Recently in this space, we have discussed the Unreality Principle, which is the moral principle governing Leftist thought and discourse. In a word, it is the principle that if something in Leftist thinking is false, the Leftist believes it because it is false, not despite the falsehood.
And he is more proud and more unwavering in his loyalty to the false belief the more absurd and more obviously false it is.
And, likewise, if something is true, it must be denounced as false, and the more obviously and patently true it is, the more vehement must be the denunciation.
There are two senses in which the Unreality Principle operates: one is in the abstract, the other is in the concrete.
The abstract application of the Unreality Principle in embodied in the seven basic bogus ideas of the Left, previously discussed in this space.
There are abstract or philosophical ideas which are not merely false, but blatantly false, as if proud of their falsehood:
- Solipsism â€” the paradox that asserts that truth is personal, hence optional: â€śIt is not true that truth is true.â€ť
- Relativism â€” the paradox that asserts that virtue is subjective, situational, relative: â€śIt is wrong for you to judge right and wrong.â€ť
- Subjectivism â€” the paradox that asserts that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as if ugliness could be made more beautiful than beauty by an act of will.
- Irrationalism â€” the paradox that asserts reason is untrustworthy, therefore it is unreasonable to trust reason. Such is the reasoning.
- Pervertarianism â€” the paradox that asserts it to be licit to seek the gratifications of sexual union of the reproductive act without the union, without the reproduction, and, in the case of sodomites, without the act.
- Totalitarianism â€” the paradox that asserts that freedom is slavery, war is peace, ignorance is strength. Making the state larger, more powerful, less answerable to the people somehow helps the people.
- Nihilism â€” the paradox of that the meaning of life is that it has no meaning
In every case, each one of these seven bad ideas not only is useless as a picture of reality, it contradicts itself in what can only be called an insolent fashion: flipping the bird at reason, logic, and common sense.
No one in his right mind can believe these things. But what pretending to believe these things does is unchain your fancy from the bonds of reason and cold fact.
So the ideas are delusions, false pictures of the world, and are useless as ideas. What use do they serve?
In every case, each one of these seven bad ideas justifies a hatred of truth.
To a solipsist, asserting that he has no right to define truth is to steal his candy from him, and deprive him of what is his own. Likewise for the relativist or subjectivist; objectivity yanks the universe out of his personal control. Again, if reason is trustworthy, and reason is the same for all races and both sexes, hating a truth on the grounds that a Caucasian said it becomes non-operative. Likewise for excusing immorality, sexual and otherwise, on the grounds that objective moral rules do not exist. Totalitarianism allows the state to define truth, and justifies hatred of truth on the grounds of patriotism or cosmopolitanism. Nihilism is hatred of truth, simply.
What purpose is served by hating the truth?
An example makes the answer clear. Socialism cannot work in cold fact because, as a cold fact, goods must be produced before they are consumed; resources cannot offer unlimited utility; we live in a world of scarcity; you cannot make more wealth by printing more banknotes.
But once facts and logic are told to shut up and go away, the fancy is free to paint dream-colored pictures of utopia on the fluffy clouds of the mind, and envy is free to daydream sick daydreams about revenge and sadism against the innocent scapegoats and unborn babies and bearded father-figures blamed for your personal failures in life.
The only use such ideas have is parasitical: they serve to kill healthy ideas.
They are anti-ideas, ideas that kill ideas. These parasite ideas die once the host dies. It was not the intellectuals, Thomas Paine and Trotsky, who prospered in the French and Russian revolutions, it was the barbarians and thugs, Napoleon and Stalin. The intellectuals were guillotined or shoved naked against a wall in the basement and shot.
The parasitical ideas serve as an unconvincing veneer of intellectual justification for the act of fleeing from argument, retreating from thought, hiding from the light of reason and begging the rocks and mountains to fall on you to protect you from the wrath of the Law of Non-Contradiction.
They are each of them a psychological mechanism meant to jam the gears of thinking, to halt thought, to silence debate. Each one is a way of answering any question on a different topic with the favorite if not the only rejoinder of the Left: ” ‘Shut up’, he explained.”
The reason why the Left insists everyone shut up is because continued conversation might introduce facts and logic. Fact and logic act toward Leftist word-noises as a crucifix toward a vampire.
The Left must end honest debate at all costs, and replace it with an endless noise of sneering at low volumes and screaming at high. They attempt to replace the manly art of the intellectual brawl between honest equals with the feminine maneuver of dropping social cues, of using peer pressure, to create the illusion that the smart set might disapprove if you keep talking. It is not a debate, but an attempt to preserve the pecking order among the womenfolk: the superior hen gives the fish eye to the lesser hen.
The Unreality Principle is a loyalty principle, an imperative, one of the Ten Commandments of the Left. It is perhaps their primary commandment, telling them to bear false witness against their neighbors not out of any enmity toward the neighbors (albeit that is clearly also present) but out of love of falsehood for its own sake.
One reason one is supposed to tell the lie is to show party solidarity. It is like getting a tattoo when entering a gang, or committing a murder to be allowed to be a pirate. The initiation ritual prevents the candidate from returning to normal society; it severs the bonds tying him to normal people, making them the common enemy both of the gang, and of himself. Malice and envy do the rest: the Leftist regards the truth-tellers with envy, scorn and hatred that only grows as year go on, like eunuchs who hate virile men.
They love lies. They love telling them, and they love pretending to believe them. Perhaps some few are so inattentive or so stupid as actually to believe the lies, but I doubt it.
The whole purpose of getting worked up over an entirely make-believe problem, is that you can flatter yourself on how alert, well-informed, aware and compassionate you are, and how stupid your father is, and you can pat yourself on the back. Since the problem is make-believe, of course, you are not called on to do anything. All you do instead is try to stop real people, those not addicted to the looking glass, from solving real problems.
The whole purpose of telling yourself that you and you alone can create truth in a vacuum like God creating light from nothing is that it flatters you. You now have the godlike power of deciding what is real and what is not real.
Now, in reality, you don’t control reality, because reality is real, but you can control your picture of the world by severing all the chains of logic that bind the picture to reality. You can draw the sun and moon and stars on the walls and ceiling of your cell in Bedlam, and tell yourself you are God who calls light from darkness! You are He that binds the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion, and you bring forth Mazzaroth in his season! Your friends are those who tell you that you have this astronomical ability, and whom you tell likewise.
But you will be a raving lunatic.
Don’t miss last week’s column: The Unreality Principle: Civilization Gone Mad.
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 Publisherâ€™s Weekly as “this fledgling centuryâ€™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.