Tuesday 21 August 2012

If people violate natural law because of saturation propaganda - why the propaganda?


In trying to understand the crisis of the West, there is a tendency to stop with description - and indeed with a secular perspective that is necessary.

From a secular perspective there is no answer to 'why' - things have happened this way because this is the way things happen.


So, the Christian and secular Right can agree that modern Western society increasingly operate on the basis of reversing, inverting whatever is spontaneous and Natural and has been known to humanity forever:

1. What was evil becomes virtue, and what was good behaviour is at best a hypocritical mask but in fact is an authoritarian, repressive, misery-inducing, sadistic, crushing, tyrannical... (etc)

2. What seems or seemed beautiful is Kitsch, lowbrow, sentimental, evasive fantasy - the aesthetically admirable is brutal, bare, inhuman, unappealing, violent, viscerally disgusting, subversive, despair inducing... (etc)

3. What was simple truth becomes contested, relative, uncertain, ambiguous, power-imposed; experience is challenged by statistics - statistics is refuted by single examples; reality becomes a thing made and remade, not discovered; truth is defined by virtue (ie. the inverted virtue of modernity); the people are invoked for validation by elites, who regard the people as knuckle-dragging savages and refuse their clear demands; sophisticated propaganda becomes the ultimate truth... etc


Everyone on the Right pretty much agrees on the above and a lot more - but why did this happen?

What lies behind this change, what drives it?


The secular Right generally identify a particular (elite) human group which has driven the above changes, and who benefit materially from such changes; they are the evil ones who have originated wrong ideas, imposed them and tricked the populace and so on.

True enough, but why? And who? And do they know they are doing it? And why don't they stop?


The problem is that secular perspectives are unclear about the nature of evil. They see that people who pursue evil are not usually themselves evil - and are confused about where the evil may be.

The traditional Christian Right have no problem with all this because they perceive that evil is not located in individual people, nor in the behaviour of particular groups of people; but evil is a transcendental force in the world.

For Christians, purposive evil in the world is located not in people but in the fallen angelic powers opposed to God - in immaterial persons known as Satan, the devil, demons and so on. That is the location of evil, that is its purpose and driving force.


The evil is not primarily in people, nor in groups; these are not in themselves evil, but the evil forces of the world are those who serve evil.

Good and evil are themselves clear cut and unambiguous (although our knowledge of them is incomplete and distorted) - and the decision which side to serve is potentially clear cut and unambiguous (although evil, of course, muddies the waters by its subversion and inversions).

Actually serving Good or evil is not clear cut and ambiguous, but the will to serve one or the other is cc&un-amb.



The continual, 24/7 saturation propaganda for evil; the moral and aesthetic inversions, the pervasive relativism and dishonesty which are inflicted upon Western humanity by the mass media, government officials, education, the legal system etc. - these do not have their own primary agenda, but are activities in service of, driven by, purposive evil - which is why the participants are so often nice people.

Nice people often make excellent servants of evil.


A brief answer to why things are the way they are is therefore that many individual humans have willed, have chosen, to serve evil - and as the consequences have accumulated it has become harder to choose Good.

To choose evil is rewarded in the short term by comfort, power, status, diversions; to choose Good is to be punished; Good choosing people diminish in status, lose money, are shunned and vilified, made to suffer in numerous ways, find their choices narrowed.

So evil choices generate more evil, and make easier further evil choices.


In the spiritual warfare between Good and evil, on this world, in this life, in Time; evil will win - eventually, sooner or later (maybe sooner).

And that is the process we are observing.

It is the latest manifestation of purposive evil at work in the world, and an accumulation of the weight of sin.

That is why we suffer coordinated and motivated anti-Good mass propaganda - despite that there is no obvious focus for it.

That is the bottom line explanation.



Anonymous said...

Because our elite is a moral elite, it bases its power on the supposition it is moral.

The aristocratic elite was often immoral, because they could be. The commercial elite that took over with the dawn of the Victorian era presented itself as more worthy of power due to its more sober behavior. And indeed for long time they made society more moral.

But around the 1920's? they got bored with this. They decided being bluenoses was no fun, and they wanted to engage in whatever sex they wanted. But they still made their claim to power based on their morality, so they just redefined whatever they felt like doing as being moral. Overcoming natural guilt and revulsion is difficult, so continuous propaganda is needed.

