“Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world—and defines himself afterwards.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
Commentators and thinkers in the Alternative Right often like to compare the accelerating decline of Anglo-Saxon civilization to Ray Kurzweil’s “Singularity” event, but substituting equality for artificial intelligence. This “Left-Singularity”, or the point at which leftism explodes into full nihilism, while a useful concept, misses much about our current cultural overlords. “Equality”, though a very important ideological concept of the left, is losing ground to, and will eventually be consumed by, pure French existentialism.
Existentialism is a postmodern philosophy that posits that human existence is prior to everything, and places an individual squarely at the center of the universe. Existence — the mere fact of your being, Heidegger’s Dasein — precedes every other concept or category. Existentialism then goes on to posit, as a logical corollary of its central statement that meaning is individual, unique, and relative, and can be constructed solely by the individual. This means, essentially, that the only two concepts that really fundamentally matters in the existentialist worldview are Authenticity, the unique meaning that the individual gives to himself, and Will, the self-direction that a man uses to propel himself towards authenticity and meaning. We are simply self-directed Wills, floating along through the endless dark of the void-sea, in search of our own authentic experience.
Such a plastic view of existence has many implications, and it should not come as a shock that the later French existentialists were almost all hard leftists. Atheism is also an inevitable byproduct of existentialism.
At some point after the Second World War, existentialism began to seep into leftist thinking, or perhaps its seed had always been there. Nevertheless, instead of the inevitable, cold historicity of Marx, therapeutic self-direction emerged. Anyone who has gone to school in the United States can recall being repulsed by ridiculous slogans about “being yourself” or “everyone is special” – both of which are profoundly Existentialist statements.
The result of this focus is that the two primary goods that leftism sees in the world are increasingly becoming will, self- meaning and authenticity. Any force that suppresses the will’s attempt to will itself towards meaning and authenticity is Bad And Oppressive, like the fact that skirts are sold in the women’s department of a store, or that people make fun of you for wearing a My Little Pony T-shirt. Meaning and authenticity are self-created- each person is a special snowflake who is the only entity capable of determining what the good is. There is no Good, True and Beautiful, only meaning and authenticity limited to each individual.
These concepts have been oozing into mainstream cultural leftism and are beginning to dominate over older narratives about equality. The gushing comments over a YouTube video of a child opening his first package of powerful estrogen hormones in order to “transition” are illustrative of this. The presumptions of the “wow so brave” crowd are:
A person’s existence is prior and a person is just self-directed will seeking meaning;
Your will seeks out authenticity on its own inherently, and it has perfect knowledge of this authentic meaning, and attempts to disrupt the will from this path are bad;
All people, including children have such a will;
Unfortunately for those of us who still have an attachment to the Good, True and Beautiful, the above argument is essentially an argument for drug use, vice-as-lifestyle and ultimately, pedophilia. Who are we to prevent people, even children, from living their “best life”, shitlord?
The motto of the assassins in Bartol’s novel Alamut was “Nothing is an absolute reality, all is permitted.” Anything that restricts or even makes the will feel bad about its radical “self-actualization” will be attacked and torn down. True authenticity, however, is never something one can discover through egoistic attachment to the physical, but through spiritual experience and transcendence.
And that is the cruel irony of the new Existentialist movement, be it trans-sexualism or pedophile-acceptance- is that they will never feel complete, never feel truly authentic. Meaning will ring hollow to them. And so the quest will accelerate, and this will get far worse before it gets better.
We may not be in Existentialist hell yet, but we are approaching it.
The city wakes. People pass in their work clothes. Others show that they do not need to go to work. A retired man spends an hour at the car wash, detailing his car. He wants to give the finger to everyone going to jobs like he did for years, feeling a sense that something has been taken from him but unable to see what it is. During the last month, his answering machine has recorded exactly three messages and two were sales calls. He and his wife spend their days watching television. The boat he bought with half of their savings back when he was forty-five sits in the backyard, rusting.
A rich man attends to his car dealership, specifying every detail of his upcoming repair twice. He has nothing to do and the unease that he might be missing an opportunity creeps up on him. He whips out his cell phone and feigns receiving a call, then dashes out to spend an unsatisfying afternoon poring over stock prices. A thin man, obviously homeless, lights a cigarette twice, it having gone out as his hands shook. He puffs aggressively as he ambles down the road. Behind him, two joggers plan strategy for evading him without the inevitable touch for change or possibly, a brush with someone who might well have 31 varieties of hepatitis. Both the heroin addict and the joggers are thin, and both for the same reason. They want to feel good. One is addicted to opiates, the other to public opinion.
Coming from a liberal society entirely in the grips of Leftist ideology, few of us understand the nature of capitalism. Most of us confuse it with “business” or “commerce,” not realizing that those are actors within capitalism, not the thing itself.
Let me simplify capitalism: economic Darwinism. Profit is regulated by income, which is a factor of costs against price of goods and services, which are in turn regulated by supply and demand. That which provides a better product, price, convenience or otherwise eliminates costs for the purchaser will rise above the rest, much like in nature the more efficient animals gradually predominate. This carries both great benefits and great risks: it allows the best to rise, but if the environment is narrowed into easy stability, it rewards the merely efficient and the result is rats, pigeons and cockroaches.
Commerce opposes capitalism because of its competitive factor. What commerce wants is — as the image above says — “keep on keepin’ on” or “keep on truckin’,” which are generally-accepted bourgeois values that serve to narrow the environment. A narrow environment makes the situation easier for all involved, as they can keep on truckin’ — keep on doing whatever they have been doing, the money will keep flowing in, and they will get fat and happy as they pay off their home notes. People tend toward entropy in this way.
People hate risk. Any time risk is taken, they are both tested as to their own abilities to understand the situation and estimate its responses, and also subject to a roll of the dice. That great new business idea may turn out to be built on a mound of toxic waste. Risk is scary. It can also, in highly social — too much, many of us would say — societies like our own, pose a greater concern which is the threat of loss of self-esteem. Who wants to be known as the guy who built the best business ever on a toxic waste dump?
Capitalism on the other hand loves risk because much like the law of supply and demand, there is a balance between risk and reward. Greater risk means greater reward. Low risk means, well, what do we pay you for anyway? Like nature, capitalism rewards the wily creature who finds a quicker or better way of getting what it needs. This has no morality in itself, like all other mathematical systems, so it implies a need for two things: quality leadership and cultural standards to guide creators of products and services away from bad things and toward improving already good things.
