A Tyranny of Nihilism – UPDATED

Sounds like the last volume in the Game of Thrones series, doesn’t it?  There has to be one ruthless sadistic amoral scumbag remaining after all the other ruthless sadistic amoral scumbags finally kill each other, so he gets to be king of whatever’s left…

Alas, I don’t think it’s fiction.  I’ve spent a long time pondering the question of what, exactly, people like Hillary Clinton actually want.  Money is a big part of it, of course, but like the kleptomaniac African Big Man she so often resembles, her actions seem more about the thievery than the spoils — she’d rather make ten bucks by pulling some big elaborate caper than make ten million by playing it straight.

The contrast with Obama makes it plain.  Though as goofy, lazy, and corrupt as any Dark Continent “president,” Obama isn’t actually a Big Man — rich beyond the dreams of avarice, he seems content to live out his days shuffling between his many, many mansions.  “At a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” he famously proclaimed.  Turns out he was talking about himself, and it’s the one honest statement on that subject he’s ever made.

“Power for power’s sake” also fails as an explanation for Hillary.  While I don’t believe she ordered every single one of these people whacked, you don’t need to be wearing a tinfoil hat to notice that people who (potentially) have dirt on the Clintons tend to expire early, often under rather strange circumstances.  And while I guess Seth Rich, say, might’ve preferred going out in a big gaudy drone strike rather than a “mugging,” the point is that the power she would’ve had as president represents a difference of degree, not kind (and not all that big a degree, either, considering she was Secretary of State).  If power for power’s sake was her goal, in other words, she achieved it.  It didn’t blunt her ambition in the slightest.

Which leaves…. what?

When you’ve pruned all the explanations down to nothing, then nothing’s all you’ve got.  As terrifying as this is, I’m forced to conclude that what people like Hillary Clinton really want is…. nothing.  Nihil.  Nada.  The Big Adios.

I know, I know, it makes my brain hurt too, which is why I’ve resisted it for so long.  But you must admit it fits the facts.  If Hillary is too rage-inducing to contemplate, try it out on someone like Bill Kristol.  It’s obvious what’s wrong with him, and the rest of the ahoy, maties! on board the SS NeverTrump: They’re bored.  As I’ve written here somewhere before, this is a man whose taedium vitae is so terminal, he’d have us nuke Moscow just for the lulz.  Ditto Jonah Goldberg and the rest of them.  Neither money nor power (“influence”) suffice to explain them, since they had more of both back when they were steering National Review into the ditch.  It’s not even that they’re trying to convince the crocodile to eat them last.  Rather, they’ve soberly sized up their situation and concluded that since we’ve all got to go sometime, thrashing around in an amphibian’s jaws is one of the less boring.

Or consider, sigh, teh Jooos!!!  If I must face the possibility that every single person on the nominal “Left,” and 95% of those on the so-called “Right,” are in politics solely to make us bit players in the drama of their existential ennui, then I’m compelled to consider that the oh-god-sooooo-many mouth-breathers in Our Thing are right after all, and the Learned Elders of Zion are trying to blow up ambient civilization because…. well, because.  I’ve never once heard a coherent explanation for what the (((special people))) could possibly be getting out of whatever (((they))) are accused of doing today, but if I’m right about Hillary Clinton, then it stands to reason that the Heinrich Himmler Fan Club might be right about the Tribe.  There’s no point to blowing the world up… or, more precisely: the pointlessness is, itself, the point.

This would explain, finally, our Elite’s seeming inability to see what’s in front of their faces.  I’m not denying that people like Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are terrifyingly stupid.  But nobody’s that stupid.  They know.  They just don’t care.  That they, too, will end up fighting off Super Mutants in the wasteland with the rest of us is a feature, not a (giant, irradiated) bug.  At least they’ll have something to do.  Their lives will still be exquisitely pointless, but it sure as hell won’t be boring.

The ever-increasing tyranny they exercise over us can only end one way, and it’s by design.

UPDATE: This started as a reply to Pickle Rick, below, but needs to go above the fold.

