Rod Dreher has some thoughts this morning on Sohrab Ahmari and the dawning awareness among conservatives that progressive liberalism is a type of cultural cancer that is destroying the West.
“Related to the Pill of Murti-Bing in Milosz’s book is the concept of Ketman: the practice of being able to lie in public about what you really believe while concealing your private thoughts, and successfully managing the cognitive dissonance. Those conservatives who have not taken the Pill of Murti-Bing regarding the decadent liberal takeover of our culture are practicing Ketman in this sense: they know, they really do know deep down, that something is sick in American culture. But they rationalize it away. If they really faced their own fears, they couldn’t live in peace with them, and would have to do something. …”
Well, I am not one of those people.
For people like me who have this weird personality type, it is very important to be honest and to get the facts right. We cannot live comfortably under the dominant taboos because they simply fly in the face of reality. It is true, for example, that race exists within the human species. It is also true that Jews are massively overrepresented in America’s cultural elite and have accumulated enormous power and influence. It is highly taboo to acknowledge these things, but they are true.
Want to take the biggest red pill of all? America is slowly dying of liberal democracy and free-market capitalism which are poisoning its culture. The logic of the system is steadily destroying the people who have created and spread that system across the world as the cumulative weight of the social revolutions it has unleashed exact an ever heavier toll. This is true of the West in general because the American Empire has imposed this system over the entire Western world since its victory in World War II.
You’re dying of cancer and this disease is eventually going to kill you isn’t the happiest diagnosis. Most people would rather live in denial than face reality.
“Sohrab Ahmari refuses the Pill of Murti-Bing and Ketman both. But does he have a realistic idea of what we should do? I don’t know David French well enough to say whether or not he’s practicing Ketman, or popping Murti-Bing pills, but I’m going to assume that he isn’t. I’m going to assume, in charity (because I believe he’s a good man, as is Ahmari), that he simply believes that there is no alternative within our Constitutional and social order, and that to abandon procedural liberalism would fail, and leave Christians and other social conservatives far more vulnerable in this post-Christian culture. …”
What can be done about it?
Look at it this way: we’ve been here before. The liberal paradigm that has been with us since the Enlightenment is breaking down in the 21st century. It had a great run over the course of around 250 years, but it is increasingly out of touch with reality. We know that this paradigm isn’t working anymore. So we are going to have to do the hard work of imagining a better one.
A few centuries ago, absolute monarchy, aristocracy and feudalism similarly became out of touch with reality. The middle class had grown and had become too wealthy and powerful. In the time of Louis XIV, liberalism and free-market capitalism were a critique of the existing order which dominated the West which was absolutism and mercantalism. The paradigm shift that began in the Netherlands and England eventually came to France. The French Revolution swept the new liberal paradigm across Europe and later the British Empire and the American Empire extended it across the world.
History only moves forward and conserving liberalism is a project that is doomed to failure. As the cancer becomes worse and our traditional culture continues to unravel and evaporate, the symptoms of disintegration and death will become more obvious.
“I wish I could say he’s wrong about that. But I can’t. The problem is that Ahmari’s diagnosis is correct, but the disease may well lack a cure. The patient — our Republic — might be condemned to die. That’s a cheery thought. No wonder people want to take the Pill of Murti-Bing…”
I’m confident that events will take over.
Moving forward, we will just be reacting to events:
1.) First, the automation of millions of White middle class and White working class jobs in the 2020s and 2030s in the context of neoliberalism which as we already know tends to concentrate wealth will prove fatal to the stability of the system. The political establishment, which is already discredited, is sailing into the abyss on that issue alone.
2.) Second, the demographic change is going to accelerate as the Boomers begin to die off and lose power. The tipping point was the 2018 election when Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z cast more votes than the Boomers. Once Texas goes in the 2020s, it is lights out for Conservatism, Inc.
The optimist in me wants to believe that this situation could be handled rationally and that as humans are producing less and less things over the course of the 21st century that we would just pay people to go live in homogeneous communities, the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity could be unscrambled and that we could peacefully move into the future. We could focus on rebuilding our traditional cultures. Imagine an age of benign tribalism in which there is no need for conflict.
The pessimist in me suspects that this situation won’t be handled rationally and that as humans produce less and less things over the course of the 21st century and as the wealth concentrates at the top of the social pyramid and as the electorate browns as the Boomers die off and as we continue to lose cultural cohesion and polarize into enemy camps that there will be a violent transition away from liberalism and free-market capitalism. I tend to doubt that our political establishment is capable of handling the challenge so this scenario is the one in which I am leaning toward at the moment.
Perhaps the Chinese will navigate this new world better than the Americans? If so, I can see the Chinese model being adopted elsewhere, not unlike how liberalism eventually triumphed in France.