Commenting on my yesterday’s piece, a reader asked a question that cuts to the chase: “Why is it that the left seem always to be treated as occupying the moral high ground? People should be constantly reminded that this high ground is built from a mountain of corpses.”
One of those corpses is rather large: our civilisation. For socialism is the more wicked offshoot of a universal rebellion against Christendom, one going by the misnomer of the Enlightenment.
Therein lies the answer to my reader’s question, but it’s not a quick answer, preceded as it is by other questions and answers. Such as why did the rebellion occur? Why did it succeed?
Christendom was built on a set of Christian premises that, if taken seriously, imposed difficult demands on people.
Philosophically, it was based on the assumption that absolute truth exists, and it was at least approachable by activating a rigorously rational apparatus.
Morally, it postulated love above all, even love for one’s enemies. This was accompanied by the concept of free will, free choice between good and evil.
Doctrinally, it put forth the notion of the triune God, the unique synthesis of the physical, spiritual and metaphysical reflected in the whole civilisation.
Ritualistically, it was demanding. Fasting, for example, was paramount – for up to 250 days every year or at least half that with less than strict observance.
Looking at the glorious edifice built on such foundations, even non-believers had to admit the possibility that only God could have been the architect – the magnificence of the structure simply couldn’t be traced back to any other source.
However, the demands imposed by Christendom proved to be too difficult for many people. The same questions that were later posed by Hume began to be asked widely. If God is loving and omnipresent, how come there’s so much evil in the world? If He doesn’t know about it, is He really omniscient? If He won’t stop it, is He really good? And if He can’t, is he really omnipotent?
Theodicy wasn’t unduly hard intellectually. But most people weren’t looking for rational answers. They were looking for excuses, a justification for their inability to comply with the demands of their civilisation.
It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when the balance was tipped – the process was gradual. Perhaps the Black Death in the mid-fourteenth century was the pivotal point: with a third of Europe’s population perishing, theodicy could be swept aside with an air of self-righteous smugness.
The subsequent Reformation was in fact a mutiny against the Church, the depository and promulgator of Christendom’s religious, cultural and intellectual essence. As such it was a rebellion against Christendom as such, masked, like many other revolutions, as an attempt at purification.
But an all-out rebellion hadn’t gathered pace until the eighteenth century, when the philosophes provided a justification for apostasy, one as crude as the masses themselves were. This adumbrated the Age of Reason, which was an early example of words used to mean something opposite to their real meaning. Unreason became Reason.
The gullible avidly gobbled up a view of the world according to which Augustine and Aquinas were driven by crude superstition, whereas Rousseau and Voltaire, intellectual pygmies by comparison, were the bearers of high reason.
The West had found its excuse, and victorious rebellion was under way. Very early it bifurcated into two strains I call nihilist and philistine.
The two strains were close to each other, and in fact both combined philistine and nihilist aspects. The difference lay in their mix: to the philistine, the destruction of Christendom had to be accomplished in physical comfort and with a minimum of bloodshed. To the nihilist, comfort mattered much less, and the amount of bloodshed didn’t matter at all: destruction was all.
It’s instructive to observe how close the two strains are in their ends, if not always in their means. Philistine rebels (who later produced societies called democratic or capitalist) used attrition to phase Christendom out. Their nihilist cousins (those to be later called national, international or democratic socialists) opted for frontal assault, complete with apocalyptic casualties.
Predictably, the philistines were more successful, for the same reason that a seducer tends to run up a higher amatory score than a rapist. But both strains, and especially the nihilists, sought to create a new civilisation to dwarf the now moribund Christendom.
In that they’ve both failed spectacularly, and the nihilists catastrophically. Both are aware of this failure, which is why they try to camouflage it by preaching the simulacra of the traditional tenets of Christendom.
The nihilists, otherwise known as various sub-sets of socialists, are particularly keen to conceal their evil animus with vague references to Christianity. This can best be illustrated by the French revolutionary slogan liberté, egalité, fraternité. It was probably chosen for its Christian overtones purloined from the original owner for nefarious purposes.
To start with, let’s consider its tripartite form. You’ll notice that many revolutionary slogans of post-Christian modernity are constructed of three elements, either words or phrases.
One could cite the American ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’, the Russian ‘vsia vlast sovetam’ or the German ‘ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer’. And even a somewhat less significant revolution had to chip in with a vapid ‘Work harder, produce more, build Grenada!’
This was the first stage of shoplifting larceny: the revolutionaries sensed that people’s ears were attuned to Trinitarian music. Therefore they were predisposed to respond to similar sounds even if they conveyed an opposite meaning. In this instance, however, it wasn’t just the music.
Also hidden in the French slogan was another mock-Christian allusion. For, according to the Enlighteners, ‘fraternity’ flowed out of ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’.
The philosophes argued that no brotherhood was possible without liberty and equality, which is to say that the third part of the triad proceeded from the first two. One doesn’t have to be a theologian to see how the subtle Christian doctrine of the Trinity had been vulgarised for a very un-Christian purpose.
Each element of the French triad was stolen property. To the original owner, freedom came from – and led to – the truth, which is to say God; equality was a natural consequence of jointly loving, and being loved by, a supreme being, which is to say God; brotherhood implied a spiritual kinship bestowed by a common father, which is to say God.
The intellectual cardsharps of the Enlightenment deftly pulled the ace of God out of the pack, leaving people with a hand of cards that were not only low but also marked.
Their descendants rule by simulacrum. Hence their attempt to occupy the high moral ground by claiming that ever-growing state control over the individual is the new freedom. Hence also their insistence that the state coercively taking money from those who earned it and giving it to those who didn’t is the same as Christian charity – whereas in fact it’s its exact opposite.
Hence, perhaps most important, their glossocratic effort to control language and thereby thought, which is the essence of political correctness. That all such efforts have been successful testifies to the awesome potential of sustained brain-washing.
Gradual and accelerating glossocratic corruption has worked: the word socialism gives people a nice, warm feeling denied to such variants of socialism as fascism, Nazism, if not always communism.
Communism, they say, was a nice socialist idea lamentably distorted by the Soviets. No number of direct quotes from the blood-thirsty writings of Marx will work. People don’t need to read: they’re prepared to let communism bask in the shining sun of socialism.
It’s by such devious, evil stratagems that socialism, the secular religion of anomie, hatred and envy, has been allowed to claim a high moral ground, from which it can joyously relieve itself on the people underneath.
Rather than feeling instinctive revulsion at the very mention of the word, people feel guilty that they themselves fall short of socialist ideals. By way of redemption they vote for evil men like Corbyn, who know which platitudinous lies will work.