I have had this article on the back-burner for some time, but the recent furor at google about gender disparities has forced me to dredge it back up and actually get it completed. It is, I would argue, extremely relevant while also advocating a somewhat novel approach to the insufferable faith and religiosity of leftist progressivism. For background, you can see the original memo written by a google employee tired of diversity commissars here. I recommend this non-cucked, for once, national review article which highlights the religiosity of the progressives so incensed by differing opinions. Michael Dougherty does a good job presenting several evidence-immune leftists in all their faithfully irrational glory. I also recommend this post at slate star codex which goes over evidence that gender disparities may be largely explained by differences in work preferences. This exists and it definitely can explain some differences when you restrict occupations to those with middling intellectual demands. However, I think this explanation is limited when there is also substantial evidence about intellectual differences directly and when you consider the occupational roles with the most stringent intellectual requirements. Anyway, that difference isn’t important for this article so I am going to drop it here and simply refer you to “Smart and Sexy” if you want to know more.
Scott Alexander and I, in that book, have both taken the approach that the best way to persuade people that they have gotten things wrong is to present the contrary evidence. For many praisable souls, this is exactly what they need and it works. For many others, it isn’t enough, and with them I think we need a new approach. “If at first you don’t succeed, try again several hundred thousand times before deciding to maybe try something new” is a good summary of how many on the side of realistic understanding have actually acted towards irrational leftism in the past, myself included. I’m not saying that the resulting work wasn’t good or worthwhile, I am just saying that perhaps something radically different needs to be done for those who this will never reach no matter what. In other words, keep an open mind with an emphasis on “ends justify the means” if you find yourself feeling incredulous later on down the page.
If the cathedral and progressivism really IS mostly a problem of misapprehended religiosity, like we advocate in neoreaction, then whatever the workable solution for progressivism ends up being must by necessity require some form of corrected or proper spirituality as the only effective countermeasure. You don’t want to remove the parasite just to leave a void that lets something even nastier in. In my opinion, this can be done without necessarily resorting to any extant religious framework, but rather with a more generalized approach to personal (spiritual) advancement. Anyway, I started this stab at addressing this problem some months ago and this event seems like the optimum opportunity to finally get it out there. Enjoy.
I originally started writing this article because I wanted to take the time to explain something I talked about in my red ice interview about“Smart and SeXy” which was only tangentially related to the hard evidence presented in the book. Some of the statements in the interview and in this article are an indirect follow-up to my previous post on stripping charity of virtue, and also vaguely prompted by a (no longer) recent article on kindness being domain restricted. In other words, kindness is an act one person does for another who is actually right in front of and likely known to the kindness giver. I said something very similar in my post on charity. According to our particular definitions, kindness and charity seem almost like imperfect synonyms, though of course they aren’t due to some subtle differences. However, I think the overlap here is obvious. As mentioned in the kindness article, the word “kindness” has an advantage against leftist word manipulation in that it starts from an implied position of particular close inter-personal interaction. How do you express kindness to a person half-way around the world? In addition, unlike charity, kindness is possible without material exchange. Pleasantness and acceptance is sufficient for kindness. Charity, on the other hand, implies some form of material exchange which allows for the distortion from reality that it could or should be done impersonally. I was therefore required to explain why this distortion is on very shaky ground.
Charity, in its true good form, happens when one individual takes pity on and helps another who they can see, hear, touch, and (if unfortunate) smell. A real person right in front of their eyes that they directly interact with.
The main relation between the current topic and the previous ones is that all three could be classified as a discussion of metaphysics and/or spiritual virtuousness. I don’t talk about this often, and even when I do, I don’t feel much need to appeal to any sort of non-natural workings. Even though the kindness article is explicitly stated to be coming from a Christian perspective, I think much of it is merely self-evident in discussing a proper way in interacting with your local human beings in a proper and civilized way. In other words, in a way that is pro-civilizational. With proper discernment charity can indeed advance civilization.
Quoting myself once more:
At the heart of the matter is the question of what is the True good and the True evil. Why do I use the adjective “true” in the previous sentence? I have come to believe that there is present in our society a deep confusion about what is good and what is evil. Things that are evil are very often dressed up as good. Pigs with oceans of lipstick. While good things are maligned as horrible evils.
