A Darwinian nihilist who undercuts our civilization while boasting of getting a “free ride” on it
, “Can the Darwinian racialists defend the West?”, VFR commenter “Albert Nock” (naming himself after Albert Jay Nock, the curmudgeon libertarian author and self-described “philosophical anarchist” of the 1930s and ’40s) inadvertently provided an excellent example of how Darwinian thinking tends to make belief in our civilization impossible. He said there’s no such thing as less evolved, more evolved; less complex, more complex; lower, higher. He said:
It is a bit misleading to say that life on earth has steadily gotten more and more “complex.” Most life is exceedingly simple. One scientist quipped that what nature reveals about God is that he has an extraordinary fondness for beetles.
At any rate, scientists do not view homo sapiens as any sort of culmination of evolution and to say we are the “most evolved” or “highest” would get a laugh.
Yet this same Nock also said:
I happen to like European civilization…. I agree that Western Christianity built our civilization and that rejecting it rarely led to good things (see Jacobin France or Bolshevist Russia). It is for that reason I am not a secularist and hope merely to free-ride off the religious folks who sustain our society…. I am not a secularist and in fact favor a strong Christianity, I merely don’t believe any sort of God or morality exists.
I replied to Mr. Nock that he didn’t have the right to mock and sneer at the idea of humanity, deny complexity, deny the higher, deny the existence of morality, deny the basis of civilization, put man on the level of beetles, and then speak of his “liking” European civilization. He replied he didn’t believe that there is such a thing as rights. I said of course there are. If I believe that a person doesn’t have the right to say certain things, I stop conversing with him and I stop posting his comments at my site.
I think it is time for conservatives and traditionalists to call the bluff of liberals, post-modernists, and material reductionists. For example, if a deconstructionist tells us that there is no truth and that words do not correspond with things, then he should be informed that by his own testimony nothing he says corresponds with reality and there’s no reason to go on listening to him. Liberals, post-modernists, and material reductionists undercut the very basis of morality and civilization, yet at the same time want to keep getting the benefits of morality and civilization. They have no right to do that, and they need to be told this. We need to tell them that we will not continue allowing them to enjoy their unprincipled exceptions.
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Terry Morris writes:
“For example, if a deconstructionist tells us that there is no truth and that words do not correspond with things, then he should be informed that by his own testimony nothing he says corresponds with reality and there’s no reason to go on listening to him.”
This is exactly right and it can’t be said often enough in my opinion. These people engage in these self-defeating arguments with seeming impunity; rarely are they challenged on this. Is it because people are so unaware that they do not know a self-defeating argument when they see one? Or is it because liberalism has taught them to “play nice,” or what?
Look, when you say something stupid like “there is no truth,” you’re making an objective truth statement about the nature of truth, something you claim doesn’t exist yet you somehow know enough about this non-existent non-reality to know that it does not exist. How is this possible, I ask, to know anything at all about the nature of something that does not and cannot exist? Besides, a statement like “there is no truth” is the most naked contradictory self-defeating statement I can think of off hand. If Mr. Nock does not believe that his statement is “truth” for all people all the time, everywhere, then what on God’s earth would possess him to make it? You’re right, of course, reasoning beings are under no obligation to listen to these kinds of arguments.
… also, what is there to “like” about European civilization when you’re a Darwinian nihilist who mocks and sneers at the idea of humanity, who denies complexity, denies the higher, denies the basis of civilization and etc.? Nock acknowledges that he personally derives certain benefits from the existence of European civilization, benefits that he understands he could not and would not derive from some inferior civilization, yet in the same breath denies that such things exist as inferior and superior and so on and so forth. What kind of fool’s logic is this?
Terry Morris continues:
Here’s another example from the article of the stupidity of Darwinian evolutionism:
“He replied he didn’t believe that there is such a thing as rights.”
Ha! Let us merely propose to Mr. Nock that we believe the best ordering of our society is in requiring a political testimony corresponding with a belief in a supreme being, and a state of rewards and punishments in the afterlife in order to be a “freeman,” as was commonly the case with the early American colonies. If Mr. Nock is sincere and consistent in his beliefs, then this would disenfranchise him on spot. Then listen to him squeal like a trapped little rabbit at the mere proposal of the loss of his rights based on his disbelief in God; rights that he claims that he does not believe in. Bull!
Laura W. writes:
You took Albert Nock to task for saying he “liked” European civilization. But, it seems perfectly reasonable for an evolutionist to say he likes European civilization. If the horse could speak, he would say he likes oats. The hen would say she likes dried corn. That is what Nock means. He likes European civilization because it causes pleasant intellectual sensations. To him, these are similar to the oats and corn in aiding physical survival.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 19, 2008 08:28 AM | Send
I would never say something so vapid or filled with hubris as “I like European civilization” any more than I would say “I like my mother” or “I like oxygen.” I would not exist without my mother or oxygen or European civilization. I can try to define what European civilization is in the way I would try to know or define my mother or oxygen. But, saying I like it or dislike it would only expose my failure to understand what it is.
I am, however, free to engage in European civilization in a way Albert Nock is not. It is natural for the evolutionist to say he likes European civilization because there’s not much more he can say about it. He cannot engage in its ideas anymore than the horse can make oats. He can chomp on them and peck at them, but can only tell us whether they taste good or not.