The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Worth Reading Carefully

Posted on | May 10, 2015 | 75 Comments

“The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language. When simplicity of character and the sovereignty of ideas is broken up by the prevalence of secondary desires, the desire of riches, of pleasure, of power, and of praise — and duplicity and falsehood take place of simplicity and truth, the power over nature as an interpreter of the will, is in a degree lost; new imagery ceases to be created, and old words are perverted to stand for things which are not; a paper currency is employed, when there is no bullion in the vaults. In due time, the fraud is manifest, and words lose all power to stimulate the understanding or the affections. Hundreds of writers may be found in every long-civilized nation, who for a short time believe, and make others believe, that they see and utter truths, who do not of themselves clothe one thought in its natural garment, but who feed unconsciously on the language created by the primary writers of the country, those, namely, who hold primarily on nature.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

It is not often you’ll find me quoting a New Englander like Emerson, whose philosophy was typical of how the Yankees — who in the 17th century had hanged witches and whose penchant for fanaticism gave rise to every manner of antinomian heretical sect in subsequent generations — by the mid-19th century came to prefer secular moralism to anything that might be learned from the Bible. Well, Ideas Have Consequences, but at this point in our nation’s descent into degenerate anarchy, there’s no need to resurrect ancient grudges and lost causes. Everyone who is willing to fight against the onlaught of terror is a potential ally, and is welcome to join the Camp of the Saints.

“We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.”

Do the young read Emerson anymore? Do they know anything about Teddy Roosevelt? Are they taught anything at all about our nation’s actual history and cultural traditions? We have abundant evidence that youth have been plunged into Stygian darkness, an endless night of permanent and incurable ignorance. Not only do they know almost nothing, they have no curiosity about any of the things they do not know — which, as I say, is nearly everything. Rarely does one meet a person under 40 who isn’t virtually destitute in terms of actual knowledge.

Youth nowadays believe they don’t need to know anything, because they have what educational bureaucrats call “learning skills.” As long as they are capable of finding something with a Google search, what does it matter whether or not they ever actually do Google it? Their entire mental life is built around the idea expressed by every apathetic student taking a required course in college: “Is this going to be on the exam?”

So we have many millions of allegedly “educated” Americans, people with college degrees who haven’t opened a book since they received their diploma. They went to college in order to obtain a credential that would qualify them for an office job with a salary, benefits, paid vacation and everything else deemed necessary to middle-class life. Once they got the requisite credential, their interest in “education” ended, and so they spend their leisure watching Netflix or playing XBox or in some other amusement. Read a book? Why would anyone want to read a book?

“Is this going to be on the exam?”

Speculative philosophy never really interested me. If I learned anything in college about Plato or Rousseau, it was only enough to pass a test. Other people’s opinions don’t impress me much. Just give me the facts, and I can form my own opinions, thank you. This is also why I don’t read much fiction. History has always fascinated me. Literature? Meh.

Anyway, a commenter quoted that Emerson passage in response my post about “Feminism’s Mirage of Equality.” His point about intellectual “duplicity and falsehood” as a sort of counterfeiting — “a paper currency is employed, when there is no bullion in the vaults” — struck me as quite relevant to the way feminists parasitically defraud “the primary writers of the country, those, namely, who hold primarily on nature.”

The piling up of theory as a substitute for actual knowledge is the characteristic humbug of our age. We are expected to heed feminist gender theory about the development of human identity when the authors of these theories typically have never raised a child and, quite often, are temperamentally averse to participation in the natural process by which human offspring are generated. Today is Mother’s Day, and what the average mom knows about “gender” as a natural fact is far more trustworthy than any feminist professor’s intellectual theory.



  • Steve Skubinna

    That must have messed with some heads. Around the fifth or so answer I would be saying “No, this can’t be right…”

    Assuming that I was answering them correctly, anyway.

  • Steve Skubinna

    People like patterns. It can be difficult to spot them, and harder to break them.

  • Steve Skubinna

    Hmmm… you talk like one of those nutty Albigensians.

    What I like best about that heresy is that it’s where we got the phrase “kill them all and let God sort them out.” It is not a late 20th century American tee shirt slogan.

