Leftists are like the barbarians outside the gate of a prosperous city. They can attack from any angle at random, and the city must exhaust its resources defending itself. The advantage falls to the attackers who have nothing to defend and so can spend all their time inventing new ways of destroying their adversary.
In the same way, leftists chip away at the necessary parts of a civilization in a random order but systematic process, finding delight in whatever they can sabotage, vandalize or destroy. This occurs because leftists view civilization, which creates standards for success and failure, as the enemy of their own damaged egos. As a result, they view any damage done to society as a victory and ignore the consequences, since in their view, others will behave like them and enjoy the new liberation with zero bad results. This is human fantasy projected onto reality at its worst.
What keeps the leftists thriving is that their ideas never receive the time necessary to test them. They make one change, wait six weeks, and declare victory — then move on to the next. Systematically they attack and dismantle the support structure of the ideas of their enemies, like invading barbarians cutting off water, salting fields and killing game around a besieged city. Before one attack is over, the next has begun. Through this method the city is kept constantly reacting to the attack, instead of seizing the impetus and creating a battle plan of its own.
The latest leftist jihad is to attack the idea of the traditional family through praising working mothers. In the experience of my generation, working mothers produce an unparalleled disaster of a home-life where kids are essentially raised by wolves, drugged on a steady diet of television and media to keep them busy, and farmed out to a life of busy-work at schools and daycare. This turns the kids into zombies who not only are neurotic to their core, but believe the propaganda endlessly fed into their minds. It is no wonder the left loves the working mother.
Even worse, working mothers produce neurotic homes. Food is acquired ad hoc with none of the planning and handcraft that goes into cooking and managing a larder. Nothing is constant and parenting consists of rules made after the fact, inconsistently, and in vague terms, teaching children early on to hate and distrust authority. Kids have shattered self-esteem that is only later in life assuaged by jobs and awards, which make them dependent on the approval of others for their self-esteem. Home becomes not-home; kids trust corporate services and maid service more than parents. Degeneration occurs from within.
For Generation X, the result of the working Baby Boomer mother was shattered self-esteem and a neurotic fear of anything that was not already explicitly known. Gen-Xers grew up into a world they saw as living death, without any of the tools of self-discipline and purpose that previous generations had, both hating their parents and seeing them as a kind of totalitarian-style authority that must be obeyed. The result was that Generation Xers either became obedient little sheep for the manipulative control by their parents, or rebelled and became slackers who now work off-shifts at customer-facing storefronts. Obey or die. Much like a liberal government, parents used the “in your best interests” line to justify being controlling, and produced shell-shocked permanent victims who just wanted to escape.
Now the liberal hype machine, via Pravda-on-the-Hudson, kicks into full gear with its praise of the working mother as not just acceptable but in fact better than the nuclear family with a parent — preferably the more nurturing one, the mother — at home:
In a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes.
…Some of these effects were strong in the United States. Here, daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers, after controlling for demographic factors, and sons spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 more minutes on housework.
…Either way, the new study is part of a shift away from focusing on whether working mothers hurt children and toward a richer understanding of the relationship between work and family.
As with all things liberal, this is a social message that looks great if taken at face value. See, working mothers make their kids worth more money. More jobs and stuff. That’s good, right? And the boys spend more time on child care, which limits their male tendencies to be violent and cause trouble. Everyone is obedient to the image that the neurotic liberal self demands, which is a world of perfect inertness so that the personality of the liberal self encounters no barriers.
Except that as quickly glossed over — maintaining the illusion of journalistic objectivity in an article that otherwise fawns over its subject — there are massive problems with this study:
“The problem is we don’t know how these mothers differed,” said Raquel Fernandez, an economics professor at New York University who was not involved with the Harvard study but who has also studied the topic. “Was it really her mother working who did this, or was it her mother getting an education?”
The classic liberal tendency is to take people who were headed for money anyway and claim that one unrelated aspect of their lifestyles led to that money. This is a begging-the-question fallacy based on the assumption that all people are the same, so that only something that someone did differently could result in different results. It could not be — at all — that they were actually different people with different abilities. That’s racist.
If this study fails like past liberal studies, it will turn out that the “scientists” responsible set up some filters for whose data they would consider, carefully eliminating anyone who did not fit their thesis. They also probably did their best to sample among populations who were already heading toward success when they assessed working mothers, and people likely to have less income when they assessed non-working mothers. Even better, they may have relied on surveys, which are notoriously bad like witness statements. People self-report what flatters them. Thus to the working mothers you ask how successful their kids are, but to the non-working mothers you just ask household details.
Not that it will officially fail, of course. Other results will come out and it will become clear that this The New York Times article and the study it reports on were based on utter lies, but no one will say that. No one wants to be excluded from the Kool Kids Klub, of course, so they won’t attack each other. They will just pretend it never happened, delete any references to it that they can, and move on to attack something else.
When people like me say that liberalism is a mental disease, this is what we speak of it. Liberalism replaces the part of our selves that gives us purpose and self-esteem, and makes even liking ourselves contingent upon this external thing that is based in ideology. We can only feel good about ourselves when doing the ideology. We feel bad when we lack it. And so like zombies, we advance, hungry for brains but never full, numb to the world around us as we collide with it, because we have replaced all noticing of that world with our single-minded quest for brains, the scapegoat that we think will make us feel better… and it does not, so we try again, and again, in a circular pattern that ultimately destroys us and everything else around us, but at least we feel a faint warm glow of self-righteousness as the edifices collapse.
Now that the ashes are cooling in Baltimore, every party has to inject its own post-mortem to try to spin the dialogue to its advantage. The left bangs the old poverty-did-it tin drum, the right rages about the death of the family, and the community blames everyone but itself. The truth, as often is the case, lies elsewhere than convenient scapegoats.
Some draw outrage from the refusal of police to stand up and be punching bags for first the violence, and second the blame when the inevitable glitches arises. They see it as a lose-lose situation: when you make 1000 arrests, by the nature of human error, one or more will go bad. The media and community will seize on that one and use it to implicate the rest, when in fact it is exactly what it seems to be, a screwup. Just like not every package reaches its destination, some cars have bad brakes, and sometimes your cheeseburger is small, some arrests go wrong. This happens in every situation. The problem is that when police fear that one arrest more than the consequences of letting the other incidents go free, you end up with no police force.
Residents tell reporters they see officers driving right past street fights and disturbances.
Officers turned their backs to De Blasio as he visited injured officers in the hospital and at the officer’s funerals.
But officers in Baltimore, according to at least one of their own, are turning their backs on not only the Mayor but also the citizens they’re sworn to protect.
While the media spin on this one leads you to think it is the end of the world, it in fact represents something else entirely:
A good idea.
I suggest that all of us follow a simple principle: we work for people who work with us. That is, let the cops patrol the nice white neighborhoods where people do not attack them on a daily basis, and let businesses sell to the people who are not vandalizing, stealing, open defecating or whatever other non-desirable behaviors are occurring. Let our taxes go toward services for us.
And the rest? The ghettos, the homeless, the impoverished, and the victimized? Let them follow the law of nature, which is that they either improve their own circumstances or vanish from this earth. They will blame anyone foolish enough to take stewardship of their communities and do it less than 100% perfectly, which we all know is a number achieved in theory only. A sensible response would be to skip out on the blame, and on the risk, and to go police where people pay your salary — most of the income paying for police comes from those white suburbs — and where they do not rage out and riot over a one in a thousand mistake.
Even more, let us the nice white people from the suburbs stop taking responsibility for African, Asian and mixed-race inhabitants of America. Their communities are their own responsibility. We will pay our taxes, work with our police, and keep our own streets safe. They can do the same in their communities.
Since the end of the Civil War, the narrative of liberal America has been that white people are oppressors and therefore are responsible for the well-being of others. That encourages the others to disregard their own well-being, do whatever is convenient, and blame white America when things go wrong. That can stop. We are not obligated to these people: we do not owe them a living, or policing. We do not owe them welfare, benefits, or social programs. We can pay for those for ourselves if we want, but if we have any brains, we will respect Darwin and get rid of all of those programs.
Our society has made itself miserable by creating obligation to those who are failing. Let nature take her path. End the obligation, and focus on success and how to achieve it instead of on failure. The ghetto will never be happy with its policing, so abandon it to its own fate. Its citizens will determine whether it lives or dies. We are responsible to ourselves alone, and our only obligation is our own well-being.
If there is one concept in the modern age that needs to be folded, spindled, and mutilated, it is the idea of safety. Safety represents an entirely negative idea: the removal of risk, which inevitably translates into protecting the weaker from the stronger by neutering power. In order to fully render power impotent, however, those who desire safety must also limit the information which justifies power, specifically any knowledge above that upon which the weaker are acting as part of their modus operandi.
People in this modern age tend to view it as anomalous because of its technological advances. This outlook requires a fallacious assumption that technology exists on an absolute scale. Past empires have far exceeded the abilities of their neighbors in terms of technology, most notably the Greek, Persian, Roman, Mayan and Indian empires, but they fell by the same method the modern West is declining — class revolt, reckless outbreeding and corruption — mainly because technology alone does not insulate an empire from crisis.
Even the leadership equivalent of technology, advanced managerial and legal systems designed to dole out power in minute increments producing supposedly “equal” results, breaks down if given false starting assumptions or administered by those determined to circumvent it. In fact, management seems to work the opposite way of how it is intended by protecting the corrupt through its tendency to cloak them in authority and hide them behind a maze of rules, standards and measurements that baffle anyone but the extremely dedicated person with lots of time to sift through thousands of pages of bureaucratese.
These institutions justify themselves with the idea of safety, or the defense of people against potential harms, whether from themselves or others. Since the topic of our human tendency to do the exact opposite of what we need to be doing remains unpopular, their focus inevitably shifts to the mysterious enemy or scapegoat upon whom all failings can be blamed and in whose name all new powers can be rationalized. Like the mythological Satan, the best scapegoat is one who does not exist and cannot defend himself, such as the role of Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984 who seemed to be filled by various actors but may not have in fact existed at all.
If we scapegoat a nonsense entity, anything we attribute to that entity is assumed to be true without proof, and since the shadow figure cannot contradict that, all charges stick. To listen to those who advocate government and society being focused on “safety,” risks lurk behind every corner. Mattresses without tags will burst into flame and kill you; food additives will reach out and gift you with tumors in your sleep; bad thoughts will jump off the PDF page or out of a book and turn you into a full-fledged Nazi or anarchist setting cars ablaze. Naturally, risks exist, but not to the degree that the safety-advocates say they do, and they are limited by the choices made by those who encounter them. Few people who avoid smoking in bed find their mattresses suddenly ablaze, and the risk of most “dangers” is less than the chance of being stung to death by bees, while everyday threats like obesity, drunkenness, accident, and other forms of human lack of self-control are the most likely forces to kill any one of us.
