Posts Tagged ‘means over ends’

Ongoing Divide Between Our Mercantile Elites And Organic Realists

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Sometimes, different sources begin to hit on similar ideas at the same time, suggesting an idea about to burst into mainstream consciousness. Right now the West is slowly coming to realize that its elites, who are essentially bourgeois shopkeepers who got good at manipulating others, and its organic realists, or the people who keep society functional, are warring it out.

Over a thousand years ago, the new rising middle class began its war on the kings. Enriched by the rule of those kings, it agitated for more power, and took it when the kingdoms were distracted by war, revolution and plagues. Eventually it overthrew them by using the masses as its weapon and in the ensuing disorder, seized power through democracy.

Democracy rewards one thing consistently, and that is flattering the audience by using the techniques of salesmanship. Make them see themselves as wise, or rich, or even just morally good, by doing one simple thing, and then they will vote for it and the politician can do whatever he wants in office as long as he makes a token stab at the symbolic victory the voters wanted.

This is not to let the voters off the hook; they are the people who approve of this system and play it like a lottery despite realizing that the house always wins.

Now we find ourselves divided between realists and merchants, with the former emerging from centuries of being beaten back while the latter surged ahead. This battle will determine the future of our civilization. We can either be another Brazil, or become something like the West of old, but with technology this time to push us even further toward greatness.

As Melanie Phillips observers, the divide is permanent and powerful:

The recent terrorist attacks in Britain have exposed once again the enormous divide between millions of ordinary people who “get it” and the elite class of politicians, media and so-called progressives who do not.

…The great political struggle of our times is not between Left and Right. It is between those who are connected to truth, reason and reality and those who are not. It reflects a fundamental division in the West, whose fate will be decided by its outcome.

She comes very close. Matt Briggs has more, including a description that more accurately depicts the divide between realists and Utopians:

The combatants are the Reals and Progs. The Reals hold with Tradition in the metaphysic of Realism, with all its implied limits, strictures, and glories. Their flag is red. The Progs hold with Will in the metaphysic of Nominalism and say what is true is what is asserted and what feels good. Their flag are blue or a rainbow.

…Nearly all, but not all, of official (active) Democrats are Progs, while only a majority of official Republicans are Progs. Unofficial members of these political parties may fall into either camp or are non-combatants.

…As proof that most Republicans are Progs, we have a prominent one who said of the incident, “Anyone on the ‘right’ who defends the BS that went down at the play tonight is showing themselves to be tribalist, not conservative.” That, Mr French, is rather the point.

Realists believe in judging our actions by their outcomes. Merchants believe in judging our actions by the methods used. The former wants an ends-over-means calculus, where if the goal is good, any methods used to achieve it are good; the latter wants a means-over-ends calculus, where no matter how good the goal is, we are limited to certain methods of action.

This makes sense since the latter are salespeople. If you are trying to herd humans, you set certain methods off-limits so that they do not interrupt the control structure. Then, you engage in other activities which are symbolic, and this motivates the herd to complacency or stampede depending on the needs of the controller.

Contrary to what Ms. Phillips opines, this is a divide between Right and Left. The Right has always favored what has worked in the past; the Left perpetually desires whatever gives the individual more power. Interestingly, most people throughout history have been Rightist because they have known the utility of ends-over-means. To them, the more important thing was to have the right goals.

To the Left, however, ends-over-means is difficult because it clashes with the desire of each human individual to have total control of their own lives. Imagine a flood is coming to your small town; other people may force you to give up your truck so that it can transport others to high ground, or force you out of your home so that you survive. That is ends-over-means.

Until someone comes along and demands means-over-ends instead, most people think naturally in terms of ends-over-means. If your child is at risk, you do whatever is necessary by whatever means are necessary to save them. Similarly, when bad guys show up, you do not particularly care about their civil rights or feelings. In fact, you may just shoot them because they are bad and bad people do bad things.

Realists are not socially popular because they do not offer guarantees. The primal guarantee offered by the Utopians is that “everyone will be included” (equality) and “everyone will get along” (pacifism). This will always be more popular than the ideas of realists, which include the idea of doing nice things for good people and punishing bad people, as well as taking everything on a case-by-case basis.

In the evolution of civilization, we are now at the point where the people who are not able to maintain civilization — the Utopians — are visible to all, and the realists want to break away and leave the Utopians to their own doom. If society splits along these lines, the realists will go on to have advanced civilization, and the Utopians will as always end up in the third world.

Means-Over-Ends Versus Ends-Over-Means

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

As the public tries to have a conversation about politics, tropes form. These are ideas that fascinate the public for a few weeks because they expect that, like in a self-help book, a complex process will distill down to a simple binary choice.

Naturally, their problem is this assumption in the first place.

In the meantime, it makes sense to clarify the conflict between means-over-ends versus ends-over-means thinking, as described in a recent article as “content” and “process”:

Computer scientist Curtis Yarvin applies to speak at a technical conference, and his talk is accepted in a blind evaluation process. After Yarvin’s speaking slot is announced, the conference organizers find out that he has an alter-ego as a blogger called Mencius Moldbug. His blog promotes views that much of the conference’s larger community finds abhorrent.

The content approach is to sever ties with Yarvin — because the content of his character has been judged to be objectionable. His work and their personality are deemed toxic or actively harmful. On the other hand, the process approach is to point out that Yarvin’s submission was selected blindly, on its own merits, and affirm that he will be ejected only via the process laid out in the pre-established code of conduct.

To put it in more abstract terms, content people focus on ends over means, and process people focus on means over ends. This is an imperfect way to summarize the principle, because the reason why process people focus on means is that they think this approach leads to better ends.

Let us compare the two: means-over-ends states that methods are more important than goals; ends-over-means states that achieving goals is more important than the methods used. All of us are, at the end of the day, essentially ends-over-means thinkers but we apply some filters to that, as in we are ends-over-means so long as it does not involve certain methods that contradict the goal.

For example, someone who is against crime will be happy with any way of reducing crime except those methods which seem to him to also be crimes.

But let us extend this to politics. The ultimate means-over-ends philosophy is egalitarianism, which states that the method (protecting the individual) is more important than having a goal at all. The individual is both means and ends in this case, which short-circuits the entire process, and this is why Leftists are known as means-over-ends people.

Conservatives on the other hand are more concerned with the maintenance of order and hierarchy because these are necessary for social function, and recognize that sometimes sacrifices by or of individuals are necessary. This is an ends-over-means calculus that avoids contradiction by recognizing that since goals are more important than method, method takes second priority.

Another trope falls before the axe.

Striving For Sanity, Not Intermediates

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

With the election of Donald Trump, many who supported him are asking themselves what they stand for. Are they conservatives? Moderates? Or merely against the far-left direction that the country has taken since WWII, including the disastrous policy of diversity?

Underneath all that Trump stands for, there is a simple principle: realism. He believes in assessing his ventures by their results, not the feelings generated, and expects to see those investments functioning smoothly and making people wealthier. Otherwise entirely a moderate candidate, he differs only from the bulk of politicians in this way; he opposes politics itself, and prefers results-based realism.

Most writers remain locked in the prison created by the categorical boundaries of words. They wonder if this means that Trump is in favor of the “free market” and “freedom,” or other abstractions that serve as proxies or symbols for what we ultimately want, which is a healthy nation (and, if we are sane, a restored and self-improving Western Civilization).

What they forget is that all of these things are means to an end, and that end is the goal of a healthy nation and thriving Western Civilization. Currently we do not have that because we stopped cooperating toward that purpose, and instead focused on the human individual and its “reason” as the be-all end-all of social goals. From that, we got a society which could not remain united.

Having a purpose such as health, however, does not unite a herd. They do not all understand it, which means that it must be left to wise elders or otherwise competent people. This offends the mob. And yet, it is the only stable state of humanity because most knowledge exists in specialized domains. You do not elect your pilot on a transcontinental flight, nor your neurosurgeon, or even your arborist. You choose the competent.

Conservatism — for those of us who still use the word, knowing that “mainstream conservatives” is based mostly in the first word — is that which conserves, which means keeping up those time-proven ways of life that produce the best civilization, including a transcendental view of life such that we hold it holy and revere it. Unlike Leftism, conservatism is complex and nuanced with depth and breadth (Leftism is simply “equality now!”).

This approach requires tearing objectives down to their most basic targets, as measured in terms of results and not social appearance and emotions as Leftist “successes” are. At the end of the day, it is realism through consequentialism plus a desire for excellence and beauty in all forms. We want sanity in our society, after centuries of insanity accelerating after WWII, and we cannot point to intermediaries or proxies for that.

For example, “freedom.” Freedom from what? To sane people, we think of the ability to go about our lives and do that which is not destructive. However, when we say the word freedom, we tear down that complex idea and replace it with an unbounded abstraction. We have no idea what we are fighting for, but it can fight back, because anytime anyone does anything destructive, he will claim “muh freedom.”

