Religious Decay

To properly introduce this article, I needed an example of egregiously brainless progressivism. So here’s one example I found by spending 30 seconds on CNN: “What Justin Trudeau, the anti-Trump, could show America.” I’ll provide the relevant excerpts:

When President Barack Obama hosted him at a state dinner Thursday at the White House — the first for a Canadian leader since 1998 — it offered a prime opportunity for Justin Trudeau to show the new face of Canada, the second most diverse country in the world, as progressive, moderate and tolerant.

It is not accidental that his delegation to Washington includes two senior women ministers, underscoring the fact that his Cabinet is half female. When asked in November why he insisted on gender parity, he answered, “Because it’s 2015!”

He is accompanied as well by the minister of national defense and the minister of economic development, both Sikhs who wear turbans. And his foreign minister, a Francophone from Quebec. There are also many parliamentarians who are visible minorities.

The point: Canada is about diversity. Since the Liberals took office, Canada has admitted 25,000 Syrian refugees; Trudeau greeted the first planeload personally in Toronto.

They are among the 300,000 immigrants Canada will accept this year, the highest in some time.

Female ministers, mass immigration, Muslim and otherwise, “gender parity,” the list goes on. Diversity: check. Progress: check. Tolerance: check. “It’s 2015!” Checkity-check-check-check.

Our more perceptive readers will have by now already identified the ethnic origin of the article’s writer. David Cohen isn’t trying to hide anything, after all. This will close the case for some of our less perceptive readers. It is fairly easy to read these bizarre paeans to diversity and conclude the motivations stem from interethnic competition, whether overt or covert (or even subconscious). Between expulsions, pogroms, the Frankfurt School, Marxism, Freud, etc. there would certainly be an extensive historical record to back up the reality of such competition. And yet, “/pol/ is always right” is more accurately “/pol/ is right about half the time, which, demographically speaking, is about twenty-five times more right than /pol/ should be expected to be, although the farther back in time /pol/ looks the less and less right it is.”

Diversity, equality, tolerance and the rest of the lot of contemporary progressive values are indisputably corrosive to civilization as they are today practiced. Interethnic competition, especially between comparatively larger and smaller groups, can be indisputably vicious, whether openly violent or more discreet. And yet, the measly lot existed before the emancipation of the Jews in the early 19th century, before which Europe’s Jewish population was less Wall Street and Hollywood and more like Europe’s gypsy population, but with rabbis and Torah study. You don’t need Mencius Moldbug to determine that leftism and progressivism predated Marx and Marcuse. Even Wikipedia notes that “Jewish emancipation followed the Age of Enlightenment.” Here’s a telling page titled “Napoleon and the Jews.” Long story short, Napoleon made Jews equal with Christians because equality, liberty, diversity fraternity.

Moldbug spent a lot of time proving that progressives are a “nontheistic Christian sect,” specifically, a sect of Protestant Calvinists. He spent a lot of time going over the mutations of beliefs and the cladistics thereof. I won’t repeat him too much because I recommend everybody read Foseti’s excellent review of the Puritan Thesis here. Moldbug’s theory of the origins and workings of leftism/progressivism obviously conflicted greatly with the other main theory going around the thoughtcrime underground, which had to do with Jews, Marx, Bolshevism, ethnic competition, and the Frankfurt School.

If Moldbug had a weak point, it was that he emphasized too much history and too little general theory. It is easy to set up a false dichotomy of Puritans vs. Jews, and even easier to try and compromise between the two with: must’ve been both, let’s all get along here.” The truth is that Moldbug’s theory was basically one well-researched instance of a larger phenomenon of decay, specifically, the decay of religion and belief, and, through that, the decay of civilization as a whole.

How can we demonstrate this? One good way would be to find an instance of a religion other than Protestantism that degenerated into leftism, progressivism, or something similar independently of the Calvinists, Universalists, et al., and decayed in a similar fashion as Puritanism decayed into today’s puerile progressivism.

Meet the 1800s French Religion of Humanity.

The Religion of humanity was described by Thomas Huxley as “Catholicism minus Christianity”.