Even more, statistics lie about circumstances. Most who die of the various terrors described in wide-eyed self-important glow by the news are elderly, and many who manage to damage or destroy themselves do so in the midst of disorganized lives where a long stack of bad, selfish and short-term decisions lead to conditions where nothing but failure remains. An obese person living in a trailer park in the path of a tornado, sucking down his 15th menthol cigarette and fourth cheeseburger of the day while drinking watery beer and re-attaching his propane tank using chewing gum — maybe even in a “hoarder” style whirlpool of useless possessions — faces one real risk, which is that the accumulated stupidity will find some way to snuff them. This is where modernity disconnects cause and effect; if someone under such circumstances dies from a mattress fire, is the mattress to blame, or simply the tottering house of cards assembled by the oblivious human?
Governments dedicate infinite resources to “educating” us about risks such that most public places are interrupted by ugly warning signs, blinking indicators and recorded messages. Hours of educational video, years worth of seminars and presentations, decades of mandatory classes and aeons of public policy discussion accompany these. If someone dies, it is a “tragedy” even if that person was worthless (and if we are honest, every single one of us considers some categories of people to be worthless) and brought it upon themselves, and through the magic of “accountability” we blame those in power for this unnecessary death.
And nothing is worse than death, we the assembled crowd think from our armchairs, because we fear nothing more than death itself. Thus we panic and foam at our mental mouths and demand that something be done. The press fans the flames with hysterical paranoia disguised as “advice.” Politicians make rules, ugly signs and blinkers go up, and we have another barrier of red tape and bureaucracy thrown in our path before we can accomplish simple life tasks. The accumulated rage makes us angry and we scapegoat the world, much like before that we scapegoated those who are more powerful than us. To take revenge on it, we find some reason to blame it, namely that it is bad and full of risk, and so we lash out at it with more rules. Then life gets more insufferable and the cycle begins again. Round and round. Round and round, again.
I suggest a society based on the creative principle instead: we focus on goals instead of fears. This requires recognition that life is not safe and never will be, and that the concept of “safety” — perceived as an abstraction in a universal context, then applied by our neurotic minds to every possible niche in our daily lives — is itself fallacious. We can design our society not to avoid risk, but to be logical, so that risk comes in proportion to our awareness of what is around us. This corresponds roughly to the results we get anyway, because even with thousands of rules idiots are dreaming up new ways to maim, mangle and murder themselves daily, but without the overhead of making ourselves into worrywarts.
What holds up this transition? I will submit to you this simple axiom: in a group of a hundred people, only a handful have actual direction. The rest have attached to something — a job, a sports team, a church, an ideology, a dollar amount — that they can believe in and they make their lives’ importance contingent upon that. When asked what they want from their leaders, they will not (unsurprisingly) state a goal, but fears. They have no goals, so what concerns their minds is interruptions of what they already have, like bad gamblers unwilling to take risks and therefore equating taking any risk with the behavior of compulsive risk-takers who rolled the dice and lost everything. In a society ruled by popularity, the fear of risk takes over from any attempt at goals.
Almost all public policy can be explained through the quest for safety. Patriotism is safety from foreign threats; diversity and welfare are safety through buying off the lower classes; global warming is a kind of talisman against our general fear of the sheer havok we are wreaking upon our environment. Democracy produces products in the form of visions, like how we project ourselves into the comfortable living room and stable families we see in video ads, and the best products channel an amorphous series of fears into a single symbol and produce a similarly symbolic solution. As with all human failings, our smart monkey-plus brains deceive us and we become a howling mob of simians demanding tangible assurances against an intangible order which determines our future.
It is a popular saying in our churches and political halls: “we are all one.”
In fact, it will make almost any group perk up and listen to you with misty eyes. It encapsulates so many of our sentiments in this fallen time, from egalitarianism to the idea that we should all “just get along.” But it is an incorrect and degraded version of a greater statement, much as our time is an inferior residue of a better one, albeit without iPads and hip-hop music.
The original statement, unfashionable in this time, reads “We are all one in God.” If you are atheistic like many are and in fact I tend to be whenever I fill out triplicate forms, you may substitute purpose for the name of the deity. Most of the time however I find that a religion, in parallel with what was once called “science” that encompassed all learning, marks the mind which has sought beyond the boundaries of the visible and into the non-existent structure that nonetheless emerges everywhere, in both logic and the arrangement of physical matter in discernible patterns. God, purpose, nature, logic — pick which one you feel most comfortable with — because what I describe is in common with all three.
Now, “we are all one” is a much more convenient statement. It is the equivalent of the kindergarten teacher saying that we should all share and get along, or the politician talking about bipartisanship, or even the come-one-come-all cry of the barker. It limits our focus to the human world only, and thus like so many other human behaviors is entirely social in its scope, which reduces our problems from a complex management of ourselves as both individuals and species to a simple matter of socializing with others. Like many things in this world, it is a surrogate for the real task that, being easier to grasp and more tangible in focus, allows us a measure of comfort in how easy it is on our minds and the weight we carry as we consider what our future decisions will be.
On the other hand, “we are all one in God” represents a type of conditional statement. We are united where we are in God. This type of statement makes sense only when God refers to an order, not a physical person or discrete entity. God is Godliness, a participation in the order that is holy and what produces that type of pattern that is simultaneously good, beautiful and true. True means reality; good means a morality of creating greater order — complexity, endurance, universality, efficiency, quality — wherever we go; and the beautiful is what shows us the transcendent in the mundane. It peels back the layer of the visible and shows us an invisible order pervading all reality which gives it the possibility of purpose, and shows us a path to make us like ourselves more. But these must occur at the same time so that all three traits are one.
