The Nebulous Consequences of Acting Like You Believe

Under Russian communism, people knew what they were supposed to say and what not, but it did not mean that the majority of Russians actually believed Russian propaganda, that was why things like “The Terror” were perhaps necessary; purges and executions keeping people bewildered and scared. East Germans did not simply embrace Marxism either, hence the desire to escape over the Berlin Wall by some, and the need for perpetual surveillance. Professors at the University of Belgrade under Yugoslav communism who were overt Marxists were regarded as hacks and jokes by perhaps the majority of the students; not people to be taken seriously, though the relatively moderate rule of Tito, not being as oppressive as Soviet-style communism, was also not as opposed. Likewise, it seems like German fascism enjoyed more popular support than Bolshevism which really was a tiny movement. Russians were used to autocratic rule, and still are. So, once the Czar abdicated, the “head of state” could be fairly neatly replaced with Lenin and his cronies. Popular support was neither expected nor required. Russian peasants tended to be staunchly theistic and thus opposed to communism with its atheism. The disaster of collectivized farming would not have helped either.

The US now has identitarian totalitarian politics permeating every institution of American society; the government, civil service, army, teachers’ unions, elementary, secondary, and college education, the FBI, CIA, news media, social media, most courts, judges, and prosecutors, at least in big cities, and the biggest most powerful corporations. Supposedly, something like 50% of Americans think that Trump voters need to be eradicated through reeducation programs or worse. They claim to think that the unarmed rioters who entered the Capitol building and killed no one is proof that Trump voters are an existential threat, and “enemies of the state” to follow Nancy Pelosi’s terminology, though this seems to be more just a pretext for continued persecution.

America has a corrupt system where former high officials of the government, or the army, go into private industry after the end of the jobs, and get richly rewarded if what they did in office served their later employer’s interests. Barack Obama now has $100 million for no sane reason. Hillary Clinton gets speaking fees in the 100,000s of dollars as a form of money laundering, since no reasonable person would regard this as a sound investment to listen to some platitudes from a failed politician for an hour. Just imagine the cost benefit analysis of doing so. American generals know that in order to take advantage of this corruption, where they are expected to exploit their continuing relationship with those still in the army, they must be woke, since the biggest, richest, corporations have embraced identity politics. The number of retired generals who decided to denounce Trump for suggesting he might use troops to quell the violent rioting, burning, and looting, of 2020 was truly remarkable and in violation of at least the spirit of the law.[1] Members of the armed forces are not supposed to criticize publicly the commander in chief. The retired generals expected to be listened to precisely because of their former rank. The two-faced nonsense factor can be seen with absolute clarity by the fact that none of these pro-riot activists complained when 25,000 National Guardsmen were brought into Washington DC after January 6th, 2021, that exhibited a fraction of the violence of the summer 2020 burnings, lootings, assaults on police.

Most academics are leftist, but also live in fear of losing their jobs or hopes for promotion if they do not follow diversity, inclusion and equity agenda or push back at it in any way. Employees of corporations, though presumably not being a majority of leftists, are nonetheless also silenced out of fear. It is possible to listen to podcast hosts who encourage their listeners to be brave and speak out, though such behavior only boosts their own ratings while their listeners would be ending their careers in all likelihood.

In places like Bosnia, ruled by the Ottoman Empire, anyone hoping to get ahead in life had to convert to Islam. One would have thought that this purely transactional, expedient move would mean a life of hypocrisy; going through the motions while not truly believing that Mohammad was a prophet. However, the descendants of these converts are still Muslim hundreds of years later. Aristotle advised that acting bravely, for instance, can become habitual until a person’s emotions also cooperate. It seems reasonably common for actors and actresses being paid to pretend to be in love on screen to start to actually start having the feelings they were simulating. This suggests that pretending to be woke for long enough might actually lead to being woke. And yet, we have the counter-example of the Russians kowtowing while their true feelings remained opposed.

