“The point of an open mind, like an open mouth, is to close it on something solid.” -G K Chesterton
In case you were not aware (some of us do live our lives separate from the Kabuki theater that is democracy), the United States recently elected a new president. It is the current year! What people want to know, but can’t seem to figure out, is why Donald Trump won.
Though I was one of those who predicted his win a while back, and was terribly amused as liberals egged him on and did everything they could to make things favorable for his primary bid, I can no more tell you why he won than to say that once he had emerged, my best judgment said that he would.
The very-often missed and very-obvious silver bullet explanation – if there can be one – is that Hillary Clinton was simply a weak candidate from the start. However, most people on the left who say this are not saying it objectively, but will admit themselves to have been supporters of the senator and second contender, Bernie Sanders.
They say it because in their democratic strategy, they wish to reposition themselves to a place where their voices are stronger. It is my opinion that they don’t, like most people in electoral politics, have any actual knowledge of anything beyond what serves their party – whether it be an upstart or established faction.
In fact this essay is not at all about what lost the Democratic Party this election, for I think the obvious answer requires no more than a paragraph to explain and is not worthy of an essay. Trump knew that she would be the candidate he would most likely face, and given his Republican competition and how liberals would support him on the falsehood they have told themselves – he being a clown of sorts – it was a situation where he had little actual to lose and much to gain, at least politically.
Even the business end of things would probably not have been hurt in the long term, though it was certainly a risk. He certainly would feel the pain in the short term. But the inherent weakness of a womens-values candidate was an opportunity he was not going to pass up. That was his praxeology, I believe, and the rest flowed from “what came to his hand.”
It is interesting to find that this most clear and simple explanation – though unlikely to be truly exhaustive – of the main factors of the campaign (note that O’Keefe’s and Assange’s work easily fall under the subhead of Clinton’s political weakness – if they had much effect at all) it is the one that many in that political party wish to avoid seeing. For their part, this is the nature of power – Clinton, though no longer ascendent, is still more powerful than most of these people, and they, not willing to contend or deal with this nature directly, must needs flow immediately to the next available explanation.
And then, there’s this:
Hillary Clinton did everything right in this campaign, and she won more votes than her opponent did. She won. She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second. Instead, she will be decorated as an epochal heroine far too extraordinary to be contained by the mere White House. Let that revolting president-elect be Millard Fillmore or Herbert Hoover or whatever. Hillary is Athena.
This open mind has closed, and the sandwich upon which it has closed is Hillary Clinton.
I’ve read some laughter and tears regarding this particular piece, and I can’t bear myself to read the whole thing, I admit. But this is, I will assert, and example of what I am, for the purposes of this essay, calling Terminal Frame.
The concept of the Overton Window is the socially enforced limits on acceptable political discourse. For example: segregation of blacks from white “spaces” – out. Segregation of whites from black “spaces” – in. Some have described this election as a case of the rare but perhaps inevitable, given the leftward swim of the Old One, “Overton Bubble.” That is to say, a more swiftly moving Overton Window which finds itself coming into contact with hard realities; like a star which has run out of hydrogen it begins to swell—just like a cat under threat—but in the end its massivity is no threat to the physical law of the wall it is about to hit. And besides, puffing up usually spreads you thin. Pop!
Many on the left indeed have found their Overton Window popping, but this is mainly due to pressure applied to the media, disrupting their ability to “set the agenda for the country” from an editorial chamber. Since the Overton Window, very distant physical and psychological constraints notwithstanding, is set by social pressure, applying a sharp pin to the ombudsmen will do. It remains to be seen what reorganization the ombudsmen will do; but if they continue to fantasize that they have the majority of the “people” based on a forgetfulness of the mass voter fraud they commit, it seems unlikely that they are capable of learning any time soon. Or, at all.
Thus, Terminal Frame.
Terminal Frame is what the woman who wrote the piece above, provided it is at least half serious, has attained. One reason why some people value freedom of speech is that in theory it should give them access to views which dissent with their own, which they hope will prevent them from falling into an Echo Chamber. Some people treat staying out of an Echo Chamber as some kind of Kantian cant; a natural law in the form of a moral command.
