Sophomoronology

A NEW SCIENCE

I propose the study of a new science, to be called Sophomoronology. It will investigate the pathology of philosophy, that is, this new science will study the causes and reasons behind the death of philosophy.

I do not propose merely a psychological study of why some folks believe, or say they believe, so many ideas that are so manifestly lacking in reason, common sense, and logic. Psychology is not our province here. Our province here is to identify the incentives which make it advantageous for a person to adopt and defend a certain philosophy. It is a study of the economics behind the growth and failure of philosophical schools, or, to use an older and clearer term, it is a study of temptations.

Keep in mind that the mere presence of an incentive does not imply that any particular person has decided to follow it; the mere existence of a temptation does not mean this man or that has fallen into it. It is possible, even likely, that most thinkers who believe a particular philosophy decided to adopt their system of beliefs honestly, and most thinkers uphold them because they conclude them to be true, and for no other reason.

Before turning to the study of philosophical autopsy, it behooves us to say briefly what a healthy philosophy looks like. What is philosophy?

PHILOSOPHY WHAT

Stated briefly, a philosophy is an attempt to take the maxims of the natural conscience and to use reason to extend the principles discovered to underpin those maxims to new and unfamiliar situations, namely, situations where our untrained conscience will not guide us.

For example, all men naturally know that camaraderie with one’s own peers and brothers-in-arms, both on the battlefield and in the feast hall, are admirable. Loyalty, generosity, and courage are traits of brotherhood, and the praise of these virtues is found in every civilization, and in prehistory, wherever men have peers and comrades. Wrath in combat was feared and admired, but so was gentleness and gentility in peacetime. It was an insight, a discovery of early philosophy, that the fortitude in adversity, not the actual anger which so often accompanied it, was the admirable principle, and ability to be bold in battle was not necessarily admirable in the camp or court, but, instead, the discrimination or judgment to know when to be truculent and when to be peaceful. This fortitude was distinguished as a virtue whereas anger was discovered to be merely a passion, and wrath a sin.

Likewise, everyone hates traitors and loves fidelity: this can be taken as a given in ethics, as clear and obvious an intuition as the topic admits. But this mere intuition is insufficient to tell a man caught in a paradox of loyalties whom to serve. When Clytemnestra, mother of Orestes, murdered Agamemnon his father, the filial piety Orestes owed his father was at odds with that owed his mother.

The human mind simply has no other rational way to proceed to discover the correct thing to do in such situations other than to regard the various and contrary moral intuitions of the conscience and seek a general or overarching system, that is, a principle or set of principles, a system of priorities and judgments, by which the complexity of the conscience can be explained. This is like the effort of astronomy to reduce the complexity of appearances to simple laws of mechanics. The human mind cannot simply choose to ignore the conscience any more than it can ignore the reason or ignore the senses or ignore any other faculty by which we perceive  or discover truth.

Now imagine the noble pagan of Greece or Rome, seeking the common thread or common theme behind those virtues that lead to happiness, of which fortitude is one, judgment another. Aristotle proposed certain common principles to be followed by the magnanimous man, that he should be bold and just, moderate and even-tempered. The Stoics discovered an idea they called Cosmopolitanism, radically novel at the time, accepted without serious dispute today, which said that the same rules of moderation and justice which apply to our peers and brethren apply to barbarians and even slaves. The Christian discovered, or had revealed to them, an idea even more radical, which said all men were brothers, and merited our love. But without discussing the merit or demerit of Aristotelianism, Stoicism, or Christianity, let us merely note the philosophical evolution:

The reason attempts to find the common roots of the various moral maxims known to all man of all times, and to oppose those various excuses and self-justifications all men of all times use to quell the conscience. Primarily, philosophy is the study of virtue and reason, and only secondarily the study of more abstract questions, such as metaphysics, which are related to virtue and reason. The end or final cause of philosophy is to learn to suffer the pains and anxieties of life with a philosophical temper, that is, with the serenity that comes from a calm heart, clean conscience and a clear-eyed reason.

This, then is the picture of a healthy philosophy: it is contemplation of abstractions ranging from metaphysics to ethics, brought into daily practice by the subordination of the passions and appetites to the good government of the reason.

The various schools of philosophy differ according to the different conclusions reached about the basic abstractions or basic ideas about reality and the nature of reality, so that a Stoic will tell you not to steal because stealing offends innate duties, a Epicurean will tell you not to steal because stealing does not lend itself to pleasure rightly understood, a Utilitarian will tell you not to steal because it is against your self-interest rightly understood, a Platonist or Eudaimonian will tell you not the steal because it offends that Ideal of the Good by which the soul must be governed to achieve serenity, various theists will tell you not to steal because it offends the Sky-Father god, or the Way, or Nature, or the Almighty. In every case, the reason is exalted as the judge and umpire to which the various appetites and passions, and the insight of the conscience, must be referred to render a conclusion and a moral judgment on the rightness of an action. The point of philosophy is to codify the insights of the conscience, and to use reason to clarify cases where the intuitions of conscience are unclear. The point of philosophy is to train the soul to live and to live well.

But a modern intellectual will tell you to steal.

ANTI-PHILOSOPHY WHAT

There are certain philosophies, almost all of them modern, which are so nakedly and insolently absurd and irrational, defiantly irrational, that it strains credulity to say that the men who support it came by their conclusions honestly.

An attempt at an intelligent discussion with the partisans of unreason will prove neither edifying nor enlightening, because it consists almost entirely of persons less articulate, less well educated, less well read, and less insightful than yourself, and far less honest and upright, telling you how much smarter than you they are, and demanding you admire them.

In proof of their intellectual and moral superiority, they proffer a few incoherent slogans supporting the idea that humans are incapable of knowing the truth, and supporting the idea that some sickening or greasy crime, infanticide, theft, or sexual deviance, which all previous ages of mankind rejected in disgust, is for them licit.

