This is the second installment of a three-part guest-essay by Thucydides. Previously: Part 1
The Delights of Faithlessness
Part 2: The Incoherence of the Multicultural Paradigm
Max Weber suggested that we almost always pursue our self-interest, but that we want to have a good conscience about serving our own interests. He proposed that when we are successful in idealizing our own interests we are more effective in securing them. He thought that the Protestant Ethic provided that justification. Today, it no longer does — or at least not as effectively as its replacements, Marxist ideology and the supremacist ideology of political Islam.
As early as The Communist Manifesto (1848), a relatively early work, Marx and Engels provide the alienated intellectual with a moral and ideological justification for faithlessness when they write:
Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole [Emphasis added].
In sum, according to Marx and Engels, alienated and disaffected intellectuals are not alienated and disaffected; they are merely more enlightened, more comprehending of the historical dialectic than the benighted masses surrounding them. This is pretty heady stuff for a narcissist, or for any highly intelligent person who feels unappreciated and who is subject to ambitious elitist temptations.
By means of this argument, now part of left-wing orthodoxy, and one now thoroughly internalized by leftist elites, Marx provides those elites with that smug, signature spirit of self-congratulation, that almost gnostic-like confidence that they have privileged insights which place them above others lacking such insight, that scarcely veiled belief that those who disagree with them are benighted, anti-social reactionaries without understanding, that firm conviction that they are the moral agents of history and their adversaries are not, and with all that, the conviction that this is a war and must be fought — albeit rhetorically for now — as if it, indeed, is a war.
But is it a war? And, if so, where is the violence?
To answer that question: The violence is all around us. To name but one example of the pervasive violence now endemic to Europe, one has only to note media reports that two Rotherham fathers who tried to retrieve their daughters from their Pakistani groomers were arrested by the South Yorkshire police. The message? The same that one finds in Dante’s Inferno: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Why would authorities wish to convey such a bleak message? Because demoralization breeds passivity. And a passive population is easier to control.
Yes, the violence is all around, only disguised as menace, the menace abused spouses recognize as part of the world they inhabit, the menace so unpredictable and uncontrollable that one has to rationalize it by pretending one is the cause of it in order to contain the anxiety and depression it arouses. Thus many seek to rationalize the faithless actions of the ruling elites and their apparatchiks rather than confront the realization that their faithlessness will lead to the abyss. But all such attempts at rationalization not only strengthen the faithless by providing them with endlessly creative justifications for their faithlessness, they undermine the possibility that the abused will awaken to their true condition. Thus to the many temptations of faithlessness described above, another is the fact that the faithless, as actors rather than acted upon, suffer less anxiety and depression than those they are betraying. For many, the answer to the anxiety and depression is to tune out.
But still one wonders how someone in the middle of a spousal abuse relationship can fail to recognize what is occurring; fail to accept what is occurring even when the situation and their response to it is thoroughly analyzed for them?
It should be no surprise. Few of us are suns. Most of us are sunflowers, heliotropic beings who follow the direction of the sun, even when now, the governing suns of Europe are leading Europeans to ruin. Sunflowers reason that since the sun is the source of life, it is inconceivable that our governing suns are faithless. This, they think, even when a governing sun confesses, as the UK Labor Party did, as reported by the BBC, that in 2000 the Labor Party “conspired in secret to flood Britain with third world immigrants. They knew that the new immigrants would vote for the left-wing Labour party in mass just as third world immigrants vote Democrat as a block in the United States. Jack Straw and Tony Blair ‘dishonestly’ concealed a plan to allow in more immigrants and make Britain more multi-cultural because they feared a public backlash if it was made public.”
This third world immigration program was set in motion a year or so before 9-11 exploded the myth — at least for those who wished to know — that Islam was a “religion of peace,” and that large numbers of Muslims could be absorbed by the Western body politic without danger. In other words, had the UK Labor party not been so self-interestedly faithless, they would have rethought the matter after 9-11 and curbed third world immigration. But then they would have had to risk losing power; they would have had to tolerate the existing mono-cultural society they secretly loathed and were seeking to deconstruct; they would have had to sacrifice their belief that they possessed a special insight into the tide of history, and with it their self-congratulation for serving a higher ideal. Can mere mundane pride in doing what one was elected to do — namely care for the well-being of one’s constituents — compare to the delights enumerated above?
Still, the question remains: why after such a direct avowal of naked, self-interested faithlessness by a major political party does the denial of faithless leadership throughout the UK and EU persist? Because it is anxiety-reducing; because passivity is the default mode of most people; because to acknowledge how dire the situation is would require that they take action, and they are too intimidated to do so; because they are still too comfortable to imagine how a future determined by faithless leaders will likely evolve.
