Monday, October 11, 2021

Hope, Change, and Superiority

Continuing with the previous post, we were discussing the Moldbuggian concept of the Cathedral, which we call the progressive Matrix But first, an embarrassing confession.

Even back when I was a liberal I was always looking for systemic unity and conceptual integration -- in other words, I wanted to understand how facts and ideas that appear unrelated on a lower level are unified at a higher and deeper level. 

Nothing wrong with that, because it's simply what thinking is and does, whether in science or the humanities -- or in pseudoscience and the subhumanities. As always, the question isn't whether the mind seeks unity and integration, but whether the integration is true -- whether it conforms to the Permanent Real.

Pick any entree from the progressive kookbook and you will immediately notice that it offers a kind of unity -- a pseudo-unity to be sure, but unity just the same. For again: all humans, by virtue of being human, seek unity, and the very progress of human thought can be seen as a ceaseless struggle between good and functional unity -- AKA progress -- and regressive and dysfunctional unity. 

It's not a matter of left and right, but rather, up and down. Truth, or necessary being, is up, its entailments and contingencies down. Unless you are a postmodern progressive, in which case contingency is at the top and bottom. Which reduces to power.

An allied problem is that in the contemporary west there are waaaaay too many thinkers, or people who presume to think. These latter are indeed presumptuous, and with good reason, for to say intellectual is to say pride. The self-regard of these mediocretins is off the charts, but Humility knows what comes next. 

Just as there is the true guffah-HA! experience, there are any number of counterfeit ones. How to tell the difference? The false version excludes in order to unify; as such, it functions more to eliminate the ambiguity of reality than to unify the psyche at a higher level. At the same time, it takes no notice of anomalies. In short, it is not bothered by the cognitive dissonance that troubles a normal person.

For example, in response to the shock of the 2016 election, Democrats identified a unified theory that explained everything: President Trump is a Russian agent! It is no coincidence that these same people have embraced the conspiracy theory that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. 

More generally, you will have noticed that the conspiracy-prone can easily flit from one theory to another. The form scarcely matters, because it's the function that counts, and the function is to organize an otherwise disordered, chaotic, and anxiety-ridden mind. For it is not the healthy who need a doctorate in gender studies or queer theory, but the sick. 

Take a feminist. Please. Back in my day, such women would enter psychotherapy in order to figure out why they were so miserable. Before that they would just get married and have children. Problem solved. 

But feminism -- or any ideology for that matter -- allows one to politicize the human condition, and why not? Promise a facile solution to an insoluble problem, and you've got a lifetime Democrat.

Life is hard -- full of pain, loss, conflict, compromise. Adopting an ideology accomplishes two things: it 1) locates an easy enemy to explain one's unhappiness, while 2) offering hope that the unhappiness will be eliminated in the future once the enemy is vanquished. In short, it allows one to externalize pain in the present while promising a cure in the future.

Hope and Change. Give the prophet Obama credit: he abstracted the deeper form of any and all ideology and promised it to his supporters, who consisted of -- not coincidentally -- the over- and undereducated, AKA Lowfo and Nofo voters, those most susceptible to promises of false Slack. Just like today's promise, it will pay for itself!

Anyway, the embarrassing part is that, back when I was a liberal, I wanted to figure out the "real reason" why conservatives could believe such clearly stupid and even evil nonsense.  

Looking back on it, I realize that my liberal beliefs were completely unexamined, in part because they existed not on an epistemological plane, but rather, on a moral one. In other words, they were all about virtue signaling: I am better than you, for I care about women, children, immigrants, native Americans, blacks, gays, labor unions, trannies, you name it. I care. I am smarter than you, and I have an advanced degree to prove it.

Mother was right: I am a good man.