Articles

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Everything is Fake Now

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,” Philip K. Dick said, when asked to define what reality is. Dick was a Science Fiction writer and that seems appropriate enough we are living in a Science Fiction world where there is no reality anymore, because the real goes away, but the unreal does not.

Virtual reality, it turned out, was not some complicated gizmo that made you look like a blind skier and allowed you to enter into another world, instead it was an unreal world being comprehensively overlaid on top of our own. The lines between the real and the unreal haven't blurred because the unreal has gotten so much more sophisticated. The unreal is more fake than ever, but discerning that has become more difficult now that the real has gone away.

As we watch the news covering a story, what we are actually watching is the media making up a story and then telling that story incessantly and embedding it in every nook and cranny of their coverage. This blurring of the lines between the real and the fake is not happening thanks to the magic of technology, but the prosaic methods of complete insincerity.

The fake is being overlaid on the real, like men fighting on top of a board with a movie of a train passing by in the background to give the impression that they are fighting on top of it. Such cheap trickery defines our media environment where reporters barge into events and badger the participants into playing along with their movie. Or they just play the clip of actual events and frame them so that everyone hears their version of what is going on.

There's Godzilla and we know he's real because we can see Tokyo in the background. There's the latest media narrative and we know it's real, because we can see Tampa in the background as some blow-dried buffoon does breathing exercises before commencing to tell us that the Republican Party, which supports things that would have made Ike and Ron have coronaries, has gone so far to the right that it might as well be a Godzilla of reactionary running dog capitalism.

This is our shoddy virtual reality with a CNN or MSNBC logo planted on top. There is you still sitting on your same old couch, watching Chris Matthews yelling himself hoarse about racism, because racism is our virtual reality. It is the world that we are supposed to live in and Chris' job, for which he receives some 5 million a year, is to convince us that we are living in it.

"Racism," Chris yells at the screen, like the idiot shaman of some stone age tribe, and those dull-witted enough to believe him nod knowingly, because it makes them feel as if they know something. And in a world where nothing is real, knowing something makes them feel a little less confused. They don't understand why the prices are suddenly so high and the bank won't give them a loan-- but they can understand that Republicans are bad people and somehow responsible for it.

Some 70 percent of Barack Obama's Twitter followers may be fake, but why quibble at such numbers. The people who decided to make Obama popular did so through constant repetition that translated into the peer pressure of the trend. Obama became a trending topic and everyone followed along because in an unreal world, you follow the unreal leader.

Obama is fake, his popularity is fake, but it's also real, because fake is now the ultimate reality. The purveyors of fakeness have demonstrated their ability to transform the unreal into the real through  manufactured consensus. By insisting that something unpopular was popular often enough, they made it popular. And by insisting that something popular is really unpopular, they did the opposite.

The Solomon Asch study showed that people will change their correct answers to conform with the wrong answers that are being given by others. The false consensus has operated on that same paradigm, convincing people of two lies; that the wrong answer is the right answer and that everyone else has already agreed that the wrong answer is correct. 

Doing all that is impossible unless people lose touch with the real. The wraparound nature of the media has made it so that the unreal never goes away. The unreal is so pervasive because it has so many outlets and we are all wired into one or more of them. If the unreal doesn't get into your head one way, it will do it another way. The viral virus adapts because its designers are intelligent. And most of all they are persistent. They aren't just malicious or in it for the money, though both those things are also true, they believe. They are missionaries and their goal is to convert you into fodder for their malicious money machine.

Reality hasn't gone away, but we have gone away from it. Enough of us have gone down into the dream, grasped a thread of the story and allowed it to sweep us away. Given a choice between the red pill and the blue pill, they have unconsciously chosen the blue pill without ever being aware that they had a choice. And they are cushioned in this virtual world by a government that promises to take care of them and their children and their children's children until the end of time.