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum, some Robespierre type supposedly said — let justice be done, though the heavens fall.  To which some Severian type would inevitably reply: “Embrace the power of and, buddy.”  There’s no true justice this side of the grave, and since you people are convinced there’s nothing on the other side of it, either, you’ll only find justice six feet under.  These days he cucks harder than David French at an all-night showing of Mandingo, but P.J. O’Rourke nailed it back in the days: Socialists are all about equality, and if everyone ends up equally broke, hungry, and dead, well, fair’s fair.  Igor Shafarevich flat out declared that Socialism is a suicide cult.  Take your pick — Socialism simply is Nihilism.

That seems bizarrely wrong, considering how much effort Socialists put into saving the world.  But look at it objectively, comrade (heh heh), and you’ll see that Save-the-World-ism, of whatever flavor, always boils down to Destroy-the-World-ism.  Always.  It doesn’t matter how the world gets “saved;” it always gets blown up in the process.  You still can’t find a better primer on chiliastic psychology than Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium.  The specifics of each loony doctrine changed, but the underlying presumption was always the same:  Kill everyone, destroy everything, and then Jesus comes.

This is true even of millennialists whose doctrines don’t obviously entail killing everyone.  Calvinists, for example.  I spent decades trying to explain Calvinism to undergrads, and never once succeeded.  The gulf between their words and their actions is too vast for the adolescent mind.  There are only two logical responses to the doctrine of “double predestination”: quietism, or hedonism.  They knew it, too, which is why they started burning people at the stake the minute they got any real power.  Look at what they did, not what they said, and you’ll see nihilism plain as day.  Calvin’s Geneva was the nearest thing to a police state that could be achieved with 16th century technology.  The ideal Calvinist would say nothing, do nothing, think nothing, as he sat in the plain pews of his unadorned chapel, waiting for death and the Final Judgment.  Calvinists wanted to grind the world to a halt, not blow it up, but once again the mass extinction of the human race is a feature, not a bug.

Take Jesus out of the equation, and you end up at pure shit-flinging nihilism in less than three steps.  Marxism is perhaps the most exquisitely pointless doctrine ever devised.  It’s more pleasant to have than to have not, I suppose, but no matter how much everyone has, we’re still just naked apes, living the brief days of our vain lives under an utterly indifferent sky.  Marxists are a special kind of stupid, so they don’t realize it, but…. they won.  Modern Western “poor” people keel over from heart disease while fiddling with their smartphones in front of 50″ plasma tvs.  While wearing $200 sneakers.  We’re so far from being “alienated” from the fruits of our labor that “labor” is an all-but-meaningless concept for lots of us — and the further down the social scale you go, the more meaningless it gets.  The modern ghetto dweller simply is Marx’s ideal proletarian.  Does he look self-actualized to you?  Ecce homeboy.

I assure you, the SJWs know this.  Calvinists to the core, they know better than anyone the utter futility of all human effort.  So they do what the original Calvinists did: Displace, displace, displace.  Don’t take it from me, take it from a card-carrying Marxist.  The end result is the same: Whether you’re a Puritan or an SJW, the only way to escape the crushing meaninglessness of your condition is to spend every moment of every day contemplating your pwecious widdle self.

Throw in the transitive property of equality, and you’ve got people like Hillary Clinton.  If Socialism is Nihilism, then Nihilism is Socialism.  Far from arguing against the idea, as Pickle Rick states, that Hillary et al are motivated solely by hatred, I’m 100% behind it.  In fact, I’d argue that the Nihilism comes first — people who have convinced themselves that life is pointless always, always, embrace the biggest and most all-encompassing form of collectivism on offer.  What could be crueler, than to be given all this for nothing?  It’s not even a sick joke, since a joke implies a joker.

How can you not hate this world, then, and everything in it?  More to the point: how can you not hate yourself, for seeing the world as it really is?  Ignorance is bliss… but how can you not hate them, too, those poor deluded motherfuckers who still think stuff like God and love and family and the designated hitter might somehow mean something?  Vanity, vanity, all is vanity… and if I have to face the existential horror of it all, then fuck it, so do you.  “Capitalism,” the “free market,” “representative government” — call it what you will, it’s all just vanity, just another way for the sheeple to keep deluding themselves.  Fuck it, and fuck them.  Burn it down.  Burn it allllll down.

