I believe a “competency paradox” exists wherein individuals who are accomplished at something do it subconsciously and never even think about the process. This poses a challenge to neophytes since the ones most qualified to teach don’t bother to do it, and clueless fucktards that struggle with tying their own shoelaces write entire volumes on the subject.
To me this helps inform the breach in moral continuity between the generations, starting with the mindless debauchery of the Baby-Boomers. Their ancestors before them just intuitively grasped that one should settle down, have children, work hard, and invest in their offspring. The social fabric of the time was a tapestry woven from pragmatic moral tastes, religion and ethnic solidarity all coalescing into an atmosphere that nurtured and reinforced the most capable generations of people in Western countries.
The idea that one should have to sit down and explain to their child that sex with an AIDS infected tranny isn’t a good lifestyle choice never even occurred to the guys that drove ’57 Chevies and fought in World War II. My own parents didn’t know what “gay” was until they were adults, so how could’ve their own mothers and fathers warned them about the dangers of LSD and Jewish hippies? Did anyone in the Greatest Generation really think they had to tell their kids that the most fulfilling life is based on honesty, family, and loyalty to one’s people?
During the 1960s and 1970s, as the Boomers and their Beatnik Pied Pipers shredded the last pretenses of moral continuity passed down through the ages, they started creating a new generation, a demographic of unsupervised youngsters growing up under the ambivalence of a capricious, hypocritical, and narcissistic group of former pleasure-seekers. Generation X would be the first youth to come of age in an era where social bonds and traditional structures were either collapsing or already gone. A combination of independence and deep nihilistic cynicism from the Nirvana crowd erased the last vestiges of moral genealogy, leaving the Millenials completely adrift in a senseless world where the very idea of strong ethics is openly mocked.
The emerging neo-right is penetrating enough in observations related to how a nihilistic deconstruction of social mores has created a Clownworld Hellscape not even a demon would wish to inhabit, but unfortunately this realization came too late to find any genuine, surviving strains of the old moral world. Unless one wished to venture into an Amish community or break bread with the Mennonites, it is virtually impossible to find a family of people living according to the same traditional principles passed down to them by their forefathers. Baby Boomers moving their children all over the country as youths didn’t help matters on that account, and years of financial instability would eventually force everyone into a nomadic lifestyle dictated to them by the whims of the economy.
We have a major challenge then, because all too often I see people plucking random threads from the past and surgically cutting them free of historical context to stitch new guidelines for behavior. I understand the motivation for playing Social Mores Archaeologist when modernity leaves you adrift, but you aren’t going to cargo-cult your way into a girl walking out of a wheat-field and into your arms by socially shaming women for not wearing hoop dresses.
The way I see it, there’s four major problems plaguing current discussions about morality.
1. Lack of Context
The first stumbling block is that lifting a norm like “arranged marriage” or enforcing chastity just isn’t feasible without a lot of supporting structures like religiosity and the socio-economic environment of the 1500s. A lot of these norms just don’t function without a cohesive, localized group of families that congregate and interact within social institutions like the church. A few random internet spergs purity spiraling about the proper punishments for “degenerate women” doesn’t exactly constitute a “community”, no matter how many upvotes you get for doing it. Remember that in these former eras, reputation really was extremely important because the community itself was a real living thing you engaged with at every turn. In the Current Year, we can create new online identities and relocate ourselves at the drop of a hat making enforcement of altruistic punishment impossible.
2. No Institutional Power
That brings me to the second problem, even if you agree on a few random norms, you don’t have the institutional power or the cultural zeitgeist to enforce them. You can leave all the mean Facebook comments you want, the targets of your disapprobation are going to simply write them off as the rantings of “racist incels”. Like so much in far-right politics, the cart is before the horse here, you don’t escalate increasingly stringent demands on people while also having zero influence. “Thot patrolling” online is the equivalent of calling someone a “faggot” in Call of Duty team-chat. It might feel good, but it does nothing to stop that team-killing griefer noob from doing it again.
3. Incoherent Positions
There is a spectrum of “trad/wholesome” and “degenerate”, with very little to really define what those things are. Is trad about belonging to the TransCalvinist Lutheran Reformed Orthodox Baptist Church of LARPism? (No one can simply be a non-denominational Christian anymore, unless you want to get called a cuck) Is it about dressing like a Revolutionary War reenactor? Are beards “trad”? Weren’t Romans mostly clean-shaven? What about tattoos, does having ink under your skin make you a degenerate? The only consistent standard here seems to be venerating things from classical paintings and hating on the most superficial characteristics of people they don’t like. Most of this seems particularly fixated on issues related to gender roles and relationships, leading to a series of insane prescriptions that slam right into the lack of context problem.
4. Another Church of No-Salvation
I know that market options for churches are vital part of keeping religion alive, but when your choice is between one group of fundamentalists telling you that racism is an Original Sin you can never attone for while the other cult is screaming about how a woman with an ankle tattoo and three former sexual partners should be stoned to death, an awful lot of us are just going to tune out entirely. The simple fact is, in this modern dystopia, rigid standards for purity are going to cull most of your audience right out of the gate. Hell, it’s going to cull members of a lot of previous generations too, since most of them had multiple sex partners over the course of their lifetimes. Pious moralizing by itself will not achieve positive change and only revives the right-wing church lady. Spoilers, no one fucking likes the right-wing church lady. The popularity of far-right politics in general is associated with how fun and engaging it is, turning into stern-faced Puritans and chastising Veronica for her nose-ring just isn’t a good look. An unavoidable fact of life is that people make dumb mistakes in their youth and holding someone eternally responsible for being a stupid teenager is neither fair nor likely to win many people to your cause.
So how do we arrive at a more authentic morality? I think there’s a lot of veracity to the idea there are generalized, perennial truths that most complex societies identify and write down sooner or later. Loyalty, honesty, emotional temperance, all these things are universal civilizational values elaborated on by authors from Marcus Aurelius to Confucius. Sometimes the ethical principles are simple but the personal dedication required to keep them is harder than building a box strong enough to support your best friend’s weight while he watches you fuck your mother-in-law from a window outside the trailer. You don’t need Greek Orthodoxy to understand the value of monogamy and committed marriages; these are relatively simple ideas with a lot of eternal social value that hold true across several civilizations from different eras. It’s less about superficial, bureaucratic strictures on behavior and a lot more about an intuitive sense for what the “right” thing to do is and following through with it.