I mean in this space to discuss a philosophy, which unfortunately does not lend itself to any particular name, but which in this essay I will call Intellectualism. It is the dominant and triumphant dogma of the modern (or postmodern) world. It is a collection of bits and pieces, scraps and patches, of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, Logical Positivism and Behaviorism, often sprinkled with Darwin (or with a misreading of Darwin), perhaps with references to Einstein and Heisenberg, and almost always by people who have not read any of these authors. There is no coherent central principle, and there are countless local variations, but a few traits, something like a family resemblance, tends to emerge:

  • In Epistemology, the Intellectual is a mystic who denies that he is a mystic.
  • In Ethics, the Intellectual seeks the abolition of standards of decency and self-control, particularly in the area of sex and reproduction. He is a sexual revolutionary.
  • In Physics, the Intellectual seeks to apply the findings of the physical sciences to areas where they do not belong, such as using Darwin to define human social relations, or using Einstein to support the idea that all ideas are relative. He says he is an empiricist, but he is really not. He merely uses the standards of empiricism to quell debate on topics not open to empirical investigation, so that ethics and economics and so on can be dismissed as unscientific without actually being examined.
  • In Ontology, the Intellectual does not actually believe in the real world, or that objects exist. He often doubts whether he himself exists. The Intellectual is prone to Gnosticism.
  • In Aesthetics, the Intellectual yearns for the ugly and incoherent, gibberish in his poetry, distortion in his paintings, noise in his music.
  • In Politics, the Intellectual lusts for state control of the market, and ultimately of the minds of men: he is some variation of Socialist or Communist, but he rarely wishes to be called by those terms. He ascribes any differences of judgment or conclusion with himself to three causes: racism, sexism, and homophobia. Occasionally, he adds that you are a fascist. In sum, his politics consists of a lust for wealth he has not earned, and a hunger for control over your life and thought, and an accusation that you are a racist.
  • In Semantics, the Intellectual is unfailingly a nominalist: he believes words are arbitrary, merely labels applied to things as part of a power struggle. The meanings of words are something manmade, not something men discover.
  • In Theology, the Intellectual is vehemently anti-Christian, and his support of other faiths is proportionate to how well they can be used to oppose Christianity.
  • In Logic, the Intellectual is allured to anything that seems to undermine or erode classical logic; the Intellectual prefers paradox to syllogism.
  • In Metaphysics, the Intellectual mouths self-contradictory statements, paradox, gibberish, and nonsense. An Intellectual indeed can be defined as someone pretending to be a philosopher, but who cannot understand or follow a metaphysical argument.
  • In person, the Intellectual is someone stupider than you who tells you he is smarter than you, and his whole ego hangs by that one slender thread of unrealistic self-assessment, or, to use an older and clearer term, vainglory.

Not all Intellectuals have all the traits, or, rather, these symptoms, in equal strengths. Different schools and schisms of the movement differ.

THE AUTOPSY

Modern philosophy is morbid. Those who follow it achieve the mere opposite of the goal of philosophers. Instead of being men of stoical and philosophical temper, who bear privation and pain with even temper, they are a generation of whiners, agitated over trifles. Instead of learning to control their passions, they learn to pervert and exaggerate them. Instead of peace, they urge and excuse tumult, riot, and violence. Instead of truth, propaganda. Instead of logic, nonsense.

To use a pragmatic and current example, the West is at war with Islamic nations who use the rhetoric of Civil Rights to mask their grisly and inhuman deeds of cowardly mass murder. The enemy goal is hegemony over the Near East, and the imposition of Sharia law, a draconian system of theocratic misogyny. Rather than heaping scorn and abhorrence on these fanatics, the modern intellectual helps, aids, abets, forgives and excuses them, even to the point of refusing to admit what he sees and knows. Instead of expressing solidarity for women trapped behind the veil, or for homosexuals stoned to death by this inhuman law, the modern intellectual blames the Christians for seeking theocracy, heaps scorn and mockery on Christ, and upbraids as racism jokes, criticism, or any other opposition to the Jihad program.

A more obvious spectacle of a culture committing cultural suicide cannot be imagined: it is too gross to be exaggerated.

What could make a whole peoples, once the conquerors of the globe and the leaders in philosophy, art, science, and all human achievements, into fawning toadeaters and lickspittles without sufficient courage or confidence to oppose the contemptible and nakedly evil demands of a weak, outnumbered, craven and incompetent enemy?

A vision of titans and giants bowing and trembling like slaves before an underfed and sickly rat, crowned and purple-robed as their conqueror, could not be more outrageous. What gives the sickly rat such power?

It is the power of the revenge of the conscience.

The modern intellectual tells himself the conscience, in effect, does not exist, or is merely an echo of social programming, the operation of gene mechanisms, or meaningless repetitions of data from the environment. But when the conscience, as umpire of the soul, condemns the soul as unworthy to exist, the man (whether he knows it or not, whether he admits it or not) begins to act as if he is unworthy to live, and so he seeks death and images of death.

What makes a titan bow before a rat is titanic guilt.

Let us proceed with the autopsy. There is a cruel and inevitable logic to the process by which philosophy, and then the civilization that follows it, dies the death.

ANTI-EPISTEMOLOGY

In order to justify what the human conscience cannot help but regard as undesirable or even wicked, the modern intellectual seeks to undermine the roots of all knowledge. The main attack of the modern intellectual is therefore epistemological: certainty (especially religious certainty) becomes the main enemy and the main target of scorn.

Uncertainty and nonjudgmentalism become the signs and passwords of moral superiority. Because this whole effort is rooted in the psychology of a guilty conscience, moral preening and seeking the peer approval of fellow intellectuals becomes the main topic.

So, even if the intellectual starts merely by being skeptical about the wisdom of his elders on one point or two, the logic of his position, willy-nilly, inclines him to be drawn one point after another into the wholly Uncertain and Nonjudgmental position.

I do not know if the particular case here is an example or not, but I notice a general pattern that applies to some, perhaps most, intellectuals. An intellectual of the modern kind will often find himself unable to condemn sadomasochism as perverse, because that would involve being judgmental, but the modern intellectual is required by his philosophy to condemn chastity as a perversion, because chastity by its nature makes a clear and distinct judgment about right and wrong. Such distinctions are forbidden by the modern intellectual epistemology.

Human nature makes it impossible to eliminate the conscience (or the reason) from human thought, including the thoughts of intellectuals. The intellectual hence becomes prey to whatever the fashionable moral code happens to be of his time and nation and little insular intellectual circle. Certain things, such as child abuse and bigotry against Blacks grow to be paramount issues of paramount importance, whereas other things, such as child-abortion and bigotry against Christians, things that have no less a claim on the conscience, are dismissed. The libertarian position of restricting moral imperatives only to those acts which harm and defraud others is insufficient for the modern intellectual: he continues to insist that speaking or thinking judgmentally about homosexuals, Islamists, whores or other protected mascot groups is fundamentally and abhorrently wrong.

But to what does he make his appeal in terms of right and wrong? On what grounds is it too obvious for discussion that the rule against fornication (for example) is a matter of opinion or a subjective or relative (if not monstrously oppressive) social artifice, whereas the rule against child neglect is a matter of absolute moral imperative not open to question or dispute? The double standard is both obvious to others and invisible to the intellectual.

Since the whole point of modern intellectualism is to sooth an unquiet conscience, this conviction of his own moral superiority, and this condemnation of others, is the prime and paramount consideration of this random grab-bag of rhetorical mechanisms, slogans, and unsupported assertions he calls his philosophy.

Condemnation is the point. The intellectual is an intellectual because he wants and needs to mock and deride the authority of his conscience, and therefore he must mock and deride any authority, spiritual or temporal, who echoes the authority of the conscience. He has to stick it to The Man. But if the epistemological claims of the intellectual were taken seriously, he would have no basis for condemning anything whatsoever.

ANTI-ETHICS

How can a philosophy that condemns nothing condemn authority?

A possible escape hatch offers itself in the concept of hypocrisy. The Intellectual finds that if the opposition can be found to contradict itself on any grounds, small or great, real or invented, then the skeptical epistemology of the intellectual can condemn the opponent without he (the skeptic) being required to take a stand or defend a position. If you do not really believe your moral code (so argues the intellectual) that is sufficient ground for me to condemn it, regardless of any surrounding code of morals or code of laws. I don’t condemn X because X is false according to my standard – I claim to have no standards – I condemn because X condemns itself on its own terms.

Since the accusation of hypocrisy is the only condemnation permissible in the non-condemnatory world of non-judgment and non-reason, it is popular to the point of being ubiquitous.

However, hypocrisy does not consist of two ideas contradicting each other. That is logic, and logic is a discipline which the Intellectual abandons with a sneer.

Hypocrisy consists of a man’s actions or character contradicting his stated values and goals. For this reason, the Intellectual’s argument consists almost exclusively of condemnations of the character of his opposition, particularly including opponents of whom he has no personal knowledge. Hence we see the Intellectual insist that he and he alone can discern read the hearts of man like God in the Bible, and the he and he alone knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man, like The Shadow on the radio. The Intellectual must attribute a bad motive or wicked character to his opponents at all costs, because his “argument” consists of almost nothing else.

The irony is that the intellectual position is hypocrisy itself. He is attempting to quell his conscience by arguing that having a conscience is unconscionable. He is attempting to excuse his own frailties and self-indulgences by pretending the conscience does not exist, but then he (without cracking a smile) has nothing but the conscience to which to appeal when he attempts to condemn his opposition.

The ethical stance of the Intellectual is merely to be against hypocrisy, by which he somehow always just so happens to mean the teachings of the Christian Church, such as that sex should be within marriage, between consenting adults of the opposite sex not related by blood, but he somehow always just so happens not to condemn non-Christian teachings, such as the Islamic practice of non-consensual polygamy and purdah, honor killings, or the practice of female genital mutilation. The Christian condemnation of homosexual acts as an expression of an objectively disordered appetite is hypocrisy, if not bigotry and hate-speech, is a source of endless wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the Islamic practice of stoning homosexual people to death or throwing them from rooftops provokes no criticism nor discontent, and is supported, if not with gentle words, then with silence.

Either (a) the Christians are rank hypocrites whereas the Islamic are self-consistent, or (b) the claims and calls of hypocrisy are themselves grossly and comically hypocritical.

I use sexual fidelity as the example above, but any number of other ethical areas could be adduced as examples. Intellectuals approve of theft on the grounds that “property is theft” and they approve of self-indulgence and self-destruction on the grounds that “if it feels good, do it” and they approve of murder, prenatal infanticide and euthanasia on the grounds that since life is sacred, we must end it whenever convenient to do so.

The Intellectuals approve of violence, riot and tumult when it is committed by the thugs and vermin called “activists” but when honest and law-abiding citizens gather for the redress of wrong or the petition of their government when taxes are high and public debt insupportable, the intellectuals call the citizens racist berserkers, and they quail and wail and gnash their teeth in the anxiety that brutal mass violence is about to erupt, and they speak in hushed tones about fleeing the country. When the hose on a two-pound canister of propane on the porch of a brother of a senator is chewed through by a squirrel, the Intellectual is convinced that the Tea Party movement is about to explode into a bloody supernova extinction-level event of murder and dismemberment; but when riot police are called out against looters and rampaging mobs in Copenhagen or Seattle, this is passed over without a word of condemnation.

Intellectuals tacitly approve of violence because they actively disapprove of reason. When reasoning is not possible between equals, then equality no longer exists; all that is left is the discipline of the superiors against the inferiors. In order to insure that they, at least in their own minds, occupy the status of superiors, the Intellectual pretends mental and moral accomplishments to which he is nowise entitled.

In general, the ethical system proposed by various schools of Intellectualism is the erosion of ethics, usually by means of asserting that one maxim of traditional ethics (such as kindness toward children or charity to the poor) overshadows and deletes another maxims of traditional ethics (such as respect for property, respect for the elderly, chastity, humility or honesty). Rarely or never is any explanation given as to why the one maxim has particular sanctity, whereas others equally as old, intuitively obvious, useful, universal and sacred are to be dethroned and desecrated.

To emphasize the particular arbitrary nature of the selection of maxims, let us remember the common slogans of 1968, where the ethic theorists of the time, Timothy Leary and Alfred Kinsey, urged us all to turn on and tune in and drop out, and to give up our hang-ups.

The emphasis was not to live a guilt free life by avoiding the acts that merit guilt. The emphasis was not to live righteously and avoid the occasion of sin.

The emphasis was to live a guilt free life NOT by changing your life, but by lowering or eliminating your standards of guilt.

Guilt was dismissed as a psychological defect, not an innate part of human nature. The promise was that we would live ethical lives by eliminating normal standards of ethics.

Now imagine, if our imagination can reach so far, if this same philosophy, or, rather this same lame sophistical excuse, were used against any moral principles or ethical maxims the intellectuals revere.

Imagine a Muslim coming forth from a house where he has just beheaded two homosexuals, and his beard and flowing robes are coated with steaming blood, and he holds the two heads by their hair in his hands. The intellectual, seeing the horror, screams. The Muslim says, “Chill out! I just wanted to kill them because that’s my bag, baby! It is who I am. You have some sort of hang-up about murdering the innocent? You got to get free of them there hang-up, Man! It’s bad for your aura! Peace and Love and Allahu Ackbar!”

Or imagine a like scenario with someone violating some other ethical maxim cherished of Intellectuals, such as despoiling the environment of the planet whose stewards we are, or beating or neglecting children, or inciting race-hatred, or peacefully protesting the government for the redress of grievances if the taxes and public debt is too high.

Would any Intellectual agree that his detestation for these immoral acts is merely a hang-up that he has to turn on, tune in, drop out of and simply get over?

ANTI-EMPIRICISM

You may have noticed that I speak of the epistemology of the modern intellectual entirely in the negative. I do not say that they are empiricists, because they are not. They do not have things they believe, they merely have a laundry list of things they do not believe. One of the justifications they use to add things to the list of non-belief is that the belief in question is not supported by empirical evidence.

That this standard can be used and can only be used for beliefs that are empirically disprovable to begin with does not register with them, even after it is pointed out.