It's a lie, but knowing a lie for what it is requires either being able to do the math or have the common sense to know it for what it is. And common sense is derived from rough and tumble contact with reality. And reality has gotten harder to find these days. It requires unplugging all the belief channels, stepping out into the fresh air and trying to see what still remains when all the things that the belief trends told you to believe in have gone away.

There is a very specific category of people who are uncomfortable with the way things are and for the most part these are the people who have ongoing forcible contact with realities that don't go away when the talking head begins jabbering, the memes begin spewing and the trending topics trend. These are the people who work for a living outside the bubble, who know that external safety nets are unreliable and that they are always on the edge of something... even if they don't always know what.

It isn't wealth that is the determinant. Many of the wealthy occupy a wholly unreal world. A world where things happen because they want them to. It's what makes the technocracy of the last three administrations so seductive to powerful men and women who begin to think that they truly can move the world. It's the edge that matters, the sharp sense of pain that reminds you that there is a sharp reality here that isn't going away.

In a world where the fake seems real, the real seems fake. Obama seems more real than Romney and Ryan because he has mastered the art of the unreal. Television reality is not the same thing as reality, but it can seem more real, that is until you see how fake television makeup appears in real life. But there is no more real life in that sense. Not anymore.

Television is no longer a thing into which people step into and then step out of again. It no longer has that sense of being a passing moment where an appearance is insubstantial because it is temporary. Now television is permanent. It doesn't turn off late at night, the eagle doesn't fly above a painted backdrop while the anthem plays. It is everywhere because video is everywhere. Everything is being captured on video through the eyes of surveillance cameras, teenagers pointing cell phones at each other and men sitting in their room and declaiming at a webcam. The real and the fake have merged to spawn something that is real enough to be properly fake and fake enough to pass for real. It is a collective creative act, our final artform whose title is simply, "Life", as envisioned by those who no longer know what life is.

Obama feels real because he has that same unreal quality, that sense of always being onstage, of an actor who is never out of character because he is always performing. It is an artificial reality that seems super-real, because like video it has that intensity and immediacy that exists to satiate the attention deficit disorder with a surfeit of stimulation. It seems real, only because we no longer know what real is.

When a disaster happens, people reach for an instant baseline of comparison in a movie. Real tragedy seems unreal because it seems cinematic. The story of Obama is equally cinematic, it is real because it is like a movie. Except it isn't a movie, and yet it is, because we experience it in two ways, through the real connection with the economic consequences of his policies, and through the unreal display of his teleprompter fed blatherings, the easy grin that he practices in a mirror and the eyes that never quite look at anything because they are their own reflection.

Obama is a real disaster that seems cinematic. We have all seen this movie, but we have seen two versions of the movie. In one version, a bad unfit man climbs to power and ruthlessly abuses power to achieve his ends. In the other version, a good saintly man is elected and fights desperately to keep the bad men from abusing power. Which of those movies you think you are watching depends on a variety of factors. But the problem is that reality isn't a movie. And it doesn't go away when you change the channel.

When all the bubbles of rhetoric pop, there are still the hard unpleasant realities to deal with. Bailouts and money pits can only bury them for so long. Governments sending money to banks and swapping worthless commodities that only exist in the theory of a theory only work for as long as people believe in them.

Even an unreal economy reported on by an unreal media cheering on an unreal leader can only run for so long until reality punches through the illusion, the curtain falls, the magicians scramble off the stage with rabbits and doves tucked into their pants, and everyone wakes up to realize that the dream is over and we realize that we are entering a world where the stories no longer matter and history is about to begin.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am told Moshe Ben Maimon authored, "Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it"
Moreh Nevuchim 2:15

Looking for the olam haba and a world of only truth. thank you, Daniel. RP

lemon lime moon said...

"Obama is a real disaster..."
Yes and the huge very real tragedy is that he has broken the law numerous times and Congress does nothing because they are also out of touch.

SoCal Observer said...

