In formal logic, an argument is considered to be valid if it is impossible for conclusion to be false if the premises are true. Bear with me here, consider the following syllogism:
- The second premise is false.
- The first premise is false.
- Therefore Richard Spencer is a Jew.
You must be thinking this is patently absurd, Jews could never pull off Richard Spencer’s haircut, but let me assure you, this argument is in fact valid. Recall our definition of validity and glance over our syllogism again. There is no condition in which the premises are both true and the conclusion false, therefore the argument is valid regardless of its conclusion. We have no choice but to infer from this that inconsistent premises imply all conclusions. In classical logic this is what is known as the principle of explosion, which demonstrates how any conclusion can be inferred from a contradiction. The take-home message being: ex falso quodlibet – “from falsehood, anything follows.”
Allow me to divert your attention momentarily to this lovely specimen of modernity who is named Whitney Wisconsin, who has recently gained worldwide notoriety as the result of a viral YouTube video called “10 Reasons Why Girls Should Have Sex With Dogs.” The video features Ms. Wisconsin sitting on her bathroom floor while sinisterly petting her German Shepard as she delineates… well, the benefits of having sex with dogs, as the title of the video suggests. You may be asking: “But why Mr. Disapproves? We know Western civilization is circling the drain. What is the purpose of pointing out individual cases of depravity? It’s not like there is an epidemic of girls sleeping with their dogs, it’s just one degenerate. Why not discuss the serious issues of the day?”
Well dear reader, let me bring your attention to a quote from Ms. Wisconsin regarding the feedback she received from the video that made her famous:
What I do doesn’t hurt you. It doesn’t affect you. I fuck dogs, get over it.
The profoundness of this statement may be lost on some but it perfectly encapsulates the moral attitude of my generation (millennials). If modernity had a bumper-sticker, this would be it. The singular moral axiom is thus “Do what thou wilt, anything is permissible as long as no-one gets hurt.” In other words, the moral compass of the modern individual always points towards “me.” It’s not just libertarians (or whatever progressives like to call themselves these days) acting according to the Non-Aggression Principle, this is the dominant normative moral philosophy of millennials and boomers alike. How did it come to pass that this libertine conception of morality has replaced moral traditions as old as mankind itself? As I said in “The Decline of the Community“:
Edmund Burke said “Society … it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Yet in modern times, the living exist autonomously, unconstrained by the traditions of a once great civilization and no longer beholden to family and community. The idea that the individual is the irreducible, atomic unit of society and that the protection of individual or natural rights is the highest good a society can aim to, necessarily creates the conditions for a “permanent social revolution” against the past because any constraints placed on the individual that would inhibit these inalienable rights must be abolished for the sake of progress. What is good is simply what the individual desires and what is evil is that which inhibits those desires.
This is the inevitable result of a society based on falsehood. The pernicious idea of liberalism, the falso from which triviality explodes, is that individuals exist outside of the context of their social relationships, that the individual is autonomous and can be detached at will from social and historical roles and norms. Individual liberty and natural rights became apart of the political metaphysics in the West when Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
What kind of reactionary would find fault with such common-sense statements? In hindsight it has now become evident that the implications of this seemingly harmless pronouncement were left unexamined as the “pursuit of Happiness” has become the sole end of Liberty in the modern age, in fact the righteous crusade to obtain absolute personal freedom has come at the price of Liberty itself. Perhaps if someone were to inform Jefferson that his rhetoric would be used to justify men cutting off their own penises and insisting on everyone pretending that they are women because they say so, he may have added a caveat to “the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Enlightenment consensus on human nature is that man is rational and thereby seeks to maximize his utility, which inevitably leads to the voluntary and inorganic formation of society to escape the state of nature. The individual is presumed to be primordial or antecedent to community and society instead of a derivative of it. This is perhaps the most formative axiom of modern liberalism and if this “self-evident” axiom turns out to be falsehood, than any conclusion – or for that matter, society – predicated on it will result in absurdity and will inevitably decay. Robert Bork notes,
…the continual pressure for more individual autonomy necessarily weakened the restraints on individuals. The ideal slowly became the autonomous individual who stood in adversarial relationship to any institution or group that attempted to set limits to acceptable thought and behavior.
Furthermore, John Stuart Mill, the father of the insidious moral philosophy known as Utilitarianism writes, “Liberty consists in doing what one desires.” Placing moral or legal restraints on individual liberty thus becomes an a priori crime against humanity and the aims of society become subordinate to the aims of the individual.
Behavior which harms and destabilizes institutions or abstract entities like “the family” or “the public good” are permissible because only physical harm to an individual is considered relevant in determining the morality of an action. It’s clear to see that this is not progress; this is a regression to a primordial conception of morality where animistic impulses and whims are the sole determinant of the moral weight of an action. As Thomas Hobbes writes on morality in a state of nature, “But whatsoever is the object of any man’s appetite or desire, that is it which he for his part calleth good; and the object of his hate and aversion, evil …” The paleoconservative prophet Richard Weaver foresaw this state of affairs as the consequence the West’s adoption of Nominalism, which denies the existence of universals or abstract objects. This philosophical struggle, if you will, has been waged since the time of Plato, who wrote in The Republic:
What about someone who believes in beautiful things, but doesn’t believe in the beautiful itself … ? Don’t you think he is living in a dream rather than a wakened state?
For liberal nihilists, there is no wrong or property of wrongness that is intrinsic to actions, only the consequences exist. Wrongness does not exist, only harm; good does not exist, only pleasure. They reject mind-independent truth whose source is higher than man, and therefore reject perennial values which have provided form and cohesion to human societies since the dawn of man. In this way, nihilists tug at the threads of the fabric of civilization, unraveling the very values and traditions which wove it in the first place. They undermine society while insisting that it is progress. But how I choose to live my life doesn’t affect you, right? This is progress, right?
In a recent episode of “Kulture Kampf,” Titus Flavius explicated the importance of justice in society is to place a check or to minimize the hedonistic impulses of the individual which can be corrosive to institutions and practices that are responsible for a flourishing society. I would add to this that modernity has inverted this role in that society now protects the individual at the expense of the institutions like the family and community which have always been sources of social cohesion and stability throughout human history. The inherent sanctity of human life is now secondary to a woman’s right to choose. The building blocks of society – the family and community – have been desecrated by rootless individuals that belong to no tribe, community, race or nation in pursuit of pleasure and “finding themselves.” As civilization is being unwoven seam by seam as a result of liberalism’s conception in the womb of falsehood, it becomes apparent, at least to me, that basic conservatism is not nearly extreme enough to clean up this mess, and that perhaps the modern fetishization of the individual and their rights was a grave and fatal mistake. Joseph de Maistre was right when he said, “Man in general, if reduced to himself, is too wicked to be free.”