Category Archives: Mechanisms of control

“How you feel is your choice!”

I’ve talked about the “your feelings are your own choice” tactic before, but not in depth. In this entry, I mentioned it as one thought-stopper amongst many, because it’s used to invalidate people’s feelings and thereby silencing whatever gave rise to those feelings.

I mean, yes, in theory it sounds all empowerment-y and self-help-like, but in practice it’s used to manipulate others. I believe it’s actually a standard trick they teach in management school: they learn to deflect a worker’s unwanted expressions of emotions (anger, boredom, resentment, what have you) by making it the worker’s responsibility, that if they wanted they could be “positive.”

Another area where this principle is used, although implicitly, is when a person is incriminated by the fact that they don’t express feelings, or express the “wrong” feelings. In general, we view people who don’t express the “correct” feelings in response to an event as inherently suspicious, as if they either have some mental issue or are hiding something.

I hope I don’t have to actually explain this to anyone, but feelings do not arise from conscious thought. Feelings are an automatic response to stimuli. The concept that we consciously modulate our emotions based on some criterion does not describe normal human beings: however, it does describe sociopaths pretty well, so it is perhaps not entirely surprising that the two places where this principle is most applied, cults and businesses, are places where sociopaths excel.

One can apply this principle to fool others, in which case it means manipulating others through one’s reactions, or one can try to fool oneself, in which case it means lying to oneself. The latter, I think, is especially damaging because of its lack of integrity: at least when you lie to others you still retain your own personality and your own truth, but when one is thought-stopping, one is actively trying to erase one’s own truth.

To make a person responsible for their own feelings is a form of false responsibility. Now, while I say this, I don’t mean to say that all feelings are valid and should be passively accepted; if you have a wildly disproportionate emotional response to a situation, then you might want to change something about your life. But you are still not responsible for the existence of that emotional response (your physical response, on the other hand, is a totally different story).

We can observe the collapse into oneself that this causes with the following quote I once saw hanging at my workplace:

The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
Charles Swindoll

The message, I think, is clear: the outside world is out of your control, so it’s useless to even think about change. Instead, you have to turn inward and work on your “attitude.” In the case of Swindoll, an evangelical Christian pastor and the author of such books as “The Mystery Of God’s Will: What Does He Want For Me?”, the “attitude” in question is presumably “blind faith and a naive trust in authority.” But what do I know. I’m just a raging atheist.

In its usual context, it’s really another form of blaming the victim, because it’s used to deflect the feelings of people who have been victimized. I showed one example of this in my entry on David Wasserman’s pathetic arguments in Debating Procreation, where he trots out the testimony of one paraplegic to “prove” that even the worse harms are really not so bad if you have the right feelings about them.

This is an incredibly disgusting and despicable way of arguing. But more importantly, it reflects how the very concept of victimhood itself is being erased: according to liberal rhetoric, we can’t plainly state that someone is a victim any more because it “erases people’s agency” in “empowering” themselves, which really means an artificial feeling of power but no actual power. Essentially, they are negating facts of reality with subjective feelings. Usually we call that a delusion.

I know I often come back to the concept of “agency” to the point of obsession, but it’s such a fundamental issue that we have to come back to it. It’s the chewy center of all anti-radical rhetoric, the code-word used to hammer against egalitarianism and for hatred, the number one thought-stopper used in “social justice.” It is difficult for people to even consider “agency” as a false concept because of the widespread belief in free will.

So here are what I think are the two parts to this whole erasure of victimhood:

Step 1- Acceptance of the belief that victimhood is not a statement of fact but a feeling. Anyone who does not feel victimized cannot be a victim.
I’ve already pointed out how this is used generally. We also see this strategy used to support the rape culture (e.g. “if a woman doesn’t feel like she was raped, then it wasn’t rape”). We also see it in the attempt to separate “good” oppressed from “bad” oppressed (i.e. “Some of those *minority group* complain all the time, but other *minority group* work hard and get along in society”).

Step 2- We can change our own feelings simply by wishing it so.
Assuming that victimhood is a feeling does not nullify its existence, if you are still rational enough to understand that feelings are not under our control. It is only once you believe that feelings are part of our “agency” that victimhood disappears.

We’re told that if we point out that someone was victimized, that we are the ones actually victimizing them. Understand what that means: if a rapist molests a little girl and we point out that the little girl was victimized, we’re the ones who victimized her, not the rapist. What the rapist did can be interpreted in many different ways, and if the little girl decides that it was a good thing, then we should shut up about it. Isn’t that a pretty good definition for collective insanity?

Liberals and conservatives: setting the limits of “rational” discourse.

From Sidewalk Bubblegum.

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of the margins of discourse (also called the Overton Window, a term which is unfortunately associated with a terrible book by Glenn Beck) set by the elite to the political dialogue that takes place in our societies. The margins of discourse not only determine what issues are seen as “important” and which are not, but they also determine how we talk about those issues, which positions are “reasonable” and which are not, and the limits of what is possible.

In most Western societies we have a “right-wing” and a “left-wing” which delimit the scope of possible positions and are usually distinguished by their stance on economics. Usually the right-wing is either ultra-capitalist or close enough to it that it can be said to be the extreme end of right-wing thought, but the left-wing is usually, in absolute terms, centrist at best, and nowhere close to the extreme end of left-wing thought. Most left-wing parties have more in common with their right-wing counterparts than with the vast majority of left-wingers.

This is the expected result of living in a culture where capitalism is dominant. But the end result is that left-wing authorities end up being gatekeepers towards anyone who disagrees with the status quo. The role of a gatekeeper is to keep their ideology “protected” from all those who’d radicalize it and thereby make it “unsellable.”

The net effect is that we have severe limitations on the kind of political discussions that we have in the Western world. Many social issues are reduced to property issues (abortion, gun control, minimum wage, corporate power) or work issues (immigration, education, sexism and racism), which is not surprising given that we think and discuss within a capitalist framework.

In the US, the people setting the media agendas (such as journalists, editors, and political commentators) are all capitalists, which magnifies the effect greatly.

Take the example of gun control, which I’ve already discussed. The right-wing position is that anyone should be free to own firearms, while the left-wing position is that there should be severe restrictions on who is allowed to own firearms, as well as on the kind of firearms that can be owned.

What is omitted from both positions is firearms ownership by the State and, by extension, the violence committed by the State. From a capitalist standpoint, the police and military functions of the government are part of the implicit infrastructure of property rights and must remain unquestioned.

