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Jun 4, 2023·edited Jun 15, 2023Pinned

Right, I've removed an inflammatory comment and a sweary response. Don't lower the tone around here, please.

UPDATED: I have removed a number of people's comments because an entire thread had devolved into all and sundry swearing at each other. "Steersman", you are hanging by a thread around here. While some of the material sent your way was intemperate (and has also been deleted), you're not as bright as you think you are and you need to understand this, especially around a mob of Tory Brits. We tend to accept the notion of "natural hierarchies", something with which Americans struggle.

The next person who causes me to spend time on Substack management while I'm supposed to be on holiday gets fired into the sun.

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deletedJun 6, 2023Liked by Helen Dale
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deletedJun 4, 2023·edited Jun 5, 2023Liked by Helen Dale
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Fab, really interesting.

"As I discuss with Louise, however, we have to decide as a culture whether we want to step through that door and explore the valley beyond. Ancient Rome was an awesome civilisation in an older sense of the word: great, and terrible, and cruel." Could say the same for an Old Testament Christian approach too. There is a simple answer to wokers to be taken from the OT: God made us male and female, different but complementary. As with anything though, there's plenty of unpalatable in with the easy and appealing. I like a little brimstone, but just a little.

Other thought: the desire to help as a Christian is fine (to an extent) if the methodology were improved. It's an overly feminine, softly softly approach to go, "Oh you poor thing, I will pretend for you, I will shelter you under my wing", but indulging delusions isn't helpful over all. Suicide rates don't improve with cross-sex hormones. Sometimes mummy has to say "no".

Chasing an impossible goal is self-destructive, but it *feels cruel* to say, "no, you are not that, I will not pretend you are", or to suggest dealing with any trauma or hormonal imbalance in order to find contentment in your own body, but that would be a perfectly good Christian response, AKA God made you as your body, you are fine as you are. You may be tested, but you must persevere.

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Your point about Walsh's comedic talent is astute. I listen to his podcast when I can tolerate him (about 2/3 of the time). He tries to flex his comedic muscle sometimes, but it almost never works. It comes across like he's trolling-but-not-really-but-yes-he-is. Kidding but not kidding. And it makes him come across like a weasel who is unwilling to accept full responsibility for his words, which I don't think is his intention.

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You make some solid and thought-provoking points. I think you're onto something, when you argue that wokeism succeeded as it did because it was able to piggyback off of -- i.e., parasitize -- certain Christian doctrines. But I wonder if that's the fault of Christianity, per se, or of the feminized, watered-down, Globohomo Americanized version of Christianity. Because Christianity was also the religion of all those "problematic" historical figures who waged wars, conquered and subjugated weaker nations, created and ruled over large empires, and who claimed to be doing so to glorify God and promote the faith. And if they had encountered a postmodern feminist or tranny, they would have had zero compunctions about using "cruel and unusual punishment" to stop their heresies from spreading; mere verbal ridicule and satire would have been child's play in comparison. Now, I'm not saying theirs was the correct understanding of Christianity, but only that there's no good reason to reject theirs and say that the postmodern feminized variant is the real thing either. Both can find support in scripture, and that leads me to think of Aristotle's conception of virtue as the mean between opposite vices; maybe the Christianity of the Inquisition is on one vicious extreme, postmodern feminized Christianity is on the other vicious extreme, and the real faith is somewhere between them.

Another thing: the spread of communism in non-Christian Asian nations points to a deeper civilizational problem. I sometimes wonder if our cultural technology just cannot adequately account for our biology: i.e., that living in societies above Dunbar's number inevitably dooms us to bad government and insane cultural and political ideologies, and that eras of good, functional government and culture are necessarily an unstable aberration from a general rule of dysfunction.

Anyway, thanks for writing this essay. It's really given me some great food for thought!

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Did you see the deep fake of Joe Biden eviscerating trans ideology? If so, is that what you mean by Roman sensibility?

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

I very much agree with the Christian origins of wokery. Our current situation reminds me of Nietzsche's Last Man, who is only concerned with his own comfort. In a society bereft of meaning - something worth suffering for - the only thing left is the brute fact of suffering itself. And the only meaning left is to try and eliminate suffering and seek comfort.

Without the belief in God, which gives meaning, we are left with a Christian value system that has no meaning except the elimination of suffering - in Nietzsche's view, Nihilism. To avoid confusion, I am atheist who doesn't like atheism.

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Jun 4, 2023·edited Jun 4, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

I am an epistemological materialist, but I grew up in a churchgoing family. The preacher had a messy divorce. About a decade after that, I heard that he had drank himself to death, and that for about two years prior, he was displaying significant weight gain and other signs of failing health. I infer that nobody in his congregation, and none of the other clergy, would open their eyes and act accordingly and successfully. I'm no Biblical scholar, but if I remember correctly, it is one thing to love your neighbor as yourself, and a different and often contrary thing to condone your neighbor's every single behavior, even the self-destructive ones. As we learn more and more about the poor outcomes of the followers of transgenderism et al, I think it will become more and more apparent that Christianity's failings here are accidentally self-inflicted by modern adherents and not essential consequences of the precepts.

