Nothing To See Here

Not tonight, anyway. So make your way straight over to The Joy of Curmudgeonry, where our friend the estimable Deogolwulf has just published a formidable essay on the auto-genocide of the West.

Here.

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4 Comments

  1. Auto-genocide? Just because GM, Ford, and other big American automakers are having financial problems is no reason for such alarmist language!

    We’ll pull through.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted November 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    “Sui-genocide”, I think D said, actually. I should be more careful.

    Posted November 1, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    You ought not to recoil at this breath of honesty; for we are all of the same opinion, you and I, and in the end for us — for us modern and sophisticated men — morality, good and evil, value and disvalue, all come down to mere opinion, and mere opinion to mere motive, and mere motive to material force, and so on, until we end in primal, meaningless, and unintelligible matter.

    What say you, Malcolm? Is eliminative materialism contributing to the decline of Western civilization?

    Posted November 2, 2009 at 12:23 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    It may very well be, yes — though to be clear, we needn’t be talking about eliminative materialism here, which is a specific position in the philosophy of mind that denies the very existence of mental phenomena such as belief, etc.

    What D. is getting at is the removal by materialism of transcendent foundations for valuations, in particular moral valuations. My position is that we materialists can still behave according to the guidance of conscience — after all, understanding the evolutionary origins of our moral intuitions doesn’t require us to abandon them; they serve an adaptive purpose, after all. And there is no more reason to assume we could easily ignore our moral emotions than to imagine we can voluntarily cease to enjoy and desire food or sex.

    But it does seem clear that a belief in transcendent foundations braces and emboldens a culture, and I think it is entirely accurate to say that a lack of such belief can lead, and perhaps inevitably so, to an enfeebling cultural relativism. The self-loathing of the West that D. describes in his essay — we must be the only culture on Earth that sincerely believes it is no better than any other — is a direct result of this radical philosophical and scientific cross-examination of our origins.

    None of this, of course, is a comment on whether the claims of the materialist/Darwinian philosophy are true — though I believe they are, of course, and their increasingly obvious truth surely strengthens its maladaptive effect. Daniel Dennett wrote that Darwinism is a “Dangerous Idea”; I think he may have overlooked its most dangerous aspect. Darwinist secularism, in a world otherwise populated by communites of zealous believers, is beginning to look, from a Darwinian perspective, like unilateral disarmament. (You need look no further than the comment thread at the previous post.)

    In our eagerness to get at the truth, we in the West have prepared for ourselves ourselves a potent, addictive, and potentially suicidal memetic drug. Unless we learn to see clearly the effect it is having upon us, and to adjust our behavior accordingly, it is going to be the death of us.

    Posted November 2, 2009 at 1:16 am | Permalink