An increasingly common term that we are seeing in Western political discourse is “narrative.” Everybody has their narrative. The news media build a narrative, politicians create their narratives, entire governments produce narratives which they wish for their populations to consume unquestioningly. The term essentially refers to the version of events, coupled with the interpretation (aka spin) of those events, that the narrative-builder wishes for the consumer to believe, nearly always in contravention to what is plainly visible before our eyes. Who are you going to believe? The narrative builder telling you something you likely want to hear, or your lying eyes?
In previous writings, I’ve criticised the prevalence of ideology over pragmatism in too much of what goes on in our social and political systems. Obviously, in doing so I am not condemning the process of having a comprehensive worldview, per se, which informs our interpretation of the world around us and which directs how we respond to the stimuli we receive from our environment. This is what we often think of when we use the term “ideology,” and pretty much everyone has one, even if those held by most people are shallow and ill-conceived.
Instead, I tend to use the term “ideology” in these contexts as a functional synonym for “narrative,” only on a grander scale. An ideology, essentially, is an institutionalised narrative, a comprehensive “story” that is told to explain not just one, but an entire world full of stimuli which must be “read” a certain way for the ideologue to be and remain comfortable. As with situational narratives, ideologies tend to suffer from a distinct lack of accord with reality. Or put another way, they seek to bend reality to the needs of the ideology, rather than the other way around. Most commonly understood ideologies on both Left and Right, whether Socialism or Libertarianism, suffer from this defect. They not only view the world, but also then try to treat the world, as they wish it were rather than as it really is.
The problem with trying to bend reality, however, is that reality tends to bend right back, or as I like to say, “Reality will always reassert itself.” Ideologies and narratives have a strong tendency to create short-term, high-energy transitional states that seem for the moment to be substantial and real, but like an unstable transitional state in a chemical reaction, the system will eventually drop to a more stable lower energy state, and it usually doesn’t require much perturbation of the system to make this happen. In fact, they most often happen spontaneously as the system seeks that lower energy, more stable state (in our analogy, reality reasserting itself).
The most relevant examples of out-of-touch narrative building can be seen on the Left due to the fact that self-styled progressives are the ones who are most industrious in their efforts to reshape reality to their liking. It is from the radical Left that we have seen all manner of ridiculous propositions foisted off onto Western societies. It’s almost like they’ve collectively adopted a dumbed down, “you can be whatever you think you want to be” version of existentialism. I doubt Sartre would have approved, and I’m almost certain Heidegger would not.
The most obvious ones relate to leftist positions on social issues. In spite of biology, we’re told that gender is fluid, can be changed at will, and is a construct of the mind that depends on the choice of the so-called “transgendered” individual. In spite of genetics, we’re told that homosexuality is equally as natural as heterosexuality, thus we should destroy the millennia old institution of marriage for the fantasies of a small, psychologically-damaged percentage of the population. Feminism tells us that women can do everything that men can, even though this is manifestly not so, as any number of watered down physical requirements for traditionally masculine roles will attest.
But even more systematically distorting are the more fundamental ideological assumptions upon which progressivism rests (please note, much of modern American “conservatism” and classical liberalism falls into this category as well).
For instance, progressives fervently believe in the equality of all people, not just as a legal fiction, but as a presumptive biological and moral fact as well. To purposefully draw upon a controversial example, they would reject obvious and scientifically well-attested differences between the various races of man.
For decades it has been observed that there is a large difference between the average IQs of whites and blacks in the United States, to the tune of around a whole standard deviation – whites average around 100, blacks around 85. This IQ gap has maintained itself despite increasing educational opportunities and better nutrition for black children. As it turns out, IQ is roughly 60-80% dependent on genetics, meaning that these differences in IQ are relatively hardwired. White people in the USA, on average, are simply smarter than blacks.
Further, this phenomenon translates around the entire globe. European and Northeast Asian populations are high IQ, Southeast and South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic populations are sort of middlin’, and blacks (whether in Africa, the USA, or the Caribbean) are on the low end of the spectrum.
All of the above is amply attested and have been repeatedly verified by a large amount of scientific research. Whether or not someone wishes to believe any or all of it is irrelevant. It simply is. It’s there. It’s not going away just because it’s not “politically correct.”
Yet, progressives simply refuse to accept any of it. They’ll call it “racist” and use their own repugnance to justify ignoring reality and continuing to create public policies built around the fundamentally incorrect notion that all people are equal, and therefore completely fungible.
However, reality intrudes as always. No matter how hard they push moving blacks into STEM fields of study, there has been little substantive increase in black success in these areas. This is NOT to say that blacks are useless or cannot contribute to society – not at all. Blacks have others areas of strengths, such as charisma, athleticism, and so forth and can excel in any number of fields. But we’re simply not going to see huge numbers of black engineers, doctors, scientists, mathematicians, and so forth beyond the “talented tenth” of individuals in that population who occupy the right side of their IQ bell curve and for whom such fields were already accessible.
As it stands, any progressive public policy that rests on an equalitarian basis – whether it deals with public education, immigration, law enforcement, or any other area – will necessarily be out of accord with reality, and will result in eventual failure, as the past century of progressive-inspired social wreckage amply attests.
Race realism and inequality are certainly not the only areas where progressives are grossly out of accord with reality. Liberals and progressives also believe in the fundamental goodness of man, which leads them into all kinds of errors such as believing in the efficacy of democracy, trusting in the ability of the government to socially engineer society, and an overemphasis on radical individualism at the expense of the community. Each of these errors eventually find their way into the day-to-day narratives advanced by the Cathedral and fed to the average person through the media and other resources.
Those of us in Tradition and neoreaction should take care that we avoid the same sort of narrative building that would similarly place us out of accord with reality. Our ideology should first and foremost be one that rests upon the foundational basis of pragmatic realism.
It must be granted that differences of opinion can and will occur. We should also recognise that these differences can exist on the basis of rational and pragmatic reasoning. We really should avoid “eating our own.” Nevertheless, some of the ideas or positions advanced within our movement may not be as much based in reality as their proponents would like to believe. Thus, it is incumbent upon us to apply pragmatic standards to our own beliefs just as much as to those of the progressives and liberals.
One example which I would personally reference is the belief that the restoration proposed by some in neoreactionary circles will involve the imposition of an absolute monarchy in the United States. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I do not believe that this is at all feasible given our history, culture, and traditions. In a post-Great Reset world, absolute monarchy may be feasible, and indeed preferable, in many European and other nations. Certainly, my personal preference if given a choice simply between monarchy and democracy would be for monarchy. However the situation in the United States and likely in much of the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world militates more toward aristocratic republicanism or constitutional monarchy then toward absolute monarchy.
This opinion, I believe, is based upon a sober consideration of the history and culture involved. Unlike with the narratives of the progressives, I don’t believe that I have to ignore a good deal of facts and evidence to arrive at this opinion.
Tradition and neoreaction are eminently reality-based, even if they are outside of the mainstream of our unreality driven social paradigms. We have the answers to the questions that will arise when the present order collapses upon itself. Our goal at this current juncture should be to prepare to offer the low energy state alternatives to the current high energy, low stability system which the progressives have foolishly created, which means we have to have worked these out for ourselves in a forthright and clear-sighted fashion, avoiding the generation of a set of narratives of our own.
15 thoughts on “Narratives versus Reality”
You had me until your ideology showed up.