TBT: Gay Totalitarianism

Thanks to Lauren Witzke, yesterday’s post was spread far more widely than I anticipated.  It’s thanks to her that I even had the idea for the post, thus proving, once again, that beautiful and intelligent women continue to serve as a source of inspiration.

In keeping with the theme, I thought this week’s TBT should look back at a past post about the totalitarian nature of the LGBTQ+2Aetc. movement.  I wrote this piece way back in April 2019, which feels like it was an eternity go.

The problem I identified at the time—the excessive empowerment of fringe identities leading to perverse incentives to play victim—has only exacerbated since then.  Remember, 2019 was before the George Floyd debacle, which turned a man with numerous health problems overdosing on fentanyl into a martyr and a saint—and resulted in a summer of race riots.  Depending on one’s sexual orientation and/or skin color, one can practically commit crimes and get off scot-free.

I attributed this to the totalitarian Left’s lust for power.  Now, however, I’m not even so sure if that’s what is at root of it all.  At a certain point, rational explanations fail.  There is such a degree of irrationality at play, the presumption shifts from “these actions are conscious and intentional” to “these actions are the result of an insane mind.”  Perhaps we’re witnessing widespread insanity, which progressive politics caters to happily.

Whatever the reason, identity politics is destroying our fragile social fabric, rending it violently apart.

With that, here is 2 April 2019’s “Gay Totalitarianism“:

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TBT: Ideas Have Consequences – Introduction

Yesterday was the last session of the Summer 2020 History of Conservative Thought course.  This summer marks the second run of the course, and it was a fantastic class.  I had three young men enrolled, all quite eager to dive into the material.

I try to avoid lengthy lectures in HoCT, giving the basic background information and scaffolding necessary to put the readings into context.  I want the works to speak for themselves, and for the students to the do the heavy lifting of sussing out meaning and the author’s ideas.  Each week students wrote a short essay or answered a few different guided questions, then we would come in and discuss the material.

With this summer’s group, that model worked very well, as two of the young men in particular loved to plunge into discussions and ask questions.  One of the students was concurrently taking a colleague’s popular Terror and Terrorism course, which leads off each summer with the French Revolution.  That always dovetails nicely with our discussion of Edmund Burke, as we read several excerpts from his Reflections on the Revolution in France.  Burke comes on the heels of our discussion of Russell Kirk’s conservative principles, and helps frame the early portion of the course in the Burkean tradition.

In July, we left the nineteenth century and began looking at the modern conservative movement, with a heavy emphasis on William F. Buckley, Jr., and the notion of fusionism.  Buckley’s National Review catches a good bit of flack on the Right these days, including from this blog, but it truly shaped conservatism in the second half of the twentieth century.  Before National Review, conservatism was a disorganized, disunited hodgepodge of various ideologies, movements, and issues—it was, as Lionel Trilling put it, a “reactionary impulse,” a grumpy attitude about the way things were, but without a cohesive understanding of how to combat the dominance of New Deal liberalism.

For all its noodle-wristed hand-wringing and desperate virtue-signalling today, National Review created the modern conservative movement by giving conservatives their voice, their publication.  It also gave conservatism a politically viable platform of issues that could win in national politics.  That focus on nationalism certainly cuts against the Kirkean/Burkean mold of organic, ordered liberty, but it was the reality of post-war American political life.

We ended with another mid-century conservative, but one fitting far more into the spiritual and moral mold of Burke and Kirk, and far less in the neoliberal and materialist mold of Buckley-style fusionism:  Richard Weaver’s seminal Ideas Have Consequences, which I consider one of the greatest books ever written.  Indeed, I’m a bit of a Weaver fanboy, as he’s been featured twice on my Summer Reading Lists, first in 2016 for Ideas Have Consequences, and again in 2020 for his collection of Southern Essays.

For the course, we just read the “Introduction” to the book, which I try to read every August before school resumes.  It reminds me why I teach, and what is at stake.  Reading Ideas Have Consequences—first published in 1948—today reads like prophecy fulfilled.  Weaver’s core focus on William of Occam as the source of modernity and its related ills might seem a bit far-fetched, but that’s merely the germ from which the analysis of modernity’s fallen view of the world grows.

The real heart of Ideas Have Consequences is the abandonment of the transcendental—of God—in favor for navel-gazing particularism, a constant focus on lower, material concerns.  Unbound from any obligation to or belief in a transcendental moral order, men are left adrift in a world full of isolation, alienation, confusion, and meaninglessness.

