Sunday, 27 May 2012

Attitude to democracy - the litmus test of a reactionary


Question: What is the difference between a Conservative and a Reactionary?

Answer: A Conservative is pro-democracy; a Reactionary is anti-democracy.


A negative attitude to democracy is pretty close to being the litmus test of being a Reactionary - democracy is so pervasively regarded as 'a good thing' in modern culture that nobody is indifferent to, unsure about their answer to, this question.

Anyone who is pro-democracy is - whether they know it or not, whether they are religious or not - objectively on the side of the Leftists/ Liberals/ Progressives (and, indirectly, atheists) - however moderate or gradualist a member of this tendency they may be.


(And the same applies to all non-religious persons - if you are not religious, you are not a Reactionary - because atheism intrinsically and necessarily leads to Leftism, is indeed the root and motivation of Leftism - surely that is obvious by now?)



Unknown said...

No, atheism is not the root of leftism - for the left was very obviously Christian in the nineteenth century, and was nominally Christian, though in practice deist or unitarian, until the 1940s.

And the actually existent churches are pretty leftist.

Further, the puritans were the original anglosphere left and were very serious and genuine in their Christianity.

The roots of leftism are to be found in Christianity - universalism, pacifism, love your neighbor, turn the other cheek. Of course genuine Christianity is not leftist, it is unapologetically reactionary, but the potential is there to become leftism, as in fact happened.

Compare and contrast Christianity with the cheerful egoism and tribalism of Homer and Herodotus - Their outlook is Ayn Rand plus love one's own people and culture. We see in Homer and Herodotus solid essence of capitalistic reaction.

Who took Christianity more seriously? The reactionary Anglican Church created in Restoration, or the left wing puritans, and their descendents, the dissenters and non conformists, who brought us the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, and votes for the working class?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JAD - your arguments would have force against a Protestant Christian, and some but less against Western (Roman) Catholicism - but I see Christianity as rooted in its first 1000 years and the Eastern Orthodoxy of the pre Great Schism church, and of Byzantium.

Leftism and modernity (functional specialization) entered Christianity with the Western Catholic Church - but the growth was 'exponential'; thus almost invisible for several centuries then rapidly obvious then dominant.

It's all in Thought Prison! - you may not agree with it, but that is my understanding of things.

Also the explanation of phenomena like the left wing puritans: each step in specialization and narrowing is typically beneficial in the short term (e.g. increased zeal) yet damaging and degrading in the longer term (e.g. increased legalism) - so the process is ratcheted until there is repentance or collapse.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as democracy, so the question is who is running things? What is commonly known as democracy in the modern world (I make this because Athens may have been an actual democracy) is simply a system where the electorate gets to choose people to express small, slight disagreements with some policies. Or not, as the case may be. In current society the powers regard gay marriage as good. If the people vote against it, the vote is overturned, or another vote is held until they get it right. Eliminating democracy wouldn't make things much worse, but it would hardly help things.

Bruce Charlton said...

@deconstructingleftism - actually, the news is much worse than that.

Democracy is real - it is replacing government by a vote. Part of it is also government by vote.

So NOBODY is running things - things are run by a process: namely voting.

Or, as in recent democracies, things are run by the mass media - which again means nobody is running things.

Unless things are run by a specific person, things are not being run at all. They are running-down.

Dave Trowbridge said...

"A negative attitude to democracy is pretty close to being the litmus test of being a Reactionary."

Pretty close, but not completely. Christian anarchism opposes democracy along with all other coercive governing structures.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DT - I suppose it may depend on what you mean by anarchism (JRR Tolkien, an ultramontaine Roman Catholic monarchist, once said in a letter that he was an 'anarchist'!) - but anarchism is in essence a core Left phenomenon. (I was an anarchist, for several years, before I became a Christian.)

Anarchism is individualistic, anti-hierarchical etc - Christianity is intrinsically hierarchical, monarchial, and does not recognize humans as individuals but sees us all in it together.

If you an anarchist in the sense of being against totalitarianism then so far so good - but Christians are in favour of a reality, of truth and what tends to that; not in favour of political freedom as an end in itself. Freedom in and of itself has no positive value. Indeed, freedom in an evil context is itself evil (given human corruption).

(I am talking here of political freedom, not freedom of the will or free will - free will is for a Christian of the essence of being human, axiomatic, a metaphysical assumption.)

