No true Scotsman

At The Orthosphere, there’s a post purporting to argue that the Cathedral was not constructed by Christians. Presumably the title was changed by someone other than the author of the text of the post, because the post ably demonstrates that Christians did in fact build the Cathedral. Indeed, the post is recommended.

Here’s the gist:

What you should do is remember that a Great Schism rent American Protestantism in the early nineteenth century, with the sundering fissure tearing through denominations, and even congregations. Protestants on one side of the fissure called themselves “liberals,” those on the other side called themselves “orthodox.” . . .

Liberal Protestantism is a new, post-Christian religion that in its early stages opportunistically spoke in a Christian idiom, but nevertheless preached a new gospel. . . .

We live today under the watch and care of officious Puritans. As of old, they believe that they are better than other people, and they have got hold of a “great ‘moral’ idea” to get themselves into power. This regime has no official name, but its detractors use terms such as “totalitarian humanism,” “political correctness” and “the Cathedral.” I suspect that most conservative Christians feel intuitive distrust of this regime, and sense that it is at heart an alien ideology. But they will at the same time read writers on the left and right who claim that it grew out of Christianity, and more especially out of Calvinist New England. These writers, many of whom are exceedingly capable and interesting, may cause some conservative Christians to wonder whether it is, indeed, possible to be both conservative and Christian. This post attempts to answer that question. It is a sort of paternity test on the Humanist Heresy; and what it has shown is that the Humanist Heresy is not our baby. There is no reason on earth why we should pay child support.

I plan to pick a few nits, but – again – the post good and well worth your time.

The first nit is the timeline. American progressivism is not a force that sprung from minds of few in the early 1800s. It’s a force that is older than the republic itself. Of course, on this subject, I can do no better than defer to Nick B. Steves:

But the Puritan Hypothesis isn’t about the slate of doctrine, but the evolving memetic culture. If you extract any Protestant memetic DNA from amber that solidified prior to about 1940 (certainly prior to 1910), sure it all looks pretty non-progressive by today’s standards. But once you compare that sample with others taken each decade, it is quite clear that you’re 1940 sample was an ancestor of today’s NYT editor.

And it also becomes quite clear that the 1940 sample itself was descended from the Puritan DNA that landed in New England three centuries earlier, who “progressed” from demanding Charles’ head, to fomenting a colonial rebellion, to bringing slavery to a violent end, to giving women the right to vote, to banning alcohol, to “No-Fault” Divorce Laws, to “Gay Marriage”, to bombing Syria just for the helluvit. With a lot of twists and turns along the way to be sure, but all in an unmistakable direction: The Zeitgeist—the Arc of History.

The second and third nits are with the concluding thoughts. If progressive Christianity is really the bastard spawn of Christianity, don’t the Orthodox at least need to call out their enemy? Yet when I – is there any other non-religious commenter on the interwebz more pro-religion that me? – criticize progressive Christianity, my Orthodox readers jump to the defense of their supposed enemy. If you don’t owe it child support, why do you all seem to pay it anyway? How obvious does it have to get?

Finally, and most importantly, the issue at hand is not whether it is “possible to be both conservative and Christian.” In that, all sides agree that it is possible. The issue is whether or not (orthodox) Christianity is a vehicle capable of combatting (progressive) Christianity. The track record would suggest that the answer is no. We can question whom the true Scotsman is all day long, but if one of our potential Scotsmen always wins, he’ll eventually inherit Scotland in all the ways that matter.

71 Responses to No true Scotsman

  1. bob sykes says:

    The true Christianity is the Eastern Orthodox/Catholic version. All forms of Protestantism are heretical. They don’t even have the real Bible. And the liberal Protestants have repudiated the truncated version of the Bible they do have.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      Religion is the intellectual property of its believers. They have the absolute right to modify it as they see fit. There is no “one correct” version of any particular religion. There are only different versions of the religion. There is no “prior” IP rights in religion. As such, this talk of “heresy” is meaningless drivel.

  2. IA says:

    I think another problem is the obsession with puritans, or at other sites der juden. The ideas are bizarre. Anyone who is establishment is a puritan or jewish, or a crypto one. Atheists, materialists, catholics, hedonists, artists, etc. Cher is a puritan! I have tried to understand this obsession and can only see it as avoidance mechanism. Young white hetero males are aware of the evil eye and want to redirect it onto other white males. But, for obvious reasons this will not work.

