In a post three years ago about the decline of eros, I had this to say:
I have a friend named Bob Wyman; he was the founder of a startup company I worked for a few years ago. He’s a mighty smart guy. One of Bob’s pet ideas is that we can understand a great many things about the human and social world through the metaphor of thermodynamics. In particular he likes to say that everything that is good in the world tends to reduce entropy, while everything bad increases it. For example, war is bad. This makes sense, in Bob’s view, because wars take highly ordered systems — the social and physical infrastructures of nations — and reduces them to disordered rubble. Meanwhile, wars also kill people — and a living human body is a far more ordered arrangement of the substance of the world than a decomposing corpse. And so on.
It isn’t hard to apply Bob’s idea here. For any system to be capable of producing useful work, there needs to be disequilibrium, a difference in potential. For a mill-race to turn a water-wheel, the water must flow downhill over the wheel. If the water on one side of the wheel is at the same level as on the other — that is, the parts of the system are at equilibrium — then nothing will happen. When the potential gradient inside a flashlight battery reaches zero, the battery is dead.
And so it is in a marriage: when the two poles of that system are at equilibrium, you can’t expect to produce any electricity.
It’s been a recurring theme in these pages that “Progressivism” is a relentlessly entropic force, seeking out natural gradients and flattening them. It levels everything it encounters with implacable indifference to value or consequences; this sort of erosion is simply what progressivism is. To quote myself again:
It’s a mechanical, entropic process, like water finding every crack and fissure as it seeks the lowest level.
It is entropic precisely in the sense that it levels and flattens everything, as order yields to disorder. In particular, it levels the gradients that are necessary, in any thermodynamic system, for the possibility of useful work. Ultimately, everything will be undifferentiated from everything else. (Is that not the obvious endpoint of our secular religion’s pathological mission?) It is this flattening, correctly understood as a thermodynamic exhaustion, that is why Leftism always reduces societies to economic and cultural rubble.
The natural differences between peoples and cultures are an obvious target for this process; hence the condemnation, sandblasting and dynamiting of “whiteness” that have been a central focus of academia and the media for some time now. Also lined up for the grinding wheel is masculinity — a frightful thing that, it seems, only appears in nature in a highly “toxic” form. (Learn more here.)
Like entropy, secular Progressivism has no limiting principle; this is because it is built upon a universal skepsis, an axiomatic and radical doubt, that dissolves any foundation it tries to stand on, leaving it in perpetual free-fall. By its very nature it can never come to rest, can never find a solid bottom. If, as it plummets into the abyss, it snags on a branch, it will simply saw it off.
Imagine the world as it would be when all this work is done: when everything is equal to everything else; when men and women are precisely the same; when every culture is the same grey mixture, everywhere on Earth; when you needn’t go anywhere, because everyplace is the same as every other; when all live and speak and think alike; where nobody will ever give offense to anyone, because there’s simply nothing left to distinguish anyone from anyone else.
Culture, variety, eros, excellence, aspiration; the sacred, the heroic, and the beautiful: the mill-wheels of Progressivism grind them all into powder. They may grind slowly, but they grind ‘exceeding small’.