The People’s History of the People of the United States

howard_zinn-a_peoples_history_of_the_united_statesA book that gained popularity in the last decade as the country swung leftward was Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Let me save you time by saying it is the usual leftist artifact: selectively chosen data, broad conclusions, and of course, it’s all someone else’s fault.

That line, “it’s all someone else’s fault,” could be used as the summary of leftism, if we also added responsibility as an alternate for fault. The practice of leftism is that of deferring what communities, families and individuals did to a great catch-all, which is government. However, since we fear government, it has to be motivated by “safe” goals like wealth redistribution.

In a more realistic view, the role of government should be adopted by individuals, families and communities because only those are inside of civilization, not contractors of that civilization designed for profit from being its caretakers and controllers. Let’s look at a history of how people have abandoned their actual goal, and what the consequences are for our society. It’s a people’s history — of the people themselves.

Pity

We are encouraged day in and day out to live our lives in the grip of pity. Pity makes us feel powerful and wealthy. When you feel guilt and pity others, and give them things, other people see you as a bold White Knight who has come to save us from inequality. It makes groups of thoughtless people, like at bars or political rallies, adore you for your Christ-like devotion to raising the unraisable.

A counteraction to this is recognizing that almost all of humanity is a failure. Very few people are productive; most just imitate what others do, hoping for the big score someday. The message of pity and handouts is that this behavior is correct. Someone else should do this for them. This keeps them helpless, and encourages the useless to drown out the useful. Nature is the way it is for a reason. Pity none and feel no guilt.

Oppression

The consistent myth from even before the French Revolution is that people are oppressed. This word migrates in meaning from “machine gun at the spine” to any limitations on them doing exactly what they want to do whenever they want to do it. Oppression is a convenient catch-all for explaining one’s failure to do anything, or any problem. It is the modern form of the ancient scapegoat, where mythological fears were vested in a sacrificial animal.

A solution to this is to realize that no situation magically appears. If you have bad leaders, it’s because most of your people are cool with that. If your society is in disarray, it’s because people are behaving like idiots. If vicious corporations rule your world, it’s because your fellow citizens cannot resist buying their products. The solution to oppression is not revolution, but getting involved and altering the course of history.

Validation

Most modern people live in the grips of two forces: cognitive dissonance and passive aggression. Cognitive dissonance is what happens when expectations do not meet reality; you change expectations and argue those were what you always wanted. Passive aggression is when you act in such a way to provoke others to do something you can take offense at, and use that as a pretext to demand things from them. The root of both is validation: either in being so validated as to ignore reality, or so validated that you feel a right to act as convenient for you in denial of other needs, and then to be offended when others don’t go along.

A common modern practice is to walk through life with zero regard for others or the objects around you and to move far more slowly than traffic. When someone goes around you, you can get offended at them for not respecting your boundaries. You might even start a fight! Best of all is that you’re daring people to challenge you, knowing that if they don’t give in with your selfishness, you can invoke other people to defend you because you’re innocent, after all.

The solution here is to recognize that absolute rights make people into brats. I don’t have the “right” to walk at any speed; I should walk at the speed of traffic or go elsewhere, instead of making other people late and frustrated. No one is such a special snowflake that they can act in denial of the obvious. Even more, we should take away the retributive and negative (“freedom from”) nature of rights. You have the right to get a clue and get with the program, and not be interrupted if you’re doing that.

Tolerance

Another area of modern insanity is tolerance. Our society is pluralistic, which means that like the most boring committee meeting ever, we have agreed not to agree. Thus everyone gets their own values system and behavior code and the result is social chaos. Even more, this encourages nasty baiting behavior where people take advantage of the lawlessness and do blatantly selfish things, and force you to clean up after them because you care more, which makes you their slave.

For example, someone will feast on delicious junk food and then leave the trash in a public place. They may even leave it on your yard. What can you do? You can confront them, at which point they will be unreasonable. Or you become the slave to the fool, and clean it up yourself. At that point, darkness will gather in your heart. The solution to this one is simple also: have a social standard of behavior and shame those who deviate. Make it clear to them that that is unacceptable.

Conclusion

Most modern people will be horrified by these ideas. They go against everything our society stands for. Then again, as our society runs out of money and excuses while social chaos swallows its last functional remnants, it’s time to “think outside of the box” and bypass the taboos that have kept us caged for centuries.

9 Comments

  1. Loretek says:

    Overpopulation->more demands -> less moral structures-> a fractal of effectors.

    My Grandfather used to say “humans never made any place better, ever.”

    The good ones just move to minimize the damage. And that is just in nature, the impact of humans on other humans is profound.

    1. Colleen says:

      I’m becoming more and more convinced that most of the problems in the world today stem from (or are exacerbated by) overpopulation. There are too many people in the world to be provided for in a leisurely and environmentally sustainable way, so a disproportionate amount of our energy is consumed in the struggle to produce goods and distribute them equitably. The need to feed all those mouths means that some people will feel forced to work hard and give up many of the fruits of their labor, because they care about keeping civilization going, while others mooch off of them.

