The Darkly Enlightened Punked Mark Shea
On Thursday morning, a reader passed along a post from Mark Shea’s blog, in which Mark quoted one of his correspondents at length, describing what the correspondent said was evil goings-on within a Dark Enlightenment cult to which he briefly belonged. I read it, and it sounded like somebody was pranking Mark, so I didn’t link to it. Now, Mark has a post up saying okay, he might have been punked, but the people drawn to the Dark Enlightenment are so strange that it’s not that hard to believe the worst. Mark quotes one of his readers:
I don’t remotely believe one word of the pagan and ceremonial weirdness described by that reader — it sounds like something out of Jack Chick.
I do believe this: As far as the “Dark Enlightenment,” it appears that we have an authentic social movement. Mark is correct to see them as dangerous. The devil plays both sides of the fence. Just as he has corrupted our elites into imposing abortion-on-demand, racial preferences, and same-sex “marriage” on the country, he now seeks an extremist counter-movement. Weimar followed by Nazis; Tsarist autocracy followed by Soviet totalitarianism; Peronistas followed by military juntas.
Let’s make some distinctions: In DE, there is a serious and legitimate criticism of western culture, and a crucial one is the sexual revolution doesn’t work. It fills in a lot of gaps that the Catholic Church never effectively explained, namely, why you shouldn’t sleep around, and why our culture is destroying itself believing lies about the sexual revolution. The DE types explained it quite clearly and quite well (it boils down to polygamous and hypergamous impulses run riot). You ignore that explanation at your peril, or you can simply obey the Church. But it’s a lot easier to obey when you know why.
However, DE types go other other direction on the sexual revolution, and say, OK, let’s exploit this to the fullest extent, to gratify our needs at others’ expense. This is where they get sociopathic and evil.
Next up is race. I have watched over the past six years as this movement went from pointing out hypocrisy to discussing what boils down to white separatism. There is enormous hypocrisy on race in this country, from the flagrant and unbridled racism of minority groups to attempting to shut down any discussion on race other than the party line. DE is reacting to that, and watch out where that goes. I believe in taking everyone as an individual, and I have no use for racists on any side. The DE here is authentically dangerous.
DE is supposedly materialistic, but no one ever remains there, at least not in one generation.
Overall, stick to Church teaching. But with the right set of eyes, you can see through the DE what the Church was trying to warn you against, if that makes any sense.
What do you think? I don’t pay attention to the DE, so I’m not in a position to judge. Here’s DE philosopher Nick Land’s presentation of it. Pat Buchanan biographer Tim Stanley sees them as race-obsessed cranks. Matthew Walther at AmSpec says the whole thing is silly. From what little I know of the movement, they have some good insights about political correctness, but the whole thing gets deeply creepy over race, in a post-Weimar way. I once met a leading DE figure, a very intelligent person who, I was startled to learn over the course of our conversation, was a straight-up white supremacist who, like Nietzsche, thinks Christianity is a slave religion. So there’s that.
UPDATE: Reader Athanasius comments:
Indiana has a GOP super-majority in its state senate, yet today, through procedural shenanigans, the attempt to bring a constitutional ban against gay marriage to a referendum in November has been defeated. Something is very wrong with our political system and society when an entire worldview, one that happens to be foundational to our civilization, is utterly impotent.
Target can’t donate money to a candidate who opposes gay marriage without being forced (by whom? did they actually feel any economic effects in response to their actions?) to donate to gay marriage groups. The owner of Chick-fil-a can’t even express personal opposition to gay marriage without being forced to recant (again, by whom?). Yet, a mere 15 years ago the vast majority of Americans would not only have opposed gay marriage, they would have though it utterly absurd.
No one seems to be able to stop or reverse massive non-European/non-Christian immigration. We have laws requiring border security and employment verification of legal status and verification of who enters and leaves the country, but these laws mysteriously go unenforced, regardless of the party in power. The GOP isn’t even trying to change this status quo–apparently all they can do is delay the legalization of open borders (i.e., the amnesty and attendant chain migration), which conveniently benefits those elites who like to underpay unskilled labor. 20 years ago, it would have been absurd to say “this isn’t just a Christian nation, it is a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a Muslim nation…” but thanks to policies that, again, the vast majority of people didn’t want, and no one seemed able to stop, today a president can say that with a straight face.
No one seems to be able to reverse the Sexual Revolution, or even attack it. The elites throughout the legal and academic world seem nearly unanimous that it has liberated us from some sort of stultifying mire of patriarchal oppression in which our grandparents lived. We are told by Kinsey and his cohort that our grandparents were hypocrites and if we should openly practice, no celebrate, promiscuity, buggery, ephemeral matrimony, and shacking up. Then we have foisted upon us the absurd conclusion that massive increases in rates of VD, illegitimacy, abortion, broken families and the attendant decreases in fertility, high investment parenting, and social cohesion are actually CAUSED by religion (and the religion in question always seems to be Christianity).
Despite massive opposition, no one can actually stop affirmative action. Even when it is banned by a court, universities find ways around the ban. Again 50 years ago, it would have seemed absurd to let a black or woman into a university over a white male with a much high exam score; yet today, doing so is a matter of dogma. Why this fetish for “diversity”? Why can no one really question whether diversity is actually beneficial? It seems that homogenous countries like Japan and South Korea do pretty well.
Despite massive promotion of Darwinian evolution throughout the popular culture (haha, look, it’s Jesus riding a t-rex), seemingly for the sole purpose of undermining our traditional religion (the American mos maiorum), no one is allowed to extrapolate the obvious conclusions of evolutionary biology that genetic cohorts (i.e., races) have differing rates of intelligence, strength, and agility and different behavioral traits, all of which evolved over the tens of thousands of years we were separated. Could it possibly be because such knowledge would render many of our policies (from affirmative action to bans on racial profiling) utterly irrational? The same applies to biological differences between men and women and the effect that recognition of such knowledge would have on such absurdities as claiming that physical tests for firemen and soldiers are “sexist.”
Despite 60 years of modern conservatism, the USA has changed in ways that 1920′s Bolsheviks could have only dreamed of. So is it really any surprise that people are looking for alternatives to stem the tide? Heck, alternatives that offer the hope of actually advancing their interests! Isn’t that the point of politics?
Most of these “Dark Enlightenment” bloggers (and that’s really all they are) are fantasists and contrarians with a weakness for obscurantist and melodramatic language. However, many of the writers whom they’ve claimed (e.g., Sailer) are serious thinkers who are challenging all of the above–all that is unchallengeable in politics, law, art, mainstream/mass journalism and most tragically, academia. If these are discussions that the elites of our society continue to suppress, I do think that we are the verge of a new political movement–one that will hopefully be led by cooler heads.