing before your inner eye. There is a reason populist right-wing movements in the 20th century were facist and given their history, I tend to think it's a good thing that today, a similar movement could never succeed again.
For the same reason liberals perceive even the tame "Tea Party" as a precursor to facism. And in a sense they are right do to so even if the connection is really strained.
Every populist right-wing movement including the "Tea Party" must fail. Beating facism is the kind of game liberalism is great at.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ a Finn -

Thanks for the Byzantium reference - looks excellent.

What you say about the life span of denominations seems right - Rodney Stark has also noticed that the more demanding religions (e.g. Mormons) are the ones most likely to be growing wile undemanding ones (Episcopalians) are declining.

One interesting aspect of this is the difference in the way most established Christian churches treat baptism.

Where there is infant baptism, then the infacts are allowed to jjoin the church without any problem! But if someone wants to join as an adult, they are made to jump through hoops.

And this hoop jumping seems to be good for the longevity of churches - because it forces converts to make a significant committment and sink costs, which deters lapsing.

But theologically (or do I mean ultimately, in terms of salvation) this seems hard to justify; because withholding baptism until hoops have been jumped-through means (by the Church's own account) risking damnation if the aspirant happens to get killed before they are baptised.

By contrast, in ancient times baptism happened almost instantly, on confession that Jesus is the Son of God (e.g Acts 8: 27-38).

Of course it is statistically unlikely in a modern society that somebody will die or become incapable before they are allowed to be baptised - but still, it seems reckless of the Church to make a statistical assumption.

'When the chips are down' baptism is near-instant - so the Church takes a heavy responsibility on itself when it treats people any differently in 'normal' life - tending to reinforce the modernist attitude that 'normal life' is not really a serious business.

Of course the main rivals to Christianity have attained longevity by the device of a one-way-door: voluntary conversion but capital punishment for leaving the Church.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Thomas - yes, I think you are broadly correct - except insofar that 'fascist' is so ill-defined as to be almost meaningless.

And of course there is a perception that (atheist) fascism is the worst-possible form of government, when objectively that assumption is wrong: communism was worse.

(Not least because it was much longer-lived and spread from nation to nation much more successfully).

It is only because people don't know the facts that they believe otherwise.

However, atheist communism also seems to be time-limited - to 'just' a few generations - and self-destroying.

A totalitarian *theocracy*, on the other hand, once established can last, has lasted, for many hundreds of years - whether Christian (e.g. Byzantium) or Muslim (e.g. Ottoman).

Alex said...

Your list of the characteristics of a possible Common Sense Party captures some cultural aspirations/values of a "revolutionary" cadre. I don't believe it could animate the enthusiasm of a mass movement: it's too abstract for that.

A populist alliance of well-educated and religious people such as yourself with the uneducated masses in order by indirections to find directions out, seems bound to get nowhere. It would resemble a massive heavyweight boxer who cannot land a punch.

A smaller affiliation of, let's say, intellectually sophisticated Christians with the "middling, productive people" who could work together to advance common sense and anti-PC measures that the intelligentsia scoff at, seems plausible. However, in a society where every human institution (including the church) has been corrupted by Liberalism, the political and moral tasks are formidable beyond description.

To outmanoeuvre the liberal powers-that-be in Western societies would require almost superhuman deviousness, I think.

Thomas said...


I agree with you that facism (whatever it exactly means) is better than communism. That's not the point though. The point is, that every right-wing movement that is also populist will be perceived as being fascist (because it does lean in this direction) and being perceived as fascist is just about the worst political strategy I can imagine. It doesn't matter if you and I agree that fascism isn't all bad. Since the end of WWII, fascism is a losing strategy, period.

That's the reason I said that I "unfortunately agree" with you on your list. The Tea Party and the various new right-wing parties in Europe are all populist and thus, at least in my opinion, absolutely self defeating. The only way a right-wing movement could ever get traction would be to be decidedly elitist. Such a movement would obviously need a lot of time, but at least it wouldn't be as futile as trying to reanimate something that will just fuel liberalism by dangling the old arch-enemy in front of it.

My generation (I'm 27) is mostly apathetic. But show them some right-wing populist like Glenn Beck or Geert Wilders and they get riled up like there is no tomorrow.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Alex and Thomas - I hope you are not misunderstanding this post.

I am NOT advocating a populist commonsense party; I am NOT trying to animate anybody's enthusiasm; I am NOT suggesting that something of this kind will become popular; I am NOT suggesting I would like to join a CS party or any other kind of party; I am NOT trying to suggest how to outmanoeuvre anyone, or to get traction.

I think the overwhelming probability is that political correctness will lead the West into utter destruction: the only thing I am unsure about is whether it will be chaotic destruction or systematic destruction.