People shy away from this phrase not only because it mentions that least sociable of ideas, that of the higher order and possibly but not necessarily a metaphysical one, but because it mentions purpose. If God is an order, our purpose is that order; this is not to say that the order is inherent, because we can choose to avoid it. But like any thought which is more good, beautiful and true than others, it calls to us like a childhood dream or the image of early and perpetual love. The problem with purpose is twofold: first, we can fail to achieve it; second, we must cut out of the social circle those who fail to achieve it. Like the small rodents of the forest, we fear the predators in our world, but the greatest predator is existential despair or the sense that our lives have been wasted. We never want to be wrong, and wake up to find that we have spent our irreplaceable time and energy on the worthless, revealing ourselves as fools or lost souls. In other words, “in God” adds a burden of an order which the best of us embrace, revealing the rest of us as lesser beings, and with that burden comes the necessity of exclusivity. Some rise, others fall.
Exclusivity is the least popular topic in any social gathering. People take it personally when they are found wanting. (The best form of exclusivity is secret exclusivity, because then one may feel the rush of ego-opiates brought by recognition, but not suffer from the wrath and resentment of others when they realize they did not make the cut). In contrast, inclusivity remains perennially popular because it gives us all warm feelings. “All are welcome” and “we are all one” are the same statement. Inclusivity conveys not only the sense that peace will prevail and all will be happy, but the notion that individual advocating it has risen above the earthbound tensions of animals and has become a higher being, if only socially. Our society sways under the weight of many would-be prophets who feel the rush of endorphins and dopamine that comes with having negated the self in preference for the group. Inclusivity creates a group where everyone feels good about themselves and feels safe from others.
In the view of that group, exclusivity represents a cruel and primitive urge to stimulate the ego by being above others. They view it as a vestige of our simian past and congratulate themselves on having enlightened, progressed, transcended and most of all “been better than that” or “been the bigger person.” Exclusivity threatens the circle of warm feelings that socialization through altruism/egalitarianism provides. With purpose, exclusion of some becomes inevitable. And yet without purpose, our lives become a prison confined to personal power and desires, a game which rapidly becomes pointless and boring, but which we play out of habit and the same desire for completism and uniformity which motivates our obsessive-compulsive cleaning and organizing of ideas. Purpose gives us a reason to rise above ourselves, but most people fear that challenge through the assumption that they will fail, even when it is highly unlikely that they will.
In an exclusive society defined by purpose, inclusion becomes revealed as what it is: a great injustice. The person who does right gets the same reward as the person who does nothing, or stops just short in his wrongdoing as to fall below the threshold of laws or rules. To be fair to people, those who do more should receive more reward and recognition, and also be given power so they can more effectively continue doing more. This is the nature of any society with order, any belief system with consistency, and even nature which rewards adaptation over illusion. Exclusivity is entirely incompatible with inclusivity because each is anathema to the other and would un-do it in short order. Where “we are all one” is a statement of inclusion, “we are all one in purpose” forces upon us both the greatest gift of a life — purpose — and what we fear most, the lack of pacifism and sociability uniting us into a happy circle.
At the same time, purpose raises standards. Our goal is not the constantly downgrading cycle of acceptance that lowers standards in order to fit every plausible candidate in the circle, but the rising of standards that says that as we improve the goal rises higher. Perhaps we might even reach the stars. Where inclusion calls for a minimum standard, in other words a negative measure based on fear of excluding, purpose calls for a positive standard which rewards all of those who step outside their fuzzily self-referential minds and begin the climb toward excellence. This is why purpose, like so many experiences, begins with terror and then progresses after an initial learning curve to a golden era of greatness. But our fear holds us back.
You will hear “we are all one” anywhere people wish to unite others and manipulate them. Inclusivity carries an automatic threat which is that if you are not inclusive enough, you can be excluded. Exclusivity, on the other hand, has no additional hidden layer; you do what achieves a higher degree of the order sought and you are rewarded, and there is no other standard that can be used to exclude you. In addition, all benefit from the increased stability to society as a whole, and the decrease of ideas that make us neurotic. If we listen to pop-philosophers like Bill and Ted, who tell us to “be excellent to each other,” we see an initial progress out of pure inclusivity. It is not enough to be all one; we must be excellent. If we wish to return that statement to its original balance, it can be shortened to the simple be excellent. Discover the order to life — and beyond! — and make yourself and your civilization excellent through it. Not everyone can participate, but those who are excluded fail only by their own fear, and those who beat the fear go on to become more of all the good in themselves.
Above you can read the short humorous pamphlet Euphemism: the Language of Evasion, by George W.S. Trow (click image for full-size scan). Probably dating back to the 1970s, this humor piece mocks the tendency of the age to conceal unpleasant truths behind nonsense language.
That phenomenon, while in itself not unique, represented a new wave in post-war Western society as the old social order and social hierarchy faded away and was replaced by the egalitarian flat hierarchy. Under the old ways, every person had a role and the limitations of that social status, and the likely limitations of the person serving it, were well-known. The castes did not mix and so there was no need to obscure the grim truths of life.
Enter the 1960s. Now, everyone rubs elbows. This means that where equality is not in fact true — a common occurrence — there must be a social taboo on noticing things. For example, if you are a corporate lawyer and your daughter brings home her new boyfriend who works in food service, it is not considered polite to mention. And yet, with this politeness was inverted: the original idea of politeness was to find a non-confrontational way of discussing just about anything, but the “new” politeness simply cut out any friction by censoring the speaker.
Four Ways to Avoid Unpleasantness
by George W.S. Trow
ESCAPE the ugly consequences of Straightforward Speech
The Language of Evasion
(* reg. trademark)
Do you need Euphemism?
Read these sentences:
You’re stupid aren’t you, Mary?
Is that a pimple on your chin, Melvin?
I understand you’re a garbage man.
So many people of your age seem to be dead.