What complicates this is economies of scale. The more you make of something, the cheaper it gets; this also applies to technologies, which over time become easier because a library of knowledge and techniques exists. Over time, margins — the juicy slice of profit between cost and sale price — narrow. This means that volume becomes more important and that fewer companies can be active in that particular niche. This means that over time products become cheaper, which prompts companies to cut costs including sometimes quality, at the same time the market reduces to just a few forces. Like rats, companies become opportunists for small rewards and repeat that process many times, where in the early stages of the market they were like eagles, taking high risk for aggressive and daring acts of conquest.
Commerce inevitably reaches this point because it increases the number of dependents. If you wonder why large corporations seem to do such a poor job, it is this: they eliminate internal risk as they get larger because of the difficulty of replacing key personnel, the greater power to fail given each of those people, and the need for redundancy. As products get cheaper and the market concentrates, costs also increase as size of the companies involved increases, which further reduces quality. When Microsoft screws up the latest version of a product, it is probably not because they are doing it cheaper, but because it is more expensive but also coordinated over many thousands of people. Commerce self-destructs through entropy, just like any species that makes it too easy on itself turns into an adaptive generalist like rats.
What lessons could capitalism teach us here? First, that commerce is a counter-weight to competition and improvement, and second that market divisions are highly useful. When all companies are competing on the level of “worldwide,” the tendency is for them to get bigger and bigger and less efficient. When a company limits its business to, say, the Allegheny Valley, it also limits its size. However, that is counteracted by the rise of large cities, which force companies to expand in order to meet competition as the technology ripens, and also produce labor forces which encourage people to leave jobs. That forces companies to make each job simpler and more separable, like an interchangeable part, and to have redundancy. If you wonder why cubicle jobs are soul-sucking hell of tedium alternated with incompetence and panic, this is the reason.
A society composed of many widely-separated small cities is more efficient in this way than having huge cities. Each one maintains its own industry, the labor market is relatively stable, and the need for growth is removed. This allows companies to continue to have relatively high margins and avoid completing the death-cycle of expanding too fast. It also means that each worker has a job with wider variety and more responsibility, thus more power to exercise choice, which makes jobs inherently less miserable. Coincidentally, this model proves better for the environment as it requires less transportation, keeps population from growing with commerce, and enables higher competition to improve the abilities of that population.
Commerce cannot stop itself from pursuing entropy because commerce is composed of individuals who want to maximize their own profit. Without good leaders and strong culture, it will drive itself into low-margin status and then find ways to broaden the audience for its product, which always means dumbing it down or finding a more prurient, ironic or trendy interest. All of those things are blight to societies and individuals. Left alone, commerce will create the overpopulation conditions of yeast left in sugar, where the number of individuals expands with supply of food until it is all consumed and they must eat each other (when you see yuppies, this process is underway).
Some businesses bring great benefit from their expanded state. Wal-mart, for example, has made low cost products available to many people who previously had no access. National car manufacturers are probably more efficient and accountable than Joe’s East Texas Motors. Most of these large businesses self-destruct however from failure of leadership. They become known sources of profit and attract people who use these businesses for the person’s own needs at the expense of the business and society, a process known as externalizing risk. Then the business begins to fail and eventually becomes a source of dwindling but constant cash while its previous customers, who keep buying whatever worked for them, fail to receive the information that they are now buying lower-quality products.
A good leader can restart a dying corporation or keep a growing one from expanding faster than its likely food supply. Like eagles, good businesses are hard on themselves, and do not take on more people than they need. They also pursue difficult food sources, which means keeping technology advancing rather than stagnating, instead of becoming indiscriminate. Good leaders of this sort are opposed by commerce, which sees them as cutting out profits or as they like to call it “creating losses,” by not jumping after “opportunities” that lead to reduction in quality and bloating of the staff roll. Public opinion agrees with commerce because it wants more easy jobs where there is low risk and high reward. Commerce and public opinion oppose actual capitalism on this issue, which — by virtue of the mathematical nature of economics — sees companies trying to avoid monopoly, bloat and entropy.
Politicians exploit public opinion in this way and create rules to favor commerce over capitalism. The more rules they make, the easier it gets to keep on keepin’ on, and the harder it gets to take risks. Everyone becomes bloated and actual value declines. The politicians know this, so they tend to make their money and invest it in foreign companies who are out-performing the domestic ones. Take the money and run. The public sees quality declining and as a result of value declining, its own salaries becoming less effective at purchasing goods and services, so it demands more rules. The cycle of entropy continues.
In this way, commerce like most human ventures becomes self-destructive as it succeeds. By doing what the eagles would not, which is gaining dominance over its environment entirely and making it easy like rats eating out of dumpsters, commerce hobbles capitalism — which represents risk — and makes itself ineffectual. Entropy wins and everyone suffers, having never understood any of the principles behind capitalism which might have saved them from human self-delusion in the form of commerce, public opinion and politics.
In 1981, the German pop group Kraftwerk released the album Computer World in which the song “Computer Love” featured prominently. A lonely, haunting, wistful and solitary melody pervades the song, underscoring the somewhat PTSD lyrics:
Another lonely night
Stare at the TV screen
I don’t know what to do
I need a rendezvous
They speak to the anomie, which Random House defines as “a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values, as in the case of uprooted people,” with Greek and French origins as if tracing the path of democracy, of the modern time. People are isolated because there is no longer something shared in which we participate.
In former times, we had culture and under its wing, religion. Certain festivals marked the passage of the year, rites delineated the progress of lives, and regular events joined people together. At least there was one place where everyone met, at church, and communication was not so wordy because people shared similar points of reference, intent, and methods.
What defines the modern society is democracy, which starts — like a tear in silk — as the simple idea of one person, one vote. This expands because it needs to justify itself, both explaining how such an obviously silly idea could work, and to argue that it is good. Anyone with moderate experience knows that most people have trouble making decisions in the simpler parts of their lives, and that in groups, even smart people start to behave like a panicked flock. The mathematics of a crowd favors the ideas that transmit clearly and reflect a social safety, meaning that they offend No One, over complex ideas including those that challenge the status quo or its conventions.
Democracy justifies itself by arguing that these one-person-one-vote individuals are in fact each equally capable of making decisions. This was the basis of modern democracy which emerged from The Enlightenment™. As time goes on and it becomes clear that for many individuals, their “equal” decisions end in unequal or outright bad results, the hue and cry rises for a welfare state. Call it socialism, or socialism lite, the welfare state separates people from the consequences of their decision, much like voting in a herd bloc absolves every individual voter of accountability.
