When one does not acknowledge or even entertain the possibility of objective truth (be it decreed by gods, God, the Dao, or even the ability of humanity to occasionally comprehend an objective phenomenon with their subjective minds), morals become as vague and malleable as politics. In other words, they are there to serve a purpose (usually a self-interested purpose), not in-and-of-themselves. They never disappear entirely, of course–it is a rare thief indeed who feels no moral outrage when he himself is robbed–but beyond their immediate utility they have no independent existence.
It is likely Plato’s “world of forms” was born of such; he saw that if Love had no existence independent of the beings that experience it, it could become effectively undefinable and thus unrecoverable if ever lost. Worse yet, one might call Hate “Love” in Orwellian fashion and find no rebuke on the grounds that words are just arbitrary monkey-noises anyway. If Love was not a Form that is discoverable by but independent of the beings that interface with it, then it could be brought just as low as those beings occasionally are.
This is precisely the state of current philosophy, and we would do well to recognize that this philosophy has escaped the universities and is now roaming loose everywhere. It is no longer an abstract and academic but a deeply personal matter. Indeed, it may not be an overstatement to say that the absence of objective truth and the arbitrariness of words has taken on the cultural relevance that religion once had. Where the process of picking a social in-group once involved electing a denomination (a particular way of talking about God), one now elects a particular way of talking, period: an argot concerning one’s favorite social pet project.
The Right, as usual, is mostly reactionary and thus is limited to simple slang such as snowflake, SJW, triggered, degenerate, etc. In other words, they are always talking about their enemies. The Left are always talking about their enemies too, but they do it in terms of contrast; they delineate friend from foe by a complex series of shibboleth‘s. In the LGBTQ-XYZ crowd (something that appears to me to have become rather separate from just being gay etc), the test of purity is a comprehension of endlessly proliferating pronouns. Race/class-Andy’s do much the same with Marxist (usually not from Marx himself) ists and isms.
And while the comparable to religious linguistics seems apt, one can’t help but notice the difference be it from Left or Right. When God is one’s linguistic foundation or implication, one is always subconsciously citing a good that exists. When politics is one’s foundation/implication, one is always subconsciously citing a good that does not yet exist, or a wrong that does. Is it possible that this explains why we appear to be emotional basket-cases compared to stoical ancestors, despite having far easier lives?
To all such politic-ians (as in the word Christ-ians), classical morality takes on at the very least an annoying connotation, if not becoming the very definition of evil.
By annoying, I mean that a morality for-its-own-sake is rigid and thus does not always conveniently conform to one’s self-interest. Indeed, classical morality is inherently an inconvenience: “pick up your cross” and “desire is suffering” are not exactly preludes to having a good time.
But we are far past that; classical morality as the current definition of evil is close to being the rule rather than the exception. By this I mean that when one does not believe in objective truth, the insistence that there is and that one should conform to it will only ever appear tyrannical, judgmental, prejudicial, bigoted, etc. The first and best example is Milton’s Luciferian philosophy, wherein one intentionally elects their own subjective lies because they prefer them to the Objective Truth.
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.Lucifer, Milton’s Paradise Lost
Today, the starkest but certainly not the last example is transgenderism. To briefly recap: gender dysphoria is a mental health disorder. The psychologist John Money was the first to entirely rethink gender and consequently enshrine ‘trans’ as something separate from the gender dysphoria condition. If this is the first time you’re hearing of Dr Money, a brief trip to Wikipedia is in order. Within about 30 seconds you will definitively know why you have never heard of him before, even though he single-handedly coined the terms gender identity, gender role, and sexual orientation.
I take transgenderism as my example because its linguistic roots are surprisingly simple to trace. As the whole of Christianity rests upon Christ’s resurrection, so the whole of transgenderism rests upon the semantic nuance “biological sex is not synonymous with gender.”
I’ve just pulled out my Rodale Synonym Finder from 1978, and here is what it says upon the matter: “Sex. n. 1. gender.” Ladies and gentlemen, every thesaurus before a certain recent date now contains “hate speech.” Indeed, it is no longer out of the question that I will one day be imprisoned or worse for even mentioning such. And while I do not find this a particularly appealing hill to die upon, my line in the sand was several hills ago.
To be clear, I see no need to differentiate between the words “sex” (of the biological variety) and “gender.” Their synonymous nature worked perfectly fine for circa 20,000 – 200,000 years, and I see nothing particularly impressive about Dr Money’s intellect or character to make me believe he is an existential Archimedes capable of achieving a Eureka! none ever had before. If ever I do profess a differentiation between the two, it will only be in a Winston “do it to Julia!” context. Though I hope it will sound more like “THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!”
Like any true conservative, I am suspicious of any sudden, much less frantic, change. And when that frantic change is being perpetuated by people who openly declare that they do not acknowledge the existence of objective truths, the glass on my bullshit-meter shatters entirely. To simultaneously say: “Look here, we’ve found the new way, the better way, the only way” AND “There is no foundation upon which to determine the truth”, is the gibbering of gremlins from the abyss. Since they admittedly dwell in a universe wherein language’s only purpose is manipulation, whenever they speak I safely conclude they are attempting to manipulate me.
