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Reconciling the DIM Hypothesis and the Mystics of Muscle - I just don't agree

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Having read the DIM Hypothesis, I am not convinced that his conclusions about the Religious Right are warranted.

I live in Texas, certainly not a bastion of secularism.  I was raised Methodist.  And based on my experience, I just am not convinced that the religious right is anything but a haphazard collection of zealots in the US.  They are formidable in numbers, but they are completely inconsistent in their philosophy and consistently make themselves look like idiots. The right wing in the US, to me, is completely hamstrung by their contradictions - attempting to (pretend to) advocate free(er) market capitalism in the name of individualism, and yet also strike massive blows to individual rights in the name of drug wars and conservative values.  They lose every time.  I don't know of any Republicans that don't admit the party is confused and splintered.  The alt-right is disintegrating on a daily basis, and the "Nazi" rallys that the left incessantly screams about tend to be a handful of hillbillies that end up regretting their involvement after the fact.  America's "Right Wing" stands for virtually nothing anymore, and I see it as impotent.

I am, however, terrified of the Anti-Mind, Anti-Individual, Anti-Human Left.  These are the kids that knock down towers.  They are the destroyers of honesty, independence, integrity, justice, productiveness and pride.  If you stand for ANYTHING as an individual, the American Left will hate you and try to destroy you. I see the non-stop, lock-step consistent march towards socialized statist collectivism of the extreme Left as a MUCH more powerful threat to virtually everything that we as Objectivists stand for.  Even Republicans readily admit that our current "Republican" president is really a social Democrat.  Obamacare is not going to be repealed, and they absolutely DOMINATE the political discourse in the media, if not the country.  They great industrialists of our day - Bezos, Zuckerberg, etc all espouse and sponsor leftist values and publications

However, Peikoff must have at least convinced one person - I am a consistent listener to Yaron Brook's podcasts, where he is quite in line with Dr. Peikoff's DIM predictions that the "Religious Right" is the forthcoming M2 that we need to be wary of in the future.

I am not the first person to see things this way - this question was posed (and answered insufficiently albeit with great supporting references from DIM) here:  http://objectivistanswers.com/questions/10551/is-religion-really-on-the-rise-in-america.html

I am well-studied in Objectivism, particularly Rand's original works, but I am not infallible.  I believe my high level understanding of the following Objectivist integrations is correct:
1. Today's morality of sacrifice, and specifically leftist collectivism are both as mystic and dualistic as the religious right and the mystics of spirit.
2. Kant's crowning achievement was the repackaging of collectivist, self-sacrificial, altruist ethics and morality in a secular form.
3. The DIM Hypothesis concludes that the religious right will be the downfall of Western Civilization in the relatively near future.
4. Per Yaron Brook, socialism is impotent in the face of it's failures and isn't nearly the threat that the religious right is.

My point is:

Should not the same attributes that compose the religious right also ascribed to the Kantian collectivists who at their core believe in a non-individualistic shadow-world devoid of specific entities that actually exist apart from an other-wordly "one"?

Rand makes it a point to show that Collectivism is not "Left or Right", but is Mysticism either way (See Mystics of Muscle and Mystics of Spirit).  In this sense, Socialism, Communism and the American Leftists are just as "religious and mystic" as the right.  Rand in general doesn't differentiate.  I don't know that "increased" book and music sales of religious themed media can justify Peikoffs claim that the "Religious Right" is a long-term threat, let alone the next M2.  In light of current events and the current political environment - in Universities, the Media, Protest Violence, anti-identity legal environment, vague speak about monopolies, etc...

Shouldn't we be more terrified of the "Religious" LEFT instead?

I believe I am.

**Disclaimer (added by Eioul by Reasoner's request):  My post below reflects some confusion I had on The DIM Hypothesis, which was quickly clarified - unfortunately, however, my confusion came through in the initial post as a misrepresentation of the book.  I believe the misconception to be clarified in the subsequent discussion that occurs in this thread**

Edited by Eiuol

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When did you finish reading DIM?

Its been a while but I do not recollect a religious "Right" being a huge factor so much as "Christianity" as such becoming allies with the Left.

References (page numbers) where Leonard Peikoff makes reference to the Religious Right rather than simply Christianity as such would be appreciated.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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I agree with the fact that the American "alt right", and even the people who openly call themselves Nazis or white supremacists, are a joke. Immature idiots playing around, pretending to be big bad Nazis. They don't really mean what that entails, and would crap their pants the second they were asked to actually back up their pretend beliefs with action.