Bruce Charlton said...

@dl - yours is a secular Right perspective - at least as far as you have explained it here.

You locate the evils of modernity in the psychology of the elites.

You need to explain how a multiplicity of individual psychologies lead to quasi purposive evil - subversion, inversion and the rest of it.

My belief is that individual evil is self-defeating - because it leads to a war of each against all which kills itslef.

But what we have now is long-term strategic evil - which implies some unifying and guiding 'intelligence'.

FHL said...

From Ephesians 6:10-20
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of Faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

And also, from the excellent article "The Winning Strategy" by Peter Kreeft ( http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/01/kreeft-the-winning-strategy/ ):

"If you don’t know that our entire civilization is in crisis, I hope you had a nice vacation on the moon.


Who is our enemy?

Not Protestants... Not Jews...Not Muslims...The same is true of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Quakers...Our enemies are not “the liberals.”...Our enemies are not anti-Catholic bigots who want to crucify us. They are the ones we’re trying to save. They are our patients, not our disease...Our enemies are not even the media of the culture of death... They too are victims, patients, though on a rampage against the hospital, poisoning other patients. But the poisoners are our patients too. So are homosexual activists, feminist witches, and abortionists...Our enemies are not heretics within the Church, “cafeteria Catholics,” “Kennedy Catholics,” “I Did It My Way” Catholics... They are the victims of our enemy, not our enemy...Our enemies are not theologians in so-called Catholic theology departments who have sold their souls for thirty pieces of scholarship and prefer the plaudits of their peers to the praise of God. They are also our patients...Our enemy is not even the few really bad priests and bishops, candidates for Christ’s Millstone of the Month Award, the modern Pharisees. They too are victims, in need of healing...

Who, then, is our enemy?

There are two answers. All the saints and popes throughout the Church’s history have given the same two answers, for these answers come from the Word of God on paper in the New Testament and the Word of God in flesh in Jesus Christ.

Yet they are not well known. In fact, the first answer is almost never mentioned today. Not once in my life have I ever heard a homily on it, or a lecture by a Catholic theologian.

Our enemies are demons. Fallen angels. Evil spirits.


I said there were two enemies. The second is even more terrifying than the first. There is one nightmare even more terrible than being chased and caught and tortured by the Devil. That is the nightmare of becoming a devil. The horror outside your soul is terrible enough; how can you bear to face the horror inside your soul?

What is the horror inside your soul? Sin. All sin is the Devil’s work, though he usually uses the flesh and the world as his instruments. Sin means inviting the Devil in. And we do it. That’s the only reason why he can do his awful work; God won’t let him do it without our free consent. And that’s why the Church is weak and the world is dying: because we are not saints.


And thus we have our third Necessary Thing: the weapon that will win the war and defeat our enemy.

All it takes is saints."

Bruce Charlton said...

@FHL - that passage from Kreeft had a formative effect on me when I encountered it just a couple of years ago, and it is well worth revisiting.

Brian said...

"Like Jesus, Satan seeks to have others imitate him but not in the same fashion and not for the same reasons. He wants first of all to seduce. Satan as seducer is the only one of his roles that the modern world condescends to remember a bit, primarily to joke about it. Satan likewise presents himself as a model for our desires, and he is certainly easier to imitate than Christ, for he counsels us to abandon ourselves to all our inclinations in defiance of morality and its prohibitions.

If we listen to Satan, who may sound like a very progressive and likeable educator, we may feel initially that we are "liberated," but this impression does not last because Satan deprives us of everything that protects us from rivalistic imitation. Rather than warning us of the trap that awaits us, Satan makes us fall into it. He applauds the idea that prohibitions are of no use and that transgressing them contains no danger."


CorkyAgain said...

The philosopher Paul Weiss made a useful distinction between purposiveness and purpose.

A purpose is a consciously-chosen final end, while purposiveness describes actions which merely tend toward an end.

For example, the ivy climbing the tree behind my house might eventually weigh it down to the point that the tree falls, but it certainly hasn't chosen that end and isn't consciously working toward it.

Yet you might say that "Nature" wants to bring that tree down, in order to make room for something else, and is using the ivy to serve that purpose.

In the same way, very little of what humans do is deliberately chosen to bring about the final end desired by Evil. But much of it tends toward that conclusion.

