Wednesday, March 21, 2018

When there is something there

In an earlier post I noted that right liberalism creates a picture of reality in which there is nothing existing above the level of the individual to defend:
...for right liberals there are only self-creating individuals who have escaped the older identities.

It's important to remember this when you wonder why older generations of Western men did not do more to defend the existence of the West. If you assume that you live in a society that only exists as a collection of self-creating individuals with no distinct ties to each other, then what is there really at the larger level to defend? A person with this mindset will think that everything is OK, as long as the economy is healthy enough for individuals to pursue careers.

It made me wonder if this is another example of philosophical nominalism, i.e. the idea that there are only particular instances of things.

Anyway, there was a good example recently of what happens when a politician does believe in the existence of an entity existing above the level of the individual. I'm referring to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, who said of his own people that,
It truly is a mystery how after so many defeats we have always risen up again. And how could it be that we are still here after one thousand years? Perhaps because we have always known that our existence has a meaning beyond ourselves. We have always known that here there is a culture, a soul and a spirit which over the centuries has lifted hearts, consoled people and sustained us. We have a uniting and unifying notion: we have national self-respect.

Hungarians exist as individuals but also as part of a larger entity, a people, with a kind of collective soul or spirit, that lives on and that is a source of meaning for those who are part of it. It is felt to be a unique good, to the point that individuals will be motivated to contribute to it and to defend its existence.

It is an enriching aspect of life to belong to such a tradition. It connects you more closely as an individual to a particular culture; to the land and therefore to nature; to language and literature; to history; and to family, ancestry and lineage. It is a grievous loss, a severe narrowing in how life is experienced, when the individual is deprived of this and is left only with himself and his own wants.

If we really wish the good for others, then we will hope for the defeat of the globalising forces that are trying to destroy national traditions, as in Hungary. The Hungarians are blessed to have a leader like Viktor Orban who is willing to resist these forces. I am looking forward to the victory of Viktor Orban in the upcoming Hungarian elections.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Viktor's great speech

Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, is fast becoming one of the great European statesmen. He gave a speech in front of a massive crowd this week in which he clearly laid out the situation facing Hungary. Here are some highlights:
Together we have fought many great fights and memorable battles. But the greatest thing that we could realise in our lives, the greatest battle that we could fight together is still ahead of us. And every indication is that it is immediately ahead of us now. The situation, Dear Friends, is that there are those who want to take our country from us. Not with the stroke of a pen, as happened one hundred years ago at Trianon; now they want us to voluntarily hand our country over to others, over a period of a few decades. They want us to hand it over to foreigners coming from other continents, who do not speak our language, and who do not respect our culture, our laws or our way of life: people who want to replace what is ours with what is theirs. What they want is that henceforward it will increasingly not be we and our descendants who live here, but others. There is no exaggeration in what I have just said. Day by day we see the great European countries and nations losing their countries: little by little, from district to district and from city to city. The situation is that those who do not halt immigration at their borders are lost: slowly but surely they are consumed. External forces and international powers want to force all this upon us, with the help of their allies here in our country.

...Dear Friends, we not only want to win an election, but our future. Europe – and within it we Hungarians – has arrived at a turning point in world history. National and globalist forces have never squared up to each other so openly. We, the millions with national feelings, are on one side; the elite “citizens of the world” are on the other side. We who believe in nation states, the defence of borders, the family and the value of work are on one side. And opposing us are those who want open society, a world without borders or nations, new forms of family, devalued work and cheap workers – all ruled over by an army of shadowy and unaccountable bureaucrats. On one side, national and democratic forces; and on the other side, supranational and anti-democratic forces.

...Europe and Hungary stand at the epicentre of a civilisational struggle. We are confronted with a mass population movement which is an imminent danger to the order and way of life that we have known throughout our lives up until now. So at one and the same time we must defend our achievements so far, and enter battle to ensure that there will even be any point in continuing. Unless we protect our way of life, the meaning of everything we have achieved will be lost. If in the future the country is not Hungarian, what is the point of progress? Let’s not distract ourselves: we do not need to fight the anaemic little opposition parties, but an international network which is organised into an empire. We are up against media outlets maintained by foreign concerns and domestic oligarchs, professional hired activists, troublemaking protest organisers, and a chain of NGOs financed by an international speculator, summed up by and embodied in the name “George Soros”. This is the world we must fight with in order to defend that which is ours. The good soldier does not fight because he hates that which is facing him, but because he loves that which is behind him. He loves Hungary and Hungarians.

