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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Fear Industry


I recently read a thought provoking article on the ‘Public Discourse’ where Deidre Cooper asserts the thesis that the abortion industry is one that thrives and indeed encourages fear as a means to sustain itself. As a young person I see this constantly, I think this is an insight that needs a much greater degree of exposure. Part of the article ‘The Supreme Court Vs. Women’s Health’ goes as follows:

‘In its appeal to the passion of fear, the Court imitates the industry for which it seeks to provide legal cover. Abortion profiteers trade on men’s and women’s fears about having children. “You will never graduate from college if you have this child.” “Your parents are going to be so mad at you.” “You cannot afford to have a baby right now.” “He will never love you if you carry it to term.” So the Court: Texas will make you travel long distances to facilities that are crammed to capacity.’
If the Abortion industry and its lobbyists took the time to offer a full logical examination of the need for abortion I doubt they would have much of a case. Instead they thrive on emotional appeals. The reality is that in 2016 no one gets pregnant who does not want to get pregnant. You can take a strictly Catholic view of birth control and you’re a still left with ways to avoid pregnancy be it coitus interruptus or natural family planning. Now, I know, that it is a controversial statement, but to go a step further, the contemporary couple has an abundant number of ways to prevent the fertilization of the ovum, and failing the prevention of fertilization a multitude of methods to prevent the carriage of the pregnancy to term. Off hand:

1.    Withdrawal
2.    Charting of menstrual cycles (NFP)
3.    Sexual abstinence
4.    The contraceptive pill
5.    The hormonal injection
6.    Nuva ring
7.    Intra-uterine devices
8.    Condoms (male and female)
9.    Diaphragms
10. Vasectomy
11. Tubal ligation
12. The morning after pill/plan B
13. The Abortion pill (in some locals)
This is just the methods I can think of off hand, and I know I am missing some, however, this still leaves abundant further options for families who have ended up with a child they do not wish to or ‘cannot’ (I am highly skeptical when most claim an inability to raise a child) take care of in an appropriate fashion. There are still often angel cradle services (the technical name for giving up a baby at an acute care centre eludes me at the moment) for the voluntary relinquishment of a child into the care of an appropriate facility. Furthermore, adoption is the perennial discounted and ignored option of the many. Suffice to say, that in the off chance that pregnancy occurs and the baby is aborted, we can easily see that, what happened was surely an act of gross neglect of both sexual responsibility and maternal/paternal obligations. What does this have to do with the fear industry? Well, if we all took the time to consider the sexual options available we would see there is little need for the evil of abortion.
The fear industry wants you to buy the emotional line that abortion is your only hope, that you are juvenile that you and your infant child will not find a way despite the number of support services available for new parents. Instead they sell the byline that you cannot ‘handle’ a baby right now, you cannot ‘afford’ a baby right now, (as if relative poverty was the worst thing for a child -- its not single parenthood is), you will never reach your career goals with children (especially at a young age); all these examples and fears are nonsense, but they are common among my peers.
Consider this, the abortion industry, knowingly or not, has adopted a carrot and the stick approach, which finds broad support in our atomized liberal society, where fear of physical and emotional insecurity is a given. The stick is simply the emotive response to the unknown; the carrot is the notion that it is your ‘right’ in the positive sense to have an abortion, its framed as a privilege the ultimate expression of autonomy of the individual. The refrain of ‘no one can tell me what to do with my own body (even when it comes to killing a second body) is the summa of liberalism as we know it. ‘My life is the unquestioning ultimate and its prerogative comes at the expense of all others.’ Such an idea is a powerful notion and like children we react strongly to the elimination of privileges that we have come to understand as inherent and natural. This is the psychology of the abortion industry, and I think it needs to be addressed in a more thorough and comprehensive fashion. The argument has to be made far and wide that the abortion lobby does nothing less than manipulate the insecure and dominate culture in a way that such manipulation is re-enforced and implicitly by both the family and the peer group at the expense of the well being of the family.

Quotations, and General Thoughts



Intro

Today I’ve gathered a number of quotations, extracted from my Facebook page actually, and decided to use them as an analytical and exercise that will, in some ways, I hope personalize the conservative impulse by placing it in the context of the words of others.

The commentary I apply to each will obviously not be indicative of the sole and only viable conclusion to be drawn from each small block of text; however, I hope those who read them find it the words intriguing regardless.

