Anarchy, Utopia, and 'Immanentizing the Eschaton'Submitted by Molusk on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 22:18
I remain a realist and a political conservative in the traditional sense. One skeptical of efforts to perfect human society, to falsely define human nature into a mold formed by wishes instead of observation, and to cast a villain as being responsible for the suppression of that true nature.
After about a month of debate with a particular political cadre of enthusiastic folk, I've realized I am dealing with a new iteration of the cult of the perfectibility of man, or of human society. The means is always the same, the destruction of some institution long extant in human history, which is assigned the blame for the nature of Man.
Whether it was the Rationalists' excess of zeal that led to the Reign of Terror following the French toppling of monarchy, and leading first to chaos and anarchy, and then yielding to dictatorship (Bonaparte), or the modern "New Atheist" movement that blames every evil of human nature on "organized religion," or the socialists, who blamed man's lack of perfect happiness, gregarious bliss and material plenty on "private property," or -- the present group, who shift the role of villain and bogeyman to "the State." Not just the modern totalitarian state, but legal coercion as such.
All share the same belief. Man has been chained, his nature muted. The culprit, some nefarious conspiracy of the ages embodied in X institution.
It alone prevents the emergence of the world of love, peace and mutual adulation of all by all, the "sand grain considerateness" and ant-hill virtues of Nietzsche's posited Last Man.
Man has been forced for all of his history to behave otherwise than as he naturally is. Religion, the State, private property - these are not means and makeshifts of dealing with man's inherent imperfections and animal nature - they are it's causes! Man himself is an angel in waiting.
I think it was the philosopher Eric Vogelin who derived this mentality from the secularization of the Christian hope for Paraside, shifted from the realm of the afterlife to the actual Earth. This occurred as belief in God declined, while Christian hopes remained deeply rooted.
The goal of all the great utopian secular creeds, per Vogelin, is to
Immanentize the eschaton
to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton (the final, heaven-like stage of history) in the immanent world. It has been used by conservative critics as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism, and transhumanism. - wiki
The Heaven of the dead God of Christianity - transmuted to the still living Earth and its all too unimpressive Lord - Man.
The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham
The Fatal Conceit by Friedrich Hayek