With all due respect to Ashley Montagu, only an anthropologist could say that
Evil is not inherent in human nature, it is learned…Aggressiveness is taught, as are all forms of violence which human beings exhibit.
It is a statement worth repeating because it is worth repeated refutation. After all, the nature and source of evil is ultimately the central issue of our times, and the belief that evil is not a particularly useful concept in trying to understand human behaviour continues to hold favour among ‘enlightened’ individuals and social engineers. One could go so far as to say that it is the bedrock belief of this particularly virulent crop of “social justice warriors” who stalk campus halls and form up counter-demonstrations. As Rousseau would say, people are essentially good, and bad people can be made good by good laws. Coercion works! Indoctrination too!
While they dismiss the people they call “white supremacists”, “white nationalists” and “white racists” as “evil”, they nevertheless believe at least in theory that we can be treated, rehabilitated and “re-educated”, and that our evil seed cannot be planted in young minds if youth are intercepted and programmed in their early developmental stage. “Give me a child when he is seven and he is mine for life.” Tell boys that their masculinity is toxic, their gender constructed, and their white skin colour an indictment and sure as shootin’ they’ll grow up to vote for a politician with shiny hair who says that the Chinese dictatorship is admirable, diversity makes us strong and budgets balance themselves. See, we can educate aggression and common sense out of anyone!
A good Communist does not want to kill you. He wants to save you. He wants to re-create you in his own image. Socialist Man. Leftists love stories of redemption. That is why the CBC and PBS love to show documentaries about former neo-Nazi skinheads who had an epiphany and suddenly realized the errors of their ways, and who have now dedicated their lives to helping young men who might be lured into a life of ‘hate’. That young men are already subjected to a curriculum of hate in grade school, that is, anti-Western, anti-male, anti-white self-hate — is left out of the story. The message of these evil-men-turned-good tales is simple: hate is purely a function of ignorance, and the cure is “education.” We are deplorables because we are stupid people. You know the kind. Fat men in baseball caps who shop at Walmart, watch NASCAR or NFL football, huntn’ fish and listen to country music. That’s according to the people who accuse us of stereotyping people.
But thanks to alternative media, for more and more people, this characterization is manifestly false . Leftists who have been exposed to the likes of Ben Shapiro, Tucker Carlson, Robert Spencer, Jared Taylor, Milo Y., Stephen Molyneaux and a host of other articulate dissidents have been in for a shock. These Leftists suddenly realized that whatever one thinks of them, these ‘fascists’ cannot be dismissed as ignorant. Wrong, disingenuous, deceitful or duplicitous perhaps, but not ignorant. These deplorables know their stuff. That makes them all the more dangerous. (Quick, somebody de-platform them!) This unwelcome revelation has led some Leftists to question their assumptions.
If we ‘white supremacists’ are not ignorant, why then are we evil? And if we are not evil but merely ‘misguided’, who ‘misguided’ us? The President? Cult leaders? Fox News commentators? Are they the evil ones? If they are not, then who led them astray ? Who inspired them? Up the chain we go.
People on my side of the fence of course, can ask those same questions about the Left. Like many of you, after watching the antics of Antifa hooligans projecting their hate on those they call hateful, and the robotic behaviour of college protesters who shout down professors and bully conservative students, I have had cause to dismiss SJWs as evil. It is not simply because I regard their behaviour as despicable—and their ideology equally so. It is something more than that. Something that goes deeper. There is something about THEM, something inside them, something lurking behind their eyes or in their hearts that energizes their wrath. An essence. What Hindus would call an “atman” or Christians call a spirit or soul. I don’t know what to call it. The ghost in the machine?
The issue becomes more complicated when I realize that this “evil essence” is not present in all people on the Left. How could it be? My own parents, my own family, were Leftists. I was a Leftist too. In fact, if my 18 year old undergrad self could see me now and could access a time machine, he might very well drop by and punch me out. The fact is, my parents were ordinary people.. But ordinary people have done extraordinarily evil things, especially ordinary people schooled by a totalitarian ideology that commands their unconditional submission to the will of their leaders.
