Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Knot That Has to be Untied

Conservative Swede has a knack for wielding a rhetorical scalpel and cutting to the heart of the matter, especially when the matter concerns Western culture, political correctness, and Multiculturalism.

Here’s one of his comments from yesterday’s thread, written as a response to another commenter (and edited slightly for clarity and punctuation):

David wrote: By the way, the old “I don’t hate black people, I just love my own white people” is an old KKK and white power claim from American racists. If you can’t tell that that claim is racist, then you are a moron.

An Inquisition type of argument. A perfect one, since the accusation in itself guarantees the guilt of the accused. There’s no way to get out of this fox trap unless you claim that you explicitly hate your own people, and would like to see them perish.

But if you leave just the tiniest of tiniest little bit of love for your own people (if you are white that is; the Davids of our world have a racist approach to this) then any “moron” can tell that you are a racist, and only making excuses.

And the more you say you like black people or are friends with Jews, the worse it gets — then you are the wily, deceptive kind.
- - - - - - - - -
No, only declaring the absolute hate of your own people will suffice. Well, if you, like most people, would just shut up, complete indifference about the issue does fine. But once you have opened your mouth and expressed even the tiniest of love for your own people, there’s only one way: total humiliation and denunciation.

And in this we see the whole Western society in miniature. Since people do not know how to defend themselves against these Inquisition type of questions — and they can be spawned by any nobody — the effect is a society where people in practice hate their own society and strive for it to perish (consciously or unconsciously, but always in practice).

This is the whole situation of the fall of the West, in a nutshell. It isn’t more complicated than this.

This is the knot that has to be untied. Once done, the rest will take care of itself.

Conservative Swede has said previously that the obsession with PC is, in effect, a demonic possession that afflicts most people in the West.

Untying the knot will require an exorcist.


Witch-king of Angmar said...

Baron, believe it or not, I was just reading Conservative Swede's comment where it originally appeared and thought it was great and returned to the main page and lo and behold...

CS basically nailed it. This is the true nature of their ideas and their goals. It also shows that any reconcilliation, as another commenter proposed, is not possible, at least not in the true sense where both sides admit they made mistakes. Al-Charles(peace be upon him) and his ummah will accept nothing less then you becoming like Winston Smith at the end of "1984", that you totally submit to their way of seeing things...Now who does that remind you of?

Ethelred said...

I will be attempting, at some unknown time in the future, to present what I am convinced is that which will untie the knot:

The philosophy of Ayn Rand. The most primal distillation of her writings that I can think of is this:

A culture's sense of itself, its "sense of life" is determined by the philosophy buried in its deepest subconscious. The West is accelerating towards self-destruction, and hence it needs a new philosophy.

I await comments, but I hope they are from first-person knowledge of her writings and not hearsay.

Unknown said...

Ethelred - you can't leave us in suspense like that! What is it that will untie the knot - if you have an inkling tell us so that we can put it into practice.

Ypp said...

I dare offer my explanation, how the trap is created, and how to resolve it. The problem with loving whites is that white is associated with "clean". Loving cleanness, order, coldness e.t.c. is psychologically associated with a cold, wicked and perverted psyche. What we are seeking is how to love white people without those occusations. I offer following formulae:

1. I love white people more because they are hot inside.

2. I love white people more because their bright color is more sexy.

3. I love white people motr because I feel more sexual attraction to them.

4. I like white people more because they are more devoted to their partner.

Homophobic Horse said...

No I think that's all a load of rubbish.

This: God is other people, you must not do anything to engender the disapproval of other people, for then you fall into a state of sin.

Ordinarily human psychology accepts no responsibility; makes no decisions, has no sense of importance, and believes itself justified in its attitudes by some kind of consensus of social agreement.

Hence, the fanatical devotion to PC - the ultimate social consensus, deviation from which entails the destruction of your career, social standing, imprisonment, life.

The solution is black metal, black metal will help you unlearn the distracting fixation with and love of other people (i.e. humanity in general).

Check out the bit where they say "Down with people" at 2:14, where the sun is setting gently on the graveyard, as if to say "there's a whole universe out there" but we spend most of our time believing ourself justified in our attitudes by some kind of consensus of social agreement.

Ypp said...

We should change strategy: endlessly complaining only proves their point, that we are a perverted marginal minority. Instead, start a new campain:




Swede, Maybe they are not so wrong there at Infidel Bloggers Alliance, that they advertize white porno, and only white.

PapaBear said...

The "racist" card is overused. The proper response is to not care who calls you names. Don't bother trying to defend yourself.

Only the opinions of the people you care about should matter to you, and those should matter less than the opinion you have of yourself.

Ethelred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ethelred said...


Assuming you are not being sarcastic, all I can say right now is that I want to build Rand's case from the bottom up - just as she does - distilling her thought through my understanding.

I do not mean to imply that you (plural) cannot understand her. I find her philosophy self-evident to the point of obvious, and hence not needing memorizing.