All I am trying to do here is to define the features of a possible (NOT a *probable*) populist anti- PC movement; and to point out that it would also be very destructive of the West - only not so utterly destructive as PC.

Starting from where we are, people like us will NOT get what we want - if very lucky, we may (perhaps, at some point) find ourselves able to choose the lesser of two evils - but even that is perhaps unlikely, and would only happen through undeserved good fortune.

Alex said...


I think I did misunderstand your post. I interpreted what you described as the possible characteristics of a common sense reaction to some aspects of political correctness and your further observations, as a (tentative) manifesto.

My all out pessimism with regard to the end of liberal oppression in our time, is sometimes attenuated by the hope that a chapter of lucky accidents will turn things around. Failing that, my last material ground for optimism is that a stupendous natural calamity will clear the way for a new beginning.

But it's barmy to think like this. It's more virtuous (and rational) to hope for divine intervention.

HenryOrientJnr said...

@Thomas: While I agree that liberals perceive the Tea Party as incipient fascists I think they are wrong to do so.

Fascism was a movement of the left. It is pro-state, anti-religion and anti-individualism. The Tea Party is very nearly the exact opposite of fascism. And, contra Bruce, they are generally religious, not secular.

I am reminded of Orwell's comments on Kipling. He disapproved of him, yes, but he understood that Kipling had nothing in common with fascism.


a Finn said...


"In Christianity, baptism (from Greek βαπτίζω baptizo: "immersing", "performing ablutions", i.e., ritual washing)[2] is for the majority the rite of admission, almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally[3] and also membership of a particular church tradition."

It seems that it was just an acceptance to a general Church. Particular Christian congregations and communities can be, and often are, in many ways more demanding and exclusive.

Bruce Charlton said...

Alex - thank you for your graceful correction! Hope *and pray* - I agree is probably the most constructive thing to do.

HOJnr - re: the Tea Party movement - the *people* in the movement are often religious in their personal and private lives (mostly Christian, but of many different types, including Mormon) - but it is a secular movement because *all* the core Tea Party arguments are secular: they *never* make arguments based on salvation; only on secular values like money, freedom, promotion of happiness, diminution of suffering etc.

This is entirely different from a religious movement, which makes arguments based on religious principles (e.g. application of religious rules and laws, encouragement of the favoured religion, discouragement or suppression of rival or all other religions etc).

Dirichlet said...

@bgc and @Alex:

Are you familiar with the work of Alasdair MacIntyre? He draws some interesting parallels between the current decline of the West and the last days of the Western Roman Empire.

I don't believe in the possibility of counter-reform through democratic means, since the masses will never let go all that liberalism has handed them, from universal suffrage down to gay marriage.

Revolution isn't an option either. Most revolutions only happen in a state of strong material destitution. We are objecting moral destitution, but this is seldom a cause for revolt.

The MacIntyrean option seems, to me, the most sincere one: stop shoring up the Imperium and focus on the preservation of those communities that will sustain moral values, traditions and culture during the upcoming dark ages.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Dirichlet - Yes, I know Alasdair MacIntyre's work very well.

I think it is a reasonable strategy for surviving a decline into chaos (although probably it will not work in a hostile totalitarian state which would purposefully seek out and destroy such institutions)- IF you can find any "communities that will sustain moral values, traditions and culture during the upcoming dark ages" to support.

Personally, I don't know of any, can't find any.

At least not in the UK - maybe Mount Athos in Greece would be an example?


or the catacomb church of the Communist era in Russia


But both of these were examples of the survival of faith from roots in an intensely devout society.

Our modern Western society is - to put it mildly - *not* starting from a position of intense devoutness.

In the secular societies of the West, I cannot see many (or indeed *any*) such communities which might be preserved.

Before doing any preserving, we *first* need to create something worth preserving.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Thomas - as you can see from today's posting, your commenting yesterday has nudged me over a line.

Thanks for that self-clarification of what I was indirectly implying!

Anonymous said...

...IF you can find any "communities that will sustain moral values, traditions and culture during the upcoming dark ages" to support.

Maybe-just a guess-some of the rural Hutterite communities in the Western US and Canada. The Amish are necessarily corrupted since nearly all of them live in densely populated Eastern and Midwestern states.

Brett Stevens said...

You have a truly great list of characteristics here. You could point out that all of them originate in the same impulse, which is a liberal tendency to deny any measurement larger than the individual. As a result, the individual adopts a paranoid victimhood and defensive outlook, which causes them to always seek out oppressors and "find" them whenever possible. Political correctness is not so much a fixed set of beliefs, but the latest iteration in a sliding scale of reactions. First we threw out the kings, then the Church, then the aristocrats, then the rich, and so on. I'm really looking forward to this book.