What Would Moloch Do?

MolochIn a recent Orthosphere post entitled Freedoms of Speech & of Religion Open & Allow the Race to the Bottom the author Kristor argues:

The basic problem with freedom of speech and of religion is that … it opens the agora to the discussion of the pros and cons of every alternative cult. … There ensues a proliferation … of heresies and petty foreign cults. The cult of Moloch is then sooner or later bound to enter the lists.

In a previous post, Kristor defines his term, “the Cult of Moloch” as referring to modern, liberal notions of tolerance for multiple belief systems, which he equates to nihilism. He argues that a tolerant belief system cannot itself tolerate non-tolerant belief systems and so ultimately pushes them out of mainstream practice. I assume he uses this particular name because the Canaanite god named Moloch is associated with ritual child sacrifice. This of course is a reference to legalized abortion which exists within the modern liberal system. To the Orthosphereans, liberalism, tolerance, nihilism, abortion and all the other ills of modern society are related and mutually reinforcing.

Kristor goes on to say:

In an unruly competition of cults for the hearts and minds of people too dim to understand the consequences in their distant future of actions taken today, or to think with the necessary care and precision about metaphysics, political economy, and culture – i.e., of most people – the cult with the greatest short term hedonic payoff is going to prevail.

Because freedoms of speech and religion lead to the cult of Moloch, I assume Kristor is advocating the abolition of these freedoms and their replacement with the forced implementation of some other cult (presumably whatever form of Christianity Kristor adheres to) which would then regulate speech and religion in a manner more satisfactory to him.

BASIC PROBLEMS

The first basic problem I see with a belief system enforced by the government is that the belief system might not be true. I assume Kristor desires a government enforced belief system that is also true. Or perhaps in the absence of definitive proof of the truth of any one particular belief system, Kristor believes it is better to pick any belief system so long as it is not a tolerant one so as to avoid the inevitable slide into Molochism.

The second basic problem I see is that when a government enforces a belief system, the belief system typically gets watered down so that it can be acceptable to a large population. The watering down of the belief system then stops connecting with the people who take their religious beliefs seriously. This then gives rise to underground sects of true believers which work to undermine the government enforced belief system.

The third basic problem is that there will always be non-believers. This includes both people who take issue with specific tenants of the belief system and people who reject the system entirely. Similar to the second basic problem, this problem will also lead to the creation of subversive groups.

In addition to these basic problems it seems that many of the people who favor a government enforced belief system exhibit an unchristian disdain for their fellow men. This is articulated in the quote above where Kristor describes “most people” as “too dim to understand the consequences in their distant future of actions taken today, or to think with the necessary care and precision about metaphysics, political economy, and culture.”

I certainly do not want people of this ilk deciding what is best for me to believe and ordering the world in which I live. I do not want this not because I suspect they would not have my best interests at heart. I also do not want this because this disdain runs contrary to the fundamental Christian idea which is love (i.e., willing the good of the other as other). It might be argued that the desire to implement a government enforced belief system is motivated by a willing of good for other people. But the disdain articulate in Kristor’s quote (and quotes of other Orthosphereans) seems to indicate otherwise. Saint Paul’s description of the “Fruit of the Spirit” offers guidance when determining whether a person is advocating a policy that is born out of love. Specifically, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). Disdain is noticeably absent from this list. 

CULTURE OF DEATH

Kristor concludes his OP by stating,

As permitting the advocacy and practice of the cult of Moloch, freedom of speech and religion, then, sow the seeds of national death.

So we observe at last that, like Molochism, freedom of speech and religion, too, are in the end autophagous. The nation that keeps those freedoms is doomed.

The Orthospherean position against liberalism is not baseless. There is are inconsistencies to liberal notions of freedom, equality and tolerance. No one can be completely free and the freedom of one person impacts the freedom of another person. People are not equal in their abilities and to legally make them equal to a certain extent negates this truth and creates problems. A tolerant belief system cannot completely accommodate non-tolerant belief systems and can become intolerant by attempting to enforce tolerance.

On the other hand, no political system is perfect. In order for liberalism to work well, there has to always be a balance of forces. Just because speech is labeled as “free” and is actually regulated to an extent does not mean that there are not nations where speech is very not-free and other nations where it is relatively free. And it also does not mean that a reasonable person cannot appreciate the difference between the two. In the same respect a “tolerant” belief system might actually be “intolerant” of certain taboos. But, there are more tolerant nations than others and reasonable people can appreciate the difference here as well. And yes a system might shift in terms of its level of tolerance depending on the situation but that does not mean that it will always, inexorably degenerate into Molochism in every circumstance. The pendulum may very well swing back the other way.

Also, do these “flaws” of liberalism really spell the doom of a nation more than any other form of government? All nations (and things of men) are doomed. Even nations with government enforced belief systems are doomed. How else would tolerant systems have come to replace them? Moreover, an intolerant belief system does not rule out the possibility of Molochism being practiced. It merely forces it underground where it cannot be observed and regulated.