      1. The worst part about overpopulation is that it means that all of us are replaceable. If you don’t want to work 18 hour shifts, we can find 500 people who want your job instead and they’ll work cheaper. This mentality makes people hateful and unkind.

      2. the disposable male says:

        The whole idea of women first to the life boats must end. “Save the eggs” was the biological call for survival that is now killing us. I’m not an animal, so female extermination is not an option, but “last to the life rafts” could be a workable solution. Discuss.

  2. RiverC says:

    I’m often fascinated by how gradually a lot of these things crept into our culture. Since at least the 19th century, Pity has been a defining aspect of Christianity. Interestingly, you cannot find this Pity anywhere in the first millenium of Christian thought; if anything, it is the rich who are ‘pitied.’

    A Romanian father of the past century who spent most of his life in solitude in the mountains shows this sort of ‘pity’, which seems horrifying to the modern, but matches the old sense: (paraphrase)

    “Never give the rich man a penance for alms. Then he can lay down a roll of bills and think that he is good; he can think that he can buy the kingdom of heaven. Instead, give him obedience for fasting and praying. Those he will struggle with. Those who are poor, they should be given a penance of almsgiving; they struggle to make ends meet as it is, they work long and hard for money, so in this, for them, there will be great reward.”

    This was Elder Cleopas. The modern thinks, since the rich man has a lot of money, make him give that money, and since the poor man has little food, let him fast. But to Cleopas and to the traditional Christian, it is not about fulfilling the rule; it is about the struggle. Where Christians obtained this idea of ‘from each according to ability’ – I have no idea. But I can only guess it stems from that monster, Pity.

    Without struggle there can be no virtue.

  3. Owl says:

    It amazes me how crowdthink works.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vhNAagrVYM

    I watched this clip, in which a polynesian admits he doesn’t like blacks and is mobbed for it.

    It amazes me how everyone jumps on him. The one black present obviously gets upset but then says “there are certain things just best left unsaid.” The hostess asks him what he doesn’t like about black people, but then lets everyone openly call him an idiot.

    Those aren’t any of their opinions, those are the “right answers” in the eyes of society. The people pictured in the video are all pathetic sheep – not because they are too dumb to “wake up,” “reject brainwashing” and “realize the truth,” but because they’re so afraid of being bullied by a crowd that they turn their back on what they really believe about reality.

    This probably stems from the fact that most people are physically pathetic as well as the fact that most people have not realized that they are going to die and that someday they will lay dying wishing that they had done more of what they wanted and less of what everyone else wanted of them.

    For this reason I feel compelled to state my own feelings just to crap in the face of consensus-based censure of reality, whether through the book the author reviewed or through the bullying seen in the video I linked, almost solely because it is reassuring to see someone – even myself – say things I believe to be self evident:

    I strongly dislike, possibly even hate black people for several key reasons: they are different from me, they almost always cause trouble, they almost never do anything right, and they are different from me.

    The reason I emphasize that they are different from me is because that is the most important of my reasons for disliking black people. I have no ethnocultural connection to them, and their only connection to me derives from generations old jealousy that they cannot be whatever they think I am.

    If there is anything on this earth I cannot stand, it is the quite visible and tangible process of people getting together in a group, repeating an idea, nervously asking “this is the truth right guise?” and then all nodding at each other in unison as if their decision is binding upon reality.

    There are no white lies, all liars must burn. It would be better if they never admitted to knowing the truth at all.

    1. NotTheDude says:

      It is your reality if you want to dislike a group of people for being different, though I certainly don’t have ill feelings to anyone for merely being different. The Polynesian chap was shockingly set into as a matter of reaction to a social taboo, in this case ‘I dislike[insert group] because’. All the other contestants heard was ‘I don’t like[insert group]…’. His point about being owed something hit the nail on the head, most importantly because it is true of any group seen as a ‘minority’. Liberalism has made Liberals so sure of their ‘truths’ and therefore reactionary when they are challenged, that they are unable to pick apart a statement and understand the statment makers line of thought or intent.

    2. RiverC says:

      I also have no problem with black folks, but as you suggest it relates to common ground; my father had no common ground with any black folks, so therefore, he mistrusted them generally (though on an individual basis would trust anyone.) For my part, this common ground is music: not so much this rap stuff but soul, jazz, gospel. As a musician this created a bridge for me. But I think we should be honest and say you can’t have a multiracial society successfully just on guilt, pity and diversity in media.

      The homosexual lobby long pressed for the depiction of homosexuals in popular media in a positive light; this created a bridge (albeit, an illusion of one) to make ordinary folks ‘connect’ with homosexuals. This lasts up until the point that most of these people come into contact with actual homosexual culture. At that point, compromise would have to be made on both sides to create a connection, compromise which is not soon coming (and given the true percentage of homosexual people in a culture that isn’t inducing homosexuality, not really a priority.)

  4. Vigilance says:

    Most humans possess the capacity for productivity. Few humans possess the faculty to lead and to motivate others into being productive. Left to their own devices, most won’t do anything of use unless they feel compelled or forced. Once in that position, they do remarkable things.

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