The problem is in stating the case succinctly and clearly.

I wish to do this to expose as many people as possible, AS INDIVIDUALS, to Rand, so as to show a way out of the cultural morass and self-hatred in the West that expresses itself as PC, MultiCulti, growing socialism and impotence in the face of Islam.

I will say this:

1) The smallest minority is the individual - who protects them?
2) The individual human being has nothing but his mind, meaning conscious reason, to allow him to survive.
3) Using reason is, however, VOLITIONAL
4) Reason builds knowledge by creating concepts from the percepts of our senses. The world exists, we exist, our mind exists.
5) Through reason, you define the VALUES that are your goals.
6) Pain and pleasure are the physical responses to incorrect and correct values respectively, while suffering and joy are the respective emotional responses. Correcting mistakes (i.e. following a path that brings suffering) is possible and laudable.
7) You are the only one who knows which values are good for you, i.e. which sustain, preserve and expand your life.
7a) A fully actualized human life is one in which an active consciousness continually integrates new knowledge.
8) All of the above leads directly to the primacy of the individual, with the highest value being the living of his own life for himself. It is the true nature of a human being to live by reason to further one’s own life.
9) A system of morality or ethics is that which helps you define good values (for you).
10) Any moral system which denies the primacy of an individual's life to himself is a morality of death and destruction.
11) Moralities of sacrifice such as altruism or collectivism or religion deny the basic right of an individual to exist for himself and thus deny his mind and reason.

But don't believe me, read the source:

1) Atlas Shrugged - the John Galt speech at the end is a summary of Objectivism, Rand's philosophy. But don't just skip to it, the book is a good read anyway

2) For The New Intellectual, a good summary by Rand of philosophy and has excerpts of her fiction, including the Galt Speech from Atlas, from Anthem (set in the future, where collectivism has destroyed society to the point that it has lost the word "I" and from We The Living (set in Russian from the Revolution through the 20s, but it is not merely about the Russian experience of Rand).

Jason Pappas said...

Ethelred, if you don’t mind a suggestion, your exposition deserves a blog of its own. I also think Rand has important things to say but I highly doubt your summary statements can be understood by anyone who doesn’t already understand them and even then I’m not always sure where you’re going with all of this. What I generally do when I put comments on other people’s blog is to give a brief summary and link to my blog for a longer exposition.

On the topic of this blog-post let me say that currently the main usage of the word ‘racism’ serves only to manipulated and stifle debate. Papabear is right that it is name-calling. I’ve called this bigotry-baiting or racism-bating.

What’s interesting is that the relativistic post-modern left has completely rejected objective ethics with the exception of one sin: racism. This has become an all purpose word to denote every evil. I’ve wanted to write about how this apparent contradiction has come about. It’s an interesting story.

X said...

And I just left a comment for here on another thread. Great job, Graham...

I said:

The argument ConSwede was responding to was at least partially directed at me, and involved references to hindus. I think the part about how a Hindu wearing a swastika must automatically be, I dunno, bad or something for wearing it when he knows how certain western political parties used it in the recent past is very telling of the attitude behind these accusations. As if, somehow, an ancient symbol can never be used again once someone evil tries to co-opt it.

Yeah. That's logic.

Ethelred said...


I understand your point completely.

As for where I was going with it, here is my thought process:

1) The West seems impotent in facing up to the challenge of Islam. Why?
2) The West, as expressed by the Left, seems to hate itself. Why?
3) The West seems on the verge of collapse. Why?
4) Socialism, which would seem to have been completely discredited by the examples of Russia, Nazi Germany and the Socialist UK, just will not die, and indeed continues to make a comeback, both in the US and Europe. Why?
5) What can any one person do about all of the above?

GoV is about all of these things. I have spoken with the Baron, Fjordman and the CVF people about this. The CounterJihad Conference is perhaps the beginning of native Europeans waking up to the state of their world and starting to fight it vis a vie Islam at least.

This is all for the good, obviously.

Like many people at GoV, JihadWatch, MicheleMalkin and LGF (of times past) I began studying Islam after 9/11.

However, I came to see (primarily from the steadfastness of my wife) that our inability to deal with Islam is but a symptom.

I became convinced that the deeper answer to all of the above is that the West needs to change its philosophical DNA from a morality of collectivism/guilt/sacrifice (which are all related) to that of rational individualism (i.e. NOT Libertarianism). This, to me, means Rand.

I am going to try and write a series of essays explaining Rand as her thinking pertains to the issues central to GoV, which means not getting bogged down in the endless details of Kantian epistemology.

If they fly with the Baron and Dymphna, they will post them not as comments, but as a frontal essay. I just want as many people as possible, especially in Europe to be exposed to her thinking, and then maybe begin to explore it for themselves.

There is no societal brain, so it is up to each individual to resist becoming a sacrifice to the ethics derived from non-objectivity.

no2liberals said...