The left-wing position, that firearms sold to the general population should be restricted, is understood as the limits of discussion on the subject, and left-wingers know that in order to protect the credibility of their “gun control” policy (i.e. certain specific kinds of guns and certain specific kinds of control) they must suppress more “radical” positions such as questioning the use of firearms by the State.

The further irony is that the individualistic framework through which we analyze political issues also hides the control over our discourse as “free speech.” We are told that we are “free to hold any opinion without interference,” even though this control represents major interference with our ability to hold opinions.

The more vigorous the debate, the more effectively the basic doctrines of the propaganda system, tacitly assumed on all sides, are instilled. Hence the elaborate pretense that the press is a critical dissenting force — maybe even too critical for the health of democracy — when in fact it is almost entirely subservient to the basic principles of the ideological system…
Noam Chomsky

The more vigorous the debate, the more people believe that right-wing positions and left-wing positions are distinct and opposite frameworks, and the more their commonalities remain obscured. These commonalities form the core of what we call “rational” and “pragmatic” political discourse. Furthermore, these positions can be referred to in a rapid manner, while positions outside the margins must be explained and defended, making them unsuited for media exposure, which also means that breaking the margins of discourse is particularly difficult even for sympathetic actors.

There is this bizarre, abstract belief that the “middle ground” is where the truth is, that searching for the middle of two positions is “reasonable” and a “compromise,” and so on. Logically, this is a fallacy called argument to moderation.

Politically, I think this way of thinking results from the fact that we are constantly confronted with two general positions which are opposed in “vigorous debate,” and that people are seen as “reasonable” when they are not “argumentative.” If both positions are “argumentative” and these two positions delimit what is “rational,” then the truth must be somewhere in the middle. There’s nowhere else to look!

The “middle ground” depends on two extremes to define it. But how are these extremes chosen? In the political arena, these extremes are chosen by left-wing gatekeepers and the right-wing mainstream. Why should we believe that the democratic process is any better at fixing these extremes than anything else? Few people even believe that the democratic process is good at what it’s supposed to be actually doing, which is choosing the best person to rule over a nation. So why should we think the democratic process is good at fixing the margins of discourse?

Both mainstream positions are pro-hierarchies, because they both vie for power within a hierarchical system. If you believe, like I do, that hierarchies are a fundamental problem, then the idea that the truth must be somewhere “in the middle” can’t possibly work. A gradient between two positions can only encompass all the possibilities if they take opposite sides on every single possible variable, which is just not going to happen.

In most cases, if we delimit the issue properly, the truth is actually one of the two extremes. Between slavery and no slavery, the truth is obviously on the no slavery position. Between genocide and no genocide, the truth is obviously on the no genocide position. No “middle ground” is necessary here.

But my point is that the “middle ground” is never necessary. It is imbecilic to believe a position to be true just because it’s in the “middle” of some arbitrary brackets. That ain’t reason, just superstition.

Muddling the issue even more is the concept that you have to be an expert to speak authoritatively about political issues. So a lot of people think that they are entitled to hold to ignorant beliefs or opinions on the basis that rational political discourse should be left to experts (i.e. people who are not themselves). But it also leads to the belief that the experts, even those at the pay of corporations or governments, must know what is rational and what is not.

As Chomsky says, this seems to be particular to areas like politics:

No one has ever asked me whether I have the appropriate credentials to speak on [mathematics]; the mathematicians couldn’t care less. What they want to know is what I have to say…

In mathematics, in physics, people are concerned with what you say, not with your certification. But in order to speak about social reality, you must have the proper credentials, particularly if you depart from the accepted framework of thinking. Generally speaking, it seems fair to say that the richer the intellectual substance of a field, the less there is a concern for credentials, and the greater is the concern for content.

Theoretical political concepts are actually not that complicated. Any individual, willing to spend some time to read about these issues, can have a reasonable grasp of things like power, freedom, law, hierarchy, rights, and so on. They are not intuitive concepts, but they’re not exactly rocket science. Most of this stuff is meant to look more complicated than necessary by intellectuals who want you to believe they’re complicated.

What everyone needs to understand these things is information. But relevant information, information that helps you understand politics, is not given to you by the education system or the media. You do have to seek it out on your own. And most people have no clear reason to do this. They are content to keep to partisan media and “experts.” But that won’t expand your understanding of social reality.

Non-fiction is not the only thing that’s worth reading. Fictional stories are equally powerful, and the imaginary provides a counter-weight to the crushing impositions on our concept of what is possible. If you’re interested, I’ve made a list of recommendations.

Brainwashing should be illegal everywhere.

The United States is a breeding ground for cults. Restrictions there are about as low as they can possibly be, even granting tax-exempt status to some of them (like Scientology). “Religious protection” is a huge part of that, in that cults can easily masquerade as religions, and opposing anything that looks like a religion seems to elicit profound fear in American governments at all levels. There is also this irrational belief in a peculiar version of American “individualism,” which holds that people’s decisions about their personal lives are beyond criticism.

Whatever the reason, the United States is littered with people whose lives have been broken by cults, and the process continues unabated. But other countries take a more proactive approach. For example, France has made brainwashing illegal as part of the About-Picard Law passed in 2001. This law prohibits:

[F]raudulent abuse of a state of ignorance or weakness of a person, either a minor, a person with particular vulnerability due to their age, illness, handicap, physical or mental deficit, or pregnancy, visible and known by the abuser, in a state of physical or psychological subjection as a result of the exercise of heavy or repeated pressure or the use of techniques likely to alter a person’s judgement, to induce that person to act or refrain from acting in a way that is seriously harmful to themselves.
Translation of article 223-15-2 of the French penal code

This is a pretty complicated run-on legalese sentence, but basically it identifies brainwashing as getting a person to act against their interests through heavy or repeated pressure. The second paragraph, which I didn’t translate, gives provisions for organizations to be sued on this basis also.

The term “brainwashing” (or as it’s more commonly called by experts nowadays, “thought reform”) is controversial because people have a lot of misconceptions about it. Brainwashing is not connected to hypnotism (although there are certain similarities), it doesn’t turn people into zombies, and it’s not necessarily about manipulating vulnerable people (as this law seems to presume). Therefore they conclude that brainwashing does not exist.

But anyone who’s studied cults can tell you that brainwashing does exist. We have so many testimonies, not just of people who have been brainwashed, but of people who used to work in various cults who were in charge of setting up brainwashing conditions, like setting up rooms or directing “courses.” And brainwashing has existed for centuries, and its techniques have been refined since then.