Such is the nightmare Plato anticipated. And, in pondering how to remain somewhat sane in an approaching social situation reminiscent of I Am Legend (the book, anyway), I am compelled to revisit such basics. We know the necessity of the Forms, but what of the morals themselves? Why should one say “Not my will, but thine be done” rather than giving in to the Luciferian temptation? Spirituality reasons aside (of which I suspect there are plenty), it can perhaps be summarized with one word: imperative. Kant’s categorical imperative is the secular solution (although it is doubtful that a secular solution is at all sufficient).
Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
Which, of course, is just a fancier way of saying The Golden Rule. With Kant’s imperative, one need not be dragged into the weeds of debating whether an act is wrong in isolation. Instead, actions are simply dealt with in terms of their real-world consequences. “Only harming one’s self” is a fiction. Thus, when one looks back with mystification at the alleged immorality of non-heterosexuality, one need only recollect that non-hetereosexuality as a universal law would end the species.
What is there to be proud of in divorcing sexuality from pair-bonding procreation and thus the family and thus the species itself? Nothing. And lest we only pick on the non-hetereosexual, the same exact thing can be said of pornography and birth control writ large. Homosexuality has historically been persecuted because it historically existed; the other two are so new we still have no idea what we’re doing, like cavemen with a burning branch. We want the warmth but not the forest fire.
However hard one tries to render morality purely secular, purely utilitarian, there is some mysterious quality about it which is upwards-borne, tugging the mundane toward the transcendent. After all, it is quite idealistic and not at all practical to expect sexuality should be a matter of pride or anything more than animal hedonism. Thus Kant is merely an appetizer where God is the main course. That is precisely why I treat these merely as a personal foundation rather than any kind of solution. If anything in the future is certain, it is that the majority of internet-connected humanity will never willingly return to the “yoke” of God’s authority.
No matter how hellish they consequently render the world, it is still better than serving to those whose main (or perhaps even sole) personality trait is that of rebellion. Rebellion against what? Anything less than absolute freedom. Just as political “progress” is a paradoxical continuum (from casting down the censors in the name of free speech to becoming censors in a secular holy war against “hate speech”), so is this freedom-for-its-own sake that is a freedom from rather than a freedom to. Freedom to is constructive; one has some work in mind which their hand is being kept from. Freedom from is often resentful, and all too easily devolves to the emotional level of a temper-tantrum. In extremis, freedom from may even preclude freedom to, for any and all necessities may eventually be conceived of as burdens–even the burden of life itself. Death is the only absolute freedom–and even then, “What dreams may come?”
This idea of being so resentful that one wishes to be freed from life entirely–suicidality, in a word–occurs to me in a related but quite nuanced way. It occurs to me whenever I think in terms of the current buzzword, “elites.” On the one hand I am skeptical of this term, due to being so loaded with conspiratorial connotations. There may well be cabals (most likely thinktanks and NGOs) that think of themselves in terms of Illuminates, perhaps even literal Luciferians, but I very much doubt that one such small group decisively dominates the planet, if only due to having to vie with competition and upstarts. That isn’t to say that such a monopoly is impossible–just unlikely and extremely hard-won.
Nevertheless, there seem to be a few commonalities that all such creepy elites today would generally agree upon. The main one is the idea of overpopulation. This term is often dog-whistled in terms of “global warming,” “environmental concerns,” etc. This is rather amusing when one considers that the persons who most often invoke such terms are the captains and regulators of Industry. If they’re so damn worried about it they could very well shut down a factory or two. No, their real concern is what happens when there are so many plebs on the planet that it becomes difficult for such overlords to continue enjoying themselves. The most frank among them are currently looking to set sail for Mars before this possibility becomes a certainty. But one gets the sense that most of them have no intentions of going anywhere.
So, the thought experiment becomes this. You have generational, dynastic wealth, high-IQ, a psychopathic ego, a sociopathic conscience, and plenty of time on your hands. You believe with fair assurance the world is X number of years away from being overpopulated to the extent that global farmland will falter and fail. You believe the species will not survive such an event. What do you do?
Is it truly “tinfoil conspiracy” to suppose that such persons would resort to a literal Hegelian dialectic, especially of the three stages variety? Problem. Reaction. Solution. Cause the problem, having anticipated the reaction, so-as to provide a predetermined solution. Perhaps the most well-known literary example of this dialectic is the conclusion of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Therein, consummate elite Ozymandias hoaxes an effectual “alien invasion” (killing most of New York City in the process), knowing this crisis will cause the nuclear disarmament and political reorganization he desires.
Like all things of a conspiratorial flavor, it takes a slight squint to make out. But when I consider the unlikely rapidity of these aforementioned cultural changes despite the stubbornly-unchanging constitution of human nature, and the byproduct they all have in common (a dissolution of family and nationality which would tend to result in less births and less geopolitical competition over time), I have to wonder. One does not necessarily need an Ozymandias in order to fan the flames of mass psychosis. But when the mass psychosis coincidentally checks the To Do list of most every elitist busybody alive today, one must at least marvel at their devilish good luck. And one very much wonders whether they will allow their children to be consumed by the psychoses they so readily encourage in others’.