In other words, positive and negative polarities exist on an axis which is most often extremely poorly perceived. The common or worldly axis of “good” and “evil” does not match the true axis very well, yet it is not fully disassociated with the original either. The deception must be plausible. The most common type of distortion is to take an act or belief which is ostensibly of the true good, then warp it in such a way as it loses its virtue from the perspective of spiritual evolution.
In the case of charity, it is warped from a personal interaction subject to proper discernment to socialistic impersonal interactions mandated and orchestrated by a government bureaucracy without any possibility of proper discernment. Since these two social processes seem so superficially similar, the unwise can confuse the true good with the worldly good (evil). I have not made an exhaustive review of all possible issues amenable to this form of analysis and understanding, but my suspicion is that a very large number of social justice and other leftist issues could be viewed in the same light. The pattern being a distortion from the true good to create worldly good which is actually evil.
The question is, then, why are so many people susceptible to this sort of confusion? Clearly they have a desire to do the right thing, but seem not to possess the knowledge, wisdom, and/or intelligence to suss out the subtleties of what is actually good, which by necessity must be based on deep understanding of truth. Even when they have some vague grasp of the good, they can’t figure out how to actually bring that understanding of good into reality in a pragmatic way. I don’t think the problem is strictly a matter of intelligence, at least not in all cases. Some people aren’t smart enough to grasp it regardless, but we can set them aside as a separate class for the purposes of this article. There are plenty of genuinely intelligent people [i.e. google employees] who adhere religiously to the most obviously counter-factual beliefs, such as absolute physical and mental parity between the sexes. For these people, intelligence isn’t the problem. Knowledge might be a problem, but not one that they couldn’t resolve if they decided proper understanding of the truth was their goal. There is plenty of information available for study.
So why is this widely available information either ignored or rejected immediately by intelligent people without any real consideration and on an emotional basis? In a word, it has to do with acceptance* and acceptance is only tangentially an intellectual trait. Acceptance can seem like a deceptively easy thing to do. In some cases it is, but in many cases it is not. Furthermore, the difficulty of accepting some particular truth can vary substantially between different people and groups of people. For example, it is objectively not a nice thing that IQ differs by race. As a group, blacks aren’t as smart as whites. There aren’t as many super-intelligent women (i.e., at the far right of the bell curve) as men either. As a white male, it is easy for me to accept these truths because it does not reflect negatively on my identity. Accepting a negative, or perceived negative, aspect of another group (the other) is inherently easier than accepting something negative about oneself or one’s group. If you are a black guy, or a woman, these same truths are substantially more difficult to accept. These people don’t want to accept a statement like “you know, maybe I have limitations.” Who does? Accepting things that sound bad or are bad about the self aren’t easy for anyone.
*Acceptance as in acknowledging truth as true, not whatever latest way leftists may have tried to misdefine this word.
More immediately than the examples above, everyone has their own personal foibles that they don’t necessarily want to face. This is what is happening to these leftists. They are coming up against realities and truths which objectively aren’t particularly nice, and they can’t manage to cultivate a state of mind that is able to accept potentially negative qualities of themselves or others in their in-group. They don’t have the mental fortitude for that level of self-acceptance of limitations; group or individual. Instead of acceptance they just go crazy and get angry then lash out. They are lashing out at other people, but what is really happening and is important is that they are rejecting truth. They do not want this truth and use anger as a method to hopefully, but futilely, try to make unfortunate realities not exist. In a very great number of cases, though not all, anger could be defined as a rejection of truth. Or at least it can be stated that the proximal cause of anger is the rejection of truth; especially truths about the self.
Given this diseased state of mind, what does the average leftist try to do? Generally, they try to promote their own degeneracy and disease of mind as if it were normal. As if it was good and true. They are not accepting their own problems, and instead of accepting them and then working to resolve them or make them better, they become angry that other people accurately understand their problems to be dysfunctional. They desire to force people to accept things that should not actually be accepted. At least, things that shouldn’t be accepted as good even if they can be accepted as undesirable but perhaps unfortunately unavoidable. On top of that, they then go on to try to spread their dysfunction such that it actually exists within everyone in society rather than just in small sub-populations. For them, mere tolerance of dysfunction is not good enough. This is why they are so angry: They are directing their own self hatred out at others in an effort not to address their own shortcomings. They want to be drowned in a sea of dysfunction so vast that their own issues seem minor by comparison.