It seems to me that ultimately the citizens of the US, despite multiple warnings over the years, have allowed themselves to be mesmerized by the media. We no longer have newspapers or news magazines that have real journalists recounting the facts. We get opinion passing for news, pseudoscience and factoids passed off for facts, and op-eds that ignore the truth. On bubblevision we get newsmercials and entertainews, sound bites, and rehashed stock videos. If you flip quick enough between channels you can get the same ad on at the same time, and the same story, just a different bimbo or plastic face. At the same time, many of us are lucky to have a job and something that resemble benefits and we spend so much time at work, we do not have time to really investigate the truth behind a story. The rest of the population seems to have said to hell with it and every weekend fill the freeways trying to escape to some kind of party place or fantasy island to get away from it all. So it becomes a matter of perception. Who ever can convince enough brain-numbed sheeple to vote a certain way wins the soundbite and photo-op contest. Lucky us. Welcome to the once great land of opportunity, now running on empty and run by those devoid of common sense or ethics.
Great food for thought, Mr. G, unfortunately those that should read it are too busy tweeting, twittering, texting, or maybe even working.

mmercier said...

Every time I read here it is like a physical beating.

It is entirely possible that what is considered fiction (and is in fact such) preceeds the requirement to provide the stimuli necessary to get people to innovate.

Just a disjointed opine.

mmercier said...

Every thing that exists in fact was first conceived in fiction.

Every person who ran ahead of the pack before their manifestion became fact was denounced.

After their death... those who enjoy the benefit of their wisdom lionize their corpse.

mmercier said...

So Cal discounts the value of the individual to discern crep from icecram.

The assumption that one is surrounded by unethical troglodytes is the necessary base point to get ethical, moral individuals to accept totalitarian rule without a squeek.

Not everyone is stupid.

Edward Cline said...

As Ayn Rand once wrote about the fallacy of believing something because a consensus claimed it was true: "Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as one." And look at France today. The bubbles finally popped that socialism is feasible and that mass Muslim immigration isn't a problem. Or, look at Greece. Or the U.K. Or the U.S. All sorts of bubbles are popping and the news media scrambles to blow more. Obama isn't to blame for the country's troubles, it's that pesky gremlin, reality, manipulated by those devils the Republicans. It could probably be proved that Romney's ancestors blew up the Maine and assassinated Lincoln. Jefferson and Madison and Washington were all tools of the Illuminati. John Locke and Albert Einstein were closet Muslims. The Curiosity Rover took pictures of flying saucers and a fossilized human thumb on Mars; never mind missing pixels, that's just a NASA con job, counter those who want there to be alien space ships.

But then anyone who believes that Romney and Ryan are hard-core advocates of capitalism and laissez-faire and the inviolability of individual rights who are going to disassemble Obamacare and fire all the Czars are also buying Brooklyn Bridge and the Chrysler Building.

Anonymous said...

"Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to. "

Theodore Dalrymple

Empress Trudy said...

The problem is worse than this. Recently a column in Alternet.org about the 2012 election (and make no mistake, the far left loathes Obama too but they've convinced themselves that a second term Obama will be Mao-Stalin-Pol Pot all rolled into one glorious black man), and the writer actually said this election isn't about facts or reality. That running for or against Obama's record of non accomplishments doesn't matter because outcomes don't matter. Reality itself doesn't matter. What matters is noise, rhetoric and ideology. That's all that matters to them. If Obama announced a plan to start cannibalism, these people would cheer. Not because they're in favor of cannibalism, because lord knows that's an un PC un Vegan thing to do. No, because Obama said it. Obama is a cult like Leninism or Scientology and his glint eyed acolytes are dying to drink the Kool Aid once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Very good article. Also the anon who wrote about politcal correctness is right on. It kind of reminds me of a concentration camp--nothing makes sense and you can't plan anything to survive, its all random.

Earlybird said...

Another great essay Daniel. Thanks you so much. The understanding of the power of the lie is not new to men craving power.

Quotes of Joseph Goebbels (1897 – 1945 Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945)

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Mr ED said...

