Friday 16 March 2012

Secular leftism cannot learn, cannot be taught


My evidence? The twentieth century.

What bigger and more overwhelming argument could there be than the wars and mass slaughters of the twentieth century.

Yet the experience of the twentieth century has made absolutely no difference at all to the secular Leftist mind-set, perspective and plan; that bland, blind, smug, 'well-intentioned' mechanism of wholesale insatiable destruction.

The Good can be seen as beauty, truth and virtue - leaving aside virtue (which we cannot perceive clearly due to propaganda) is there as single person alive who believes that truthfulness and the creation of beauty are thriving activities in the modern world? That truth and beauty did well throughout the twentieth century? That they did well under secular Leftism?

Yet, just think - the 'modern art'/ modernism movement originated before the twentieth century, and un-rolled unperturbed by everything that happened in the twentieth century; as did advertising, public relations and the mass media. What more could have happened to refute them? Nothing - the refutation, the disaster was as extreme as it is possible to imagine (without utter collapse) yet that made no difference at all.

Because, of course, no amount of experience and knowledge can challenge the assumptions which frame reality. Secular Lefism is 100 percent assumptions.

(No wonder mainstream 20th century philosophy is so hostile to metaphysics; no wonder the mass media is so hostile to metaphysics. When everything depends on your metaphysical assumptions, but these assumption are crudely arbitrary and contrary to common sense, then naturally you don't want to talk about your metaphysical assumptions, or defend them.)

Forget reason, evidence, argument! If wholesale death and enslavement can be ignored/ forgotten, then no argument we might construct will make a difference.

Secular Leftism cannot learn, cannot be taught. If the vast multinational and all-pervading actuality of Communism can fall out of mind, be forgotten, be disregarded; then why wrangle over minutiae.



Steve Nicoloso said...

Foseti quotes Kokkarinen today.

The 20th Century:

if you take the 94 million kulaks, capitalists, dissidents and other groups of people that socialists murdered in the twentieth century, and punch the numbers into a calculator, the average number of victims per hour equals almost exactly the one-hour kill count of Anders Breivik. Just imagine how absurd it would be if, instead of being captured and neutralized, Anders were simply allowed to keep killing people day and night until the twenty-second century dawns. And yet such an absurdity practically defined the twentieth century.

One more on 20th Century:

The batting record of the verbal intellectual class during the twentieth century was so horrible that if every one of them had decided to become a pedophile instead of an intellectual, the total count of the innocent victims of their anointed visions would have been at least two orders of magnitude lower.

The Crow said...

Gosh, Steve...
You are a match-made-in-heaven for
They're struggling to keep optimistic, in the face of the onslaught of leftism, but a guy like you would cheer them up no-end :)

Thursday said...

Except that violence has been clearly going down. See Steven Pinker. War just isn't what it used to be. That decrease may or may not be due to modern values, but I don't think one can plausibly claim that modernity has actually caused an increase violence.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Thursday - I think this argument about whether the statistics of violence are going down is so utterly misconceived and so wrong in so many ways that I find it is impossible to begin the discussion!

To argue that declining stats of violence means that violence is declining not so much a factual error but orthogonal to how we ought to relate to the world.

The Crow said...

Good point, Bruce.
South London, when I last saw it, was violent to the point of having more in common with Johannesburg than a civilized anglo city.
But the statistics consistently claimed peace was breaking out, all over.
When only criminals care to venture out, after dark, a lack of violence is not the most obvious quality one notices.

Steve Nicoloso said...


The math either works or it doesn't. Did the 20th century leftists average the Breivik rate or not?

America has indeed enjoyed a reduction in violent crime but only largely because of a dramatically outsized prison population... Something one is definitely not supposed to notice.

Thursday said...

Well, this is what you wrote:

"What bigger and more overwhelming argument could there be than the wars and mass slaughters of the twentieth century."

If in fact wars and slaughters have actually been less bad then your argument is invalid.

Nergol said...


Pinker may or may not be a good biologist, but he's a terrible historian. His arguments only work if you practice the old leftist trick of ignoring huge swaths of history. Or, in other words, if you succumb to the Overwhelming Exception Fallacy.

Yes, violence has been steadily going down since the 18th century, as Pinker notes - if you discount World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, the Holodomor, the Armenian Genocide, the Gulags, Mao's starvations, the Cultural Revolution, and Kampuchea as outliers which can be dismissed - as Pinker more or less does. That the 20th century was the most bloodsoaked in human history by far does not appear to faze Pinker, who, like all secular liberals, never let a huge pile of facts get in the way of a good theory - especially if it's one that tends to support their ideologies.

And that it does, for Pinker is a "progressive". "Progress" is the key idea there - the idea that, borne on the back of the secular liberal philosophy, mankind is slowly but surely moving towards perfection - towards the building of a paradise upon the Earth. What do you think explains their fetish for evolution? All part of the process - of a godless march ever closer to a perfect world. The idea that violence has been steadily going down since the Enlightenment - which secular liberals venerate as the birthplace of their ideas - leads to the obvious conclusion that the continuation of these ideas will eventually lead to the elimination of violence altogether.

Pinker believes that human beings are, aided by the enlightened teachings of secular liberal "brights", literally evolving past violence. It's a ridiculous idea on its face, of course - sure to be derided in future times every bit as much as Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" is now, but the Pinkers of the world believe it with a fiery and unshakable faith. They believe it because they *must* believe it; because they wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning and face a chaotic, violent, and, to them, godless world if they didn't. All human beings need faith in something. This is theirs.

And this is why they cannot be taught.

Thursday said...

if you discount World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, the Holodomor, the Armenian Genocide, the Gulags, Mao's starvations, the Cultural Revolution, and Kampuchea as outliers which can be dismissed - as Pinker more or less does.

But he doesn't dismiss them, he just says that all earlier centuries were considerably bloodier. And he's correct.

formerly no name said...

But he doesn't dismiss them, he just says that all earlier centuries were considerably bloodier. And he's correct.

The major violent episodes of the 19th Century: Taiping Rebellion, Congo Free State, American War of Secession, Crimean War-and what else? I'll have to consult my Flashman.

Steve Nicoloso said...

It's safe to say that, because there has never been a greater mismatch in personal power between those who have it and those who don't, the people with the power would tend to fail to notice the high risk of death that otherwise inheres to anarchical polities.

Nergol said...


Sorry, no he isn't. Especially if you consider that before World War I, the majority of casualties in war were caused by disease and not battlefield action, so comparing raw death tolls before and after the turn of the 20th century or so is a complete "apples and oranges" affair. Previous wars weren't "bloodier". They were just sicker (literally). I remain unconvinced that previous centuries were more violent (and indeed, I believe they were less so) once one adjusts the numbers for nonpreventable starvation (i.e., that not brought about either intentionally or unintentionally by crappy governments) and disease.

Pinker also makes the error of assuming that nothing else other than his theory could possibly account for the trends he sees. How about the development of nuclear weapons, which democratized the spectre of suffering such that the idea of war between the industrialized nations that had them became unthinkable all around? There's a reason why the second half of the 20th century saw less war than the first half, but it's not because humanity has gotten any better - it's just that we finally developed a weapon so destructive that even we were smart enough to be truly afraid of it.

But what the second half of the 20th lacked in war, it more than made up for in people murdered by their own repressive governments. Again, China is the best example.

So, sorry, Pinker's history is still sloppy and unconvincine.