Running the “Cat Fancy” thought experiment has changed the way I think about ideology. I used to consider it a late, but vital, development of a mass movement. Now I think of it as little more than an in-group signal.
Let me explain… no, there is too much, let me sum up. I wrote that Cat Fancy had enough intellectual heft that serious, heavyweight people could subscribe to it in full public view. I also wrote that the the Cat Fancy ideology, such as it is, is retarded clown show stuff. The only way to square those is to regard ideology as a mere scaffold for ritual, for aesthetics, i.e. the real things that build a brotherhood.
To illustrate, I cited the Freemasons. Serious, heavyweight people — of George Washington’s caliber — were open, public members of the Masons. I find it impossible to believe that a man like George Washington bought any of the ooga-booga junk that is the Mason’s founding myth — rituals going back to the days of the Pharaohs and whatnot. This is not to say George Washington took his Freemasonry lightly — by all accounts he was a serious, devoted Mason.
It simply says that the point of being a Mason is: Being a Mason. Dancing naked around a fire while chanting the alphabet backwards in Hebrew or whatever the hell they did as a ritual was only the glue, practically the equivalent of frat hazing. The “ideology” itself was considerably less than that.
If that seems too flippant, consider Marxism. Marxism is also ooga-booga bullshit, top to bottom, stem to stern. The Labor Theory of Value, the cornerstone of Karl Marx’s “economic interpretation of History,” is absurdly wrong, as anyone who thinks about it for more than a minute or two can see for himself. Marx was a philosopher masquerading as an economist, and not one of the brighter philosophers, either — he was an Idealist, part of a philosophical tradition that kept all of Christianity’s ooga-booga bullshit while tossing out its intellectual heft.* There are exactly two reasons serious people still take Marxism seriously:
- He quotably expressed some trivial truths about the human condition; and
- The Commies won the war.
That’s it. As for 1), that’s true of every person who has founded a successful mass movement — successful at being a mass movement, I mean, nothing more. It’s what Eric Hoffer was getting at in The True Believer — there’s really only one mass movement, because every iteration of the mass movement, be it “Left” or “Right” or anywhere in between, trades on our fundamental fear of individuality. Humans are monkeys; monkeys have the most elaborate social structure in the animal kingdom. We’re terrified of being alone, and lots of us — way more than we’d like to admit — would love nothing more than to shed our individual identity and merge completely with the group, any group.
Karl Marx’s insights about the class struggle weren’t new. It’s all over Polybius, Thucydides, pick your ancient writer, because it’s easily observable in any human society bigger than a tribe of cavemen. But Marx was great with a label — he called this trivially true aspect of human relations “the class struggle,” and we’ve been bowing down to him as some kind of oracle ever since.
Which brings us to 2). Adolf Hitler — we’ll use the real name here, just this once — also expressed a trivial truth of human relations: Blood is thicker than water. His way of expressing it wasn’t as “scientific” as Marx’s, because he explicitly rejected science — all that “race science” stuff the Ahnenerbe was supposedly doing was in the service of Romanticizing, capital R, the past. “Blood is thicker than water” is as true, and as trivial, as “the class struggle,” but because the Commies won the war, “Marxist” is still an intellectually respectable position while “Nazi” is a swear word.
And there you have it. Nothing succeeds like success, and Josef Goebbels (again, using real names just this once) knew it better than anyone — he bragged he could turn a Communist into a Nazi in two weeks. NOT because — as we on the “Right” so fondly imagine — the doctrines are so similar, but because the emotional resonance is better under that specific set of circumstances. The KPD’s leadership wasn’t as quotable, but they had the same understanding — they put great effort in recruiting among the Brownshirts.
What’s needed, then, is an ideology that supports the ritual, the style, the brotherhood. What that will be is above my pay grade, but it has to be done. You can subsume your identity into Our Thing, or into whatever you call the ideology of the Marching Morons (“cultural marxism” will do). That’s really all there is.