Persecutorial Progressivism

Persecutorial Progressivism, by Rod Dreher.

One of [Moldbug’s] neoreactionary concepts that I think is completely, irrefutable true is his idea of the Cathedral. That’s the term he uses for the network of institutions — universities, media, corporations, and others — that informally regulate what we can and cannot talk about.

The term “cathedral” is brilliant, because it does two things: it frames the views of the progressive-egalitarian establishment as a pseudo-religion, and it signals that religion’s authority (a cathedral is the bishop’s church). It might sound like conspiracy theory to you, but it’s not. Moldbug has pointed out that it’s not organized. It’s a self-defined and self-regulating system through which elites form society to their ends. …

Here is [… an] example of the Cathedral in action. A Soviet-born US academic, one of the sources of my forthcoming book, writes this morning to say:

Yesterday I spoke with my sister. She’s not in academia. She’s an entrepreneur, a hot-shot business woman, very successful. She called me to rant about how this woke rot is conquering the world of business. It’s now becoming pretty much obligatory to list your pronouns in business correspondence, and she says it’s getting to the place where you will become a pariah in business circles if you don’t. She routinely speaks to people like herself, owners of multi-million dollar businesses, CEOs of successful companies who confess to her in private that they routinely self-censor and are terrified of linking to any story on their LinkedIn profiles that isn’t completely woke. …

Moldbug’s “Cathedral” concept illuminates the nature of progressivism, and progressive systems, in our liberal democratic society. It helps us to see that it really does operate like a religion: believing it possesses ultimate truths, has the authority to separate humanity into sheep and goats, and believes the true faith must be guarded and imposed by an enlightened clerical elite (professors, journalists, woke capitalists) who work within structures and institutions.

Zealots of the new religion

It is impossible to argue that political conservatives can be counted on to fight the Cathedral. They are more interested in political power, but fail to understand that the more important power is cultural. This is why despite Republican presidencies, and Republican control of Congress, society keeps moving left. Even when they have to stand in the back or along the sides of the nave, the Republicans are in the Cathedral.

Trump is not really a threat to the Cathedral, because he’s a barbarian who just wandered into it, and doesn’t have the brains or the discipline to give it a good sacking. A smart, disciplined leader like Viktor Orban is much more of a threat to the Cathedral. The Tories, by disciplining their MP who spoke at the national conservatism conference, reaffirmed their bona fides as paid-up members of the Cathedral.

The point I’m getting to in this long ramble is this: as long as the Cathedral holds power, there will be no stopping the leftward movement of the culture, and the gutting of tradition, especially religious tradition, and of traditional liberties. …

Intolerance is becoming complete:

In the Cathedral’s religion, dissent from wokeness is heresy, and a form of violence. Progressive society is a persecuting society! Talk to conservatives who have to live and work within colleges and universities that have refashioned themselves as Cathedral seminaries.

I see no way around that conclusion. The Left has abandoned liberalism, and is becoming quite illiberal. The liberal Right — Republicans, normie conservatives, conservative churches, et alia — does little or nothing to fight it, or at least is not effective in fighting it (though they’re sure effective in fundraising off the fight). The National Conservative conference brought together small-d democrats of the Right who want to fight it within the bounds of liberal democracy — and the Tories horsewhipped their own heretic who showed up to speak there.

Following on from the world’s wokest guy, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin tolerated no dissent from full-on lefitism

Which brings us back to where we started. People of the Right are faced with the systematic repression of the things they care about, and of themselves, by a pseudo-religious system that treats them as heretics who deserve persecution. There is increasingly no place for religious or cultural conservatives within the Cathedral. This is what I mean by an emerging “soft totalitarianism” — if you don’t bend the knee to whatever the progressives have come up with five minutes ago, you will be exiled. We are well on our way to a persecuting society run by the Left. I firmly believe that. …

The established Right is either about negotiating the terms of our surrender, or, in Trump’s case, 90 percent about performative bluster, without much effective follow-through.

The new politically-correct person is deeply and passionately attached to various fantasies, and is liable to cry or shout if someone — no matter how gently or indirectly — points out that reality is different.

It’s as if they think they can actually control reality by controlling how people talk!

hat-tip Stephen Neil