"To the extent that a man is guided by his rational judgment, he acts in accordance with the requirements of his nature and, to that extent, succeeds in achieving a human form of survival and well-being; to the extent that he acts irrationally, he acts as his own destroyer.

-- Ayn Rand--Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal"
It certainly appears to me that political correctness is an irrational construct, but then it was a gift from communist.
As far as someone calling names, such as "racist," first you need to try and determine their motive. Is it they have no logical response, and want the debate to end? If that is the case, and often I believe it is, then one need only consider the source of the charge. They are not rational, incapable of reasoned debate, and not someone that can be counted on as a reliable ally.
I am no2liberals, and I approve this comment.

Ypp said...

I've gotten an impression that nobody in the West loves whites. Some love blacks, others hate blacks, but nobody cares about whites. This post is about love of whites, but you guys prefer to talk about anything else. You don't love whites guys, sorry. It is the diagnosis.

Dr.D said...

I have no confidence at all in Ayn Rand, but I think the answer is fairly simple. We look the Davids of the world in the eye and just say, "you are a complete fool, but you can think that if you want to." The fact that he makes the assertion does not give it any weight unless we buy into it. All we have to do is to deny it and throw it back at him as foolishness. This is the truth.

Hal K said...


You seem to be espousing a universalist ideology. One problem with Ayn Rand's philosophy, as I recall, is that she does not define value. It is up to individuals and communities to define what is valuable to them. This is where the disagreement lies between defenders of the West (or the white race) and those who are working towards its destruction. Rand's philosophy says little about whether immigration should be reduced. It is the will of the group to preserve itself that counts here.

Conservative Swede said...

Thank you Baron for posting this. And your concluding remark is a very good one:

Conservative Swede has said previously that the obsession with PC is, in effect, a demonic possession that afflicts most people in the West.

A demonic possession is exactly what it is. However, I'd like to make this more general. We are talking about something that goes deeper than PC and that is part of all of us (not just "most people").

This something is currently the deepest resonance board of our civilization, and can easily be triggered within any Westerner (we recently saw it happening with Charles Johnson). Compare this to how Jihadism is the deepest resonance board of the Islamic culture. A perfectly well-adapted Western-born young Muslim leading an ordinary and peaceful live, goes to visit relatives in his country of origin. He comes back with a full beard and starts plotting Jihad. It's there to be triggered, the same with us Westerners.

We will have to remove this "chip" or vaccinate ourselves against it's effects. Being right-wing or aware of the threat from Islam does not treat it, as we have clearly seen with Charles Johnson (but there are so many examples).

The only way is to never give in to PC, in no way and under no circumstances. The PC format must never be accepted. If they have something to say, they can say it in another way, without the discourse of witch hunting of heretics.

Indeed, the hardest enemy is within.

Conservative Swede said...

Regarding Ayn Rand. While she will surely inspire many people to do the right thing, she's got nothing to say about the issues at hand. Culturally she actually belongs to the all-encompassing Left of abstract universalism and individualism. No clues about immigration or how to rule a country. But if she works for you, use her! I'm not saying otherwise.

Ypp, I do not think the solution is to say that "we love white people". This is just the reverse of the post-war liberals' position. National identity is not based on race, it's based on the history of the country. And common decent is a natural part of that, it's part of the hodgepodge that constitutes ethnicity. This is traditional, common sense and non-ideological. There's no tradition, however, of globally identifying with "white people". This is just as ideological as its opposite. In many third world countries, however, they (literally) love white people, and the successful men aims at marrying one.

Ethelred said...

Hal K,

I quote from Rand:

To challenge the basic premise of any discipline, one must begin at the beginning. In ethics, one must begin by asking: What are values? Why does man need them?

"Value" is that which on acts to gain and/or keep. The concept "value" is not a primary; it presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? It presupposes an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative. Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible.


There is no such thing as a community brain, so individuals must each decide for themselves. The desire of a collective consciousness results in totalitarianism.

I also do not know what you mean by "universalist ideology".

And why should Rand specifically speak about immigration?


Muslims and the Left work within a framework of anti-concepts, of non-thinking. Rules from on high are just there to be followed, and one MUST not think.

Children of the Left were raised to run on feelings and whims. They have reversed cause and effect. Feelings are an effect of action, not the cause. They 'feel' the world is unjust, they 'feel' guilty for past US slavery, they envy success and hate the good precisely because it is good. These people do not think, they just feel.

To identify oneself or another by race or tribe can be the deepest insult if by it you mean that a Black or Jew or Swede, etc BY GENETICS has, a priori, a given set of values.

This does not mean that Swedes cannot develop mostly the same values that can identified as Swedish rationally.

In fact, Islam is the prime example of anti-Rand: a totally irrational system which simply cannot produce anything and hence is parasitic. Furthermore, Islam hates that which it needs and works to destroy it, ultimately reveling in its victory from the dung heap.