    These ornate conspiracy theories demonstrate a poor understanding of the culture of the West. We’ve always been part pagan, even after the rise of Christianity.

    But, today we are in a nihilist phase, which is unique. This phase was initiated at the time of Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich around one hundred years ago. But, this was only one group, the Dadaists. Lady Ottoline Morrell, who owned an estate with her husband was a another center at this time. Aldous Huxley based his novel Chrome Yellow on his experiences there.

    Anyway, both jew- and puritan-obsessives fail to understand Modernism, and concoct these strange conspiracy theories.

    • Foseti says:

      Is it really a conspiracy to call descendants of Puritans Puritans?

      • IA says:

        Imagine you are an anthropologist from Planet Clair. You want to study European culture on Earth. Do you honestly think you would label it as puritan? Where does God exist in 21st century West?

        You would look at cultural artifacts and customs. You would be curious about something called Modernism which has its own relics housed in shiney new temples. You would notice that these artifacts are very valuable. Artifacts made by Picasso and Warhol in paticular. You would come upon the curatoriat, who cast spells with many, many words that signify emptiness and irony. They satisfy the human craving for mystery in a godless age.

        You, as a neutral observer, would have to conclude that whatever they call themselves these euros with their skyscrapers and nihilistic relics are impious and narcisstic.

      • Foseti says:

        “Imagine you are an anthropologist from Planet Clair. You want to study European culture on Earth. Do you honestly think you would label it as puritan? Where does God exist in 21st century West?”

        I’d conclude Harvard conquered the world following WWII. And Harvard has always been Puritanical

      • fnn says:

        Has someone done the genealogical research?

      • josh says:

        Why do you assume the Jews are Puritans and not that the Puritans are Jews?

        Or another question. What happens to a religion when it no longer has a temple or sacrifice as its reason d’etre? It becomes a debating society.

        What direction does it take? Consensus forming as a matter of force majeure.

        What tendencies do we notice repeated throughout history? A denial of the existence of the “text”/real presence/logos as inherently meaningful. Wherein the highest intellectual achievement is imposing one’s will on the text (e.g. Huck and Nigger Jim were homos). Of course some wills are more equal than others.

        Does any of this sound familiar? Has this happened more than once? Does this have anything to do with the essence of Christianity?

      • n/a says:

        Please name some of these “descendants of Puritans”.

        To help you get started:

      • n/a says:

        As I expected, you seem to be unable to name any “descendants of Puritans” who are currently alive and exercising influence.

        If your claim is limited to asserting that 19th-century descendants of Puritans exercise an overbearing leftist influence from the grave, fine. You’d still be wrong, and I’d still be driven to wonder why 19th-century Yankees exert a stronger influence on people who were born into Jewish or Catholic families than on presently-living people of colonial stock, but we’d at least be able to start talking.

        re: some of the names mentioned in your post:

        The Grimké sisters were “born in Charleston, South Carolina, to John Faucheraud Grimké, a wealthy Episcopalian lawyer, judge, planter, politician, slaveholder, Revolutionary War veteran and distinguished member of Charleston society. In 1784 he married Mary Smith, a descendant of Landgrave Thomas Smith, another family from the Charleston elite. Together they had a total of fourteen children, of whom Angelina Grimké was the youngest. [. . .] Both Mary and John Grimké were strong advocates of the traditional, upper class Southern values that permeated Charleston society. Mary would not permit the girls to socialize outside of the prescribed elite social circles, and John remained a slaveholder his entire life.”

        William Lloyd Garrison was a child of immigrants from New Brunswick. No more than one of his grandparents was of New England Puritan stock.

        Garrison credited his conversion to the abolitionist cause to a Scottish/Scotch-Irish Presbyterian from Tennessee: “At the age of 25, Garrison joined the anti-slavery movement, later crediting the 1826 book of Reverend John Rankin, Letters on Slavery, for propelling him to take up the anti-slavery cause.”