"[Paris 1968] I suddenly realized I was on the other side. What I saw was an unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans. When I asked my friends what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was this ludicrous Marxist gobbledegook. I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defense of western civilization against these things. That’s when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down." - Roger Scruton

Here Roger Scruton is referencing to his experience during the Paris 1968 riots. What I find most interesting here, is that he in fact makes a statement that would dovetail closely with a thesis proffered both by himself, and George Grant: Scruton in his How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism, and Grant in his seminal Canadian Treatise Lament for a Nation. Both philosophers make the case that we can only love the good, or engage in a selfless love, if first we care for what is unique, and what is ours, that is the crux of what Scruton saw in 1968, the destruction of something. Something that he did not build, he did not steward in any explicit sense, and yet via the tide of history came into ownership of, something uniquely his and destroyed and assaulted by the frivolities of radicals.

In turn it seems, that it is only by searching for the value in the things we have inherited that we learn to love what is ours, and build a base on enlightened modesty, but such a position is much more trying, and that is why the conservative will always be assaulted by the radical simplicity of the revolutionary consciousness.

"To abstain from sin when one can no longer sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it" - Saint Augustine

I am no theologian, but I read this morsel from Augustine as having much deeper implications for the way in which a person ought to conduct themselves on a daily basis and in even great respects as a direct challenge to the virtue signaling inherit in an individuated society. A society whereby moral communities are absolved and replaced by endearing and convenient frontage with little actual utility.
In the context of the individual, Augustine plainly questions the value of claiming one lives a moral life when the person themselves is not immersed in, or experiencing the temptations of sin. Augustine views mankind as expert rationalizers, fallen, and good out of convenience. We avoid and condemn when we are able to do so, because our circumstances enable us to avoid the degeneracy of wrong actions. However, this is ultimately meaningless because our intention itself is not to avoid sin in any actual sense, but rather that we are unable to do so and then provided with license to indulge in pride via no strain of our own.

If one were to take the statement of Augustine and apply it more broadly; I see it as having great insight into the culture of virtue signaling and the trivialities of those who profess to do good from afar at the expense of their own homes and civilization. Implicit in this is both an inefficacy as distance makes it impossible to ensure the fruits of our labours are rightly distributed, but it also divorces us from direct action when geography and novelty pits us against the local.

Finally, in forsaking the sin at home, for sin, which the individual has no exposure, one does not challenge themselves, nor do they place themselves in a position whereby they value home. Instead, they make the implicit statement that what is close and meaningful to the great majority is instead to be neglected and treated with disdain, and is that not how so many individuals who act righteous and indignant on behalf of foreign causes, Tibet, Palestine, et al treat problems of their own local? As unworthy, or beyond amelioration? That is not to say all act in such a fashion, but instead, that the public and indignant class does act in such a way much of the time.

"There are two things by which our empire should be governed, the sacred laws of the emperors and good practices of our predecessors and ancestors. We neither desire nor are able to exceed those limits; we do not accept what is not compatible with them." - Fredrick Barbarossa

Fredrick Barbarossa, to my knowledge, has never been held as an icon of conservative thinking, however, such a statement both rings true eternally, and provides a succinct summation of the conservative disposition toward legal reform and institutional change. Likewise, such a statement is a valuable profession of modesty, and in itself recognizes the fact that human beings have little potential to do better, or know more, than human beings in years past. Instead, it says we cannot use logic to redefine what generations have built and the intelligent of the elect, the privileged, the logicians, the rationalists, the scientists, and the politicians, is but miniscule in the eyes of eternal gradual improvement.

Something also lies deeper within this quote however, because Barbarossa also leads us to toward a line of thinking, which it seems, suggests that the very character, the identity, and the form of the state, its eternal heart by which it is defined its stewarded by its historical character. ‘we do not accept what is not compatible with them.’ In this statement the unacceptance is because what is beyond such limits is inevitably in conflict with the very nature of the state. If it is then case that the identity of the state is found not in its people alone, but in the works of those people complied over generations, then it needs to be recognized that such works are in danger of destruction and must be handled with the utmost care lest something valuable unique, and timeless be lost. People frequently morn the loss of a child; it is rare they mourn the loss of a nation.