The ability for the "little guy" to believe in the most improbable, illogical and demonstrably false premises and postulates proffered by the Libfilth who control the media is astounding. The little JournOlista ReifenStalinist criminals busy themselves with creating and maintaining the artifice of a Liberalism that actually works, fully expecting those little guy citizens to willfully and silently imbibe their swill of lies and patently false "reports" that *prove* that Liberalism can and does work.

The truth is, unless the Libfilth media machine is brought to heel and the journOlista propagandists are removed from their pulpits permanently, there is little chance of genuine healthy change in America. That includes the criminal Hollywood Libfilth who weave together nihilism and trendy pop rebellion against, well, against anything good and decent.

Anonymous said...

read havels "the power of the powerless"

http://www.vaclavhavel.cz/showtrans.php?cat=clanky&val=72_aj_clanky.html&typ=HTML

Anonymous said...

Excellent article!

"Reality hasn't gone away, but we have gone away from it. Enough of us have gone down into the dream, grasped a thread of the story and allowed it to sweep us away.'

Because less and less people have restraint.

Keliata

Anonymous said...

mmerciar. So true, but man people don't bother to discern until it's relatively too late.

Keliata

Anonymous said...

The problem goes beyond the repetition of lies. Two of the most effective means of mind control are repeating lies frequently and also making situations unpreidctable.

Keliata

Anonymous said...

"Television is no longer a thing into which people step into and then step out of again. It no longer has that sense of being a passing moment where an appearance is insubstantial because it is temporary."

Sad but true:( The broadcast day say never ends for the most part and people ignore the Emgergency Broadcast alert. "This is a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System. Had this been an actual emergency..."

Keliata

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the word pravda supposedly means true or truth. The media senses that their readers and viewers don't believe them entirely and has to out of their way to convince them that they're telling the truth. Hammer that into our heads to hard that we no longer question the veracity of what the media and politicians tell us.

Sure they could stick to facts but that would result in people trying to connect the dots for themselves.

Anonymous said...

oops. Meant to sign that last post as Keliata.


having probs with blogger

Greenleaf said...

Sorry but if you're taken in by TV, the talking heads and this sewer culture, I don't have an ounce of pity for you. The problem is there are so many of them and they're pissing in our punch bowl.

There's going to be a huge reckoning and their ranks will be thinned out considerably.
MM

Anonymous said...

Good essay... but pretty much the argument that Baudrillard made in "Simulacra and Simulation," i.e. we live in an "artificial reality" in which "reality," or, more accurately, symbols we regard as reality even though they are in fact fake, is manufactured and is infinitely plastic.

Knish's line about people relating to movies first and then connecting actual reality to a movie scene is exactly what this is about. I noticed this after Sept. 11; the common reaction to the reality of thousands of deaths was "dude, it was just like a movie."

Of course, the problem with this is that the United States was founded on, and based on, contact with "real" reality: conquering a wilderness inhabited by Stone-Age savages, and applying the Scientific Method to create a modern, civilized environment.

But today's "artificial reality" or "fake reality" is that we are not at war with Islam, diversity is our greatest strength, the Afghans are our allies, the dollar is worth something, our cars are causing global warming (but Barack's 747 is not), the Europeans are our allies, we can push a "reset" button with Russia, abortion is not murder, and that it's all Bush's fault.

When the bubble bursts.... it's gonna be ugly.

Mike H. said...

What is this "TV" thing?

werewife said...

G-d, I miss Andrew Breitbart. He was able to take the tools of unreality and turn them against their own purpose, tearing through to the actuality underlying the system of lies, fantasies, and bogus reassurances. What might he have accomplished even in these last six months?

Your blog is energizing, my lord Sultan (may you live forever), but also uncompromising, and as such often depressing. I am not looking forward to growing old over the next couple of decades, but the alternative is worse...

rickl said...

As I'm fond of saying, the difference between the Soviet media and the American media is that Pravda's reporters and editors spread lies and propaganda for fear of being sent to the gulag. The American media does it willingly.

Allan said...

My first visit to the Sultan and I am delighted. This article is a jewel. Beautiful and long-lasting. David, you will be able to republish it four years from now irrespective of the election outcome with only name changes to make or not however it turns out.

