Passive aggression

When we speak of passive aggression, we’re talking about a general term for all actions that hide their aggressive intent behind egalitarian guilt.

For example, during your dinner hour, a traveling salesman bangs insistently on your door. You tell him you’re not interested, and he gets indignant.

“But I drove all this way, and I’m lugging these heavy carpet samples,” he says. “I have every bit as much a right to earn a living as you do.” Now he’s got you: you must either state a belief in inequality or a disregard for his suffering.

A good salesperson knows that getting the foot in the door is the point of no return. If she makes you hesitate for just a few seconds, that’s tacit permission to continue with the spiel. And at this point, you’re using up that salesperson’s time and since they’re equal, guilt is expected.

Passive aggression strikes when someone uses that guilt at inequality to make you receptive to their message, and then to make your changing the situation seem like an inconvenience or attack directed at them.

You can see this in our politics and interpersonal behavior:

  • You can’t change anything. Once we’ve passed a law entitling people to a certain benefit, we can never retract that — jobs or lives are on the line now. Nothing is temporary in government.
  • Everyone has the right to you. If someone has a need or a want, they should be able to ask you about it, because you’re there and since they’re equal, your rights don’t come before theirs.
  • It’s personal — except for you. If you vote down their bill to award $5,000 to every person with hangnail, they assume you hate them. Since they’re equal, there can be no other way, because taking it personally is one of the most effective guilt-inducing techniques.
  • If they are offended, you are to blame. Offense is in the eye of the beholder. Something that is innocent to you, in a relative sense applied like an absolute, might not be innocent to them and that makes them the injured party, so you should compensate them.
  • If you have more, you owe it to those who have less. They’re human too, and they bleed red just like you. So if your farm was successful this year, hand out the “extra” cows, if you please. Never mind that your greater skill at farming could result in a better society.
  • You cannot have secrets or differing opinions. They — the Crowd — know what is right, because they know what they as individuals fear, and as a group of individuals, they’ve turned those private fears into a paranoid lynch mob mentality. Burn the unbelievers!
  • Their bad behavior is your fault. This brain-buster is so blatant you’ll chew on it for weeks, trying to figure out how the logic works, but it’s a trick question: there is no logic. If they behave badly, and you either strike back or don’t save them from themselves, you’re the one who’s to blame.
  • If they think they’re right, your objections are wrong. Unless of course you find an “officialTM” source saying exactly the opposite of what they’re saying, you have no reason to reject. Not wanting to or not liking the looks of things isn’t enough. You need a scientifically verified reason for saying “no.”

Our society — which doesn’t lead, but polls us to see what is popular, profitable and inoffensive — forms a paradise for both salesmen (consumerism) and socialists (parasites). In both cases, people irrelevant to your life want something from you.

Whether that is your time, your allegiance, your money or just your eyes, they’re taking something from you — your irreplaceable moments. That quiet dinner you were enjoying? Not for you; they have needs, you know. Your house? Your business? Your family? Not yours; theirs.

Understanding passive aggression helps us understand one great mystery of the modern time: how normal people get caught up in destructive waves, usually by not daring to oppose the passive-aggressives who manipulated them:

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a war-mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across Southeast Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians – most killed by sword, shovel and bayonet. And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt; yet, for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. – INN

We all get taken for a ride when we don’t stand up to people with insane, incomplete or impractical ideas. Yet in a society where each individual is an island, and any island can be offended and reject oversight by any other, ignorance spreads. Eventually ignorance is united in a movement for The Common Good of one kind or another, and then it’s off to the races.

One reason for this is that in a society of people who put their own interests first, being a victim is the only safe role:

The article, titled ‘To Escape Blame, Don’t be a Hero – be a Victim’, is published in the March issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

The findings are based on three experiments conducted by Gray and Daniel Wegner, professor of psychology at Harvard University.

‘Our research suggests that morality is not like some kind of cosmic bank, where you can deposit good deeds and use them to offset future misdeeds,’ said Gray, who directs the Mind Perception and Morality Lab at the University of Maryland.

