The Circle Cannot Be Squared and the Center Cannot Hold
Intellectual Dark Web Centrists Attempt The Impossible
The recent controversy surrounding Karlyn Borysenko provides a teachable moment about centrism, the Intellectual Dark Web and “facts and logic” conservatism.
Centrism, expressed in the cringeworthy in name and deed Intellectual Dark Web, is an entirely untenable position and, is indeed, nonsensical. It assumes an average IQ of approximately 140, with an median education level of post-graduate work and the typical living standard of an urban intellectual worker. None of these things are “average” in any way, of course, and are pure projection on the part of the centrists.
The degree to which the centrists have any core beliefs other than a passion for money and the sound of their own voice is debatable. I do not have access to the inner workings of any man’s head except my own. However, it is worth noting that they rarely ever take actually dangerous opinions, attempting instead to square the circle between the left and right, appealing to -- what else? -- “facts and logic” and affluent urban sensibilities with little constituency outside of large cities.
None that I am aware of have ever been deplatformed, financially or socially, though I’m sure I’m forgetting someone of minor significance. All enjoy or aspire to cushy little gigs opining on the hot topics of the day and denouncing the radicalism of “both sides,” treating the far left and the far right as equal weights on a balanced scale.
This analysis is faulty. The far left enjoys enormous institutional power, while the far right (by which I mean dyed-in-the-wool white nationalists and self-avowed fascists of a myriad of stripes) hold precisely none. On the other hand, the country has spent the better part of the last year and a half locked down because of a safetyism cult and our cities have been burned to the ground by militant leftists who receive financial backing and political cover from billionaires, Fortune 500s and powerful elected officials.
The far left and the far right are by no means “two sides of the same coin.” One is quickly stripping you of your rights, with an eye on your property, your life and your children. The other is routinely exposed as agents provocateur or easily recognized as schizophrenics by those with even rudimentary powers of observation. They’re the political equivalent of Flat Earthers -- wrong, stupid and an ultimately harmless social curiosity.
Again, I am privy to no man’s internal monologue. But I suspect that the prominent centrists who have made their careers appealing to urban liberals who think sex changes for five year olds might be a bridge too far are smart enough to know this. Why they choose to pretend otherwise is anyone’s guess, but the answer seems obvious enough. There’s gold in them thar hot takes! And the highly intelligent are predisposed toward dark triad characteristics, one of which is narcissism.
But even the allegedly intellectual basis of the centrists is wildly inaccurate. Human beings are not logical creatures. Are we capable of logical decision making? Certainly, at times. But a coldly logical human does not exist and I would wager that a startlingly small percentage of human decisions are made on the basis of logic. Enlightened self-interest gets a little closer to the truth, but is still not the whole picture.
The actual truth is that human beings are emotional creatures and this certainly informs our thinking, but we are also tribal creatures, and there’s no wishing this away. Tribalism is hardwired into the human DNA by billions of years of evolution if one believes the narrative of The Science™ or put there by God if one prefers that narrative. Either way, it’s there and for the more scientifically minded, predates human existence. Good luck undoing something that goes back to our bacterial ancestors.
In Utopia, Saint Thomas More explains that democracy is all well and good until the electorate and their elected representatives learn that one can simply buy votes by promising increasingly extravagant goodies from the public treasury. One can make the case that this is immoral, unsustainable or both. That and three bucks will get you a gallon of gas. The simple truth is that people like free stuff and those who have little often resent those who have much. Your pamphlet about the Non-Aggression Principle isn’t going to change this and neither will anything else. It is an immutable fact of human existence.
Friedrich Nietzsche is always a bit of a cipher. People tend to see in him what they want. But what I, and a lot of other people see in him and the entire intellectual tradition of German pessimism, is an unassailable critique of “the Enlightenment” (a foolish name for a period that wasn’t terribly enlightening and is, in any case, certainly not repeating); To wit, rationality is a false god, a myth that the intelligent, educated and, often, well-connected tell themselves. It’s a pat on the back: “We have all of it figured out and if everyone else could only think as hard as we do, they’d have it figured out too.”
Rationality is itself a frame. And a weak one at that. It has no answer for men who simply wish to watch the world burn, nor men unconcerned with the bigger picture, nor hordes of Morlocks who simply wish to kill you and take your stuff. The last of these currently constitute the shock troops of a globalist elite who have declared open war on the vast middle in a transparent attempt to strip them of their wealth and power. There is no reasoning with them and no amount of facts and logic will get them to stop coming after you.
The international populist-nationalist right and the coalition of demographics that comprise it should be unafraid to take their own side, and pursue their own interests. They should be unashamed to appeal to emotion and enlightened self-interest. And they should completely cease and desist from relying on facts and logic as anything but window dressing for the true purpose of politics: getting what you want, rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies.