The Pigpile of Subjectivism
Part of an ongoing discussion. A reader comments:
All subjectivists, in my experience, believe that subjectivism is true for all people at all times, and furthermore that it is all people’s duty to acknowledge this.
I remember a philosophy class that turned into a pigpile on me until the teacher intervened in the discussion because it got too fierce — and I meekly observed afterwards that it was very odd to be told that I was wrong for saying that points of view could be wrong. Fortunately, they were smart enough to be abashed. (One classmate, not one of the pile, chuckled.)
My comment: I suspect, from your description, that the pigpile was surprisingly fierce because you touched a nerve. By commenting that there was such a thing as right and wrong, you challenged the highest and most revered idol of modern idolatry, the nothingness at the core of all postmodern thought.
If there is such a thing as right and wrong, then Political Correctness is not politeness and enlightenment, it is Orwellian deception and self-deception.
If there is right and wrong, the main argument in favor of sexual license and sexual perversion (namely, ” ‘taint nobody’s business if I do”) is no longer available.
If there is such a thing as right and wrong, all cases of historical injustice have to be judged on their merits, not condemned because it forms the “narrative” of the stronger or weaker party; indeed, the whole process of investigating the motives and character of the person condemned rather than their argument shifts the intellectual past-time of the leisured intellectual away from gossip and back toward the merits of the argument.
When their central idol was challenged, all the modern halfwits and lackwits are required by their sense of honor to defend what the truth of their creed, namely, that there is no such thing as honor and no such thing as truth.
It is to their credit that any of them perceived the irony or got the joke of the manifest self contradiction involved. Most moderns are as lacking in humor and self reflection as they are in reason.
I hope I will be forgiven the slightly impolite act of quoting in its entirety a post from an admirable writer whose thoughts have a particular pithy clarity on the matter. This is from Bruce Charlton:
Natural Law is the inbuilt, universal human understanding of the good – the true, beautiful and virtuous.
Modern people violate this, the modern state propagandises the violation of Natural Law, the violation of Natural Law is taught explicitly, and inculcated covertly, by the ‘arts’ and entertainment and news.
(I mean that personal experience and observation are meaningless or intrinsically mistaken, that lies are truth, and truth is hate; that beauty is kitsch and deliberately-contrived-ugliness is true beauty, and the reversed/ inverted sexual morality which forms the focus of so much modern public and personal life where what was bad becomes a subsidised and coerced good, while what was good is labelled an agent of cruelty.)
It is not because of stupidity. Everybody already knows (by its definition) Natural Law. But under Leftism people know it only to violate it. And this is evil – intentional, purposive, deliberate evil.
To put it another way, the main problem is that people are not even not-even-trying to be good; they are actually trying to be bad, because they believe (because they are told, 24/7, and punished if they disagree) that bad is good.
(But ‘people’ are not innocent victims of this evil propaganda – they contribute to it and profit by it and try to exploit it for their own ends; they are culpable, they are blame-worthy – they will be held to account not for that which was coerced upon them, but for their self-interested propagation of the ideology which rationalizes this coercion.)
This is why there is no atheist solution to the current problems, it is why the secular Right is of no use; and why paganism is no use – why (ultimately) only traditional devout monotheism can and will defeat Leftism.
Nothing else than monotheism has the solid transcendental core to withstand the multifaceted worldly materialism of Leftism.
In the past, before the triumph of the Left, human society would ‘naturally’ be regulated by Natural Law.
But we are now in a situation in which Natural Law is regarded as evil.
(Evil because a universal tyrant, an inescapable and exclusive code of behaviour, a strangling constraint on freedom of self-development; because NL makes some people suffer – suffer either absolutely, or relatively compared with what they ideally-might experience… and so on.)
Therefore reminding people of universal values is worthless, or even harmful – because modern Leftism is precisely about violating and inverting Natural Law (‘subverting’ is their favourite term).
Argument is useless – the Left knows the arguments anyway (since they are common sense and based on universal knowledge and experience); but they will not argue.
The Left know that their own arguments are incoherent but have chosen to embrace incoherence as a sign of their own depth of moral conviction.
In fact incoherence is a sign of enthrallment to purposive evil, reflecting that evil is incoherent (because negative, destructive by its nature – the anti-Good does not need to be coherent).