I'll go one step further: allowing Muslim immigration is profoundly irrational since they revel in their non-thinking and their inescapable propensity for violence.

Conservative Swede said...


What you write demonstrates exactly what I said. How Randism can lead all wrong. Your thinking is Utopian, abstract and universalist and has its roots in the French Revolution, denying the concrete real world as it exists. A Utopian formula for creating the New Man.

Randism is an extreme form of individualism. Individualism and collectivism are twin ideologies, share the very same universalist world view, and cannot do with each other. Both are set at killing every cultural institution between the individual and the state, such as Churches, village communities, families etc. The both strive for the same world of a state of only atoms, and then they fight each other over which has priority.

If you still do not understand what universalist means then answer this question: Is there any place in this world, any country/culture, where Randism wouldn't work, in your view?

Conservative Swede said...


And why should Rand specifically speak about immigration?

You are right. Rand never wrote about politics, did she? There's nothing about the art of how to rule a country in her books, is there? Randism is all about personal "religion", isn't it?

This is another effect of the all-encompassing Left. People do not even know what politics is any more. They think it's about personal attitudes.

Nobody knows how to rule a country anymore. No wonder things look as they do.

Conservative Swede said...

"Individualism and collectivism [...] cannot do without each other"

it should have say two posts above.

Hal K said...


That definition of value may be a bit circular. First of all, it leaves the definition of value completely up to the individual, where the problem facing the West and/or the white race is that individuals are making the wrong decisions about what is valuable. The notion of what is valuable comes from one's background and culture.

The politically correct notion of value is that which increases equality, or that which improves one's reputation due to the perception of altruism. Political correctness becomes a means of improving one's status among one's peers (as Steve Sailer has written many times). Not every value has a monetary price on it either. You cannot buy academic success. It requires the recognition of one's peers.

Immigration is a central issue here. It is not necessary for Rand's philosophy to address immigration directly, but rather for some implications to be derived unambiguously. Immigration makes some people rich. The discussion on whether it is a net economic benefit to a country could drag on endlessly, because it is people's values on either side of the debate that matter most.

One example of a collective consciousness is political correctness. The question is not whether one desires a collective consciousness but how to change it.

Ethelred said...

Conservative Swede and Hal K,

I sincerely appreciate your comments.

I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the concept of ethnic identity.

Does the US have an advantage or a disadvantage over Europe because it does NOT have an ethnic identity? Are we missing something wonderful from your point of view?

Is some individualism good, but too much bad?

Is some faith good, but too much bad?

Is some socialism good, but too much bad?

Where are lines to be drawn?

I think we can agree that Islam produces totally unproductive societies. Its history is one of parasitic destruction. Muslims claim to be superior, demand to be taken care of, and then hate you. As an ideology it is diametrically opposed to everything the West stands for and simply should not be allowed to flourish here. There is no rule that says we MUST accept Islam as a protected religion as we have the right to define it.

I think we can also agree that Socialism is a profound failure on the scale of millions of deaths.

As far as immigration and Rand is concerned, I would think that she would feel no obligation to take care of the world, either by letting anyone and everyone in because they say they NEED a better life and we have it, or by sending billions of dollars down the toilet as "foreign aid."

Could it be that the successful West feels guilty for its very success?

Paul said...

ypp: Hey, interesting comments as usual. But do I detect a little vodka today? It's OK. No condemnation. A little humor is good.

Conservative Swede said...

Hi again Ethelred,

I'm glad you appreciate the discussion.

I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the concept of ethnic identity.

This is what makes you a universalist and individualist (or is it the other way around?)

Does the US have an advantage or a disadvantage over Europe because it does NOT have an ethnic identity? Are we missing something wonderful from your point of view?

Doesn't matter really. National identity (which is a sort of group identity; "group" an icky word for an individualist and universsalist) is based on the history of the people. The histories of America and Europe are different. In Europe, like in 95+% of the world, national identity holds the component of common decent, as part of the mix. In America not in that way. People have in common being settlers of the New World. Deprive the people of their history and you deprive them of their identity. National identity is not something that can be created in a laboratory. We have to accept and respect our differences. I for example respect that race is a more important category of perception in America, due to its history.

If we say that the way people wandered from Caucasia 10-15,000 years ago up into Europe, after the last ice age, settled in different places, developing different cultures and languages, intertwined for thousands of years in the higher-order of family, which we call people, into a hodgepodge known as ethnicity. A concept like a rope, where many threads are intertwined, but no thread goes all the way. E.g. not all parts of the rope has the same string of common decent running all through it; people of different decent intersect and join in the historical development of ethnicities. But if you take away the threads of common decent the rope falls apart.

If we say that this is all illegitimate or even evil, we doom the European nations to extinction. For that sake, that holds true for most of the world. America is the freak of history in this case. Something that happened because "bad white people" were so aggressively expansive around the world. And there's much more to say about the very unique historical circumstances for the development of America: the vast amount of available land available, for example. This simply cannot be repeated anywhere else. Any attempt to do so, would mean an abuse of the people of that nation, and depriving them of their historical identity.

