Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Death by Political Correctness

Later this week I am traveling to Artemas, Pennsylvania, to attend the third annual Age of Limits Conference at the Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary. I am scheduled to present on the same subject as last year: Communities that Abide, the subject a collection of articles I just published with the help of four illustrious co-authors. Although the subject is the same, I hope that the substance of this year's discussion will be different. I hope to move beyond principles, which I explained last year, and which I have since spelled out in the book, and on to practice. I hope that this year we will be able to focus the discussion on the physical, organizational, cultural and psychological problems that must be solved in order for resilient, self-sustaining communities to form.

Last year's conference was the second venue at which I gave that talk. The first one was at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the shore of Lake Superior, an hour's drive from the Canadian border. There, the talk was very warmly received, by the students and the community elders alike, and resulted in very purposeful discussion. You see, this school is very popular and very successful at teaching a wide range of traditional skills. Many of these skills are directly applicable to creating independent, resilient lifestyles within the setting of a small community. But forming such a community is a problem: real estate is expensive, transportation costs are high, jobs are few and far between and pay less and less, and there is a great deal of financial and regulatory overhead that stands in the way community self-sufficiency. After some brainstorming, a potential solution was hit upon: the school would create a colony for its graduates, allowing successful graduates to become part of it. Since, in turn, the colony would embody the principles taught by the school, it would help strengthen the overall effort.

When I gave the same talk a month later at last year's Age of Limits conference, the reaction was rather different. There was almost no discussion of impediments to implementation or ideas for overcoming them. Instead, the conversation veered off into gender politics, with some amount of booing and hissing from the female members of the audience. You see, the examples I picked, which included, among others, traditional, religious communities with patriarchal gender roles, were said to be ill-suited as models for such a “progressive” group. (By the way, I never proposed that they be used as models, only as examples from which general principles can be uncovered.) Then there followed some harsh (and, to my mind, ridiculous) criticisms of the Amish, who were said to abuse their wives and children. Compared to the focused and productive discussion at Grand Marais, this one turned out to be a complete waste of time. I was flabbergasted by this reaction, only later realizing that I had blundered into an American cultural war zone. I later realized that none of the criticisms raised had the slightest bit of relevance to the topic under discussion. Here, I want to draw a line behind all of that, and establish a basis for moving forward. I hope that this year's conference will be on target.

Discussions of social policy, especially with regard to such things as the rights of women and sexual and racial minorities, play a very special role in American politics. As I've explained recently, it has recently been shown that the US is not a democracy, in which public policy is influenced by public opinion, but an oligarchy, where public policy is driven by the wishes of moneyed interests. On major issues, such as whether to provide public health care or whether to go to war, public opinion matters not a whit. But it is vitally important to maintain the appearance of a vibrant democracy, and here social policy provides a good opportunity for encouraging social divisions: split the country up into red states and blue states, and keep them in balance by carefully measured infusions of money into politics, so as to maintain the illusion of electoral choice. Throw a bit of money at a religious fundamentalist candidate, and plenty of feminists, gays and lesbians will vote for the opposing kleptocrat who will, once elected, help Wall Street confiscate the rest of their retirement savings, in return for a seat on the board; throw another bit of money at a rainbow-colored lesbian, and plenty of bible-thumping traditionalists will vote for the opposing kleptocrat who, once elected, will funnel tax money to his pet defense contractor in return for some juicy kickbacks. This part of the American political system works extremely well. On the other hand, if some matter comes before the politicians that requires helping the people rather than helping themselves and their wealthy masters, the result is a solid wall of partisan deadlock. This part works very well too—for the politicians, and for the moneybags who prop them up, but not for the people.

While it is the entire country that is being victimized by this system of governance based on the principle of social divide and conquer, it is women and minorities that are the pawns in this game, and the biggest losers, with some of the worst outcomes out of all of the developed countries. The US has the largest number of children born into poverty and leads the world in teenage pregnancy and the rate of sexually transmitted disease infection among teenage girls. In spite of what's been called “progress,” the effect of women working outside the home has been to halve family incomes. American women never got equal rights: the Equal Rights Amendment died a painful death in 1982, when the final deadline for its ratification expired. (Compare that to the Russia, where the equal rights of women, including equal pay for equal work, was enshrined in Article 122 of the Constitution of the USSR in 1936, and has been a fixture of the political landscape ever since.) As for minority rights, there are more black slaves in America today than there were before the Civil War—they used to work on plantations, but now they work in prisons, many of which are privately owned, where they make money for their politically connected owners. With regard to the rights of sexual minorities, it needs to be noted that not only does the US lead the developed world in rape, but that here rape is evenly distributed between men and women, male rape being most prevalent, again, among the prison population.

