How Does Nihilism Lead to Tyranny?

 

Only someone with self-respect is capable of respecting someone else. Likewise, only someone who understands and accepts that they are a flawed person can tolerate the flaws of others. And only someone who has felt selfless love from someone else is capable of extending such love to others. It’s easy to understand why parents have always tried to keep their kids in sports and other competitive environments (self-respect), church (accepting of our flaws), and extended family (love). The destruction of our traditional society has isolated kids from all those things, with predictably catastrophic results.

But the modern left’s bizarre combination of nihilism, narcissism, narrow-mindedness, apathy, and anger has led to profound changes in interpersonal relationships over the past decade or so. Why does someone so nihilistic, who thinks that nothing really matters – why does that person care so much about which lightbulbs I use? Why do narcissists, who care only about themselves, care about my opinions about homosexual wedding cakes? Why does a narrow-minded middle-aged adolescent care about my opinions about COVID vaccines or recycled plastic? How does anyone as apathetic as a narcissistic nihilist get so angry about anything I do?

I can understand that some people, having grown up without the nurturing of family, church, and other stabilizing influences, have moved from anxiety to pessimism to nihilism. Those brought up with no faith in anything tend to have no faith in anything. Regrettable for the individual and possibly catastrophic for society at large, but understandable. But why are such people tyrants? If they think that nothing really matters, why do they care so much about my opinions and my choices?

Due to the heroic efforts of my parents and others, I understand self-respect and respect for others, I understand my flaws and the flaws of others, and I understand love. So I’m a reasonably stable, self-sufficient adult.

And I don’t care what narcissistic nihilists do.

Why do they care what I do?

Nihilists think that nothing really matters. I disagree – I think that a lot of things matter a great deal. So why am I less interested in the behavior of others than the nihilists?

How does nihilism lead to tyranny?

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    NOTE:  This post was inspired by a brilliant comment by EODmom on another thread, when she pointed out,

    “The “Don’t Judge Anyone” ethos became dominant since I was in graduate school, but was being nurtured long before. It’s now entrenched as Nothing Matters Anyway.

    I’m thankful for her insight, and I don’t claim to take credit for it.  But her simple statement of fact led to lots of questions in my mind, with which I hope you folks can help me.

    And I really think it’d be simpler if we could end a sentence with a preposition every once in a while.  “…which I hope you folks can help me with.” is so much clearer.

    Anyway, thanks EODmom!

    • #1
  2. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Jung might have had something about synchronicity. Just a couple weeks ago I finished struggling thru The Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafarevich. Much of that book is dedicated to answering your question.

    <tl;dr>People of the left live in fear and anger. They hate their lives and want every human to die.</tl;dr>

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    When you make what happens the fault of someone else, you have to go after them.

    • #3
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Not sure these are all the same people, but I would hazard that what they lack in depth of belief, they make up in fervor. Also, the trappings of belief don’t require actual belief, while denouncing is its own reward (although, he who denounces last, denounces best). 

    And of course as @bryangstephens points out above, if you think the world is screwed, it will seem right to hate those who are ‘everything that is wrong with it’. See also; Revolution, French 

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Peter Drucker (Austrian, lived in Germany between the wars) wrote his first book, The End of Economic Man, about the rise of European Fascism.  He saw one major factor as the loss of belief in all institutions and counter-institutions…governments, the Church, business…and Marxism.

    He asserted that before WWI, socialism had been largely about Hope, whereas after WWI, is was largely about resentment and jealousy.

    He definitely saw Nihilism as a driving force in the rise of Fascism.  It’s an important book…not as well-written as his later work..which has been on my list to review for some time.

     

    • #5
  6. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Dr. Bastiat: But the modern left’s bizarre combination of nihilism, narcissism, narrow-mindedness, apathy, and anger has led to profound changes in interpersonal relationships over the past decade or so.  Why does someone so nihilistic, who thinks that nothing really matters – why does that person care so much about which lightbulbs I use?  Why do narcissists, who care only about themselves, care about my opinions about homosexual wedding cakes?  Why does a narrow-minded middle-aged adolescent care about my opinions about COVID vaccines or recycled plastic?  How does anyone as apathetic as a narcissistic nihilist get so angry about anything that I do? 

    Good questions.

    I’ll claim that “nihilism, narcissism, narrow-mindedness, apathy, and anger” are all individual tactical behaviors promoted to gain political power.  And as such, they seem to be effective.  

    If they were real, if they were foundational to an ideology, then that ideology would be, as you demonstrate, horribly inconsistent. 

    • #6
  7. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    NOTE: This post was inspired by a brilliant comment by EODmom on another thread, when she pointed out,

    “The “Don’t Judge Anyone” ethos became dominant since I was in graduate school, but was being nurtured long before. It’s now entrenched as Nothing Matters Anyway.

