Go With What Works

If I were foolish enough to give you a system and if you were foolish enough to follow it, you would merely be copying, imitating, conforming, accepting, and when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and such a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of doing it. You have your own particular inclinations, tendencies and pressures which conflict with the system you think you ought to follow and therefore there is a contradiction. So you will lead a double life between the ideology of the system and the actuality of your daily existence. In trying to conform to the ideology, you suppress yourself—whereas what is actually true is not the ideology but what you are. If you try to study yourself according to another you will always be a secondhand human being….Each of us has an image of what we think we are or what we should be, and that image, that picture, entirely prevents us from seeing ourselves as we actually are. —Krishnamurti

     J. Krishnamurti used to talk a lot about the real vs. the ideal. We cling to ideas about how things ought to be, which prevents us from seeing or appreciating things as they really are. This contrast and friction between the empirical world and a made-up world view or self view is the cause of much unnecessary self-inflicted personal suffering, but also, on a larger scale, it is the cause of societal failure, and the self-inflicted decline and fall of civilizations.

     There are plenty of starry-eyed idealists nowadays who are striving for socialist ideals—generally without openly admitting that it’s a kind of warmed over and feminized Marxism that they endorse, or in many cases without even being aware of the fact. The trouble is, though, that socialism has been tried repeatedly for more than a century, and history has shown that it doesn’t work so well on a large scale. Another trouble is that these starry-eyed idealists prefer their seemingly noble ideals to empirical reality. It’s a standard case of the rejection of stark factuality in favor of a feelings-driven ideal, which of course inevitably leads to failure: not only for the idealists themselves but for people who have to live with the results of the idealists’ actions.

     Consider the wealth tax proposed by a few of the leftists vying for the honor of being defeated by Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election. Wealth taxes have been tried by several left-leaning European governments, and were subsequently repealed because they didn’t work. But the ideal remains unshaken, so maybe next time, if people who are more special and “enlightened” try it, then maybe it will work. It feels like it ought to work anyway.

     Or consider unlimited immigration. This has been “tried” in the past many times, usually being referred to in history books as invasions. Consider the ancient migrant crisis that resulted in the fall of the western Roman Empire. A population of Goths living north and east of the Danube River begged the mediocre Emperor Valens for permission to settle “peacefully” in Roman territory, as refugees from the marauding Huns. Valens Augustus, in his alleged wisdom and mercy, allowed them to cross the Danube…and shortly thereafter they ran amuck, defeated the Roman legions at the Battle of Adrianopolis, and eventually sacked the Eternal City itself. A similar crisis with unlimited immigration began in Britannia during the later Roman Empire, long before the legendary Hengist and Horsa, when barbarian Germanic tribes (generally referred to as “Saxons”) migrated into the island and, after the legions withdrew, promptly ended pretty much all Classical culture there. Thus the European migrant crisis of 2015, in which civilized, compassionate weaklings passively allowed a flood of aggressive barbarian migrants, is not entirely without precedent—and a precedent that almost nobody learns anything from, being ignorant of history and preferring feelings to harsh empirical realities.

     Or consider the standard socialist (and fascist) tendency to silence and/or shut down all opposition, organized or unorganized. This has been standard procedure in China, North Korea, the USSR, Saddam’s Iraq, Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge, and the Burmese military regime, as well as in Hitler’s short-lived German Empire. Despite the obvious human rights issues and the ugly results to which it leads, now the compassionate, feminized left is endorsing a kinder, gentler form of essentially the same thing. People are banned, silenced, ostracized, and sometimes have their careers and reputations ruined, for speaking or writing anything at variance with the current politically correct leftist dogma—saying that women and men are different, for example, or calling a transsexual by the wrong pronouns. Also entire groups of people are vilified, dehumanized, and occasionally attacked for favoring nationalist, anti-socialist politics, an obvious example in the USA being supporters of President Donald Trump. The situation is more advanced in western Europe, where the feminine idea of silencing harsh speech for the sake of not offending leftists is unhampered by the “far right” First Amendment of the US Constitution.

     But shutting down opposition and punishing the exercise of freedom of expression results in a verbal and mental straightjacket imposed upon the populace of such a society. In such a case, when the mainstream dogma is wrong (and it often is, being largely propaganda), then the nation as a whole is wrong, which makes failure on a grand scale all the more likely. With freedom to speak out outrageously, at least some people are likely to be right (especially if the truth happens to be outrageous, like the reality of race and gender differences), and their voices might actually be heard, for the benefit of almost everyone. The right to disagree no doubt results in some chaos and even violence, but dangerous freedom has been shown by history to be clearly superior to secure servitude, judging from its results. A nation of sheeplike ideological slaves, even though they may be relatively free physically, cannot prevail over a nation of free citizens fighting for their freedom and individual dignity. Consider, for example, a few Greek towns gloriously defeating the full force of Persia’s military; or, closer to home, consider American colonists’ organized defiance of a British king.

     Or for that matter, consider the institution of socialism itself, with Big Government attempting to regulate the economy and the culture, and also limiting the rights and freedoms of its citizens, “for their own good and for the good of a just society.” It has been tried many times, and the only way it can even begin to compete with capitalism and individual liberty is by basing the socialism on a society made strong by the same capitalism and liberty that the socialists insist is the root of all evil. Scandinavian quasi-socialism has been added onto an already strong, capitalist system; and Communist China has had to allow the addition of some capitalism to its Maoism in order to be competitive.