As far as immigration and Rand is concerned, I would think that she would feel no obligation to take care of the world, either by letting anyone and everyone in because they say they NEED a better life and we have it, or by sending billions of dollars down the toilet as "foreign aid."

In one sense this makes Randism similar to Buddhism from a political point of view, i.e. politically weak. A Randist individualist wouldn't let in the poor and the weak, but wouldn't care to stop it either. Leftism and liberalism are Christian ethics running amok. Pure Randism would be a cure against much of that. But most people just cannot adapt it fully, and end up with a little of each, which makes them very similar to libertarians. And libertarians are generally the worst proponents of mass immigration. They hate ethnicity (group identity) and the state, and want to destroy both, and there's no better way than mass immigration. And even a pure Randist having a successful company will support the mass immigration for cheap labour.

Individualism is fine, but in the real world humans are social animals. Deprive them of their group identity and they perish. They won't understand what they miss until it's gone. It's easy to think that you can be alone and strong, when everything is served for you. If the West dies, it will be because of the presumption of the Westerners.

Ethelred said...

All I can say is that I have very strong political opinions, which include the idea of an American culture if not an ethnicity.

I can also see that I have no idea what being a European (meaning from some country/ethnic group in Europe) actually feels like deep in the guts - and I would not presume to tell you how you should feel.

In this case, though, I have one question: how the heck did Europe, with its collection of proud peoples, allow such a monstrosity as the EU get a grip on their necks?

I will admit that Rand loved the very idea of America as NOT Europe, as a place to forget the "tribalism" of over there and begin anew.

Incidentally, the objections to Rand over here are quite different.

I would, however, like to explore Rand with all of you, just not in the comments :-)

Don M said...

Now me, I don't love my people. I love me. I love my family. I really like my company. I really like my friends.

I don't have a lot of room for racial barriers. I have 3 "white" children and 2 black children.

Conservative Swede said...

In this case, though, I have one question: how the heck did Europe, with its collection of proud peoples, allow such a monstrosity as the EU get a grip on their necks?

We tried to become like America...

We went through the traumas of two world wars. Also with the Industrial Age and the French Revolution in our baggage, utopian ideologies took over. People wanted to leave history behind and create something new.

America appeared as the victor of the world wars, the new leader of the West. People are always deeply impressed by winners of wars. So Europe tried to imitate America. And America was eager to spread its cultural imperialism too. As individuals the Europeans have lived very comfortably under the Pax Americana since WWII. No responsibility. Like spoiled teenagers. But this is an illusion. Like living off an inheritance without working. But one day that money is gone, and WHAM! That's when you wake up from the illusion...

Paul said...

Oh, and by the way: Ann Rand? Is this the same Ayn Rand who moved her boyfriend in the same house as her husband??? This is not a woman, this is a dog.

If this is the same Ann we're talking about, she had head up her axx, and knows nothing. I don't care how conservative, or libertarian she is, or how engaging a writer she is. She knows nothing, and is no pillar of our community. Good grief, who has some common sense?

Hal K said...

don meaker:

What do you think about the recent Jena story? There is something not right about the way that was portrayed in the media. (Or the story about the kid who said "brown people" that was discussed here recently?) Some whites are justifiably nervous about what it will be like for their children and grandchildren to be minorities. Others have their heads in the sand, in my opinion.

Immigration is the main issue. That is what is primarily causing whites to become minorities where they are currently in the majority. In the U.S. this will affect our culture and may create a permanent Spanish-speaking subpopulation. I think that the issue of IQ and regression to the mean is also worth considering as it relates to immigration and the future economic prospects of a country.

You have to understand that what is right for you is not necessarily right for everyone, and immigration policies are forcing a fate on countries that are currently majority white. When non-white immigrants (or at least non-Asian non-white minorities) move into a neighborhood the whites move out. They may say immigration doesn't bother them. They don't want to appear racist. Instead they just run away from the problem. This situation has to be addressed openly and honestly without people fearing for their reputations, and we have to slow down immigration so people have time to really get a sense of what its demographic implications will be.

Paul said...

Conservative Swede:

The America at the close of WW2 was comprised of common people that, in general, we moral people, with an intact and healthy work ethic that held a reverence and gratefulness to the God who lives.

The America of today is spoiled beyond recognition, so that an independent obverver would have a difficult time concluding the Americans of today are children of the Americans of 1945, or of 1776, or of 1620 for that matter.

We are now a divided people, full of selfishness. A huge percentage of us are God-haters. From your wrting on these pages I am inclined to believe you know what I am talking about.

Let me ask you a question: What can the God-haters, and selfish, and immoral expect to receive in this world???

Let me put it another way: Have you heard of unstable equilibrium? Yes, times are still tolerable for good people. (Forget about evil people.) But will good times continue???