Loading Likes...

6 thoughts on “A Tyranny of Nihilism – UPDATED

  1. Pickle Rick

    Nope, gotta disagree. Clinton and her ilk are motivated by pure hatred. For all the screeching they do about Our Thing being filled with “hate”, Clinton has been fueled by hate her entire life. She hates being a woman, (probably because the pretty girls in school didn’t like her), she obviously hates men, with her husband first on the list, because she thinks being a woman unfairly kept her from all her ambitions for power. She hates us for not recognizing her greatness, she hates us for being average, normal and generally happy people, with families.
    She’s got Stalin level hate.

  2. MBlanc46

    Glad to see you back. I was getting worried about you. This is pretty speculative, so any response is equally speculative. Cosmic ennui may well be at the root of the destructiveness of some people. Stalin? Mao Tse-tung? I’d be skeptical that it’s what’s going on the the likes of Hillary Clinton. She’s a small person with, I imagine, small desires. Wealth. Power. Acclamation. She doesn’t seem to me have the spiritual heft to want to bring the world down around her.

    A minor point: President of the US has an order of magnitude or two more weight than Secretary of State, or any other office. Most if us can rattle of the names of at least a couple of dozen presidents. Very few* can remember more than a couple of the most recent secretaries of state.

    * You don’t count because you’re a professional historian.

  3. Maus

    Sev, with that update this piece moved from a solid political analysis to a masterpiece of philosophical exposition. Nihilism truly is the cultural root of our malaise. But your concluding threnody, to which I join my voice in chorus, captures the atavistic rage at the Other that lies deep within every human. Dare I say it is biological, thus subject to HBD and evolutionary analysis? We may struggle to understand “what” it is, but “that” it is is beyond question. Maybe Rene Girard was onto something with his exploration of the scapegoat? You mention Jesus. To believers he made a redeeming sacrifice of himself, which makes all the nonesense this side of the grave tolerable. To the ever-practical skeptics and utilitarians, it was better that one man should die than that an entire nation be destroyed. To the nihilists, not so much. No doubt they were more gratified by the events circa 70 A.D., courtesy of Titus.

  4. Pingback: Cantandum in Ezkhaton 27/10/19 | Liberae Sunt Nostrae Cogitatiores

  5. Prodigal Son

    As someone who was formerly invested in the revolution, fought for it, and swallowed the ideology whole – cast as an Anarchist in the European sense – maybe I can add to your thinking here.

    Step One was (for me, anyway) a painful and unwanted Nihilism from religious disbelief. Which resulted in

    Step Two increasing despair, which opened me up to

    Step Three a variant of Ubermensch ideology, which I believe is essentially what the basket of Godless ideologies are, Man being the logical next step if the supernatural is discounted.

    This is initially very empowering because it declares society as the shackles and self-determination as the solution. A half-truth taken as the full truth, a person being too young to see the nuance.

    Investing in the ideology has a catch .22 effect. The person suffers greatly in trying to pursue its dictate. But continuing despite the increasing self-destruction is interpreted as selflessness for a greater good. The longer one trudges though hell, the more they perceive their personal endurance. Another half-truth.

    Finally is the logical direction this all goes and that you’re clearly familiar with. The culprits and obstacles barring ‘me/us’ and delaying the Revolution are increasingly expanded upon as the self-destruction increases and pervades all social and economic aspects of the person’s life.

    The conclusion, inevitably, is that the whole thing must burn, or enlightened me is forever doomed to my (and our) previous despair. And what greater thing could one fight for?

    Thus the whole thing can be inverted as a supreme act of love.

    In Solzhenitzyn’s seminal work, he said if he could boil it all down to one phrase for the Revolution, it was a pleasant woman who sighed: “People have forgotten God. That’s why all this is happening.”

    Hope you enjoyed reading this, love your writing.

Comments are closed.