Calling a Deer a Horse

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    The Wright Perspective - Calling a Deer a Horse

    The Federalist has an article stating that for the Left, their God is Caesar, that is to say, the State, that is to say, themselves.

    After a disaster or lost battle, the Jews of old said it was it is the punishment rightfully delivered for not being faithful enough to Jehovah, not giving him what he demanded for their good: an upright heart and pure more sacred to him than any ritual sacrifice.

    After every crime-spree or disaster or terrorist attack by persons who never turn out to be white right-wingers, the Left says that it is the punishment rightfully delivered for not being faithful enough to Caesar, not giving him what he demanded for our good: not giving Caesar enough power, property and control over our minds and souls to solve the problem.

    While Leftism has much in common with a mental illness, it is not a mental illness. The sick behaviors of the Left are affixed to certain topics of thought, not to the machinery of thought. Nor can it be explained as stupidity, or ignorance, or innocent lack of knowledge.

    One might ask: how many people will the Muslims have to shoot before the Left realizes that the Muslim doctrines telling them God wants them to shoot people is the source of the problem, and not the lack of a government-enforced global weather control system to prevent any change to the climate? How long until they wake up?

    How long until the Left wake up? The answer is: NEVER.

    The Left will never wake up to reality for precisely the reason that Leftism is a mental system of excuses and psychological tricks and traps meant to allow the Leftist to escape from reality.

    That is what all their rigmarole, jabberwocky, lies and evasions, all their complex obfuscations, and penning endless tomes of endless nonsense from Marx to Keynes to Al Gore, all their riots, marches, protests, sit-ins, think-tanks, media moguls, money laundering, awards shows, convulsions, antics, stunts, clamor, libel, slander, and cacophony is for: Reality avoidance.

    That is all that it is for.

    It was not always thus. Perhaps a generation ago, there were Leftists who joined the Democrat Party for what were political reasons, to promote labor unions, impose regulation on banks and businesses in response to some threat, real or imaginary, posed by the free market, or to encourage the welfare state to help the poor.

    Perhaps two generations ago, there were real Marxists who really believed that socialism was more efficient and more productive of human wealth than the free market. But after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, no honest person can maintain that socialism is more efficient at encouraging wealth and creating and distributing goods and services than a free market.

    All socialism produces are mounds of corpses in mass graves, and gulag-states surrounded by barbed wire, with all guns pointed inward.

    Even Bill Clinton, a weasel without an honest bone in his body, announced the era of big government to be over, and took the first step to dismantling the American version of Marxism, Johnson’s Great Society. If he saw socialism as a failure, anyone can see it.

    And so the criticism changed strategy. In the shadow of the Holocaust of Jews by the Nazis, where Nazism became the synonym for evil in a world which has ceased to speak of the Devil, racism was identified as the main scourge and flaw of the West, and attempts to eradicate racism by means of embracing multiculturalism became the norm.

    This is ironic. Tribalism, racism, and the presumed superiority of one’s own bloodline over any foreigners is the norm of human existence, and only the Christian religion gives anyone any reason to condemn it. Here in the West and here alone is anyone even concerned at calling it evil or trying to eliminate it. It would be like the West trying to wipe out polygamy, when we are the only ones whose culture rejects polygamy. No one else sees it as wrong.

    Be that as it may. Multiculturalism is not a doctrine, it is an attitude: the attitude is to praise inferior and savage societies in any ways in which they differ from Christendom, and to blame, scold, vilify and upbraid Christendom for any ways in which we differ from Utopia. It is the attitude of a nagging wife unwilling to divorce a hard-working husband and provider she hates and loathes. Multiculturalism is nagging.

    The nagging is based on the idea that all cultures are equal, and all equally provide for human liberty and human happiness. Skyscraper and yurt: the same. Cathedral and igloo: the same. Wright Brothers and the Cargo Cult of Melanesia: the same. American cosmetics industry and pre-Western Chinese practice of breaking the bones in baby girls’ feet for footbinding: the same. Western abolition of slavery and Hindu caste system: the same. Medical Doctors and Witch-Doctors: the same. Scientific agriculture and Maori cannibalism: the same.

    Progress and stagnation: the same. Christian martyr and Muslim suicide bomber: the same. Jesus and Mohammed: the same.

    See how it works?