  • TugboatPhil

    I had to write two tests during a 3 year tour as an Instructor. Spreading out the correct answers was indeed the most difficult part. Second was making sure the wording of the question wasn’t open to interpretation.

  • Steve Skubinna

    Well, the gays are already a step in that direction anyway, what with the fascination for boots and leather.

  • Steve Skubinna

    Considering that humanity is only one generation removed from barbarism, I think just one will do it.

  • Prime Director

    der Führer might not have liked queers, but was willing to use such men to further his purposes, until he didn’t need them any more

    I sometimes chide advocates of a so-called socialist revolution to distinguish themselves from other rhetoric-spewing potential class-traitors who simply covet total power. I mean, after all, the nazis disguised their eeeeeeevil fascism behind a facade of quasi-marxist rhetoric.

    I ask, earnestly desirous of response, “how do we know you’re REALLY a good socialist, who will use dictatorial state power to further the purportedly egalitarian aims of socialism?” Right?

    Maybe you’re just a liar who intends to use the dictatorial powers of the state to enrich and aggrandize yourself and your coeterie and enslave the rest of us. Who knows? It’s not like you’d TELL us up front “I intend to use the power of the state to murder a bunch of you and economically exploit the rest.”

  • Dana

    You’re using a 21st century definition of socialism, and applying it to a mid 20th century “program.” If you were to define socialism as meaning that the good of all of the people in the state outweighed the right of the individual to do as he pleased — not something which is at odds with a 21st century definition — then Nationalsozialismus falls well within the definition. Couple that with the Führerprinzip, which is also not at odds with 21st century socialism, and everything falls in place.

    Once in power, the Nazis fell right in with the existing corporate structure.

  • Dana

    And I’d credit Adolf Hitler with one thing: he did tell everybody what he planned to do! No other dictator was ever so clear in saying exactly what he meant.

    Part of the problem was that nobody really believed that anyone could have been serious about the plans he proposed in Mein Kampf.

  • Dana

    Are you sure that we’re even one generation removed?

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  • RS

    Actually, we were Alsatian Huguenots who became decided to be Germans after St. Bartholomew’s Day. Upon ultimately reaching these fair shores, it would seem my ancestor married an English Baptist and cast off the vestiges of Calvinism. “The things we do for love,” as they say.

  • M. Thompson

    Couldn’t do that, and I didn’t want to spend the time as training petty officer grading.

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  • The original Mr. X

    Another part of the problem was that Mein Kampf was such a boring and awfully-written book, hardly anybody read it in the first place.

  • The original Mr. X

    der Führer might not have liked queers, but was willing to use such men to further his purposes, until he didn’t need them any more.

    You mean like the radical Islamists and the rest of the left?

  • Squid Hunt

    *stomp, stomp*

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  • Quartermaster

    I would get veeeeeery paranoid after the 5th ‘B’ I’m an adjunct instructor at a local Tech Community College and I try to produce a reasonable pattern on my multiple guess tests. If I wanted to play with the minds of those young skulls full of mush, I’d do something like that. The Department Chair would laugh, but then tell me not to do that again.

    Not that I would be tempted, mind you 🙂

  • Prime Director

    Once in power, the Nazis fell right in with the existing corporate structure.

    It can, I think, be assumed that the distinguishing mark of the firm is the supersession of the price mechanism.

    Ronald Coase
    Theory of the Firm, 1937

    Bureaucracy ain’t Democracy.
    Big Business ain’t Free Market.

  • Prime Director

    And if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit, from the poor house to the penthouse to the outhouse to the white house, keep hope alive, only in amerikkka, hands up don’t shoot gentle giant the people united can never be defeated bring amber lamps.

    Burn this bitch down. Don’t let me down, hymie town.

  • theoldsargesays

    Blue hair, a nose ring, tattoos and a resentful sense of indignation and a box full of cats — it’s a syndrome

  • Steve Skubinna

    Since civilization has to be taught to each new generation or we get Lord of the Flies, yes.

    Right now I’d say we’re about halfway there though, if that is what you meant. Ferguson and Baltimore will be the new norm, at least for those trapped in an urban existence.

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