As part of this justification, all opinions must become personal. If you hold an idea, and it contradicts what someone else believes, that pokes through the curtain of justification that makes them seem equal. Like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, the inherent and omnipresent inequality of people must be hidden, and to reveal the Emperor’s lack of clothing is to, in their view, assault them personally. An attack on an idea is perceived as an attack on that person and, since equality works by declaring all opinions are equally valid, it is seen as an attack on the validity of that person. Since “validity” is the insincere term we use to mean socially approval, or accepted into the peer group, invalidating them by accident functions as a sort of exile, and they respond by trying to destroy the critic (and they never, ever address the validity of his points).
This leads me to some observations on blogging. I will admit that this is a field in which I can never succeed because I lack the personal flair for drama and simplification that makes a popular blogger able to project a vivid world that is nonetheless easy because it has been distilled to a few elements. People do not like bloggers for their great variety of opinions but the lack of it: popular bloggers take a complex world, boil it down to a few tangible and appealing things, and then generate personal drama that makes repetition seem novel and unique. This dramaticism carries a high cost: early bloggers like Justin Hall and Jorn Barger both went through tough times, struggling both with collapsing lives and personal instability, as a result of their time in the spotlight. Perhaps converting a personal life into a public tableau — like reality television or what a stripper does on stage — is not the best idea after all.
In my view, the problem lies in the conversion of ideas into personal events. Much as democracy makes all ideas into personal validations and thus personal attacks when contradicted, making a personal life into a public spectacle means that failure to approve of that spectacle is seen as a personal attack, when really it is a criticism of the idea suggested by that personal drama. In this way, bloggers serve the democratic agenda of removing any focus on the bigger picture and shoehorning each of us into small atomized and isolated worlds where we do not affect each other, and thus nothing is ever decided beyond the realm of the personal where it does not threaten the power structure. Democracy neuters people by convincing them to take important ideas and make them into hobbies, collages, or personal rants, which removes those ideas from the public space. This means that the Narrative can “keep on keepin’ on” and is safe from criticism, mostly because if you criticize it, millions of people who feel suddenly invalidated will turn on you like a crowd of attacking monkeys.
And yet, the counter-attack never solves the nagging doubt. Our society exists as a public Narrative which is designed to conceal reality, but details keep peeking through the façade and illuminating how little that narrative actually describes reality. When we say all people are equal, and then someone obviously more equal or radically less equal staggers across the stage, the camera averts its eye because that event has debunked the leading narrative. Similarly when someone points out that an idea is foolish, and this provokes ruffled feathers and angry counter-attacks, no one feels really complete about the issue. The bogeyman has been shouted down, the scapegoat banished, the talismans erected and the cargo cult prayers uttered, but the situation still feels unstable.
We can see this in progress with the recent train wreck between mommyblogger Elizabeth Harrell and her associated critics. She lives her life as if in a glass cube, she assures us, but she has a carefully-crafted Narrative of her own which only selectively admits the parts of her world that support her vision of herself. This became revealed when her marriage collapsed, her career took a dive and she moved to New York to marry a Mr. Nathoo and re-start herself. The positive, pro-self propaganda never stopped. Then trolls attacked, but they were attacking her as a means to attack the ideas that justified her decisions, because they saw those ideas as undermining society.
She fired back:
But since the divorce it’s turned into a different kind of trolling. It’s been far more personal. These trolls have an agenda. Just this weekend it happened again.
The general consensus among most of us bloggers is, “Ignore it. Don’t feed the trolls.” And that’s what I’ve done. This past year I’ve hit the delete button on all those “anonymous” comments coming from IP addresses in Houston (although don’t they know by now there’s no such thing as anonymity on the internet). Not only is what they say hateful, it’s misguided and misinformed, they don’t know me. They’re people operating off hearsay, a mob-bullying flying-monkey mentality, with an excessive amount of time to navel gaze, and some deep personal anger that would drive them to take the time to read the blog of someone they dislike for the simple joy of leaving jagged barbs behind their wake.
As an aside these jagged barbed comments usually contain terrible grammar. This always makes me smile.
Her response is 100% bog-standard mainstream media response to trolls, itself part of the Narrative: “Those are just dissatisfied people, losers if you will. They are angry because their life is not as refulgent with interest as yours. If they were happier, they would not post such things.”
Like all great lies this one has a grain of truth: on the internet, there are many angry people. Their lives seem to be miserable and consist of Ramen in the basement and dingy, sweaty pornography from distant shores. They will tear down anyone who they see is happy or successful, much like the crowds during the French Revolution executed aristocrats and Bolsheviks shot intellectuals over open mass graves. But it is too convenient to invalidate all of their criticism on this basis, or insist they are all the same type. Even more, no individual is uniform in behavior, so someone who is lashing out angrily in one moment may be saving orphans or designing nuclear reactors in another.
The problem here is that the streams are crossed: the idea that it is a sane lifestyle to abandon a marriage, move across the country to marry a man from a different background, religion and heritage and then self-praise about it is confused with the person who has done this. In the classic style of democracy, the personal becomes the political. That functions to make the political “off limits” to criticism.
This post does not exist to attack Elizabeth Harrell. Her struggles, and their origins in modern neurosis, will be familiar to readers here, who will be sympathetic. This is a message to the trolls: you are doing it wrong.
Attack the ideas, not the person.
An assault on the person plays into the Narrative by appearing to be a classic Simian behavior in which one monkey grows resentful of the other, and uses seemingly unrelated criticism to achieve social dominance over that other monkey. The assault also nicely fits into the backscatter of angry people furiously typing attacks on one another through the internet. It misses the point. Hit the ideas, and the point is made.
For example, our mystery troll could have typed the following:
This may seem old-fashioned, but in my experience, human nature has not changed one whit over the years. In fact, people are making the same mistakes in the same ways they did several thousand years ago, but now we have better cover-ups. Specifically people like to claim that their errors are victories, and then attack anyone who criticizes the thought process which led to the error as an attack on the person himself or herself.
It seems to me that if a marriage fails, it is because one or both people decided to make a bigger commitment to themselves than the marriage. It also seems to me that if you marry outside of your heritage, you have opted for an easier solution because you lack the confidence to find someone on your level. It also seems to me that children should not be made into reality television, personal lives should stay offline or at least separate from ideas so the person does not get touchy at criticism, and that we should be able to discuss these topics without someone being personally “offended” that I and others did not accept their bad behavior as equal and validate it with our approval.