This vast landscape of societal failure is obscured behind a verbal veil of political correctness. Never mind the fact that the nirvana of progressive race and gender politics only exists on television (where it is faked) and among a few of the continuously shrinking remnants of the middle class—we are still required to pay lip service to it. Elite universities have evolved an entire gender-neutral, racially bland system of circumlocution, which is now mandatory for everyone to learn and use: say “he” instead of “she,” and suddenly you are a sexist. Calling a spade a spade is forbidden: idiots no longer exist—now every one of them is “mentally challenged,” nor do senile old fools—who are now “Alzheimer's sufferers.” Scores of people are required to undergo mandatory sensitivity training, where they are brainwashed until they are no longer capable of telling other people exactly what they think of them. Thus, hypocrisy has been promoted from a character flaw to a national requirement. (By the way, this inability to communicate effectively takes a terrible toll on national productivity, but that's a side matter.) The important point is that those who insist on acting as willing pawns in this game are choosing a specific path for themselves. I like to call it the path of voluntary extinction—the guaranteed end result of endlessly plastering societal failure over with bullshit.

The Age of Limits conference is based on a certain view of the future, which was first articulated in the Club of Rome study of 1972, and, in spite of a storm of criticism, has been vindicated because its predictions have turned out to be exactly on target. One of the presenters at this year's conference will be Dennis Meadows, the co-author of the study. This study predicts that global industrial civilization will have largely run its course in as little as two decades. Those who accept the predictions of this study (the purpose of this conference is to discuss their implications and ramifications) also accept a rather austere view of the future.

In this context, the path of communities that abide is not the path of voluntary extinction. It is the path of survival, the path of individual sacrifice for the benefit of the community and its future generations. The tasks of giving birth to, bring up and educating the next generation while keeping everyone housed, fed, clothed, healthy and entertained will leave scarce time for pursuing higher education or a career outside of home, exploring alternative lifestyle choices, or discussing gender politics. The two most important occupations will be Mother and Father. Small communities have little room for specialization, but a basic level of specialization based on whether you are a boy or a girl has been found to be universally advantageous. This is what I would like to take as the point of departure for this year's conversation.


Anonymous said...

Well said.
It is amazing how easily divide and conquer works. If the 'job' of Mother and Father were taken seriously, perhaps children would learn the fundamentals of communication, persuasion and manipulation that they are sure to encounter in their lives. But that requires that mothers and fathers are aware of how they are being manipulated. There are resources for those who would look for them. Thank you Dimitri for being such a resource.

Unknown said...

Sorry but gotta do this:

What's the difference between a hoodwinked, closet lesbian staffer in the Obama white house and a washing machine? When I dump a load in the washing machine it doesn't follow me around for three days. Fair winds and good tides, amigo....

mm said...

Dmitry your discussion of elite sensibilities toward gender recalls Yuri Bezmenov talking to Americans in the 1980s about the the "subversion" of equality.

Fascinating talk:


makedablogs said...

It should be noted that among blacks, some other groups and probably large swaths of the lower class in general women were always working outside the home as an issue of survival. I always get irritated when people talk of a rosy past when women 'could stay home.' Plenty of my female relatives of yore were staying in other people's homes working as servants. The issue of female labor is just much more complicated.

Roger said...

There seem to be two Progressive movements. One is the currently emerging movement that is rejecting the status-quo and seeks genuine parity between the people and another, pseudo-left, which is essentially the rump of the counter-culture movements of the 1960s which is a self-referencing body run by the media and mainstream politicians to mitigate genuine political and social change. Someone, I can't remember who, coined the term "Bo-Bos" to describe Bourgeois Bohemians - affluent people who still partake of their undergraduate obsessions but have absolutely no interest in groups in genuine need or change. To these people, seeking out existential affronts against women such a 'patriarchal' Wikipedia or the 'wrong' use of words makes perfect sense, but are wilfully blind to people in genuine need because their vanity is not served.

Patrick said...

Interesting how one can carefully design a presentation, deliver it, and try to guide a discussion, and then… it can take off in an entirely unexpected direction. Every individual in an audience is a wild card, and group dynamics also come into play.

Unknown said...

