So, some while back I decided sink a few hours into reading Leonard Peikoff’s book The DIM Hypothesis: why the lights of the west are going out.
Quite frankly, it was pretty much what you’d expect: a mind-numbingly superficial glance at the history of “The West”, recycling of cherry-picked quotes he’s used as “illustration” since The Ominous Parallels, a “warning” about a nascent Christian theocracy (late to the party, Lenny – just sayin’.).
The particularly idiotic thing about Peikoff’s book is: his prescription for repairing “Western” civilization.
It amounts to: attempting to get Objectivism to “dominate the academic mainstream” – after which it will (supposedly) “trickle down” into the rest of the culture (because Peikoff genuinely believes that the wider culture is merely a passive reflection of the fundamental ideas which happen to be most prevalent among “ACADEMIC” philosophers, at any given time.
Now, there are several serious problems with this:
- First, his obsession with controlling academia flatly ignores the fact that there are several (competing) versions of “academia”, at this point: historically “Black” colleges, colleges explicitly created by Fundie Christians, etc.
So, no: there’s really no way to “dominate the academic mainstream” in the way Peikoff wants to pretend is possible.
There’s a reason for this: Historically “black” colleges, “women’s” colleges, Fundie colleges, etc. were all created essentially either because their target demographic was excluded from “academia”, or because the target demographic didn’t like what “academia” was doing – often, both.
Really, this process shouldn’t be that difficult for even somebody like Peikoff to understand: witness (for example) the fact that there are two main “factions” to the Objectivist “movement” (ARI and “Atlas Society”).
2. What is worse, is Peikoff’s (implicit – and sometimes explicit) notion that factions which are fundamentally similar in some respects (for instance, Marxists vs. Nazis) only have “superficial” differences.
This is patently untrue; agreement – even on broad fundamentals does NOT translate into any sort of “harmony”.
For example, witness the (endless) shit-show which has been going on between Roman Catholicism, the various “Orthodox” churches, and the ever-splintering morass of “Protestantism”.
So, no. Peikoff’s “prediction” that some sort of (explicitly Christian) totalitarianism will be able to jackboot their way to hegemony specifically over the territory currently administered by the U.S. is almost laughably unlikely.
Don’t get me wrong: there is definitely a Fundie Protestant subculture of (overwhelmingly “White”) folks who would genuinely love nothing more than to do exactly that — Rushdoony’s Dominionism, for example:
(The problem with their wish-mongering is: this would involve “Christians” actually being able to refrain from characterizing one another as having their “Ears tickled by unsound doctrine”, etc.
It would also require that there NOT be other (equally intense) factions in play:
The most significant (and potentially dangerous0 such factions (contrary to Peikoff’s misdiagnoses) are: Latino/Hispanic separatists (at least some of whom openly advocate for the Western U.S. to secede from the United states, and join Mexico):
The other primary ethno-“racial” faction are those (such as Craig Cobb) who explicitly advocate for the “Northwestern Territorial Imperative” (IE: the takeover – and eventual seccession – of the Northwestern U.S. and/or at least part of Canada, to create an explicitly “White” ethnostate.)
So, no: there are definitely explicitly non-religious “factions” in play — “White power” ideologues, Hispanic/latino separatists, the “Neoconfederate” movement –
Now, please note something; According to Peikoff’s “logic”, both the “Northwest Territorial imperative” and the “reconquista” movement are indistinguishable, because both of them “agree on fundamentals” (for example: an endgame scenario involving an explicitly “ethnic” or “racial” homeland, encompassing territory which is currently part of the U.S.)
TL;DR: Peikoff’s “analysis” is simplistic to the point of self-parody.
Not that I actually expected anything else from somebody who’s wasted his entire life frantically turd-polishing Ayn Rand’s (dubious) “legacy”.