However, to suggest that evil ideology is the culprit is to deprive the individual of moral agency. Being captive of an evil ideology does not let us completely off the hook. I may believe—as I in fact do—that Islam is a totalitarian blend of religion and politics, but how would that knowledge account for the mad actions of a man who would open fire on worshippers in a mosque? Or the actions of Anders Breveik? There is something else at play than ideology here. Madmen can be inspired by an ideology, but that doesn’t explain why they actually pulled the trigger. Progressives like our own inimitably moronic Justin Trudeau can attribute the Boston Bombers’ outrage to their feelings of alienation and ‘exclusion’, but by the same token, it wasn’t all down to Islam either. So what part of evil is driven by demons within, and demons without? From where does evil come?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, and I doubt that academics and psychologists have either. Guys like Asch, Milgram, Zimbardi have broken ground, as have neuroscientists, but somehow I doubt that the “science of evil” will lead us to the Holy Grail. There is a lot of reading and “soul” searching to be done. However, I think I am on the right path. Upon hearing “Vox Day” talk about “Jordanetics”, my thoughts crystallized.
For the better part of two years I have argued that people need moral absolutes, spiritual guidance and ‘hope to cope’, and that if Christianity is driven off the stage, it will leave a vacuum that secular humanism cannot fill. The field will be left wide open for Islam. Have we not seen this unfold? Cultural Marxism has done a good job in loosening Christianity’s grip, but once it has discharged its duty as Islam’s useful idiot, it will be easy meat for the conquerors.
This seems to be Vox Day’s message too. You can’t defeat a hard-ass religion with “tolerance” and “inclusion”. Like the bumper sticker says, how do you co-exist with people who want to kill you? You need strong conviction to beat strong conviction, or to use his metaphor, “you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”. And that is what secularism is, a knife. Or even something more impotent than a knife perhaps. Vox Day said gospel of the New Atheists is “harmless” — except that it can lead to nihilism.
Progressive secularism has led to vacillation, confusion and uncertainty in the face of evil, and an empty void that is tailor made for mindless consumerism. Humans need more than that, and if necessary they will find it in a mosque. Shit happens. People die. People lose their loved ones. They become afflicted by pain, privation, misery, pain and loneliness. And neither Darwin nor Dawkins will get them through the night. When their time comes, they don’t want a celebration of life, they want everlasting life. They want to see their beloved again. So it is now, so it always was. And so it will always be. “Education” will not change that. And science will not fully explain it.
Vox Day is also adamant that evil exists. There is a Devil. And while Jordan Peterson is not the Anti-Christ, in Vox Day’s estimation “he is an anti-Christ”. He opened the gates, but then he directed the traffic. Once inside the stadium he tried to steer us away from the white seats. Peterson told us that it was wrong to seek group protection even while our predators, acting in socially sanctioned group solidarity, pick us off at will. He even mocked the notion that we are a definable group. Who exactly are “we”? Surely we cannot identify with something that does not exist because it can’t be defined. And if it doesn’t exist it cannot be defined! In an age when identity politics shows little sign of fading, Peterson implores us to sheath our swords or cast them aside, and in contrast to our enemies, to think and act as individuals. How is that working out in Zimbabwe or South Africa, JP? Best to ask the throngs of white refugees.
At this stage of my intellectual journey, I am not (yet) at home with theological explanations. I am not (yet) able to speak of “the Devil”. But I do believe that evil lives in our nature, and if there is a Devil intent upon manipulating us, he has ample material to work with. I would therefore rest my argument on evolutionary psychology, as JP often does. So when Ashley Montagu says that aggression in humans is something that is “taught”, and by inference can be “untaught”, I have but one reply. Bullshit!
Just look at our primate cousins. Never trust a chimp. Especially with the nuclear code.