Yes, no one will read through all that; I already said I am a failure at blogging, which apparently consists of Very. Simple. Sentences that feature a lot of huff and puff but focus on minimal concepts. I specialize in analysis, and hope to build wisdom, instead of trying to be interesting at the cost of all else, which is what most successful bloggers do. Where bloggers take complex ideas and reduce them to simple images, I pull apart simple images, reveal the complexity of the ideas behind it and then try to associate it with a number of core concepts necessary for human survival. The advantage of my approach is that it is not personal, nor does it fit within the Narrative and thus validate that narrative. While it will never be popular, is harder to read, and less spicy as a cognitive experience, it may provide a basis for understanding human civilization and how to live it.
But in a time of trolls, and when even the people counter-attacking the trolls use the same techniques as the trolls (the link is from Harrell’s post), it is important we regain basic civility. The personal is not the political; the political is the political, and if that overlaps with the personal, perhaps the personal should take advantage of that knowledge and quit hiding its head in the sand. Even more, just like it is cuck to attack a racial group when you want to attack diversity, and ultra-cuck to scapegoat an ethnic group when the real villain is liberal democracy, it is foolish to troll by attacking the person. Attack the ideas and win the debate, because not only is that the sensible behavior, but it leaves the personal-is-political types no option left but to angrily smash keyboards in return, appearing to most as merely discontented trolls and not intelligent, relevant social critics.
The selective woman presents a challenge to the male ego: she will demand that he win her, then lead in sexual activity, and may not be so welcoming that the sex act is easy. He will have to keep his erection through his own stimulus alone and pay more attention to her.
A slut — a promiscuous woman — on the other hand offers little resistance. She takes little to win, whether a night of feminist theory lectures or a few drinks at a bar, and then is an equal participant in the sexual act. As he is lunging for her, she is lunging at him, like an opposite version of male. If his erection fades, she will be an active participant in stroking it to life.
Conventional analysis (which is usually political or at least panders to popular imagination, and is therefore wrong) holds that sluts present more of a challenge to the man because of their greater experience. The opposite is true: their greater experience means they are less likely to notice differences in a series of experiences that blur together in memory. Having committed themselves to the act, they see only their own gratification, and so will help him along instead of wondering at the mediocrity. Their need, like that of an addict, is great and therefore they work around little lapses because their own satiation depends on it, where a more selective woman is considering the broader context of the event and will find failure to signal a larger disconnect.
The economic analysis of sluts flatters no promiscuous woman. The law of supply and demand states that products and services of greater abundance are worth less than those which are rare, and conversely, that those things facing less demand are valued less. The slut values herself little, but she values her pleasure more, so she is willing to move lower on the demand curve both in terms of attraction to her and her own standards. A slut has in effect said, “I have an over-abundance of this commodity, and will give it away for less,” signaling her own need as greater than her self-esteem.
Men love sluts — or think they do — because the challenges of a low cost venture are lesser than those of a higher cost undertaking which carries with it the need to have greater quality of the act. Slut sex is easy, not just to acquire, but to have. It is expected to be low-investment and low-satisfaction, which is why it is valued lower and more of it is demanded. This is easier on the man, so if he is low self-esteem, it presents itself as a less dangerous undertaking than challenging his rare commodity, which is self-image.
Most pick-up artist lore consists of making sluts feel comfortable making slutty decisions by bestowing on them small tokens of self-esteem. If they are challenged, that is a signal of investment in their value, as if they were actually difficult conquests. The man still controls the token of their self-esteem, which induces a cult-like slave mentality. If they are flattered — which works less — this serves also like a cult thought process to convince them temporarily that sluttiness, while less valuable, is an “empowering” choice because they are in control. This control is also in the control of the man, who must continue the stream of complimentary behavior or risk losing his attachment.
None of these things were unknown to our ancestors. They saw that injured or weak animals were less selective in mates, and instinctively made the metaphorical comparison to human beings. Only arrogance and presumption could make humans assume that we are above the rules of nature, economics and the mathematics underlying it. It has taken a century of flattery and false self-esteem to wear this down, but only in the easily swayed. The people who achieve not just “success” but whole, full lives tend to still play by these rules, because in order to succeed at life common sense — and not excuses, compensation and flattery — is required.
A small, lifeless body washes up on shore. The cameras are there as if they anticipated it. No one knows its actual origin, but the assumption is waiting, primed by news stories in the days before. That assumption fits within the Narrative that describes how we see ourselves and the world. Now the usual process begins. Our frustration needs an outlet, and we choose our vanity. When someone brings out an injured child, woman or kitten then the monkeys of the tribe will rage and fling feces, and then, as if by magic, a decision will be made.
This is how “we” — and risks are safest taken in groups — make choices. Our glorious Simian ancestry has us behaving no differently than the monkey-tribes of the jungle; when enough monkeys howl together, a decision must be made. This is the process of democracy, but it plays into a much older and darker part of our psyche. We are afraid to make decisions alone. We fear that the tribe will start shrieking at flinging feces at us if our decision is — well, not wrong, but looks like it is not right, or not from around here, not compliant with the Narrative. We have our ways and outsiders are not welcome.
Let us be honest and talk about the human tendency to herd. We form a herd when threatened; the entire troop circles up and readies itself to act as one. But when criticism becomes as threatening to us as predators are, mainly because we rely on others and their approval for our survival through the magic of specialized labor, we start to fall back on the panic response for everything. The problem is that a troop of monkeys howling is not substantially different from a committee of humans. And so committee-logic wins: each person says something different to appear unique and important, this amplifies complexity and distracts from mission, then the group shrugs and finds a compromise, using an emotional component to enforce unity and trigger action.
That dead little boy on the coast — who knows what he died of? the media frenzy will be over and forgotten by the time an autopsy comes in, if the medical examiner is not outright bribed — serves as that type of emotional trigger. The tribe will not start shrieking and howling and throwing you-know-what until the trigger appears. But now, we know how this process goes, and like a familiar dance, we must follow the steps. First, posturing; then, impossibility; finally, an easy emotionally-satisfying solution! The ethic of convenience wins the day as it always does. Whatever is easiest not as an act, but for our minds to grasp will take home the prize. This is why cat photos rule the internet, junk food dominates the landscape, and people vote every time for whatever spends other people’s money to make the voters feel good about themselves.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction: see dead child, feel bad, vote with money. The politicians depend on it. They know how human groups work. The few people thinking about the issue will be drowned out by a giant crowd full of individuals hoping to express themselves. To them, the reality of the situation — its origins and consequences — do not matter. What matters is their own feelings and sense of having done something important. When it comes time to make decisions, they always choose the mentally easier idea as long as it flatters them. In their minds, the world is a giant shopping mall, and politicians are selling them a product which they can return and complain about if it does not work. But the merchants here are crafty. They have created such a flood of products that very few people remember any one, and those immediately get shouted down by the rest of the herd trying to express themselves.