I’ll let the rest speak for itself.  Here is 29 July 2019’s “Ideas Have Consequences – Introduction“:

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Fifty Years of Radical Violence

On the Right, we tend to point to the 1960s as the decade when everything went wrong—the rise of the counterculture, the anti-war movement, the radicalization of campuses.  Or we’ll look back to the Progressive Era of the first two decades of the twentieth century, or the Frankfurt School that introduced “Cultural Marxism” to our universities.  Deep students of ideological infiltration will point to the American infatuation with German Idealists and the German model for higher education.

But in focusing so intensely on the 1960s, we overlook the following decade—the sleazy, variety show-filled 1970s.  Of course, what we think of as the cultural and social upheaval of the 1960s really occurred mostly in early 1970s.  Indeed, I suspect that so much of the romanticizing (on the Left) of the 1960s is because of the Civil Rights Movement, which now holds a place of uncritical holiness in our national mythology.  It probably also has to do with the dominance of early Baby Boomers in media and the culture for so long—they built the counterculture, and they still idealized their youthful misadventures as tenured radicals.

Regardless, good old Milo posted a link on his Telegram feed urging followers to “Read this.”  “This” was a book review, of sorts, of Days of Rage: America’s Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence by Bryan Burrough.  In his review of the book, author Brian Z. Hines writes that

Days of Rage is important, because this stuff is forgotten and it shouldn’t be. The 1970s underground wasn’t small. It was hundreds of people becoming urban guerrillas.  Bombing buildings: the Pentagon, the Capitol, courthouses, restaurants, corporations. Robbing banks. Assassinating police. People really thought that revolution was imminent, and thought violence would bring it about.

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The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War

On Wednesday, 13 May 2020, blogger Audre Myers posted a piece at Nebraska Energy Observer entitled “What Do You Think?”  The piece prompted readers to answer the question “Would we be the America we are if the Civil War had never been fought?”

Below is my response, which you can also view here.  The TL;DR summary of my answer is that, while it was good that the Union was preserved and that slavery was abolished, it came with some heavy fees—the expansion of federal power (and the loss of liberty inverse to federal expansion), the erosion of States’ rights, and—most importantly—the triumph of Yankee progressivism over Southern traditionalism.

The temptation is always to reduce the American Civil War to being ONLY about slavery.  Slavery was, obviously, a huge part of the Southern economy and culture, and motivated a great deal of Southern politics at the national level.  But slavery was not the be-all, end-all of the “Lost Cause.”  There were legitimate constitutional questions at play.  Indeed, an open question—one the American Civil War closed by force of arms—was that, having opted into the Constitution, could States later opt out?  John Randolph of Roanoke, among others, seemed to believe this question was legitimate, and such an exit was allowed—even acknowledged.

Of course, the slavery narrative serves modern progressive ends.  It allows for throwing the baby—States’ rights—out with the bathwater.  Suddenly, States’ rights becomes “code,” in the progressive mind, for justifying slavery or segregation.  Yes, States’ rights was invoked to support wicked things.  Nevertheless, it is fully constitutional—just ask the Tenth Amendment.

Nullification and secession were dangerous doctrines, but the loss of them also meant that the federal government could expand with far fewer limits on its power.  The States lost the nuclear option, so to speak, of bucking unconstitutional acts (although, to be fair, States can challenge such acts more peacefully through lawsuits against the federal government—even if those cases are heard in federal courts).  Seeing as we’re living in times when a peaceful separation between fundamentally opposed ideologies may be the most attractive option for the future of our nation, it’s worth reviewing the history of these ideas.

Well, that’s enough preamble.  After two days of self-indulgent, girly navel-gazing, it’s time for some substance:

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Nevada Feels the Bern

Well, the Commies and “natural conservatives” in Nevada have spoken, and it looks like Bernie Sanders is going to sweep the state’s caucuses.  That means he’s currently leading in Democratic delegates heading into South Carolina’s primaries this Saturday.

Joe Biden appears to be in second place, somewhat surprisingly, with l’il Pete Buttigieg in third.  That’s going to make South Carolina a big showdown between Sanders and Biden.  Biden is banking on blacks in South Carolina to buoy his flailing campaign.  Buttigieg will likely flame out (no pun intended) in SC, and the rest of the South, because of those same voters—blacks do not like homosexuality.

