Jesus famously declared that “No man can serve two masters,” by which he meant that devotion to truth can never signify a middle-of-the-road, safe, or moderate stance; instead, it binds one to a radical trajectory of belief and behavior which cannot be compromised.
Christ, however, was referring to a choice between an unworthy master and a worthy one, the former being “mammon” (that is, worldliness); the latter, God. What about when the choice is between two would-be masters, each of whom is plainly unworthy, even if the one might be—relatively speaking—slightly less unsavory than the other?
Binary or Manichean rhetoric is commonly employed by opportunists pimping for support and stumping for succor from those whom they view as in some sense belonging to their “constituency.” Such blustering rhetorical effusions function as an instrument of simultaneous coercion and manipulation, by which one is badgered to “take a side” (by which he means to take the “right” side; that is, whichever side is advocated by the opportunist in question) in a given struggle.
But if one declines to take a side—namely, the side being rhetorically foisted upon him—because both sides are bad, even if one is worse than the other—he is derided as an overweening “purist,” and accused of arrogance. During an election season (ah, the glories of dumbocracy!), one who votes for a third party unaffiliated with the Gruesome Twosome-ruling duopoly is accused of “throwing his vote away,” while he one who refuses to vote at all is castigated for displaying a galling and insufferable “apathy.”
When it comes to geopolitics, opportunistic binary rhetoricians take a similar tack. They may, like George W. Bush (communicating through speechwriter David Frum) insist that the unaffiliated of the world declare allegiance to their own side, under threat of being regarded as an enemy, e.g., “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Or they might, like Putin’s court philosopher Alexander Dugin, assert that conservative nationalist Ukrainians, Poles, and other East Europeans who oppose Russia’s incursions into Crimea are merely hapless dupes and “proxies” for the decadent West, since no “Third Position” is realistically possible—if you hate what the West has become, then you must support Putin or else you are merely an enabler of American-imported moral degeneracy! (As the Church Lady might retort, “How con-veeeeen-ient!”)
In truth, however—much as the likes of Bush or Dugin might lecture us to the contrary—one only makes a difference that counts by refusing affiliation and remaining independent. For in casting one’s vote for or otherwise throwing one’s weight behind one side—be it the yin or the yang—of a binary, duopolic, Manichean paradigm, one is in fact not only selling one’s soul (which is to say, serving a master who is not God), or supporting evil in order to oppose what one takes to be a greater evil… no, one is not merely guilty of these betrayals ; one is also in a sense propping up the other side, the side one recognizes as being the worse of the two factions.
For in a world ruled by a duopoly, each side of the yin-yang spectrum parasitically feeds off the other for its own sustenance. One side could not be what it is without the active contrivance of its supposed opposite, and vice versa. Both yin and yang are fortified by the other’s scorn, contempt, and hostility; each digs in all the more when it perceives itself being threatened, and by digging in, thereby causes the other side to feel threatened, which in turn enhances the other side’s sense of righteous hysteria, leading to a never-ending cycle of rationalized provocations and self-justified aggressions.
To participate in the struggle, on one side or the other, is thus to perpetuate the struggle, and in so doing, to lend the struggle a kind of legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. The lesser evil and the greater evil (whichever is which at any given time) are in this sense actually allies, akin to demonic dance partners performing an infernal routine of shared hatred and mutually-assured destruction. One cannot allow oneself to get swept up in their wake, lest one perish in the midst of all of the ghastly sound and fury. Instead, one must break away, secede, withdraw, and carve out his own niche, in order to preserve the integrity of his body, mind, and soul.
For these reasons, as well as others, I intend to remain factionally unaffiliated in the no doubt cataclysmic battles to come in the years ahead. Absence of affiliation does not, of course, equate to indifference; I aim to stand on principle, and when one faction or the other advances these principles, I will support them. But when asked to take sides, I’ll always opt for the “third position”—the type scorned by the likes of Bush and Dugin—rather than ever accept the lesser of two evils.
This will certainly lead some to dismiss me as a dupe, mock me as a stooge, or attack me as a traitor. I’ll probably get hated on more for than I would if I actually staked myself out as a faction-affiliate for the “other team.” It should be fun. And I hope you’ll join me.