Ken Minogue (R.I.P.) at Standpoint Magazine from March 2009: ‘To Hell With Niceness.’
‘Many social conditions have been identified as part of the change, but behind most of them, I suggest, is a massive change in our moral sentiments: notably, a rise in the currency of politicised compassion. This is a sentiment so much part of the air we breathe that it does not even have a name of its own.‘
‘This sentiment is not, of course, the niceness and decency that we rightly admire when individuals respond helpfully to others. It is a politicised virtue, which means that it is focused not on real individuals but on some current image of a whole category of people. Correspondingly, it invokes hostility towards those believed to have caused the pain and misery of others. Public discussion thus turns into melodrama.’
Perhaps there has been much movement away from existing authority towards liberation (often against an oppressor), towards the feminine (often against the masculine), towards emotion (often against ‘rationality’ and ‘(R)eason), and towards ‘niceness.’
‘This does not mean, of course, that there will not be a backlash against politicised decency as its nastier consequences become intolerable.‘
Everyone gets a degree, joins the ‘middle-class’, and our institutions just maintain course?
What about the new moral orthodoxies?
Via Charles Murray via The Harvard Crimson:
‘They wrote that 24 hours had passed, and Kane had not addressed the allegations that he authored racist posts on his website EphBlog over the course of several years under the pseudonym “David Dudley Field ’25.”
Kane denied endorsing white supremacy and anti-Blackness but did not reference the posts in a Friday response on a Gov 50 Slack channel obtained by The Crimson.‘
It’s perhaps worth reminding many well-educated Americans: Movies, T.V. shows, and various image-based narrative platforms in many senses ARE the culture (used to identify, construct, visualize and communicate narrative reference points for people’s lives).
On that note, via Mick Hartley:
Michael McCluskey has driven round northern Michigan to put together a collection of images of neon-lit buildings, distant floodlights, isolated houses, and misty interiors. They have the eerie feel of film stills where something is about to happen – an alien landing, perhaps, or a zombie lurching into view…
Sometimes the edge-cases reveal a lot of information about more central clusters of belief:
Around Seattle, I’ve heard talk of the Ramtha School Of Enlightenment:
‘Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment (RSE) is an American spiritual sect near the rural town of Yelm, Washington. The school was established in 1988 by JZ Knight, who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old being called Ramtha the Enlightened One.’
Let’s just say if you don’t believe there are lizard-people out there, waiting to remorselessly devour tasty, human flesh after the impending and catastrophic eruption of Mt.Rainier, well, buddy, you’re the one with problems.
This stuff is funny until you’re on your own, wandering an unknown road at dusk, just trying to find a source of warmth to regulate your body-temparature for the night:
Dear Reader, this means I may have to leave The Human Pagoda. Please click through to read about our spiritual and material Leader, raised in the ducts of the United Nations.
-Nxivm is pronounced ‘Nexium,’ which sounds prettly classy (the purple pill) and legit (like something carved at Caesar’s Palace parking lot) : The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment
-Is Nxivm lower on the rung of ‘bad ideas’ than Heaven’s Gate (a steaming pile of scripture, New Age lunacy, weird sexual abnegation and half-baked astronomy..):
-Lawrence Wright on his book-Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & The Prison Of Belief.
Dorothy Thompson speculates who would go Nazi in a room full of people at a dinner party.
‘Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes–you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success–they would all go Nazi in a crisis.’