Any study of brainwashing has to begin with a study of Christian revivalism in eighteenth century America. Apparently, Jonathan Edwards accidentally discovered the techniques during a religious crusade in 1735 in Northampton, Massachusetts. By inducing guilt and acute apprehension and by increasing the tension, the “sinners” attending his revival meetings would break down and completely submit. Technically, what Edwards was doing was creating conditions that wipe the brain slate clean so that the mind accepts new programming. The problem was that the new input was negative. He would tell them, “You’re a sinner! You’re destined for hell!”
Dick Sutphen, The Battle For Your Mind

The concept of using trance states in undermining people’s critical barriers and making them more suggestible is nothing new, but the techniques have been refined over time. More recently, Scientology upped the game on brainwashing, creating many techniques which have inspired LGATs (Large Group Awareness Training, a relatively new form of mass brainwashing especially popular in the United States) and other modern cults.

I only have one problem with this law, that it only applies to vulnerable people, when brainwashing actually potentially works on everyone. Even experts who know how trance states work can get dragged along with it! That’s because trance states and brainwashing are not consensual: they operate at a subconscious level and through mechanical means, and you could never tell the techniques being employed unless you already understood them.

Laws against brainwashing must be adopted in the United States in order to stem the tide of lives being destroyed by flourishing cult organizations like LGATs and MLMs. Every week people are being brainwashed into abandoning their values and serving the interests of big national and multinational corporations (just like being a capitalist, am I right?), alienating themselves from friends, family, and loved ones, giving away their money, working every day to meet a quota or recruit more people. And when the hypnotic euphoria goes away, the money doesn’t come in, or there’s nothing left in their lives to ruin, people sometimes kill themselves.

One obvious “tell” that someone has been brainwashed is that a person will hold a value and its diametrical opposite with ease. Cults condition people to have huge blind spots towards the organization itself, doctrinal contradictions, or contradictions between the doctrine and the real world. So for example you have fundamentalist Christians who both profess an abhorrence of slavery and support Biblical slavery, or the Scientologist who claims to be able to communicate with anyone on any subject but was forced to disconnected from his family and is so collapsed into himself that he can barely talk.

Cognitive dissonance is the main crack in brainwashing and usually provides the means to undo it (although unlike the popular idea of deprogramming, most people actually leave cults of their own impetus). Even under the most total brainwashing, the individual still retains their original values, as shown by the fact that those values come back after leaving. So the issue of one of mental suppression of the pre-brainwashing personality, and of subsequent doubts.

It is therefore no surprise that cults have adopted a variety of suppression methods. By far the most commonly used is thought-stopping; although this is a crude tool, it can be very effective if one desires passive followers. Cults also program their followers to not look at outside information, under a variety of pretenses. They also hype themselves up as the one solution to the world’s problems and motivate you to not want to look at outside information. Loading of the language also makes it harder for people in a brainwashed mindset to assimilate outside information. And when that doesn’t work, there’s always threats, physical isolation, and so on.

The issue of cult is as pressing as ever, but I can’t help thinking that brainwashing laws could be applied to a much wider scope of activities and institutions. Parenting is one obvious example. Plenty of parents use repeated pressure to alter children’s judgment in ways that are harmful to themselves, although most people would call those ways perfectly normal and not directly harmful to the child.

Still, most brainwashing done in cults is not directly harmful, either. The point is not to harm, but to exploit. In that sense, parents are just as guilty of it as cults. In fact, that seems to be a good definition of pedagogy: repeatedly using pressure on children so they “come out right.” While they disagree on the nature of the pressure, whether pressuring children to be “free,” to study hard, to be more “normal,” or to be obedient, the result is the same.

Ultra-rationality and framing criticism as femininity.

Stairs Pyramid Man makes another appearance (his first one was here).

The criticism of anti-feminists follows clear gendered lines. Their hatred of women leads them to paint their equally hated critics as performing femininity. Anti-feminist advocates such as conservatives, “anarcho-capitalists” and libertarians, MRAs, Objectivists and evolutionary psychologists portray themselves as ultra-rational and logical, independent and courageous thinkers, anti-emotional, having a high degree of confront.

Fundamentalist Christians and nerd culture are exceptions: Christians cannot see themselves as ultra-rational due to the openly anti-intellectual and anti-rational nature of Christianity, and nerd culture is marginalized and therefore feminized itself.

Critics are always portrayed as hysterical, over-emotional and irrational, responsible for everything that happens to them, homosexuals, desirable targets for all kinds of violence.

To sociopaths, everyone else is an Other, everyone else is feminized. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:

The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.

He is also reported to have said:

Do you know the audience at a circus is just like a woman. Someone who does not understand the intrinsicly feminine character of the masses will never be an effective speaker. Ask yourself: ‘What does a woman expect from a man?’ Clearness, decision, power and action.

It’s interesting to note that those masses he talks about are at least half composed of men. Likewise, anti-feminists do not mind attacking men, even when they pretend to stand for “men’s rights,” “human rights” or believe in male superiority.

I have previously analyzed three rhetorical strategies that are relevant:

* Statements of human rights and demands for fairness are reframed as “entitlement” by right-wingers.

* Protesting and objecting to the status quo is reframed as rudeness and offensiveness.

* I’ve already mentioned the misattribution of personal responsibility.

There’s also another strategy I have not written about yet (I do plan to do so at a later time), which is scapegoating. The primary characteristic of scapegoats is that no abuse against them is too great, and that there is a natural psychological tendency to escalate cruelty against them. This applies to various hated groups such as people of different religions and “races,” criminals, children, women, and critics also enter into this category.

If critics are labeled as feminine, then it behooves us to see it for what it is: the product of woman-hatred and the association of that hatred with the hatred for any form of criticism shared by these ideologies. All closed, dogmatic systems of thought must generate hatred criticism by necessity. An actually rational person does not hate criticism, but analyzes it critically (is what is said true? is there a vested interest?). The fact that they hate criticism proves that their supposed rationality and much vaunted capacity to confront are facades.