    The Christian West, with our industrial and scientific revolutions (the byproduct of our Christian metaphysics, university system and Christian individualism) not to mention our legal and juridical advances are held by hypothesis not to have made any particular advances in human liberty and happiness.

    Any use of discriminatory judgment between the cultures of, say, the British Empire and he Aztec Empire is the product of bigotry, bias, or race-hatred.

    After 9/11, it became clear that not all cultures equally provide for human liberty and happiness. Indeed, it is clear enough to any honest observer that come cultures are productive of vast misery and vast oppression, especially oppression of women, of children, of the weak and helpless. The growing slave trade in underage boys used as catamites by the Muslim is a clear enough sign of this, as well as the rape statistics that follow Muslim migrants entering Europe.

    In recent years, with the cult of multiculturalism dead, and Marxism rightfully tossed into the crematorium of dead yet stupid ideas, the only thing left for the Left to do was to break all ties with honesty.

    Political Correctness has its roots in Stalinism, and is as old as Marx himself, as old as the first lie every told by a snake in Eden. But since 9/11, with both their idols of multiculturalism and socialism smashed, the press and the Left generally expelled their less extreme elements from their midst, or shamed them into silence, and embraced falsehood as the source and summit of all good.

    This is what I call ‘the Unreality Principle‘ which is the principle that a lie is better than the truth because to lie and to believe a lie proves one’s loyalty. To lie and believe lies is morally superior than to tell and believe the truth, and the more outrageous the lie, the greater the moral superiority one can award oneself.

    The Chinese have an epigram for this, as they have for most things political and practical.

    It is written this way: 指鹿為馬(zhi lu wei ma). Literally translated, the four characters mean ‘point deer, make horse’.

    The word for ‘make’ also means ‘to transform’ or ‘to serve as’ or ‘to make believe.’ So the epigram means ‘Calling a deer a horse.’

    As with all Chinese epigrams, there is a story behind it:

    Zhao Gao was contemplating treason but was afraid the other officials would not heed his commands, so he decided to test them first. He brought a deer and presented it to the Emperor but called it a horse. The Emperor laughed and said, “Is the chancellor perhaps mistaken, calling a deer a horse?” Then the emperor questioned those around him. Some remained silent, while some, hoping to ingratiate themselves with Zhao Gao, said it was a horse, and others said it was a deer. Zhao Gao secretly arranged for all those who said it was a deer to be brought before the law and had them executed instantly.

    You see how the Unreality Principle works. Bringing in a pony and calling it a horse won’t do. Someone might honestly mistake a horse for a pony. Only lies that are breathtakingly stupid, things no sane person could say or believe, are sufficient to show where one’s loyalty rests.

    It is for this reason that Hillary Clinton announced that acts of terrorism carried out by Islamicists in the name of Islam as defined, promoted and commanded by Islam now and for all centuries past not only had nothing to do with Islam, but, in her words, ‘nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.’

    Islam is not the enemy. The deer is a horse.

    The problem with loyalty to the Unreality Principle is that in order to be truly loyal, you have to believe, actually to believe, nonsense you should know is nonsense.

    Endless hours can be wasted debating to what degree the various followers of the Unreality Principle are complicit in their own self-deception. But that question cannot be answered: The question is a paradox. When a man is trying to deceive himself, he is his own victim, deceiver and deceived at once. And successful self-deception results in his not knowing himself to have successfully deceived himself: so arguing that he really does not know better is merely to say he is skilled at auto-hypnosis.

    If any Leftist is being deceived about what Leftism truly is or truly says, it is deception by invitation.

    It is a meaningless question to ask whether President Obama or anyone else ‘actually’ believes that Global Warming causes terrorism, or ‘actually’ thinks we should not pray for the victims of a mass shooting because Caesar is more potent than God. There is no ‘actually’ with these people: there is nothing below the surface appearance.

    The surface appearance, by design, is all that there is. Intellectual honesty and introspection are what their mental system is designed to avoid.

    So, yes, the Left ‘actually’ believes (1) if only given control over the economy, that the State has the power to stop the weather from ever changing again and (2) the fact that weather changes makes Muslims (but not Christians or Jews living in the same villages, same area, same clime) plan and carry out large-scale sneak attacks against random innocent civilians and (3) we, and not Mohammed, are responsible for what Mohammedans think, say, believe and do.

    From this, the Left ‘actually’ conclude that, ergo, if only we gave Caesar more control over our money, time, property, speech, press and inward thoughts, then Caesar would force us to do the right things and say the right things, and then the Mohammedans, who are actually controlled by us, would all become peaceful and productive members of society like Ozzie and Harriet.

    These are not beliefs in the sense that you and I believe that Washington crossed the Delaware, or that Proxima is the nearest star, or that the square built on the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the combined areas of the squares built on the remaining legs, or that infanticide is evil, or that all men are created equal.

    Those beliefs are based on historical witness, on scientific observation, on geometric deduction, on moral and political reasoning.

    No, their belief that gun control solves rather than encourages gun violence, their belief that junk science overrules real science, their belief that minimum wage laws diminish rather than promote poverty, their belief that a diversity in cultures and races benefits rather than erodes social bonds, their belief that gay marriage is the same as marriage, their belief that throwing petrol on a fire quenches it, this and countless others are beliefs taken on faith.

    This is not the time-tested and endlessly proven faith of the Christians, mind you, but a blind faith in the wisdom and candor of anonymous pundits in the press or entertainment industry.

    The most narrow-minded Christian can point to the specific passage in the catechism or the scripture to justify what he takes on faith, for he can say in whom he has faith, on whose testament he is relying, or name the martyrs whose witness convinced him or convinced his ancestors.

    But the allegedly broadminded Leftist cannot name a single experiment or observation on which their belief in Global Warming or Minimum Wage Law is based, or the peaceful nature of Islam, or any of their beliefs.

    Leftism has more in common with conspiracy theories about faked moon landings than it does with any economic theory or political policy.

    Leftism is a convenient way for postchristians to signal to the warren that they are virtuous: by screaming about imaginary danger, hunting witches, and ignoring real dangers, they show their utmost loyalty to unreality, and their absolute defiance of their enemy.

    Their enemy is reality.

    Their enemy is nature, is the cosmos, is the world, and the author whose hand created nature, the cosmos, and the world.

    Why else would they be jealous of prayers directed toward heaven, and not at their idol? Why else such disdain? Why else such scorn?

    We are at war. The Islamic terror masters, the Imams of Iran and the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia is only the visible, open, violent arm of the enemy war machine. We have barbarians within the gates already, for years, who are not only within, but are our elite leaders, social and political.

    The riots and commotions on our campuses, the Occupy Wallstreet movement, the Obama-inspired race riots and cop-killings, the disgusting treachery of our Supreme Court, and the flaccid laxity of our Congress, the corruption in the Justice Department and the IRS, and on and on, are the visible manifestations of an invisible war.

    The invisible war is spiritual, and it is wages with principalities and powers, dominions and angels loyal to the Prince of this World and all his false glamour.

    Prayer is your weapon in the invisible war just as bucks and ballots are your weapon in the culture war, and bombs and bullets your weapon in the shooting war.

    The enemy wants to make it costly, eventually illegal, to use campaign contribution or votes to influence the culture. Hence the furor over campaign finance laws and voter ID laws.

    The enemy wants you not to be carrying a firearm when a jihadist or the BATF shows up to shoot you and your loved ones. Hence after every mass shooting, there are more calls to disarm the victims even more.

    Of course the enemy wants you not to pray. This is war. What did you expect?

    Photo by Mshake/Getty Images

    John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.

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      • Steven Schwartz

        Normally, I’d just shrug and go “Oh, it’s John C. Wright being John C. Wright”. But in these days when we have a near-fascist leading one party’s polling for President, and seeing what happens when dangerous or deluded rhetoric goes unchallenged, I figure it’s time to go at it again.

        We’ll start at the beginning: “The Federalist has an article stating that for the Left, their God is Caesar, that is to say, the State, that is to say, themselves.”

        Part of the problem here is the very presumption that people have to have a God. That’s before we even get into assigning people views they don’t hold, and then going into a lengthy discussion based on those false assuptions.

        I mean, if I started an article saying “X Magazine has an article stating that, for the Right, God is a mirror they use to justify their fears, hatreds, and tribalistic thinking”, I suspect Mr. Wright, and many others, would simply shake their heads and give up; the article woud, to them, feel simply *wrong* at the outset.

        Just like this one.

        But, to go further, since there’s plenty here that needs discussion:

        After every crime-spree or disaster or terrorist attack by persons who never turn out to be white right-wingers

        Considering that there have been *more* crime sprees and terrorist attacks by white right-wingers in this country this century than by Muslims of any stripe, saying “never” is, well, a blatant lie.

        It was not always thus. Perhaps a generation ago, there were Leftists who joined the Democrat Party for what were political reasons, to promote labor unions, impose regulation on banks and businesses in response to some threat, real or imaginary, posed by the free market, or to encourage the welfare state to help the poor.

        Indeed, there still are. Of course, since you assign beliefs to them they don’t have, you’ll never see that.

        Again: If I wrote “Perhaps a generation ago, there were Rightists who joined the Plutocrat* Party for political reasons, because they believed in free markets and moral standards, but now they join it only out of racism and fear”, you’d dismiss it outright, becauset hat’s not you (I think). But you have no compunction demonizing the Left, and complaining when you are not treated with kid gloves.

        *(It’s Democratic Party, John. Being off-handedly disrespectful doesn’t exactly lend you credibility.)

        [omitted: blither about socialism, demonstrating that Mr. Wright's grasp of history is tenuous, at best, and massively biased, at worst.]

        This is ironic. Tribalism, racism, and the presumed superiority of one’s own bloodline over any foreigners is the norm of human existence, and only the Christian religion gives anyone any reason to condemn it.

        And here we get back to another massive assumption, and another rhetorical trick. To Mr. Wright, everything good that happens in a Christian-dominated world is attributable to Christianity, and everything bad is not; he stacks the deck, and claims fair play.

        Kantian reasoning gives a perfectly good reason to condemn tribalism and racism, for example, no need for “Christian religion” anywhere in it. Indeed, Christianity has been a *cause* for tribalism for most of its existence; we are fortunate that in most of the world, the horrors of religious war have convinced people that it’s not worth killing each other over which branch of Christianity to belong to. Killing non-Christians, however, appears to be fair game, at least according to modern Republican presidential candidates.

        Multiculturalism is not a doctrine, it is an attitude: the attitude is to praise inferior and savage societies in any ways in which they differ from Christendom, and to blame, scold, vilify and upbraid Christendom for any ways in which we differ from Utopia.

        And here we see the whimper and whine of the no-longer-dominant; the idea that there might be good things in other societies, that not all Good comes from the Christian part of the West, is such a shock to the system that it is perceived as an attack.

        Some criticism does come with the territory, when you’re going from a (never-actually-existing) monoculture to a multiculture; but when you feel that any criticism is unacceptable, well…

        The nagging is based on the idea that all cultures are equal, and all equally provide for human liberty and human happiness.

        Nompe. It’s based on the idea that there are many different ways to be human, and that there are many different ways to live, and that allowing them to intermix, compare, examine, will provide greater happiness for a greater number of people. Christian Europe, for example, learned a *tremendous* amount from Prechristian Europe during the Renaissance — had they insisted on remaining monocultural, who knows what would have happened?

        Christian martyr and Muslim suicide bomber: the same. Jesus and Mohammed: the same.

        Nompe. Christian terrorist and Muslim terrorist? Very similar — though a proper analysis will help explain their differences. Jesus and Mohammed? Different, as anyone with a decent eye for theology and scriptural analysis will tell you. :)

        You’re the one equating them, and claiming that it’s being forced upon you. It’s not equating Jesus and Mohammed to say that neither one of them should be treated as authoritative when it comes to determining the laws of our secular republic. It’s saying that they’re both irrelevant; but so is Odin, and so is Shiva, and so are the kami of Japan. That they share a characteristic (being irrelevant) does not make them equal, and only someone trying to stir up a sense of persecution would say they were.

        [deleted; a lot of John C. Wright telling people he doesn't like what they believe, while in the past he has treated someone telling him what he believes as the height of rudeness, an offense requiring an immediate apology and retraction.]

        No, their belief that gun control solves rather than encourages gun violence, their belief that junk science overrules real science, their belief that minimum wage laws diminish rather than promote poverty, their belief that a diversity in cultures and races benefits rather than erodes social bonds, their belief that gay marriage is the same as marriage, their belief that throwing petrol on a fire quenches it, this and countless others are beliefs taken on faith.

        Let’s look at some of these: “their belief that junk science overrules real science” — the junk science is what’s coming out of climate change denial, vaccine denial, evolution denial, and so on. The real science is what is regularly being denied by, well, a large number of Christian Republican figures.

