The false refuge of Utopia

When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything. -- G. K. Chesterton

Among the many- far too many- books that I find myself reading at any given time, one of the most interesting, by far, is one of the last books published by a former French Communist by the name of Jean-Francois Revel. Readers of blogs like Vox Day's and others like it may recognise him as one of the very, very few genuinely sane voices left on the Left, though sadly, this particular voice was silenced about 8 years ago by old age. (Revel himself would probably be offended at the idea of being lumped in with the Left; as he grew older, he became an ardent proponent of classical liberalism, the kind that the Left forgot about over a century ago.) Revel's last book, translated into English under the title Last Road to Utopia, was one of the finest demolition jobs of the Left's intellectual havens that you will ever see. Within that book is an idea and an argument that is worth looking into in some detail, because it explains very clearly the vast differences in the way that people like me view the world, versus the way people on the Left think about it.

We in the 'Sphere think the way we do because we recognise human nature for what it is- flawed, fallible, corruptible, unchanging. We recognise that Mankind is capable of both great good and terrible evil. We understand that Man is not "perfectible" in any meaningful sense; we realise that the only rational way to deal with our fellow Man is therefore to engage in acts of voluntary self-interest and cooperation where and when possible, and to restrict the influence that any one of us may have on any other to the greatest extent possible through the application of simple, universal, easily understood laws. We may disagree on very fine points of those laws, as I did- albeit quite mildly- with The Observer a while back, but on the broad strokes, we are basically in agreement, which is why the disagreements that you see between writers in the 'Sphere tend to be very civil and polite. It is rare indeed to find two Manospherians going at each other hammer and tongs, because on the important stuff, we are united.

In almost every way, whether you call the philosophy (paleo)libertarianism, monarchism, neo-reactionism, conservatism, K-selected thought, or any one of a dozen other labels, our basic philosophy stems from the oldest idea in the Good Book- the one that says that Utopia is lost to us and can never be attained again through the works of mortal men; therefore, we must do the best that we can to restrain Man's worst impulses. We understand this at our very core, even if we do not all agree about the ultimate end of our evolution as a species, the degree to which individual freedom is an unqualified Good Thing, or even the existence and nature of the supernatural.

The Left, however, thinks very differently indeed. As Revel points out in that book, the Left argues that Man is perfectible, is capable of moving beyond the basic strictures of his nature, and should be guided to a higher state of existence by "superior men". Its core philosophy argues that Man's flaws can be redeemed through "correct" guidance, and that a carefully selected group of "wise" men should be given the power and the ability to shape Mankind's destiny- through any means necessary. It is a point of view that stems from the second-oldest idea in the Good Book- the one that begins with the phrase, "And ye shall be as gods". In every way, their philosophy argues that Utopia can be restored here on Earth with some effort, and anyone who gets in the way of that effort should be shunned or- in the more extreme versions of the philosophy- destroyed if necessary. And because the core of the Left's philosophy abandons the restraining influence comes from fear of ultimate consequences, those who believe in the shibboleths of the Left are, quite frankly, capable of believing any old idiocy.

It is a philosophy that stems from good intentions, but is so shot through with holes and rabbit-think that it's often amazing to us K-selected types that anyone could actually believe in such nonsense.

Unfortunately, the Left has one very powerful intellectual weapon that its malcontents do not: its ability to point to a wonderfully idealised society that, it argues, is achievable if only Man could do better!

This is the core of Revel's book. The book makes the argument that the reason why people keep believing in the idiocies of socialism and Communism, despite more than five thousand years' worth of evidence that it does not work, is that socialists and Communists can always make a powerful emotional appeal to Man's instinctive desire for a better future. By painting a seductive vision of Utopia, the Left suckers in those without the wit, the strength of will, and the presence of mind to recognise that it is all a mirage in the desert, a heat-induced vision that eventually destroys the bodies, minds, and souls of those who fall prey to it. It also argues that the reason why the Left keeps taking over various institutions and then perverting them to its own purposes is because it uses a very effective tactic: the Left enters politely at first, seeking only a place at the table, but then starts demanding that others accept its point of view or be branded as "selfish" or "immoral". How could anyone possibly argue against the beautiful Utopia that is to come once our Wise Benevolent Overlords are given full power to guide humanity as they see fit?

Once you understand these basic concepts, you will very quickly see just why the Left and its visions are so dangerous, and why they must be resisted. The Left has one weapon that it can use to devastating effect. It can always retreat to the (theoretically) unassailable position that its basic ideas, which are devoted to the ideal of creating Utopia here on Earth, are good and worthy. And once you understand that, as the estimable Vox keeps reminding us, Most People Are Idiots and are therefore easily seduced by visions of what ought to be rather than the dreary and often miserable reality of what is, it will come as no surprise to you that most people will keep signing up for the Left's vision of Utopia instead of the Right's much more realistic, but far less uplifting, vision of Man restrained against his worst impulses.

The Utopian vision of the Left takes many, many forms. You've heard of most of them, I'm sure- socialism, Communism, Maoism, progressivism, feminism, neoconservatism, that sort of thing. They all share a common thread and threat: the belief that Man can be, at his core, perfected.
"If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand — the ultimatum. And what then?" -- Ronald Reagan, "A Time for Choosing", 1964
The only way to fight this particular brand of stupidity is to go on the offensive. As Vox also keeps pointing out, there is absolutely zero use in being "tolerant" of the Left any longer. We cannot hope to win the war for civilisation by letting feminists and Utopians continue to have their way. We have to take the initiative and start pushing back. Hard.

There are several ways to do this. You can do it through walking away from society- by denying it your skills, your knowledge, and your strengths as a man (or woman- I'm not picky about this). You can do it by doing what the guys who write for Return of Kings are doing- by pointing out the inconsistencies and stupidities of practical feminism and practical socialism, and by pushing the buttons of radical feminists to the point where the entire world sees them for the shrill, shrieking, ugly harpies that they really are. You can do it by doing what Vox and Roissy do- by using wit, logic, and rhetoric to utterly destroy the arguments of the Left. Ultimately, what you have to recognise and understand is that the Utopian's refuge seems strong but is actually extremely weak, because the amount of self-delusion required to build these castles in the sky is so great that you can easily find glaring inconsistencies in their philosophy, and hold them accountable to them.

A good example comes from the Left's understanding of the idealised world of the village of Man. Leftists are fond of arguing that in a village, everyone takes care of everyone else- Hillary Clinton once made that argument in a book, as I recall, which won her plaudits from the world's useful idiots as a Weighty and Serious Thinker, and nothing but scorn from men and women who have actually raised children. Because a village takes care of its own, the Left will argue, it is best that the Wise Leaders of said village should be given the authority to take from some to give to others in order that all may benefit. This is the basic, abstract justification for massive social engineering programs, and all manner of welfare-state stupidity.

The simple problem with this idea is, of course, that in a village, everyone knows everyone else. Let me put it this way: what would you sacrifice for your children? How about your wife or husband? Your brother, sister, father, or mother? That's what I thought. How about for your neighbour? Not quite so much, right? Now how about the guy you chatted with in the line at the post office or the DMV? Yeah, right. And how about that shopkeeper at the mall? Quite.

Only by holding the Left accountable for its lies and stupidity, only by pointing out both the practical and the theoretical fallacies of their ideas, and only by denying them any and all access to our institutions in order to make their lies seem palatable, can we win the war for civilisation. It is a war worth fighting. It is not a war we will win in our lifetimes- you and I will not even live to be sure that it can be won. But if we do nothing, I promise you that you and I will both be there to see the day that we can be sure that we have lost.


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