Guns are back in the sights of the Great Culture War, and the Cathedral media can’t get enough of Hogg & Co. It’s almost as if Teen-Bop-Against-the-Gun is a useful strategy for a neo-Marxist agenda or something.
The whole thing is part of the unbearably childish culture of progressivism, a culture that teaches individual entitlement and collective obligation. Like children, progressives demand to be catered to by others, and their demands have been running roughshod over Western liberty for over a century.
As usual, many on the right are concerned about the preservation of Western liberty. This is a good conservative response. I respect it, up to a point, but as a neo-reactionary I also find it lacking.
The truth is, if we want to preserve—or better yet, restore—Western liberty, we need to restore a profound, deep, and society-permeating sense of authority. It may seem paradoxical, but what I will attempt to demonstrate here is that the true path to freedom in any meaningful sense lies in the re-imposition of standards and control.
I am not arguing that imposing standards will prevent mass shootings, which very obviously violate societal standards. What I am arguing is that if we want to be more than a society ruled by emotionally-driven, childish responses to tragedy, we have to be a society of adults.
With this in mind, let’s talk about the gun debate.
Gun panics usually go through a predictable cycle of grief, partisan confrontation, angry shouting and denunciation, and then a fizzling away as the news cycle inevitably ends. This, of course, mirrors the general tendency of the Great Culture War: a lot of emotion, a lot of angry yelling and shouting, followed by a waning of interest until the next fresh outrage or controversy.
In many respects, the response to the Parkland shooting appears to fit the pattern. There has been talk of arming teachers coming from the Right. And if there have been calls for repealing the Second Amendment, these are nothing new.
Incidentally, here is a screencap I took of a Google search for the word “Parkland”:
Let’s see, we have 1) a Fox News host apologizes for “taunting” Hogg; 2) a fawning puff piece, also from Cathedral media outlet The New York Times, that is actually related to the “taunt,” and 3) intersectional racial grievance-huckster cancer from Vox. (Also some basic trivia and a Wikipedia entry, over there on the right).
In other news, the media’s newly-christened child saint Hogg is concerned that the new school rule mandating clear backpacks is a violation of privacy rights. He even specifically mentioned the First Amendment:
“It’s unnecessary, it’s embarrassing for a lot of the students and it makes them feel isolated and separated from the rest of American school culture where they’re having essentially their First Amendment rights infringed upon because they can’t freely wear whatever backpack they want regardless of what it is,” Hogg said.
“One of the other important things to realize is many students want their privacy. There are many, for example, females in our school that when they go through their menstrual cycle, they don’t want people to see their tampons and stuff,” he explained.
Let that sink in. Let the crushing weight of the irony and the obvious lack of self-awareness really sink in.
There’s that source again.
But I’m not here to rehash the whole debate. I’m here to talk about liberty and standards, and how the former is entirely dependent upon the latter. In other words, and put simply, If you want liberty, reinstate authority.
Personally, as a neo-reactionary, I find the entire national conversation profoundly disappointing. On the other hand, I don’t: I find it to be exactly what one would expect, given the dominance of the Cathedral media and the ruling ideology of Universalism, aka the blue pill.
For a neo-reactionary, the answer is to be found in the writings of the great prophet of neo-reaction, Mencius Moldbug. The master key to understanding the present dispensation, the entire post-war world order, is an understanding of Universalism, the dominant ideology that rules and defines it:
“Universalists, as descendants of Calvin's postmillennial eschatology, are in the business of building God's kingdom on Earth. (The original postmillennialists believed that once this kingdom was built, Christ would return - a theological spandrel long since discarded.) The city-on-a-hill vision is a continuous tradition from John Winthrop to Barack Obama. In Britain, the closely-related Evangelical movement used the term "New Jerusalem," which I'm afraid never really made it across the pond, but expresses the vision perhaps best of all. I always picture the New Jerusalem ("in England's green and pleasant land") as involving a lot of enormous concrete tower blocks, with the Clash's "Guns of Brixton" playing somewhere on someone's ghetto-blaster, and a forty-year-old grandmother screaming at her junkie daughter, but I'm not sure this is how they saw it in the 1890s.
“What's really impressive about Universalism is the way in which this messianic teenage fantasy power-trip has attracted, and continues to attract, so many people who don't believe at all in the spirit world, only smoke weed on the weekends, and think of themselves as sensible and down-to-earth. Of course, the belief that all Universalist ideals can be justified by reason alone is a necessary condition. But Christian apologists have been deriving Christianity from pure reason since St. Augustine. You'd think these supposedly-skeptical thinkers would be a little more skeptical.”
The key aspect of this effort to build the New Jerusalem, this messianic teenage fantasy power-trip, that I want to zero in on is the part where the Cathedral media are promoting child saints.
If you think about it rationally, there’s no reason to go to such lengths to promote a bunch of teenagers. What do they know about the world? If you require convincing on this point, let Dr. Jordan Peterson explain it to you.
The idea that children should be put on blast by every major media outlet and treated as if they are enlightened voices makes no rational sense, but it makes perfect sense in a world ruled by the Universalist notions of social justice and equality.
In practice, social justice appears to mean “whatever makes progressives feel safe and equal.” It is synonymous with the idea of righteousness.