        The same holds for several of your other positions; you’re stating your beliefs as facts, when they’re unsupported.

        their belief that gay marriage is the same as marriage

        Here’s another case, and it’s a different one in kind. This is, indeed, a matter of belief — you have your belief, other people have theirs. Yours has no more basis in “fact” than another, save that it came first. So did a whole lot of ideas we no longer accept — the Church accepted slavery long before it denied it, for example.

        The way in which you accept your beliefs as fact, and decry other people’s facts (like on climate change) as beliefs should, if you are honest, make you pause; and look in a mirror, and wonder how others might see you, and if, in fact, you do not look to those you argue with as they look to you.

        Because, as you’ve pointed out yourself — being that way is not conducive to rational argument, discussion, or problem-solving.

        If you can see that, perhaps we can get somewhere.

        Then again, I suspect that chance is slim, given:

        The most narrow-minded Christian can point to the specific passage in the catechism or the scripture to justify what he takes on faith, for he can say in whom he has faith, on whose testament he is relying, or name the martyrs whose witness convinced him or convinced his ancestors.

        And this statement holds true for any textually-based religion, with a narrow-minded viewpoint. You describe the Christian faith as “endlessly proven” — yet any follower of a religion old enough would feel that way; it certainly hasn’t been proven by any methodology that would be convincing to enough non-believers, or there wouldn’t be so many. ;)

        But the allegedly broadminded Leftist cannot name a single experiment or observation on which their belief in Global Warming

        You do realize there have been thousands of pages of review journals on hundreds of studies on this subject published? Go look at the IPCC reports, and realize that the overwhelming scientific consensus is there.

        I will say this: By all means, pray for victory in the war. Pray as hard as you can. Spend as much time as you can praying.

        We’ll see where it gets you.

        • TimWB

          Agree with all of this, except for the knocking of prayer. Please do pray.

        • mwdiers

          How about if you define “god” in this way: Your god is that in which you trust. If you are not willing to engage the ideas as such, you yield the intellectual high ground to the theists you too readily dismiss.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Your god is that in which you trust.

          Then “god” becomes an utterly nebulous concept; I mean, I trust the scientific method — to a point. I trust an ongoing consensus of fact — to a point.

          There is nothing I trust the way theists like JCW “trust” their god, accepting them as a source of all that is moral and good in despite of how it appears.

          you still must contend with the unquestionable fact that statists, fascists, and atheists of every sort still have a god

          Well, given that I just questioned it above, it’s clearly *not* unquestionable. :) There is a qualitative difference between the kind of faith many theists put in their God and the kind of trust a person might place in the state, or the people, or the Law; one is (allegedly) absolute — indeed, not to have it be so is often considered a *sin* — while the other is not-absolute, and, in fact, is often heavily tempered with checks and balances and reservations.

        • Kirsten Edwards

          Yes, you do. You trust your will; your intellect. You’re probabably fairly young, and I don’t envy your learning curve. Experience is a hard teacher, but some men will learn at no other.

          I wish I could be gentler with you, but you’re doing harm for reasons you dimly apprehend.

          Who knows: I’m up to my eyeballs in obligations, I may not get back here for a while.

          It’s the great advantage lefty activists have over conservatives.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Yes, you do. You trust your will; your intellect.

          No, I don’t; it’s why I am constantly double-checking, exploring, and seeking to improve both. I know I’ve made mistakes, due to weakness of will and errors of knowledge or wisdom; so I ask for advice.

          You don’t see theists like JCW double-checking that “God” got it right; at most, they try and figure out if they’re understanding their God correctly; they *presume* that their “God” has it right, and trust it absolutely.

          So, while I have to rely upon my intellect, I do not place the same level of trust in it as JCW-like theists place in their god-concept, as I originally stated.

          “You’re probabably fairly young”

          Bzzt. Wrong. :)

          “I wish I could be gentler with you, but you’re doing harm for reasons you dimly apprehend.”

          Doing harm to whom? How? You really ought to be more specific if you wish to be convincing. Of course, that may not matter to you.

          It’s the great advantage lefty activists have over conservatives.

          Clearly, you’ve never hung out with very many left-wing activists, or you’d know that they overbook themselves too. ;)

        • http://themcchuck.blogspot.com McChuck

          Why do you call Mrs. Clinton a Fascist? She’s clearly an International Communist.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Very cute. McChuck, very cute.

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