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.
Tennessee Williams

This “ultra-rationality” manifests itself in a variety of ways:

* The reframing of their emotions as “rational” and their opponents’ emotions as “irrational.”
* The over-reliance on specific empirical data points, even when such data is insufficient or irrelevant.
* The invalidation of personal experience, even when said personal experience is credible and not used to justify any scientific statement.
* A tendency to either reject altruism altogether or to be suspicious of people’s motives to an obsessive degree.
* The assumption that human actions are, or should be, logical/rational/selfish; The reduction of humans to logic and/or Universal Reason (“man as rational animal”/homo economicus).
* The over-reliance on detecting logical fallacies (especially when no argument is being made) as a substitute for critical thinking.
* Assumption that the status quo requires no further evidence, but the demand that anything that goes against the status quo, no matter how obvious, be proven beyond doubt.
* Radicalism and constructionism are inherently suspicious and are sometimes lumped in with some vague idea of “Communism.”
* The over-reliance on “just so” stories, imaginary narratives, stories, parables, and other attempts at exploiting the imaginary.
* As an extension of the previous point, hiding subjectivity under a veneer of objectivity, and denouncing the opposition’s objectivity as subjective.
* The pretense of being high confront.
* Hiding one’s values under the guise of being “value-neutral,” “free from bias” and “just looking at the facts.” Rejecting empathy, compassion and other interpersonal considerations is called “rationality,” and of course such considerations are framed as feminine.

(perhaps the best example of ultra-rationality in the media is the show Bones, where the titular character is profoundly irrational about anything not directly related to her work but still believes she’s the smartest person in the room)

This last point really cannot be overemphasized. Consider the astonishing fact that empathy and kindness are considered to be “female traits.” What does that tell us about masculinity? And what does that tell us about ideologies which reject femininity?

I don’t think it takes a lot of thinking to realize that, if one defines oneself as being outside of, and superior to, empathy and kindness, then one is likely to be a pretty hateful person and to disguise that hatred under the guise of “rationality.”

Beyond this, empathy and suffering exist beyond reason and cannot be explained rationally, therefore the ultra-rational cannot take it into account, even if they wanted to.

The obsessional is a conformist, constantly splitting emotions off from intellectual operations, and thus presenting a kind of cold rationality or hyperrationality. This type flourishes in families and institutions that promote order for order’s sake, “Prussian” values, sexual suppression, monetary discipline, envy, and affectless intellectualism.
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

Why use the term “ultra-rationality”? Because overemphasis on rationality, crowding out empathy, common sense and holistic (non-linear) thinking, turns rationality into an abstract, subjectivist, self-reinforcing dogma.

As has been often noted, most recently by the organization Deep Green Resistance, misogyny and anti-environmentalism go hand-in-hand: the way a society demeans women takes part in the same principle by which we disvalue children, other animals, and the land (women are routinely associated with all these things). It is therefore no wonder that ideologies which use femininity as an insult also disvalue these things as well.

“The abolition of gender will never happen!”

It always makes me laugh when people accuse me of holding to unrealistic positions or of not accepting the more pragmatic solution. When have I ever even shown an inkling of desire to be pragmatic or conciliating? When have I ever refused to follow the truth? Pragmatism is the watchword of people who refuse to think.

That being said, I do want to examine the objections of people who argue that gender abolitionism cannot “work,” mainly because their arguments are similar to those used against the abolition of other institutions or social constructs, like religion, class or hierarchies in general. Therefore I think this issue goes to the core of what radicalism is all about.

1. Gender is innate.

I’ve already discussed this quite a bit, so I won’t spend a whole lot of space on this one, but it is a common response applied to any social construct. The first line of defense that will form around any social hierarchy is pseudo-science which endeavors to “prove” that it is “a fact of nature.”

So you get early anthropologists telling us that centralized power and religion are marks of “civilization,” phrenologists showing us the “criminal head,” and sociobiologists “discovering” that gender is a biological fact. Actual science never confirms these “discoveries,” but that never gets in the way of their supporters.

Even if gender actually was innate, it’s unclear how that would mean gender cannot be censored to some extent. After all, we all agree that the desire for sex is innate, but there are people who voluntarily choose a life of abstinence, and most of us do not have sex on a constant basis. We also agree that man is a social animal, but there are people who live without human contact.

So while gender being innate would make it impossible to eliminate it, it wouldn’t mean that gender cannot be mitigated.

2. Gender is so ingrained in the fabric of society that it cannot be eliminated.

I’m sure people said the same thing about slavery, too. Granted, we still haven’t eliminated slavery, but at least it’s illegal and marginalized everywhere, which is more than I can say for genderist brainwashing. Even if gender could not be eliminated, I’d settle for “genderism is now illegal and marginalized in all countries, and its proponents are considered the scum of the Earth.” How would that not be a victory?

Any hierarchy as major as gender will be integrated within all levels of society and will look intractable. And yet we fight against them because of their destructive effects on society and the world. Capitalism is a major enemy of human life, so we oppose it even if eliminating it looks impossible from our perspective. Gender may be the oldest hierarchy in human history, but its destructive effects means we must oppose it regardless of pragmatic considerations.

3. Gender can be abolished, but the results would be catastrophic.

Traditionalists love to turn into doomsayers when the issue of advancing any social issue turns up. The standard traditional genderist storyline about abolishing gender is this: feminism leads to gender equality, and gender equality leads to the destruction of the family structure, which is the foundation of civilization, so that would end Western civilization as we know it. Cue the explosions.

The masculine and feminine roles, clearly defined above, are not merely a result of custom or tradition, but are of divine origin…

Nothing is more important than a boy becoming a masculine man and a girl becoming a feminine woman.

Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood

Since feminism was mottled together out of a deep disdain for God’s perfectly created order for men and women, it fueled the desire to rebel against the foundations of family. Therefore, the erosive movement was able to gain intense momentum as it was paired perfectly with a societal shift. Our nation became less concerned with foundations, more influenced by European Marxism, and sought out the Babylonian cry for feminism among women, and later brought along men, who all reject God. Suddenly, the use of the once sacred mortar of our foundations of God, Constitution and iron-clad families of strength, were abandoned to pursue anti-godly endeavors and selfishly built altars of sin.

It was inevitable by this point, that this movement would begin the most corrosive of all forces to weaken the fortress of family, and bring down the entire societal house of cards; from the inside out.

Granted, I’ve picked some of the most extreme examples: I think most traditional genderists believe that feminism and gender equality are deleterious but not fatal, and probably don’t attribute every single detail of our gender roles to God itself.

The basic principle remains the same: whenever some construct is threatened, they use fear to try to keep people in line (does it ever work?). I’ve referred to this a couple times on this blog as the Argument from Armageddon: if belief in X disappears, then society as we know it will collapse.