Russia used fear and propaganda and succeeded in coercing its citizens to do what the elites wanted, but seemed to have a fairly high degree of simmering resentment. Education departments in colleges are fully woke and it is not possible to get a teaching degree while pointedly rejecting identitarian politics, which is true of many other departments. So, indoctrination of anti-white, anti-American, hatred starts in elementary school and continues from there. It is true that none of it makes any sense and is self-contradictory; but that did not prevent moral and cultural relativism from becoming the firm conviction of most Americans, while their actions belied this belief, since they continued to take moral decency seriously.

Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World, a dystopian world devoted to libertine hedonism. When George Orwell wrote 1984 he sent a copy to Huxley to get his opinion. Huxley responded that he believed he was right and Orwell wrong; that killing through kindness; through pleasure, was a better long-term strategy than fear. People will actively, willingly, perhaps evenly joyfully pursue pleasure all by themselves, whereas torture and surveillance is expensive, time-consuming, and is likely to engender resentment and resistance.

For the very topmost elites, the reward is fabulous riches and perhaps power. They have a pleasure motive. For the rest of us, no riches are coming; merely the ability to continue making a living; not much of a reward. It seems mostly it is the threat of punishment and thus fear that keeps the majority on track. However, when Democrats are asked what they are most afraid of, they respond that it is Republicans, whereas Republicans will say something like “taxes” rather than their fellow US citizens. This resembles the Rwandan genocide that pitted half the population against the other half more than Russian or Yugoslav communism, or conversion to Islam. Bosnian Muslims were not encouraged to engage in a Jihad against Bosnian Christians. And just like in Rwanda, this dichotomous murderous fear-driven hatred is sponsored by what is in effect state-controlled media (in Rwanda citizens were instructed over the radio to start killing their neighbors.) In the evil The Hunt, it is Democrats who hunt down and shoot Republicans in a manner that is supposed to be funny; especially probably because Republicans are usually thought of as the gun toting ones.

Podcasters like Michael Malice, an avowed anarchist who rejects identitarian politics, distinguishes between being red-pilled, blue-pilled, black-pilled, and white-pilled. Red pilled, is taken from the movie The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo a red pill that awakens someone to the deep state style manipulation which informs his life. Blue pill means accepting the status quo and going back to sleep. The neologisms are “black pilled” – meaning all is lost and everything is hopeless and “white-pilled” – meaning a belief that a full recovery can be made and sanity restored.

The black-pill vision of things would be that once all major institutions of American life have been ideologically captured no alternative view of things exists. Most people are relatively unthinking and do not even notice that their avowed beliefs do not and cannot possibly reflect reality.  There is no evidence that the fact that moral and cultural relativism, taught as dogma for decades, has been replaced by the current elites in favor of moral absolutism and epistemic omniscience, providing complete moral certainty on all issues, has permeated the minds of most. Given the relentless and ubiquitous propaganda starting at preschool, being excluded from jobs if the “correct” woke attitudes are rejected, how could the Left not win? Having a single maverick like Trump who simply would not bow down to what he considered lies and malfeasance no matter what does not really change this scenario. Mainstream Republicans like Mitch McConnell offer no real alternative to what is now considered “polite” speech. They offer no protection of any kind against anti-white propaganda. In fact, such career politicians offer a Hobson’s choice of no choice.  If one were playing a game like “Civilization” and the choices were complete ideological capture of all institutions and a single savior who functioned as an isolated figure of resistance and rejection of these institutions, it would be crazy to go with the savior-figure as a long-term winning strategy.

A white-pilled interpretation of the current situation could include the fact that being cowered in fear is an inherently unstable situation, like a lid on a boiling pot of water. DEI and wokedom are both conceptually incoherent and self-contradictory and thus anti-reality, and reality can only be denied for so long. So, eventually, the current state of affairs must alter. However, this need not be until US society and all developed countries implode and return to a stone-age existence in the manner of “The Catastrophe” that devastated the civilized world around 1200 BC.

[1] https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/06/06/scores-of-retired-military-leaders-publicly-denounce-trump.html

11 thoughts on “The Nebulous Consequences of Acting Like You Believe

  1. Yes – I agree.

    It should all make it easier for Christians to be Not Of This World, as is required of us. But so far, it seems that not many have come to this obvious conclusion. Even having done so – it is difficult to break this-worldly habits. Still, that is surely the way forward. If there is any worldly benefit to be had, or worldly project to be done; it lies on the far side of the unworldly state of mind.