All that said, Bernie appears to be in the driver’s seat.  While folks are predicting Trump will mop the floor with the ancient socialist, a Sanders nomination is a very dangerous development.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Moral Outrage about Moral Outrage

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Teaching is a profession that attracts complainers.  Teaching requires some risk-tasking, but it’s fundamentally a job for folks that want great degrees of stability.  When that stability is disrupted, teachers, being creatures of habit and order, get ornery.

That might explain, in part, the high turnover in the teaching profession.  We live in an increasingly disordered world, even in the classroom.  Part of that disorder is the assumption that children are somehow wiser and more morally pure than their elders.

That’s a notion that goes back at least to the counterculture movement of the 1960s (not to blame, pedantically and predictably, all of our problems on that misguided, suicidal decade):  the youth a moral vanguard, crusading against the long-established order and its absurdities.  The outraged shrieking of a youngling carries with it, the culture suggests, greater weight than the elderly master with decades of experience and accumulated wisdom.

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A Little Derb’ll Do Ya: Haydn’s “Derbyshire Marches”

My Saturday morning ritual involves “sleeping in” until about 8:30 AM, brewing some coffee, and listening to Radio Derb, John Derbyshire’s weekly podcast for VDare.com.  Derb goes back for years—he used to write for National Review, before they kicked him out for writing “The Talk: Nonblack Version” for Taki’s Magazine.

I first found out about him and his controversial essay from NR, back when I was a devout print subscriber, amid the heady days when campus protests were novel enough to be terrifying.  NR ran a little blurb about Williams College cancelling a scheduled talk from Derb, and I’ve been listening to his podcast—an entertaining mix of news, science, political and cultural commentary, and updates on the president of Turkmenistan—ever since.

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Lazy Sunday XXXIV: The Desperate Search for Meaning Series

Next to Halloween and Christmas, today is the most wonderful of the year—it’s the day that the clock falls back an hour!  Sure, that means I’ll never see the sun for the next few months, as I’ll spend the dwindling daylight hours inside a classroom, but at least I got an extra hour of sleep this morning.

This week saw a good bit of reflecting on what is important in life (like ghost stories), so I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on “The Desperate Search for Meaning” series of posts.  It will also help to aggregate those posts into one place.

  • The Desperate Search for Meaning” – The post that started this impromptu series (and the subject of this week’s Flashback Friday featurette), this essay was about a New Age healer, Audrey Kitching, who exploited vulnerable women into working in slave-like conditions.  Kitching bamboozled these women with her gauzy, neo-spiritualist babble; her thin sense of meaning of belonging roped them in, as they desperately attempted to fill a void in their lives—and that doesn’t even include all the women who bought Kitching’s fraudulent products.  It’s a sad story, one I think is indicative of our times.
  • The Desperate Search for Meaning, Part II” – This piece was about a crazy old lady who believes that cancer can be extruded from the body through a series of energy-channeling motions—at least on the surface.  The real focus was that, while this old loon was going through her bizarre ritual, she espoused a cult of death:  having babies is bad because of overpopulation.  It’s the religion of environmentalism, one of the several cults of modern progressivism.  It is a deadly ideology that is, essentially, anti-human.
  • The Desperate Search for Meaning, Part III: Progressive Power Crystal” – This post looked at an LA Times piece on New Age spirituality, and how it was replacing traditional Christianity as the “faith” of young Americans.  That’s all tied up with progressivism’s imperial and totalitarian ambitions—all off these anti-Christian, anti-American movements are of a piece, serving similar ends.  As I write at the end of the post:

    “Even if our elites aren’t specifically Satanists, they’re certainly not Christians.  Their religion is progressivism, an jumble of ideologies that, at bottoms, rejects Christianity and its view of human nature.  Their gods are power and envy—just like Lucifer.”

  • The Desperate Search for Meaning IV: Vanity” – This piece pulled from a sermon my pastor gave on Ecclesiastes, one of my favorite books of the Bible.  Ecclesiastes is a work of philosophy, in which King Solomon examines his life and finds that all of his pursuits are, ultimately, meaningless:  he will die, and everything he experienced and built will eventually disappear.  Therefore, his only true meaning comes through God.  It’s the earliest form of Christian existentialism ever written (with apologies to Søren Kierkegaard).  It’s also a powerful reminder that this world, in which we are so involved, is fleeting.

That’s it for this Sunday.  Going back through this posts really makes my soul ache for the people that fall for New Age nonsense and neo-paganism.  Good thing I’ve found the One True Faith—the Southern branch of the Free Will Baptist denomination. 😀

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments: