Reader Phil B., the Brit expat now living in Middle Earth, sent me a link to a wall-o’-text essay, Reactionary Philosophy In An Enormous, Planet-Sized Nutshell, by one Scott Alexander. Aside from being a tremendous source for Quotes of the Day, it’s an absolutely outstanding piece of work I cannot recommend strongly enough.
But it is, absolutely, an überpost. Get a beverage and a snack before you sit down to savor it. Excerpt:
Reaction isn’t a conspiracy theory; it’s not suggesting there’s a secret campaign for organized repression. To steal an example from the other side of the aisle, it’s positing something more like patriarchy. Patriarchy doesn’t have an actual Patriarch coordinating men in their efforts to keep down women. It’s just that when lots of people share some really strong cultural norms, they manage to self-organize into a kind of immune system for rejecting new ideas. And Western society just happens to have a really strong progressivist immune system ready to gobble you up if you say anything insufficiently progressive.
And so the main difference between modern liberal democracy and older repressive societies is that older societies repressed things you liked, but modern liberal democracies only repress things you don’t like. Having only things you don’t like repressed looks from the inside a lot like there being no repression at all.
The good Catholic in medieval Spain doesn’t feel repressed, even when the Inquisition drags away her neighbor. She feels like decent people have total freedom to worship whichever saint they want, total freedom to go to whatever cathedral they choose, total freedom to debate who the next bishop should be – oh, and thank goodness someone’s around to deal with those crazy people who are trying to damn the rest of us to Hell.
And that’s just for openers. Go. Read.