Did you spot the treacherous Straightforward Words (evocative of painful reality) in these simple sample sentences? If you didn’t, you can expect endless difficulty and embarrassment in your pathetic little life. Let’s review the FIVE MOST TREACHEROUS WORDS IN OUR MOTHER TONGUE, the words that cry out for translation into Euphemism, the language of evasion. They are (and, if you play your cards right, you need never face them again): “STUPID,” “PIMPLE,” “GARBAGEMAN” and “DEAD.” Learn Euphemism, the only language endorsed by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (as well as three leading Midwestern universities) and we’ll tell you how to avoid these dread words, EVEN WHEN TALKING TO OR ABOUT DEAD GARBAGEMEN!*
Our booklet, “The Lore of Euphemism,” available for a nominal fee, tells the moving story of Euphemscholar Nancy Tmolin, who translated the sentence “You’re a stupid, pimply, dead garbageman,” into Euphemism in ten seconds flat.
NOW LOOK AT THE SUBTLE PROBLEMS POSED BY THIS SECOND GROUP OF SAMPLE SENTENCES:
How come you don’t have any children?
I have plenty of time, Mother, and I would like to come to see you more often, but actually I find you depressing.
I guess you’re in the hospital for good this time.
But fat people always sweat, Bertha.
We’ll teach you to defuse even these problem sentences.
You will wear the miracle Eu-pho-phone (yew-foe-foe-nn), which automatically bleeps out offensive words in the speech of others.
Send coupon today:
I’m tired of saying what I mean.
I want to escape.
Help me learn Euphemism, the language of evasion.
The language of euphemism, like the political correctness to follow it in the subsequent decade, focuses on eliminating inequality in language. The terms covered by this pamphlet relate to physical inequality (fat, pimply), class and caste (garbageman), desire for exclusion (depressing) and mental ability (stupid), in addition to classic white lie territory like death and sterility.
As we enter an age where government and media support the “useful idiots” of the SJW-herd in enforcing speech codes on the population through manufactured outrage and convenience ostracism, whereby anyone singled out by the herd is dropped by all associates to prevent the herd from in turn attacking them, it is useful to remember the root of this line of thinking: evasion of reality.
Dogs, despite being nature’s kindest and most enthusiastic animals, have the baffling habit of chasing their tails. They notice the attraction and lunge for it, as if this discovery of themselves could give their lives meaning.
Reputedly, humans are more intelligent and not prone to such behaviors. After some years of experience in the world, I can no longer agree. We are the ultimate tail-chasers but, being social animals, we’ve found a way to pretend that we are not chasing our own tails if we project the image of a tail onto others.
After a few weeks in the wild one may return to society and notice as if for the first time how it is literally covered in advertising. Not just the wheat-paste posters, the giant billboards lining the roads, the advertisements on TV and radio blaring from all angles, but even the little stuff.
People repeat what they’ve seen or heard. Movies and music even feature product placement. When they’re not doing that, people advertise themselves. They brag about their kids, pitch you a business plan, or as happens every day describe for you their method of doing something-or-other and expect you to validate it with approval.
The point is that we are chasing our own tail. Merchandisers try to find out what “the people” want and advertise it to them, hoping “the people” will buy it. As a result, there’s no leader. The people are in theory the deciders, but they are also shaped by those who want to benefit from their decisions. And so like a dog chasing its tail, business pursues consumers who pursue business.
It’s not any different in the world of politics. The candidates try to figure out what the voters want so they can offer it to them. The voters are in turn shaped by what the candidates are offering. The entire political process chases its own tail because no one is in control, only two groups attempting to placate one another.
At a social level the same thing is happening. To be popular, you need to be where it’s at. That means wherever what is trendy and viral right now is occurring. This gives us a whole crowd of people chasing its tail, waiting for someone to do something trendy so they can all chase the trend and thus earn the esteem of the crowd itself.
With this kind of circular logic going on, it’s no wonder our society can barely make simple decisions and has fallen behind under a giant pile of unresolved details. We are not making decisions, but waiting for others to validate us, and they’re waiting for the same from us, which creates a sort of pre-emptive negotiation based on our mutual weaknesses.
This mutual weakness negotation might be described as: “I won’t approve of what you’re afraid of, if you don’t approve of what I’m afraid of.” We are no longer leading by what we desire in a positive sense, but by what we must avoid in order to not destabilize our self-image.
Advertising is pitched to fears. Do you have bad breath? Don’t know what to cook for the kids so the neighbors think you’re a good mom? Afraid you don’t look sharp enough for that promotion? We have solutions for your fears, except because they don’t address the underlying problems (bad hygiene, neurotic distraction, low job performance) you’ll always come back for more. We won’t mention your weakness if you don’t mention we’re a scam.
Politics cannot focus on what we agree on because there’s almost nothing we can agree on. When you need to unite a group of people, and they’re each pulling in an individualistic direction, all they can agree on is avoiding big and obvious problems. Otherwise, they return to inertia. Our agreement is based on fear, specifically the fear that threatens our ability to be oblivious to anything but fear. Politicians agree not to mention the callowness of voters, if voters don’t mention that politics is manipulative by its essential nature.
Our broken social scene reveals the real culprit. If you can envision a group of monkeys sitting around at a clearing in the African jungle, you can see our glorious simian roots. Each monkey watches the others. When another monkey acts, whether to pick up a stick or pick a fruit, the other monkeys assess the likelihood of his success. If he succeeds, how can I get ahead off of what this guy is doing? I can imitate him and start a trend, and thus become “important.” Or, I can fling dung at him and shriek, making myself seem like a protector of the tribe.
The problem with this type of thinking is also what explains why the monkeys stayed in the jungle while humanity moved on. When you chase your own tail, you never pick up a direction other than thinking of the tribe. Your world becomes the tribe, and you become blind to physical reality outside of what others think. You also limit your thoughts to variations on what has already been thought.