Cataclysmic events may take place between now and them which would moot that opinion. In this real universe, you never know.

Beck said...

Are you sure about your concluding paragraph? Have you not considered that people's tolerance for failure might be incredibly high so long as the unreal remains sufficiently appealing? Could it not turn out tha we can fall far lower than anyone today--nay, 50 years ago--would find even remotely tolerable so long as iGadget prices continue to decline?

Anonymous said...

An outstanding piece of writing. You should try to get this run in the MSN as well.
You know - get paid. You built it.

Anonymous said...

What better example of racism than seeing over 95% of African Americans vote for Obama. The media, to this day has never recognized or decried this a racism. We are expected to believe they all agree on the issues. Now, having this aggrieved class in the bag, Obama stabs them in the back by for all purposes: legalizing a zillion illegals under 30 and giving them work permits, thereby buying the Hispanic vote, while the official unemployment rate for Blacks is over 14%. Guess who's jobs they're going to take? Mostly from Blacks, and some from othe American citizens, already hurting for work. Will the mainstream media report or comment on this obviously racist story? No way, Jose.

Hucbald said...

This is nothing new. Fake has been the new reality for the left since at least as far back as 1964. It's just that more and more people are seeing through it now. I'm not worried.

Anonymous said...

And this prose style is what exactly, if not cinematic?

kkollwitz said...

My family gave up TV for Lent 17 years ago and hasn't watched it since. Try it; you'll like it.

bobby said...

Excellent article and underlying thesis.

One of the truths of our age is that the candidate who spends the most campaign money will almost always win.

This means that many people will cast their vote based primarily upon which candidate appears most frequently in the midst their television viewing.

Doesn't seem to matter what the candidates do or say in those purchased campaign videos - voters are swayed by the frequency, not by the value, of sightings of the candidate's face.

All of which firmly supports the point of this article. Those voters are allowing the intended fictional self-portrayal served up by the candidates to substitute for their own judgment of the candidates.

It's so much work to investigate what a candidate has done or has professed and then meld the results of that investigation into an overall personal approval or rejection of that candidate.

It's far easier to just jump to the endpoint, and watch videos that provide unsupported but comforting labels of "good" and "bad", and then let "feelings" guide us from there.

Martin said...

Or, one could just cite the quip, "Something so stupid only a college professor could believe it."

But even so, the Dick comment still carries weight--it may take longer now, with so many people cut off from reality and the media so aggressively constructing false universes, but in the end things like math and dollars have a way of forcing themselves on you. You may not anticipate it, or understand it when it happens because of all the lies, but sooner or later you will have to deal with it.

-Marty

Anonymous said...

I get what you're saying, but the piece has kind of a passivity that isn't warranted. We can break through the false narrative, but part of that is supporting people who get it. You can break through the media with a grin (a la Reagan) or a sledgehammer, but for whatever reason, we keep picking candidates that just take it, and seem constantly surprised that the media is lying about them. And then when someone does something truly radical and pointed enough to break through the false consciousness, as Eastwood attempted, it's our own people that are on the front lines to crucify him.

STEPHEN PARKER said...

KNISH: So how about injecting some "reality" into your commentary by dealing with the issue of Obama's ineligibility for the office he holds? Virtually all conservative bloggers have chosen to remain silent about the Elephant in the Room, Obama's ineligibilty. Their criticism of Obama is camouflage for their spineless need to protect their employment or their status by remaining silent. Your/their silence risks a second illegal term for Obama and the irreparable harm that will result. So show some spine and get "real."

Exurban said...

You began with a quote from Philip K. Dick and one of the readers mentioned Jean Baudrillard. Both of them were guilty of some very bad writing, but both of them dealt with ideas that just won't go away (to paraphrase Dick). Our rising standard of living and the increasing sphere of telecommunications and distractions make it possible for more people to avoid reality more than ever. The "left", if you can call them that, are people determined to hold on to their belief system as long as they can.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant essay. I've been thinking about these ideas quite a bit but I could never flesh it out this well.

I think we are less free, less knowledgeable, and more calcified in the brain than at any time in our nation's history. Media and life have merged into one big, dumb, boring lie. We're a nation of tattoo-covered "rebels" who can be made to get in line like lemmings for anything.

I actually think what's described here is the most urgently dangerous, critical issue of our time - our constructed, false reality and its manipulation for power. It's what will define as future historians look back on us. It drives me crazy that so few people are conscious of it much less concerned about it.

- Django

Anonymous said...

With regards to your final paragraph I think Beck's post is worth noting. But reality may never be realized by the masses. Nothing close to a reality of non-reality consequences hitting everyone in the face like a splash of cold water. It will be a more insidious playing out, protecting and insulating many who pull the strings. They will continue to establish scapegoat blame (demons on the right) toward anything and anyone that threatens to expose and/or act counter. People will believe but with greater passion reasons for financial and civil degradation. Reality will be all the more affirmed through blindness and mindless hate. As deterioration continues there will be more willingness to turn it over to a government enacting 'justice' and tyrannical order in the midst of the pains and loss of liberty.

donicc said...

You have just described the Matrix. Take the red pill.

Anonymous said...

Well said, perfectly beautiful & insightful column

zregime said...

Dear Mr. Knish: I come not to praise the Sultan but to bury him. The literary style is suggestive of those dreams you have when your influenza fever is at its peak and there are lumberjacks and smiling faces suddenly crying, and a bowl of strawberries.

When Bryce Harper confidently waves off the center fielder, snags a fly and throws a one-hopper on a rope from 260 feet to nail the thief at home, all is well in the world. Hey Nineteen.

Methinks thou doth protesteth too much. Wanna join my fantasy league? S'all good, homes...

Dennis said...

Art is about the imagination. Art and life are related in this way: art bubbles within life, the strength of the imagination indicates the size of the bubble. Bubbles don't last long and down a timeline, old bubbles burst to give way to new bubbles, this froth is called modernity. Art is not life, it is a holiday from life, a lens on life. Each burst is the intrusion or restoration of reality, of life.

From this perspective, the problem that you are identifying here, the fake overlaid over the real, is the resistance of the bubble to burst, a pause in the froth. Art history can be described as the erasure of the boundary of one bubble and a new enlarged boundary is redrawn. But the mandarins of art and philosophy and culture have told us that history is over, that all that is possible and permissible is the addition of end notes and bibliography, but no new chapters can be written. Everything is fake now because reality is prevented from intruding, from popping the bubble, from the prevention of the formation of new bubbles, frozen, the cessation of froth.

Anonymous said...

"None are so blind, than those that refuse to see." Somebody

It is all an illusion, you just have to decide what is imagined and what is real.

David D said...

President Lincoln: "If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?"

Boy: "Five!"

President Lincoln: "No. A dog has four legs. Calling a tail a leg does not make it into a leg."

There are a lot of five-legged dogs on 'The News' these days.

Anonymous said...

Postmodernism (nihilism)--the source of which is the belief that reality is a product of consciousness--is the culmination of several thousands of years of bad philosophy, beginning with the Idealism of Plato.

Plato's Idealism posited a supernatural realm of perfect Forms and counseled folks to "get together" to form the ideal State, which would represent that "perfect" realm:

"The best ordered state will be one in which the largest number of persons ... most nearly resembles a single person. The first and highest form of the State ... is a condition in which the private and the individual is altogether banished from life, and things which are by nature private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become common, and in some way see and hear and act in common, and all men express praise and blame and feel joy and sorrow on the same occasion, and whatever laws there are unite the city to the utmost ..." (Plato's _Republic_ & _Laws_ c. 370 BCE)

Later, Plato's metaphysics would help Augustine of Hippo forge the formal philosophical structure of Christianity--a philosophy that was rooted in the belief that the thoughts of a deity created the Universe (i.e., everything).