4. Gender can be abolished, but it would destroy individuality.

Independent Radical reminded me of this one in the comments. There seems to be this weird belief that the end point of feminism is some androgynous dystopia where everyone looks and acts the same. I first ran into this argument in One Life at a Time, Please, by Edward Abbey, where he states that the future of society under feminism is one of “unisexual, interchangeable, replaceable units of desexed semihumanity.” His argument is ridiculously simple: feminists want women to be more like men, therefore their ultimate goal is to homogenize everyone.

But this argument is completely backwards. It is gender that homogenizes people and suppresses individuality. How could eliminating gender, and having a population of individuals free to dress and act however they want, create more homogenization? Although I see nothing wrong with androgyny as a concept or a strategy, I see very little merit to that argument.

5. Abolishing gender is bigoted because it would go against people’s self-identification.

Again, I will not take a lot of time on this point because I’ve already argued that we don’t have a right to self-identify.

But I will go even farther and say that if self-identification hurts people, as it does in the case of genderism, then it must be attacked. Genderism hurts women on a worldwide scale and is used to justify attacking their bodies and human rights. Identification with gender serves to support its power to hurt women, whether the people who identify with it want to do so or not.

How we reward abusers and demonize victims.

It seems that humans will go through any sort of ideological contortion to explain away inconvenient events. I have already written about how people who support violent ideologies portray themselves as the real victims. I’ve also discussed how victims get gaslighted, trivialized, and so on. I want to continue along those lines in this entry.

First, there is the phenomenon that I’ll call “enforced subjectivity.” For instance, we are told that rape statistics are inflated and that we should not count any instance where a woman does not call what happened to her “rape,” because she’d know better. But an instance of rape is an instance of rape regardless of whether the victim calls it rape or not. This is just subjectivism plain and simple. I mean you can see how incredibly stupid this derailing tactic is if you just ask yourself: instead of asking the victim if it was rape, why not ask the perpetrator?

There are many reasons why a rape victim might not call it rape. For one thing, most rapes do not resemble the narrative we’ve been given of a stranger assaulting women in a dark alley or in a park. Most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by dates, sexual partners and family members. Also, many victims do not want to attract the ire of their family and friends by outing a common friend or family member as a rapist. They may also believe that the rape was their fault and therefore not “really rape,” because that’s what we believe about rape victims.

All rape statistics are automatically suspect and their criteria of what constitutes rape should be carefully examined. Subjectivist arguments must be rejected out of hand.

Gender is another area where subjectivity runs rampant, thanks to trans genderism. We are told that individuals are whatever gender they claim to be, but we are also told that anyone who does not actively seek to change their body actually really want to be the gender they were assigned (“cis”). In practice, this amounts to: people’s beliefs and desires are the only thing that matters unless you are not compliant with gender rules about presentation, in which case your beliefs or desires are irrelevant. This is why trans advocacy pushes the oppression of gender rebelling children and homosexuals (especially butch lesbians, which they seek to erase entirely).

Just so I don’t pick only on trans genderists, I will also point out that Christians, who are for the most part traditional genderists, posit that God is male without any biology whatsoever. What does that say about their idea of gender? Well, it shows us that they think authority is a male attribute, even in a being that has no organs or even, you know, a material body. This is not directly subjectivist but, like all Christian premises, goes back to divine subjectivism.

In reality, gender is a social construct legally assigned at birth and which usually does not change throughout your life. This assignment is arbitrary and, while ostensibly based on sex, has nothing to do with sex. There is no logical or biological connection between a person’s sexual organs and their supposedly preferred toys, clothes, games, ways of moving, sexuality, sports or jobs. Genderism, whether traditional or trans, is based on equating a social construct with a biological reality, and hoping their claim has such a degree of support that no one will question it. In that way, it is very much like a religion.

Another area I want to mention is child abuse, of which genderism is an important part but not the whole by far. The subjectivism in child abuse is in the fact that we refuse to identify assaults against children as child abuse. We even have an entire branch of science, psychoanalysis, dedicated to reframing child abuse (thanks to Freud’s cowardice in backing down from exposing the abuse which was, and still is, prevalent).

The support of child abuse is easy to explain by the fact that we hate children. But the erasure of child abuse enacted by the whole society was, until recently, so profound as to eclipse any other. Only recently have we started, only started, to acknowledge that physical and sexual assault against children may be a bad thing (verbal assault and removal of a child’s rights are still considered perfectly normal, unfortunately).

It should not be surprising that child abuse is targeted for the highest level of erasure. After all, children are the most vulnerable members of society, and parents have the most relative power in any relation in any society. Therefore (in accordance with the principle of self-victimhood) it has always been especially crucial that parents portray themselves as the victims and their children as the aggressors. So you get the children-are-innately-evil, toddler-as-seducer, children-as-gullible, teenagers-as-stupid child-hatred party line (and they then turn around and accuse antinatalists of child-hatred, because like all crackpots they desperately need to project).

This leads me to the more general topic of assault by authority figures, most notably cops and soldiers. Whenever an authority figure beats up or kills an innocent civilian, people will be prompt in speaking up in support of the authority figures and in demonizing the victims: in fact, it seems that the more horrifying the event was, the more vicious the attacks against the victims become.

I have already commented on this bizarre phenomenon and given my explanation. The subject is very much related to child abuse. Most of us are victims of child abuse as we grow up, and we grow up internalizing the anger poured against us as being normal. So we turn around and express our anger when someone is, like us, mistreated by an authority figure. The cop or soldier takes the place of the parents, and the victims become substitutes for ourselves, which we are free to hate as much as our parents hated us. For more explanation on this repression and projection mechanism, read Alice Miller‘s work. Arthur Silber, an intellectual heir of Miller (like David Mackler), wrote:

When such modes of thought are established in our psychologies, they cannot be isolated or contained. We deny our own pain — so we must deny the pain of others. If we acknowledge their pain fully and allow ourselves to realize what it means, it will necessarily call up our own wounds. But this remains intolerable and forbidden. In extreme cases, we must dehumanize other human beings: they become “the other,” the less-than-human. By using such devices, we make inflicting untold agonies on another person possible: if they are not even human, it doesn’t matter if we torture them. This is always how we create hell on earth.

Again the self-victimhood principle is applied: the authority figures are portrayed as the “victims” through the demonization of the targets of violence. The authority figure had no choice but to use violence because the targets were disobedient and must have been guilty to be targeted with violence in the first place (a circular argument if there ever was one). This is the same “reasoning” used against rape victims and child abuse victims, but with the righteousness of authority behind it (that is to say, with the authority as a parental figure which therefore can do no wrong).

