Things that happened 50 years ago
I was going to write a post, tentatively titled Book about Neoreaction, in which I would give a hyperlinked history of the last few years since Moldbug started posting things that few had ever heard of. But while I was quote-mining, I got the idea of inserting pre-Moldbug quotes about the things that Moldbug mentions, and discovered that classics professor Revilo P. Oliver had already said most of the things computer programmer Moldbug said, but said it better, and said it 30-50 years earlier.
I still think such a post might be cool, but it won’t be a neoreactionary list of links to things that have been said over the past eight years that would be difficult to find anymore, but a comparison of the rearguard actions of conservative forces towards the end of the twentieth century, the seemingly utter darkness of the 2000s, and the breaking dawn in the 2010s with Moldbug, et al, rediscovering and extending past ideas, and making them sound more accessible.
What is in Moldbug that isn’t in Oliver is not a straightforward question, because Moldbug assumes that his readers have been affected by education, of which Oliver says
And then we look at an obvious factor, of which many were made aware only recently by the shocking behavior of so-called students in so-called universities and by the far more shocking behavior of the administrative officers and faculties of those diploma mills. We now see that the gang of sleazy racketeers headed by John Dewey has attained its goal. We realize that the public schools have been for many years a vast brainwashing and brain-contaminating machine that has worked, on the whole, with great efficiency. It’s a machine to which we send our children to have their minds filled with grotesque and debasing superstitions; to have their instincts of integrity and honor leached from their souls; to be incited to premature debauchery and perversion; to be imbued with thoughtless irresponsibility…
this from What We Owe our Parasites, and
They, for example, find themselves trying to learn in college what any intelligent child can learn in the sixth grade, but which American children are prevented from learning by glib “educators” who are trying to create “equality.” In their home towns they have seen at work the do-gooders who snivel about the “underprivileged” and then gleefully grab young children by the nape of the neck and rub their faces in filth — to create “equality.” And here in college, in many a required course, they must hear and recite once more, as they have had to do every year since kindergarten, the dreary drivel about “democracy,” “social good,” “under-developed nations,” “one world,” and all the other myths of “Liberal” Make Believe, and they see that the purpose is to excite in them a feeling of guilt…
this from After Fifty Years.
Moldbug assumes that his readers have been educated into such a position that they have never even heard the world Oliver casually uses, and would titter nervously if they ever read anything by Oliver, like these kids at a Twitter meetup. Years after Moldbug, it’s hard to describe how blank people’s minds were.
Anyway. I’m not writing to report on all of Oliver, because right now I am enjoying every minute of reading his works, which are suffused with an amazing degree of historical and philological knowledge that today would seem impossible (philology has, of course, been replaced by the science of linguistics, which asserts two scientific facts first and foremost – that there is no difference in the concepts expressible in different languages, and that everyone who uses a language uses it correctly). The reason I’m posting is to draw attention to one quote from Oliver in particular:
First of all, there is the suspicious celerity with which the broadcasting agency sardonically called Voice of America, Tass in Moscow, Earl Warren, and many publicists and politicians noted for their services to the Conspiracy in the past, began to screech that the murder was the work of “right-wing extremists” almost as soon as the shot was fired. One is justified in asking whether the leaders of this chorus went into action as soon as they received news that they were expecting. Or, if they did not know the precise moment, were they not prepared in advance for news of that kind? Is it conceivable that the same story would have occurred independently to so many different persons, however intense their hatred of the American people, or that they would have dared to announce as fact a malicious conjecture, if they had no assurance that their statements would be confirmed by “evidence” to be discovered subsequently? Not even the most addle-pated emulator of Sherlock Holmes would pretend to identify a murderer without a single clue. But the screechers went much farther than that: what they said was the precise opposite of what was suggested by the first indications available (the arrest of a negro, reported on the radio while the Presidential automobile was starting for the hospital) — an indication which, although it later proved to be wrong, no prudent person could have disregarded at the time, unless he had assurance, from some source that he trusted, that contrary indications would soon be produced.
(from Marxmanship in Dallas, which includes things that have been forgotten by most Internet conspiracy mongers)
Is this a rhetorical flourish, or does Oliver really think that in the ’60s people didn’t expect this kind of behavior from every mass media outlet?