However, leftists and other degenerates do not see their actions or desires in the negative light they deserve. Rather, they delude themselves into seeing the success of their activism as a way to create greater harmony in society. After all, if everyone just accepted everything by ignoring the wisdom that some behaviors and beliefs are indeed dysfunctional, then everyone can be an appreciated contributor to society. Everyone would be wanted and could fit in everywhere and with everyone; even degenerate leftist activists. Well no, this would never be the end result of uncritical acceptance of dysfunction. Uncritical acceptance of dysfunction could only result in massive amounts of dysfunction everywhere and hell on earth. Thus you can see how in this case leftists once again fit into the pattern I explained in the charity article. You take something that could or would be good, like everyone getting along or charity, then use that to deceive gullible and/or vulnerable people that it is moral and just to force others to adhere to certain beliefs or actions in order to bring about that good. In the process, you shift from the axis of true good and respect for free will to that of worldly good and extensive control. This is very similar to what distorts charity from something good to something evil:
Many people have made quite correct arguments on why wealth transfers (I.E., Forced “charity”) don’t work from the pragmatic standpoint that it just isn’t affordable and provides bad incentives, which is true. However, very few have explained why the process is in fact spiritually evil as well. For one thing it is hard to do. How can any decent person believably explain why it is spiritually right and just to let anyone, anywhere starve to death? Well, the main reason is because help is not being offered willingly. An important ingredient to make an act spiritually polarizing is that it must be done voluntarily, of the person’s free will, and with sincere intent. You can not force a person to be true good, they must choose to be that for themselves. Defying the principle of free will is the main way, as far as I can tell, that is used to distort from the axis of true good to that of the axis of worldly “good,” which is actually evil.
Let’s also make a comparison between leftists and those on the right. I would say most of us on the right can see a transsexual and recognize that there is a problem, but don’t feel the need or desire to resort to extreme hatred of them for it as long as they keep themselves and their issues away from us. I know about real medical conditions which in rare cases explain problems like this. However, just because something is an unavoidable result of a genetic defect does not change that fact that it IS a defect and should be recognized as such. Many leftists can’t do that in the reverse. They look at a healthy and intact (biologically complete) Christian family and they perceive a problem. Whether it is a problem or not (its not), leftists perceive it as a problem and they can’t accept it. If they are so accepting and tolerant, why can’t they accept the people that they perceive as having a problem? Because they are not accepting, neither of themselves or of others. They don’t know what acceptance is. Their goal is a world so messed up that problems at the individual level can’t be seen with any significant resolution or clarity.
So the question is, how do you help someone resolve their diseased state of mind? Many people, for many years, have created lists of facts so complete that it has become indisputable that simple presentation of truth is nowhere near sufficient. While this sort of work is obviously a crucial component in helping others accept truth, some vital element is still missing and I would suggest it is this missing element which explains why facts are so ineffectual after a certain point (or percentage of the population). It may be a worthwhile direction of further research and effort to elucidate this missing element in exacting and practical detail in order to help the recalcitrant heal their personal wounds and thus move towards an inner state in which they can accept the truth as it actually exists. Subsequently, this could get them to work towards actual true good rather than worldly good/evil (i.e. socialism and maximizing social dysfunction).
As it turns out, religions like Christianity and Buddhism have already known about and taught the answer to this problem for a very long time. The solution turns out to require a spiritual answer rather than an intellectual or analytical one. Which makes sense if the cathedral is to a large extent a spiritual problem.
A critical step in accepting unkind truths about yourself or your group is self-forgiveness. You have problems, but you forgive yourself and learn to love yourself despite them. In other words, they must recognize their own self-worth long enough to tolerate the critical self-analysis needed for discovering truth. (Note: you don’t have to think a given individual has value in order to recognize that they need to believe as much in order to advance themselves towards greater understanding). This allows the unkind truth to exist in full understanding without destroying the self or the ego or otherwise leading to despair. In fact, no amount of realistic self-understanding can take place without self-forgiveness because the negative truths can’t be held onto long enough without rejection to give them the proper analysis they are due. Without that analysis those truths can’t be understood, and if they are not understood then it is impossible to discern solutions and ultimate transcendence past those issues. In other words, to let those problems go and move on. Once you can recognize and accept the problems in yourself, it is easier to recognize and accept the problems in others. It becomes possible to at least entertain the possibility that negative truths exist about individuals or groups and it should no longer feel so imperative to shut down any evaluation of evidence before it even starts (like they do at google).
