Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Our Ruling Class Does Too Have a Religion. And How.

Here is the Zman bewailing "The Collapse of Authority." He means an authority that decides things.
The cancer eating away at the modern West is a lack of authority to which people can point to judge public policy, public debate on those polices, as well as the reactions to those policies and debates. As a result, debate has degraded into various camps striking poses, usually by signaling their unhappiness with the pose of other camps in the public sphere. The lack of an agreed upon authority means there is no way to judge the merits of any claim. Instead, it leaves force to resolve disputes.
But the reason that there is no authority is that we deplorables are contesting the authority of the current ruling class's religion. And they are striking back at us, trying to marginalize and eliminate us.

The Zman says that we don't have a religion any more.
In the current age, normal religion has been sidelined, not only as a source of authority, but as a legitimate part of public discourse. Fifty years ago, a public discussion of morality would have had representatives of various faiths to discuss what ought to be according their religions. A century ago those representatives would have provided authority for the current morality. Today, no public debate about moral issues, about what ought to be, includes religion, much less priests or theologians.
To which I say that you just ain't looking hard enough. I take this position from Roy Rappaport, who wrote:
No society known to anthropology or history is devoid of what reasonable observers would agree is religion.
 So I say there must be a religion. Because no human can exist, in my view, without a religion, something that declares "the meaning of life, the universe, and everything." Of course, in our society there are competing religions, and no one religion is generally accepted by almost everyone as the one true religion. I have, of course, explored this question under "Three Peoples Religion." Briefly, we have:
The Religion of the Creative/Educated Class. These people, our rulers, believe in: equality, supervised by them; education, supervised by them; the administration of the economy, supervised by them; the elimination of pollution, supervised by them; the prophecy of the end of the world, due to climate change caused by the sins of mankind. See the New Yorker. "What If We Stopped Pretending?" that completely endorses the ruling class prophecy of the end of the world, because human-caused warming. Anyone that contests this religion is evil, a modern Satan, and must be named, shamed, and ostracized, or worse.
The Religion of the Responsible Class. These people, you and me, believe in one of the Axial Age religions or their modern precipitates. We believe in a world created by God -- or the Big Bang -- and we believe that it works according to laws set down by God -- or learned through the transmission of tradition. We the People are empowered, indeed required, to work out our lives according to the laws of nature and nature's God.
The Religion of the Subordinate Class. These people do not believe they have agency, the ability to direct their own lives. They look for a powerful lord or politician to be their protector. Of course, they may determine, from time to time, that the lord or protector has betrayed them and riot in the streets.
When the Zman talks about the Collapse of Authority I believe he is really saying that we Responsibles have not yet come up with a modern religion that can take on the current lefty religion and its adherents in the educated and creative class. This is illustrated in the failure of "Buckleyite conservatism" which appealed only to Responsibles and did not attempt to win the hearts and minds of the educated class or become the champions of the Subordinate class.

My take is that we deplorables and Responsibles and dissidents need to formulate a new religion that merges the religion of creativity with the religion of responsibility. It would introduce the creatives to the notion of humility, that almost all creative action in this world is doomed to failure and irrelevance, and that certainly no creative activist should believe that just because they believe in something that they have the authority to force the rest of humanity onto their Procustean bed. It would encourage the Reponsibles to step out a bit, to challenge the hegemony of the Creative class and to seek the support of the Subordinates by becoming their patrons.

My belief is that this new religion is suggested in the German trajectory from Kant to Schopenhauer to Nietzsche to Jung. Where Kant starts with the statement that we do not know things in themselves, but only appearances, Nietzsche shows us a clouded vision of what the creative life is all about: that it means getting away from the herd, that it means getting away from hating yourself, that it is hard. Jung shows that the Hero's journey is a descent into the unconscious where you relearn all the lessons that are hidden below the horizon of self-consciousness. Jordan B. Peterson elaborates on the Jungian framework to remind us that the Hero is always a Sacrificial Hero, that sacrifices himself exploring the border between Order and Chaos.

What I say is that the religion of the future is all there, waiting for us to grasp it and prosletyze it. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Now, let us say that our lefty friends are not totally clueless. But, like all creative endeavors, their record is full of disaster and error, and like most humans, they refuse to learn from their errors and disasters.

Really, all our lefty friends have to understand is that creativity is a wonderful thing, except that almost every creative endeavor is a failure, just as nine out of ten business startups is a failure. Every true creative hero understands that he will not end his days in clouds of glory, but in the oblivion of sacrifice, for the true hero is not a Supreme Ego, but a Sacrificial Hero, who dies that others may live.

This is not that hard. Except for the would-be hero.

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