Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Purity and its excesses

An excellent essay on how the mindless quest for purity leads to the vilest evil, whether expressed by fascism, Communism or Jihadism.  It's all the same.

"If you analyze tyrannical ideologies and the sort of mass mob insanity behind them, you will see a common thread: purity. Nazis obsessed over purity of race. Stalinists obsessed over purity of political beliefs. Jihadists obsess over purity of religious belief. But purity is always there. And purity can twist good into evil, or render a lesser evil into a far greater evil."
"What is purity? The dictionary tells us that it is “freedom from adulteration or contamination.” For our purposes, we may use the synonym ‘perfection’ with some utility. The point of purity is to identify impurities and eradicate them. The Nazi will eradicate the racially impure, the Communist will eradicate the impure Capitalists, and so on."
"The utility of quests for purity to a tyrant should be obvious. For what is more impure than man? A quest for purity is carte blanche for never ending power over others. Progressivism itself admits this even in the content of its own name. Progress toward what? Purity. Progress toward the perfect society, in which poverty, disease, war, and a thousand other such ills have been eradicated."
"And when a round of impure are disposed of, new impure are found. Today, it is Rightists. Tomorrow, Centrists. The day after that, Trotskyite Leftists. The terminator never stops. Ever-greater demands of purity are made. Like the Third Reich, the gas chambers never stop. The ash falls from the skies, forever. At least until someone puts a stop to it all at gunpoint."
"Purity spirals work so well because fault can always be found with man. Every single human being in the history of our species, save one, has done wrong; has sinned. We all deserve death. That is a fundamental tenet of Christianity. It is also true even if you are the most ardent of atheists. Man is imperfect. And so it will ever be."
"Yet, is it the SJW’s responsibility to act as the judge, jury, and executioner? Shall the Nazi do it? Shall the Stalinist? The Jihadist? Not only is there no one among us who could ever make demands of purity upon us, these cretins are the worst of the worst, the most evil among us. And it is they who always lead the charge to purity. The nuts are running the nuthouse."
Read it all.

C S Lewis gave us the seminal quote on this topic in 1948:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”


  1. It's a lot like killing people by peaceful means, isn't it?

    It's the eternal struggle, and most of us just want to be left alone to live our lives, earn enough to feed our families, put a roof over our heads and keep the wolf away from the door.

    1. Hence the genius of our nation's founding documents - based primarily on letting people alone to run their lives, for better or for worse. We've been migrating away from that lodestone for decades, unfortunately.

  2. I figure if you're gonna drop C.S. Lewis on us I'd better raise my tone some.

    My favorites:
    "seekers of power through purity spirals."
    Never will you hear the Progressive say “this is good enough, we can stop now.”

    "I [Charles Spurgeon] have been amused with what Wilberforce said the day after they passed the Act of Emancipation[in Gr. Britain]. He merrily said to a friend when it was all done, 'Is there not something else we can abolish?'"

    (Wilberforce sensed a call from God, writing in a journal entry in 1787 that "God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners [moral values]").

  3. That was an excellent essay, which puts the focus where it should be, on the SJWs. Those fanatics will never get people as pure as they'd like!

    It also made me think of one of my favorite quotes from R.A.Heinlein:

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as "bad luck.”

  4. Oh My! I miss-read the title at first. I thought it said "Puberty and it's excesses". That I could understand.

  5. Robespierre (the French revolutionary) was quoted to have said: "Le problem d’etre un pure c’est qu’il y a toujours quelqu’un plus pure pour vous épurer.” It is a “jeu de mots” or pun which means roughly “the problem with being pure is that there is always someone purer than you to purify you. The word épurer in this phrase means “to pulverise”. More simply put it means the virtuous eat their own.