     But if we really want to be empirical, there have already been two huge, more or less scientific experiments on the pluses and minuses of socialism (in its most common form of Marxism) as compared with a more free and capitalistic system; two cases in which one nation was divided into two parts, consisting of similar people in a similar physical environment, with one part following socialism and the other part not. These two cases are post-WW2 Germany and Korea. West Germany and South Korea, being more based on liberty and capitalism (South Korea not so much at first, but increasingly so as the 20th century progressed), prospered, whereas East Germany and North Korea became relatively backward totalitarian states. See for yourself how socially engineered economies and the shutting down of opposition parties and dissent works out in real life. Radical lefties, if they care about this at all, might be inclined to observe that they’re going about it slightly differently this time. Castrate the socialism and remove half of its rationality—what could possibly go wrong?

     The western socialist left are increasingly opposed to the very notion of white men having any say with regard to anything important, and are increasingly basing their agendas on unrealistic, feelings-driven policies favored by indoctrinated feminists and brown-skinned people. Is it merely a coincidence that feminists and brown people have promoted increasingly unpopular and unsuccessful policies, and have begun to lose bigly to white male traditionalists and libertarians in American and British politics? (I suspect one reason why the impeachment of President Trump has turned into such a circus is that the composition of Congress Democrats running the anti-Trump show is heavily represented by these same females and non-whites, whereas the Republican side defending the President consists mainly of caucasian males, with the occasional blonde female.) I don’t think it’s purely a coincidence. Totally setting aside the idea of innate general intelligence, and its variation among different groups of people, white men are more inclined to go with reason, objectivity, and pragmatism; they go with strategies based more on facts and what has been demonstrated to work, and less on feelings and what is felt ought to work.

     By now it is an old proverb that facts don’t give a shit about feelings—or for that matter about lofty ideals either. Which is better: for a nation to be strong and prosperous overall, with a small percentage of the populace falling by the wayside due to their inability to compete, or for that nation to undergo managed decline so everyone can be more equal, and practically by definition more uniform and more mediocre? The compassionate leftist way, aiming at “fairness,” leads to even more suffering as the nation as a whole goes into inevitable (and largely unanticipated) decline which is much harder to engineer and manage. After a nation takes care of Number One, so to speak, and becomes powerful and prosperous, then it can afford to take some hits by helping out the unsuccessful inside and even outside its borders; but such altruism should not be taken to the point of subverting the success and prosperity that allows that altruism in the first place. It is better for charity to be a personal issue anyhow, gathering up treasures in heaven, so to speak, and not the provenance of a federal government siphoning off humanitarian aid from its citizens’ taxes. For a society to value and look out for itself first, and to allow all other societies to do likewise, as in the case of traditional American exceptionalism, is certainly more practical and realistic, and much wiser, than indoctrinated leftists choose to realize.

     The moral of the story is that choosing idealism over pragmatism in politics and culture is a losing strategy, regardless of compassion, virtue, and justice. Pragmatic objectivity leads to scientific empiricism, which in turn fuels technology; and all this was instrumental in the west essentially dominating the globe, if not politically and militarily, then at least technologically and culturally. Antagonists of white men and the civilization they created want to replace what works with what they feel ought to work, regardless of the evidence of history and science, and they will fail, because Darwin remains God Emperor, and survival goes to the fittest.


  1. Good post. I think that the day the Democrats impeached Trump was the day they lost the 2020 election; it indicated how far they were out of touch with the voters they need to swing their way.

  2. Evola used to say that the task of speculation is not to determine that which is, but what ought to be. For him the ideal is always more real than the "real". In fact, the ideal is the only form of real, hence mantras and various other things are subjects independent of humans. Something like the premise of this: https://books.google.fi/books?id=CKLxjjXqAsQC&redir_esc=y

    Pragmatism and empiricism are both not Dhamma - isn't one of the main errors in modern buddhism to relate post-Lockean anglo-saxon empiricism (i.e. psychology) to it?

    Exactly contrary to what you claim, one of the stepping stones of the decline of civilizations is empiricism in which the Truth is replaced by appearances. Even more serious a marker is when the outward appearance is willed and wished for - and isn't that truly the source of suffering?

    History doesn't show or not show us any principles, because history itself is a recent failure. I insist the civilization not to be built up on historical examples or what "works" (note the plebeian ideology inherent in the english "to work"), but on timeless truth,  i.e. Dhamma. Not a million years of success or failure could reach that timeless wisdom which alone can be the source for principles from which the social order is generated.

    To be historically wise it suffices to know that history is a fiction, a fall, something that should not be, and more importantly: something that was not! If there ever was a lofty fiction it was history. Precisely history gives rise to the ultimate fiction of progress in various forms (not just leftist but also capitalist, evolutionary, pragmatist and rationalist).

    Only after series of falls of traditional (dharmic) civilizations a history became to "be" (more accurate would be to say: "became to become", since history is the opposite of Being). Before that, there was no human history at all, and no becoming at all, and hence from "places" before history one can only find animal remains and degenerated humans, giving rise to darwinian myths.

    History only really began after some ancient writers like Herodotus began to write Historíai. Of course writing itself is a symptom of the fall, because no ancient would have seen any need to write down that which in itself is timeless and eternal. They grew restless, samsaric, and fell onto history and began to write things down. They saw that they themselves would soon no longer attain the timeless Truth, which implies that they no longer saw the Truth as timeless. From then on: history & "progress".


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