Sounds pretty similar to Christianity without Jesus, no? I will continue to quote liberally:

In addition to a holy trinity of Humanity, the Earth and Destiny, it had a priesthood. Priests were required to be married, because of the ennobling influence of womanhood. They would conduct services, including Positivist prayer, which was “a solemn out-pouring, whether in private or in public, of men’s nobler feelings, inspiring them with larger and more comprehensive thoughts.” The purpose of the religion was to increase altruism, so that believers acted always in the best interests of humanity as a whole. The priests would be international ambassadors of altruism, teaching, arbitrating in industrial and political disputes, and directing public opinion. They should be scholars, physicians, poets and artists. Indeed all the arts, including dancing and singing should be practiced by them, like bards in ancient societies.

If we replace “destiny” with “progress” and “the Earth” with “climate change” (or perhaps “the Environment”), this weird, made-up 19th century French secular religion sounds a lot like contemporary progressivism – Humanity, the Environment, Progress. The ennobling influence of womanhood? This was what, 1851? I can’t help but find all this stuff about increasing altruism for the best interests of humanity vaguely familiar. And the other three activities listed for priests of the Religion of Humanity correspond almost perfectly to academia, diplomacy, and the media, the three lynchpins of today’s progressive Cathedral that reigns from Harvard to the State Department to The New York Times.

The High Priest of Humanity was to live in Paris, which would replace Rome as the centre of religion.

The fellow who came up with this secular, positive, and rational religion was Auguste Comte, founder of the discipline of sociology and of positivism. Comte was French through and through, and his chief influence and one-time employer and mentor was Henri de Saint-Simon, an 18th century French aristocrat who was very concerned with ensuring meritocratic, rational managers and scientists made the key decisions in the government. Comte influenced Marx and Durkheim, one generation younger than him and both Jewish.

Davies argues that Comte’s austere and “slightly dispiriting” philosophy of humanity – viewed as alone in an indifferent universe (which can only be explained by “positive” science) – “was even more influential in Victorian England than the theories of Charles Darwin or Karl Marx”.

Is our Cathedral more French and Catholic than Jewish or Puritan? Possibly. It would explain why Cathedral remains an instinctively apt description but Polygon or Synagogue just don’t quite capture the essence of it. I would bet in France the Cathedral is more French than foreign. David Cohen is not echoing particularly Jewish ideas about diversity, humanity, etc., but particularly French and Anglo-Saxon ideas that originated in the 18th and 19th centuries, some seemingly independently of each other. Canada, coincidentally, is the world’s only Anglo-French country.

It looks like French Catholicism, reeling from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, also demonstrated an ability to have the Jesus surgically removed by an enterprising religious entrepreneur. It wasn’t just Anglo-Saxon Protestantism that had the demanding parts of religion cut out over time until it was left with nothing but sentiment and platitude. Going back through history reveals a lot of religious oddities, not rarely connected or related to new or odd ideologies, especially comparatively left-wing ones.

Religions, as complex sets of beliefs and ideas that underpin civilization, can undergo decay – intentional or not – and this decay is probably predictable based on the particular make-up of the religion itself. What is interesting is that more than one unique religion has perhaps decayed into almost exactly the same kind of leftism/progressivism.

Mark Yuray is verified on Gab. Follow him there and on Twitter.

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15 Comments

    1. This is also on a permanent page of my blog with (IMO) better formatting.

  1. Monarch of Idaho March 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    >If Moldbug had a weak point, it was that he emphasized too much history and too little general theory.

    Yep: the argument about crypto-Calvinists is not very compelling when the similarity between Progressivism and, say, the Masonic creed is far more striking and obvious. It’s all there, really: the internationalism, the pacifism, etc.

    But just as we shouldn’t rush to the conclusion that “it was the Masons all along!” so also it is quite futile to follow the “cladistic” chain back to one particular religious denomination or ethnicity when it’s pretty damn clear that the Occident in its entirety has embraced the pozz to varying degrees.

    (Of course, it’s still very, uhm, revealing to observe which peoples are more-or-less lukewarm about Progressivism and mainly go with the flow, and, on the other hand, which (((people))) have come to dominate the Priesthood of Leftism, with a typical zealotry may I add)

    As a “genetic determinist / race essentialist” it is my view that, as Antidem has written over at Spandrell’s, Modernity, with its accompanying material prosperity and culture of liberty, has allowed all of its “beneficiaries” to follow their true, inner nature. The way Africans, Arabs, Whites, Asians, and Jews behave today is in accordance with, and constitutes an accurate reflection of, the specific proclivities inherent to each of the races.

    (Actually, as fun as it is bashing Modernity, hers is just an extreme manifestation of the historical norm of people acting according to their inner, genetic nature rather than in accordance with outside pressures such as religion, which is not to argue that those pressures are futile, but still, let’s not lose sight of the centrality of heredity here)

    In other words, I wouldn’t blame mere religion or mere culture for whatever ideologies are prevalent in contemporary times, because these are just the superstructures which rest on the base, which is the genes.

    For a meme to spread, people have to be susceptible to it in the first place. Twin studies reveal that upbringing does nothing at all to alter one’s genetically predetermined adult tendencies; it doesn’t mean that the societal landscape doesn’t exert any influence on those inhabiting it, but then even the societal landscape is there not ex nihilo, but due to the sum of genetic components predominant in society.

    Which should make it pretty obvious that, just as individual pairs of twins seem immune to whatever memes outside forces attempt to shove down their throats, so also tribes, ethnicities, and races — genetic collectives — alter the shape of whatever memes happen to cross their path much moreso than they are altered by said memes.

    It’s not like Gentiles, once converted to a specific sect of Judaism (Christianity), began to exhibit Judaic proclivities. Far from it! The convertees always end up turning into converters. Of course, after millennia of living under a specific religion people are affected by the religion on the genetic level. But religion is much more flexible than genes: the former may fluctuate and shift into this or that within very short time-spans, while the latter mutates over significantly longer periods. Simply put: easier to change religion than genes.

    So with all this in mind, I’d wager that it is simply irrelevant trivia, and a distraction, to focus on the question of whether the origin of the most recent incarnation of Progressivism is Anglo-Saxon, Catholic, Masonic or whatever, because what matters is who does what with which meme, not who invented the earlier versions of the meme.

    That’s why bashing the Calvinists or whomever seems like a waste of time. The crucial thing to focus on is who is resisting the Pozz and what are their, perhaps emulation-worthy, methods of doing so; and who is spreading the Pozz and how can they or (((they))) be stopped.

    Now let me digress. What perhaps distinguishes Modernity from past epochs is that, well, “it has no breaks”. Due to complete liberalism everywhere in the West, the whole society just drifts, even accelerates, to become an ever more accurate reflection of the nature of the humans composing it.

    Now you may say that Modernity is not natural and thus we can’t judge humans according to their reaction to it, but it is exactly the lack of constraints that proves conclusively what fallen creatures we are and why we needed the constraints in the first place, similarly to chimps who, once released from their cages, go berserk and commence flinging their feces everywhere, thus validating the necessity of cages.

    Anyway, after the undeniability of human brokenness dawns upon those whose task it is to rule society, they will have to calibrate a religion to fit with the nature of their subjects, so as to be able to rule effectively without provoking the masses to revolt but also without erring on the side of leniency.

    Meanwhile, as liberalism intensifies, what is observed are the inevitable clashes and frictions that characterize multi-racial democracies, as each thede has its own inherent qualities and is incentivized to seek its own interests at the expense of all others.

    That is, not just individuals, but whole collectives as well suffer unnecessary violence and instability due to the nature of the democratic system.

    Which finally leads to the conclusion that switching one religion for another won’t do it: to save the dying empire, or at least the good people therein, a change of governmental system is required, without which no meme in the world could effectively prevent “free citizens” from committing suicide, literal or metaphorical, personal or collective.

    1. That’s why bashing the Calvinists or whomever seems like a waste of time. The crucial thing to focus on is who is resisting the Pozz and what are their, perhaps emulation-worthy, methods of doing so; and who is spreading the Pozz and how can they or (((they))) be stopped.

      You grossly mischaracterize the Puritan Thesis, if you think it amounts to “bashing” a long dead (or subsequently radically evolved) religion. It is fundamentally not a theory about who is spreading “the pozz” but about WHY it spreads. And THE WHY it spreads is because destabilizing holiness signaling is encouraged systemically in low church religion. 50 years ago Southern Baptists seemed to be “resisting the pozz” rather admirably, right?. Not today. Why?? It’s in the nature of low church religion to NOT RESIST the pozz. Therefore low church religion IS a problem. It creates an entire culture where being holier than Jesus gives you status. And before you know it, you’re overruling St. Paul on marriage and freeing other people’s slaves at gunpoint.

      Looking around for a show of hands of “WHO’S NOT POZZED?” at any given point in time is useless unless you can predict who among all those is gonna stay that way.

      1. How do you explain how its the high church religion that are the 1st to get pozzed. Like the Episcopalians and the Anglicans?