        John Rankin (February 5, 1793 – March 18, 1886) was an American Presbyterian minister, educator and abolitionist. Upon moving to Ripley, Ohio in 1822, he became known as one of Ohio’s first and most active “conductors” on the Underground Railroad. Prominent pre-Civil War abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe were influenced by Rankin’s writings and work in the anti-slavery movement. [. . .]

        Rankin was born at Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee, and raised in a strict Calvinist home. Beginning at the age of eight, his view of the world and his religious faith were deeply affected by two things — the revivals of the Second Great Awakening that were sweeping through the Appalachian region, and the incipient slave rebellion led by Gabriel Prosser in 1800. (Hagedorn, pp. 22–23)

        He attended Washington College at Jonesborough, and soon after married Jean Lowry. In 1814, he became a Presbyterian minister.

      • Foseti says:

        You’ve done an admirable job demonstrating that a cabal of the descendants of Puritans are not running certain organizations. I’m sure that’s an incredibly devastating rebuttal to some argument that someone is making somewhere, but in this case it just shows that we’re talking at cross purposes.

        Here’s the best explanation of the much more subtle (and important) point I’m attempting to make (I’ll leave the blunter conspiracy theories to others):

        Indeed, if my theory is correct, I would suspect modern Puritanical organizations to be run by a diverse (natch) group of members of the major groups in the modern progressive coalition. Actually, you’ve ably demonstrated that that’s the case. Thanks!

        After all, once you’ve taken over the entire culture and all of its governing structures, you don’t have to actually run the major cultural organizations anymore. More fundamentally, I’ve written before that – to a certain extent – we’re all progressives. That’s the key point – we’re basically all Puritans.

    • thrasymachus33308 says:

      A big part of the problem we have is naming things. The official culture has official names for things which everyone is used to using, but alternative schools of thought don’t. Using the term “Puritans” is convenient because Puritans were the first to display this tendency, even if the theology and customs are long lost.

      What you are talking about I classify under German Romanticism, which I think gave birth to both communism and Nazism. People like Moldbug and Foseti regard it as part of the Cathedral, but I think it has to be regarded as something separate, something that sees itself as above and more powerful than Puritanism that is not, that Puritanism does not really control but can direct to do its dirty work, like a fire allowed to burn inside firebreaks.

      Roughly, romanticism/modernism has been allowed to destroy traditionalism, leaving fertile, cleared ground for Puritans to seed and cultivate.

      • IA says:

        Puritans were most definitely not the first. Origen was the first Christian to combat millenarianism in the 3rd century AD. Iconclasm began in the 6th century AD. Among many other millenial sects in the middle ages there were, for example, Franciscan Spirituals who flourished in the 13th cent, composed of wealthy Italians who would don beggars clothes.

        I’m really surprised by the almost total lack of curiosity by these conspirator theorists.

      • IA says:

        I went to your site. Were you being ironic about Islam? (I hope not.) Also, you got a really creepy comment. How do you feel about it?

      • IA says:

        If I understand you you think that puritans are controlling in some way german romantics (communists and nazis). What are these firebreaks? I assume you mean by puritans anyone who holds some political power.

        I have a feeling were heading into those vaporous Moldbugian regions of many words that mean whatever you want them to mean.

      • IA says:

        Concerning modernism and communism and nazis.

        Lenin hung out at a cafe in Zurich near the Dadaist Cabaret Voltaire. He would have known them and apparently never liked them for he gave no commissions to modernists like Naum Gabo after the revolution. Similar to mao, castro, and other communists.

        Hitler hated modernism and had Goebbels organize a series of exhibitions, Entartete Kunst (“Degenerate Art”) in which the artists, such as Picasso, Chagall, Klee, Ernst, Modigliani, and many others were depicted as insane.

        So, both communism and national socialism reject modernism. So, it couldn’t very well give birth to sensibilities that reject it. There, was of course, English, French, and American versions of romanticism as well.

      • teageegeepea says:

        I think you make an important point about German romanticism. But if I kept on the ango vs continental topic I’d inevitably wind up arguing with foseti about “communism” again, and I don’t feel like doing so.

    • IA says:

      I’m curious. What do you all think of modern art? If made or supported by puritans, for what purpose? According to you they have had an unbroken line of dominance and control for hundreds of years. Weren’t they happy with traditional western art?

      Or, are these puritanical masters using modernism to corrupt and weaken communists, as was the plan behind Horizon Magazine, sponsored, it turns out, by the CIA in the 50s.

      But, if they sponsored modernism to corrupt communism why are they allowing it to flourish today?

  3. thrasymachus33308 says:

    The question is both political and religious and I have talked about it on my religious and political blogs. Charlton takes the position these people do, that progressive Christianity is heretical, thus not Christian, and so Christianity bears no responsibility for our predicament.

    I personally believe progressive Christians are among the people Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:21-23. However, if something is generally recognized as Christianity by the public it has to be regarded as Christianity functionally, whether it passes the smell test or not.

    What’s worse is that not only is conservative Christianity not capable of fighting progressive Christianity, all public Christianity is progressive. This is similar to the “no enemies to the left” rule of secular politics. “Conservative” Christians regard progressive Christians as good, honest, God-loving people they disagree with, and progressive Christians regard conservative Christians as hell-bound scum. The Christian manosphere complains about feminism in evangelical churches all the time, but the real test is of course anti-racism. All brick and mortar churches are anti-racist because that’s the price of having bricks and mortar.

    • IA says:

      Charlton appears to be doing the same as the conspiracy theorists, evil eye avoidance. I read some gibberish he wrote about artists. The man’s a fool.

    • IA says:

      Actually, the man’s worse than a fool. He’s a vicious god snob, the worst kind of christian. He gives christians a bad name. There’s always going to be a particular type of person attracted to his snobbery. C’est la vie.

  4. Porphy's Attorney says:

    Every modern Christian – and I include myself – is “infected” to one degree or another with an ecumenicalism that would have seemed bizzare to our ancestors, who took their denominational differences seriously.

    Today an attack (criticism) on one branch or brand of Christianity is seen as an attack on all, possibly because Christians feel embattled.

    But Christianity is embattled by the secularized ecumenical post-millenialism that just is The Cathedral. The irony is that The Cathedral is fighting the old religious wars against its rivals, but its adaptive camouflage is so successful that those rivals don’t (or won’t/refuse to) see it for what it is. And instead of fighting back they (at least the hierarchies that want to share crumbs of power in the progressive state) they capitulate in order to curry favor with fashionable opinion.

  5. SMERSH says:

    “If progressive Christianity is really the bastard spawn of Christianity, don’t the Orthodox at least need to call out their enemy? Yet when I – is there any other non-religious commenter on the interwebz more pro-religion that me? – criticize progressive Christianity, my Orthodox readers jump to the defense of their supposed enemy.”

    Yes, thank you for making this point.

    Heretics should be chastised. But what do (small o) orthodox, non-heretical (or more likely semi-heretical) Christians have to say about progressive, heretical Christians? All too often they say “He’s a good Christian, just a bit misguided about politics”.

    It is a bit presumptuous for Christian reactionaries to lecture agnostic and Pagan reactionaries, while most of Christianity remains in the grip of the blackest heresy and while there is little in the way of an ongoing effort to chastise those heretics.

    At times it seems as though religion trumps politics and there is insufficient recognition of the fact that progressive Christianity is in fact, a heresy, IE: not the same religion as small o orthodox Christianity.

    Want to win reactionary souls for Christ? Start burning heretics or at least create a strong, separatist and uncompromising reactionary Christianity.

    Until then it seems ridiculous to blame people for steering clear of an institution and belief system that is absolutely riddled with progressivism. Right now, Christianity is just another unappealing option in a long list of unappealing options that have been ruined by progressivism. Work on fixing that, not chastising fellow reactionaries.

    • IA says:

      They stopped burning heretics years ago. This is what gets me about socalled agnostics and pagans. Cheap shots. What exactly have they done besides screw things up?

      • SMERSH says:

        “They stopped burning heretics years ago.”

        And now heresy is rampant, Coincidence? I think not. Your reluctance to chastise heretics is very… progressive.

        “This is what gets me about socalled agnostics and pagans. Cheap shots. What exactly have they done besides screw things up?”

        Not much. But they have the advantage of having little or no responsibility for the last several centuries of Western decline.

        I fully acknowledge the weaknesses of agnosticism as a motivating force. Unfortunately, I don’t know which god or gods is/are the correct one(s) to worship. The only thing I’m really sure of is that progressivism is the enemy.

        If progressivism is the enemy and the Christian god is mostly worshiped by progressives and brown people (who are used as a hammer by progressives), it is reasonable to look elsewhere or remain uncommitted if none of the other options are that great either.

        Fix your own house before lecturing others.

    • thrasymachus33308 says:

      There are a small number of people who want a Christianity that is biblical and conforms to the empirical truth. A remnant, if you will. I can’t encourage people to go to almost any official Christian church (although some aren’t as bad as others) but I would encourage people to read the bible and see for themselves. Just the Gospel of Mark, it’s short, to the point, and written for people without a Jewish religious background.

  6. IA says:

    I saw the article on the pro-immigrant, pro-third world Catholic church. The churches are merely reacting to the loss of faith in the Western elites, and now the masses.

    Christianity is not totalitarian. Their job is to save souls. It has never been exclusive to a particular race, and never will be. Its also not supposed to be into politics. Render unto Caesar, and all that.

    I guess some people enjoy poking it with a stick. Doesn’t it get boring?

    • Porphy's Attorney says:

      Ok, troll – if it’s not supposed to get into politics, why is it getting into politics so much?

      And if you sincerely believe it is not supposed to get into politics, why are you chastising those who are criticizing its progressive political activism, instead of chastising it for being politically active?

  7. IA says:

    I’m sorry if I’m appearing to lecture. Foseti covered a lot of ground in his initial article. The upshot is that christians cannot reform themselves.

    The problem with this type of thinking is that its childish. The world is not and never has been a perfect place. Christians, being men, are weak and even at times evil. Or rather, some part or aspect of this very complex and varied history would behave in a less than exemplary manner.

    But, its important to keep it anyway because, like all crucial cultural artifacts, it allows the people to share in a common sacred event. This teaches the men anyway how to feel.

    Its not so much that modernism does anything. What is happening is that the sacred has been photoshopped out of our history, and hence, we have modern dadaist thinking as a substitute, emptiness and irony.

    If you aren’t able to believe in a higher intelligence outside of your own ego then try and develope a feeling for high art. Either or both as an antidote to the madness of modernism.

  8. @Foseti

    Rather than covering old ground, let’s focus on the nub: “The issue is whether or not (orthodox) Christianity is a vehicle capable of combatting (progressive) Christianity [But let’s call it Leftism, because it is atheistic and anti-Christian]. The track record would suggest that the answer is no.”

    The answer depends on where you are talking about. (Also on whether you believe in the possibility of divine intervention – but leave that aside.)

    In Russia, the answer would seem to be ‘Yes’ – Orthodox Christianity IS a vehicle capable of combatting Leftism. Certainly it is capable – whether it will… we shall have to wait and see.

    What about the USA? Well, if you include Mormonism as Christian – YES it is capable of combatting Leftism – in fact it is the ONLY religion/ ideology capable of combatting Leftism. Whether it actually will… well, we shall have to wait and see.

    What about the UK? As far as I can see, the answer is NO, Christianity is apparently not capable of defeating Leftism; and the job will perhaps be done by another religion.

    France – No as well; Germany, No.

    So, you are partly correct. However, in these No places – there is at present no other powerful anti-Left force on the horizon from the secular side either (at the present) – so one would have to say this is not a particular problem of Christianity, but a problem of No all round.

    What I find puzzling about your position is that you seem to have such faith in the intellectual secular Right – which has no record of doing anything anywhere, except talk and write.

    The only secular Right with any kind of track record of getting power has been anti-intellectual and based on Pride and Hatred – which would of course be a disaster; but anyway, is either not present at all, or terribly weak.

    If you are keen to back a winner, as seems to be the case (!); the most powerful anti-Leftist force internationally is surely the religion which has grown from about one twenty fifth to one quarter of the world’s population in not much more than a century.

    • Red says:

      Mormonism is a middle man minority religion. They’re no more capable of fighting than the Jews are.

    • Foseti says:


      Good points on Russian orthodoxy and the Mormons. (If I had to convert to a religion at this point, I’d pick Mormonism. Alas, since they don’t booze, it ain’t happening).

      However, if Mormonism is all you got in the US, aren’t you essentially agreeing with me? Is that really what we mean by Christianity?

      • josh says:

        Catholicism was ascendent in the US until the early 60s, but now it is all the sudden incapable of combating the mighty “puritans” control the media (I know I’m starting to sound all storm-fronty here, but, as you say, ‘how oblivious can you get?’)

  9. Red says:

    Christians can’t fight back against leftism for the same reason the secular right can’t. We’re too weak and the progressive are godlike powerful right now. When a progressive farts a new stupid idea, it’s forced down our noses no mater our will.

    My only complaint about christens is their continuance to do Satan’s work by adopting the progress program bite by bite. They lie to themselves and say that Christianity is OK instead of admitting that they are are an oppressed minority and hanging on to their traditions with all their might. Keeping the public face of the church well defended maters more to them than the conduct of their local church.

    Christan continue to preach their better than everyone else, dabble in politics, and preach morality to others all the while their local churches are cesspools that Jesus himself would have burned down.

  10. Victor says:

    It continues to vex me that people blame the Puritans for modern liberalism. I think this was one of Moldbug’s ideas, yet it has spread like wildfire in these parts. How does one go from Calvinism to gay marriage? Indeed, if one wished to look for the root causes of modern liberal ideas, one wouldn’t find them in Calvin. One would be better off reading someone like Emma Goldman, no Puritan she.

    • IA says:

      Victor, stop making sense.

      There have been many quite popular groups associated with libertinism, hedonism, or paganism in the West. For centuries. Taborites in Bohemia, John Ball and his followers in medieval England, the Brethren of the Free Spirit along the Rhine, all practicing a kind of anarcho-communism. And many more going back to pagan europe.

    • nickbsteves says:

      How do you get from a small rodent-like land mammal to a whale?

  11. Irwin of Drum says:

    “How does one go from Calvinism to gay marriage?”

    The core is the idea that one can reinterpret foundational law/scripture/covenants without any reference to the traditional development of interpretation. Once one has persuaded oneself that the Church fell into heresy immediately upon the death of St. John, one can make Christianity mean anything one likes, and then, having done that, dispense with the need for Christianity altogether, as the children of the Puritans did with their transition to Unitarianism.

  12. josh says:

    And where did the Puritans come from.

    History is complicated. You are making it way too simple.

  13. There are three metaphors I would like to see contrasted here.

    One is that Christianity “evolved” into Progressivism or “speciated” (divided) into it. Moldbug blames Calvin, for supposedly creating a uniquely sanctimonious culture, but from what I’ve heard about church polity, it makes more sense to blame Luther, for democratizing the church leadership.

    The second metaphor is that God died, and Progressivism took over the empty shell of Christianity like a hermit crab taking over the shell of a dead nautilus. Blame Darwin? Copernicus?

    The third metaphor is that Progressivism (“social justice”) is a recurring infection, like shingles. New religions are usually started by misfits*, people unhappy with the status quo (strong property rights and strict moral rules), and then tend to be taken over by more high-functioning people later. But Christianity keeps reverting to its radical roots and causing trouble.

    None of these are facts. They are metaphors. The question is not which one is true, but which one is the most illuminating and helpful. The “evolution” metaphor is my least favorite.

    * See notes on _Rational Choice Theory and Religion_, Lawrence A. Young, ed., here:

    • Foseti says:

      You could potentially combine the first and third. I wonder if Christianity was initially progressive, was made less progressive as it gained political power, and has reverted back to its progressive roots as it has lost official religion status. Interesting ideas

      • thrasymachus33308 says:

        The Pharisees- I use the term literally now, I’m talking about the ones in the Bible- were a moral elite, and thus progressive. The basic message of Jesus is that there is no moral elite, so Christianity is inherently reactionary. If you aren’t part of an elite that is hereditary, aristocratic, military, technocratic, or some combination of these, and you want to be the elite, you don’t really have any alternative except to declare yourself to be morally elite. That’s progressivism and the last 500 years in a nutshell. With the rise of science and technology the moral elite has claimed to be a scientific and technocratic elite as well but that’s clearly not true. A moral elite controls people with shame and humiliation, which is really evil, which is why Jesus hated them so much.

      • Foseti says:

        “The basic message of Jesus is that there is no moral elite, so Christianity is inherently reactionary. If you aren’t part of an elite that is hereditary, aristocratic, military, technocratic, or some combination of these, and you want to be the elite, you don’t really have any alternative except to declare yourself to be morally elite. That’s progressivism and the last 500 years in a nutshell.”

        I think this is wrong. Since we’re discussing Shakespeare in one of these thread, how about, “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds”.

        The idea that there is no elite on any dimension is all that progressivism needs to take hold. From there, it’s just a race to forced equality.

        The only inherently reactionary idea is that everything is hierarchical.

      • thrasymachus33308 says:

        The point you are raising shows the genius of the progressive system. Luther said the Pope was not the final authority on the Bible. When asked directly who was, he replied why any plowboy might be.

        I’m guessing that back home you have never driven by a Plowboyan church, but you will have noticed that *Luther*an churches are found on almost every corner. Had Luther said “The Pope is not the final authority- I am” people would have called BS. By attacking the authority of the Pope, Luther *implicitly* made himself the authority without having to argue why he was.

        Progressives assert moral authority by attacking others as immoral and corrupt. Their authority to do so is only implied, which is why it is hard to see and take issue with. Arguing with a progressive is pointless, as he will keep pointing and screaming “Evil! Eeeeeeeeeevil!” until people are tying you to the stake. A more germain response is “I don’t recognize your authority. Who said you could judge?”

        By denying any other form of elite authority, progressives take it for themselves, by creating a vacuum.

    • Porphy's Attorney says:

      “Social Justice,” American style, evolved out of the “Social Gospel” movement.

      That link is so obvious, even obvious troll could get it.

      Note also: many of my fellow Christians seem to think that if someone identifies that Progressivism was birthed by people calling themselves Christians that means all Christians are being blamed (or credited) for it. Which is not so: Christianity may be “one big thing” in the hearts of the faithful, but it is obviously *not* “one big thing” sociopolitically.

      Moldbug got some things wrong, but when he analyzed this as the contemporary expression of a very old religious war *within* Christianity, he was correct.

      See here, by a “mainstream” but disinterested scholar:

      And see here by someone who knows where the bodies are buried, does identify himself as a Christian, but doesn’t feel personally attacked when someone points out the origins of the Social Gospel/Social Justice/Progressive movement, because he knows they aren’t talking about him and his kind of Christian:

      • Porphy's Attorney says:

        Just to pique interest: the redoubtable R.L. Dabney rates a mention in the 2nd (North) article (obviously as someone who was *not* a Social Gospeler or Ecumenical Postmillennialist).

        If people want the “historical complications” of all this, check out those articles.

      • IA says:

        These are specious arguments. Firstly, the term “social justice” has evolved from concern for the poor (i.e. charity) to legally mandated punishment of white males by professional victim groups.

        Secondly, all of these guys are arguing about christian response to socialism and communism. Pietism was a late 19th century reaction to atheism and anti-christian materialism. You are confusing early 3rd century to the enlightenment millenialism with post-enlightenment materialism. True, there were elements of impious thinking in gnostic movements throughout the history of the west, even possibly pre-dating christianity. But, even Anabaptists couldn’t imagine the totalitarian nature of modern liberalism.

        The problem with moldbug and his followers is that their carefully constructed theory fails to take into account the nature of modern liberalism as opposed to pre-enlightenmeent millenialism. There may have been raving narcissists before but not raving government narcissists.

        This is why I am curious as to how moldbug deals with modern art. No one seems to know. If there is continuity between puritanism and modern liberalism why did they feel the need to create a totally new art form, with new temples like MOMA, the Pompidou, the Tate Modern, etc.

      • Porphy's Attorney says:

        IA, on this you’re just a troll trying to pop smoke because something is hitting your rice bowl when it really shouldn’t (“social justice evolved from…” – yes, it did evolve. Just as “social gospel” evolved into social justice).

        Don’t think I didn’t notice that you ignored my point that if Christianity “is not supposed to be involved in politics” your energies would be devoted to chastising progressive christian (even if you don’t believe they are “true” christian) activism in politics, rather than pooh-poohing those who *are* critiquing the phenomenon.

      • IA says:

        I guess its only natural for people to establish a kind of community they feel proprietary about. I don’t know what to do about it. I just happen to think that the idea of puritans or christians as instigators of progressivism bizzare. Really, really strange and even absurd.

        Even if its true what am I supposed to do about it? Hate christians? Okay, I hate christians. Its all their fault. Now what?

      • Foseti says:

        It’s really not that strange at all. If nothing else, the familial line is unbroken. Massachusetts is Massachusetts.

      • IA says:

        Right. You’ve made your point. Are we supposed to boycott something? Burn bibles?

    • Well, the “god is dead” style model is totally unsupportive of the idea that a True Church is going to emerge, beat back it’s competitors, and establish a new Golden Age. Educated people will never again believe in a supernatural Sky-Father and the church leadership will always be privately atheistic and view the church as an exploitative vehicle to reach materialistic ends. People who get into the church with the idea of changing things are going to be viewed as a threat to the status quo, isolated and emasculated.

    • nickbsteves says:

      The three metaphors are not mutually exclusive. And I would be surprised if all three social and psychological forces are not at work (inter alia) in the etiology of Progressivism.

  14. Orthodox says:

    The Christians did not fight Rome; Rome collapsed. Progressive Christianity will cease to exist, but it will become as evil as Ancient Rome before the end comes. The first step today is turning the hearts of men towards God, and turning them into God’s fighters. We need more Kathleen Foldens.

    • Red says:

      I’ll point out that by 325AD Christianity and the empire were one. Rome collapsed after the start of the christian state due in part to very stupid christian laws .

  15. Samson J. says:

    It’s worth reiterating, by the way, as an Orthosphere commenter notes, that the “No True Scotsman fallacy” is a ridiculous fallacy.

  16. Scharlach says:

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Galatians 3:28

    The Bible is pretty clear that everyone in this thread needs to check his white, cisgender privilege.

    • nickbsteves says:

      In Christ, Scharlach, in Christ. In the material world, however, we’re all still who we are, and St. Paul, as you well know, was pretty okay with natural hierarchies.

      • Atoz says:

        So, in the Jew-designed utopia there is no ethnicity, nor race, nor gender.

        Saul was probably instinctively guided by the ‘is it good for the Jews?’ principle.

        Christianity and Progressivism are simply off-shoots of slave-morality Judaism.

  17. ChevalierdeJohnstone says:

    I said pretty much the same in a comment at Orthosphere. The gist of the post is spot on, but it’s very badly argued. My interpretation is that the author got carried away by an emotional reaction to religious heresy and let these emotions rule the argument instead of relying on the many truly factual examples that could have been cited. I think it would certainly be possible to rewrite the post to retain its essence while making it factually accurate and adhering to basic principles of logical argument.

    I also have to draw attention to some fallacious misrepresentation regarding the Catholic Church and U.S. immigration policy. The following is a comment I cross-posted at Occam’s Razor, since you @Foseti referenced that as your source.

    This [information about the Church and immigration] was quite shocking to me to read because I haven’t heard anything about this at my church, at all at all. Then I realized that’s because you are wrong.

    You might want to read more carefully. Both the NYT article and the vDare column clearly state that it is not the Church that is behind these efforts, but individual Catholic bishops and priests who happen to hail from a list of extremely progressive Democrat strongholds. I know it’s difficult to understand, but Rome is far away and the Pope does not actually have a telepathic mind-control link to American Catholics. There is, in fact, no Church doctrine on immigration, and because the Church tends to play by its own rules, this means that the Church has no authority over its members in what is strictly a political decision. The Church, after all, has a King – so it is somewhat less concerned with temporal political boundaries. Thus the Church has no authority to silence a priest or a bishop who is engaged in a political discussion that does not violate any tenets of Church doctrine.
    I hope this helps you make better sense of the situation than your initial effort. Again, both the NYT and the vDare columns stated clearly that this immigration effort is a work of individual Catholics and not of the Church. Christ really doesn’t give a shit which side of the border you die on, and neither does the Church in any official capacity. However when you bring certain pre-conceived ideas to your reading of the situation I can see that it’s easy to jump to conclusions and misinterpret the information provided in the NYT and vDare articles.

  18. […] do clade neorreacionário – de convicções religiosas variadas – Jim (aqui), Foseti (aqui) e Nick B. Steves (aqui, aqui e aqui). Foseti reage com um pouco de desconcerto ao enquadramento […]

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