A glib literary farce once based itself upon a quotation from Jonathan Swift:
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
From all that I have seen, this quote is not quite accurate; a true genius would find himself opposed not by dunces, but by ideas. He would find that all of the prevailing ideas of humanity — generally calculated to deny and distract from reality so that the purveyors of these ideas gain autonomy to follow selfish ends — were united against him, and that the vectors of these ideas were normal, otherwise sane, people. The tragedy of humanity is not so much that idiots rule, but that good people go along with them, because the idiots have hit on ideas that are aesthetically hard to oppose.
It is a well-known fact in democracy that to ease a law or command through society, you must tie it to a group that is pitiable or suffering. If your idea helps The PoorTM or minorities, women, sexual-nonconformists and other marginalized outliers, no one can oppose your idea without appearing to want bad things to happen to those otherwise helpless groups. As a result, no one will oppose it in public. They will go along with the peer pressure and join the bandwagon, even if it means going to their doom, because they do not want to be seen by their fellow citizens as having the bad character assumed to be linked with disregarding the needs of those lesser groups.
These ideas gain momentum over time because everyone is afraid to speak up, and those who do speak up become ostracized because no one wants to be associated with that dangerous viewpoint. Society then becomes a closed-circuit self-confirming feedback loop, offering itself ideas it knows it agrees with and then making a show of agreeing with them. Individuals, engorged on the pretense of being as good as their ideas appear, neglect to be actually good and instead just follow the trend. Dissent is quashed because it is unpopular, since realist ideas threaten pleasant illusions. At that point, all of society — not just the dunces — is aligned against an idea, not just a genius, because that idea by reflection makes what “everyone” is doing appear to be nonsense.
I cannot claim genius, nor enough fame to have all of the dunce-ideas united against me. But I can claim to have refuted all of these ideas and offered instead a simple hope: that by heeding reality, and applying ourselves so that outcomes of transcendental beauty emerge, we can not only solve our problems but go on to a new age of greatness. This notion — you might call it a surrogate for hope, since it relies not on external forces but on us humans getting our act together even in the smallest of ways — enrages most people because it invalidates what they have claimed as their solutions. It reveals their ideas as little more than subterfuge, a dodge to avoid facing the problem as it is. It does so by suggesting that instead we should be engaging in the simple process of fixing our problems, and that makes the ideas of most look like posturing and posing. That in turn makes them angry at any who speak such ideas.
If I have an unforgivable sin, it is believing in humanity and in our ability to change ourselves and beat our demons. It would be much more convenient if I adopted the all is lost outlook that, at the end of the day, suggests that there is no point doing anything except what was convenient for us as individuals to do and that we were already doing. “Keep on keeping on” is popular advice; “we must change ourselves to make a better future” never will be. All of our best thinkers and writers, whose example I attempt to emulate in my own way, have taken the path of showing us the straightforward truth, while the rest of humanity does its best to conceal, obscure and obfuscate that path. It is a sin to follow it, socially at least, but in the eyes of a realist, it is a sin to do anything else. To have a belief in our future is a sin in the eyes of most people, as is the pig-headed insistence that we can solve our problems through common sense and hard work. That would interrupt what most people are doing with their lives, and they hate those of us who encourage it.
I never realized that I was a religious person because my religion has never involved worlds beyond this one. Instead, like that of the ancient druids, it involves an order to this world in which ideas are the basis of reality. This order may extend beyond visible reality, but the rules do not change: physical reality is inherently logical, as is thought, and any other layers to reality play by those rules.
This ejects me from most religions. Or I should say: from most religious interpretations. As a nihilist, I recognize that writing something down — even writing it well — does not make it truthful or able to be communicated. It describes what one person knows, and other people in the way of humans immemorial will interpret it according to what they know, which includes looking for what they recognize which in turn includes both cognitive limits and preferences for what they already believe is true. With this in mind, even the most profound religion can be easily massacred by an idiot, neurotic or dishonest person and converted into its exact opposite, and this is the most common case in religion. All religions are interpretations of the same reality; all people are using interpretations of those religions; some of these interpretations make more sense than others. There is no single entity “Christianity” any more than there is a single recipe for spaghetti; people have different stuff in their fridges, different needs and different tastes. This is not to say, as Enlightenment liberals do, that every interpretation is different; like most things, they cluster around a few major points with variations. Even so, most religious interpretations find my approach unusual.