If “whatever makes progressives feel safe and equal” is the desired outcome, then it scarcely matters if the message is promoted by children. Indeed, so much the better! After all, following arch-proto-leftist Rousseau, surely those children are less corrupted by cynical society, much as Noble Savages are uncorrupted by civilization (if you ignore all evidence about their fantastically high murder rates).
Again, the notion that children should opine on the gun debate and be put on blast by the media is insane. I feel compelled to reiterate this—but I would not have to, in a world ruled by sane standards. In such a world, it would go without saying.
The mentality of the left, however, is fundamentally a very childish one. Ruled by their emotions, they talk endlessly of “empowerment” and “liberation” from supposedly oppressive social norms when it comes to sex, marriage, family, gender roles, gender itself, “body-shaming,” etc. etc. etc. And yet, they want a paternal authority, government, to handle their security.
If you pay attention to how professional leftists talk and write and act, you will see examples of their fundamental childishness everywhere.
When I was a libertarian purist, this would have been a very simple incident (summarized): a woman walks around topless, as is her right (of course!); a man touches her without her consent (bad!); woman and her friend assault man (and I can’t blame them).
But when I thought about it—and in part as a result of other things I was reading and thinking about—I came to realize that the whole thing was unbearably childish.
Yes, of course, the man’s actions were indefensible. This is almost too tedious to bear repeating. I am completely in support of him being slapped.
However, for the young woman in question, going topless appears to be some act of liberation (and I’m sure many men are very grateful and appreciative). She even trotted out a feminist line about how shaming “promotes rape culture.”
This entire incident was, in short, so unbearably stupid as to be a kind of “clear pill” for me: an event that clarified for me the consequences of a red-pilled way of thinking.
Should we have standards for adult behavior, beyond the idea that anything and everything are permissible so long as only consenting adults are involved?
This question goes much deeper than Should X, Y, Z, or the other thing be legal? The fundamental question is a question of having standards at all (beyond not harming the innocent, etc.).
In other words, and put as plainly as possible, should we or should we not —so to speak— shame? Is some behavior unacceptable?
The key thing to understand here is that human beings are not equal in their capacity to use social freedom, the ability to do as one wishes in a relatively unimpeded manner in society.
Put a great deal more bluntly, the ultimate red pill—or clear pill, if I may be permitted the neologism—is the realization that equality, the cardinal value of the left, is a lie. Human beings differ, individually and often in groups, in practically every metric that matters: intelligence, major personality traits, representation in various occupations, rates of crime, etc.
We know what a world ruled by an egalitarian teenage power fantasy looks like. The consequences of it are everywhere.
It’s a world in which the Cathedral media prop up child saints to argue about gun policy.
It’s a world in which an obese woman can take taxpayer money to open a boutique for women following the same unhealthy lifestyle.
It’s a world in which Idaho college students can protest and demand that their congressman try to force insurance companies to cover birth control, without any of their professors explaining to them how this destroys the actuarial basis of insurance (the congressman, at least, is having none of it).
All of these and many more scenarios are examples of a world ruled by an egalitarian and childish creed that demands the right to not be judged by society. The costs and consequences of this creed still exist, though, and this generates demand for a paternal authority, government, to step in and pick up the slack.
It’s the shrill demand “Don’t judge me, Society!” but also the entitled expectation “Please take care of me, Government.”
Don’t judge me, Society— it doesn’t matter that I am only 17 years old, Parkland was my lived experience, and I have every right to opine on gun policy.
Please take care of me, Government— I’m counting on you to take away the guns, and also we shouldn’t have to wear clear backpacks.
Once one recognizes that human beings are unequal in practically every aspect that matters, the gun control debate becomes much clearer.
This is not a contest between the government-tyranny-loving left and the liberty-loving right.
This is a contest between egalitarian power-trippers and everyone else. And the only way to beat them is with authority.
This essential idea, that authority is required for liberty, was keenly understood in one form or another by many Founding Fathers and other great early Americans. As John Adams, second president of the United States, said in 1798:
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
How do we restore authority? By asserting the notion of objective truth, defending the inherent value of certain normative standards, and insisting that the adults take back control of the conversation.
Asserting the notion of objective truth is a rebuttal to the leftists’ childish preference for subjectivity and “lived experience.” In other words, “The stats on gun violence show these patterns and trends” is infinitely preferable to “I was at Parkland so my opinions on gun control matter”.
Defending the inherent value of certain normative standards stands in opposition to the left’s emotional feel-good response to serious issues.
This has to do with judgment, i.e. “Your proposed solution bargains away too much liberty for a promise of safety that would probably be ineffectual anyway, and fails to look at the reasons school shooters do what they do” is preferable to “Your feel-good proposal is entirely valid because we all feel it is valid.”
And of course, insisting that the adults take back control of the conversation is a rebuke to the Cathedral media’s manipulative use of children to do its dirty work.
To be sure, changing the conversation on guns and taking back control from the children and their handlers will be a protracted process.
The real adults who remain have a chance to fulfill their mission and their responsibility as the natural aristocracy: the restoration of authority, which will allow liberty to flourish again.
Subscribe to Republic Standard | Conservative Thought & Culture Magazine
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox