|Friendly fire is a hazard
in war. Few things are more ruinous than killing
your own troops with your own fire. Hence the need
of IFF–Identification, Friend or Foe.
The same is true in
politics. We need accurate IFF to avoid strafing our
allies, and aiding our enemies. In politics, the IFF
system is moral theory. It singles out the
foe, against whom allied efforts must be directed.
The religious right
desperately needs to fix its IFF.
Today’s basic political
conflict is right versus left. The left
favors government power at the expense of individual
rights, opposes rewards and punishments, and denies
that men can and should rely on themselves. The
right favors individual rights, rewards and
punishments, and individual responsibility.
The moral issue underlying
right vs. left is egoism vs. nihilism.1.
Nihilism is radical rejection of self-interest.
Since every good is someone’s interest,
nihilism is radical rejection of the good. Rejection
of the good lies behind the left’s rejection of
rights, justice, and responsibility. Egoism
(admitted or not) lies behind the right’s defense of
The religious right have
not identified the enemy. They hurl anathemas
against selfishness, or “selfism.” They endorse
sacrifice of the good as a virtue. That is, they
strafe their allies on the right, while recruiting
for the enemy on the left.
They may be content to
blast their allies, but are they also content to
blitz their own headquarters? On their
premises, God is good. So on the premise of egoism
men should seek God. But on the premise of
anti-selfishness men should reject Him; they
should sacrifice that Good.
This might seem like a
far-fetched play on words, except for one thing:
leftist, modernist, establishment religion does
exactly that! How else to explain such modern
phenomena as Christianity without Christ, theology
without God, and clergymen who crusade for formal
approval of immorality?
Religious leftists cannot
be dismissed as unbelievers; unbelievers would not
devote their lives to religion as “mainstream”
religious moderns do. No, they are a uniquely modern
plague: believers crusading for unbelief, moralists
crusading for immorality. They are nihilist
believers and nihilist moralists. Every blast
against selfishness promotes their cause.
Egoism is usually taken to
mean pursuit of this-worldly good. But it is really
a generic term; it means pursuit of any good,
of whatever one regards as the good.
Different forms of egoism propose different goods.
The religious right proposes (among other goods)
The religious right is
This is not as revolutionary as it sounds. It merely
puts into modern terms what medievals took for
granted. In effect, religious rightists are the
heirs of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who based his
(medieval) system of morality on each individual’s
pursuit of his own good.
Thomas’s system typifies
traditional religious morality—justifying such
virtues as wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance
as practical means by which each man seeks
his own natural good, and such virtues as faith,
hope, and charity as supernatural means to his
own supernatural good. In modern terms, this
approach is through and through egoistic.
The religious right may
love the Middle Ages, but in moral theory
they are tame disciples of the modernism they
loathe. The root of that modernism is an
anti-selfishness which the better medievals would
instantly blast as destructive of all morality. And
so it is.
Egoism may be a bitter pill
for the religious right, but they must swallow it.
egoism and nihilism there is no middle ground.
Either you uphold the morality of pursuing some
good, or you reject pursuit of all good.
Either defect to the
nihilist camp, or stop bombing your own position
with denunciations of selfishness.
#10, for accounts
You needn’t despair
at the religious right's failure to identify the
enemy—you can become a Quackgrass activist! Copy
this article! Keep the original for future copies.
Paper meetings with it! Paper your office! Leave a
stack on your business counter! If you expect
hostility, use stealth and cunning—it’ll drive your
Be ingenious! Have fun!