Conservative Swede said...


Let me ask you a question: What can the God-haters, and selfish, and immoral expect to receive in this world???

People need the sense of being part of something that is bigger than themselves. Otherwise the society will eventually fall apart. I'm not a believing Christian myself though. And I don't see Christianity as the solution for Europe at this point, but I think it is for America.

But will good times continue???

The way things are continuing right now we are not heading for good times... We need to change the course.

Unknown said...

how the heck did Europe allow such a monstrosity as the EU get a grip on their necks?

Vague pacifism, the sentimental idea that to avoid war you simply undo the boundaries that separate one country from the other: let's all become one, and then peace will break out - combined with the devious plotting of our elites, using 'the Monnet method', a steady, relentless but deliberately low-key drive to extend the powers of the European bureaucracy without anyone actually noticing. Each new advance would merely be a means of gearing up for the next. Each new addition to the bureaucracy's area of competence might begin with a small, innocuous-seeming proposal to which no one could object, until the principle was conceded and the powers could be progressively enlarged

Weren't we continuously being told by our own governments that separate treaties were merely economical; that we would be consulted when things got essential?
We were tricked!
Nobody realised that we were set on a road of no return

Jason Pappas said...

Rand was extremely pro-American and wanted America to avoid foreign wars fought mainly for the benefit of foreign nations. She was skeptical of our involvement in WWI, WWII (until Pearl Harbor) and Vietnam. She may be right or wrong in regards to each of those cases but she had a strong desire not to sacrifice American boys to make the world “safe for democracy.” She was the antithesis of a Wilsonian crusader.

Rand’s universalism doesn’t lead to internationalism. Her respect for protecting rights, a universal principle, was self-interested and not an altruistic gesture to save the world. Thus, it was a concern within a nation/state that is able and willing to establish a just society for its citizens. It’s the problem of foreign peoples in foreign lands to secure their rights. And they do so for their own sake or suffer under oppressive governments.

Rand’s writing on immigration is weak precisely because she didn’t write about it. She’s aware that a culture takes generations to evolve and must be guarded vigilantly. I suspect she didn’t have an answer to the “open borders” problem, one which would totally obliterate a culture including a culture dedicated to protecting the rights of the individual. As a consequence, there are many different groups inspired by Rand from libertarians to patriotic pro-Americans. (By the way, I remember reading that Rand is skeptical of bi-lingual nations but don’t remember the details.)

Her focus was always on saving American, not the world. Nor was her concern the welfare of those living in foreign lands. She did not want America to be an Atlas, holding the world in its shoulders. The bottom line is that Rand saw liberty as a powerful force that unleashes the productive potential of human beings. But such rights are secured by people in each nation for themselves so that they can thrive. She saw America as an oasis, not a liberator. She wished other nations well but she was protective of this oasis.

Now, how she argued this is another matter. I’m just summarizing what I believe she advocated for the record.

Anonymous said...

I must confess that I have very little patience with long-winded arguments. I have no patience whatsoever with gnat straining and camel swallowing.

I believe in the Constitution of the United States, Murphy's Law and the Golden Rule. If you believe in the same I do not give a rat's rump if you are white, black, polka-dotted or change colors three times a minute. You and I have a basis on which to form a friendship. If you hold these things in contempt your color does not matter. We may be able to be civil to each other but friendship is at best doubtful.

My point is, if Western Civilization is to survive, we must boil it down to its essence. We must be able to declare what Western civilization stands for simply, briefly, and without equivocation.

So I, the Average Joe, issue a challenge to all the great minds here assembled: In 186 words or less state the argument for Western civilization.

Anonymous said...

"My point is, if Western Civilization is to survive, we must boil it down to its essence. We must be able to declare what Western civilization stands for simply, briefly, and without equivocation."

Absolutely. I think the West's biggest problem is that 'it' as a culture no longer believes in anything, let alone its own superiority to other cultures.

So long as immigrants accept and integrate with Western culture (and immigrants who don't are deported) they're not likely to be very harmful regardless of where they come from. But without even a concept of what Western culture is, integration is impossible.

We need to be able to say 'this is our culture; like it or leave it', and mean that.

Conservative Swede said...

Average Joe,

I'll give it to you in 180 words less than you asked for:

Living according to our historical identities

Pay attention to the plural form! No more Utopian universalist ideologies, PLEASE!

Particularism! Self-government! Local solutions! And Islam is best fought locally. The more power that is given to know-it-all universalists, the more the natural inclination for self-protection will be stifled.

True conservatism is completely non-ideological -- throw away all junk coming from the French Revolution! I do not want to hear this **** anymore. The only thing ideologies do is to blind people, and sooner or later it leads to oppression and destruction. Even universalist individualism eventually leads to conformism and collectivism in practice.

But this is all embedded in those six words I gave you. And if you truly want diversity in a deeper sense -- and just not as catchy slogans -- this is it for you.