There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something. - Henry Ford

  I think this quote by Henry Ford is deceptively deep, why? Because it alludes to something key in the conservative nature, and that is that struggle has value, challenge has value, resistance and achievement has value. Looking beyond the context of the industrialist toward our daily struggles with virtue Ford here harkens back to the idea that Aristotelian happiness seems to derive more from the contemplation of achievement then it does from the passions and pleasures of the moment. This is directly in opposition to the modern society so indulgent and frivolous.

"I don't want the past back. I just think we chose the wrong future." - Peter Hitchens

I think Hitchens nicely summarizes the best argument to be made against those who cry reactionary bigotry against any form of conservative impulse. Notice, Hitchens does not attempt to mollify, but rather clarify, he reframes the issue rightly in terms of the fact that a conservative does not observe the past as completely without fault or corruption, in fact both are natural, (it’s the passing beyond both that is erroneous). Instead, he informs the critic that society has taken an unmerited and destructive detour.

Such a statement is not anti-progressive, but rather critical of the historical path on which the western world has begun to walk. If, as Hitchens states, it is the wrong future, and such a premise is acceptable to critics and conservatives alike then it opens up dialogue about what a better potential future could look like, while negating the criticism of inevitable and blind regressivism.

"[W]e have no God-given right to destroy our inheritance, but must always patiently submit to the voice of order, and set an example of orderly living. - Roger Scruton

Since I’ve already commented upon Scruton I will simply say that I believe that he points to order primarily as the foundation of all social structure and the bedrock of both personal and societal flourishing, which are inexorably linked. In addition, just as the community furnishes the individual understanding of orderly life so does the past furnish the perception of order inherited by the community as a whole. The substance and living history of a society ought to constrain it just as thoroughly as the community ought to constrain the individual and instruct it.

"Nineteen twentieths of [mankind is] opaque and unenlightened. Intimacy with most people will make you acquainted with vices and errors and follies enough to make you despise them." - John Adams

I won’t say much on Adam’s accept that he was obviously one of the most conservative of the founding fathers, and helped to shape the notion of a nation built on checks and balances. Not just in terms of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, but also doing his best to insulate it from the whims of the common man. Arguably, the American political scene is more demagogic than ever, but here I believe Adams strikes at the very heart of the problem of democracy. That we cannot trust the average person not to be a fool, not to be impious, lacking in virtue, or vested in self-interest at the expense of others, and if this is the case how truly viable is the highly democratic state? Democracy, I believe is something a conservative is wise to assess and question and is itself driven by so much shortsighted thinking that it is almost imperative that a true conservative limit the extent of the popular influence in political decision making.

Conclusion

Thanks everyone for reading and I hope you found this little novelty article as interesting as I did. Leave a comment if you’d like and thanks for your time.

--Cole

Monday, 8 August 2016

The Making of My Conservatism: A Search For Order



This essay originally appeared on TheeWesterner, however due to its personal importance I am re-posting it here.

 
I am writing today to investigate the origins of my own ‘conservatism.’ Conservative is an appellation I am reluctant to apply to myself, simply because I believe it is too simple and politicized. The connotations associated with modern day conservatism have their origins in the competitive and demagogic nature of democracy itself. Therefore, it is only in the simplest and vaguest sense that I title myself a conservative. I am a conservative insofar as it is necessary to conserve things from a society, which I believe, ‘unconsciously’ wishes to destroy them. 

The origin of my political and philosophical understanding has always been a desire to understand and compose a normative moral framework for the anarchic world I perceived around me. The earliest stirrings of political awareness I had were fostered in my junior high school where we had a humanities curriculum that gave us a few dozen pages of reading on the philosophes, the Hegelians, and the English Empiricists. Here I found a brief mention of Marx and then, despite not knowing the first thing about him, I plunged into the romantic world of the Communists; the Communist Manifesto enraptured me at 14 years old, and I became the champagne socialist extraordinaire. My best friend and I formulated long Marxist monologues that we hurled at our classmates ruthlessly. 

This Communist affinity did not last however; the politicized world of my junior high Humanities class was replaced by an ambivalent high school where libertine pursuits became the norm. I indulged in excessive drug consumption and generally lived a hedonistic lifestyle, because that’s what everyone did, and I could not find a convincing moral framework capable of limiting my rationalizations for such behavior. 

Instead of politics, I excelled in anthropology and psychology classes, whereby I came to the nihilistic and cynical perception that humanity is just an ‘animal.’ Biological determinism and reductionism became the scientific justification for anti-social and hazardous behavior: science justified everything. Still I loathed disorder around me, and the perception that something was missing. I had become a history reader in the most prolific sense, and planned to study history in university, and each time I opened dusty pages or imagined the world in the past, I felt pangs of loss. 

The world felt cruder, more chaotic, angry, atomized, lonely, and uncaring; the world was prepared to destroy itself for the sake of pleasure. The sensation of historical loss, and the loath of disorder, both in my own soul, as well as the world around me, were perhaps the first stirrings of an unarticulated conservatism. 

I graduated with a mix of honours grades in the subjects I engaged in, and middling results in the rest, and with no clear route to the university, a fear of student loans, and the pressures associated with being the first person in my family to potentially pursue a degree. Therefore, I abjure my own desires and took the best paying job I could find out of high school in order to ‘save for university.’ I became an electrician, and flew to the Canadian arctic to work. My political and philosophical development had been placed on hold once again. However, my experiences working in the field among the blue collar, and living for various stints in some of Canada’s most impoverished and disordered communities did begin to shift the lens that had informed my prior perceptions of the world.

I took immediate notice of two things, that there was dignity in the work that people did and dignity came not from an outside validation, but the intrinsic value of family and the local. People were desultory when they laboured without connectedness. Yet, those who pursued their work with ends and purpose in mind flourished or at least staved off nihilism: I was exposed to philosophy by living it. In addition to this exposure I also saw hardship in our communities. I saw that government dependency was harmful; our northern communities had no capacity or sense of self-reliance and the government despite its best efforts to foster the local and the traditional were failing in instilling an organic flourishing and a sense of autonomy and capability in our aboriginal people. This failure to incentivize and propensity toward handouts caused immense hardship and disillusion. I saw people, who for want of a constructive tradition and firm family structure failed to reach their potential. 

I could not, however, and do not think our government, must fail to be a civilizing force in Canada. Rather, I believed and still do that it ceases to do so because it fails to see itself as authoritative in defining the good in this regard, but by ignoring the spiritual, communal, and moral obligations of government it left disillusion and unsatisfactory materialism and autonomy where the preconditions for such prerogatives were lacking. 

In the meantime, I decided I would be a writer. I punched out two novels and read literature and imagined a career as a pulp writer. Probably impoverished. Probably unsuccessful. But at least I would not become a failed tradesman (I couldn’t even build lego effectively as a child or an adult) so I planned, despite many detractors to return to school. The return to education began a process that would guide me toward developing some sort of political and philosophical framework of permanence. 

It would please me to suggest that I came to align with the conservative disposition from a reading of Edmund Burke or some other insight, however my introduction to conservative thinking did not come from such a place. Rather, I discovered intellectual conservatism first through the fallout caused by Islamic extremism and the associated apoligism that metastasized in the West, and an introduction to basic economics. 

These two major, and contradictory forces led me to political conservatism, first the arguments of the new atheists, particularly Christopher Hitchens, who by extension brought me into reluctant contact with his much more intellectually perceptive brother Peter Hitchens. Christopher Hitchens likewise brought me into contact with Douglas Murray (another British pundit and director of the Henry Jackson Society) who vociferously opposed both Islamic Extremism and moral relativism. Murray had written a book on Neo-Conservatism, which perplexed me. How could such a loathsome political ideology be advocated by anyone? I investigated the history of the movement and found the Straussians and Irving Kristol, who more than anyone else touched my intellectual development. 

Meanwhile, a professor of mine, Dr B (to preserve anonymity) lectured on microeconomics and introduced me to the nuances of free-market economic theory, as well as the insights of more critical economic nationalism and the cultural-economic theories of John Kenneth Galbraith. He directly repudiated socialist ideas, while still seeing a place for prudent intervention by government to limit market power. His nuanced perspective removed the blinders inhibiting me from rejecting my bifurcation of economics, and social policy. It was his views combined with the growing insights of more tactful conservative scholars made palatable my growing acceptance of conservatism outside democratic discourse. I began to read scholars like Thomas Sowell and Roger Scruton and saw shades of grey and a valuable intellectual tradition there.

Though a great deal more could be said about my turning toward conservatism I must, to reduce the esoteric, simplify and say that a love of history, a hatred of disorder, and a rejection of the attacks of the simple upon the complex: the leftist critique of almost everything, led me to a reactionary impulse.