Free markets are the same way. These are a means to an end; basically, everything but free markets amounts to some type of socialism and always fails so spectacularly that we want to avoid it forevermore. Wealth redistribution — this is all that socialism is, in reality — converts thriving places to impoverished ones where half of the beets on the truck are rocks and all the potatoes go toward vodka.

Conservatives need to refocus on goals and not methods. Using methods, or “means-over-ends,” in place of goals is a Leftist trope because it enables them to replace functional things with social conceits. Applying ourselves toward purpose and goals allows us to achieve the fulfillment of conservatism, which is preserving the way of life that works out best.

Political Correctness: An Extension Of Archetypal Leftist Psychology

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016


The Left rose through a singular power: a simple idea that made people feel comfortable in their social group, binding them together into a band to conquer all so that it would serve this idea.

For that reason, it makes sense not to say that Leftists are individually totalitarian, but that the thinking of Leftism is inherently totalitarian and individual Leftists will not be satisfied until they achieve a state that is both totalitarian and reality-denying.

The nature of ideology, after all, is to replace reality. It is the anti-reality. It tells you not how things work, but how they should according to human social logic. Leftism is at war with reality.

As a variant of Crowdism, Leftism is based in individualism. Every individual in the group wants guaranteed acceptance by the group. For this reason, they form a gang to make this so, but while their method is collectivism, their motivation is individualism.

What gives Crowdism power is the transfer of society from cooperative — where all people work unequally toward a goal that all understand — to control-based structures, where a formal goal is set up and applied equally to all in order to maintain power structures despite the fragmentation of society into many special interest groups, with individualists being one of these.

This gives rise to dark organization or a counter-current within society, formed of the individualist gang, that operates against its goals. Special interest groups do not share the goal of society as a whole, and therefore become parasitic: they take from the whole to support their own agendas.

For these reasons, the gang/cult of the parasite is always in motion. Its agenda never rests because it has hacked the human brain with a simple pleasing concept that short-cuts everything else. “If everyone is accepted, no one is at risk, and there will be no conflict,” is its underlying appeal, and the very fact of this simplification makes the meme powerful. It appeals to fear.

Since its motive is always conquest from within, the Crowd uses a number of hooks to short-circuit the psychology of others, and these in turn shape its own thinking into a pathological (repetitive without regard for results) obsession. This mental state can be recognized by the following internal cycles:

  • Begging the Question. To advance itself, Leftism uses this fallacy to transition political ideas to perceived social morality ideas. As we see with political correctness, the basic form is to assert that certain things are universally good, and therefore that in the converse, anyone who opposes those ideas is bad. The basic form of the fallacy is as follows:

    The fallacy of circular argument, known as petitio principii (“begging the question”), occurs when the premises presume, openly or covertly, the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated (example: “Gregory always votes wisely.” “But how do you know?” “Because he always votes Libertarian.”).

    A special form of this fallacy, called a vicious circle, or circulus in probando (“arguing in a circle”), occurs in a course of reasoning typified by the complex argument in which a premise p1 is used to prove p2; p2 is used to prove p3; and so on, until pn − 1 is used to prove pn; then pn is subsequently used in a proof of p1, and the whole series p1, p2, . . . , pn is taken as established (example: “McKinley College’s baseball team is the best in the association [ pn = p3]; they are the best because of their strong batting potential [ p2]; they have this potential because of the ability of Jones, Crawford, and Randolph at the bat [ p1].” “But how do you know that Jones, Crawford, and Randolph are such good batters?” “Well, after all, these men are the backbone of the best team in the association [ p3 again].”).

    Strictly speaking, petitio principii is not a fallacy of reasoning but an ineptitude in argumentation: thus the argument from p as a premise to p as conclusion is not deductively invalid but lacks any power of conviction, since no one who questioned the conclusion could concede the premise.

    The final line may be the most important: this argument type is a linguistic sleight-of-hand, and the only reason it works is that the premise is associated with universal moral good, a concept that itself is an assumption. But because of its appearance in a social setting, the argument seems convincing because universal acceptance is a necessary basic attribute of socializing in large and thus broad groups. This is how the Crowd forms.

    For example, consider the Leftist argument for diversity: variety is good, therefore we need ethnic variety. The only way to oppose this seems to be to criticize the conclusion of the argument, when the real solution is to attack the assumption and the inexact language that allows it to seem relevant. Variety is good in certain contexts, and only certain types of variety, and these do not analogize to civilizations very well.