Jason Pappas said...

But that says nothing, Swede, because you go too far. If Western is to have an identity there must be some element in common to all Western societies. To say that our all shared identity is our vast differences -- our unique and different historical identities -- is to say that it is nothing. I know what you’re trying to avoid but you’re cutting too much away.

Something must be shared for there to be a category called Western. There must be something in common.

Conservative Swede said...


So you want to enforce some sort of conformism, or should we say universalism, and solely for the reason of getting things in order in your head?

Something must be shared for there to be a category called Western. There must be something in common.

You should read the later Wittgenstein. He debunked this mechanical way of thinking once and for all. Already Diogenes made fun of it. Languages and the concepts of languages simply do not work in this mechanical way. The later Wittgenstein introduced the concept of family resemblance. A concept, e.g. game is like a rope. No thread goes through the whole rope, still the rope holds together. You will not find a common subset of properties that holds for everything that we call game.

If you read what I wrote as "Western is to have an identity" you haven't understood what I wrote. Universalist mechanical minds seem to think that there has to be a common definition for there to be a common instruction. So your mind is looking for a definition. But there was none. So when you come back to me and complain that my definition was a bad one, I will have to inform you that there was none. Only a common instruction. Precisely to the point of what we need to do. Is anyone here interested in what we need to do?

Western countries stick together by family resemblance. And quite as with a family it's a matter of taste where it begins and ends. Is Bulgaria e.g. part of the West?

There are certain common features, but not common enough to say that it's the definition of the West. There's a high presence of Christianity. I'm not supposed to tell it, but there are a lot of white people (I know some of you were unaware of this and will be shocked when you hear it). There's a high presence of Pagan roots, Roman law, Greek science, etc. And much more.

Ethelred said...

Average Joe,

My two cents:

Reason and individual freedom.

From these primacy of these two things comes everything else, including

Curiosity - actively learning about the natural world and using it to improve ourselves. I guess I would also add Introspection.

Property Rights - critical to freedom.

Capitalism - let those that can produce do so and help raise everyone else's standard of living.

Note: "reason" and "individual liberty" does not preclude a Sweden being different than Finland or Norway or Denmark or America for that matter.

Side note: this kind discussion just could not happen at LGF!

X said...

Reason and individual liberty are universal without being universalist, if that makes any sense, which I think is conswede's main objection. Universal ideas work. We all have our concept of individual liberty and reason and what these ideas mean to us, which makes the idea of liberty and reason universal by its nature. The problem comes when I say "this is reason, this is liberty" and try to force everyone else to adopt that particular definition, when my idea of liberty may well be remarkably different from yours.

That there rope analogy applies remarkably well, I think.

Conservative Swede said...

Btw Jason. Your take on Rand as an expression of American particularism I found to be an interesting perspective.

Ypp said...

2 Paul
Vodka is not too bad sometimes. In Russia the expression of love to Russian people is called Folk Art. It is a bit schauvinistic, but what else could it be? But you don't even understand what I am talking about. So sorry. You really hate yourself here in the West. I am astonished.

Jason Pappas said...

First of all, we’re answering an unspoken question. We’re not defining Western but what we believe are the virtues of the West. Let’s face it; the excesses of the French Revolution, multi-cultural relativism, and post-modern nonsense are all clearly Western but Western ills. And all of our individual social orders suffer from these ills.

I have to disagree, Swede, that there aren’t common virtues or core virtues to the Western way that makes it great and powerful. I’d put Hellenic rationalism, which is inherently essentialist, in the plus column. I would have put nominalism, including Wittgenstein if your description does him justice, in the negative column.

Don’t get me wrong. The question is ambitious and I wasn’t going to try to answer it. I was also not going to demand a utopian embodiment of any particular virtue. It’s just a question of identifying strengths and realizing different manifestations of those virtues depending on different contexts, problems, and stages of development.

The need to explicate our virtues and vices, both modern and historical, is just required for a good analysis. And you never shy away from a good analysis. I just don’t think we need to try to force a conclusion to this ambitious task. However, I wouldn’t abort the debate with a vague generality that amounts to no more than the phrase "our way" or to do you justice "our ways."

Conservative Swede said...


Wittgenstein showed that language is all depending on context, is intimately connected to a form of life. He said that if lions could speak we wouldn't understand them.

Since you are an essentialist you will have to reveal to me which language has the correct set of universals. Is the English game the correct universal, or is it the German spiel, or the Swedish spel? All cannot be correct, and not even an essentialist could define them all using the same set of characteristics. The Sinn/intension of the words are of different width, and they are merely overlapping. So which is the correct essentialist language? Maybe it's Arabic?

Essentialist discussions could go on forever, because the are trying to solve something that cannot be solved. Diogenes made fun of Greek essentialists who had agreed to define a human as a featherless two-legged being. Diogenes came back with a plucked chicken.