Humanity broke free, for a while. We rewarded the independent thinkers and as a result, we created a growing edge within our population. Our leaders made good choices and invented realistic responses, and so we thrived. But then the other monkeys sitting around the clearing saw this and wanted their share of the action.
Because being clever is easier than thinking, they started with cleverness. First they equated leadership thinking with “new ideas” instead of “realistic ideas.” Then they started inventing new ideas. Of course, like modern art, these ideas had nothing to do with reality and weren’t even new. They were new-looking variations of the same old stuff, because that’s what succeeds, in a social sense.
Success in a social sense however determined who succeeded, for a time.
Most of the monkeys can’t tell the difference between a “new idea” and a good idea, so when they saw that trend of newness forming, they got behind it. When others objected, the new monkeys flung dung and called those other monkeys reactionaries. What mattered was what was new, exciting and made all the other monkeys excited. The chattering reached a fever pitch, the Bastille was overthrown, and from henceforth the new monkeys ruled.
But as it says above, “for a time.” The new ideas did not work so well, but monkey society was resting on such a huge momentum of the past, both in terms of wealth and technology, that all it had to do was keep encouraging the same stuff to happen time and again. Keep throwing money at technology, advertising to the consumers, lying to the voters, and hoping it will all work out.
For over two centuries it seemed to, if you could ignore the fratricidal wars and gnawing sense of inner emptiness and purposeless existence. That doesn’t bother everyone. The people who could be extras in Idiocracy tend to find an empty existence pleasant because that way nothing impedes their pursuit of entertainment, donuts and sex. The screeching and flinging of dung reaches a fever pitch.
Now, the monkeytime has come to an end. The problems that we blew off because they were long-term, and thus not popular, have begun to manifest themselves. They aren’t apocalyptic, but worse, they’re never going away. They will slowly grind us down until we are a nub. We have created a tunnel vision of our own prospects.
It’s funny because that’s what those reactionary monkeys warned us about. Our new ideas were just chasing our own tail. And like all circular motions, eventually they wind down and we lose inertia, and then sit becalmed while decay absorbs us.
Of all that I have read or written on the decline of the West, very little examines a basic topic that might be the ultimate elephant in the room: the decline in sanity.
We have passed so far beyond the point of “common sense” and normalcy that insanity is seen as the norm to the degree that anyone calling for actual sanity is widely viewed as themselves insane.
It’s worth having a momentary chuckle about, before you look around worried that you let the mask slip and might be recognized as a realist among sheep.
The situation resembles the inverse of those “they walk among us” shows about aliens who disguise themselves as people and manipulate us. In this case, we — the few normal remnant — walk among them, and they control almost everything. Invasion of the Body Snatchers and They Live closely portrayed this idea, but even those missed the basic problem of modern democracy: the majority are the abnormal normal and the few who are actually sane are a persecuted minority.
Part of this insanity comes from the series of wars that brought us liberalism in the West. The American Civil War, the Napoleonic Wars, the World Wars and the war against Communism. We have grown up under the searchlights and to the beat of the drum and now, it is the only metaphor we understand. The War on Poverty. The War on Drugs. The War On Inequality. They come from the same source, which is our need to ideologically polarize people who have basically nothing in common.
Much of the insanity is inherent to social reality itself. We replaced natural order with social order. This was the triumph of The EnlightenmentTM: people no longer had to pay attention to reality, because they were now equal, and equal means that insanity is on par with sanity. You cannot tell people that they are equal and their ideas are all valid (an equal baseline, in other words) and then start imposing social constructs like sanity, gender, race, intelligence and reality upon them. Not that. You must accept them as they are. The first place to explore this was California, which quickly became a “get freaky with your bad self” welfare state. But all the world is now California, making each individual entitled to participate in every aspect of social life no matter how insane that person is. Until they start shooting, they are presumed to be sane, unless they’re right-wingers. Then it is off to a military hospital for re-education, or at least, soon will be.
Some of the basic craziness of the modern West comes from our need to deny certain things. Like… the downfall of our civilization. Or that most people are totally frickin’ nuts and it is socially taboo to notice that fact, so we all just hum and pretend to not care while secretly withdrawing all of our opinions, ideas and personalities from public. The atmosphere in the modern West is downright Soviet in that, since any random statement may trigger the wrath of the lynch mob, the only safe statements are those which affirm that narrative in the big liberal papers, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Repeat what you read there and you are probably OK. Anything else? You might get drummed out of your job, have your rent or house note called in, be ostracized by friends and shopkeepers alike, and watch your spouse leave because he or she also fears ostracism. Those who deny denial are political enemies of the state, and thus of the two big liberal papers, and thus are the only acceptable targets of hatred in polite conversation.
It is viewed as a personal failing to notice denial. If you observe that our society is falling apart, people smugly tell you, “Well, sorry to hear it isn’t working out for you… It’s working just fine for me.” Coincidentally, they get promoted and find themselves well-off because they have the right opinions and the smarter they are, the more valuable it is that they publicly refuse to notice the denial. This increases insanity by making it impossible to speak commonsense observations in public, making each person who notices such things feel as if they personally are the problem. When we deny truth, only untruth remains, and those who are inclined to truth get treated like mental patients even though the actual mental patients are those getting rewarded by the system.
Our society represents not just inverted natural selection, but natural selection based on the wishful thinking of the average person who, upon being told he was “equal,” pushed that conclusion to its extreme — as was forseeable — and equated insanity to sanity. Sanity is the new taboo; insanity is the new normal. A small remnant of people who remember nature, order, logical thinking and other forms of now-taboo “noticing” or “denial of denial” huddle in their basements, only recording these thoughts where they will not be observed in any significant form and definitely not tied to their own names. If they are discovered, a van full of mental patients wearing lab coats will show up and carry the sane away, lock them in an asylum and forget about them, sacrifices to the altar of our necessary denial.
