Lest anyone suppose I identify as right wing or conservative, a Christian warrior ranged against the pagan onslaught of orgiastic infanticide, let me go on record as standing far apart from such groupings. Liberals and leftists are often pretentious, chattering, clattering vermin, but that doesn’t thereby redeem their traditional opposition. The opposition of a certain tradition, with its belief in the transcendent reality of a personal creator god, a bestower of values and truths that endure immutably in a realm of perfection, of which our reality is an ephemeral degradation. This belief system can be beautifully rendered, just check out the history of Western art and thought for proof. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work for me, and though I can even see the practical, social benefits of conservative, Christian beliefs, I feel the need for them as strongly as I feel the need for any kind of group identification, which is to say none.
If I were a philosopher, I’d engage in the time honored practice of esoteric writing. One of the layers of my text would be intended for barbaric, simple minded people capable of tremendous exertion with the right impetus and incentive. Christianity and its traditional values, as conservatives like to call it, would reconcile vulgar but vital people to a life of strenuous toil and minimal indulgence. Catholicism comes in first for me in this regard, as it stresses hierarchy, ritual and obedience on one hand, and then extends the release valve of transgression covered by confession with the other. Pressure and release beautifully balanced in a system of social conditioning and reproduction, what more could a good social engineer want? Protestantism asks too much of the average individual, it overworks the conscience and lays the groundwork for endless schisms. But then again, it instilled a wild, individualistic energy into people that dovetailed nicely in one historical moment with burgeoning capitalism, so everything has its season I suppose.
These lofty considerations do not sway me towards modern day christianity or conservatism. There is something about current conservative individuals that unsettles me. Why do I get the feeling that most avowed conservatives smell like funeral homes? I never get close to enough to smell them, but that’s the olfactory vibe I get from far off. Plus, they are in the annoying habit now of adopting the pose of victimhood, of persecuted wretch shivering and deprived at the margins of society. Well, that’s a real throwback for christians, it might just be where they are most comfortable, and it makes them a mirror image of their sworn enemy. It has been remarked numerous times that the progressives and leftists are mutated christians in sentiment emptied of belief in transcendent power and benevolence. No wonder then that the clash between left and right has become a mimetic circus, a frenzied arms race of nuclear grievances. Only the good grace of persecution enables the party to wield power with vindictive fury.
One of the great things about being an actual individual is that you have the spectator’s pleasure of watching groups of zealous people make fools of themselves, like a recumbent Epicurean god enjoying the view from nowhere.