Sunday 20 November 2022

Musk, Twitter and the bankruptcy of the "based" secular "Right"

When I began this blog on a frequent basis, in the middle of 2010, there was (supposedly) a new, vigorous, and intellectually-rigorous movement of the secular "Right" - variously termed Alternative/Alt Right, Neoreaction, and similar 

(The 'rump' of this movement is sometimes nowadays termed "based" - and can be sampled via this branch of Synlogos.) 

One of my earliest themes was that this movement was not actually "Right" but was just part of the Left; because they wanted essentially the same thing as the Left (i.e. optimal happiness and minimum suffering in this mortal life - the 'hedonic' calculus); and the secular "Right" therefore only differed in terms of their priority groups (eg. white native men) and the methods employed (e.g. new kinds of monarchy). 

Same ends, different means. But is the end that is definitive. 

I then argued that the only genuine alternative and opposition to The Left was religion

So, the truth was that the Left-Right axis was all-Left; and the only true axis of opposition was Left-Religion. 

For those who opposed The Left, I said; their only valid choice was: which religion? 

This has proved to be correct over the following decade, as evidenced by the fact that the self-identified secular Right are still merely negatively responding to what the mainstream Left are advocating or doing; much as 'fascism' did in the 1920s and 30s; . 

Since the Left is actually a negative and oppositional ideology; this means that the secular Right are a double-negative ideology. 

And since the Left's policies are already double-negative - e.g. anti-racism anti-men (feminism)  - the secular Rights policies are triple-negative anti-antiracism, anti-feminism...

Something like this explains the astonishing obsessions of the secular Right; who remain utterly focused-on everyday mainstream politics such as elections and the Twitter takeover by Musk (what!); but in this extra-negative way of opposing the destroyers instead of proposing positive creation; which the secular Right cannot do because they are secular.

The amount of internet-ink spilled over the Musk-Twitter business is especially gratuitous. Twitter is a Bad Thing, Musk is a Bad Thing - why discuss the business as if some Good would come out of it? 

The answer is: one regards this as a major issue, only when one is operating on the basis of mainstream assumptions of Good.

Just as the election-obsessives implicitly, by revealed-preference, believe (whatever they say) that we can vote our way out of trouble; so the Musk-Twitter obsessive believe we can Tweet our way to a Better World.      

So that Better means, for them, just more of the same stuff - but directed at groups they like. 

And they believe this because they have nothing better to offer. 

But what of the proper opposition to the Left: I mean The Religious? 

Well... In 2020 the major churches of the world - of (apparently) all religions and denominations - overwhelmingly made clear their convergence with the this-worldly and hedonic values of the Global Left: they made this clear by massive closures and cessations of their core activities. 

(It may be that the Government and Orthodox Church of the Fire Nation has since reversed that convergence with global Leftism: where that may lead has yet to be seen; but anyway, such a direction is not a possibility, nor desirable, for The West.) 

So the churches, of all religions, were revealed as just another part of The Left.  

So the situation is that even the Left versus Religion axis, which seemed a possibility back in 2010; is not a possibility. 

My hoped-for (albeit slender, pessimistic) possibility of a church-rooted religious revival to become culturally dominant; has since been revealed as a false hope. False, not merely because of the political weakness of the churches, but mainly because the churches do not even desire it, but instead seek assimilation to the Left (and as fast as the church leaders can persuade the laity).

Therefore; these times are far more desperate than the "secular Right" imagine; and far more desperate than church-orientated Christians acknowledge. Because (at least in The West - albeit the Fire Nation in the East may have chosen a different path of destiny) there is nowhere to turn in the world of powerful, high status, influential public discourse. 

We can neither vote-in a saviour (because none are available to vote-for, and because the bureaucracy-media control everything of social significance), nor can we engineer a way-out by participation in high-impact social media (because the medium is intrinsically evil-promoting; in form as well as its allowed-content).     

What we can do is at the individual level, not in institutions; is spiritual, not material; and is rooted in understanding correctly - which means honestly and with full acknowledgment of its scope - the nature of our situation and responsibility. 


Per K said...

That Twitter and Musk are both bad I fully agree, but I find most people agree with either one or the other, not both. That's somewhat analogous to your theme about Left and Right both being bad. I value your posts every day. Thanks.

whitney said...

