One way I’ve evolved, and differ from John C. Wright and others, is that I no longer believe the enemies of western civilization are horrible, evil liars and morons. I know too many of these people, and too many smart people, to think this is the case.
I think many men underestimate the human mind’s capacity for self-deception and indoctrination. Let’s talk about Wright again. I don’t mean to pick on him. He is a good man and, I think, does far more good than harm. I work with him frequently now and am very proud to say that.
But I think he is wrong – very wrong – gravely, seriously, totally wrong – about his opinions on governance. I don’t think this is a slight error. I think he believes full-blown herisies, but doesn’t realize it.
This is an extremely bold thing to say; I actually feel bad about saying it. You understand that I doubt – and I can say this because I’ve worked so closely with him now – that he is morally culpable for believing these heresies, because I think he really, truly doesn’t understand them. I think he genuinely tries to serve the Church, and for the most part does so with great vigor – better than myself in many ways.
And yet. And yet; “America is a church” is a very grave thing to say. That you’d rather die than tip your hat to the king is a massive error, not a small one, and his whole political system is based around freedom and equality as ideals to be reached. He totally fails to see the problems with those ideals – they don’t make sense, at least not as the basis of a system of government. He completely misses that government by the consent of the governed is ultimately totally mistaken to the point of being radically harmful. And he very publicly announces these beliefs to a large audience that he has at least some influence over.
But John is a good man. And John is not a liar.
Take Peter Singer. Singer’s views on abortion are wicked, repulsive, murderous. But I have no reason to think he’s lying. I have no reason to think he’s insincere. I think his beliefs on charity work, while extreme to the point of being rather silly, are at least somewhat noble. I don’t think Peter Singer has any clue that what he’s saying is harmful. He believes he is helping people – genuinely believes it. The Operative is, after all, a Believer.
Look at Vox Day’s strategies: Literal blacklisting. Public shaming. Ridicule…all against SJW’s. And, believe it or not, I have no problem with this.
But this tells us something, and it is this: If one can be correct and right to blacklist, shame, and ridicule people for the things they say…why are we assuming our opponents are lying? Who’s to say they’re anything but utterly sincere? They don’t worship evil. They think they’re doing good – and clearly we can agree that it’s not their methods, generally, that are bad; it’s their beliefs.
But people don’t reach those beliefs in a vacuum. Smart people can get badly brainwashed. Nazi scientists developed the rocket that went to the moon, after all. Look at the people who have “Taken the red pill”. Many new “converts”, for lack of a better term, are quite angry, and believe themselves to have left the Matrix. They see the world as it is. And yet, they don’t stop to consider the fact that while they were apparently smart enough to escape the Matrix, they were fooled by it for many years – and it stands to reason that if they can be fooled about that for so long, there’s no reason there aren’t other deeply held beliefs that are totally, utterly wrong.
The idea that abortion advocates worship evil and lies, and are all horrible people, is a false one…at least in the sense most people use “horrible people”. In actuality, these are people who are willing to put themselves out there for a cause they believe is just and righteous, not evil. And as Mr. Wright shows, and many others, you don’t need to be an idiot to be tricked.
I don’t think what I’m saying is optimistic. Far from it. I think it is WORSE than the view that we are surrounded by horrible, evil monsters. Because you can kill monsters without guilt. But people?
Well, now your best option is conversion. And that is much more difficult.