If you wonder why our politicians are so bad, stop wondering: you elected them. Not you personally, but you, by supporting the system of democracy which exists solely on the level of an ethic of convenience. When you endorse democracy by voting, you are giving your howl and feces-fling of approval to the idea that decisions should be made by whatever is easiest for the most people to emote about in a group. People usually laugh nervously at this point and say, “Well, when you put it that way — ” but no matter which way we put it, the underlying reality is the same. I can describe democracy as tomatoes or Superman, but what democracy is does not change. Only the thoughts in our head change, and by changing those thoughts, we can influence each other in denial of plain fact and circumstance. This is how democracy achieves consensus: all the monkeys howl together, and then they have an emotion, and they associate the howling with the emotion and approve a plan they do not understand nor intend to supervise.
After all, people view life personally. They are looking for what they can defend against the criticism of others while simultaneously using it to make themselves appear different, ironic, unique and iconoclastic. They want to stand out at first, but then go with the flow. That way they get all of the glory — look at me! I’m not like the rest! — and none of the accountability. In fact, that is the best thing about an election. The monkeys howl together, then the machines count the flung coproliths and everyone goes home disappointed. “The good guys lost this time, next year we’ll kick their asses. Good game, everyone.” They treat it like a baseball game, or a raffle at church, or how they will play bingo in the old age home when they win a stuffed donkey for making nine in a row diagonal. The game is not related to them. They can win or lose and still feel good about themselves. Afterwards they can go home and they have something to talk about for the next few weeks, either Our team was robbed! or Told you so! but never a criticism of the game itself. No one is to blame; it is just how the chips fell, like a lottery or roulette table. No one must change anything about what they are doing to fix the situation. This enables the solipsism of thinking exclusively about oneself, and as if the world rotated around oneself, especially when the issue is someone or something else.
That is what defines the ethic of convenience itself: do not expand your mind to reach the new thoughts, let the new thoughts come to you by putting themselves in familiar form. Of course, that limits what you can think — like forcing all music to be in the pentatonic scale — but it also eliminates risk, challenge, effort and responsibility for having to understand it correctly. It is pre-chewed cud. It is the harmonious sound of the other monkeys screaming alongside you. You fit in. And because it is so mentally easy, you do not take any risk within yourself either. You simply go through the motions, pretend to care, and then go back to thinking about yourself (my Christian readers will note that, through the lens of Milton especially, this defines Satan: self becomes more important than God, a hubris which requires rejecting reality itself; better to reign in hell than serve in heaven, and hell is people). The ethic of convenience means that you never step past where you are comfortable, and never do anything that will threaten your self-image and how you explain yourself to others. “See, I’m not like the rest because I’m the kinda guy who…” — all of it reduces to being simply marketing. Just of the personal kind.
When you put a group of these monkeys together, a certain type of decision emerges. It is a combination of the worst of conservatism, the “don’t rock the boat” and “keep the money flowing” habits that made generations of American girls hate their fathers, and the worst of liberalism, which insists that every person deserves fifteen minutes of fame funded by taxing the rich and consequently gutting the economy. The decision can go right or left, but it will be a variation of the same basic decision which we might call “The Democracy Pattern” or even the ethic of convenience itself. Groups choose whatever flatters them the most with the least risk to them individually, even if the group is put at risk. The group becomes understood as the self. Each person votes for what they think they can explain to their social group and make themselves look benevolent, and beyond that, they simply do not consider consequences. That is inconvenient. That threatens their egos, their carefully-constructed social personas, and because they have externalized their sense of values, their self-esteem. Fragile, they depend on this image to carry them through when things go wrong. Where previous generations depended on knowledge of what was right, God and trust in nature, people now depend on the I. And when the I fails them, they rationalize and justify and concoct excuses and find a way to argue that their losses were in fact their gains. This is the essence of both cuck and the self-promoting egomania of the yuppie or the reality television show contestant. It is the human disease.
At best, what you can hope to do is inch the system forward and give your team a win for this year. That is, unless you turned on the system itself. If any significant chunk of the population, say, 20%, started voting only for a candidate who went in to office not to win but to subvert, destroy and transition to another type of system, we could have a future. Without it, we have none. Until your vote is a vote against the system itself, you are signing your name to more of the same. And every time a sad child feels discriminated against, or an ethnic of convenience appears in time to justify the latest media agenda, you will find that everyone votes for idiocy. Europe accepts refugees, America accepts immigrants, or other travesties occur, but these are business as usual, and just one variant of the slow process of decline caused by democracy. You will not want to vote against democracy because democracy flatters you. “Yes, your vote counts!” — except that it does not, unless you are voting for stupid things like everyone else. The enemy is not the bankers, the rich, the poor, the Blacks, the Whites, the Jews™, or even the Other. Democracy is our enemy; the enemy is inside the gates, and has been here the whole time. Democracy converts normal people into a gushing, raging, sighing and emotional herd which cannot agree on anything except the simplest and most dramatic of gestures. The ethic of convenience wins out every goddamn time. Democracy is defeat.
It is time to demand an end to voting. With voting, every time an ethnic of convenience washes up on shore, the herd will gush and preen and the politicians will pounce like the parasites they are. Only removing the legitimacy of the herd defeats them. Crowds are not the way to make choices; they enable the manipulative, parasitic, criminal and corrupt class of politicians who have bungled the environment, immigration, economy, infrastructure, defense and every other issue. There is no escape until we can escape the manipulative system of democracy itself. This election, and every election, the only relevant question is Where do I vote to end democracy? Until we start thinking along those lines, we are just monkeys howling with the rest, hoping that our clod of feces will somehow change the vast inertia of solipsism welling up around us.
The man behind the counter leaned forward so he could look directly at the customer. “You need to stay in the store, ma’am, when you have items on call. I’ve been calling you several times.”
She made the right murmured apology but he still fixed her with an angry stare. His time had been wasted, he felt. Even though he could have put the item back on the shelf and waited, he had called. These people — customers — are the worst on earth. They are the reason this job is so bad, he thought. And in the back of his mind a little voice spoke up and said: and they need to respect your authority, whatever little it is, because this job is horrible and they owe it to you.