    The Left moves into circulus in probando by stacking its assumptions: “Because (we assume that) morality is universal, (we assume that) diversity is good, and since (we assume that) diversity is working so well, we need to expand the program.” In fact, all of Leftism can be seen as a circulus in probando starting with the idea that personal intent is more important than reality — the core of individualism and The Enlightenment™ — and moving to universalism, democratization and finally, to the extension of those principles to other areas. Diversity might be viewed as ethnic democracy, welfare as subsidized universalism, and strong state control as democratization of power.

  • Rationalism. Humans like to think that reason alone will bring them to correct answers, but they forget that our reasoning is shaped by our minds and must correspond to a reality more complex than our minds. Reason is thus not a singular thing, but many grades of an idea, and in addition to that, it varies with the individual.

    For those reasons, saying that reason will guide us to correct answers necessarily overloads our minds with the imposition of the idea that all people are the same, and that reason works like a calculator, when in fact it is more varied. That in turn creates the curse of rationalism which is that it enables people to have tunnel vision by identifying a plausible answer and then finding facts to support it, instead of assessing all facts and finding a model which fits all of the known data.

    Rationalism in this sense is not essentially distinct from rationalization, or developing a way of visualizing an unfortunate event as a positive one. In this case, the unfortunate event is civilization collapse, and so instead of fighting it, the Left rationalizes it and directs its attention away from fixing the problem to finding a way to feel good about the problem. Both rationalism and rationalization start by accepting a perception and then altering facts by filtering out those that do not conform to the thesis so that the perception appears not just true but inevitable.

  • Control. When cooperation can no longer exist because society is pulling itself apart into special interest groups, control appears: force everyone to go through the same procedures, or “means” versus “ends” or goals, equally or in the same way, so that details can be managed from central control or through a centralized narrative, even if independently interpreted as is the case with egalitarianism, the founding idea of the Left.

    The modern method can be seen as Social Control, or use of the threat of ostracism and reward for making people feel good as dual pincers of the control mechanism. Guilt is the primary weapon there: those who are not ideologically conforming become aware that others will be “upset” or “offended” by their acts, and are made to feel bad not about the consequences of their actions in reality, but in the perceptions of others.

    This process of regulating people through public appearance proves deadly effective because humans — like our Simian forebears — are social creatures. Alienation does not require government intervention, and because it causes others to fear for themselves if they are associated with the alienated person, spreads like a disease. It is more effective than any other means of punishment because the consequences are all-pervasive.

    When noticed by humans, social control is referred to as peer pressure with all the implications of collective punishment that this indicates. A small group, like a local community, fears being associated with bad ideas, so it punishes those who have them. In addition, this group will punish a group within it for deviation from the norm. This means that the individual is totally dependent on the group for behavioral cues and must follow whatever is decided, in an inversion of democracy but an extension of democratization. When all people have a voice, conformity results, and then it is made mandatory.

  • Crybullying. To advance a petitio principii fallacy, one must act as if the assumption therein is normal and universally liked. This requires playing the role of an innocent, benevolent and passive party. However, when someone refuses the assumption, this requires the fallacy advocate to act the role of wounded victim, which then justifies (synonyms: rationalizes; excuses) retaliation.

    This produces a type of weaponized passive aggression or indirect bullying. The Leftist needs to appear somewhere, insist on a Leftist method, and then act wounded while summoning the troops — the rest of the gang/cult — to attack. This enables Leftists to infiltrate any area of society and, by using their passive aggressive “victimhood” narrative, force others to conform to what the Leftist desires.

The psychology created by the above cannot be properly viewed as a philosophy, but an inversion of philosophy: instead of finding reasons to act in certain ways, it assumes basic human impulses — which like most undisciplined things, are usually wrong — are correct and then invents explanations for those that make them seem reasonable.

That however implicates a philosophy with two branches:

  • Means Over Ends. Leftism embraces a classic “means over ends” analysis. In that view, the goal does not matter so much as behaving in a correct way, in this case for social approval. That allows necessarily goals to be ignored if the methods needed are upsetting or inconvenient to the group, which “wags the dog” because then instead of thinking toward purpose, people think away from purpose and let methods become a substitute for goals. This rationalizes the lack of purpose inherent to a dying civilization and creates an imitative society where people repeat past successful acts without knowledge of what made them successful, simply by placing trust in the method and being afraid to contemplate goals.
  • Cause And Effect. Normally, we see our actions as the cause of an event which had certain effects, or outcomes. In the inverted world of Leftism, cause is removed by the assumption of moral goodness to methods, which signifies that the methods are both effect and cause. This removes the human ability to see cause, and by declaring the irrelevance of ends or effects, obliterates our ability to formulate independent goals. This creates atomized, infantilized, and domesticated people who depend on strong authority for guidance, as their acts otherwise are goalless and therefore become self-destructive in addition to pointless.