        1. I don’t need to explain that because it is not (remotely) true. The exact opposite is true. Original Anglicanism was Catholicism with the King over the Church. This wasn’t enough for the Puritans who complained of Romish excesses and wanted to purge the “paganism”. High Church Anglicanism later splintered with “Evangelical” Anglicanism which led to the Wesleyan/Methodist splinter.

  2. So this was good, wish you had spent a little more time talking about Catholicism’s impact on Western Culture/political thought though. Catholicism’s case is an interesting one, Catholics (like Jews) are highly over represented in the Brahmin caste. Just look at the Conservative “intelligentsia” almost all of them are either Jewish or Catholic, this is odd when you consider that most Republican voters are low-church Protestants.

    Catholicism’s Liberal heretics are usually nothing more than the manifestation of the inherent Gnostic impulse of the Christian Tradition in general. They’re basically Neo-Cathars of one stripe or another.

    1. Catholics (like Jews) are highly over represented in the Brahmin caste. Just look at the Conservative “intelligentsia” almost all of them are either Jewish or Catholic, this is odd when you consider that most Republican voters are low-church Protestants.

      Catholics are (rather obviously) not over represented among the Brahmin Caste at large, which is overwhelmingly WASP (mainline prot) and Jewish. That Catholics are over-represented among conservative intelligentsia makes sense because Evangelicaldom doesn’t have much intellectual heft, even where it is not actively anti-intellectual.

      1. As idiotic as it is of me to say this on the Internet; trust me that I’m in a position to know what I’m about to say next.

        Evangelicals have been trying for years to create a conservative intellectual elite. They have been frustrated in their aims by twin cultural forces in the South: the desire of alumni for a football school and incessant entryism from theological liberals (the latter has made the rank and file rightly suspicious of higher education in a theological context). Robert Sloan at Baylor, etc., have had the right idea but got scuttled by these twin forces.

        The net result is that large numbers of my intellectually minded peers convert to Catholicism, It’s not uncommon for evangelicals to be raised evangelical from birth and to eventually go Catholic (the greatest bulk) Calvinist, or “other” liturgical (EO, Anglican not episcopalian, etc.). Interestingly enough these converts bring an athletic biblical literacy and conservatism to Catholicism that seems to exceed that of cradle Catholics.

        The reasons for this are possibly less doctrinal and more that those denominations have a support structure and social respect that far exceeds what exists in the Evangelical bubble.

        1. Thanks for that frank insight, Hoyos. That certainly comports with my experience within Evangelicalism for many years. It isn’t as though Evanglicals are (on average) stupid. It’s that the theology does not permit an authoritative structural defense to entryism. There is no Evangelical Aquinas who may be invoked, and no central authority to invoke him. I suppose Francis Schaeffer tried to be that. But failed. All such attempts will fail, despite the best efforts and good intentions of Evangelicals, and will as in my case (and the cases Hoyos alludes to) draw them toward Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Which leads me to ponder the following rather abstruse meme: “It’s the Structure, Stupid.”

  3. The progressivism comes from Puritanism always struck me as narrow and American centric. One look at the “progress” of the Anglican Church will show that. After all, they were the first denomination to endorse contraception. And they most decidedly are not Puritans.

  4. A very interesting article, and a good challenge to Moldbug’s thesis, but could have done with an exposition on Huxley. Was he a Catholic at some point? Could he have taken his inspiration from the French Cult of Reason that had permeated during the Revolution?

    And furthermore, I feel we may be understating a Germanic element to a lot of degeneracy. From Kant to Marx, a lot of bad stuff has emerged from this region of the Occident, less so from Malta or Ireland (both staunchly Catholic until the contemporary era)

    1. I was not challenging Moldbug so much as expanding his unstated thesis that religions decay. Marx was Jewish. Malta and Ireland had no influential religious clerisies to go degenerate.

  5. And yet, “/pol/ is always right” is more accurately “/pol/ is right about half the time, which, demographically speaking, is about twenty-five times more right than /pol/ should be expected to be, although the farther back in time /pol/ looks the less and less right it is.”

    This is a funny sentence, but what are you trying to point to with the link? What’s up with the 25??

    1. Jews are 1.9% of the population (link).

      Roughly 50% of the time there’s (((echo))) behind the immediate cause of the poz.

      Therefore /pol/ is right 50% of the time with their rhetorical question: “I wonder who’s behind this” — which is 25 times (1.9*25 ~ 50) the rate it would be under uniformly random distribution.

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