This summer, she’ll be 23. She’s working hard, much harder than I am. I’m not quite sure how she manages to put up with my lazy ass. You might say she deserves better. Not an investment banker perhaps, because the ones who haven’t been replaced by computer algorithms are in their 60s now, about the same age as the last journalists, computer programmers and taxi drivers. Nonetheless, I’d imagine she’d like me to spend my time more productively.
Growing up as a teenager, I didn’t expect there would be any taxi drivers left in the country by the year 2027, but an entire generation of tourists who grew up watching American movies expects to have the privilege of commandeering these old men when they visit New York city. This is what these Indian tourists associate with American culture, the privilege of getting to yell at men who have less prestigious jobs. I blame the outsourcing of help desk jobs. Most taxi drivers in practice just press a few buttons on their dashboard and pretend to operate the steering wheel, while the tourists repeat some lines they remember from movies.
Admittedly, I didn’t expect there to be cashiers anymore either by now, so when my sweetheart told me she was going to pursue a master’s degree in retail, I advised her against it. It led to a big argument. “What do you want me to do then, work at Hooters?” She yelled at me. I wasn’t impressed by her empty threat, because Hooters wouldn’t hire anyone who hadn’t graduated with a four year degree in consumer psychology, after an incident caught on video a few years ago where a man, later revealed to be suffering Huntington’s disease, squeezed a waitress in her bum and she responded with punching his teeth out.
Back as an 18-year-old, faced with the difficult decision of whether to go to college or not, she decided to pursue a double-major, one in retail, the other in history. Neither degree is extraordinarily challenging and the college classes barely overlap. When they do overlap she would watch the recordings at home. She could have saved a lot of money by signing up for a digital college instead, but employers seem to prefer graduates who actually had to go to classes and do group projects the old fashioned way.
Officially the master’s degree is called “retail management,” just as a cleaning lady is now called a “sanitary hygiene specialist.” In practice however, rather than “managing” anything, she will stock shelves, pretend to check the storage room for people who desire products they stopped selling but forgot to remove from the website, or explain to them why they’re not allowed to combine their coupon with a bonus card.
That is, if she ever gets a job with the degree. It’s quite likely that she will apply for a volunteer position or another unpaid internship after finishing her degree. If this were to happen we won’t die of hunger, rather; she will receive gift cards that can be redeemed for food at a number of fast food restaurants that suffer from a loss of customers.
Her biggest dream is to operate the counter. There’s a dying demographic, of old people in their 80s and 90s, who are too senile by now to learn how to operate the self-checkout machine or order food from the internet, but by virtue of the mercy of their neighbours haven’t been deported to a nursing home yet.
It’s obviously a highly competitive career track to try to enter. I remember how I begged her to be realistic and look for something with more opportunity. One out of every 15,000 pistachio nuts contains a little worm, but as a result of some sort of subconscious human intuition, humans are still better at recognizing the nuts that might contain a worm than computers are. You have to do a series of reflex and hand-eye coordination tests to become a worm-picker, pardon me, a “product quality control specialist,” tests that 95% of people never get through. Had I read the fine print on their website I would have seen that.
After what we now refer to as the “pistachio incident” she stopped listening to my advice and I must admit I can’t blame her. She had wasted 150 dollars purchasing training material from a website that claimed it could “guarantee you’ll pass the test” and 250 dollars on attending a “worm pick specialist training weekend.” She then had to spent a total of 360 dollars for the privilege of participating in the first three tests, after which she failed and was left with nothing.
I did everything I could to help her after that incident. When she had to write her progress reports on her unpaid internship at Costco, I helped her think of skills she could still improve and things she had learned. “I should remove wine stains on the floor with ammonia instead of bleach, when the floor is made of linoleum.” “I should be more patient with customers.” You can never be too patient with customers.
Now she’s finishing her master’s thesis. I’ve never been more proud of her. Her working title is “systematic discrimination of African American citizens by retail specialists in coupon acceptance rates.” We downloaded 75.3 gigabytes of leaked video camera footage from some of the nation’s largest supermarket chain stores. We carefully went through every video to check for instances where people paid using coupons.
So far we have found that after adjusting for confounding variables, African Americans are 22% more likely to have their attempt at using multiple coupons rejected than white Americans. A shocking conclusion, in a country where people like to think that racism is just a thing of the past. When I close my eyes at night, I still dream about the obese lady who argued with the cashier about whether or not pickled cucumbers still qualify as a vegetable. I fear that I will one day die in my sleep and this is what eternity will be.
Politicians, advertisers and celebrities make their living by motivating great numbers of people. This happens through trends, which encourage participation so that individuals may inherit the cachet bestowed by the novelty of the event, and through panics, in which crowds focus on a great evil and spin into a circle pit called a “hive mind” in order to destroy it.
But what about the excluded middles, or things that are both not good and not evil, but are nonetheless not part of a sensible vision for what society should be?
The vast majority of people consider evils to be that which is extreme. They draw a distinction between a little sin and big sin because, if viewed as a threat, the big sin is more disturbing. What they do not see is that all evils are disruptions of an order and have consequences. The person treated unjustly treats others unjustly, and the bad idea unchallenged spreads among the credulous.
Our perspective does not include ourselves. That is, we see the world outside of ourselves but even more importantly, we assume that anything which is not ourselves will not change. We also assume it is good as it is. We do this because we are familiar with it and we must justify it as good, or be in constant stress over the fact that we are surrounded by bad.
