At Easter dinneri yesterday, after stuffing ourselves with chocolate and turkeyii I found myself conversing with a young criminal lawyer who will soon be marrying into the same family that I did last summer. I think this makes us laws-in-laws. Anyways, we were chatting about the Legal Aid clients she’s working with and how some are so broken that she doesn’t even know where to start. Alcohol abuse, drug addiction, poor cultural ties, you name it, they have it. And not that this has ever been otherwise, but she was also frustrated by the increasingly harsh policies disproportionately affecting these lower classes. The leeway for wrist-slapping is shrinking and judges are handing out increasingly stiff penalties to people who’re unable to represent themselves and unable to afford representation.
This all seems, to her, horribly unfair, and through the lens of progressive egalitarianism, as is typical in contemporary socialist democracies like Canada, it could never be anything else. But where does this lens come from, and what are its effects?
We can trace the modern interpretation of progressive egalitarianism to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Father of the French Revolution, and his discourse promoting the ideas of libre-arbitre,iii societal social structure as the result of human choice rather than innate qualities, and social change as a moral imperative.
For the last 260 years, this narrative has played out. At the door, we left our culture, our language, our heritage, and we walked into the giant atrium of Glas und Stahl and pretended cumbayá was all we needed. In this new world, unshackled by ancient strictures, everyone had social mobility and everyone could be anything.
While this was noble enough, we well know that tëchnë and epistemë are as different as Cain and Abel, or for that matter, Bitcoiners and Fiaters. In practise, making sure that everyone is equal and that no one feels out of place results in horrors no worse than infantilized adults, discombobulated personal relationships, and uneducated mobs whose only ability is consumption, resulting in equality being defined purely in terms of this ability. Because really, what else unites us all?
MP must have been reading my mind, or I his, because An hero is he… hits on this exact point. To wit:
Personally, I blame the primary school system. Originally, it was the case that children aged five to ten using new words which they had heard but failed to look up in the dictionary or else check with an adult were simply beaten. Just like that, either clear the word or not use it.
As actual eggs have been replaced with battery eggs and actual milk with soy whey or whatever the hell they use these days, educating children so as they grew up into humans was also replaced with educating children so as they grow up into consumers, which is a sort of chimp. Consequently, all in the spirt of cost reduction (which means spending less to get “the same”) but under the pretense of “empowering” (which means, lower the standard of work so even fucktards can go around pretending they’re lawyers or teachers or whatnot, even if they’d have been laughed out of town back in the day of their parents) education has also changed. Children are no longer required to look up words today (or anything else), nor have they for a good two or three decades. Instead, they are encouraged to… guess. That’s right, to “guess” as to what the word may mean… based on… “its context”.
So not only do we see that we’ve created a culture of equals, but that in doing so, education has degraded to the point where reading, writing, and arithmetic are as foreign as a second language. All we’re left with is are undifferentiated masses of flesh and apps. MP continues:
In other words, a child with no actual experience, and no valuable mental processes at the ready is asked to construct his own personal world out of the shit between his ears. This is obviously not education, but more akin a very perverse intellectual masturbation. The results of this very very broken process are of course the ungovernable, uneducable, useless masses of people we run into all over the web today, they for whom the only hope is more “government spending”, for as long as that lasts. With a very high if wholly baseless opinion of themselves, completely incapable to exploit – or even meaningfully interact with – their environment, completely unable to even understand each other to any degree.
The externalized forms of “knowledge” that we’ve come to rely on so heavily, particularly Google, don’t help matters:
The way Google search works may seem a ready metaphor to explain the problem : inasmuch as only results similar to those on which the user clicked in the past are even presented as a choice, the search engine insulates the subject into a wholly artificial bubble of agreement, which renders him first unwilling and soon incapable of dealing with the actual reality. This does not go far enough however…
The college student of today is mentally incapable of understanding material fit for highschoolers two generations ago, and will have to expend degrees of magnitude more effort to comprehend topics fit for the junior high students of 1970…
This new method in effect reduces the working of the human brain to simple symbol matching and little more. Such reduction works splendidly well to produce consumers, the best consumers imaginable, because as the actual control mechanisms atrophy, simple recognition-based drivers of behaviour take over. Each time someone bought an item they didn’t actually need, without as much as stopping to consider if they needed it, let alone if they could pay for it (or how they’d pay for it), simply because they recognised it, taken over and carried away by that giddy enthusiasm of the monkey brain, the method of mental castration discussed here has delivered its fruits.
Those fruits are perhaps sweet for the sellers of crap, arguably, at least on the short term. They are also bitter for everyone else, including the government declaring those sellers too big to fail, and the pensioneers pooling their pension funds (unwittingly, of course) into the equity of the seller, and the yet unborn children which will have to parent themselves, somehow.
Not only have we burdened future generations with crazy debt, but we’re effectively disarmed their brains, lest they actually try to solve the problems of the last 250 years. To boot, our living standards are far outstripping our finite planet’s ability to support us. Thus, plasticized foods, poisoned rivers, etc. This is, of course, avoidable.
The tragedy is that it’d take a lot less work, and a lot fewer lashes and welts per inch, to have achieved the same effect aged 5 than it takes aged 25.
As someone looking to start a family in the next few years, you’d better believe that my kids are going to be disciplined in reading, writing, math, and playing with fucking LEGO blocks. And one only hopes, thinking. It’s the least I can do.
Overall, from a societal and ecological perspective, what began with the French Revolution in the late 18th century, has led to the most grotesque abuses of people and our planet in our collective history. Bloody wars, environmental abuse, and social upheaval are just the tip of the iceberg.
Moving forward can only mean moving beyond consumerism, which also means moving beyond progressive egalitarianism.
So let’s forget the French Revolution ever happened. And save our planet in the process.
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- Or was it Passover dinner? In Arabic, 3eid el Fise7 means both “Happy Easter” and “Happy Passover” because Arabs fundamentally see Jews and Christians as ethnically Arabs, albeit ones divided on religious grounds (at least until one forcibly converts the other). 3eid el Fise7 is therefore a sort of a universal “Happy Spring Festival.” To people who think that Hallmark invented the sun and the moon, this also explains the symbolism of bunnies and eggs as springtime representations of rebirth and new beginnings. [↩]
- Why do we eat meat and chocolate on Easter? Well, meat was once a luxury, not something we ate every fucking day, and it therefore represented a well deserved treat after a hard winter and a long lent. Today, when we eat it (more like order it) without a second thought, we have no choice but to build disgusting animal factories and pump the poor things with so many antibiotics and so much GMO poison that they have to be crammed side-by-side like sardines lest they be given the dignity and space to keel over and die. Chocolate, too, used to be an exotic luxury, not something eaten for breakfast. Meh. This too shall pass. [↩]
- Free will. [↩]