I read this this morning. I study from a Notre Dame professor interviewing young Christians and finding even those that profess their faith don't know it and it has been replaced by something he refers to as a moralistic therapeutic deism where God is hands off unless you need him, doesn't really care about the choices you make, there is no sin and the main goal is to be happy and nice and I have a prosperous life and that this new religion has replaced Christianity and most of the churches.

My name is Matt said...

Dr. Charlton, I just bought your addicted to distraction book on kindle, looking forward to reading it.

"instead of proposing positive creation"
Do you view platforms like gab/arkhaven/unauthorizedTV as positive creation? Given that the material has influence over the spiritual.


Bruce Charlton said...

@mniM - McLuhan was correct in noticing that the medium is ultimately more important than the content. The more a medium becomes 'mass', the more it becomes intrinsically evil in effect.

That may be compensated in specific instances, like counter currents in a river; but overall the mass medium will harm - because eventually all things move in the direction that the river flows.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I get your point, but I wouldn't use the term "bankruptcy." More like "unenlightened," or "seeking," or perhaps "misguided?" The jury's still out on a lot of things these days now that Christianity has decided to commit suicide. After all, you and I both made the same error before 2020, annus horribilis.

I'd reserve the term "bankruptcy" for the Christian Right. And when I say bankruptcy I mean utter, complete and hypocritical failure.

The current messaging from the old Christian Right to young people is:

Nothing more can be done;
You are at greater risk than we are of dying unmarried, childless, in debt, probably without even home ownership, and we will do nothing to rectify it;
You should work and pay taxes for other countries' peooples, and other peoples' children;
You should follow the dictates of the secular State, even when it tells you to forego the Sacraments that might have comforted you and which we formerly said were essential to your salvation;
You should hate your own race, and make room for others.

Now that's a bankrupt message. I can understand the Alt-Right's more epicurean, materialist outlook.

Bruce Charlton said...

@whitney - I heard of that research many years ago, and clearly it is true that this kind of thing is what most self-identified Christians actually believe (not just teenagers); but the implied conclusion is not true, as we now can see.

"this study should warn us all that our failure to teach this generation of teenagers the realities and convictions of biblical Christianity will mean that their children will know even less and will be even more readily seduced by this new form of paganism."

The implications is that the older generation are truer Christians, and that if 'we' Did teach teenagers the realities and convictions of biblical Christianity, then this would suffice.

But 2020 showed that this is not so. The older generations are as bad as or worse than the teenagers when it came to the birdemic-peck, antiracism, climate emergency, and now the Fire nation war.

I know of many teenagers who were taught exactly such convictions of 'Biblical' Christianity, and thoroughly; yet went with the moralistic therapeutic deism perspective, just as if they were mainstream secular people. And so did most of their parents, and grandparents.

Also, I think it is mistaken to assume that such people believe in God, just because they say so in a survey; since whatever they believe makes no discernible difference.

And "MTD" is not paganism, and has near-zero relation to it. MTD is just a vague attempt at expressing what is actually the (changing, anti-creation and and anti-Christian) values of mainstream secular Leftism, or whatever we want to call the ruling ethic of Western public discourse.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Per K

"both bad ... but ... most people agree with either one or the other, not both"

Good point. And on that hinges the pseudo-controversy.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A-G - by Christian Right, do you mean what might be called 'trads' - who argue the primacy of obedience to the external guidance of (whatever happens to be) their church?

If so, although I regard the traditional church-based Christian idea to be incoherent (since it omits the unavoidable primacy of personal discernment), I don't think that your summary of what you say they urge on young people is accurate.

What about somebody like Archbishop Vigano, Ann Barnhardt, Peter Kreeft, or Joseph Pearce - to focus on the Roman Catholics - who are Christian, and (presumably) "Right"? They do not urge what you say.

Who do you actually mean by this bankrupt Christian Right, because I can't really identify such a grouping?

No Longer Reading said...

To the extent that this is well-motivated, I think it comes from the fact that bureaucratic institutions will still be highly influential in the short to medium term (even though I believe that they won't last in the long term). And also, the previous aspects of society based on personal rather than institutional principles are weaker than they've ever been.

I found that one of your posts on this subject ( did a good job describing this.