Gray suggests that the explanation for these findings is our tendency to divide the world up into moral agents – those who do good and evil – and moral patients – those who receive good or evil.
‘People ignore heroic pasts – or even count them against you – when assigning blame’

‘Psychologically, the perceived distance between a hero and a villain is quite small, whereas there’s a wide gap between a villain and a victim. – Daily Mail

The problem is that without people who are in charge, and keeping others in line through heroic and often unpopular actions, society rages out of control. It starts to follow what people want to be true, instead of what they know to be true or can estimate is more likely to be true. Inconvenient questions get ignored in favor of a gold rush toward what is popular and thus, rewarding.

A new study reveals how ecosystems crumble without the presence of top predators be keeping populations of key species from growing too large. It also provides a cautionary lesson to humans, who often remove top predators from the food chain, setting off an eventual collapse.

The top predators play their role by happily munching away at each channel’s top consumers, explained study leader Neil Rooney of the University of Guelph in Canada.

“Top predators are kind of like the regulators of the food web—they keep each energy channel in check,” Rooney told LiveScience. “The top predator goes back and forth between the channels like a game of Whac-a-Mole,” a popular arcade game in which constantly appearing

Constant predation of the top consumers prevents a population from growing larger than the system can support. – MSN

We can see this kind of passive aggressive behavior in the news quite a bit of late. Generally, it takes the form of individuals putting their interests before all other concerns (individualism) and then justifying their behavior with appeal to an external, socially-recognized good like “equality” or “fighting global warming.”

Beyond politics, our tolerance for passive aggression threatens our ability to have a functional society. By concentrating power in the individual, and making the individual judge and jury as perceiver, we have created an inherently divisive society where we can undermine each other with catty social demands.

As we face an uncertain future, we will have to make hard choices. Choice A or Choice B, but not both, and not half of each since doing either one halfway would mean nothing got done. In this time, we’re going to see passive aggression finally put to the practicality test, something we’ve avoided with four centuries of industrial wealth and easy living.

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8 Responses to “Passive aggression”

  1. Pavel says:

    “Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people.”

    Those so-called ‘Russian’ communists in reality were, especially in the early years of this Jewish-created monstrous tyranny, overwhelmingly JEWISH, so let’s not lump them in with regular, i.e., ethnic Russians. Ditto its murderously brutal and sadistic secret police force. So let’s make that distinction very clear and put the blame on those (Jews) who are truly responsible.


    p.s. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn puts that number over 60 million.

    • Patvann says:

      What can I say???

      You’re an idiot.

      • Danske says:

        Actually, Pavel is correct. The vast majority were Jewish, and ethnic Russians fell for their subversive tactics…just as many cultures/civilizations have.

        Jews undermine all ethnic/cultural cohesion in order to further their own ethnic agenda – because they’re intelligent… not because they’re somehow cruel or evil. They recognize reality and act upon it. It’s that simple.

        I wish Europeans had the courage to do the same.

  2. Bruce Charlton says:

    Yes – in a nutshell.


    About heroism, perhaps the main enemy of heorism is ‘modern’ precedural legalism (as a style of thinking which goes beyond law), as I implied here:

    The old idea was that who you were, was more important than what you did – in its minute partiuclarities and specifics: to parody, a good man was innocent of crime and a bad man was guilty.

    As somone put it in a book about medieval life, when there was a crime somebody would be punished – however, the person punished may not necessarily have done that particular crime.


    A hero was (by definition) a saviour of their community, and that was that – so heroes were *not* criminals.

    To us, imbibing modern legalism, this seems (superficially) obviously wrong.

    But a consequence of trying to prevent miscarriages of justice (e.g. known criminals being punished for crimes they had not committed, or powerful and popular aristocrats or priests – or heores – being de facto unprosecutable), and trying to rule-out the possibility of corruption; was that guilt is established by a partiuclar person perfoming a particular act, narrowly judged – so that a lifetime of achievement and heroism is wiped-out and made irrelevant by a single narrowly-defined event which is judged to be ‘bad’ according to very narrow criteria.