During the Age of Enlightenment, David Hume would destroy (in men's minds) the immutability of the Law of Causality. Most critically, though, Hume would divorce (in men's minds) fact from value (is-ought dichotomy), thus placing morality outside the realm of reason.

Thanking Hume for his cue, German Idealist, Immanuel Kant, would go on to destroy (in men's minds) the immutability of the Law of Identity. As well, he would distill Judeo-Christian ethics into a lethal brew: self-immolation in the name of nihilism.

(Kant's philosophy, though he had help, is, more than any other, responsible for the madness into which the West is sinking today.)

Finally, Hegel (the patron saint of the Nazis, communists and New Left) would provide the nuts & bolts of totalitarianism (rooted in Plato's collectivist "republik"; later, pragmatists like James & Dewey would add the icing of expediency, which they claimed was the standard by which one measured what was "true" and "what worked."

The result?

1. A primacy of consciousness metaphysics, which consciousness was either the super-consciousness of a deity (religion) or the collective consciousness of a super organism called, society (Hegel).
2. An emotionalist epistemology, which emotionalism--whether religious or "secular"--was faith.
3. A Self destroying morality, to achieve either immortality or to gain prosperity--for the generation-after-next.
4. A political system of tyranny, either a religious one--monarchical or theocratic (e.g., Islamic)--or a "secular" one (e.g., fascist, Nazi, communist).

All that adds up to a single hard fact: Religion makes socialism not only possible, but--most importantly--gives it its moral sheen.

More precisely, if you like:

"The religious metaphysics of Neo-Platonic Idealism (evasion), the religious epistemology of faith (emotionalism) and the Judeo-Christian ethics of self-sacrifice (rationalization) make possible the irrational politics of socialism."

SB
"The mind never fully accepts any
convictions that it does not owe to
its own efforts." -- Frederic Bastiat

Name/URL said...

Excellent.

Anonymous said...

During the Age of Enlightenment, David Hume would destroy (in men's minds) the immutability of the Law of Causality. Most critically, though, Hume would divorce (in men's minds) fact from value (is-ought dichotomy), thus placing morality outside the realm of reason.--Anon

We can both agree as to the ruinous effects of Plato's conceptual realism and Augustine's embrace of Neoplatonism was the vehicle through which paganism was introduced to the early church but you are too hasty in denouncing Hume.

"Thus upon the whole, ’tis impossible, that the distinction betwixt moral good and evil, can be made by reason; since that distinction has an influence upon our actions, of which reason alone is incapable.--David Hume

Whatever the shortcomings of Hume's empiricism (and they are legion) there can be no debate as to the essential soundness of this agument: the force of moral law is suprarational; it does not depend on man's advise, consent or predisposition. It is nonpolitical and nondenominational.

Put down your dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged and give Hume another chance. He has much to say.

MALTHUS

Anonymous said...

Great essay....my own ruminations about the slippage of television fantasy into the real world has led me here. They used to call belief in the unreal psychosis. Are we all psychotic now?
Jeez, this is scary.

Anonymous said...

Imagine murdering a number of people and then having government make it difficult to turn yourself in. Reality is no one cares(See Detroilet Crime news). Lars

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent insightful article obviously written by a person who understands that the media work in a pack, savage a subject and then move on having dealt with that matter. Period.
The last comment reflects my own experience of knowing the identity of a mass killer who terrorised the north of England for five years. He became known as the Yorkshire Ripper and the authorities framed a lunatic copycat killer as the main man and the media sold that lie to the public ever since. No amount of writing or talking could get them to budge from their established position and the reality is that the public have been at risk ever since, nobody would put the record straight and they stick to their unreality. The public also are unwilling to even consider that they might be wrong and the murders go on except that they are not called Ripper murders and nobody in England wants to face the facts. http://www.yorkshireripper.com/

Keliata said...

Very tragic Anony:(

OT but I still have nagging doubts about the Atlanta child murders. I still believe the KKK was involved in those.

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