Empiricists, real empiricists, believe that the universe is objective and real and that our senses and our thoughts in our consciousness correspond to that reality. The modern intellectual believes that reality is personal and fluid and illusionary, and that the consciousness is either an illusion produced by nothing for no reason, or a nothingness produced by an illusion for no reason.

(He actually believes nothing of the kind, of course. If you short change him at the Laundromat, he will insist with fervor equal to a theologian that four ones and one five does not equal a ten and ergo you owe him another dollar: it is only in philosophical discussions that he pretends he is a meat-robot with no consciousness and no free will, and that the laws of logic and math are epiphenomena of brain-atoms jarring in meaningless collision. Only your belief that A is A is a “meme”; his belief that the Laundromat short changed him a dollar is unquestionable truth.)

GNOSTICISM

The absence of an epistemology leaves the intellectual prey to Gnosticism. Gnosticism is the ancient heresy, perhaps the most ancient, which (among other things) taught that only an internal and ineffable truth was true.

Truth was a matter experienced esoterically: attempts to codify or categorize the ineffable were sinister schemes that resulted in the truth being lost.

The main advantage of Gnosticism is that it is unarguable and immediate: if I base my knowledge of reality on a noumenal mental experience which I can neither understand nor describe to another, that knowledge cannot be contradicted. One cannot contradict what cannot be dictated; you cannot speak against the unspeakable.

Gnosticism also preached that those who had this unutterable internal illumination were the enlightened, the moral and mental superior to the others, the materialistic men, the benighted. The failure of the benighted to recognize the enlightened as their natural superiors merely confirms how benighted they are!

Since the claim of superiority was not based on any actual accomplishments, neither of the intellect nor of the will, the Gnostic could claim the palms and crowns of saints and martyrs without actually suffering the devotions or privations or the indignities of being saints and martyrs. This is sort of like the Caucus race of the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland, where everyone gets a prize because everyone is a winner.

The real difference is that, unlike the Dodo, the Gnostic must exclude the swift from the race, because the prize of calling yourself enlightened has no value unless you deprive those who truly merit that title of it.

In ancient Gnosticism this was done by claiming the real saints and sages were the foolish dupes deceived by the Demiurge, who was a nigh-omnipotent Deceiver able to create and to deceive the world; in modern Gnosticism this is done by claiming the real saints and sages are bigots, or cowards, or narrow-minded, or fanatics, or deceived by meaningless taboos.

It is another irony that the modern Gnostics cannot even be troubled to invent a metaphysical framework for their claims of a Demiurge: they merely claim the deception exists without inventing a Deceiver.

ANTI-AESTHETICS

The theory of the Intellectual is that tastes in art are utterly subjective, or, perhaps, are instruments by which the strong oppress the weak. In reality, aesthetics is the emotional or imaginative version of the reality a man’s reason imparts to him. Art is his sense of life.

The dreary vomit of modern art exists because the modern artists are obsessed with images of death and unreason. Picasso’s jarring angles of meaningless visual gibberish are a violent rebellion against beauty: and in this rebellion the modern Intellectual finds crooked comfort.

To use a current example, I hear of an art museum whose exhibit includes a ‘performance artist’. Among the exhibits , patrons are invited to squeeze between a naked fat man and fat woman standing in a narrow doorway. The artist has previously performed such works of art as standing utterly still for an afternoon, or such as stabbing herself.

The dreary ugliness and shock value and schlock value is, of course, deliberate: it is at once a nihilist expression of the nausea and vacancy of the modern intellect, and the Gnostic rebellion against the beauty and order of the universe: gross for gross’s sake rather than art for art’s sake.

ANTI-POLITICS

Since the basis of the Intellectual moral and ethical theory is to do evil and call it good, no liberal or liberty-loving system of political economy will satisfy his purposes. His purpose is to avoid his conscience by inventing intellectual excuses to silence the voice of goodness in him. His excuse is one form or another of unreason, the belief that life makes no sense and life is anything (or nothing) you make it to be. The outcome of unreason is death.

A healthy philosophy regards the study of political economics to be some combination of using the force and majesty of the law to train the populous to virtue, or using the force and majesty of the law to secure the natural rights and property, wellbeing, common defense and peace of the people. In a healthy philosophy the first consideration of politics is the study of the nature of man and the nature of economics, in order to see how man can learn to live  with his neighbor, and to learn what laws and customs cause the prosperity of nations or deter it.

All of this has no meaning for the Intellectual. For reasons given above, he is tempted to be a Gnostic, a mystic in rebellion against reality and logic. If logic says there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, the rebel against reality demands that the government provide free lunch. If reality says wealth is created by hard work in a legal context where property is sacrosanct and can be traded freely, the rebel says that Utopia will be achieved, and all work become play, once all prices and wages and rents are set by the government, and no one shall be secure in his property because someone else, who has not worked, has a greater need and therefore a moral demand for it.

Economics is the science that studies the invariant relations in an extended order, namely, the benefits that arise from civilization and from the specialization of labor, from the exchange of goods and services either through barter or through indirect exchange via a currency. It studies prices and wages and rents and interest, and discovers the laws of nature that govern these things. In sum, economics is the study of the price system given that we live in a world of sacristy of resources.

Socialism is the advocacy of the abolition of the price system, and the imposition of a system of fiat and rationing in its place, connected to an assertion, which has no support in experience nor logic, that the nature of reality will change, and resources, goods and services will no longer be scarce, once all goods are rationed.

Socialism is an attempt to dismantle the system of prices and wages and rents and interest, so as to render the victims within the orbit of the power of the socialist commonwealth no longer able to obtain the benefits of specialization of labor and of civilization. It is an attempt to abolish civilization in the name of utopia.

Socialism is not, as it so often is called, a study or a type of economics. It is a blank denial of economics, a series of rationalizations to explain away economics.

Because it is a ferocious denial of reality, and based on faith in unreality, Socialism not only fails, it fails in spectacularly humiliating and ghastly fashions.

The peaceful versions of socialism, such as Fabianism,  produce merely poverty and meanness and social pathologies and the wreckage of ancient and one-proud civilizations; whereas the violent versions of socialism, such as Communism and Fascism and Nazism, produce mounds and mountains of innocent corpses, a magnitude of pain and death not even Tamerlane and Genghis could have conceived. But whether violent or nonviolent, socialism is the denial of economics and hence the denial of politics, and the end result, poverty, misery, insecurity and chaos, is the same.

Now, no one in his right mind can overcome his natural desire for life and pleasure and plenty. Hence, the Intellectual must adhere to falsehood as a primary principle of thought and speech in order to deceive himself and others down the path of unreason, pain, poverty, and death.

No socialist can talk honestly about socialism: hence Political Correctness must control his thought and speech, and yours, since factual correctness is forbidden, or, to use an older and clearer term, truth.