Because of that, we think of our civilization as being in a state of “doing just fine” that needs to defend itself against extreme threats. This allows us to blow off the slow decay and the small evils which are part of it. Neoconservatives talked a big game about boiling a frog, a metaphor for how slow change goes unnoticed, in politics, but none have applied this to society at large.
The net result of small evils is blight. Blight occurs from acts that are not outright evil, and can be viewed as minor infractions, vandalism, stupidity or crassness, but they have a multiplier effect: they create more of themselves. As in all things, what we tolerate, we get more of. Blight produces more blight by lowering the standard of accepted behavior and giving people a path to “success” to conform to.
Our laws trip us up because laws effectively do one thing: they legalize activities below a certain threshold. If cocaine is illegal, but prosecutors cannot get a conviction for under three grams, guess how much cocaine everyone will carry around on an everyday basis?
Blight thrives on this quasi-tolerance. It loves when we go off on huge crusades against big non-problems and ignore many small evils. That allows blight to grow, because it has a secret: blights of different types support one another. They are forces of decay, not evil, but in the end they lead to the death of a civilization. Is that not evil?
We should abolish any law or social attitude that forces us to tolerate:
Television in public
Public drug use.
Businesses for idiots (nails, hair, pawn, tattoo).
Ugly tract housing.
Boxy corporate architecture.
Prostitutes on the street.
All of these things increase ugliness and make our minds conditioned to justify and accept ugliness because otherwise, we must criticize the system and our own participation in it. These blights create an exponential process of the introduction of more blight. These are just examples; more types surely exist.
Blight is not morally bad, but it does not form part of the vision of a sane person about where they want to live. It is moral decay, and social decay, but it does not register on our threat meters. Perhaps if that changes, and small evils become scarce, bigger evils will feel less emboldened and immune.
Occasionally, social scientists — one of the upper levels of the clerisy — wax too esoteric in discussing the nature of angels on the heads of pins (of oppression) that they forget their primary job of preaching the gospel of the Cathedral.
Jonathan David Haidt is a Jewish social science professor at New York University. If the Clerisy had formal ranks, Haidt would have to figure somewhere between bishop and archbishop. Nevertheless, the man is bucking the current Cathedral trend of labeling conservatives as bad people and bigots. Instead, he asserts that brain structures vary with political beliefs. In other words, your political outlook is hard-wired into your brain and not a conscious choice.
This used to be a claim that leftists loved to make about criminality (while ignoring its troubling logical conclusion); the idea of ascribing political belief to biology is relatively new. Haidt’s book centers around the latter conclusion, although strands of this kind of thought have circulated for a few years now. For example, around the 2012 election a similar summary of studies was released by ProCon.org, which laid out essential behavioral differences between “conservatives” and “liberals.”
Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind, sets out the major differences between liberals and “conservatives.” “Conservatives” apparently value the following concepts about equally: avoidance of harm, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Liberals, by contrast, care only about the first two.
Anyone who has ever personally encountered a far-left individual will recognize that this psychological profile has some merit — they tend to be psychotically obsessed with fairness and are physically cowardly. But what does it tell us about the conservative? The five qualities listed all seem like concepts that normal people would value, well, roughly equally.
It is accepted wisdom in the alt-right that the Republican Party in the United States is not a real right wing; instead, it is analogous to the Right-Opposition in the Soviet Union, simply a slightly less-left party. It is the place for people who are normal and are (justifiably) uncomfortable with what is going on in their nation. The Republican Party, the only “right” that people like Dr. Haidt will ever interact with, is simply the safest space for the American with normal social instincts to politically gather, unless they want to risk social ostracism.
What Haidt’s study has inadvertently revealed is not a profound neurological difference between right and left, but the neurological difference between normal white Americans and leftists. The proof is plain in the questions he asks. For example, a question on “racism”:
A group of politicians proposed a law that would add modest new restrictions on getting a driver’s license. The new law put in place a rating system for driver’s education courses to decide if they meet basic requirements. The politicians attempted to evaluate every driving school fairly, but it was found that classes attended mostly by non-white students were evaluated lower than those attended by white students. The politicians have no outward preference for one race. However, they were found to have an unconscious bias against non-white candidates that was affecting their rating decisions unintentionally.
The test taker is asked to identify whether the politicians are racist or not racist. The rest of the questions have a similar bent; they basically divide the test taker into those on the left, or in the center of the Republican Party.
The intent of the test was for Haidt to figure out why there is such stubborn resistance to the minor aspects of Cthulhu’s progress. What he exposed, instead, is the full extent of how mentally unbalanced leftists are. An overdeveloped sense of fairness is one of the signs of borderline personality disorder. As for pain avoidance, we need no psychology to place that failing firmly in the category of cowardice.
As of today, true right wing tendencies must either be sublimated, or expressed non-politically, in fora like entertainment or videogames. If Haidt ever did want to test members of the authentic right, I’d be interested in the results of his data. Until that day, any attempt to measure the differences between right and left will boil down to the testing the far left against the center-left.
But perhaps, in a way, it makes sense to reduce the fake-conservative opposition down to a biological phenomenon. As the ultimate cuckservative William Buckley Jr observed “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” A broken clock is right twice a day, and Buckley was correct in his observation. It helps The Narrative to explain that, despite fifty years or more of browbeating, why “those people” come along ever so slowly, and capitulate only after putting on at least a symbolic fight.
The deterministic “science-y” position on the psychology of “conservatism” has to become dominant for The Narrative to remain coherent. After all, “conservatives” have been hearing the Good News of the Cathedral and they still whine and complain. What gives, bro? Haven’t you heard the message of True Equality?