Do freedoms of speech and religion necessarily open and allow a race to the bottom? I think reasonable minds can differ on that question. More importantly, would the alternative of a government enforced belief system create a preferable situation? We are all well aware that there exist countries that do enforce belief systems in the world, some of which Kristor himself objects to.

 

 

34 Comments

Filed under Political Philosophy, Religion

34 responses to “What Would Moloch Do?

  1. thordaddy

    On the other hand, no political system is perfect. — winstonscrooge

    Which, from the perspective of a godless atheist, strict materialist, screaming secularist… Means no Perfection, period!

    Of course, MERELY referencing the impossibility of a “perfect” “political system” invokes the realness of Perfection.

    So in having the one without the other there is DELUSION under the guise of being the one that sacrificially submits to the other.

  2. I don’t use the term “supremacist” to describe Catholicism.

    • thordaddy

      This does not at all mean that the The Roman Catholic Church does not desire (S)upremacy and is therefore a (S)upremacist religion.

    • thordaddy

      As Kristor might [write]…

      The Roman Catholic Church reifies Ultimacy, universally.

      This is EQUAL TO implying a desire for (S)upremacy, eternally.

      These are coterminous thoughts entwined within the racially incarnated.

      • Why then use a term who’s actual definition means something different than what you intend?

      • thordaddy

        What you really mean is why not use a term as it would be naturally intuited and unlearn its perverted inversion?

      • thordaddy

        But this is exactly the issue. You’re a deconstructionist until you are not.

      • It is not deconstructionism to use standard English definitions.

      • thordaddy

        No… It is a denial of the domination of deconstruction to demand “standard English” as though such a thing had play in a radically autonomous environment. It doesn’t.

        IF ANYTHING WERE TO BE TRUE, it is you defining white (S)upremacy in accordance with reality AND THEN we shall determine any overlapping consensus possibly signifying a phenomenon even more concrete.

        Otherwise, your conceptual motivation has been stunted at “white (s)upremacy” and [people of African descent]. One [means] the other and vice versa.

      • That is absurd. You are the one with these theories and the secret language you use to articulate them. If you want other people to understand you then you need to define your terms. It makes no sense for me to define what you mean.

      • thordaddy

        You’re really not getting this, are you?

        A true radical WOULD DECONSTRUCT “white (s)upremacy” as conventionally understood. Of course, consistent with this deconstruction is the untangling of the phenomenon from its most pernicious foes […] And clearly, this is exactly the kind of deconstruction that the totalitarian integrationists do not want any uppity whites partaking in.

        So you are very much a part of this hypocritical obstruction.

      • Asking you to define your terms in standard English is not deconstructing.

        Nor am I obstructing you from doing anything. Please feel free to be a white supremacist if that’s what make you happy.

      • thordaddy

        You don’t believe that in the least.

      • I do believe that. You obviously have some misconceptions about me.

      • thordaddy

        Notice how you lower-cased “supremacist” again?

        So your belief is unconsciously disingenuous.

  3. winstonscrooge,

    The first basic problem I see with a belief system enforced by the government is that the belief system might not be true.

    I’m sure you know what the typical anti-liberal response is going to be: all governments enforce belief systems. However, liberal governments tend to lie about this enforcement. And in that lying – that assumption that liberal understanding is somehow essential to humans and therefore morally neutral – is where all the mischief begins.

  4. No, clearly there is a difference. WS is just changing the subject.

    • You guys always do that. How am I changing the subject? You admit there is clearly a difference between the two types of government. Everyone with a grade school education is well aware that “Freedom of Religion” does not mean “absolute freedom of religion”. The 1st Amendment to the US constitution prohibits congress from making laws that (among other things) prohibits the free exercise of religion. In practical terms this means people are free to exercise whatever religion they want in the jurisdiction of the United States so long as the exercise of their religion does not break other laws. When that happens then there is a legal question that must be adjudicated. This is a much different situation than say North Korea, China or Saudi Arabia who all impede the free exercise of Christianity in various ways. We refer to our system colloquially as “freedom of religion” and everyone knows the difference despite the objections prattled in the echo chambers of Zippy’s blog and the Orthosphere.

  5. WS (do you mind that abbreviation BTW? Just easier on the thumbs but I realize some don’t like handles to be abbreviated.)

    The change of subject was, to use echo chamber terminology 🙂 to confuse questions of *whether* there is enforcement of belief to questions of *which* beliefs are enforced.

    To say that there is no enforcement of a particular religion does not mean there is no enforcement of any idea. Freedom of religion is the enforced idea.

    Liberal government defines what counts as a religion and what that religion can and cannot do. And then it calls all those proscriptions “freedom.”

    • I appreciate your reasonable and coherent response. I don’t get much of that around here. And no I don’t mind your abbreviation because I don’t get the sense that it is meant to belittle me. So thank you for that.

      I’m not questioning the notion that “freedom of religion” is not itself a belief. However, in my estimation it is far superior than the alternatives because they are less free. I understand and respect (btw) that you and the echo chamber sees it differently.

  6. Pingback: Thordaddian Stock Response Repository | Winston Scrooge

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