ANTI-TRUTH

The Intellectual regards words as tools, not as things, and words can have no necessary, native or natural relation to truth, since, for the Intellectual, truth is merely a fiction, a taboo, or a social mechanism for the control of the oppressed.

If you note the description of Intellectual Political Economics I gave above, the words always found to denounce opposition (racist, sexist, homophobe, fascist) are words without denotation, leeched of all meaning, having merely a shell of emotional connotations into which any topic can be thrust.

If you noticed that I said the intellectual is never satisfied by a liberal political system, you may be jarred, because the modern use of the word ‘liberal’ means a socialist, one who abhors liberty.The meaning of this word is obscured, and deliberately so.

The reason why rational discussion either with or about modern intellectuals is made difficult is because thousands of men for scores of years have cooperated, guided by no more conspiracy that loyalty to the same philosophy, to obscure the meaning of words and to excoriate and denounce those who do not cooperate with this obscuration.

Normal words with normal meanings, like ‘liberal’ and ‘socialist’ or ‘fascist’ or ‘terrorist’ are reversed in their meaning, so that an empire like Soviet Russia is called a ‘Republic’ and said to be run for ‘The People’.

Normal words with normal meaning, if that meaning carries a normal hint of obloquy, ‘tyrant’ or ‘whore’ or ‘wetback’ or ‘sodomite’ or ‘pervert’, are by a general consensus of intellectuals decreed beyond the pale.

Only words that have an emotional or propagandistic energy are welcomed, or words from which all meaning has been etiolated.

Among decent men, words are used for speaking, for conveying thought from mind to mind. Among intellectuals, words are using for chanting, for screaming, for shouting, for shrieking, preferably in a mob, or for putting on bumper stickers in an act of moral self-congratulation.

Such words are meant for emotion only, to express an inner and private reality, and could be with no loss of meaning substituted for the growls and roars and whines of brute beasts, or the twittering of birds.

Now, you might wonder, as do I, how sincere or serious such word-games might be? Calling a dog a bird does not allow it to fly. Calling a whore a sex-worker does not change the vice to a virtue. All that changing a word for another word does is swap one set of connotations for another, without changing the denotations. The old connotations soon creep to the new word, because the connotations are based in reality, and the Ministry of Truth issues yet another word whose meaning is even more bleached of meaning to serve in its place. In this way, ‘Paynim’ becomes ‘Muslim Terrorist’ becomes ‘Muslim Extremist’ becomes ‘Militant’ becomes ‘Activist for the Religion of Peace’.

No one alert to the trick would be fooled, and it can hardly fool oneself. So why do it?

Ah, but this confusion is the confusion of a philosopher, someone who thinks. Intellectuals prefer to emote than to think. For an emotional man, especially one prone to hysterical or excessive emotions, the emotional connotation of a word is all that matters. It does not have to be meaningful, only striking.

The springs out of and reinforced the metaphysical and epistemological belief of the intellectual. If there is no truth, is it just as true to call a slave-camp a republic, or call a whore a worker or call a terrorist a freedom fighter.

If there is no reality, my calling something by the changed name could change its nature, or, at least, the only part of nature with which the postmodern Intellectual concerns himself, his own subjective stance toward it. Reality is always merely in his head.

Why not change good words to evil, true to false? If there is no moral law, then there is no imperative to be honest. If everything is a matter of opinion or a matter of taste or a matter of social or genetic programming, then nothing means anything, and words mean nothing.

Let us pause to notice that this modern anti-Christian and anti-intellectual philosophy rules half the globe absolutely, and influences the central institutions  of the other half, the media, the halls of power, the ivory towers, the marketplace and the courts of law, with an influence far beyond the numbers or merit of its partisans. It is a success as rapid and all conquering as the spread of Mohammedanism in the Seventh Century, and it overthrew province of the civilized and semi civilized world even more quickly and over larger tracts.

Hence on a practical level, the abuse and the contempt of language is done because it works, and, to judge from results, works remarkably well.

FAITH versus SOPHISTRY

How well? The only places where the philosophy of the Intellectual encounters resistance are where Christianity both was well regarded, reigned in the hearts of men, and resisted. This last element is crucial. In areas where the Christians, no matter how numerous, voiced no protest against their marginalization, such as in Modern Ireland, the descent of the Church from paramouncy to impotence was breathtakingly swift.

One would think other religions would also provide a bulwark against the cruel excesses  of modern Intellectuals, but in point of fact, Islam, while rejecting the sexual libertinism of the moderns, has adopted without a blush the language and tactics and propaganda techniques of the Civic Rights movement and the terrorism of Marxist guerrillas. Socialists and Mohammedans also agree on the basic point of collective repressive totalitarianism imposed by terror, the abolition of the individual conscience and of the free market, and other features unique to Christendom.

Hinduism, which might provide a stronghold against Intellectualism, is not incompatible with socialism, and the Indian subcontinent has been smothered and deluged with socialist inanities for many decades, and is only now recovering.

Confucianism and Marxism go very nicely indeed together with each other.

Tribal religions such as animism are embraced by the Intellectuals, who admire every form of spiritualism except Christianity.

Judaism is beholden to and practically owned by the political Left, and continues to serve and support the Intellectual movements both in Israel and around the world even while the world Intellectuals conspire to destroy Israel, and never cease to express their hatred of her.  Why the Jews continue to flatter and support and excuse their open and deadly enemies, and continue to distrust and despise their friends and supporters among Christians, especially Evangelicals and Catholics, is a mystery only the end of time will reveal.

ANTI-CHRIST

That bigotry and hatred against Christ and His Church is the sole and singular bigotry thought to be both witty and entertaining and socially acceptable among the Intellectuals is too obvious to need any emphasis from me.

I will point to a single example among countless: in a book about the staged Danish Cartoon Riots, the publisher decided not to print the cartoons in question, on the ground that it might be perceived as insensitive to Islam. Meanwhile Comedy Central, at the time of this writing, plans to field a show about Jesus Christ living in modern Manhattan, trying to escape the control of his overbearing father, addicted to internet porn, and defecating on President Bush.

In any number of private conversations with Intellectuals, even back when I was an atheist, I have had the disconcerting experience of discussing one topic, say, for example, ethics, self-discipline, chastity, and virtue, when suddenly before my wondering eyes, my partner in the debate would suddenly transform into a bleary-headed Antichrist, and start ranting and vaunting on and on about how he did not believe in God. As best I can tell, the rant had the most tenuous relation to the topic, or no relation at all. Libertarians and Leftists were particularly prone to this, but the behavior was by no means found in them only.

As I said, being at that time an atheist myself, I had no quarrel with their disbelief in God, and, indeed, I had much more rigorously logical reasons than theirs for my atheism, including reasons not based on gross historical inaccuracies, and including reasons not based on anger and contempt against a being I took to be non-existent.

But no, somehow the conversation swerved into this strange Wonderland of Humpty-Dumpty logic, where I was told in thundering tones that (1) God did not exist (2) God favored self-discipline, chastity, and virtue and therefore (3) Self-discipline, chastity, and virtue must be avoided at all costs, lest God win some sort of moral victory.

Try as I might, I could see no necessary logical relation between the three statements, but it happened often enough, and from several different people in several walks of life, that I realized I was seeing a pattern.

These were men scandalized by the excesses of the Crusades, but not of the Paynim conquests of Asia Minor and North Africa and the Middle-East. Conquering the Holy Land in the name of Allah was unremarkable, but re-Conquering it in the name of Christ was abhorrent, the worst excess of history. Likewise, the Spanish Inquisition was thunderously condemned, but the much bloodier and more thorough and ruthless inquisitions and purges of Lenin and Stalin and Mao and Castro and Pol Pot escaped their notice, or the religious wars between Shiite and Sunni, or the Shinto-based Emperor-worship of the Imperial Japanese during World War Two.

The pattern was this: the atheists with whom I spoke were not real atheists. Real atheists disbelieve in Jove as well as in Jehovah, and have no more respect or disrespect for Confucius as for Christ, Lao Tzu or Luther or Thor.  Real atheists simply don’t believe in ghosts or ghostly things.

These were not real atheists, they were merely anti-Christians. They were willing to believe in any ghosts, from Casper to Captain Gregg, provided they were not Holy. The only god in which they did not believe was the God of Abraham.

UNREASON

So the modern sophomore ends up in the awkward rhetorical position of both claiming to be our enlightened intellectual-moral superior, but also claiming sexual perversion is not perverse, but that sexual self-control is. Vice is courage and virtue is evil. Wrong is right and right is wrong. A is not-A.

Not just his conscience but his reason is suborned.

Obviously, a sincere skeptic who made no moral value judgments could not condemn chastity any more than he could condemn unchastity, nor could he condemn the enforcement at law of moral norms any more than he could condemn the liberty at law to disregard moral norms, because he can condemn nothing. To be perfectly consistent, the sincere skeptic also could not condemn the lack of skepticism as wrong.

If I chose to be what a non-hypocritical skeptic saw as utterly gullible and intellectually dishonest, believing things on blind faith merely because it pleased me, or because I was too craven and unimaginative to dare think otherwise, he could not condemn that gullibility or dishonesty or cowardice any more than he could condemn unchastity or drunkenness. If there are no rules for the goose, there are none for the gander.

ANTI-METAPHYSICS

Finally, with this mess of illogic as their philosophy, we can expect, and our expectations are not cheated, to find that Intellectuals are helpless and incoherent when the topic turns to Metaphysics. What was once the Queen of the Sciences, in modern hands, is not even a slattern.

One of the main thrusts of modern philosophy, and its main source of confusion and morbidity, is the attempt to do away with metaphysics.

Now metaphysics, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, does not mean table-tipping or Tarot card reading. It refers to the examination of being as such, the reasoning about of those things which are necessarily true in this or any possible universe. Metaphysics concerns such topics as the nature of being, the nature of reality and the relation of the mind to it, the relation between cause and effect and free will, the nature of logic, and so on. All of these are based on metaphysical principles.

In the opening chapter of his ELEMENTS, Euclid, with a clarity rarely seen in more modern textbooks, lays out with admirable precision his definitions, common notions, and first principles or axioms without which the science of geometry cannot be reduced to a set of rigorous deductions. Metaphysics is the study of the axioms and common notions of the other philosophies and sciences, including natural philosophy.

By its very nature, conclusions or inductions of metaphysics cannot be opened to empirical verification or empirical dispute. The materialist who believes that nothing exists by atoms in motion, and that consciousness is an illusion, and the immaterialist who believes that nothing exists but consciousness, and that matter is an illusion,  and the Buddhist who believes that nothing exists, neither consciousness nor matter, all three could see a ray of light deflected around the sun during an eclipse, and come to the conclusion that Einstein’s predictions of what their senses would tell them about the physical world was correct. All three could be convinced of the conclusions of physics without it having the least influence on their metaphysics. This is because metaphysics is not an empirical science.

Indeed, empiricism is not an empirical science, it is a theory of epistemology. No physicists was convinced by an experiment that there is regularity in nature and that the complexity of appearances have in underlying simple relation. No one saw Occam’s Razor through a spyglass like Galileo seeing the moons of Jupiter. Empiricism is a conclusion of metaphysical principle, a principle which says that we men are rational beings who live in a rational universe, and that the objects and events in the universe have a nature, a physis, that can be described in terms of simpler elements or proportions or equations.

Do not be deceived! It is a common mistake to assume that because the materialist believes in matter, his metaphysics are somehow more modern, more scientific, or more empirically verifiable than immaterialism or Buddhism. Nonsense. Modern scientific thought is characterized, as Newtonian thought was not, by the presence of an observer. The whole of modern physics rests on the principle that the observer influences what he observes: this is the core of the Heisenberg principle. An observation is a mental, not a physical, act. An observation, also called a perception, logically implies a perceiver and a perceived. A materialist argues that there are atoms in motion, but no movers, no mind, no one to perceive, that perceptions themselves are merely atoms–in other words, he argues that there are no observers. His argument would be more at home in the universe of Newton, or, more likely, Lucretius. In truth, no argument or observation from the physical sciences gives any preference to materialism over immaterialism, dualism, monism, spiritualism, Buddhism or What-have-you-ism.

The prevalence of materialism among the schools of modern Intellectualism has to do more with their ethics than their metaphysics. A materialist argues that no man is responsible for any of his acts, since the brain is merely a mechanism programmed by blind nature or inhuman historical or cultural forces, or shaped by selfish genetic molecules into its conclusions, axioms, preferences, and judgments.

Obviously no sane person believes this even for a second: moral categorization of human behavior is an inescapable metaphysical category. If it were not so, we would regard even the act of being dishonest during a philosophical debate as a fact, not an act.

Facts have no moral component: something either is merely the case, or it is not. Acts have a moral component: an act is good, bad, or indifferent, but it is not merely a fact. A materialist who pretends that my acts are facts, him I can dismiss by saying my brain is programmed not to regard his arguments, or “memes”, as valid, and I say that while I know that it is illegitimate to ignore a valid argument, I cannot act on this knowledge. Somehow, no materialist is ever convinced by this logic. Maybe their brains are pre-programmed to reject it.