What made this ironic, in the hip boutique that fronted the main drag of the mall, was that the counterman was wearing a t-shirt from the band Discharge that was part of the iconic anti-authoritarian hardcore punk movement. Here he was, a low-echelon worker with pro-freedom sentiments, and he was berating her exactly like the fascist leaders and corporate overlords he doubtless felt were ruining the world.
In other words, the oppressed had become the oppressor.
We see this pattern happen every time democracy is tried. In fact, it seems to arise anywhere humans are together. When given power, most people enforce it for their personal convenience. Philip Zimbardo conducted the classic Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971 by assigning students as guards and prisoners in a test environment. He found that some of the guards become strictly authoritarian, and some of the students became reckless rebels. But the undercurrent he discovered evoked the experiments of Dr. Stanley Milgram, who tested the willingness of average people to administer shocks to others in the guise of enforcing the scientific authority of a test. He found that 65% of participants were willing to push those signals into the lethal range, in theory “killing” the test subject in their experiment while being a test subject in Milgram’s experiment.
Echoing sentiments like “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” these tests seemed to suggest that people are tyrants waiting to happen. But this interpretation runs shallow. More likely, it suggests that most people do not have a moral compass because they are accustomed to deferring to authority, possibly because they are threatened by authority in a mental state similar to the Stockholm Syndrome, where captives bond with their terrorist jailkeepers and even defend them years later. People depend on authority. For this reason, they defer to it unless they are given a chance to enforce it, thinking that by doing its bidding they are gaining its favor. Milgram, Zimbardo and Stockholm were misunderstood: they do not imply that authority is a problem, but that free societies create tyranny, much as Plato argued years ago.
The Crowd has authority over us. We become accustomed to having that authority do our thinking for us, and to avoid offending it. When our turn comes for power, we are filled with pent-up rage and wish to subjugate others in turn, but at the same time we see an opportunity to — like all the others we have seen succeed around us — implement the orthodoxy that supports the authority and by doing so, demonstrate our worthiness to the powers that be. The justification for exercise of power is what makes this possible. The man behind the counter sees a moment where he is behaving by the rules and someone else is not, so uses this as a chance to subjugate them and make them subordinate to his will in order to make himself feel better about this dead-end job in a go-nowhere-do-nothing mall. He derives a personal satisfaction from, for once, being in charge, and having an excuse to feel righteous about it.
We see this pattern repeated time and again in liberal revolutions. Once they believe they are the defenders of the poor, any amount of gulags or guillotines are not only acceptable but necessary. They are acting out revenge because they see this revenge as justified. They have rationalized their own low position by scapegoating another, and now the other must die. It does not matter if they were formerly oppressed; they will oppress, and take it to the next extreme, because their rage and instability is so great.
Traditional society offers an option to this perpetual power dynamic. It constrains the lust for power through roles, and measures success by goals and morals instead of how well rules are applied. This means that the petty tyrants and kings for a day of the world see themselves as working together toward a shared end, and they never have a position of absolute authority but are channeled through the context of a role. In the Milgram experiment, random college students were given absolute authority. In a traditional society, they would never reach this position because traditional societies recognized that power could be wielded by only a few who have overcome our glorious simian heritage and the emotional instability, scapegoating, rage and resentment inherent within it.
All of us live in a time without context now. We are all independent actors, living in worlds of ourselves, and so any act that displeases us is a personal insult which can only be matched with an insane acceleration of authority to the point of cruelty. Paradoxically, to our minds, this situation originates in freedom. With freedom, context (role) is removed and all authority is absolute, but as a result, no single person controls the Crowd and it is never accountable. This creates shell-shocked zombies, staggering out of the ugly cities, feeling intense fear of the authority imposed on them and desperate for some excuse to exert it on someone else with maximal cruelty in the hope that this will fill the void in their souls.
Almost all human arguments consist of excuses. In a social setting, almost all of them are intended to use that excuse to gain sympathy with the group, winning through numbers — influenced by emotion and appearance — over logic.
The most common way to win these arguments is to style yourself as the underdog or victim. Social groups hate bullies, cruelty and the thought that someone is right in contradiction to what each of them wants to believe is true. Passive aggression works by provoking the opposition into taking an argument which seems to be place the arguer in a position of victimhood.
The passive-aggressive behavior is a variation of the “Begging the Question” fallacy, itself of this form:
“If shooting hipsters were moral, it would not be illegal.”
These are themselves a variation on the classic circular argument: A validates B, but if you doubt A, look to B which also validates A. Passive-aggression creates an implicit begging of the question by engaging in a questionable behavior and then defending it on the basis of individual choice as evidenced by the victimhood of the arguer.
Person 1: I believe in living to shoot heroin.
Person 2: That’s going to have all kinds of negative consequences.
Person 1: Why are you trying to limit my freedom? This is my life quest and passion, and you’re a big burly fascist trying to censor me and control me.
In all liberal actions, the attack begins through the most innocuous provocateur violating some rule of the target. When the target responds, this person is styled as an innocent victim and it is argued, therefore, that this exception invalidates the rule, missing the point that obvious exceptions are taken into account with most rules. All that matters is appearance, and styling the situation — “spinning” it — into a David versus Goliath tale in which Goliath is the big, stupid and cruel enemy. That wins over a crowd.
When people retaliate against passive aggression, they are accused of being mean-spirited. Some of this comes about because people realize when they have been trapped by a cheap trick, and also realize that others around them are oblivious and thoughtless and will not notice, and are indignant, rightfully so. The rest comes out because the passive-aggressive suggestion is obviously stupid and a waste of time, and the accusation of victimization is obviously spurious, which is in itself defamatory and offensive. The accusation of “mean-spirited” however counts for most people as victimization, which hilariously serves as proof of the correctness of the argument for the original passive-aggressively offered act. For this reason, passive-aggression is itself mean spirited, as it is a concealed attack without logic on its side, and its goal is destruction of that which could not be attacked by legitimate means.
Every sheep secretly thinks he is a lion. For that reason, we overstate our contributions and under-estimate how much we depend on those around us. This mentality is similar to that of scapegoating, in which we assume that our intent was right and any failure must have come from external forces.
The Individualist Fallacy falls into the same pocket. Specifically, it holds that the individual is or does not need civilization, while living within civilization. This can be seen in the rebellious types who want “anarchy with grocery stores,” libertarians, and many conservative Christians and conservatives, including fairly underground types.
There are three main areas of the Individualist Fallacy:
That the individual can do what is right, and associate with others like him, and this solves the problem of civilization downfall.
