One of the things that has slowed me down this week is losing a contact lens. For various reasons, I have to use hard lenses and with them in I can see quite well, thank you. Without? Well, reading music is hard. Writing is hard — particularly if you read authors online and you can’t see your spelling mistakes.
This afternoon the replacement lens arrived. (No, I don’t have two sets. The lenses are weird and the regulations around getting new ones more so). I’m able to sit and read. For while I could not see well enough to write at full pace, I could listen. What I was hearing was distraction, a narrative, and a sense of hectoring. Of desperation.
What the election actually shows us is that the so-called quiet Australians, whether they are tradies (to use the Australian term) in Penrith, retirees in Bundaberg, or small business owners in Newcastle, are tired of incessant scolding from their purported superiors. Condescension isn’t a good look for a political movement.Claire Lehmann, Quillette.
Taking stock of real voters’ needs would require elites to exhibit a spirit of empathic understanding—such as by way of acknowledging that blue-collar workers have good reason to vote down parties whose policies would destroy blue-collar jobs; or that legal immigrants might oppose opening up a nation’s border to migrants who arrive illegally. More broadly, the modern progressive left has lost touch with the fact that what ordinary people want from their government is a spirit of respect, dignity and hope for the future. While the fetish for hectoring and moral puritanism has become popular in rarefied corners of arts and academia, it is deeply off-putting to voters whose sense of self extends beyond cultish ideological tribalism.
A few problems here. The first is that the educated, are all too often, practically idiots. They look at the graph (see above) and think that model is the reality: they don’t understand that it is instead an abstraction designed to make at best a hypothesis. Uncertainty is corrected by knowledge: statistical models are not guides to truth, but an estimation of error, of dubious utility. What most people call science is a series of errors, sponsored by funding agencies.
Such people teach that Christianity is superstition: an old idea — the Romans and Greeks argued that way when Paul was still alive. (The enlightenment added nothing to this but a Jacobean lust for blood of those who would not praise their new antigods). We always have a cultus: in the times of materialistic socialism it was tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Comrade Number One. It has never worked. For we remain, gloriously human.
Just as killing off Christianity was never going to kill off religion – people will believe in something – killing off national identity is not going to kill of identity. The decimation of mainstream Christianity has resulted in a fragmentation of the religious space, with all sorts of beliefs rushing in to fill the void. The decline of national identity and the subsequent war on white people is creating room for tribalism to flourish. In this regard, civic nationalism is a rearguard action. It’s why it is popular with old people.
The cult of the nice, of tolerance, curdles. The initial plea is to not damn us, not punish us, because of who we are or what we do. Then our rituals must be allowed. Finally, they must be praised. If we do not praise them, and say their sacrifices and actions were called in old days evil, we are not nice, and the not nice must be shut up, silenced, deplatformed. Adam Piggott notes that the Orthodox saw the first part of this (and having had a long experience of progroms) shut it down hard. The liberal Christians did not, and now wonder why they have lost power to those poorly bred and uneducated fundamentalists, baptists and pentecostals, who still call evil wrong and nobility good.
The cult of nice was a step too far and underscored the inherent brittleness of the Catholic Church and its inability to retain power in the midst of great social changes. The Church’s desperation to retain some form of relevance and by default power at any cost has resulted in calamity for religion in the West.
Adam is wrong. The church is still there, it is just not where the social justice warriors invaded. They leave nothing but wreckage. The faithful have moved to other places, and they remain.
And the Holy Spirit adds to their number, as long as the gospel is preached. With this, religion is returning. The gospel, to this world, has never been relevant. But that is its power.