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British genius (absent)

Britain used to produce many eminent man who made original contributions to various subjects—yet that has not happened for a long time. Why so? Perhaps British intelligence has declined—yet, even if so, very intelligent people can’t have vanished completely. There must be a few about—so why do they not make an impact?

It’s because Britain has been a full democracy for over 100 years now, since 1911 when the House of Lords lost its power. Democracy is hostile to philosophy—the ancients knew, and it is as true today as ever.

Philosophy is the cornerstone for any intellectual development and, at its broadest, really lies behind literature, art, music, science, politics, logic, and more—and this is because it is “thinking about thinking” and so concerns what thought processes lie behind and link all man’s activities. Indeed, in the past “natural philosophy” was what we called “science”.

Philosophical enquiry is elitist—this is because philosophy’s central concerns are the nature of the good, the true, and the beautiful. In order to investigate these topics, the philosopher must discriminate—he must draw distinctions between the higher and the lower (he must draw distinctions in general, in fact).

This offends the democracy, because in the democracy everyone is equal—and so everyone is slaved to what makes man equal (i.e. the base instincts—food, money, sex, status). Philosophy pierces this narcissistic visage—and that makes people angry, enflames the mob (to kill the philosopher).

It is true that the democracy makes distinctions, but that is because the democracy is hypocritical (we must make distinctions to survive at all)—but what the democracy forbids is for these distinctions to be placed on a systematic, logical, and coherent basis (to engage in philosophical activity). If that happens, stark distinctions arise between individuals, races, classes, nations—and between atoms and molecules, for that matter.

All democratic belief systems forbid philosophy—hence there was no philosophy in the Soviet Union because Marx claimed to have “ended philosophy” with his system, it was no longer permissible to ask questions because “the philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it”. All that was required was Marx’s thought to make everyone equal.

Hence, as Kolakowski, a man who spent his philosophical life behind the Iron Curtain, lamented, there was no philosophy in the Eastern Bloc at all. All that could happen was that philosophical techniques were slaved to serve Marxism’s ends—which, in turn, de facto prohibits the meta investigation that characterises true philosophical activity.

Christianity did just the same—being a democratic faith for all, like Marxism. The Scholastics made investigations into “Being” that were much less sophisticated and less true than those carried out by the ancients—and that was because philosophy was just a subordinate tool for Christians, as it was for the Marxists, and so was not philosophy at all. The conception of “Being” just served the Christian schema for the salvation of souls, it was asserted dogmatically—just like ideas like “dialectics” served the Marxists.

So there are no eminent men today in Britain, men of genius, because everyone grows up meshed in the assumptions of democracy—which are partly enforced by actual laws, and partly by social pressure. The Conservatives (who aren’t really conservative, a minor philosophical point) even have a Department for Levelling Up (like Orwell, no?) and, in reality, all that ministry does is level down capable people who might make the mob feel bad about their stupid materialistic lives.

Philosophy is an activity, it’s a process—it goes on and on (you can never cease to contemplate the beautiful and the true in new ways). It does not have a termination point, anymore than judo and karate have termination points—it’s just a discipline man always finds his way back to, because dogmatism and narcissism always die in the end (as does democracy).

Philosophy is speculative—the word derives from speculum (mirror). Guess what happens when you stare in the mirror long enough? You disappear—then you close your eyes, and know reality.


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