This reactionary impulse began a process where I searched and read and studied as best I could in order to expand upon what I slowly decided was my life’s mission, to determine and articulate as best I am able that traditionalism and pre-modern political thought is deep, meaningful, valuable, and constructive. Conservatism became to me the method by which we work positively for betterment of society, how we chose to build and treasure things built cumulatively in such a way that we cannot articulate their meaning simply, but rather can only detail in the abstract. Such preservation has value beyond what is immediately evident through reason. Conservatism, in its collective wisdom, and rejection of human reason as the criteria of decision making became to me the only way toward human salvation and moral order. And that in the most basic sense is how and why I became a conservative.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Shattering the Liberal Faith



 

Proof of Evil…

One of the great fallacies of liberal thinking, and one outlined by both John Keke’s in Against Liberalism and Irving Kristol in the essay ‘High, Low, and Modern” is the idea that human nature is inherently good. The position adopted by many, and necessary to justify removal of any restriction liberal autonomy, is the notion that we possess a nature docile and altruistic by default, or perhaps a blank slate, whereby our individual personality is either corrupted or impressed upon us by the society at large. If one adopts this mode of thinking, and very many have, they reject the notion of outright evil existing in the world. Well, today, I wish to offer an anecdote that outlines just how dark the nature of man is. I am not asserting a proof, but rather introducing an example that stands testament to the case that the heinous acts taken by one man against another are evidence of a darker soul then one that could be produced purely through societal corruption.

The Boy in the Hospital

I work in a Hospital in Canada, and for my own privacy’s sake will not say, which, however the place I work has one of the most important Children’s Hospitals in the world, where just last month we received a patient who had been horribly mutilated. The patient, who arrived during my shift, was a 14-year-old boy who had been found left in the foundation of a house under construction after RCMP received a noise complaint. When they found the boy, little that mattered was left. A machete wielding assailant had attacked him. The boy was unconscious missing his thumb numerous defensive founds covered his arms, he had been beaten nearly to death, and worst of all, he had been sliced from cheek to cheek and all around his skull giving him a Chelsea smile that covered the full 360 degrees of his head and required hundreds of sutures to fix. Upon the arrival of more police to investigate I had to assist them with belongings, the individual was so maimed it took days to I.D him. If you search the internet you will find the story reported from various news outlets, because the mother disclosed it to the media.

I do not wish to say much more than this act, inflicted on a child, involved in drugs, gang activity, or any other kind of misbehavior is not a fitting response for anything. Rather it is indicative of a malevolence scarcely imaginable. Reprisals are common, but the egregious nature of the crime, and the victim’s age, make the foulness of the act that much worse.  Perhaps I assume to much about the conditioning of the human psyche, but currently the RCMP believe that the injuries were inflicted by a 15 year old; I scarcely believe that a 15 year old could be so traumatized and disturbed by his or perhaps corrupted by his environment in such a short period of time to be convinced that what I encountered was not extant evil.

Conclusion

I could indulge the readers in endless historical examples of disgusting, disturbing, and inexplicably violent or malevolent behavior perpetuated by mankind, but I think that I furnish a strong enough anecdote that the reader may come to their own conclusions. However, suffice to say that world is not place where man can rely on comfortable and promissory notions of human redemption and goodness. Rather, I believe that people adopt a delusional position when they insist upon an objectively ‘good’ human nature. Rather the denial of the diversity within the human soul is one that puts us all at risk due to naivety. This denial leads to not just personal risk, but political consequence.

What do I mean by political consequence, I mean that we often objectively advocate for rights, freedom, and rehabilitation of the individual and society as if it were some form of panacea. We convince ourselves that we live in a world were freedom and autonomy may only enhance our lives when we neglect to remember that the same freedom we afford ourselves is freedom given over to, and destined to become, an instrument of humanity’s evil. The failure to inculcate in society positive habit, positive morality, moral stricture, and an awareness of human frailty leads not societal ailments exasperated by dogmatic individualism and community suffering. Society' become unable to take a moral stand. Pope Francis denying the air of religious war manifest in the activities of ISIS… the abolition of death penalties for even the most heinous crime, and the enabling of recidivism amongst violent criminals who we still hope to rehabilitate come to mind immediately. When people fail to delineate or recognize a bifurcation of right and wrong and good and evil we all suffer except those that would take advantage of the closed eyes of the good. Alternatively, perhaps, I am pontificating.