Monday, January 27, 2014

Nothing If Not Nihilism

Vox Day has a fascinating post today, which I reblog in its entirety below, concerning the nihilist thinking that is so trendy these days. But I'm not sure about this. I remember P. J. O'Rourke remarking years back about the Clinton Adminstration, saying something to this effect: "These people aren't smart enough to be communists."  That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's certain that many of them weren't thoughtful enough to be communists.  At any rate, we have to be careful not to give people credit for being nihilists, when they're just stupid and disorganized in their thinking. But, then, Vox doesn't use the word "nihilist," so maybe he's deliberately avoiding it for that reason.

Me, now, I'm not a believer in Christianity and never have been, but I'm certainly not smug about it. I wish I were a believer now and then, and, like Puddleglum in one of those Narnia stories, I sort of behave as though there were a Christian God, not to hedge my bets, but simply because it feels right to do so. Christian morality, except where leftists have twisted it out of shape, is a pretty good way to organize your life. So I, most definitely, am not a nihilist, because I, for whatever reason, believe in objective reality.

Well, in the course of his post, Vox quotes John C. Wright, of whom I hadn't heard, and I immediately found him quibcagworthy.  From

The Nothing People

John C. Wright on the restless hearts of the empty souls, who are never content no matter what they achieve and regardless of what gains they make:
Being without a sense of the objective nature of reality, they are without a belief in objective morals. Being without a belief in objective morals, they lack honor, and, lacking honor, they lack courage, lack decency, lack courtesy.

Hence, their one, sole and only means of discussing their principles in debate is to accuse whomever dares question them of any and every thing they think evil: they call normal people stupid and evil and heartless, bigoted and racist and fascist and thisist and thatist.

The content of the accusation does not matter, only the relief of being able to accuse, and accuse, and accuse.

Their only consistent principle — a principle never admitted, of course, but obvious in their every manifesto — is the Unreality Principle, which holds that it is better and braver to believe in make-believe than in real reality. The more unreal the belief, the less based on fact, the more open the self contradiction, the greater the power of will and nobility of spirit needed to believe it, and hence the greatest applause from the modern mind is reserved to those of their number that believe the most unreal and unrealistic things. And yet, with typical unselfaware modern irony, they call themselves the reality-based community.

In sum, their philosophy consists of the single principle that no philosophy is valid. Their ethics consist of a single precept that making ethical judgments is ‘judgmental’ that is, ethically wrong. Their economic theory, socialism, consists of an arrogant denial that the laws of economics apply to economic phenomena. Their theory of psychology says that men do not have free will, because cause and effect is absolute; their theory of metaphysics is that subatomic particles do have free will, because cause and effect is statistical, approximate, uncertain, incomplete, and illusory. And on and on. All their thought is one self-refuting statement after another.

Philosophically, theologically and morally, the modern mindset is an end-state. Once a man has utterly rejected reason, he cannot reason himself to another conclusion. Once he has rejected morality, he has no sense of honor to compel him to live up to a philosophy more demanding than narrow selfishness.

Again, once he had rejected the authority of tradition, so that his one precept is to ignore all precepts of his teachers, he has no motive and no way to pass along to the next generation this selfsame precept, for he then is himself a teacher teaching them to ignore all teachers. And so on.
No compromise is possible with these people. I use the term loosely, for they are not morally accountable Men and Women in the full sense of the term. They are intellectual nomads, always on the move, always parasitical, always acting to destroy, always needing an accusational high that is more powerful than the one before.

This is why attempts to appease them are always fruitless, why they always devour their own. You might as rationally attempt to reason with the weather as attempt to reason with them. They eat their own as readily as they devour those they overcome, and their bitterest hatred is reserved for those who stand up to them and tell them, with all the contempt that they merit, "you are nothing and you will never be anything". Never ever back down to them.

If there is one thing they hate to hear, it is that they are fallen. They cling furiously to their pride and to their pretense to superiority because that is all they have. They are de facto psychopaths; they have no ability to empathize for all that they claim to empathize with everything and everyone from the snail darter to a bullied homosexual teen. They have endless hypothetical love for humanity and nothing of the real thing for their neighbors or anyone but themselves.

The real and the decent people sense their emptiness. We tiptoe around them, trying not to trigger the endless minefield of their sensitivities. This is pointless. Like insects, they thrive in darkness; whenever exposed to the harsh light of truth they are desperate to conceal their words and their deeds, to hide their empty sickness. But this is wrong, because there is only one hope for them, and that is the crushing of their pride.

There is nothing that can fill up the vast abyss within them except God. Nothing. So do not spare them. Remind them that they are nothing. Remind them that they are evil. Tell them the truth because they already know it and the reason for their frenetic activity is that they are running from it. Remind them their only hope at the joy they envy and crave is to abandon their empty, narcissistic pride and allow the Way, the Truth, and the Life to fill up the void within.

One of my friends once asked me why I seem to run into so many of these people, both personally and professionally. The answer is simple. I see them, they know I see them, and their instinctive reaction is to immediately attack those who recognize them for what they are. You see, the Nothing People always lie and thereby sentence themselves to a lifetime of policing the perceptions of others. It's not that I recognize their lies so much as I recognize the constant scanning of others perception of them in which they necessarily engage.

1 comment:

  1. As a Christian, I never could understand the nihilist myself. Perhaps it was some sort of desire to explain objective purpose in contrast to the eternal ennui living in the mind. But maybe I'm punching above my own belt with that discussion.