...we shall fight against what the empire of George Soros is doing to Hungary, and what it wants to do to Hungary. This is our homeland, this is our life, and we have no other. Therefore we shall fight for it to the end and we shall never surrender. We know that ultimately in every electoral district they will stand against our candidates. Their task is to win power and implement the grand plan: to break Hungary, which stands in the path of immigrants; and first to settle thousands, then tens upon tens of thousands of immigrants in Hungary within a few years. These numbers are no exaggeration. Europe is now under invasion. If we allow it to happen, in the next one or two decades tens upon tens of millions will set out for Europe from Africa and the Middle East. The western half of Europe looks at all this with its hands raised in surrender. Those who raise their hands have laid down their weapons, and will never again decide their own fate. The history of the defeated will later be written by others. The young of Western Europe will see this when they become minorities in their own countries, and they have lost the only place in the world that could be called home. Forces are appearing, the like of which the world has not seen for a long time. In Africa there will be ten times as many young people as in Europe. If Europe does nothing they will kick down the door on us. Brussels is not defending Europe and it is not halting immigration, but wants to support it and organise it. It wants to dilute the population of Europe and to replace it, to cast aside our culture, our way of life and everything which separates and distinguishes us Europeans from the other peoples of the world. It will be small consolation that the peoples of Europe will not forgive those leaders who completely changed Europe without first asking its people. Let us be proud of the fact that we are the only country in the European Union which has asked people whether or not they want mass immigration.

I know that this battle is difficult for everyone. I understand if some of us are also afraid. This is understandable, because we must fight against an opponent which is different from us. Their faces are not visible, but are hidden from view; they do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honourable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs. They are not generous, but vengeful, and always attack the heart – especially if it is red, white and green. But, Dear Friends, we have always known that there is much at stake. Hungarian history has accustomed us to fighting for that which is the natural prerogative of more fortunate peoples. For us a single tremor is enough, a lame duck government is enough, an election result which goes awry is enough, and everything is set adrift – everything that we have spent years of hard work on. This is a corner of the world which is exposed to the elements, and which history tends not to leave in peace – even though we feel that by now that is what we truly deserve. Our ancestors expressed it well: a cowardly people has no homeland. And we summoned up our courage when it was needed. It was never easy.

It truly is a mystery how after so many defeats we have always risen up again. And how could it be that we are still here after one thousand years? Perhaps because we have always known that our existence has a meaning beyond ourselves. We have always known that here there is a culture, a soul and a spirit which over the centuries has lifted hearts, consoled people and sustained us. We have a uniting and unifying notion: we have national self-respect.

Young People,

Perhaps you feel as if the whole world is yours, and as if you could take on all comers. And you are right: a lack of ambition is the definition of mediocrity. And life is good for nothing if you do not do something with it. But in your lives, too, there will come a moment when you realise that one needs a place, a language, a home where one is among one’s own, and where one can live one’s life in safety, surrounded by the goodwill of others. A place where one can return to, and where one can feel that there is a point to life, and that in the end it will not just slide into oblivion. By contrast, it adds to and becomes a part of the majestic thousand-year-old creation which we simply call our homeland: the Hungarian homeland. Young Hungarians, now the homeland needs you. The homeland needs you; come and fight with us, so that when you need it, your homeland will still be there for you.

The good news is that Orban is leading in the polls right now (54% support) with less than three weeks to the elections.

If you would like to read the whole speech it is here, or you could watch the video below.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

It's no alternative

The two main political alternatives today are both unhelpful. The left is pushing an "identity" politics in which white men are held to be privileged oppressors who have to be brought down. But the mainstream right response to this isn't much better. Here is a quote from an interview between Andrew Bolt and Brendan O'Neill, prominent Australian right liberals:

This is just liberalism 101. The idea is that the highest good in life is to be an autonomous, self-determining individual. Therefore, whatever is predetermined in life is a hindrance, a limitation, a box, a prison that the individual has to be liberated from. The biological things are predetermined, therefore we have to escape from our sex, our race, our ethny. All that matters is what we choose for ourselves, or (as per Jordan Peterson) what we achieve for ourselves.

And so Western man doesn't get to identify positively with manhood (as this is a "box" to be escaped from); nor does he get to identify with his own larger communal tradition. There is no coherent basis for defending this tradition, as for right liberals there are only self-creating individuals who have escaped the older identities.

It's important to remember this when you wonder why older generations of Western men did not do more to defend the existence of the West. If you assume that you live in a society that only exists as a collection of self-creating individuals with no distinct ties to each other, then what is there really at the larger level to defend? A person with this mindset will think that everything is OK, as long as the economy is healthy enough for individuals to pursue careers.

Andrew Bolt once wrote that he believed in,
The humanist idea that we are all individuals, free to make our own identities

Consider the implications of this. It means that identity doesn't really connect us to anything much. I begin and end with myself. It's the same problem that liberalism always faces. If I am free to make something however I like, then that something loses most of its meaning, as it could be anything at all depending on my own subjective whims. And that is what liberalism is saying about my identity: that it doesn't mean very much, because it could be anything, because it has to be freely chosen in any direction according to my own subjective preferences.

The traditional view of identity was different. A given identity was significant enough to orient me in my sense of self; to connect me to transcendent sources of meaning; to orient me, in part, to my telos (to the ends or purposes for which I was created); to connect me in a significant way to a particular people, place, culture, history and tradition; and to inspire a love for the good within my given identity and within my particular tradition and therefore to inspire a willingness to uphold and contribute to the particular culture, society and way of life that I belonged to. The traditional notion of identity engaged me in a way that the liberal one does not and cannot.