However, an essentialist approach can be useful in certain confined contexts, first of all within a certain language and cultural context (I include scientific languages such as mathematics here). Quite like Newton's mechanics, it's not entirely useless, so to speak. But for understanding the bigger picture, it's of no use. But of course, also in physics there are those who cling to Newton, just because they think that Einstein and Quantum Mechanics are too confusing.

Conservative Swede said...

I think that essentialist thinking, which is bound to be universalist, is the reason why people find biology to hot to handle in their social reasoning. A genetical difference is seen as a "essence" predestinating the person. But biology does not work in that way. Genes only give tendencies. The environment decides the outcome, and for humans personal will power.

There is no "essence" of a woman deciding what she can do or not, she has the ability to choose herself. You can put a man and a woman side by side and their way of being could be completely reversed compared to what we would have expected from their respective "essences". However, due to the genetic tendencies, when we speak about groups we will be able to say much more, only a minority will use their will power to go against their nature. Put ten women, or ten men, in a room, and I will be able to predict quite a few things about their behaviour. For a single man or woman I can not.

The same applies to races, or how we now prefer to group people of different ethnicity. An Asian, European or a black will have different genetical tendencies. Still, being humans, that can choose to go in a different direction. But at the group level, you will be able to read certain features. In addition to that there are many things that resonates with this, such as culture, and how people tend to identify which those looking alike, which enforces the differences at group level.

Of course with great masterplans of social engineering -- smothering unwanted genetical tendencies and eradicating historical differences -- we could change most of that. I have a few suggestions that could do much of the job, but I leave that for another time. And I can assure you that they are horrible.

Jason Pappas said...

I have no qualms with your description of individual and cultural differences as a point in positive sociology. However, there is such a thing as human nature. This, of course, is one of the conservative (and Objectivist) objections to totalitarian engineering of a “new man.” But I distinguish between human nature and individual character. In human nature, the possibility to cultivate a virtuous character or a vicious character exists upon birth. Character is the result of effort.

Core virtues aren’t mere conventions. Honestly is needed to form the bonds of a civil order; reason is needed to construct human knowledge in order to understand reality and to deal with each other in a civil manner, etc. Sure, one may apply oneself in different realms of knowledge and with different degrees of abstraction. But there are objective reasons to seek to cultivate such core virtues.

Of course, there is a host of optional characteristics that define individuals and/or cultures from the sounds of words to the taste in food to the typical psychological differences in gender, age, geography, and, of course, historical accidents. But more importantly, even with core virtues, there are different views on the limits and stages of development.

During the 20th century, in America we were able to allow freedom of speech to the extent that we allowed totalitarians to advocate our freedom’s destruction. In Germany, freedom in Weimar allowed Hitler's rise to power. It’s not odd that post-war Europe has different laws even if they have outlived their usefulness.

It’s best left to each nation to work through this. In France they outlawed headscarves in schools and it’s understandable. Given the demographics and history we can afford certain choices while the situation is or will be dire within continental Europe. The path to health is different in each nation and I suspect the ‘flavor’ of battle against Islam will be different on each side of the Atlantic.

The trend here seems to emphasize differences between the religions while in Europe it is a question of religion itself. We’ll see how that evolves. I wouldn’t be surprise if various European countries take the lead. Indeed, they have already: immigration in Holland, public criticism of Islam in Denmark (at least symbolically), restrictions and monitoring of Islamic activity in France, etc.

I’m interested in comparing these ‘variations on a theme.’ They don’t show a rejection of our core aspirations for a vibrant and free society. Indeed, they realize that Islam is a threat to such aspirations. The path to secure our futures will have a few different turns. We’ll have to accept the costs of our cultural decay and rebuilt as best as we can. We need not berate each other for a lack instant virtue. The road to recovery is “one day at a time” and it is damn frustrating.

It still is important to define long-term aspirations as it is to face present limitations.

Your criticism of universality is right in some senses but not in other. The distinction between nature and convention is Greek; and was the source of much debate in Ancient times. Leo Strauss notes there is no word for 'nature' in the Hebrew of the Old Testament. It was “our way” for “our people.” Christianity was the 1st universal religion; and it was influenced by Stoic universalism. There is much to criticize in the formulations of the universal in each of those two doctrines. There is more than one way of viewing what is or what should be universal. In a certain sense you’re right but in others I think you go too far. That’s all.

My thoughts on universal rights need a whole essay if not a book.

Jason Pappas said...

Gee, I’m getting long-winded. I should take the advice I gave Ethelred!

Conservative Swede said...

In a certain sense you’re right but in others I think you go too far. That’s all.

Moderate and balanced ideas always deserve to be taken all the way.

Pleasure discussing with you. Will have to pick it up again another day.

Jason Pappas said...

The pleasure’s all mine!

Anonymous said...

"If I would punish a province I would have it governed by philosophers." Frederick the Great

The Philosophers Song