But that's because the US is a prosperous, peaceful country with an effective judiciary that upholds property rights, free speech and religious freedom. Those aren't conditions a far right ideology would thrive in. Americans have it way too good to fully embrace an ideology that requires absolute submission to the state, and demands that individuals literally sacrifice their lives and their souls, in its service.

Which is why it doesn't make sense to judge how dangerous the far right potentially is based on their current level of support. What makes far more sense is to judge the potential danger based on what happened in the past, when conditions became more accommodating to a strongman promoting this brand of fanatical, extreme altruism. What happened is exactly what the Nazi ideology means: millions of citizens of civilized, culturally rich nations willing to happily die and commit moral atrocities of the highest order in the service of the state, and do so with no regard to any of the values, decency or rationality that was integral to the culture of these nations for hundreds (or, in the case of Japan, over a thousand) years through their amazing, rich, benevolent history.

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3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

When did you finish reading DIM?

Its been a while but I do not recollect a religious "Right" being a huge factor so much as "Christianity" as such becoming allies with the Left.

References (page numbers) where Leonard Peikoff makes reference to the Religious Right rather than simply Christianity as such would be appreciated.

You are right, thank you for requesting the clarification...he does indeed predominantly use the term "Christianity", not "the right".  I quickly scanned most of Chapter 15 "The Anti-Secular Revolution" and I understand better what he is saying.

It's been about 6 months since I finished the Audio book (perhaps thats part of my problem 😋) but I think a larger part of my cognitive dissonance is that I was raised in a very conservative, Republican, religious household, and exposed mostly to traditional, conservative Christian viewpoints.  So when someone says "Christian" to me, I automatically think "Right Wing".  While I grasped what Peikoff was saying in his book, my mind reverts back to that paradigm.

Essentially, I understand Peikoff to be saying that what secular aspects of the left remain to ground their otherwise collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism are being dissolved by the ever-growing non-secular collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism on the right.  

Example from pages Chapter 15, pp. 253-254 (ebook):

"Christians, many of them now say, should stop denouncing the welfare state; rather, they should aim to take over the job themselves and do it properly—in effect, profit from the state-expanding achievements of the Ds. Ralph Nader, seeing an aspect of this development, writes of “a convergence of liberal-progressives with conservative-libertarians….” The Wall Street Journal has described this politics as the “religious left,” which is also a good name for the politics of the Middle Ages."

In the same section of the book, Peikoff does go to great lengths to explain how the New Christians differ from the "traditional" right-wing Republicans:

Peikoff makes a pretty strong case for what he anticipates M2 to be, however the great totalitarian disasters in the past (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc) have been notoriously atheist.  Indeed, to this day I am not seeing much Christian (or even religious) thought in most cultural or political analysis of a collectivist or altruistic nature.  Furthermore, the leftists I am friends with are either passively or staunchly atheist (although my sister admittedly is a left-leaning New Christian to be sure!)

Perhaps it's too soon for M2 to be apparent.  And perhaps atheist collectivists and New Christians are slowly merging to be one and the same.  But I'm still at a point where I need to learn and experience more before I feel confident one way or another.

 

Edited by Reasoner
changed non-secular to "secular"

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31 minutes ago, Nicky said:

I agree with the fact that the American "alt right", and even the people who openly call themselves Nazis or white supremacists, are a joke. Immature idiots playing around, pretending to be big bad Nazis. They don't really mean what that entails, and would crap their pants the second they were asked to actually back up their pretend beliefs with action.

But that's because the US is a prosperous, peaceful country with an effective judiciary that upholds property rights, free speech and religious freedom. Those aren't conditions a far right ideology would thrive in. Americans have it way too good to fully embrace an ideology that requires absolute submission to the state, and demands that individuals literally sacrifice their lives and their souls, in its service.

Which is why it doesn't make sense to judge how dangerous the far right potentially is based on their current level of support. What makes far more sense is to judge the potential danger based on what happened in the past, when conditions became more accommodating to a strongman promoting this brand of fanatical, extreme altruism. What happened is exactly what the Nazi ideology means: millions of citizens of civilized, culturally rich nations willing to happily die and commit moral atrocities of the highest order in the service of the state, and do so with no regard to any of the values, decency or rationality that was integral to the culture of these nations for hundreds (or, in the case of Japan, over a thousand) years through their amazing, rich, benevolent history.

Yes, I agree, especially about the "Alt-Right" being a clown show.  They just seem so ineffectual and...too stupid to warrant my energy.  And I agree about judging the ideas based on the very real impact they have had in the past.  However, the unfortunate truth is that the outrage and condemnation of "Fascism" comes at the cost of an intentionally blind-eye turned to the atrocities of Communism and the slow rot of Socialism.  Average people only have so much energy and time to focus on this type of issue.