I of course do not accept, in general, this framing of freedom of speech. I think the whole framing and positioning of the question are wrong, but this is not the place to fix that, but merely to note that all people have axioms; central and perhaps more metaphysical truths which endure the changeability of the physical world, which they hold to more or less constantly; it is sort of the steel frame for a skyscraper or at least a sturdy wood frame for a house. Either way, this frame is final, if it is anything, for to try to change it is to also tear down all that is built upon it.
There are various ways in which these framings are formed, and speaking freely regarding certain topics can help prevent us cementing our axioms the wrong way. If everyone you know tells you that the world is flat, you might begin to base a whole metaphysical system on this conceptually, and if the world is really round, we can expect that strangeness will happen once the axioms begin trickling down the other way, towards decisions, shaped by their oddness.
At that point, we hope the hard wall of reality at the very least might shatter the frame, as it seems to have with some on the left, but the Terminal Frame – well, it’s designed not to break. When we think of the faith of, say, the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, who stood long in a freezing lake because they knew they would be crowned, we see a Terminal Frame, and we see it is a matter of faith.
“The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.”
G K Chesterton (note, this is a paraphrase, see here.)
Each of us has a Terminal Frame, and one of the advantages of a well-formed religious upbringing is that it tends to – though not guaranteed – form this Terminal Frame out of old, good timber; such questions as which pertain to truly immutable and immortal truths are unlikely to be discovered in a political bubble OR in an uncensored forum. Of course, we admit that when what counts for publicly acceptable discourse is full-out lying, free speech at least gives you a chance – as one might see in the /pol/ boards for example – of encountering something solid enough to close your mind on.
And here is the real risk of echo chambers, that is, despite being nothing more than the fashion of a clique, they turn themselves into Terminal Frames. Some look at religions as sort of echo chambers with teeth, but rarely notice their own Terminal Frames (sometimes this frame involves a rejection of Terminal Frames – probably an incurable malady) and so do not notice the things upon which they hang their faith. Why? Because everyone experiences the things they have faith in the same way – not as a matter of belief, but as truth!
When we say, “I believe…” we do not in saying this admit to others, “well okay, this might not be true, but you see, it is a matter of faith.” We say what we believe to be true. To say otherwise to other people is a defense, and attempt to avoid a conflict we may not be prepared to win. But a real Christian does not consider his Creed a matter of faith, but rather, a matter of truth. And so it is with people who have faith in other things as well; it is simply the liberal frame which forces us to take the propositional logic of understanding what other people sincerely hold to be true to be factual or real rather than what is is: propositional.
So when the writer says that it is true that Hillary won, it is impossible on the face to determine whether this is a matter of faith, or if she is reporting a “bare fact”. However, as we know that Hillary did not win (and based on total voter fraud, probably won neither vote) the only possibilities that remain are misinformation or faith. Faith in a non-factual election result!
This is the end of such things, is it not? Those who believe in nothing must find something to believe in – they must find a belief which is constant through the flow of time, which weathers setbacks and helps them gather the resources and form the vision necessary to work towards a long-term end.
It is very apparent that those who stay in an Echo Chamber long enough – that is, who endure the fashion of their peers’ opinions and consensus to the exception of any credible outside source – must eventually frame the world in those terms. If you knew this was going to happen, would you not be concerned to ensure that what would be formed would be, in some sense, true?
When Moldbug said that our government was incurably insane, he spoke a true thing. The members of our ruling caste have, to a very real extent, adopted terminal frames of this corrupt sort; a likely-criminal who no one dared say no to is now a god. A god! They might have done worse with Capone. But it is for them either accepting such a frame (or one similar) or accepting that their frame be shattered, and outside is the sound of white orcs. Orcs!
Many of these people, having long been abandoned by their own faith as it liberalized to attend to the fashion of the day, have now found their new gods. They have found their Terminal Frame. Being final, it will endure; – but will they?
Teachers told us the Romans built this place;
They built a wall and a temple at the edge of an empire garrison town;
They lived and they died –
They prayed to their gods,
but the stone gods did not make a sound.
And their empire crumbled ’till all that was left
Were the stones the workmen found.
Sting – All This Time