I came to this religious view from spending time alone in the forest with no hope for myself or humanity. Owing to unusual conditions of my upbringing, I was exposed to death, human denial and social posturing early on and was able to see through the “accepted” explanations for them, the consequence of a precocious development of verbal skill. In the forest, I found an order that while brutal never failed: it always kept moving forward and, in my experience, it moves forward to beauty. Higher levels of organization, greater unity of form/function, intensified gestalt, and elegance and efficiency in application all made nature to me seem far more graceful than the blocky, rigid and seemingly retaliatory human solutions. Unlike human logic, the logic of nature was not composed of a public layer and a private layer, only the latter of which approached honesty.
It was self-evident that nature addressed its purpose with finer granularity and a balance between all “details” that could not be achieved by humans, who approach all questions from a perspective of human interaction alone. As part of this, it became clear to me that nature contained a life-force that constantly worked toward greater efficiency, balance and beauty. The earth that supports both hummingbirds and eagles, mice and elephants, weeds and redwood trees clearly emerged from a more developed mind than what humans would do; we would design a concrete block of a building with booze at one end, porn at the other, and luxury goods in the middle, surrounded by dumpsters and tenements. Further, nature gave purpose to all through striving and self-betterment, such that a mouse might have real pride in overcoming its timidity and becoming an expert forager. This struck me as a wise and brilliant order that could only have come from some force geared toward ultimate good.
In contrast, humans seemed geared toward reducing the field of vision to what was immediately before them. They denied time, fearing death, and denied consequences of actions beyond the immediate in order to be less restricted. They used euphemisms recklessly to disguise unpleasant truths and then made social rules to prevent those truths from coming up. Everywhere was a sense of control or limiting what was recognized in reality to cause people to ignore it. No hawk would do this, nor any rabbit. But humans, ensconced in easy paper-pushing jobs and getting their food pre-cut from stores, had no need to face reality at all. Like children behaving badly when the teacher leaves the room, they “ran with it” and went into full denial, aware that a comeuppance was due at some point, but not right now. Parents became selfish and left insoluble problems for their children, all while treating those children as part of their own resume and denying the existence of those kids as individuals. It struck me as a sick, sick time.
At that point, I began to sense what evil was. It took many years to hone the philosophy. My first inkling came when I realized that many sources referred to sin as error, and to my mind, the root of error was failure to notice aspects of reality. As time went on, however, I saw that the root of this error was a compulsion not to notice; denial. With it came compensatory behaviors. Many people, such as liberals or religious fanatics, based their lives around denial and scapegoating. The denial allowed them to scapegoat, and that deflection removed their focus from personal improvement and doing right on their own to forcing the external world to compensate for their lack of self-improvement and hiding that fact with acts of public altruism which served their own goal of removing social rules, morality, standards and the noticing of reality upon which they are based. For them, the personal was the political, which meant that they used politics as a means to make themselves seem important and to distract from their actual agenda, which was always selfish, short-sighted, greedy, manipulative and generally cruel in effect (although not in appearance!). I also noticed how these people were chronically unhappy in ways that reflected their neuroses: liberals always talked about the suffering of others to disguise their own boredom and purposelessness, health food fanatics were always unhealthy, and religious zealots seemed to make every conversation about a coded reference to death.
For many decades, I have considered every theory I have encountered to explain this. Liberals argue that people are made miserable by their surroundings, but I find this not so. Dirt-poor people who knew no better made do and in fact seemed to have a lot of time, drink and smoke a lot and do exciting drugs, and not regret their lot in life. Did they want more money? Sure, but so does everyone else. They found ways for their lives to function and were usually highly social. The miserable people were white women in the suburbs and geeky men in dingy city apartments, railing at the world for not being what they wanted, instead of being willing to work with what it is. Some argue that the root of our problem is language, or grammar, or some fundamental defect in logic, but I found more often that it was a willful misreading of the rules of argument. Others said it was a lack of democracy, or of religion, but those did not seem to help and often led people astray. Over the years, I began to see the root as (1) what most would call “evil” and (2) its root in a type of error which we might call emptiness, or a lack of internal purpose and introspection, which required a solipsistic/narcissistic personality to support itself. For these people, everything they do is compensation (cognitive dissonance) for their own misery, apologism for actual problems and replacement in their consciousness of those with non-problems, and projection of their own desires onto others. They existed in a world of themselves, and saw any intrusion by reality as offensive, violating, victimizing and worth resenting. Most if not all human misery comes from this psychology.