    I’m thankful for her insight, and I don’t claim to take credit for it. But her simple statement of fact led to lots of questions in my mind, with which I hope you folks can help me.

    And I really think it’d be simpler if we could end a sentence with a preposition every once in a while. “…which I hope you folks can help me with.” is so much clearer.

    Anyway, thanks EODmom!

    You’re very welcome – I’m glad I added something to your thinking. But I do think you look for reasonable explanations for just plain old, very basic ugliness. Evil is evil. And evil always builds on and takes advantage of whatever weakness it can nurture or find.
    I believe the end objective remains constant: whole power over the rest. I think “they” don’t really care about you or what you do – they want you to change, accept and submit. That’s why the tolerance of ____ incidents never lead to “Ok, thanks we’re OK now.” It will never be enough to be tolerant.

    I don’t think the “nihilist” are really that – they do care very much about you/we accepting and conforming and submitting to them. Then they believe they will have the power to do whatever they want to with whomever they want whenever they want. Then there will be no superior authority stopping their behaviour. Evil is evil will be evil until crushed by good.
    I don’t know if that adds anything……

    • #7
  8. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Peter Drucker (Austrian, lived in Germany between the wars) wrote his first book, The End of Economic Man, about the rise of European Fascism.  He saw one major factor as the loss of belief in all institutions and counter-institutions…governments, the Church, business…and Marxism.

     

    Who said when a man stops believing in God he’ll believe anything? Was that Chesterton?

    • #8
  9. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Barfly (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Peter Drucker (Austrian, lived in Germany between the wars) wrote his first book, The End of Economic Man, about the rise of European Fascism. He saw one major factor as the loss of belief in all institutions and counter-institutions…governments, the Church, business…and Marxism.

     

    Who said when a man stops believing in God he’ll believe anything? Was that Chesterton?

    Yes.

    • #9
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    NOTE: This post was inspired by a brilliant comment by EODmom on another thread, when she pointed out,

    “The “Don’t Judge Anyone” ethos became dominant since I was in graduate school, but was being nurtured long before. It’s now entrenched as Nothing Matters Anyway.

    I’m thankful for her insight, and I don’t claim to take credit for it. But her simple statement of fact led to lots of questions in my mind, with which I hope you folks can help me.

    And I really think it’d be simpler if we could end a sentence with a preposition every once in a while. “…which I hope you folks can help me with.” is so much clearer.

    Anyway, thanks EODmom!

    You’re very welcome – I’m glad I added something to your thinking. But I do think you look for reasonable explanations for just plain old, very basic ugliness. Evil is evil. And evil always builds on and takes advantage of whatever weakness it can nurture or find.
    I believe the end objective remains constant: whole power over the rest. I think “they” don’t really care about you or what you do – they want you to change, accept and submit. That’s why the tolerance of ____ incidents never lead to “Ok, thanks we’re OK now.” It will never be enough to be tolerant.

    I don’t think the “nihilist” aren’t really that – they do care very much about you/we accepting and conforming and submitting to them. Then they believe they will have the power to do whatever they want to with whomever they want whenever they want. Then there will be superior authority stopping their behaviour. Evil is evil will be evil until crushed by good.
    I don’t know if that adds anything……

    If nothing matters than it’s about power. Ergo, relativism leads to tyranny.

    Conservative transpeople think that their souls are the other than their biological sex so they don’t much care if people misuse pronouns. However, leftist have to absolutely freak out because if other people believe they are their biological sex than they can become their biological sex because beliefs make reality. 

    Also, Wokeists don’t believe in souls, just reality.

    • #10
  11. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Peter Drucker (Austrian, lived in Germany between the wars) wrote his first book, The End of Economic Man, about the rise of European Fascism. He saw one major factor as the loss of belief in all institutions and counter-institutions…governments, the Church, business…and Marxism.

    He asserted that before WWI, socialism had been largely about Hope, whereas after WWI, is was largely about resentment and jealousy.

    That’s a thought-provoking observation, in light of the failure of so many of the liberal policies of the sixties. I have long thought that the failure of those policies radicalized many liberals: They are emotionally committed to those policies and the ideology behind them, so instead of abandoning failed policies they double down with ever more radical and absurd demands.

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    To my simple mind, Doc, the answer to your question is pretty simple: Those people, most of them anyway, are not happy in their own skin. So, they project everything outward.

    It’s much easier to understand and “solve” another person’s problem than one’s own.

    • #12
  13. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    To my simple mind, Doc, the answer to your question is pretty simple: Those people, most of them anyway, are not happy in their own skin. So, they project everything outward.

    This.  I would go on to say that, underneath their nihilism, is a spark of desire for recognition and affirmation.  We must be forced to affirm the rightness of their nihilism.

    • #13
  14. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Thank you the post , Good Doctor.