This version of the fallacy mainly affects mainstream conservatives. Their idea is, based in part in Christianity and in equal part in economic liberalism, that society is comprised of individuals and that each individual has responsibility to do what is right, and then things will end for the best. This makes sense at first because it parallels Social Darwinism, with the idea that the most adapted — raising happy families, maintaining wealth and health and moral standards — will outproduce the rest. It fails to take into account however that the others will reproduce more thanks to the efforts of society and, that in civilization, other factors exist than for isolated families in the wild. The responsible will end up paying for the rest and the rest will use their greater power in numbers to parasitize and eventually destroy the responsible. This version of the fallacy is most frequently heard from baby boomers who just want to die before their children inherit the utter ruin the boomers made of the West.
On the left, this version of the fallacy mutates into the idea that everyone is good and we will all survive together and somehow, magically, the choices that exist for you today — or back in 1965 when the boomers were young — will be there for you in the future. One would have to be blind to the current state of Brazil, the history of the French Revolution or Soviet Union, and human nature to believe this. Choices and opportunities change as society does, and whatever is tolerated proliferates, so that those people who are doing bad things eventually outnumber the rest. Again, this type of reasoning serves as an excuse and justification — backward-looking, inverted thinking — than forward-looking, planning-type analysis. People just want an easy answer that allows them to “keep on truckin'” without having to “rock the boat.”
That rules which affect society at large do not affect the individual, and therefore that the individual has no right to object to rights or privileges granted others.
Mostly on the left, this version of the fallacy goes like this: how dare you oppose someone else doing what they want, such as gay marriage or legal marijuana, because it is an individual choice and affects only them? Any sensible and experienced person will interject here with the observation that nothing affects only the individual. Gay marriage for example sets a new lower boundary for permissiveness in society and changes the nature of marriage from “mature, get married and have a family” to “date recklessly, and when your current significant other needs health care, go perform a trivial civil ceremony.” The children after gay marriage have lost the sanctity and purpose of marriage. Similarly with legal marijuana, a social value is changed — and a market is created. Now children will be surrounded with the paraphernalia, behavior and lifestyle behavior of those who are using drugs. With one drug legal, others become acceptable. Even more, society embraces a type of thinking that it has firm reasons to oppose. Every individual “right” in turn forces the normalization of that right on others, and deprives those others of their right to a society of their choice. The liberal will fire back that they can have that at home, which is fine if they and their families never leave that home and will not be interfered with there. In reality, it means that they are attacked passive-aggressively by society — passive aggression is a form of the “begging the question” fallacy where one party assumes as behavior is right in order to challenge others with it, then play the victim when they are not approving — and forced to either submit to the new order which goes against their conscience and wisdom, or become targeted as a potential pariah for ostracism.
That collectivism is formed of a collective, and not individualist impulse, rather than being a collective enterprise to demand individualism.
This version of the fallacy has found popularity with the Internet-style Libertarians who believe that, since they exist only in their apartments and jobs, everyone else should do the same. In their view, the enemy is Statists who are collectivists, which means they believe all money should be pooled and used to support all people. They are correct in recognizing that this is insanity, but incorrect in that they forget that society itself is a collective enterprise. In it, we all do things which do not benefit ourselves directly but because they benefit everyone, serve to increase the value and utility of life in that society. This denies the leftist impulse which is to create “equality” by penalizing the successful to subsidize the unsuccessful — zero historical counter-examples exist — which involves paying benefits to specific groups which are smaller than the whole or even the majority, thus “minorities.” The problem with this version of the fallacy is that it denies the simple formula collectivism = individualism. Collectivism is individualism in a group context where individuals join together to form a large group that uses the superior numbers of that group to demand that individualism — no higher purpose than self-gratification — to become the law of the land. This irrevocably changes society. While a libertarian system seems to oppose this, what it really does is create a society based on individualism which will inevitably turn toward “collectivism” as a plurality of people emerge who, exhausted of no purpose except self-interest, will support it.
Hope you enjoyed our brief tour of one of the most common fallacies today and its three common variants. You will see these regularly and expressed fervently, but like almost all of human thought, they are signals, distractions and rationalizations to allow that individual to both (a) continue to live life as they have been, for individual comfort a.k.a. “bourgeois values” and (b) feel justified and in fact morally good about doing so. Illusion is an easier sell than reality.
No such thing as a “free society” exists. Every society has its rules and mores. Some try to pare that down to only direct intervention against others — theft, assault and murder — but this ignores the ability of people to change society itself and thus destroy the environment someone else wants to live in. The ideal of “freedom” is people living in little cubes where they have complete control, not communicating with one another because every action could lead to offense.
No one likes to hear that.
We like the idea of being able to make changes to society and then have it continue otherwise unchanged. Like people throwing rocks in a pond, we want the splash, but not the ripples that eventually rock our boat and make it hard to aim. When people talk about their political ideas, they mean as additions or deletions to the present, with no secondary consequences. That world exists nowhere but in the human mind.
As a result of needing to limit “freedom” — a word never defined — societies tend to impose forms of social control on their population. Some of this is through government, but as the great Communist and Nazi experiments showed us, this is less effective than buying up ad space in newspapers and co-scripting television shows. People emulate what they see. Even better, they use what they see as a means of moral superiority to enforce on each other. Every society no matter how “advanced” has these means of indirect control.
One of the most powerful of these is shame. When someone does something out of line, people gather together spontaneously to observe that person and comment or otherwise communicate displeasure. The difference between groups shaming people for transgressions, or merely one-upping them according to whatever paradigm is dominant, takes some effort to see. But shame and guilt rule us. As Ed West writes:
One possibility is that it is a reflection of the gap between shame and guilt cultures, a distinction suggested by anthropologists such as Ruth Benedict. It was Benedict who laid out the differences between America’s guilt culture, emphasising internal conscience, and Japan’s shame culture, which in contrast looked at how behaviour appears to outsiders.
…There are at least two theories as to what drove the creation of a guilt culture. One is that European societies tended to involve far more interaction with people to whom we are not related, and internalising one’s conscience was the only way of adapting from more clannish societies. The other, and more likely cause, is Christianity, which transformed shame-based societies, like that of Anglo-Saxon England, into guilt-based ones.