Emptiness strikes when people disconnect from reality. When someone exists in a constant feedback loop with their world, noticing it and doing their part to increase order/good/beauty, they do not have this emptiness; instead, they have purpose, a place, and parts of an identity. For that to happen, they need a strong culture and strong leadership to reduce the billions of possibilities to a narrow but not artificially narrow range. However, most people rage against that under the impression that — much as they believe they will win the lottery — they need these billions of choices to feel a sense of personal power. That power however does not relate to changes in reality, but only in their own minds, and so like drug addiction or masturbation it is never satisfying because it never goes anywhere and pleasure must constantly increase to outpace its dulling through experience, much as any repetitive experience loses its intensity in our minds. Emptiness could be called “evil” but that is perhaps too mythological for this naturalistic Nietzschean, especially when evil is so commonly used to create scapegoats elsewhere. Instead, it makes sense to describe what it is: perpetual misery caused by a refusal to address reality and thus, a world created of the self which becomes a void as the self bores itself. Experience dulls over time, as said above, and so the self constantly chasing a way to stimulate itself becomes listless, entropic.
Over the years, evil has visited us in many ways, but rarely the ones the media and government identify. Hitler and Stalin thought they had a better form for society, and almost certainly they are just as much not all wrong as not all right. The real evil is mundane, occurs in tiny doses, and ingratiates itself to us. Evil does not show up as a giant demon with huge breasts and a giant penis while breathing fire, but as a seductive force that shows us an “easier way” or encourages us to take pity on ourselves, and reward us with something instead. It argues that we can have power without the ability that merits it, that we deserve more importance and less responsibility, and other illusions of the solipsistic mind. In short, it is solipsism, and its devious trick is that by making a world of ourselves, it forces that world into decay creating constant emptiness which we try to fill by destroying and consuming things around us. Instead of making us full, that only widens the hole, creating an army of mental zombies who ruin everything they touch and still remain in misery. If any condition is more like Hell, I have not witnessed it.
Inspired by (short) Twitter conversations with Alice Teller.
The mystery of civilizational death remains with us: at some point near or at their peak, great civilizations simply drop off the radar of history. Either no one is around to communicate what happened, or no one cares to, but either way history becomes like a badly spliced film reel, going from a scene of prosperity in one moment to empty, third-world failure in the next.
One theory holds that these societies get ahold of some kind of erroneous notion and treat it as truth, with each layer of society emulating the one above or below it until all are acting on the same untrue assumptions, resulting in a massive crash with reality at some point. This crash may occur in the environment, economy, society, military, genetics or all of the above, but its cause does not lie in them. Rather, its cause emerges from the denial of reality itself.
We might refer to this compulsive embrace of the illusory as automatic obedience. This passage from Naked Lunch illustrates the power of the figurative example of automatic obedience:
I reach Freeland, which is clean and dull, by God. Benway is directing the R.C., Reconditioning Center. I drop around, and “What happened to so and so?” sets in like: “Sidi Idriss ‘The Nark’ Smithers crooned to the Senders for a longevity serum. No fool like an old queen.” “Lester Stroganoff Smuunn — ‘El Hassein’ — turned himself into a Latah trying to perfect A.O.P., Automatic Obedience Processing. A martyr to the industry…”
(Latah is a condition occurring in South East Asia. Otherwise sane, Latahs compulsively imitate every motion once their attention is attracted by snapping the fingers or calling sharply. A form of compulsive involuntary hypnosis. They sometimes injure themselves trying to imitate the motions of several people at once.)
“Stop me if you’ve heard this atomic secret….”
Our civilization in the West now represents a group of Latahs. The self-proclaimed elites, selected for telling the people what they wish were true but in fact is lies, act out a pantomime of a healthy republic and the others, in wanting that to be true, emulate those elites. Then the next layer of society imitates that in turn, all the way down. The paradox is that the elites got there by imitating the lowest levels of society and then, with its leadership corrupted, society defaulted to that lowest common denominator as others followed. And nowhere in this process did anyone reference reality or pay attention to its relevance.
Two outlooks on the world reveal the soul of humanity.
In both cases, the person has discovered that there is more to the world than they expected. Someone around them was smarter than they thought, a new continent appeared, a new dimension uncovered, or a new theory grew which turned out not to be a rehash of old theories or a transient trend based on drawing overbroad conclusions from small disparities. Possibilities — whether new or not — opened up, but the end result was that the world they thought they knew has more parts or space.
The first case finds herself delighted. There is more! Something else to combine, or isolate, or even incorporate as a variation on the known. In any case, there is more to explore, to experience and to enjoy. Unless it is outright evil, in which case she sees it as a new worthy enemy.
The second case finds herself disturbed. She thought she knew the world; now, there is more. More that is not under her hand, understood by her and conversant in her tongue. It is a challenge to her personal autonomy, which she confuses with control, and an insurgency against her having knowledge of everything out there and its importance. She is outraged that something exists which threatens her understanding of the world.