    While I appreciate the attempt of you and others to find a rational insight into the mind of the woke, I fear you won’t find one.

    From my point of view the woke mind set is the result of the convergence of several very bad assaults by the Left on society.

    The most damaging assault is the assault on the nuclear family which has led to tens of millions of serious dysfunctional families where the parents seek justification for their selfish narcistic indulgence of every carnal desire in the new religion of woke platitudes which has resulted in a very high percentage of our young and now over the decades not so young so to be seriously emotionally wounded. These unfortunate souls have been primed to seek the fashionably destructive life solutions promoted by the Left  as a way of dealing with their pain, which has left them easy targets for Woke fanaticism.

    The second major assault has been the over one hundred year old Long March of the Left to take over society’s cultural and educational institutions to install the Woke Religion as the  Dominant and almost unassailable thought of today where well over a hundred million of our youth have been indoctrinated in the absolute rightness of woke thought no matter how disgusting and irrational and absoluteness meanest and  depravity of conventional religious and conservative thought.

    But what had taken Wokeness to its new scary state is the implementation of mass psychosis mind control / brainwashing techniques utilizing high tech mindset manipulation techniques based on each one of us’s psych profile embedded in their-massive data mining capabilities to direct the media to subtly direct people to submit to the Narrative and in some cases become the Narrative’s very determined attack dogs attacking anyone who dares to contradict the Narrative.

     

    • #14
  15. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    NOTE: This post was inspired by a brilliant comment by EODmom on another thread, when she pointed out,

    “The “Don’t Judge Anyone” ethos became dominant since I was in graduate school, but was being nurtured long before. It’s now entrenched as Nothing Matters Anyway.

    I’m thankful for her insight, and I don’t claim to take credit for it. But her simple statement of fact led to lots of questions in my mind, with which I hope you folks can help me.

    And I really think it’d be simpler if we could end a sentence with a preposition every once in a while. “…which I hope you folks can help me with.” is so much clearer.

    Anyway, thanks EODmom!

    You’re very welcome – I’m glad I added something to your thinking. But I do think you look for reasonable explanations for just plain old, very basic ugliness. Evil is evil. And evil always builds on and takes advantage of whatever weakness it can nurture or find.
    I believe the end objective remains constant: whole power over the rest. I think “they” don’t really care about you or what you do – they want you to change, accept and submit. That’s why the tolerance of ____ incidents never lead to “Ok, thanks we’re OK now.” It will never be enough to be tolerant.

    I don’t think the “nihilist” aren’t really that – they do care very much about you/we accepting and conforming and submitting to them. Then they believe they will have the power to do whatever they want to with whomever they want whenever they want. Then there will be superior authority stopping their behaviour. Evil is evil will be evil until crushed by good.
    I don’t know if that adds anything……

    If nothing matters than it’s about power. Ergo, relativism leads to tyranny.

    Conservative transpeople think that their souls are the other than their biological sex so they don’t much care if people misuse pronouns. However, leftist have to absolutely freak out because if other people believe they are their biological sex than they can become their biological sex because beliefs make reality.

    Also, Wokeists don’t believe in souls, just reality.

    I would have used scare quotes: “reality”

    • #15
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Sinners hate the righteous 

    • #16
  17. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Sinners hate the righteous

    Which is precisely how they view you. They have the righteousness that comes from believing  these newly-minted truths, and your refusal to go along – indeed, your insistence on behaving in ways that Cause Harm – are sins. You hate them out of some remnant sense of shame and guilt, because you have been handed the chalice (made of 100% recycled metals, forged in a carbon-neutral furnace) and you refuse to drink. 

    • #17
  18. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Sinners hate the righteous

    Which is precisely how they view you. They have the righteousness that comes from believing these newly-minted truths, and your refusal to go along – indeed, your insistence on behaving in ways that Cause Harm – are sins. You hate them out of some remnant sense of shame and guilt, because you have been handed the chalice (made of 100% recycled metals, forged in a carbon-neutral furnace) and you refuse to drink.

    I tend to think they are like the Aztecs who required a steady supply of sacrificial victims. 

    • #18
  19. Teeger Coolidge
    Teeger
    @Teeger

    The further away from the Bible and from God, the worse people become. 

    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … even as they did not retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind.” Romans 1:22,28

    These words come in a discussion about homosexuality and similar sins. The Apostle Paul is describing the God-rejecting world around him. That rejection leads to sexual deviancy and a perverted mind.

    • #19
  20. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Sinners hate the righteous

    Which is precisely how they view you. They have the righteousness that comes from believing these newly-minted truths, and your refusal to go along – indeed, your insistence on behaving in ways that Cause Harm – are sins. You hate them out of some remnant sense of shame and guilt, because you have been handed the chalice (made of 100% recycled metals, forged in a carbon-neutral furnace) and you refuse to drink.