People don't know what else to do. I guess we just have to be "in the world but not of it", recognize that these institutions are powerful and influential, but not give them our loyalty.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NLR - It is interesting that one of the most outspoken and influential advocates of Civil Society was Uncle George Soros; who has probably done as much to destroy it - globally - as anyone in recent decades. This is how the Left works since the 1960s - it destroys what it supports (education, health services, science etc).

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I would include the traditionalists and the Protestants in this grouping. If there are Christian hierarchs and theologians espousing the creation of alternate communities and institutions, and the complete deconstruction of the wholly irredeemable atheist State, so that young working people of whatever class can once again afford families and forge their own healthy Zions, I don't know of them. In fact, the messaging is just the opposite: we're all supposed to be mendicants who still work full-time and pay taxes.

Chent said...

You have a point, Anti-Gnostic. I consider myself part of the Christian Right and, even worse, one of those affiliated to a Christian tradition (the Catholic one) and wanting to remain there even if the leadetship is corrupt. A trad. In one word, garbage.

I would not want to be young today. Both Bruce, Peter Kreeft and I are not young at all. They are Boomers and I am Gen X. We are established, with house and family. It is easy to say that secular things don't matter when you have a good life. But I get your point.

You won't lose money if you always bet on the passivity of today's church-goers, let alone their submissiveness to the state and to the secular script. For every problem, the answer is doing nothing. Praying and expecting God to solve the situation are only an alibi for selfishness and laziness.

You see men of action in the Bible, Jesus, the Apostles, David, the Maccabees. They made things happen while praying. They did not pray so they could keep on doing nothing and enjoying their comfortable lives. They prayed and fought for the good.

If you don't have a comfortable life, the usual Christian man simply doesn't care. Every proposal you tell them about doing anything will be answered by something like :"This is terrible. We should pray a lot. God has a plan". But if you are young today, this sounds hollow. I thought they were going to react to the blasphemies of Francis. If they don't react because of Francis, they won't help the young people trying to have a traditional life. I have tried some things in my local community and I have only received a wall of indifference and selfishness, disguised as spirituality and devoutness.

So I agree with you Anti-Gnostic. The Christian Right (which I am part of) is bankrupt. If we don't try to help our young people to have Christian families, if we wash your hands with spiritual posturing, we are worthless, no matter how many words we can write.

Lady Mermaid said...

As a twitter user (Yes, I know), this brought to mind your other post back in the spring positing whether Elon was a type of antichrist. Now, Elon has done great work in purging much of the wicked middle management and censoring bureaucrats. The System is pulling out the stops as they cannot tolerate any dissent.

However, it's important to remember that Elon is a huge proponent of transhumanism. It's illogical to criticize the transgender movement for erasing sex while supporting a movement that wants to erase humanity. He reminds of J.K. Rowling who courageously stood up the transgender lobby but doesn't realize that her support of homosexuality (making Dumbledore gay) and feminism led to the current insanity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A-G and Chent.

On that basis, the entirely of the world - or, at least, the West - is spiritually bankrupt; because nobody is actually doing what you want done. Nobody. (I mean no group of sufficient size to reach general awareness).

(I don't count people *advocating* what you want in the minor media like here - that doesn't mean anything. "Chickenhawks", springs to mind - anonymous individuals - or trolls/ infiltrators - egging others to take bold and risky real-life action from behind the cover of pseudonyms... you know the kind of thing, especially in Based blogs)

And I agree that the world is indeed spiritually bankrupt - because I believe we are in the End Times, when things have gone too far to be reversed; exactly because people do not Want to reverse things - because their values are (substantially) inverted.

But my understanding of Christianity is rooted in the Fourth Gospel - and therefore I understood Christianity to be essentially an other-worldly religion; rooted in hope for the after-life.

Jesus did not make this mortal life on earth better, he did not lead his people to a better world. He promised resurrected life everlasting to those individuals who followed him; regardless of the world.

To follow Jesus does have implications for this mortal life, for example the Litmus Tests, but not of the kind you are envisaging - ie. specific socio-political programs.

I would say that - where there are Christians who want to lead a Christian life - then positively Christian social change Will result: positive in the sense of genuinely helping, encouraging, people to attain salvation and theosis.

But we cannot put the sociopolitical programme before the faith - Faith Must come first, or else we Will just get (because it is what is actually aimed-at) more of the usual Leftist ideology, but in a slightly different flavour.