But materialism is irresponsible, since it alleviates by special pleading any particular act from moral condemnation. Buddhism and immaterialism do not have this particular quality of irresponsibility, and so have no incentive, and offer no temptation, to the sophomoric or moronic mind.

Immaterialism does not help the Intellectual to achieve an unearned sense of intellectual grandeur or moral sanctity to believe in consciousness, and so such a belief is under-incentivized.

WHY SMARTS?

You might be wondering why Smartness is the quality that the Intellectual reveres and reserves to himself as his badge of honor, and why moral uprightness?

There are two reasons making these things the centerpiece as the feast of self-admiration rather than something else.

The first reason is invisibility. Smarts are invisible. If you went around claiming you were tall, people could look at the crown of your head and measure its distance to the floor, and therefore confirm if you were boasting. If you claimed you were heroically brave, they could look at your chest to see if you have any medals there; or if you claimed you were a poetic genius, they could read your poems. And so on. But to be smart, all you have to do is repeat like a magpie whatever the people self-identified as the Smart Set say. You do not have to be Einstein to repeat E=MC^2. All you have to do is memorize it and utter it when appropriate.

You can be as dim as a Rock Star, and still make jokes demeaning a president whose scholastic and academic accomplishments outstrip your own considerably, and be greeted with applause rather than hoots of disbelief, because no one can actually check your smarts against the President.

You (the rock star) say all the right things, and he (the Republican) says things the Smart Set scorn, so it must be a gift in innately superior intelligence that leads you aright, and sets you to parroting the popular conformity, and not a defect of the independence of your thought and the poverty of your insight.

The second reason is neutrality. Keep in mind that the Intellectual lives in an aggressively amoral universe. He recites the maxims of Nietzsche, and wants to live like the Superman, beyond good and evil; he recites the maxims of Marx, and wants to justify any crime in the name of the greater good. This is not because he believes Nietzsche or Marx (indeed, it is unlikely that he has read either) it is because he wants to live in a universe where his conscience is arbitrary, and therefore its messages of right and wrong can be and should be ignored.  So the Intellectual cannot compliment himself on any objectively good virtue, since virtue and vice do not exist in his mental universe, and he would rather not compliment himself on some merely subjective preference. But Smartness is scientific! It can be measured by I.Q. tests! It is objective! It is so very modern!

It would be embarrassing to vaunt over your moral supremacy when the whole point of the exercise is to dismiss morality as an arbitrary taboo or as a tool of oppression against the weak. Intellectuals do this nonetheless, to be sure, but vaunting over one’s own intelligence does not suffer this obvious drawback.

Let us add a third reason. In addition to being invisible and neutral, claiming smartness is a flexible and ever-ready excuse to avoid any demand one exercise it.  If you are smart, you give yourself a free pass to disregard the rules of courtesy and integrity that bind the lesser folk.

If one is smartly Smart, one need not bother arguing with the stupid people, who, by some odd coincidence, always just so happen to be Christians or Republicans or both, and who just so happen to remind you of your father.

And since all the people who disagree with what the Smart Set is saying this season are stoopids, one need never argue with them. Indeed, one need never argue or reason at all, examine one’s premises, think through the implications of one’s beliefs, or do any of the hard and tedious brain-work that real philosophers have been known to do. One need not cultivate a scrupulous sense of intellectual honesty, or show any courtesy or chivalry to one’s foes and opponents in debate.

In a word, telling yourself you are smart is like a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card: it is an excuse for mental torpor and smugness that never stops excusing. Why, you don’t even have to explain yourself to anyone! If you are smarter than they are, then they are just wasting your time!

And since the intelligence of other people is always known only indirectly, whereas a man’s own wits are known to him at first hand, it is relatively easy and painless to underestimate the intelligence of others, and to overestimate one’s own.

The Intellectual can explain his inferiority to men of common sense and common decency merely by attributing their conclusions and convictions to some unworthy motive or mental defect: they are not smart nor bold nor pure-minded enough, as I am (so he tells himself) to violate the various commandments of morality and prudence.

He ascribes his difference of opinion with them not to a defect of his experience, or the distortion of his conscience, or the insubordination of his passions, but instead to their lack of mental acuity.

This becomes an article of faith, unquestioned and unquestionable. Even when enormities no one can ignore are pressed upon his awareness, such as when a devout Socialist sees the 250,000,000 murders caused by Communism in the last century, the Intellectual, due to his superior smartness, can smartly deny with a smirk of smartness that there is anything wrong with his theory. It is reality that is deficient.

VANITY

The root of the Philosophy, or, rather the Sophistry, I have here examined is vanity or vainglory. I have spoken of the various incentives or temptations that make is easier for a Sophist to argue as he does, but I have not said why he takes the easy road rather than the honest one. The psychological reason will differ from man to man, but the sophomoronic reason, the thing that makes his philosophy easier to defend and articulate, is a cost to benefit calculus.

You see, the Sophist can, on a moral level, treat himself to the palm and honors of a martyr without suffering the discomforts or torture of martyrdom merely by likening any moral rules he wishes to discard to the crucifix and raging lions of oppression. He gets to wrap himself in Christlike sanctity, the poor victim, without suffering the passion of the Christ, all those messy whips and painful nails and such. Far from it! Merely by bashing Christ and praising socialist thugs or sexual oddities, the anti-martyr can find himself larded with praise for his nonconformist bravery.

On an intellectual level, the Sophist can treat himself to the laurels of a philosopher, and think himself as wise a Socrates, without ever once either questioning anything he is bottle-fed, or causing any gadfly disturbances to his insular circle of intellectual friends, flatters, and cheerleaders. The anti-philosopher is in no danger of disturbing the flabby excrescences of his comfortable biases, uninformed opinions, fashionable daydreams, or drifting visions of Utopia.  He certainly is in no danger of the hemlock.

He gets freely what he has no right and no ability to earn. But it is all vanity, vainglory, and passing gas. There is no substance and no reality to it.

Like the ever inflating currency the Intellectuals so adore, worthless paper money with no gold to back it, there is nothing backing the vainglory. Inflation means the virtue or utility or value of the debased good adjusts to its new low level. The prize awarded the Dodo in the Caucus Race is really not worth a thimble.

So, likewise, here: the self-praise of a man of modest intellectual accomplishments overvaluing himself above his betters, the great and wise philosophers and sages of old, must inevitably ring hollow. The conscience of the Intellectual can be pushed under a pillow to smother its words, but it cannot be asphyxiated. Something else must be done to silence the whisper of truth.

That something can take several forms, either irony or love of paradox, but the final form is always nihilism, the belief in nothing at all, the belief that no philosophy is better than any.

Because humor allows a man to speak a paradox and get a smile rather than being asked why he contradicted himself, humor is usually the defense mechanism used here. Because it is not funny in the least, it is that particular humorless humor called irony, where a man can contradict himself, but it is considered gauche to ask for a clarification or retraction.