The root of this philosophy is a resistance to life itself: people would prefer to be gods in their own minds than to realize their place in an order — structure, hierarchy, flow of events — that makes life what it is. This is the essence of control within the human mind. It rejects all that is natural and replaces it with a world composed entirely of human thoughts, feelings and judgments. This is comforting to the under-confident and neurotic.

All high-level societies die through some form of Crowdism, which is usually Leftist. When a civilization is forming, its purpose is clear: create civilization, beat back nature and disease, and organize so that the pleasures of life are possible. After that point, civilization is taken for granted because most people cannot see the reason to choose a new purpose, since they have the effects of the work that created that civilization.

Dysgenics factor in here as well, especially in cities large enough to be anonymous. People need only to find a job, rent a place to live, and purchase food from street vendors. Everything else is optional. It is not surprising that modern Leftists are enamored of the job/rent/restaurant lifestyle. This, and the advances in institutionalized hygiene and safety that save people from their own bad choices, create people who are living but have no will to live other than the mechanical and material process of survival itself. With this, purpose and bravery die.

Anti-goals afflict successful civilizations only. One mode of thought, embraced by primitivists and Nietzscheans to varying degrees, is that civilization — if it wishes to survive — needs to back off of “perfecting” everyday life, and should preserve dangers. The idea of social Darwinism that is not in love with jobs and money holds that there should be no externalized costs to individual actions, such that each individual faces the consequences of his actions including potential death. This means strict punishment for any costs incurred to society by the individual, a lack of things like insurance and uniform methods of survival, and daily challenges so that the clueless weed themselves out.

Another possibility for civilization survival is to design it such that every action must have a purpose, and the results are compared to that purpose, with those who achieve parity between intention and reality being promoted in a hierarchy. This creates constant internal evolution and at the very least disenfranchises those who are inept at everything but collecting social approval. In other words, society must be less “social” and more purpose-driven.

Diversity presents a fundamental problem in any society because with the presence of a single person from the Other group, either social standards must be widened to include the standards of both self and Other, or those who are Other will be at a disadvantage and appear to be victims. That in turn jump-starts the begging-the-question fallacy by making it easily observed that the Other is failing, and assuming that this is bad, and therefore that “change” must occur.

Above all else, we must remember what Walt Kelley told us years ago: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Inside of each of us is a monkey. This monkey reacts to life out of fear and lives in a miasma of superstition, projection and denial through filtering out inconvenient and upsetting information. This monkey is driven by impulse, which leads to rationalization of that impulse, and reverts thought. The healthiest civilizations are disciplined more in terms of private thoughts than public behavior, but not through Control; instead, they aim for realism and other methods of refining the spirit to be rigid about its thinking and to push down the monkey impulses.

Our inner monkey resents life for not being equal to our intent as individuals. That choice forces us to either accept reality as it is (nihilism) or to accept only ourselves, then rationalize that denial as good, and in turn blot out reality without a consensual hallucination of human thoughts, feelings and judgments. Since this has its root in the monkey impulse toward self-importance in defiance of a reality structured otherwise, it is also a regression and the source of the dark organization that is Crowdism.

We have come to recognize Typical Leftist Behavior (TLB) with increasing frequency as the achievement of Leftist goals (diversity, equality, democratization, globalism) has made reality totally unknown to most people, resulting in terrible consequences when their ideas are put into practice, as usually happens with reality-denial. TLB takes many forms but all are based in the schema above.

The threats in front of us — Leftism, The Enlightenment,&trade civilization collapse — are themselves effects of this inner transformation of human beings. We no longer intend to achieve good results; we focus instead on making our feelings happy despite the darkness around us, but this deprives us of a sense that life can be a joy and a pleasure. That in turn pushes us toward more dark thoughts and behaviors.

Salvation for Western Civilization begins when we not just reverse this process, but commit ourselves instead toward a purpose which replaces the original purpose of survival that kept our civilization united in its early years. We also must protect ourselves genetically, so that we are not replaced with the Other, even in traces, as those alter what we were and through atavisms of that, what we must be again.

The Left won because it had a simple idea that dominated all other thinking. The solution is not to try to replicate that, but to understand that simple ideas which dominate are in themselves a terrible notion, and that instead, we need a more nuanced, purpose-driven and realistic view of life. As Leftist society crashes in chaos around us, more are turning toward this idea or something like it.

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