  2. Denunciation is part and parcel of ideological totalitarianism. Of course, ideology, when it comes into power, is bound by its nature to be totalitarian. Islam is on a constant hunt for heresy, and so is Communism. Denouncing your family — or your teacher — proves your conformity to the program and earns you a merit badge.

  3. Great post. I agree with almost everything you wrote except a small quibble at the end. I view a Bronze Age collapse type event as the best possible outcome for the long-term survival of white people. That probably sounds like I’m black pilled but actually, I think it’s going to happen so it’s really a white pill.

    • Thanks, Whitney! The survivors will hopefully be the ones who haven’t learned to hate themselves just for their skin color.

  4. I used to think that progressive ideology would be corrected by negative feedbacks. I suppose I still think that, but now recognize that there will be much more ruin before there is correction. I’m thinking, first of all, about a sexual morality that seriously undermines healthy biological reproduction, and then about an educational policy that seriously undermine cultural reproduction, and then about a political ideology that psychologically damages the majority population.

    As you and Tom have often explained, Woke ideology is an example of scapegoating, which is another way of saying cheap grace. This means the costs of sainthood are externalized, since a Wokester does not have to make personal sacrifices. I’ve yet to read a Woke equivalent to St. Augustine’s “Lord, make me chaste—but not yet.” For example, I’ve yet to read “make me antiracist–but not yet.” Let me commit one more micro-aggression! Wokesters earn grace by scapegoating normal people, and by promoting and implementing a ruinous morality, policy, and ideology.

    I think every belief system takes on more and more hypocrites as it succeeds. It begins with a nucleus of true believers, but eventually takes on a mass of conformists and careerists who have simply adapted to the fact that it is the dominant belief system. As you say, hypocrisy can ripen into true belief, so some people who begin as conformists or careerists become true believers. But even when this ripening does not occur, a hypocrite has the same social effect of a true believer. A teacher who simply mouths Woke platitudes spreads those platitudes.

    Speaking as an anti-utopian, I think this entire project must fail, and that the failure of a this-world utopia cannot be hidden forever. But I greatly fear the fury that will come when the failure is clear but the utopians are still in charge. The failure will not be attributed to a foolish morality, policy and ideology, but to subversive counter-revolutionaries who must be destroyed.

    • The definition of Woke is the scapegoating of white men vis-a-vis blacks. We whites are responsible for black failure due to racism. This analysis can’t change without abandoning Woke ideology. The specifics are irrelevant and can change as needed. No agency is ascribed to the black population other than attacking whites. Studying philosophy has given me a strong appreciation of first principles and the way everything else follows from them.

      Woke can’t possibly work. If all whites were murdered tomorrow, nothing good would result for blacks. Taxes paying for welfare would largely cease and most employment also. Plus, there are endless contradictions.

      Whites being blamed for the failure would just be a continuation of the scapegoating. It reminds me of Stalin accusing engineers of sabotage when they failed to implement his fantasy production dictates.

    • I agree. One can be too optimistic invoking negative feedback effects–damaging for the host society doesn’t necessarily mean damaging for the ideology. A woke program that increases poverty, crime, and academic failure among blacks, for instance, would probably make the woke ideology stronger. A policy that produced economic collapse for society as a whole would create a demand for scapegoats, which is wokism’s specialty. It’s probably not unusual for an ideology to have perverse incentives like this. It’s often been pointed out that no movement can survive success, so we should expect the competition of ideologies to select for those that reliably make their justifying problems worse.

      • Christopher Lasch wrote about psychoanalysis in these terms. It did nothing to cure neurosis, but the analysand enjoyed or became addicted to it for other reasons. Those who could afford it were in therapy forever. The psychoanalytic scam ended, not because psychoanalysis did not work, but because therapies that did work (somewhat) came along and replaced it.

        Woke ideology cannot solve the problem it promises to solve, and will very likely make them worse, but it sates other appetites. It will never go away if the problem it promises to solve is insoluble, and there is no better method to replace it.

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.