Frame logic: Individuals are victimised or disadvantaged by the actions of bad, criminal, irresponsible, antisocial types. The “authorities” come to the rescue, in the form of police or other official types with police-like powers. The cops deal with the bad people and protect the good people. (There’s also a “terrorism” variant of the frame, with similar structure, but differently defined roles).

Frame inferences: The cops/authorities are essentially good; the perpetrators are bad; the victims are usually innocent. The authorities maintain order and harmony; the villains disrupt it. Order is a system; bad individuals disrupt order (note the good system / bad individuals dichotomy).

As an aside, I do want to mention that a Gallup poll taken after the Kent State murders revealed that 58% of people blamed the students for their own murder, while 11% blamed the National Guard (the actual murderers).

Compartmentalization: how we entrap our own minds.

Atheists talk a great deal about compartmentalization from the standpoint of looking at religion and its absurdities. We look at a religious person and how they can, in one breath, profess belief in the most horrible, irrational moral precepts on the basis of the Bible, and in the next, proclaim their respect for other people. We observe that they seem to insulate their religious beliefs from disproof by putting them in a box and, by doing so, keeping them scrupulously separate from their other, more rational beliefs. So we call that “compartmentalization.”

Stephen Jay Gould’s framing of the relationship between science and religion as “non-overlapping magisteria” represents an attempt at intellectually justifying compartmentalization. Such attempts must necessarily fail in practice, because science and religion are necessarily overlapping: if science does not address origins and the nature of things, then it cannot operate on measurable material facts, and if religion does not address measurable material facts, then it is myth, not religion.

But there’s a lot more to compartmentalization than just putting some irrational beliefs in a box. Not only does it do that, but it also becomes an impervious springboard by which one’s non-material or non-rational beliefs can be applied to material, rational reality without fear of refutation.

It is not just that the Christian fundamentalist believes that women, homosexuals and black people are inherently inferior, and that ey puts these beliefs in a box. It is also that ey uses these beliefs to talk about the real world and to attack real people in real ways. Christianity is a political issue, a social issue, an intellectual issue, an ethical issue, because Christian fundamentalists use their bigotry as an argument and as a motivation in the world, against the world (“the world” is evil, God’s laws are good).

The same thing applies to beliefs about matters of fact. Creationists have one set of epistemic standards that apply to the question of the development of life on this planet, and another set of epistemic standards that apply to everything else, and never the twain shall meet. But they then take those Creationist standards and use them to attack education, evolutionary science, materialist answers about human nature, and so on.

The fact that these beliefs are in the box means that they are elevated to a special status amongst that person’s beliefs: beliefs which inform our actions but which are considered to be immune from refutation. So they necessarily become of prime importance.

Obviously, compartmentalization does not only apply to religion, but I have never heard of this sort of analysis done on anything other than religion. In Compartmentalizing women means you’re a sociopath, blogger Elkballet delves into the issue of compartmentalization and how it applies to porn use.

Her analysis can be applied to any area where irrational beliefs are protected from refutation. In all cases, our million dollar question is: given that our starting position is one of not wanting to harm others and of respecting fairness, how does a person grow up to become a soldier, a rapist, a fundamentalist Christian, or in this case a regular porn user?

Because if the user didn’t compartmentalize it away from rational thought, hide it in a special place in his brain where critical thinking couldn’t touch it, there’s no way he could justify his enjoyment of something clearly painful, degrading, and humiliating. He couldn’t justify enjoying something where this is a high likelihood that at least sometimes the woman is really being raped, is a trafficked woman. So because it feels good, it gets put away someplace where those thoughts can’t apply to it. It would not be possible to enjoy porn as it exists today were it not for the “ability” to place it behind special logic-proof walls.

Elkballet deduces from her examination of the psychology of compartmentalization that this process is the natural result of our enjoyment clashing with one’s natural morals.

But how does this apply to religion or statism? In those cases, we’re not talking about enjoyment but conditioning; the case of pornography merely adds a step before the conditioning. People are hooked on pornography and then receive its messages, while people generally start by receiving religious dogma (whether they come to enjoy it later is another issue). No one is forced to watch pornography by their parents or by society (although the sexist message itself is present everywhere and can hardly be avoided).

So in those cases it is the dogma that clashes with our natural morals. Every case has a different form of rationalization, different default responses, different thought-stoppers, but they all have them.

* In the case of Christian believers, we have “God is good itself and the source of all good,” “God knows better than we do,” “God works in mysterious ways,” “Christian morality is absolute and necessary anyway.”

* In the case of statists, we have “they’re just bad apples,” “the law maintains order in society,” “if you’re not evil you have nothing to fear,” and as a corollary, “if you have something to fear, you must be evil.”

* In the case of natalism, we have “well, life is not fair,” “new people can experience all that’s wonderful in this world,” and “I have the right to have children.”

* In the case of feminism, we have individualism and liberalism acting as general rationalizations (“it’s her fault for putting herself at risk,” “we’re all equal now so everything that happens to you is your own fault”), and evopsych and other forms of gender essentialism act as thought-stoppers (“men can’t help what they do, so there’s no point in arguing about it,” “that’s the way women should be”).

Elkballet also discusses how compartmentalization piggybacks on existing hierarchies in order to dissociate between “good” and “bad” people or situations.

Compartmentalization.. causes the user to feel entitled to label women as human or not, real people or things to fuck, etc… Only a person in a position of entitlement could experience this type of god complex, deciding who is and isn’t human, who does and doesn’t deserve abuse based on whether she turns him on… This means some people actually begin to feel some woman (all of whom are thinking, breathing, feeling, human beings) deserve to be raped, deserve to be beaten, tortured, murdered, etc… Because this user has learned to compartmentalize. When something revolting happens to a woman, she can be compartmentalized away as a “disgusting pig” or a deserving “slut” because porn has taught him that some women deserve this treatment. Some women are born for this, to be fucked brutally, to be raped.

In parallel with this, the porn user also feels that he is one of the “good” guys, that he is sublimating his (inescapable and biological, according to the rhetoric) desire to hurt women through something “unreal” (because otherwise he would be painting himself as someone who derives enjoyment from someone else’s suffering), and that it’s okay because everyone’s doing it or everyone should be doing it.

All compartmentalization partakes of these same processes. Again let me review:

* Christian believers divide people in saved and unsaved; the unsaved (unlike actual humans) deserve eternal torment, and they deserve to be persecuted in life. The unsaved are not worthy of being treated like human beings because they can’t be moral anyway.

