The Dark Enlightenment Hits Stage Two
OK, I admit it. I hadn't really heard anything above a whisper about the Dark Enlightenment until several putdowns appeared recently here here and here.
Huh? I wondered. What are the Daily Telegraph and the American Spectator getting all riled up about?
But I was intrigued. I'd just written a piece that referenced Gandhi's four stages of political progress. "First they ignore you." Well that goes without saying. "Then they laugh at you." Oh really.
So if the guardians of conservative orthodoxy were putting out a bit of ridicule on the Dark Enlightenment front, maybe it was time for me to get up the learning curve direct from "Mencius Moldbug" at Unqualified Reservations and Nick Land at Dark Enlightenment. Not to mention hbd*chick.
If you wonder what all the fuss is about, it centers on HBD, the dangerous notion of Human Biological Diversity, "The set of biological and genetic differences between (and within) groups - specifically, the study of such differences." Oh no! The liberal blank slate guys won't like that.
The Dark Enlightenment is trying to create a mind space separate from the dominant liberal worldview. One approach is Moldbug's argument that the liberals are running a secular established church here in western society. A church, he explains, is "an organization or movement which tells people how to think." For instance, Harvard. It's amazing how all the Harvard professors, from Harvard to Stanford on down to your local grade-school teacher, all think and speak alike. And when the music changes, they all pick up the new tune almost without missing a beat. But then you expect that in the bishops, archdeacons and deans of an established church. Moldbug simply calls the church of the academy, the media, the policy analysts, and the cultural production guys in Hollywood "the Cathedral."
A church does not merely tell people how to think; it also tells them what not to think, and it has ways to persuade people out of their errors. "How to think" correctly used to be called orthodoxy, and "what not to think" used to be called heresy. Today, of course, the orthodox is the politically correct, and heresy is "hate speech" as uttered by the racists, sexists, and homophobes.
Remember all the talk about rebellious youth and heretical thinking, especially about the Sixties? But it doesn't count as real heresy unless the local Grand Inquisitor can run you out of polite society, show you the instruments of torture and fire up the auto-da-fe, something that never happened to the Sixties radicals like Bill Ayers.
In the progressive era of the 21st century our modern inquisitors have replaced the instruments of torture with the race card. You cannot oppose the Cathedral and put a foot wrong on race. See John Derbyshire and his defenestration over The Talk, Non-black Version.
The Dark Enlightenment faces the race issue head on through its interest in HBD. hbdchick has done a bit of reading and proposes that a big difference between the west and the rest is a 1,600 year prohibition of cousin marriage mainly enforced by the Catholic Church. Nick Land:
This distinctive orientation towards outbreeding, [hbdchick] suggests, plausibly accounts for a variety of bio-cultural peculiarities, the most historically significant of which is a unique pre-eminence of reciprocal (over familial) altruism, as indicated by emphatic individualism, nuclear families, an affinity with 'corporate' (kinship-free) institutions, highly-developed contractual relationships among strangers, relatively low levels of nepotism / corruption, and robust forms of social cohesion independent of tribal bonds
This is not neo-fascism but an intriguing idea, and it connects with the fact of early individualism in England and augments Max Weber's idea that Christianity broke down tribalism in European cities by teaching its adherents to trust non-kin and thus cooperate in "corporate" institutions.
You can see what might be motivating critics to sneer at the Dark Enlightenment. This HBD stuff is pure heresy, for daring to wonder about biodiversity and IQ, and suggesting that there are biological differences among humans, and that the biological differences have real-world consequences. Raacism!
You'd better hurry, you race baiters, because new developments in biology suggests that the coding in our DNA is a lot more complicated that we thought. And who knows where that will end?
But why are conservatives sneering at the Dark Enlightenment? This Dark Enlightenment is "silly not scary," they tell us. Maybe they want a quiet life and just don't want to get the attention of the race police and the Grand Inquisitor at the Holy Office of Multiculturalism and True Diversity.
The real question is whether the Dark Enlightenment can get to Gandhi Stage Three: "Then they fight you." Then we'll know it's time to take it seriously.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.