Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fifth Column - Nihilism

Following up on brother Aramis's excellent post, Nihilism as
'Being' in Nothingness - Are You Still Confused?
I want to share a few excerpts from an important essay at Family Security Matters by Jeffrey Imm.

Nihilism (which comes from the Latin word "nihil" meaning "nothing") is promoted to our public and to our children that humanity has no innate value, no purpose, no meaning. Nihilism rejects all values and morality, offering instead a dark vision of hopelessness and defeatism that the human existence itself in pointless and meaningless. The anti-values ideology of nihilism finds a symmetry with the anti-government ideology of anarchism.

Anarchism argues against organized government. In the 19th century, anarchists created a "nihilist movement" to use violence with a shared belief that terrorist violence against its political enemies represented a "propaganda of the deed." Anarchist terrorism remains a continuing problem for the United States and the world, especially in Europe. In December 2008, an anarchist group bombed an international press organization. Anarchist terrorism has a long and bloody history in America stretching from the anarchist assassination of President McKinley to continuing anarchist terror bombings and threats today.

Increasingly, such dark ideologies of nihilism and anarchism are being promoted by mass media organizations with global influence over the thinking of their viewers. In our struggle to defend the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty, we must also confront those defeatist mass media organizations that seek to undermine our citizens, our youth, and our values.

[ ... ]

In 2008, Warner Brothers reached out to a British inspiration for fiction, this time taking an iconic American heroic character "The Batman," and leveraging that character's long history of positive messages with our youth to promote a film about moral ambiguity with a major character that glamorizes nihilism. In the vision of British director Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the message sent to our youth is that there is just a thin line between good and evil. "The Dark Knight" portrays its antagonist, "the Joker," not as a multilayered or a camp character, but as a psychopathic nihilist that advocates anarchy, stating "I am an agent of chaos," and who wants to see "the world burn." This stabbing, bombing, psychopathic character becomes the central character of the Warner Brothers film, which was merely rated PG-13, and is virtually glamorized in the film and the subsequent mass-merchandising campaign. Shouldn't it be disturbing to parents to see a psychopathic character glamorized by a mass-merchandising campaign of posters, t-shirts, masks, costumes, "action figures"? Did parents line up to by their children "action figures" of this knife-wielding psychopathic character? Our children, our youth deserve better attention than this. This film, glamorizing a psychopathic nihilist, has received a number of Academy Award nominations.

A grim postscript to this was reported in Belgium on
January 23, 2009, where a young man (Kim De Gelder) reportedly with makeup and a wig to resemble The Dark Knight's character the Joker broke into a nursery and repeatedly stabbed helpless babies, killing two and maiming several. Thousands marched in Belgium in protest of this atrocity on Sunday, January 25, 2009.

Read all of Jeffrey Imm's Nihilism and the Assassination of the Soul.


David Nybakke said...

Dear Ath,

Wow. I just want to add, on the side, that I first REALLY looked at nihilism when my son was in high school - a year or so prior to Columbine High School massacre. As a parent I was taken off guard at how serious this problem was with our youth and my son was caught up in it. As the details of the massacre at Columbine High unfolded I became aware of how easily my son could have been with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wearing the long black trench coats concealing firearms of all sorts.

As in the article of my post on nihilism Fr. Seraphim Rose writes about the stages of nihilism and when we merge this with the contagion of mimetic desire I saw the connection between where my son was and where Eric and Dylan where at.

This is serious stuff and we need to wake up to the truth of it instead of burying our heads in myth.

Athos said...

Nihilism is, of course, the neo-pagan endpoint of sacrifice in the western secular expression of the primitive sacred.

Some would quibble with this, but always we must look at the structure not the ostensible themes or self-understanding of the practitioners.

BTW, Bailie's December ERI is the best thing I've heard in some time. It truly touches on the degeneracy of, for example, International Planned Parenthood, the incoherence of western neo-paganism, and its happy to watch the west self-destruct Scimitar terrorists.