The inventor of the term is an off-putting, wordy blogger, Moldbug. (I'm not sure what to make of that name.) The Cathedral is a term of derision for a bureaucracy that is greedy for control over ever larger portions of people's lives. It's coined by an atheist who hates both Church and modern liberal State.
The term strikes me as an apt comparison, so it's not a surprise that other people have taken it up. The points of similarity include propaganda, collecting tithes or taxes to support a large clerical class, complex tenets, censorship of ideas not conforming to those tenets, control of large academic and educational arms, and probably some I've missed. The term "Cathedral" refers specifically to the nexus of academia, the elite press, policy think tanks, and their influence/control over education, voting blocks, the legislative agenda, and public opinion.
Derbyshire, (yes, him) applauds the Moldbug concept of the world. It turns out that he is an adherent of a peculiar strain of political thought called dark enlightenment. Here is just a taste of their tenets:
With tenets like that, this political group has limited growth possibilities. It seems to me to be an offshoot of conservativism that has gone extreme--to a complete black/white, good/evil view of politics. And in the good/evil balance, democracy is evil. Also evil: the American revolutionaries, the Declaration of Independence, our separation from Great Britain, the acceptance of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, and the acceptance of human equality.- A realization that liberty is incompatible with democracy, and that democracy leads to mediocrity.- A concern with bio-politics, oriented to a particular people’s biological and demographic imperatives.- A rejection of egalitarianism.
The thesis is a marvel of logic and logical jumps. I've only skimmed much of it, but I've noted a few flaws:
- Toryism is good, and Whigs (the democratic impulse) is bad.
- Toryism leads to order, which is preferable to chaos, which is the outcome from democracy.
- Problem: Does Toryism always lead to order? Does democracy always lead to chaos?
- Problem: Is something good always 100% good? Not in my experience.
- Problem: Can anything good come from something labeled evil? Strangely (or not), yes.
The author seems aware of the possibility of faulty reasoning, so he states that his assignment of 'order' as 'good' is a preference. However, he seems unaware of the problems of black/white reasoning. Nonetheless, his discussion of the influence of academia and the other side of the American revolution are definitely worth reading, or at least skimming. And luckily, it is not dry droning. Metaphors are taken from Star Trek and The Matrix movie. Do you want the red pill or the blue pill?
As I said before, I see no way that these ideas will catch on in a big way. I've seen the term 'Cathedral' used several times, so do look for it. It will be extremely ironic if 'Cathedral' catches on considering the other baggage the term carries. If I ever hear Sarah Palin use it, or a member of Congress, I'll have a special private chuckle.
Next time you vote, savor it. Moldbug and Derbyshire (and this teacher) don't believe you should vote unless you're white, Anglo-Saxon, and own an estate.
The T-shirts for the good side are ready
Extras. Moldbug's manifesto is in four parts that are poorly linked. Use Google to find all four. Finally, some fun. A list of terms that they make fun of.