Germany denigrates itself and wallows in it's own shame of the holocaust.  "Nazi" is an accusation used so frequently there is a social law regarding how frequently it arises in an online conversation.

And yet the disaster that is modern day Venezuela is ignored while news cameras are zoomed in on a handful of rednecks shouting racist slogans in Nowhere, USA.  If we were to go off of what has happened in the past, and what is currently happening today (to my point in my previous reply about my perspective)...I see the left as philosophically in lock-step...consistent, hard driving, relentless and unified.

But to Dr. Peikoffs point in DIM, when I am asked about my political views, I don't align with a party.  I tell anyone who asks that I am an Individualist, and a Capitalist.  To the extent that someone or something represents and supports those ideals, I am in favor.

And the New Christianity/Religious Left that Dr. Peikoff describes is most assuredly neither.

 

Edited by Reasoner
Slight clarification

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27 minutes ago, Reasoner said:

You are right, thank you for requesting the clarification...he does indeed predominantly use the term "Christianity", not "the right".  I quickly scanned most of Chapter 15 "The Anti-Secular Revolution" and I understand better what he is saying.

It's been about 6 months since I finished the Audio book (perhaps thats part of my problem 😋) but I think a larger part of my cognitive dissonance is that I was raised in a very conservative, Republican, religious household, and exposed mostly to traditional, conservative Christian viewpoints.  So when someone says "Christian" to me, I automatically think "Right Wing".  While I grasped what Peikoff was saying in his book, my mind reverts back to that paradigm.

Essentially, I understand Peikoff to be saying that what secular aspects of the left remain to ground their otherwise collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism are being dissolved by the ever-growing non-secular collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism on the right.  

Example from pages Chapter 15, pp. 253-254 (ebook):

"Christians, many of them now say, should stop denouncing the welfare state; rather, they should aim to take over the job themselves and do it properly—in effect, profit from the state-expanding achievements of the Ds. Ralph Nader, seeing an aspect of this development, writes of “a convergence of liberal-progressives with conservative-libertarians….” The Wall Street Journal has described this politics as the “religious left,” which is also a good name for the politics of the Middle Ages."

In the same section of the book, Peikoff does go to great lengths to explain how the New Christians differ from the "traditional" right-wing Republicans:

Peikoff makes a pretty strong case for what he anticipates M2 to be, however the great totalitarian disasters in the past (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc) have been notoriously atheist.  Indeed, to this day I am not seeing much Christian (or even religious) thought in most cultural or political analysis of a collectivist or altruistic nature.  Furthermore, the leftists I am friends with are either passively or staunchly atheist (although my sister admittedly is a left-leaning New Christian to be sure!)

Perhaps it's too soon for M2 to be apparent.  And perhaps atheist collectivists and New Christians are slowly merging to be one and the same.  But I'm still at a point where I need to learn and experience more before I feel confident one way or another.

 

I think, in the interests of accuracy and justice, insofar as your characterization of Peikoff's actual position is incorrect, that you retract, or correct it, so that others are not misled.

Disagree or agree with what he actually says as much as you want but as it stands the OP is grossly erroneous IMHO.  I would suggest adding something to the OP itself to clarify...

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32 minutes ago, Reasoner said:

However, the unfortunate truth is that the outrage and condemnation of "Fascism" comes at the cost of an intentionally blind-eye turned to the atrocities of Communism and the slow rot of Socialism.

I'm not sure who you're talking about, but unless you are accusing me of turning a blind eye to some atrocity (and I can't imagine you are), I don't see how this is relevant to the topic at hand: the American far right.

Quote

Germany denigrates itself and wallows in it's own shame of the holocaust.

I've been to Germany, met a lot of people, and, as far as I've seen, Germans are extremely busy people, who occupy themselves with pretty much every activity imaginable (from extremely productive, scrupulous, hard work in the daytime to some of the most libertine expressions of sexuality I've ever seen, at night). Except for one: wallowing in shame. Haven't seen anyone do that.

So I find it hard to accept that Germany's defining characteristics are self-denigration or any kind of wallowing. I also haven't come across any expressions of pride over that period of German history (and they really shouldn't be proud of it), but there was zero wallowing.

To me, they appeared to have moved on from it, and are now occupying their time with entirely unrelated things. To the extent the people I met had some interest in politics, it was in the economy, and the various issues of the day, not anything to do with Nazi rule.

There are of course activists on the far left and the far right who scream and shout their talking points all day, but every country has those. People like that don't define Germany any more than they define any other country. They're irrelevant extremists no one outside their little circle takes seriously.

Edited by Nicky

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33 minutes ago, Reasoner said:

 what secular aspects of the left remain to ground their otherwise collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism are being dissolved by the ever-growing non-secular collectivist, altruistic, other-worldly mysticism on the right.  

I'm not sure what this means.  How can some aspect of the "left"'s position be "dissolved" by some aspect ever-growing in a position "on the right".  Unless what is implied is that the left is adopting something from the right. 

 

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25 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I think, in the interests of accuracy and justice, insofar as your characterization of Peikoff's actual position is incorrect, that you retract, or correct it, so that others are not misled.

Disagree or agree with what he actually says as much as you want but as it stands the OP is grossly erroneous IMHO.  I would suggest adding something to the OP itself to clarify...

Agreed...I don't seem to be able to edit the original post...I'll keep trying.

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17 minutes ago, Nicky said:

I'm not sure who you're talking about, but unless you are accusing me of turning a blind eye to some atrocity (and I can't imagine you are), I don't see how this is relevant to the topic at hand: the American far right.

I'm really referring to the "Antifa" movement, where individuals are so worked up by the notion of "Fascism" that they are willing to physically assault people, however I'm not seeing the same zealotry when it comes to opposing the extreme left, despite plenty of historical evidence that their ideas can have terrible consequences as well.

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11 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I'm not sure what this means.  How can some aspect of the "left"'s position be "dissolved" by some aspect ever-growing in a position "on the right".  Unless what is implied is that the left is adopting something from the right. 

 

Well yes - what I am saying is that the traditional "right" in the US has notions of individualism and capitalism - both objectively justifiable positions - juggled with Christian mysticism, other-worldiness, altruism, and all the collectivist ideas that come along with it.  Fiscally Conservative with all the trappings of laissez faire capitalism, and Socially Conservative with the stifling tribalism of Christian mysticism.

The traditional "left" does the same thing in reverse - they are the promoters of science, thought and secularism...unless they are contradicting themselves with their equally upheld ideas of collectivism and sacrifice for the tribe.  Fiscally Liberal with wealth redistribution and condemnation of the idea of individual success and capitalism.  Socially Liberal in that they believe in the rights of the individual when it comes to ones body, but not ones wealth.  

The dissolution is the left's traditional support of secular science and reason, replaced with the adopted Christian mysticism of the right, creating something of a "Fiscally Liberal, Socially Conservative" New Christian...the religious left.

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33 minutes ago, Nicky said:

I've been to Germany, met a lot of people, and, as far as I've seen, Germans are extremely busy people, who occupy themselves with pretty much every activity imaginable (from extremely productive, scrupulous, hard work in the daytime to some of the most libertine expressions of sexuality I've ever seen, at night). Except for one: wallowing in shame. Haven't seen anyone do that.

So I find it hard to accept that Germany's defining characteristics are self-denigration or any kind of wallowing. I also haven't come across any expressions of pride over that period of German history (and they really shouldn't be proud of it), but there was zero wallowing.

To me, they appeared to have moved on from it, and are now occupying their time with entirely unrelated things. To the extent the people I met had some interest in politics, it was in the economy, and the various issues of the day, not anything to do with Nazi rule.

There are of course activists on the far left and the far right who scream and shout their talking points all day, but every country has those. People like that don't define Germany any more than they define any other country. They're irrelevant extremists no one outside their little circle takes seriously.

I have been to Germany, and I have been to China (along with many other places).

It's hard to move about Berlin, or Munich, or nearly any other major city without intentional, constant reminders of the Holocaust.

I only refer to it as denigration in light of the fact that few other countries equally deserving of such memorials don't have the courage to construct them.

But the Death Camps exist to this day as museums.  The holocaust memorial itself is something I will never forget.  The plaques, the signs, the museums...its inescapable.

Contrasted with Maoist China - where there are no "memorials" to the dead who were slaughtered under the Maoist regime.  In fact, the building where the communist party first met is a virtual shrine to this day.

Granted, China wasn't overtly dealt the devastating blow that Germany was in World War 2, and thus has never been forced to confront it's atrocities...however this doesn't change the fact that they did happen.

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7 hours ago, Reasoner said:

Having read the DIM Hypothesis, I am not convinced that his conclusions about the Religious Right are warranted.

I live in Texas, certainly not a bastion of secularism.  I was raised Methodist.  And based on my experience, I just am not convinced that the religious right is anything but a haphazard collection of zealots in the US.  They are formidable in numbers, but they are completely inconsistent in their philosophy and consistently make themselves look like idiots. The right wing in the US, to me, is completely hamstrung by their contradictions - attempting to (pretend to) advocate free(er) market capitalism in the name of individualism, and yet also strike massive blows to individual rights in the name of drug wars and conservative values.  They lose every time.  I don't know of any Republicans that don't admit the party is confused and splintered.  The alt-right is disintegrating on a daily basis, and the "Nazi" rallys that the left incessantly screams about tend to be a handful of hillbillies that end up regretting their involvement after the fact.  America's "Right Wing" stands for virtually nothing anymore, and I see it as impotent.

I am, however, terrified of the Anti-Mind, Anti-Individual, Anti-Human Left.  These are the kids that knock down towers.  They are the destroyers of honesty, independence, integrity, justice, productiveness and pride.  If you stand for ANYTHING as an individual, the American Left will hate you and try to destroy you. I see the non-stop, lock-step consistent march towards socialized statist collectivism of the extreme Left as a MUCH more powerful threat to virtually everything that we as Objectivists stand for.  Even Republicans readily admit that our current "Republican" president is really a social Democrat.  Obamacare is not going to be repealed, and they absolutely DOMINATE the political discourse in the media, if not the country.  They great industrialists of our day - Bezos, Zuckerberg, etc all espouse and sponsor leftist values and publications

However, Peikoff must have at least convinced one person - I am a consistent listener to Yaron Brook's podcasts, where he is quite in line with Dr. Peikoff's DIM predictions that the "Religious Right" is the forthcoming M2 that we need to be wary of in the future.

I am not the first person to see things this way - this question was posed (and answered insufficiently albeit with great supporting references from DIM) here:  http://objectivistanswers.com/questions/10551/is-religion-really-on-the-rise-in-america.html

I am well-studied in Objectivism, particularly Rand's original works, but I am not infallible.  I believe my high level understanding of the following Objectivist integrations is correct:
1. Today's morality of sacrifice, and specifically leftist collectivism are both as mystic and dualistic as the religious right and the mystics of spirit.
2. Kant's crowning achievement was the repackaging of collectivist, self-sacrificial, altruist ethics and morality in a secular form.
3. The DIM Hypothesis concludes that the religious right will be the downfall of Western Civilization in the relatively near future.
4. Per Yaron Brook, socialism is impotent in the face of it's failures and isn't nearly the threat that the religious right is.

My point is:

Should not the same attributes that compose the religious right also ascribed to the Kantian collectivists who at their core believe in a non-individualistic shadow-world devoid of specific entities that actually exist apart from an other-wordly "one"?

Rand makes it a point to show that Collectivism is not "Left or Right", but is Mysticism either way (See Mystics of Muscle and Mystics of Spirit).  In this sense, Socialism, Communism and the American Leftists are just as "religious and mystic" as the right.  Rand in general doesn't differentiate.  I don't know that "increased" book and music sales of religious themed media can justify Peikoffs claim that the "Religious Right" is a long-term threat, let alone the next M2.  In light of current events and the current political environment - in Universities, the Media, Protest Violence, anti-identity legal environment, vague speak about monopolies, etc...

Shouldn't we be more terrified of the "Religious" LEFT instead?

I believe I am.

18

Reasoner, Well said, especially on Mystics/neo mystics. From my following and understanding of the USA (and Europe) I believe you are largely right. While I think Peikoff's book is otherwise very good, he (and Yaron's comment, lately, which I hadn't heard) has got Christianity/the religious right all wrong - it is mostly in disarray, while the extreme right is relatively minor, "impotent", as you say, but always gaining excessive media attention (of course). What I've noticed growing over decades, and to me the imminent danger to America, is the Left, known variously as postmodernism, cultural Marxism, Progressivism. This movement is a complex ball of wax to unwind, and none better in my reading than the Objectivist philosopher, Prof. Stephen Hicks, to place it in philosophical, moral, historical and political context with his in-depth and sweeping book 'Understanding Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault'. The usual suspects, Kant, Marx etc., with special attention to the mid-20c French philosophers who were greatly influential in the US, are all in there. He uncovers and forsees the ultimate nihilism of this "pomo" movement.

I recommend his website highly: stephenhicks.org

What was it Rand wrote about (roughly) the religious wanting your bodies but the Left wanting your minds? I've observed this principle broadly apply multiple times and places. I always say, with the separation of Church/State generally established I don't fear inroads from Christianity; however, there was no such careful separation made for the secular Left -- as we know, the State IS their Church... 

Edited by whYNOT

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