Because we are fallen, the purposiveness that tends toward evil ends comes to us naturally. Most of the time, it does not require any effort or conscious exercise of the will. All it asks of us is that we give in and go along.

The purpose of propaganda, I take it, is to make it easier for us to go along. One of its many achievements is to close off those avenues of thought which might encourage us to resist. Like Wormtongue whispering his lies and distortions in Theoden's ear, it tells us we live in purposeless, material world and that there is nothing which transcends it and gives it meaning. It tells us there is nothing to hope for except the satisfaction of our own animal desires, a full belly and comfort in our old age...

Bruce Charlton said...

@Corky - "ells us we live in purposeless, material world and that there is nothing which transcends it and gives it meaning"

One way this is seen, strikingly, is the in-curiosity people now have about suicide. According to the media, people are all the time committing suicide out of the blue - and this is blandly accepted as perfectly natural. Sometimes these suicides are drug side effects (often side effects of drugs prescribed ostensibly to prevent suicide) but nobody seems terribly interested one way or the other. This is what it is to live in a nihilistic society.

CorkyAgain said...

If the world is as meaningless as they say it is, it doesn't matter whether you or anyone else goes on living or not.

In fact, by those lights it ultimately doesn't matter whether the human race goes extinct or expands throughout the galaxy (as in the maniac vision of Lewis's Professor Weston.)

Although I suppose someone might derive some pleasure from your making one or the other choice.

Absent that opportunity for pleasure, the modern man is indifferent. Nihilism shrugs.

Such is the evil dream we dream when we are bewitched by the propaganda you were asking about. The reason it must continue, even though we are already deeply bewitched, is that it does not serve Evil's purpose for us to wake up.

Anonymous said...

To choose evil is rewarded in the short term by comfort, power, status, diversions; to choose Good is to be punished; Good choosing people diminish in status, lose money, are shunned and vilified, made to suffer in numerous ways, find their choices narrowed.

Exactly so. Why then is a supernatural explanation necessary?

This started off with the Exeter Hall campaign against slavery. They opposed slavery not by persuasion and example, but by state power, by fire and steel.

The nobility of the cause, naturally, justified some far from noble methods.

In the process, somehow, mysteriously, quite a bit of state power and other people's money wound up sticking to Exeter Hall.

I think you remarked that those who think chattel slavery by white people an unthinkable evil, so shocking that it must be suppressed by any means necessary, seem curiously relaxed about chattel slavery by brown people, and slavery where the state owns the slaves. They also seem remarkably relaxed about hospitals murdering the elderly to free up beds.

All of which sounds pretty much like ordinary human evil.

And if philanthropists use good causes to dress up evil purposes and evil means, I think Jesus had some words on that topic that made no reference to demonic influences, but rather to entirely human faults.

Anonymous said...

My belief is that individual evil is self-defeating - because it leads to a war of each against all which kills itself.

But what we have now is long-term strategic evil - which implies some unifying and guiding 'intelligence'.

Well, yes, and in the nineteenth century the unifying and guiding intelligence was located in Exeter Hall, and now it is located in Harvard.

The reason the assorted decolonization movements look like their organization names were based on a set of rubber stamps made up in a job lot at Harvard is because their organization names were based on a set of rubber stamps made up in a job lot at Harvard.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JAD - you can see my postings on slavery here -


The problem with your idea of the source of evil (which I guess you share with M.Moldbug) is

1. by what criteria do you say it is evil? Your answer would be utilitarian, and then it becomes a matter of Left versus Right wrangling over extrapolations of policy, adding up merits and debits, subtracting suffering from pleasure... and the problem is insoluble.

2. these people believe they are good, feel themselves to be motivated by good, regard themselves as self-sacrificing etc. Also, they lack strategic or joined-up thinking. They lack self-consciousness of what they are trying to do.

Whence cometh the long-term (some 100s of years), purposive, coordinated international strategy of the Left; when they have basically no idea what they are doing?

I say because they are serving evil, and unwitting servants have always been among the most effective.

You say... because... well I just don't see it. In so far as the Left is strategic and coordinated they know they are wrong, and that their project will fail, destroy the Left and indeed yield the opposite of its aim; yet we know they *are* strategic and coordinated.

Don't make no sense to me.