Humanity is far more complex than these two cases; that statement is boilerplate and of little value. And yet, it reveals one of our human tendencies. Either we see ourselves as small within the world, or the world as small within ourselves, for the benefit of our control. I know which of these two outlooks I would prefer as a starting point.
Contributed by ‘Subreddit_Llama‘
While “social justice” may be a common topic on the internet, like the average person I never heard of them — until started working at an advertising agency. My job as a web programmer required me to integrate their ad control system with their many websites, adding extra functionality. This in turn required me to understand their marketing strategy, which specifically targeted Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) because they were a lucrative demographic.
SJWs are people for whom activism is an activity, like shopping, or being on a sports team. They bond with one another over having the right opinions. Cheap and easy, with no chance of criticism from others, social activism provides a hobby to talk about at the local bar after a long day of work. The vast majority of SJWs are liberal, middle-class, university educated white women and their low-status male admirers. These are the women who did not get married, but are living the single life, and the men who are of “low status” meaning they are not rich, famous, strong, or so intelligent that they are successful. They hang around middle-level jobs and follow around the women they think may grant them sexual access in exchange for “white knighting” or support in internet combat against the enemy.
Marketing to these people proves to be quite profitable. SJWs spend an absurd amount of money on cheap, mass-produced lifestyle products. They buy these things so they can post photos of themselves on Tumblr with the product, and a referral link to where they bought the item. These people are prolific consumers on par with the “bourgeois” they claim to resent. Where the bourgeois buy BMW and Prada, SJWs — being single, and unlikely to ever get married — spend their money on the same stuff time after time. They may own iPhones and cell phone plans, but the rest of their spending is on what are essentially novelty products. In this way, SJWs are a marketer’s dream because they have already established a sales pyramid among themselves and if a product becomes trendy it automatically scales that pyramid.
This makes it easy to sell them cheap products with expensive messages. There are considerably higher profit margins on “this is what a feminist looks like t-shirts” and a much lower investment is required to make them. There’s less of a barrier to entry. The same can be said for shit like “Depression Quest” or any other SJW fodder indy game. A game doesn’t have to look good or be fun if you can convince your audience to buy it because it addresses “issues.” If the product has the right message, they buy it with a blind impulse that is easily manipulated. They click ads and fall for fake marketeer profiles because they hear what they want to hear. They’re the left’s equivalent of people who’d buy anything with an American flag on for the years following 9/11.
Internet sites love these guys. Instead of surly 4chan types who never buy anything, they can easily attract people who will buy a t-shirt made in a Taiwanese sweatshop with a pro-feminist message on it (and 500% mark-up). How do you attract SJWs? You clear away threats to their ideology, which means anyone who might disagree. For them to see a virtual space as “safe,” it must be cleansed of the “undesirables” who are non-SJW. Luckily, these opposition types are bad consumers. Little money is made by pitching to ad-block, VPN, piratebay, google-fu experts who post things that makes the ladies want to faint. SJWs are a type of consumer that may be unique in its opinions, but it acts like every other type of consumer. If you pitch products to their self-image, they keep buying until they run out of credit.
You can see this same process of consumerization in music festivals. The festivals are made good by members of the counter-culture, but when the festivals start attracting big names, suddenly ticket prices climb, drugs are banned completely, nakedness, improptu perfomances, and general anarchy are stopped and it becomes some homogenised, middle-class-mother-friendly pop concert with Hummus everywhere and excellent baby-changing facilities. Why? Because dirty hippies don’t spend as much money as middle class moms and university-educated white girls. A dirty hippie is there to see the band, buy some beer and have a good time. An SJW is there to buy tickets, bumper stickers, mugs, pens and hats so that they can pose with them for a selfie and possibly win in the lottery of what is trending among other SJWs now. Even better, they are adamant about comfort, so you can sell them hotel rooms and rental cars too.
How do they afford this? Most of the famous SJWs are trust-fund babies. The working SJWs (and there are plenty) aren’t as loud and don’t spend so much time begging for you to supplement their trust fund or to fund their cutting edge game, made in game-maker, about being cat-called (games are art and therefore don’t have to be fun, shitlord). But they tend to follow the lead of the trust-fund SJWs because those have more time and as a result make up more of the cutting-edge trends. To post to Tumblr all day, someone else paying the bills or an easy perpetual entry-level job. SJWs will buy “male tears” mugs and “smash the patriarchy” t-shirts or a “die cis scum” quilt because they can do so from their desks every week instead of investing in homes, cars, kids and a future.
