We are accustomed to our version of Aztec sacrifice: someone, usually without meaning any ill-will, makes a statement that contradicts our social narrative and the origin story that portrays us as the good guys. A voice in the crowd speaks up, and then the rest descend from their trees to attack.
This invokes the script of the sacrifice. The victim must plead for life, but no amount of apologies or explanations will work; instead, they simply make the victim look guiltier. Since all eyes are on them, anyone who helps throw stones gets temporary fame that they can parlay into a career, so everyone speaks up to humiliate the victim.
Eventually, it reaches the stage of contagion. No one wants to be associated with this person lest they are assumed to agree with or support whatever taboo was broached. Employers, friends, family, and local businesses refuse to serve or contact this person. They stand alone, all coverings ripped away, when the executioner finally appears.
These ritual sacrifices appease the herd because they affirm our safety. If someone else is screwing up, we are safe, for now, and whatever transgressions we have committed during the two-week attention span of a human group are forgotten for the most part.
People have differing opinions on Darwin. I submit that whatever you think of Darwinism as an origin story, it accurately describes the mechanism of human breeding: whatever prospers spreads its genes around, and so we get more of it. For this reason, choosing what succeeds determines the fate of a nation.
And, whether describing us evolving upward from ancestors of the apes, or evolving downward to become like them, Darwinism describes the monkey within humanity. This monkey proves not different from other species because like all animals, it responds to incentives and threats. We behave similarly.
Monkeys, when frightened, tend to attack whatever frightened them in groups. This enables them to both defeat real threats, and banish threats they can do nothing about, through a “shoot the messenger” style assault. That in turn allows them to remain functional in the face of otherwise crippling fear.
This is similar to approaches taken at other times in nature. I observed a friend feeding a snake; the mouse meal, dropped to the floor of the cage, ran in circles until he bumped up against the snake. At that point, the mouse seemed to stop seeing the snake at all, and comfortably nibbled on a plant until the snake struck, ending its life.
When nothing can be done, nature instructs her animals to go into the psychological version of anaesthesia: denial. They ignore that which threatens them but cannot be addressed, like being in a closed container with a vastly stronger, faster, and more violent predator. This allows them to continue functioning; after all, the snake might miss.
When we look at the Aztec ritual sacrifice of those who violate taboos on equality, whether race- or gender-based, we are looking into the face of this denial. The scared monkeys attack the messenger so that they can continue to function. This superstitious and cult-like attitude at least gives them a chance of personal survival.
Similarly monkeys attack whatever monkey notices a problem and brings it to their attention, if nothing can be done about it. This enables the others to carry on until the cataclysm, at which point the troupe divides and flees in panic. Avoiding this panic is part of the brilliance of nature’s design.
To a troupe of monkeys, an insolvable problem is a contagion. Any infected with it must be destroyed for the safety of the troupe. That enables the others to carry on, while undoubtedly the smarter monkeys creep away from whatever danger is there, leaving the dumber to be sacrificed.
If we want to fight the Aztec sacrifice of destroying lives over political ideas, the first step is to ensure that those who are connected to people with “bad” ideas do not get destroyed. At that point, paranoia relaxes; no one else will suffer for being friends with, family to, working with, or knowing the target.
At this point, the monkey attack loses its fangs and begins to look like bullying. After all, none of the other monkeys are at risk, so why attack the one? Instead, pretend that the lone monkey is simply incorrect and carry on as necessary.
The fact that our society has up until this time been unable to do this suggests that we acknowledge that diversity is a threat that will end us, and feel that we can do nothing about it. This shows us another area where we can strike in order to disable the Aztec ritual sacrifice of political correctness.
When people complain about diversity by targeting certain groups — “blacks are bad, but Asians and Irish people are great!” — this causes the troupe, which sees itself as mixed, to react as if it were attacked. However, when diversity itself is attacked, anyone who responds personally looks like someone who profits from diversity instead.
We are entering a time when America and Europe will split internally, not just by ethnic group and religion, but by politics as well. It turns out that we cannot coexist because we want different things, and compromise means that no one gets what they want, resulting in more friction not less.
As this accelerates, we can transition to the coming break-up by placing the blame on the ill-designed institutions which have gotten us here — equality, democracy, and diversity — instead of on each other. Through acceptance of our imminent dissolution, we can reach agreement on the necessity of this separation.