While it is a very good and worthwhile thing to keep the lists of facts rolling out and exposing them to as many people as possible, for the incorrigibly fact resistant it is probably a good idea to not even bother with it. Rather, greater attention should be paid to fixing whatever underlying spiritual (or psychological, if you prefer) issues exist. Until these internal issues are cleared away, it is not going to be possible to move on to harder external topics and expect any kind of success. While I think my particular diagnosis and explanation here is indeed correct, I leave open the possibility that I am wrong in the details or even the cause. However, I do think the spending more time on learning how to resolve, and help others resolve, the spiritual configurations that lead to violently angry rejection of unwanted truths to be the more fruitful path towards curing those infected with hopeless progressivism. Metaphysical lessons on the acceptance of truth and how to do that in a spiritual way, even when it’s hard, is almost certainly going to be a lot more valuable in the long run for these people. However, such change and advancement is a deeply personal development and each individual has to make the choice to walk down that path on their own. Guideposts, like this post, can be provided but that is about it.
While I think my particular diagnosis and explanation here is indeed correct, I leave open the possibility that I am wrong in the details or even the cause. However, I do think that spending more time on learning how to resolve, and help others resolve, the spiritual configurations that lead to violently angry rejection of unwanted truths to be the more fruitful path towards curing those infected with hopeless progressivism.
In an instance of synchronicity, it seems that I am not the only one who has come to a similar conclusion recently so maybe there is something to this theme after all. Thanks to /u/freshoutofgeekistan for the timely submission to /r/darkenlightenment. I do recommend you read the whole article this is quoted from, it is quite good.
what you refuse to acknowledge controls you; what you acknowledge, you can learn to control.
Now of course doing this involves challenging some very deep-seated cultural imperatives. It’s one of the basic presuppositions of our culture that we’re supposed to become perfect, and the way to become perfect, we’re told, is to amputate whatever part of ourselves keeps us from being perfect. The last sixteen hundred years or so of moral philosophy in the Western world have been devoted to this theme: find the thing that’s causing us to be evil, find some way to chop it off, and then we’ll all behave like plaster saints. The mere fact that it never works hasn’t yet slowed down the endless profusion of attempts to try it again.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to try something else for a change.
How about this? In place of perfection, wholeness.
Human beings are never going to be perfect, not if perfection means the amputation of some part of human experience, whether the limb that’s being hacked off is our sexual instincts, our aggressive instincts, or any other part of who and what we are. Instead, we can be whole. We can accept our sexuality, whatever that happens to be, and weave it into the pattern of our individual lives and our relationships with other people in ways that uphold the values we cherish and yield as much joy and as little unnecessary pain for as many people as possible. That doesn’t mean always acting out our desires—in some cases, it can mean never acting them out at all. What it means is that we make the choice ourselves, rather than handing it over to some automatism or other mandated by popular culture.
In exactly the same way, we can accept our hatreds, whatever those happens to be, and weave them into the pattern of our individual lives and our relationships with other people so that its potent energy serves to defend the things and people we value. That doesn’t mean that we ought to express our hate on every occasion—here again, it can mean never expressing it at all. It means recognizing that hate is as much as part of being human as love, and finding a place for it in there with all the other emotions that we inevitably feel.
It means, ultimately, giving up on the fantasy that we can become more than human by making ourselves incomplete. By accepting our own nature in all its richness and contradictory complexity, and finding a use for everything that comes with being human, maybe we can stop making the same mistakes over and over again, and do something a little less idiotic with our time on Earth.
The word amputate is used above, but the argument is the same. Wholeness and acceptance is preferable and more healthy than rejection, anger, and incompleteness. If people are more spiritually healthy on an individual level, they most likely will be far more willing and able to understand and accept the unfortunate societal truths like sex and race differences in intelligence. I suspect that this line of effort would end up being far more productive in coaxing out the most smitten of leftists from their unrealities than our previous efforts at fact listing.Add to favorites