* Statists divide people in criminals and non-criminals, citizens and foreigners, “legal” humans and “illegal” humans, productive and unproductive people (in a capitalist context), and so on. Criminals deserve punishment by virtue of not obeying the law, foreigners deserve to die because they aren’t protected by the law, “illegal” humans deserve to be separated from their families, unproductive people deserve to be poor. Generally the rationalization here is that people who don’t obey the law are innately evil (and usually that most or all people are evil and deserve to be punished) and that morality can only be maintained by government fiat.

* Most natalists hold to categories of “lives that are worth starting” and “lives that are not worth starting” (although some extremists do believe that all lives, no matter how diseased or handicapped, are worth starting), and use this to “prove” that most acts of procreation are justified. This is not hierarchical in nature, but the hierarchy between parents and children is used to justify the “right to reproduce” and props up other natalist arguments (“I don’t care what the consequences are to my child because I decide what’s good for them”).

* Anti-feminists obviously support the gender hierarchy, and they support their belief in the gender hierarchy through various forms of essentialism, that women deserve to be inferior because of some biological or psychological defect. The flipside of that is the fact that women deserve to be raped, mutilated and killed because men’s equally unwavering attributes (“men can’t control themselves,” “men are biologically made to rape”).

She also talks about this concept of “good porn.” Porn users regularly trot out the bizarre concept of “feminist porn” (which has been sighted about as often as Bigfoot, another mythical creature) as some kind of proof that pornography is not woman-hating. They argue that if only all porn was replaced by “feminist porn,” pornography would be all right.

But feminists know that this is nonsense. Pornography is inherently objectifying and violent whether it’s “feminist” or not. An evil system is not improved by giving it even more credibility while addressing no issue whatsoever. Putting women in charge of pornography and changing the actresses so that some of them are fat or black doesn’t address anything that’s wrong about pornography, but calling it “feminist” does give it credibility it does not deserve.

Likewise, radicals in all other areas are very well aware that gradualism or moderation is ultimately futile. Trying to encourage a government to moderate its military spending has never actually lowered military spending. Telling Christians to moderate their beliefs does not get them to do so. Telling people to make less children rarely has a positive effect.

What does work is changing the incentives of society itself. Religion becomes more moderate because it is dragged along by social consensus. Governments only channel more resources towards welfare programs, and stop attacking the rights of the poor, when people stand up for their rights and take to the streets. As for not having children, people having a livelihood that doesn’t depend on using children as virtual slave workers thanks to industrialization seems to be helping quite a bit, and so does working against domestic violence.

Another example of moderation, as regards to neo-liberalism this time, is the belief in “responsible consumption”; the theory being that by moderating our consumption, by consuming the right things, and by recycling our consumed products, we can help the environment and stop exploiting people in the third world. But we know that would change absolutely nothing. Most of the pollution is generated by industries, not by landfills. Moderating consumption will not slow down the economic growth in China and India, which will dwarf any slowing down of consumption in the Western world.

The gender hierarchy provides porn users with the tools to objectify and categorize women, because the belief in the inferiority of women comes with its own rationalizations and categories (such as “sluts,” “bitches,” “dykes,” etc). These categories are filled with beliefs which further the aim of the porn user (“sluts can’t be raped,” “unlike most women they really love doing this,” “sluts deserve to be roughed up”). Compartmentalization leads to objectification leads to a culture of violence and depravity.

The Authoritarian Paradox.

I have previously written about the humbug of “maternal love.” However, I did not examine the larger problem of the belief that love can co-exist with authority.

My basic premise is that love and control are opposites, that in order to control someone one cannot love them or vice-versa. So the issue then becomes, how can one claim to love a person which is under their total control?

Obviously we can lie to ourselves. We can pretend to love that person, or we can be indoctrinated so much that we think we love that person. There’s also plenty of reasons why people would simply lie. It is in the interest of any politician to claim that they care about their constituents, for example.

But the most fundamental form of this disconnect lies in the relation between parent and child. When we are children, we are told again and again that our parents love us the most in the entire world, that we should love our parents and that there is no more glorious form of love than that between a parent and a child. On the other hand, our parents constantly tell us what to do and order our lives around their needs and wishes.

I think this is a fundamental problem. We were all raised to believe that our parents are the epitome of love, and therefore we associate pure love with obedience and control. The effect is magnified when one has abusive parents, but even when parents are not abusive, they are still “in control.”

The child is learning that these methods of control, domination and manipulation are expressions of love. Just as the child cannot doubt his parents’ “good intentions,” it is intolerable to think that his parents might not love him since he depends on them for survival. That is, and despite most parents’ inability to appreciate the cruelty involved, the child is learning that cruelty is love. In those cases where parents inflict physical violence on a child (spanking, slapping and all other forms of physical abuse are never “okay”), and such violence remains distressingly common, the child is learning that violence is love. (Please note: one adult version of these beliefs is that bombing will bring the victims “freedom.”)

I’ve culled the quotes in this entry from an entry on Arthur Silber’s blog (Once Upon a Time). If you don’t already read his blog, I highly recommend it. There is probably not a better writer on the blogosphere today, and yet he is almost completely unknown. It’s absolutely unbelievable.

Anyway, I have been talking a lot about the deleterious effect of the parenting hierarchy on children growing up, but this has to be by far the worse mechanism operating here. It is profoundly insidious because none can live without love and one’s parents are its necessary source, at least during early childhood. Therefore the child has no choice but to accept the equation of love with control. This is an extremely strong mold which stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Given this, there’s no reason to wonder why hierarchies have such a strong hold on people’s lives, especially in restimulation, and why people will cling so easily to authoritarian figures, including God. We’re all programmed to equate love with control, and in many cases verbal or physical abuse.

I mentioned God for a reason. Fundamentalist Christians hold on to clearly immoral doctrines despite their blatant immorality. For example, it’s very hard to convince them that slavery is wrong, because God supports slavery in the Bible. And yet they can turn around and profess that God is the source of all love (as stated in 1 John 4:7-8).

Of course, the theory that God is a substitute father is a very old one, and I don’t claim any novelty there. The concept of the substitute father figure and mother figure has become part of our popular culture. But people have been very reluctant, and for good reason, to discuss the reason why such things exist, or if they do they dismiss it with rationalizations like “well, if you have an absent father, you need a father-figure in your life.”

But the people who cling the most to authority typically have abusive parents, not absent parents. I don’t claim to have a scientific study to back this up, but from what I’ve read about the most extreme examples, such as top Nazi officials, cult followers, the most extreme fundamentalist Christians, and so on, leads me to think in that direction. Part of that is an unconscious desire to reenact the unresolved abuse onto convenient “enemies.”

God, the dictator or the cult leader are obvious father substitutes, but any form of authority can serve as a father substitute. The State can be a father substitute, with the law code as its moral authority. So can a corporation, an ideology, or any other group which has official or unofficial authorities and some system of moral authority (i.e. some way by which good and evil are established for the group).

Even though we are indoctrinated to believe both of its components, the paradox is too obvious to be simply ignored, especially in cases where it is clear that the authority concerned does not love you or care for you in any way.

Extremely abusive parents are the most obvious example. We observe that in those cases, children are told that they must still love their parents by virtue of them being your parents, and that the parents cannot be blamed. In fact we have an entire industry (Freudian psychotherapy) devoted to whitewashing parents’ crimes and blaming children for their own sexual abuse, physical and verbal abuse, and so on. In general, people who don’t love their parents are seen as abnormal and hating one’s parents is considered intrinsically wrong.

So there is this concept that love is incompatible with harm, but never obedience. Obedience cannot in any way be wrong, unless of course it is obedience to “bad people,” but that’s not a result of obedience itself being wrong.

Now take a completely different example, statism. Most people are very well aware that the government does not have their best interests in mind, in fact that governments do not function on the basis of general interest, and that politicians are corrupt. And yet most people also support the government in its concrete actions and shout down anyone who speaks consistently with the premises I’ve just listed.

Again, we see similar responses to the ones uses against children: we are told that it’s really the victim’s fault and that anyone who was insulted, abused, violated or killed by the government in the exercise of its functions must have deserved it. We are told that one must obey the laws even if those laws are wrong, simply because they are the law (as we must love and obey our parents simply because they are our parents). I have already discussed the response specifically as regards to war.

If cornered, the statist may start using might makes right rhetoric, which is merely another way of admitting defeat (since “might” has nothing to do with ethics). But it “proves” that control is ultimately “good” (right). This of course is always the desired conclusion.

Those people who are committed to the right wing of the political spectrum, which includes both liberals and conservatives, are on board with the belief that control over others is caring for others. They just fight over what kind of control is best, just like parents may disagree on whether beating a child with a rod, spanking, or constant guilt is the best way to raise a child (hint: none of these are things adult human beings should do to children human beings).

Another way to stop people from thinking further about the paradox is to distract them with a game. Democracy is a particularly elegant example of this strategy: fool people into thinking they may have some chance of choosing the kind of control which will be used in the future, and you’ve basically destroyed any kind of resistance. Resistance will from that point forward only arise if the system fails to fool people or if enough people are dispossessed by the system, which in a well-functioning democracy should not happen.

A successful democracy suppresses dissent while giving people no more power than they had previously. This has always been the purpose of democracy and it has for the most part been very successful. The same general sort of strategy is used in corporate capitalism and even parenting (the rationale that “once you have children, then you can raise them however you want,” that is to say, you can abuse them as we’ve abused you, which is not power but rather psychological compulsion).

One category of people who are used to rationalizing and twisting the union of control and love are BDSM practitioners. The main rationalization they give to the paradox is that the sub is the one who’s “really in control.” Again this is the same “you’re really in control” rhetoric, so no surprises there. In essence, the BDSM “contract” and other “safety” measures are time-wasting distractions from the naked fact of control (dominance and submission).

There is no more reason to believe BDSM practitioners on this subject than we should believe politicians who tell us democracy means “the people” have all the power. But not only is the argument factually false, but it is also a red herring; even if power was actually in the hands of some other people, that would not make their form of domination any better than the one we have now. Because in the case of politics, a true monopoloid “rule of the people” would merely be a more direct war of all against all (instead of the class war we have today).

Unlike adults, children have the disadvantage of being utterly depending on their parents, therefore children have to learn to anticipate their parents’ feelings and to put them ahead of their own. The child learns to internalize parental manipulation, a blueprint for school and the workplace, where rules and mores must be internalized so the person can conform and be “successful.” The child’s, and the adult’s, feelings are “childish” and “individualistic.”

[The mother] tells the young boy that he did a “bad thing,” and that he did so knowing that it was a “bad thing.” The mother also tells the boy that she “was very disappointed,” and that she “really didn’t like what he did.” In this way, the mother demands that the child behave in a certain way because of the parent’s own needs and feelings. Those needs and feelings have nothing to do with the reality of the child’s experience, just as they have nothing to do with the facts concerning the dangers of a very wet bathroom. In effect, the mother is demanding that the young child behave “properly” so that the mother herself will not be made unhappy. And the source of the unhappiness will be the child himself.

Because most adults have internalized these methods of control and manipulation — and, which is far worse, because they view such methods as right — the reality of the effects of such parental domination are largely inaccessible to them. For the child, the threat of the withdrawal of the parent’s love is profoundly threatening. Although he may not be able to explain it explicitly (in the case of a very young child), the child is fully aware that he depends on the parent for survival and for life itself. If he makes his mother too unhappy, and if his mother therefore no longer loves him, what will happen to him? Like most children, he will do anything to make his mother happy. He will obey. Because the child senses that his life depends on his parents, he must believe something more. It would be intolerable to the child to believe that his parents intend to harm him and, in fact, most parents have rendered themselves unable to appreciate the harm they are inflicting. So the child must believe in his parents’ goodness, and in their “good intentions.”

A lot more can be said about the insanity of parenting. But I also wanted to broach another paradox. It is said that one should be proud of one’s culture, one’s country or one’s religion. But this is a bizarre statement because it implies that one must both be proud and be obedient. How can one be proud and at the same time be subservient to someone else?

Perhaps I am odd in thinking this, but it seems to me that pride is something you get from doing something yourself. I suppose one could be proud of something one gets others to do, as well (although I would argue that such pride is misguided). But how can one be proud of something one did for someone else? No one’s proud of the fact that they work for someone else’s benefit.

On gender specifically, how can masculinity be reconciled with obedience? I ask this because masculinity is often associated with independence and individuality. I personally do not think these qualities should be associated with any gender. But our current concept of masculinity is associated both with independence and with obedience, and I can’t see how these two can be logically reconciled.

To obey and surrender one’s moral compass to an authority is a fundamental betrayal of the self. It should not just be incompatible with being a man, it should be incompatible with being human. Know that when you play the Conspiracy games and become a cheerleader for an army, a country, a religion, or any other in-group, you are making yourself less human.


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