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

Ha. It was a high quality deepfake that disappeared soon after it came out on Instagram. It was an authentic looking ruthless never-supposed-to-say-it-out-loud anti trans statement.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2023/02/09/fact-check-video-edited-show-joe-biden-making-transphobic-remarks/11211453002/

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Modern Christian thought has many sins for which it must answer, and wokery is but one of them.

A quick read of Jonathan Edward's classic sermon "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God" shows a different, far less compromising school of Christian thought. One in which sin is sin, no matter what platitudes one heaps on it. Modern Christian denominations would do well to return to some of that tradition.

We can and should have compassion for all who suffer. God does call us to that.

We should never enable or excuse sinful conduct. It is not unloving or lacking in compassion to call out sin for what it is.

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

re: liberalism and ILLIBERALISM, geopolitical and historical origins, role of genetics, inbred vs outbred gene pools

Yep, scholars and philosophers have previously noted that there are deeper social origins to leftist "beliefs" than materialism, Marxism, romanticism (anti-rationalism), etc.

A lot of medieval Christianity was a reflection of decentralized (non-imperial) politics. (see Paleo-libertarian historical Leonard Liggio).

Don't forget that medieval (European/Byzantine) Christians suffered at least 1,000 years of being attacked and subject to slave raids and pillaging by (non-Christian) Viking slavers (who were defeated), Arab/Berber slavers (their civilization was more or less stopped in its imperial expansion), the Mongolian Golden Hordes (faded) and the Ottomans (also slavers and the surviving remnant of Mongol empire that converted to Islam, stopped in its imperial expansion at the "Siege of Vienna" in the late1600s).

Christian Europeans/Byzantines had it pounded into them that vicious "pagan" empires had to be defeated for survival reasons, and that decentralized politics wasn't going to get the job done. What did get the job done was the evolution of what anthropologist Joseph Henrich (Harvard) calls WEIRD culture, classical liberalism, Constitutional order, high-social-trust social institutions, classically liberal personality traits, which resulted from the banning of cousin marriage by the early church (to diminish the political power of clans to resist conversion to the Church). Classically liberal personality traits co-emerge with the increased genetic variability that resulted from the nuclear family structure (the alternative to clannish cousin marriage), as did "capitalism" (charter cities, river and sea trade, market economics) and increased literacy/numeracy, scientific and technological innovations (windmills, sextants), and "democracy".

But there was a regression to "oriental despotism" in the imperial recentralization of power after 1492, which the Inquisition resulted from, as well as the attempts by the increasingly powerful and wealthy Royal empires to wipe out medieval "liberal" reforms, such as peasants' rights (spread from the Abbey at Cluny, etc.).

So, the historical accident of the early church's ban on cousin marriage had the unintended historical result of creating a gene pool in which classical liberalism spread, was temporarily sidelined after 1492, but continued to produce deep social change, including the co-emergence of the WEIRD gene pool with high-social-trust, Enlightenment values (agentic values such as individual achievement) and modern rationalism.

The reason that Christians, people of NW European origin, are embarrassed by their culture's imperial ("pagan") tendencies is that those tendencies went too far toward empire building and political re-centralization, even if the original justification for doing so was to work around the Ottoman Empire's blocking of Silk Road trade, to eliminate Viking and Arab slave raids, Mongol marauders etc.

On the issue of sin, evil, suffering and salvation (spiritual liberation from impurity: evil and sin), Christianity is in the tradition of Axial culture and contemplative "purity myth" religion that evolved after the Bronze Age collapse, which was a classic example of how technological and economic disruption drives social change (see Gerhard Lenski).

To vastly oversimplify, Axial cultures, people in walled, medieval cities, needed a new set of social institutions and beliefs, such as the evolving idea of a transcendent God of personal salvation, to create a more powerful alternative to "paganism" (generally, the remnants pre-Axial, nomadic culture).

Axial cultures, including Christianity, evolved because the psychological archetype of "pagan" culture was not able to adapt to techno-economic disruption and emerging coherence needs in culture and the need for a new model of social order.

Note: Islam is also Axial (its purity myth, Divine Unity, tawhid, goes beyond Christianity's Trinity), but failed for various reasons (geopolitics restricted the emergence of capitalism and an expanding urban commoner class), one of which was intense inbreeding due to a strong form of the practice of cousin marriage in Arab culture (not all Muslims are Arab, but it is the central culture in the religion). Islam partly reformed "pagan" forms of slavery, but was still economically dependent on slave labor and the slave trade because of the historical lack of industrialization and technological innovation in the muslim world.

Also note that the Enlightenment, modern rationalism, severely eroded the legitimacy of mythic religion in crucial ways, but failed to provide a satisfactory, alternative metaphysics, a system of meaning and purpose.*

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What worries me the most about wokery is that Christianity overwhelmed the classic world once the Emperor embraced it. Reason and observation were tossed out and ignorance and doctrine ruled until 1500. History seems to be repeating itself

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