    Yes, and without God watching it’s their righteous duty to purify the unclean in the here and now. One way or another.

    • #20
  21. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    NOTE: This post was inspired by a brilliant comment by EODmom on another thread, when she pointed out,

    “The “Don’t Judge Anyone” ethos became dominant since I was in graduate school, but was being nurtured long before. It’s now entrenched as Nothing Matters Anyway.

    I’m thankful for her insight, and I don’t claim to take credit for it. But her simple statement of fact led to lots of questions in my mind, with which I hope you folks can help me.

    And I really think it’d be simpler if we could end a sentence with a preposition every once in a while. “…which I hope you folks can help me with.” is so much clearer.

    Anyway, thanks EODmom!

    Many streams of thought here. “Don’t judge” as sold for so long was a critical misunderstanding of Christian thinking. It was never meant to mean “don’t recognize sin”, but that’s what it became. “Who am I to judge?” became “who am I to say what is sin?”. Such unchallenging nothingness then became “there is no God”. Without God it follows that there is no sin, only utility and preference hierarchies.

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    If you’re talking about the second definition of nihilism (from online Merriam Webster):

    “a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility”

    . . . then it makes perfect sense.  Groups like antifa and blm (I’m no longer giving them the benefit of capitalization) like destruction for destruction’s sake, although blm makes a handsome profit at it.  The best way to deal with such anarchy is through tyrannical action, and you need a tyrant to get it done.  I believe most people simple want to live their lives in peace, and they will knowing trade freedom for security to get it . . .

    • #22
  23. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Are all the people actually nihilists, just pursuing power? I dont think so; I think some are genuine nihilists and the rest of us are sheep like to some degree, looking to be lead to the meaningful existence we feel must surely exist. So nihilists counter religion with heaven on earth, perfect justice now, some mythical past Eden that we can return to in reality.

    • #23
  24. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    I think that, for at least some of them, it goes beyond narcissism and becomes a sort of wishful-thinking solipsism. They genuinely think that if they believe something hard enough, they can reshape reality to their liking. So when someone like us comes along and refuses to play their game, they get angry. And they resort to the power of the state to compel us to at least pretend, thus protecting their self-delusion.

    • #24
  25. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    When there is no truth and thus no moral obligations that accrue from the existence and acknowledgment of transcendent truth, then all that remains is power.

    • #25
  26. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Teeger (View Comment):

    The further away from the Bible and from God, the worse people become.

    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … even as they did not retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind.” Romans 1:22,28

    These words come in a discussion about homosexuality and similar sins. The Apostle Paul is describing the God-rejecting world around him. That rejection leads to sexual deviancy and a perverted mind.

    It’s always about the gays isn’t it?

    • #26
  27. Teeger Coolidge
    Teeger
    @Teeger

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Teeger (View Comment):

    The further away from the Bible and from God, the worse people become.

    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … even as they did not retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind.” Romans 1:22,28

    These words come in a discussion about homosexuality and similar sins. The Apostle Paul is describing the God-rejecting world around him. That rejection leads to sexual deviancy and a perverted mind.

    It’s always about the gays isn’t it?

    Not always, but one ought to admit that Paul seems to be talking about our recent history. 

    It always seems to be case that when one rejects divine revelation the first thing that happens is a loosening of sexual mores. Then it gets worse and worse until “anything goes “.

     

    • #27
  28. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Dr. Bastiat: And I don’t care what narcissistic nihilists do.

    Maybe that’s the problem for them that they don’t even recognize themselves. Like a child who wants attention, they “act out” to get it and fill that empty nihilistic space.

    • #28
  29. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Also, Wokeists don’t believe in souls, just reality.

    They don’t really believe in reality they believe in magic.  By magic I mean they believe that they can force reality to conform to their will through the proper application of ritual and incantation.   In essence they believe in the opposite of reality.

    • #29
  30. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Dr. Bastiat: And I don’t care what narcissistic nihilists do.

    These two terms narcissistic and nihilist are contradictory. If one is a narcissist they have self-love, meaning they have self-regard and think only that they matter. If one is nihilist they think that nothing matters. Thus, a narcissist, particularly if one is sufficiently narcissistic they automatically won’t care about anything else except themselves. The word nihilist is an unnecessary qualifier.

    I equate the people that you are discussing in this post with scoffers and mockers as depicted in the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs contains several passages that address the topic of scoffers. In general, scoffers are those who mock or ridicule wisdom and instruction, and who refuse to listen to advice or correction. Proverbs warns that scoffers will face destruction and that their lack of wisdom will lead to their downfall. It also advises the reader to avoid associating with scoffers and to instead seek out wise and understanding people.

    The devising of folly is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to men.

    Proverbs 24:9 NASB1995

     

    https://bible.com/bible/100/pro.24.9.NASB1995

    • #30
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