The SJW phenomenon causes a type of gentrification of high-traffic parts of the internet. When they start out, most sites are occupied by people who have goals other than pure consumption itself. They tend to buy less stuff and not buy compulsively. This group is worthless as a target demographic for advertising. They make very little money, buy few products, and hate advertising, so the more you advertise, the less likely they are to buy. Business likes a simple formula of audience x advertising = profits. You can only get that with people who buy compulsively, and since SJWs compulsively buy whatever is trendy at the time, it becomes easy to follow trends, put them on products, and reap the “fat tail” of all the SJWs trying to catch up with their leaders.
If you want to understand the mentality of the SJW, you need to see them as consumers in the classic model and not as radical activists. Where Bob Smith was “keeping up with the Joneses” to avoid looking poor in comparison, SJWs are keeping up with each other to avoid looking uninformed and un-hip. Remember, “social justice” activism is a mode of socialization and an activity for them. They are not engaging in this to change the world like a die-hard ideologue so much as to have fun and attract a social group. As single people without families or extraordinary success in their careers, they need some cause that makes it look like their lives are still important, and their dollars have funded a whole industry based on giving them what they want.
Annoying. No other words achieve the appropriate introduction to an article about the most odious of trends, the tendency to make all foods gluten-free in response to the latest faddish health panic. Like cholesterol-free and sugar-free foods in the 1980s, manufacturers stamp these words on products that never had any need for gluten because they know that the credulous herd is more likely to buy them.
If you are reading this blog for any reason other than stumbling here accidentally because you mistyped a search for pornography or dubstep music, you do not need the above paragraph because it states the blindingly obvious. Regular readers come here for what has been under-noticed rather than the obvious spun into deception, which is what they get at most other web sites.
Let us look instead to the positive side of the gluten-free trend: the fears and standards of a buying public have forced, without government intervention, the market to correct its previous habits. Assume for a moment that adding gluten to food was an inexpensive substitute for other ingredients, which seems accurate from a survey of the snacks aisle at least. Industry took an easy way out; the population rebelled.
Raw capitalism — while always superior to socialism, which conveys thriving nations into tyrannical poverty — can be a terrifying thing. We all know how fast food replaced other forms and how corner-cutting has caused loss of life and limb in the past. Capitalism was never intended to stand alone, or be a goal in and of itself. Economists and political philosophers always factored human choice into the equation, and saw it as the only effective check on market forces, superior to centralized government which can only write more regulations which raise cost by employing a layer of bureaucrats and lawyers.
If the same consciousness resulting in mass preference in purchases that applies now to gluten-free were applied in other areas, the power of the market could be used to tame the market itself. Imagine Americans demanding movies be degeneracy-free, politics be slander-free, media be lie-free, and that taste-free foods and other abominations like light beer and light cigarettes be banished to the dustbin of history.
By capitalist principles, the sellers of these goods would look at a simple proposition: sell more, or sell less. If the additional sum of money received for removing the negative traits of the product is greater than the cost, sellers change their products. This basic math lies at the core of capitalism, and at Darwinian adaptation in nature: if benefit is greater than cost, make the change.
When we think of the idea of culture as a force to limit capitalism and other “invisible hand” systems based on popularity, like government and social popularity itself, we see a third option to the eternal capitalist-versus-socialist drama that occupies 99% of the airtime in politics. Culture rules without being controlled by shadowy forces, and restricts negative behaviors while promoting positive ones, all without being intrusive.
It can be thwarted by the presence of excessive fools with money. When a seller offers a good quality product at a good price, and someone else figures out a way to make a similar but inferior product at a lower price by cutting corners, the first seller finds that benefit is no longer greater than cost and similarly cuts corners. This creates a “race to the bottom” where each seller tries to cut more corners than the others. If culture does not tame this race, by demanding quality over quantity (cost), a society of ersatz substitutes results.
Ancient societies receive criticism from modern people, most of whom have done nothing more complex than attend a job, for keeping its less intelligent people impoverished. When we give the less intelligent (and certain over-educated but foolish people) money, they spend it unwisely. This creates a market for stupidity that rewards corner-cutting mediocrity. That in turn drags the entire nation down to that level. For this reason, civilization-destroyers like Crowdists always insist on welfare, socialism, subsidies, and other wealth-redistribution: to lower the intelligence of society as a whole by lowering its standards.
Most of us think the gluten-free trend is stupid or, at the very least, has exceeded any intelligent application. We should instead look at the power that is wielded by groups of people when the intelligent have enough money to make their preferences known. We might even end up with healthy and flavorful food again, even if most of it is still not gluten-free.
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.
Witness the meltdown:
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.