For those of us who yearn to live in civilized society, there is this gnawing feeling that society is not well-ordered because the framework in which it functions is not well-ordered. In fact, there is a clear sense that the framework is based on nothing but a basket of lies. That is because the framework upon which contemporary society rests is The Narrative.
Vox Day describes the Narrative in his book SJWs Always Lie in this way:
The Narrative is the story that the SJWs want to tell. It is the fiction they want you to believe; it is the reality that they want to create through the denial of the problematic reality that happens to exist at the moment. And there is no one definitive Narrative. Instead, there are many Narratives, all of them subject to change at any time, thereby requiring the SJW who subscribes to them to be able to change his own professed beliefs on demand as well.
My issue with Day’s description of the Narrative isn’t that it is too broad; if anything, it is not broad enough. SJWs are merely foot soldiers for the ruling elite. Politicians, crony capitalists, lazy academics, mainstream journalists, and the like ultimately benefit from the many Narratives, because they justify their continuing control over society. However, these Narratives are based on the flimsiest of reasons, and in far too many cases, lies.
Narratives may be helpful to those in power, but they ain’t no way to run a civilization. If falsehood is the basis of power and authority, the simple result is continuous conflict and violence across society. Stefan Molyneux, in his book The Art of the Argument, summarizes the challenge well:
In the hurly-burly of human interactions, we will always have disagreements, which is nothing to be upset about, as these productive conflicts produce the very sparks of progress. The fundamental question is: how will we resolve these disagreements? Historically, two “answers” have been implemented – fundamentalist religiosity, and government power. The third alternative – far more civilized – is The Argument, the reasoned debate, the honest willingness to submit to the higher standards of reason and evidence.
In the absence of this mutual surrender to a higher standard, we end up surrendering to lower standards – superstition, government force, bullying, intimidation, sophistry, you name it. In human society, it is literally The Argument – or else.
We all possess an animalistic side that seeks power over others, over resources. Curbing this side is the essential task of civilization, and the only tools it has at its disposal are philosophy, reason, evidence, and empiricism – the anti-madness magic of clear and critical thinking. We either surrender to facts, or we must be forced to surrender to each other. We are either dominated by reality, or by force and lies. As the old song says, you have to serve somebody.
In the current conflict between The Argument or The Narrative, The Narrative is the prevailing force throughout society.
And what havoc has it wrought.
The Narrative’s primary strength is it is impervious to The Argument. It could care less about reason and evidence. Rather, it seeks the highest rhetorical ground from which to destroy its intellectual opponents, otherwise known as enemies. To those who convey The Narrative, what matters isn’t finding the truth, but holding power.
Such Narrators see interactions with intellectual opponents in martial terms because to them, engagement with such opponents is not a dialogue but a battle to win. Vox Day observed that the Narrator’s primary tool is to play upon the emotions of their audience to get them to agree with The Narrative in question. Arguments per se don’t work with them; narratives, stories, and fairy tales do.
Does that mean that all is lost to stories and fairy tales based on nothing but lies? By no means! Rhetoric needs to be met with rhetoric as fire needs to be met with fire. In a conflict set in the world of ideas, bad ideas communicated through Narratives need to be mocked, scolded, jeered, and just plain old rejected.
However, rhetoric that confronts The Narrative must be based on truth. The Argument needs to support any narrative that attacks The Narrative. Otherwise, there is the risk that, just as in The Who’s We Won’t Be Fooled Again, the new boss is the same boss, and society operates on just another set of lies.
That does not mean Narrative-crushing rhetoric can’t evolve over time, or be supported by arguments from other perspectives that, while complementary to one’s world view, is not wholly consistent with the author. On the contrary. Honest conversations between such voices can only help strengthen their respective positions while sharpening the attacks against those lies that they commonly abhor.
For far too long, the ruling elite have been able to maintain power while the purchasing power of money continues to decline, foreign wars continue unabated, migration patterns suffocate already-suffering welfare states, poverty and homelessness increase in both town and country, and high taxes and bloated administrative states throttle the entrepreneurial spirit. These antisocial forces have been justified by many Narratives. However, the value these Narratives provide to the elite decline with each successive statement. The Age of the American Empire is nearing its end. What matters now is what will replace it. Will it be a society based on The Narrative, or The Argument?
To anyone who values the truth in any meaningful way, and is concerned about the future for their children and their progeny, there is only one side to take.
Civilization itself depends on it.