An Onomastic Oversight

In a post a few months ago, while developing a metaphor involving collapsing stars, I commented on the vulnerabilities of the load-bearing structures that support a civilization’s weight:

Given that what gives a culture its form is essentially ‘memetic’ — an aggregation of ideas, lore, mythos, history, music, religion, duties, obligations, affinities, and aversions shared by a common people — an advanced civilization is subject to corrosion and decomposition by ideas. And the most corrosive of all such reagents in the modern world is one that our own culture bequeathed to itself in the Enlightenment: the elevation of skepsis to our highest intellectual principle.

Radical doubt, as it turns out, is a “universal acid”: given enough time, there is no container that can hold it. Once doubt is in control, there is no premise, no tradition, nor even any God that it cannot dissolve. Once it has burned its way through theism, telos, and the intrinsic holiness of the sacred, leaving behind a only a dessicated naturalism, its action on the foundations of culture accelerates briskly, as there is little left to resist it.

Because it is in the nature of doubt to dissolve axioms, the consequence of the Enlightenment is that all of a civilization’s theorems ultimately become unprovable. This is happening before our eyes. The result is chaos, and collapse.

Some time earlier, in the wake of the Boston bombings, I had also cooked up another metaphoric description of the lethal memetic pathogen affecting the West. I called it Cultural Immunodeficiency Virus, or CIV. (See here.)

Somehow, though, an obvious coinage escaped me until just now. If HIV causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a.k.a. ‘AIDS’, then the disease now killing Europe — which is caused, as described above, by CIV, a universal memetic acid — has an obvious name: Acquired Cultural Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or ‘ACIDS’. (We might prefer ‘ACID Syndrome’.)

I hereby bequeath this meme to the dissident Right, free of charge.

How I could have missed this for so long escapes me. As they say down South, if it was a snake, it would’ve bit me.


  1. “How I could have missed this for so long escapes me.”

    I know the feeling, but at least, you got there before someone else did. The latter experience feels much worse.

    Posted January 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  2. You expect me to believe radical doubt is so dangerous!?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 10, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  3. But seriously, if radical doubt is so dangerous, we need to infect Islamic civilization with ACID Syndrome.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
  4. Dave says

    Funny how the world’s three big religions have a rock-paper-scissors relationship:

    Christianity defeats Islam by producing more capable offspring. Though Islam keeps its females pumping out babies from puberty to menopause, those kids receive so little parental investment that they aren’t good for much besides raping and pillaging soft

    Progressivism defeats Christianity because it’s a heresy of Christianity, a cluster of memes selected for their ability to undermine and destroy Christian faith from within.

    Islam defeats Progressivism by beheading its men and raping its women. Progressive mind tricks don’t work on Muslims.

    Posted January 10, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Dave, that’s an outstanding analogy.

    Posted January 10, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  6. pangur says

    Good concept, Malcolm, but you’re late to the party. The term “poz” has existed for some time to indicate the universal solvent that is modern mass morality. “Poz” is taken from gay lingo, being shorthand for HIV positive.

    See here for contextual uses:

    Posted January 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says


    The concept is related, I admit. I like mine better.

    I’d seen the term you refer to once or twice, but didn’t know what it meant. Now I do. “Pozzing” is a vulgar sexual term originally referring to male homosexuals willingly submitting to buggery by men they know to be HIV-positive.

    We are trying to defend a high civilization here. Must we speak like barbarians and degenerates?

    Posted January 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  8. pangur says

    The term “poz” is better for a number of reasons, in no small part because of the origins of the term.

    “Must we speak like barbarians and degenerates?”

    The language of mockery and satire only belongs to one side if you let it.

    Posted January 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
  9. Why cannot we just call it treason? The central problem is intellectual elites, instead of gaining status through working on making their nation/civ higher status in the global race, opted to gain status through throwing their nation/civ under the bus, “doubting” (attacking) its core values. This isn’t as much as a disease as a group of people behaving in bad, treasonous, traitorous ways, basically lacking solidarity with their own nation/civ and betraying it. This is the work of humans, not a natural pathogen. Put blame where blame is due.

    Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says


    …opted to gain status through throwing their nation/civ under the bus, “doubting” (attacking) its core values.

    I agree that the charge of “treason” is not unjust, but it’s only in a civilization already suffering from ACIDS that this route to individual status becomes available in the first place.

    Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

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