Just as the Classical Greek world view enticed some to faithlessness, so the contemporary Western zeitgeist and world view invite faithlessness today. There are many alienating and displacing forces at work that weaken allegiances, some the result of technological innovation, others, ideological and cultural.
Old religious beliefs are withering, for reasons too many to enumerate, but among which is that those who still root a settled identity in faith and moral absolutes are increasingly viewed by the larger society as retrograde, and their world view as something to be discouraged. The same applies to nationalism. The de-Nazification program after WWII pursued not only ex-Nazis, but anyone — even anti-Nazis — who shared their strong nationalistic feeling. As a result, the bond between people and their nation state — at least in the West — is beginning to fray.
Groups that emphasize their “particularity” and wish to preserve it are viewed with incomprehension. Witness Japan’s refusal to admit refugees that would dilute their cultural and ethnic cohesion. More than incomprehension is reserved for Jewish particularity as expressed in Zionism; it is viewed with a special virulent animosity, as synonymous with “racism”.
By means of the same deconstruction and reconstruction that prevails with respect to virtues and loyalties, the old virtues of national pride, ethnic solidarity, tribal loyalty, even cultural cohesion are scorned. Not universally, but only if felt by a Westerner. In fact, the multicultural paradigm itself seems to not only permit, but to encourage ethnic tribalism in immigrants in a way a multi-ethic, mono-cultural ideology did not. It was no accident that the United States’ multi-ethnic, mono-cultural paradigm, summed up in its pluralistic credo, “from many, one” and its primary metaphor of a “melting pot,” was deconstructed by the Left and reconstructed as multiculturalism, with the “salad” metaphor prevailing, where each distinct ethnicity remains distinct and is invited to preserve its own culture. To acknowledge this double standard, where immigrant cultures are privileged over Western culture, is to court the Furies.
It is difficult to name even one successful multi-cultural society — Switzerland’s does not count because it contains tensions by adopting a canton system. It is easy to name failed multicultural societies, the unfolding Eurabian debacle being only the latest example. The alienation and sense of displacement both in the indigenous population and in the immigrants that follows from multiculturalism, the inevitable disequilibrium in educational outcomes, in income, in the need for welfare services, is not hard to see. This asymmetry is why multiculturalism inevitably increases tensions between ethnic groups.
But independent of the tensions set up in the society itself, there is a larger, more destructive tension that appears among the leadership of those societies. No longer multi-ethnic but mono-cultural — itself a sufficiently complex problem — the leadership now has to sort through the conflicting interests and cultural aspirations of each cultural group, and to pretend, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that there is no conflict between the cultural interests and aspirations of the different cultures. Somehow, it seems, in the confused, conflicted minds of the leadership in the UK, the EU, and the US, there is an expectation that out of multi-cultural conflict will arise increased understanding and mutual respect. Of course, this is an incoherent world view to which the ruling elites of the West are deeply wedded out of the empowering self-interest that follows from it. And because they are so wedded to it, they must suppress evidence of small, inconvenient facts such as the sexual abuse of 1400 young girls over a period of sixteen years by Muslim immigrant men. In other words, the very incoherence of the multicultural paradigm insures the most profound intellectual dishonesty, and the most treacherous faithlessness.
Add to this the cultural alliance between left-wing Marxism, which, like Islam, justifies mendacity in a good cause, and left-wing postmodernism, which, taking a page from Nietzsche that “there are no facts, only interpretations,” denies the existence of objective truth altogether, and one has achieved a formidable array of tools with which to deconstruct Western Civilization. And taking another page from Nietzsche that “all morality is mere symptomology” — that is, formed to create a certain type of human being; that nihilism as well as being negative and prone to devolve into mere hedonism can be positive and be used to create a higher, more life-affirming morality than the life-negating Judeo-Christian one — and one has achieved an almost hermetically sealed ideological justification for faithlessness to the foundational beliefs of Western Civilization. More, one has achieved a faith immune to argument or evidence, one that imbues one with a gnostic-like sense of privileged knowledge.
Unfortunately, instead of creating a new higher morality, one even nobler than Aristotle’s as expounded in The Nichomachean Ethics, our UK and EU leaders have created a world where the events in Rotherham go unreported for sixteen years, and where one in six people living in France support the Islamic State. All this would be unspeakably sad, were it not so unspeakably in need of reversal.
Next: What Is To Be Done?