    Interestingly, this legal innovation was apparently introduced by The Inquisition – (ref God’s Philosophers – James Hannam).

    So, for example, being the world’s greatest living scientist is wiped-out by a single instance of being ‘crass’ enough to mention a proscribed hate-fact:

    In the end, the only remedy would be to return to common sense (‘natural law’ as judged by any sensible person), and take the rough with the smooth of it; including accepting that human behaviour cannot be ideally objective or impartial and that humans are indeed prone to corruption – but that trying to avoid this with ever-more-specific rules and procedures is a cure worse than the disease: indeed not a cure at all but a fatal quack remedy:

  3. Don Rodrigo says:

    Gee, “Pavel,” have a hard time understanding the premises of the article you just pretended to “read?”

    It’s unfortunate that anti-semitism is rampant to this day among Russian nationals, of which you are either one, or descended from one. And of course, all those non-Jewish Russians rose up in indignation against the “Jewish” plot known as Communism and it never took hold. Russia and its empire have been a liberal democracy for the last 80 years — in an alternate universe.

    My Russian side of the family chose to abandon that destructive, defeatist bigotry, so why don’t you do the same?

    • And of course, all those non-Jewish Russians rose up in indignation against the “Jewish” plot known as Communism and it never took hold. Russia and its empire have been a liberal democracy for the last 80 years — in an alternate universe.

      This puts a finger on my feelings about the anti-Jewish comments during the past couple of weeks. I don’t know or care if what they say is true, because the most likely reason for our failings is staring us in the face:

      Liberal revolutions. Enough of the people went along with these, or did not oppose them, to let them take ground. Even if the guy who suggested the revolution was Jewish, you don’t let the rest of the crowd off. They are to blame for the revolution because it occurred by their hands. If a book tells me to jump off a cliff, and I do it, it’s not the book’s fault.
      Social decay. As part of our attempt to make every perspective valid, we’ve thrown out the idea of any truth, any right way of doing things, any sense of social order. Of course decay spreads after that. Hoping to blame it on a relative few shadowy figures is wishful thinking.
      Populist democracy. We have set up a social system where anyone who promises big illusions gets elected. If you want to blame something for our downfall, start there. When you set up a system so that huge dissatisfied group can vote for lies, and make some liar a billionaire, expect liars to show up in droves.
      Oblivion. From bad interpretations of Christianity to sports and TV, we’ve been chasing illusory pleasures for centuries and have remained resolutely ignorant of what’s happening in our own nations. No wonder things get out of control. Yet we’re more focused on our desires and personal drama.

      I guess I don’t want to talk about “the Jewish issue” much because everywhere it goes, people stop paying attention to the real reasons why our society is in deep doo-doo. Furthermore, I don’t buy it, because the bigger reasons above seem to me most likely the real reasons why we’re falling apart. Finally, I think Jews in Israel and abroad are fighting the same battle we are: to preserve their culture, their origins and their values, in a time of convenience (anti-values) that threatens to destroy all good things.

      Out of respect for commentators here, I tend to keep quiet on this issue, because I know it’s important to many people — and truth be told, I can’t disprove it any more than I can prove or disprove the existence of God. I just know that, based on everything I’ve seen in my life, the bigger problems are more likely the cause of our downfall than a shadowy conspiracy, which means that if we focus on that shadowy conspiracy, we’ll never fix what are most likely our most dire problems.

      Hope that cleared it up for some folks. We will remain entirely tolerant of the viewpoints of others on this site, including some we do not support, such as liberalism or anti-Semitism, out of a respect for free speech and not necessarily an endorsement of those viewpoints. I think others should do the same. Let’s get these views out in the open and see what is relevant about them, instead of panicking and banning them, which only gives their suspicions credence.

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