On Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself
Keri Smith

There seems to be a lot of anxiety here about admitting, not that the Left is wrong, but that the Right is right; as in, “it isn’t possible that those crazy wingnuts have the higher moral ground, is it?!” Because it does come down to that, doesn’t it? Who’s doing the right thing.

Burrowing under the surface of the labels, what’s the essential difference between Right and Left? Is that the division we ought to be looking at? Renowned Harvard scientist and two-times Pulitzer winner E.O.Wilson said it clearer than I can (imagine that!):

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“Centuries of debate on the origin of ethics come down to this: Either ethical principles, such as justice and human rights, are independent of human experience or else they are human inventions…Every thoughtful person has an opinion on which of the premises is correct. But the split is not, as popularly supposed, between religious believers and secularists. It is between transcendentalists, those that think moral guidelines exist outside the human mind, and empiricists, who think them contrivances of the mind.” [From his book Consilience]

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And the political split is roughly along these lines, with the Right generally lining up with the transcendentalists and the Left with the Empiricists. Wilson’s emphasis on separating the religious/secularist from the Transcendental/Empiricist split is misleading, though. The two splits are largely comparable.

The Right believes there are moral values that are timeless, because a transcendent source is timeless. To their thinking, of course the ethical wellsprings are lost in the mists of prehistory, God has been trying to impress them on us since forever.

The Left thinks that we have been, and are, making it up as we go along. Their thinking is; we go with what works and have throughout evolutionary history. The fittest morality has survived. Of course we can alter it, we made it didn’t we? And we can accelerate it too, progressively improving it.

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More E.O.Wilson: “The choice between Transcendentalism and Empiricism will be the (21st) century’s version of the struggle for men’s soul. Moral reasoning will either remain centered in idioms of religion and philosophy, where it is now, or it will shift toward science-based material analysis.”

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There’s no doubt he’s right about this. The problem on the Empirical side lies in establishing the bottom premise on which to build your logical scientific system. Sam Harris speaks for many Empiricists when he says — my paraphrase — “can’t we all agree that human flourishing is a universal aspiration and go with that?” That, unfortunately ignores people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, all of whom had their own ideas of human flourishing that went awry, to understate it. Who decides on the premise? Nietzsche famously rejected the constricting ‘slave morality’ of religious tradition and created his own. The Nazis found much to admire in his thinking.

Right and Left is just political camouflage for the real separation between us. That’s why those that call for a common-sense middle ground fundamentally misunderstand the problem. It’s only going to get more polarized going forward, as the division becomes clearer. At the moment Progressives are focused on relaxing the ethical constraints on violence, using compassion and inclusion as their rationale. There is nothing (from within their own schema) to stop their conceptual march on this or any other moral front line, and academia is leading it. Thank God for Peterson.

I just looked at all I’ve written, sorry for gassing on like that.

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