The Crow said...

A great many things are so pervasively regarded as 'a good thing' in modern culture...
Women's right to vote.
Women's 'rights'.
Everyones' 'rights'.

Regarding something as a good thing does not make it a good thing. It only makes it entrenched.
Is a mosquito a good thing?
Is anything a good thing?

It would seem that something has to fail catastrophically, in modern times, for it to become regarded as a bad thing.

Ben said...

I still surprised that it isn't obvious that atheism is the cause of leftism.

My thoughts on democracy: Woman's suffrage; mass loss of The Fear (and the understanding of what thoughts and actions to Fear); the uneven distribution of IQ and the ability to understand certain arguments and philosophies; and, the importation of relatively large amounts of foreigners, have all made it a destructive joke.

As I you point out, there's nothing necessarily good about the institution (and, indeed, the institution of the thoughts of people en masse.)

Ugh said...

In the absence of democracy, then what? A monarchy, a dictator? Anarchy? These things have been tried and found wanting. I agree that democracy is a joke, but I'm unclear what would/should come next.

Do we in the West really choose our (national) leaders with the democratic vote? I don't think so, not entirely. We have the eternal choice of the lesser of two evils. We are given these false choices and the media holds sway.

So the media is in charge??? And therefore no one is in charge. But then who pulls the strings for the media? With amazing coordination they are all in lock step with a few weak outliers here and there. Seems next to impossible that it could happen this way, but it does.

Is this democracy or a cruel hoax dressed up as democracy?

Sadly, millions can see and even elucidate right answers to profound issues facing the world, the country, the city, the neighborhood yet nothing ever really gets fixed. Is this the fault of democracy? It is.

Is the Internet (this sort of dialogue) going to change the fate of democracy - has it already?

Bruce Charlton said...

"In the absence of democracy, then what? A monarchy, a dictator? Anarchy?"

A monarchy. From a Christian perspective, a divinely ordained monarchy is proper government.

"Do we in the West really choose our (national) leaders with the democratic vote?"

I think the question is ill-framed. The point is that *voting* is regarded as the proper way to choose governments and to make all important decisions. Thus we are a democracy.

"But then who pulls the strings for the media? With amazing coordination they are all in lock step with a few weak outliers here and there."

This line of reasoning opens-up an infinite regress. Of course power is spread out and there is mutual influence. The lock step comes from the fact that the media know what they are against. Leftism is negative, reactive.

"Is this democracy or a cruel hoax dressed up as democracy?"

The question implies that if it was 'real' (or different) democracy then it would be OK - it wouldn't. Decision by voting is evil.

"Is the Internet (this sort of dialogue) going to change the fate of democracy - has it already? "

As it turns out, the internet has made things much worse, on average. The internet is the media, and the media domination of people's lives is a major part of the problem.

Jason said...

Social interaction is often a manipulative popularity contest - not a good way to run the world. The internet initially existed as a tool for intellectuals to communicate, now for the large part it is a "social network", always on social interaction that involves large numbers of isolated people in a constant flux of opinion, interest, influence. Swayed as ever, the internet is not bad, but it amplifies what already exists.

Nergol said...

Secular humanist leftism is very much a Christian heresy, which is why it is nonsensical, as all heresies are.

Christianity is a cosmology wedded to a philosophy. Secular humanist leftism asks people to discard the cosmology and some of the philosophy, while keeping other aspects of the philosophy and treating them as self-evident truths.

This runs into two problems: 1) If we discard the cosmology that serves as the basis of the philosophy, then the philosophy has no basis, and 2) Why should we discard some of the philosophy, but keep other parts of it? What is the basis for that?

In the end, anyone should be able to see that secular humanist leftism is utterly destroyed as a coherent philosophy by its lack of good answers to these questions. I owe a debt of gratitude to Ayn Rand and Anton LaVey, people whose philosophies appall me as a Christian, for showing me this truth.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Nergol - yes indeed.

But the fact that s.h.l. is nonsense, and self-refuting, should be no cause for complacency among Christians - since (I think we must assume) this historical process of heresy is driven by purposive evil.

The fact that secular humanist leftism will destroy itself is 'part of the plan' for purposive evil - it is a feature not a bug, since what evil wants is destruction of all Good, including those elements of Good which leftism retains.