Here he is both insightful, and a bit confused. There are two axes here: guilt<->shame and internal<->external. The point he hits on that is worth our attention is that our culture has made itself sick with guilt; what he does not do is identify how cultures can be internally-directed shame cultures (Japan, Anglo-Saxon England) or externally-directed guilt cultures, like our present civilization in the West. Internally directed means that people feel a sense of unwellness when they are transgressing; externally-directed means that they are afraid of how they look to others. Our guilt over refugees comes from both our internal sense of fair play, which is dismayed at the mess that most of the world is, but also from our conditioning by external forces to feel awkward around anything that is not explicitly egalitarian. In this sense, the guilt/shame distinction is secondary to how that guilt/shame is judged, whether is internal from a desire to fit into social order, or external from a desire not to be excluded from a social order. As with all things egalitarian, equality operates by a negative quantum, removing those who are not egalitarian enough. That is where our modern Western guilt culture originates.
While he all but blames Christianity, it seems likely that another source has transformed us: public opinion. How we are seen by others, in an egalitarian time, determines our survival. Since we are all equal and free, people are free to abandon us if they think we are “bad,” and bad is conveniently defined as all that is not egalitarian. As a result, we are caught in a type of soft totalitarianism where we either act out egalitarian ideals, or we are punished; even more, those who become famous for being egalitarian — our politicians and elites — rise above the rest. This creates a squabbling herd determined on an individual level to out-do each other for asserting egalitarianism, and shaming those who do not live up to. Our public guilt is thus created externally by people competing out of fear that they will be found to be ideological enemies of our society.
A user named “1665averygoodyear” had the following commentary to add:
The reason that Europe is so in thrall to this new intolerance – namely the myth of multiculturalism – is because of the Nazis. The entirety of western history post 1945 is best viewed as an attempt to come to terms with, and atone for, the horrors of the Second World War, seeing their ghastly apotheosis in the fires of Belsen and Auschwitz.
A narrative that placed the blame firmly on the shoulders of White European Nationalism was formed. And the vehemence of the reaction was such that this narrative spread to include the basic concept of European society. The very idea of Europe and the West was fundamentally rejected. Not only that, but the hatred for anything to resembles traditional European culture is such that the Jews and Israel, being white and ethnocentric, ironically have also become subject to this rejection.
Almost every single left wing person in this country is walking around with a deep, deep sense of shame and internalised self hatred. It seeps from their pores and manifests itself in their all consuming desire to prostrate themselves (and our society) at the feet of anyone and anything that they feel is un-European. Everything that has been foisted on us as a result of multiculturalism is just a tiny tiny portion of what they deem to be adequate reparations for our colonial and ethnocentric histories.
The famous quip that it’s ‘too early to tell’ what to think of the French Revolution, could equally be applied to World War II. The entire basis of western society for the past two millennia has been fundamentally revoked and undermined, and the ramifications will be so far-reaching and profound that we are only just starting to appreciate them.
His or her comment about the “famous quip” refers to the fact that when looking at history one sees how consequences of actions take centuries or millennia to manifest. The laws of 1965 will still have massive impact in 2065 and 2965, but lawyers and politicians do not want you thinking about that, as then you would become more conservative and oppose all changes which did not have a thousand-year record of success, which rules out almost everything profitable. The point is that without precedent, we reversed our civilization with the French Revolution and then again by denying nationalism. Even liberal republics over time drift toward nationalism as a way of keeping their people together; however, liberals hate that idea because they fear differences between themselves and others, which means any social standard like culture — tied to heritage — must go. And so they war against nationalism and with World War II, got their excuse to declare it a bad psychology like drug addiction, crime and smoking in bed.
The elevation of microaggressions into a social phenomenon with a specific name and increasingly public redress marks a dramatic social change, and two sociologists, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, have a fascinating paper exploring what this shift looks like, and what it means. (Jonathan Haidt has provided a very useful CliffsNotes version.)
Western society, they argue, has shifted from an honor culture — in which slights are taken very seriously, and avenged by the one slighted — to a dignity culture, in which personal revenge is discouraged, and justice is outsourced to third parties, primarily the law. The law being a cumbersome beast, people in dignity cultures are encouraged to ignore slights, or negotiate them privately by talking with the offender, rather than seeking some more punitive sanction.
Here we have another axis: honor/dignity. This explains more of the mechanism of control in our society, which is that “freedom” of speech trumps freedom of public integrity, which puts all of us on the defense against large mobs of people shouting nasty things about us. The only real winning strategy is total anonymity, which anecdotally seems to be the choice of successful people who work outside of public-facing jobs. But this dignity culture, like the guilt/shame culture of the modern West, is also externally-directed which means the definition and motivation behind guilt is public opinion, not an internal sense of right and wrong. The shift to dignity culture reflects that movement toward dictatorship by public opinion.
This brings to mind a fatal flaw in our society, which is that it has become an echo chamber formed of people who are afraid to contravene the public opinion, while they seek to enforce the dominant paradigm in new ways and through that novelty, to rise in social status. As John Faithful Hamer writes:
In Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America (2010), Barbara Ehrenreich maintains that getting rid of all of the “negative people” in your life is a recipe for disaster: “What would it mean in practice to eliminate all the ‘negative people’ from one’s life? It might be a good move to separate from a chronically carping spouse, but it is not so easy to abandon the whiny toddler, the colicky infant, or the sullen teenager. And at the workplace, while it’s probably advisable to detect and terminate those who show signs of becoming mass killers, there are other annoying people who might actually have something useful to say: the financial officer who keeps worrying about the bank’s subprime mortgage exposure or the auto executive who questions the company’s overinvestment in SUVs and trucks. Purge everyone who ‘brings you down,’ and you risk being very lonely or, what is worse, cut off from reality. The challenge of family life, or group life of any kind, is to keep gauging the moods of others, accommodating to their insights, and offering comfort when needed.”
Just as ecosystems become less resilient, and more fragile, when you reduce their biodiversity (by eradicating species), epistemic communities become less resilient, and more fragile, when you reduce their intellectual and ideological diversity (by eradicating radical ideas). Numerous studies have demonstrated that the only thing worse than thinking through important political matters alone, is thinking through important political matters amongst people who share all of your assumptions.
We are cruising to disaster because egalitarianism has made it impossible to express anything but an egalitarian opinion, and it rewards those who become more egalitarian than others. In addition, by its nature of being based in public opinion, the society dedicated toward equality shifts from a moral framework (internally-directed) to a appearance standard based in public opinion. This means that we have created a method of censorship more effective than those of the NSDAP and USSR; we have made ourselves into a howling mob that destroys any who deviate from the Official Story. If you wonder why our society cannot understand or address its own visibly evident but commonly denied problems, it is this shift toward externally-directed guilt, shame and dignity as a means of replacing their internal variants, which protected disagreement but were less convenient for purposes of social control.