And that is one reason why Western man, if he continues to pursue a right liberal outlook, will fall alone.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The trial backfired

I was reading a newspaper for Australian teachers (The Australian Education Reporter, Term 1 2018) and found a revealing article about sex discrimination in the workplace.

Titled "Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Education" it began by noting that over 75% of Australia's full-time teachers are women. The percentage of male teachers is steadily falling:

Predictably, though, the complaint made in the newspaper article wasn't about the lack of men in the teaching profession. It was that only four out of 16 senior management positions in the state of Western Australia are held by women.

And this is where things got really interesting. It seems that the Commonwealth Government held a trial to see if "sex blind" recruiting would increase the number of women in senior management positions. In other words, candidates for a position had to submit a resume that did not indicate which sex they were.

The results? Here is how the newspaper reported things:
The danger of quick-fix solutions to rectify gender inequity was revealed by the ABC when an attempt at "blind recruitment" in the public sector had to be stopped when the trial backfired against women and ethnic minorities.

The trial, done by several public sector organisations, aimed to remove sexism from selection processes, including female bosses, when gender was removed from applications.

The Commonwealth Government trial was abandoned when it was found that de-identifying candidates reduced the likelihood of women being selected for the shortlist, as adding a woman's name to a CV made the candidate 2.9 times more likely to be selected.

The results were not what was expected. It was revealed that women were not discriminated against by hiring panels, but were strongly favoured. It was men who faced a barrier, not women.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

The solo mindset

How does a woman most fully develop herself? Traditionally it was thought that women (and men for that matter) developed and expressed important parts of themselves through relationships with others, especially through marriage and motherhood (or fatherhood).

But, as I pointed out in my last post, from at least the 1880s onwards, women were encouraged to see the family as a merely passive and mechanical sphere, with self-development occurring instead as a "solo" act outside the family.

I want to discuss the issue of what happens next. What happens when the mindset of a woman shifts to the idea that she will develop independently of relationships with others? That she is "proved" most in her independence, particularly her independence of men?

So let's go back to 1958. The long first wave of feminism had by now ended, and there had been an upturn in family formation. But the outlook of the first wave still existed, at least among certain women. A female psychologist of the time, Marie Robinson, described one of her patients (a female lawyer) as follows:
Her father had died when she was an infant and her mother had been a militant leader of the movement for women’s “rights.” The whole emphasis in her early upbringing had been on achievement in the male world, and in the male sense of the word. She had been taught to be competitive with men, to look upon them as basically inimical to women. Women were portrayed as an exploited and badly put upon minority class. Marriage, childbearing, and love were traps that placed one in the hands of the enemy, man, whose chief desire was to enslave woman. Her mother had profoundly inculcated in her the belief that women were to work in the market place at all cost, to be aggressive, to take love (a la Russe) where they found it, and to be tied down by nothing, no one; no more, as her mother put it, than a man is. Such a deļ¬nition of the normal had, of course, made her fearful of a real or deep or enduring relationship with a man. For years she sedulously avoided men entirely. Gradually, through her grown-up experiences, she learned of other values, but by the time the right man came along it was too late to have children.

This is at the more radical end of "be solo". Logically, it entails casual sexual relationships rather than marriage; a focus on work in the market place; and an assumption that men are not only after the same thing as the modern woman (not being tied down) but have an unfair privilege in being so.

To make this clearer, imagine you are a woman who holds to the more traditional view. Your very unfolding as a woman (your completion) depends on your relationship with a man and with the quality of the family life you create together with him. You are more likely to preserve your sexuality for this significant relationship; you are less likely to see your future spouse as belonging to an enemy class; you will be less likely to delay a commitment to marriage and family; and you will be more likely to retain some of the emotional openness and receptivity to men (and to children) that a woman's family relationships are built on.

But Anglo culture is lurching into the "go solo" zone. The primary commitment now is often to the workplace, even to the point that women's willingness to have children is compromised. There is a muteness when it comes to family values: it is not thought right to include fidelity as part of ethics. Political women nearly always assume that men are a class enemy; there is a solidarity among these women built on this assumption that comes across at times as a female chauvinism.

This might all sound negative, but there is a positive aspect to it. It provides at least part of the path back to a healthier situation. What needs to happen is for the liberal concept of the good (as maximum individual autonomy) to be rejected; for the natural instincts of young people to find fulfilment in pair bonding and family relationships to be nurtured; and for traditionalists to regain sufficient influence over the culture, at least in their own communities, so that culture is no longer set against the natural inclination of people to develop within relationships rather than solo.

In other words, I don't think it is just a matter of tweaking the law, or of a financial incentives policy - even though these might help. It's important to look at how people have been raised to understand their life purposes, and what the flow on effects of such a life understanding are. The current understanding has the strong support of culture & ideology, less so of nature (which is not to say that holding people to a culture of marriage can be done via natural instinct alone, but I do believe that it is stronger within our natures to have the instinct to develop within relationships rather than alone - this is what can most easily be restored).

Without competing for the culture, we will most likely continue to witness and to experience distorted or disordered relationships between the sexes.