Irony is the emotional counterpart to the intellectual conclusion called nihilism. Irony is deadness in the mirth and soul in the same way that nihilism is deadness in the reason.

Lest it be noticed that I reserve most of my scorn for Sophists of the political Left, let me use an example from a conservative. In his most recent column, conservative pundit John Derbyshire announces that human consciousness will soon be scientifically proven to be illusory. To whom this will be proven, if neither we exist nor any standards or operations of proof exist, is left unasked and unanswered.

Let me quote him word for word, because it is more stupid than even I, a relatively imaginative science fiction writer, could ever imagine.

http://article.nationalreview.com/435258/genomics-and-humanitys-future/john-derbyshire

Living processes, presumably including those that comprise human thought and feeling, are complicated chemical reactions. … Our folk metaphysics [here he means a belief in the human consciousness] is false; the facts uncovered by science are true.

Can we live without comforting falsehoods, though? Or rather: How many of us can? There is a line of thought … which argues that life is insupportable without self-deception.

The overall picture that emerges from the cognitive science researches of the last half century is one of a brain that struggles to cope with reality, and rarely does very well at it.

Worse yet: its not doing very well may be adaptive. That’s a term of art in biology. A trait is adaptive if an organism that possesses this trait gets a reproductive edge thereby over an organism that doesn’t.

Derb is saying that his mind now knows that his mind does not exist and knowledge has no truth content, i.e., no knowledge. Since this is an obvious self-contradiction, as impossible as a man biting off his own head and swallowing it, John Derbyshire merely retreats into the posture of irony. He pretends that the absurdity is not a logical absurdity but a humorous absurdity, and he with a smile invites us to share in the joke.

And note the sly invitation (or rather, how many of us can live without self-deception?) to join him in his intellectual hermit cell or hermetic cell, where we few, we happy few, who know that we do not exist and that our thoughts and feelings are merely chemical reactions, can smile without mirth in gloomy melancholia at the hoi polloi, the deceived masses of dupes, fools like Aristotle and Aquinas, who believe that belief exists and logically implies a believer and a thing believed.

We enlightened believe in non-belief, because that is the non-conclusion of the non-logic of our non-minds.

DEATH

I also note with some disquiet that John Derbyshire ends with an admission that to be totally honest in one’s own thought is maladaptive, and creates a death wish or some sort of tendency to die. In other words, as in an HP Lovecraft tale, to know the truth will not set you free, it will drive you mad or to an early grave, since the truth is something horrific. You can’t handle the truth.

Now, my suspicion is that this is not an admission, but an invitation, since the allure of death always walks closely in the footsteps the allure of such vacuous nihilistic intellectualisms.

The intellectual knows his intellectual accomplishments are modest; at some level, he knows he is a sophist, and not a philosopher; at some level, he knows that to abandon reason is to abandon life. In the case of men like Mr. Derbyshire, a lukewarm Christian who lost his faith to neuroscience and general weariness, the infidel knows at some level that he has forsworn not only life, but life eternal. Suddenly death seems as appealing a figure as something from a Neil Gaiman comic: not the Grim Reaper, but the welcoming silence that will at least smother the buzzing cries of that cricket conscience, and drown all sorrow and stale disappointment in endless dark oblivion.

But this is merely speculation. I am not a psychologist. I cannot say whether that writer in particular yields to the temptation of embracing a death wish.

But I can say that once a man believes his mind does not exist, or lies to him and lies all the time, that his thoughts and wishes are merely chemicals, that his dreams are false and his sense of self and soul is a gross mistake, once a man embraces a sophistical opinion that the mind is mindless, it is but a small step, and a tempting one, to embrace nihilism, the belief that everything is nothing, and that death is preferable to life.

Whether any particular man yields t that silent siren song of death, and takes that small step, is up to him: for now, we can merely conclude that taking that step is coherent with the other elements that make up the philosophy of modern intellectualism.

A WORD OF WARNING

So what is the conclusion of our new science of Sophomoronology, when applied to the incoherent flotilla of ideas I here labeled ‘Intellectualism’. Does this mean that when we come across an Intellectual we can proudly tell him he believes what he believes for such-and-such a reason, and that since the reason is illegitimate, ergo his beliefs are false?

No! Not if we are true philosophers or even honest men! It does not necessarily follow that a bad motive leads to a false conclusion. An Intellectual with the most wretched and self-serving motive in the world could get a post as a tenured professor, and use his position to train the young and innocent minds under his tutelage that his various paradoxes and mutterings and peepings are the Gospel truth. The young and innocent will then go with vacant smiles out into the great wide world, filled with the joy and enthusiasm of youth, and preach the doctrines of misery and decay and death, all the while thinking they are doing the world a favor, nay, verily, thinking that they are crusaders saving the world from the forces of wickedness, who always (somehow) just so happen to be Republicans or Christians or both.

You will never know if the seething, stinking wrongness, ambiguity, nonsense and vainglory is coming from a tenured professor of evil, who knows he serves the cause of unreason and unlife, or if the nonsense is being parroted by a glassy-eyed blank-smiling youth or maiden full of goodness and crusading zeal.

Telling them the causes of their belief is not the same as telling them the reason for the belief.

The reason for the conclusion is the logic of the axioms. That is the level at which a philosophical discussion plays out. The cause can be psychological or personal or due to the temptations I here listed in my shiny new science of Sophomoronology. These causes form no part of a serious discussion.

CONCLUSION

The modern intellectual is morally backward and simpleminded hypocrite, afflicted by a death wish and having execrably bad taste in art, no training in logic, and little ability to make even common sense deductions of moral calculation, but his modern self-esteem leads him to believe he is a moral genius as well as an intellectual giant.

However, the process of logic that continues to operate even in a mind devoted to illogic creates an incentive, or a temptation, for the Intellectual, even if at first goodwilled and honest, to renounce epistemology, reason, philosophy, ethics, economics, and all other rigorous intellectual achievements. If he surrenders to these temptations, he becomes a emotional pawn of whatever the current fashions happen to be, readily angry, easily offended by the most trivial of symbols, utterly indifferent to massive suffering of real people in the real world. Intellectualism is a philosophy that hates philosophy and kills the intellect.

The ancients pegged this psychological type by coining the term “sophomore” the wise fool, and the ancient Jews exhaustively described this psychological type in the book of Proverbs and elsewhere. It is nothing new. The only novelty is the power and influence this childish sophistry now commands, which rules half the globe and dominates the other half.

Intellectualism would be comical in its clumsy absurdity were it not so dangerous and gross, in the same way a red-nosed clown in floppy shoes is no longer a figure of fun once you spy the bloodstained chainsaw in his fists.

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