Now a days we should need such as same conference to solve conferencing discussing of physical,organizical,cultural,psychological problem in order for resilient self sustaining communities to form.Thanks

Unknown said...

largest amount of jobs in ca. 1900 Britain was servants. Before washing machines was Washerwoman. Read fairy tales and you get the idea. Minorities had nothing to do with it. This was always universal everywhere and will return post Peak Oil. Women worked outside the home.




The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (2004) ISBN 0-89526-047-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades) by Robert Spencer (2005) ISBN 0-89526-013-1

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science by Tom Bethell (2005) ISBN 0-89526-031-X

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism by Carrie L. Lukas (2006) ISBN 1-59698-003-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Jonathan Wells (2006) ISBN 1-59698-051-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature by Elizabeth Kantor (2006) ISBN 1-59698-011-7

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South (and Why It Will Rise Again) by Clint Johnson (2007) ISBN 1-59698-500-3

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism by Christopher C. Horner (2007) ISBN 1-59698-501-1

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy (2007) ISBN 1-59698-504-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin R.C. Gutzman (2007) ISBN 1-59698-505-4

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting by Frank Miniter (2007) ISBN 1-59698-521-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible by Robert J. Hutchinson (2007) ISBN 1-59698-520-8

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East by Martin Sieff (2008) ISBN 1-59698-051-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization by Anthony Esolen (2008) ISBN 1-59698-059-1

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War by Harold William Crocker III (2008) ISBN 1-59698-549-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal by Robert P. Murphy (2009) ISBN 1-59698-096-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers by Brion McClanahan (2009) ISBN 1-59698-092-3

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties by Jonathan Leaf (2009) ISBN 1-59698-572-0

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War by Phillip Jennings (2010) ISBN 1-59698-567-4

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism by Kevin D. Williamson (2011) ISBN 1-59698-649-2

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire by H. W. Crocker III (2011) ISBN 1-59698-629-8

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Wilson to Obama by Steven F. Hayward (2012) ISBN 1-59698-776-6

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes by Brion McClanahan (2012) ISBN 1-59698-320-5

Real history and reality is different than the standard version where one person is good and another evil, usually easy to identify by who won the war or the political election and wrote the history or the textbooks.

John Dunn said...

I thought your earlier talk brought up a difficult question: Can our goals of progressive equality hold up when the going gets tough? I'm not so sure.

Professor Diabolical said...

When crazy people talk about "Linguist Programming", this is what they mean. To work tireless to mind-hack people to incite a knee-jerk, essentially emotional, non-rational response upon hearing a certain irrelevant "trigger" word.

Or, as the rest of us call it, "Advertizing." They don't spend hundred billion a year on it because it doesn't work! It works, and it works on you, but we're aware of it when it's Downy and Coca-Cola, not so much when it's the same paid-for engineering by a billionaire or lobby group.

Americans--and most especially college-educated blokes who consider themselves smart, educated, and above-all-that--are absolute suckers for it. They're more rigged for this than Pavlov's Dog and will tear anyone's head off for the least trained-attack word they've ever heard. I mean absolute blind, blithering suckers for it. They've never seen an original thought they didn't want to shout down.

...But "I've been socially-engineered" is what "educated" really means, isn't it? To us, "educated" means, "They put ideas in my head."

Advertizing, education. Be wary who you give the keys to your mind to. But Americans are trained to absolutely trust all strangers. Especially if they have candy.

When we stop falling for it, they'll stop doing it. Until then, might as well not bother.

Who was it Bob Marley said would free our minds?

Terry T said...

I think that one mistake made in looking at a post collapse scenario (I find myself doing this at times) is assuming that broad societies will regress and step backwards in the footsteps of time and relinquish all knowledge and perspective learned since each footstep in time was originally placed.

Bad habits and narcissistic excesses of the oil boom world notwithstanding, it's silly to think that no advancement of pure knowledge of the world and beyond cannot be considered real progress. I don't believe that a post collapse world will necessarily require everyone one to begin believing in a flat earth, for example.
(with the exception of already existing holdouts on the fringe- and they, among others, already exist in a world of self separatism)

Perhaps a post collapse world will clarify and reveal where the real progress of the last couple of hundred years lies. We will know it by what future peoples preserve and protect of our current wisdom, knowledge and technology.

From our current perspective, it's difficult to accurately predict what they will identify as useful progress. I don't necessarily see blatant sexism returning where merit is instead required for survival.

Anonymous said...

It was great meeting Dmitry, and here are a few impressions about the conference: