Social Evolution and Hidden Agendas: a New Theory
Wim Rietdijk, D.Sci.
|Sociology is mainly the science of hidden and unconscious interest promotion and intentions.|
For, those not hidden need little research.
Formerly, conservatism and established powers maintained themselves by violence, superstition and convention. Currently, they will use other means to keep people from translating their needs into rational thought and actions. E.g., they make them believe that, as to many needs, this is impossible because reason and rationally based values would not objectively exist, or would not apply to the problems of life and the intimacy of human nature which, by the way, would not objectively exist either: somehow, man is suggested to be above natural laws.
In the last resort, conservatism is being more interested in what people feel to be true or good than in rational arguments and rationally based values. Actually, it is kindred to evil, which is being more interested in being put in the right than in being right.
I. The Moral Inadequacy of Our Establishment - a Core Theory
1. 53% of Americans feel that their government is lying most of the time (De Telegraaf, 1 Nov. 1986, poll by N.Y. Times and CBS);
58% of them subscribed to the statement: "The government is run for the benefit of a few big interests" (A.W. Gouldner, The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the New Class, 1979, p. 90);
only 12% of the US electorate feels that voting still matters at all. (Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave, 1980, p.405; poll by Patrick Caddell).
Various more recent polls show that little has changed as to the opinions in question.
In discussing whether the majority of the public is right in thinking so low of its government - which, of course, is a mere instrument of our establishment in general -, we will consider a number of concrete points, grouped around a few major subjects [about which we will speak in particular in (2)-(6) below], viz.:
a) The juridical domain and crime policy;
b) The power of big interests;
c) Accepting cruelty and open corruption with "friendly nations";
d) The ideology dominating in the establishment, in the speech-making community and among most intellectuals (philosophy, socio-cultural thinking, the arts,...);
e) Egalitarianism as a special item of d), and its implications;
f) Immigration policy;
g) Sexual morality.
We shall give various concrete examples of situations and policies corroborating that the majorities of the public cited above are indeed right in their judgment. Not merely most governments, but also the establishments forming their backgrounds are far from righteous and far from being democratic in giving precedence to limited interests and virtual veto-groups over what is good for the majority.
We will derive rather many among our items about a) - g) above from The Netherlands, which, by the way, is a relatively decent country. But their purport is far more general.
2. On a) of (1): The juridical domain. Elsewhere on this site we spoke about the principles of Western law enforcement, which contain various serious obstacles to finding the truth, such as the idea of "privacy", the right of a defendant not to cooperate, and technicalities that may seriously obstruct the conviction of a culprit. From these, already a mentality emanates that disharmonizes with the authorities being uncompromisingly on the side of victims against injustice done to them. Some concrete instances are here:
1. Only in 1999 the Dutch government presented a bill to the effect of obliging suspects to cooperate in their DNA being compared with traces at the place of the crime. At least...in some more cases than the utmost serious ones. Even Holland's most law-and-order-minded daily - De Telegraaf -, in a leader observed that the relevant obligation should be restricted to seriously suspected individuals and "very exceptional cases" (23 June 1999) and not at all, e.g., be enforced on all members of a group among which the perpetrator (probably) is to be found.
Small wonder that crime-fighting so often remains unsuccessful: the authorities see it as a kind of cricket match, rather than siding unconditionally with those seeking the truth and punishment of the danger to mankind. This is simply immoral.
2. The same mentality emanates from two other situations:
Only in cases of crimes punishable with more than 8 years jail, errors of procedure (because of which a criminal should be released) can henceforth be corrected by the prosecution. (De Telegraaf, 29 Nov. 1997.)
Phonecalls from one's home may not be tapped if one is suspected of a serious crime, because of reasons of "privacy". (NRC Handelsblad, 18 Dec. 1997.)
According to police authorities many criminal investigations are frustrated by privacy legislation. (De Telegraaf, 29 Jan. 1997.)
3. In Rotterdam, there are 1400 junks who cause trouble. Two scientists of Rotterdam Erasmus University calculated that these cost the community $ 225 million a year via crimes etc. (De Telegraaf, 22 Nov. 1977.) The authorities tolerate this by their not changing the law so as to make possible cheap compulsory internment of junks until they succeed in kicking the habit. Can the mentality of such authorities be illustrated more revealingly?
The situations described above are characteristic of most Western countries: the authorities simply refuse to unconditionally take sides with victims of evil against their aggressors. (In The Scientifization of Culture I investigate why.)
On b) of (1): Big interests. European-Union prices of agricultural products are in many cases well above world-market levels: for sugar they are 247% of the latter, for beef 219%, for butter 211%, for fodder grain 158%, for wheat 145%,... (NRC HB., 12 July 1997). All of this is caused by open protectionism, and the wealthiest farmers are benefitted most. Of course, the public has to pay the bill and also, among others, have farmers in Latin America who fall victim to both EU tariff walls and dumped EU agricultural surpluses.
The most ominous point, of course, is this: How could 10% EU farmers bring about that 90% EU consumers directly or indirectly pay them about $ 100 billion a year without democracy being violated via vested-interests deals?
Het Financiëele Dagblad of 29 June 1999 reports that Latin-American delegates at the EU-Latin-American Trade Conference in Rio de Janeiro wonder how so few farmers - contributing less than 3% to EU BNP - could have such iron position of power...
More generally, various interest organizations such as of labour, doctors, agriculture, pharmacists,... often act as virtual veto-groups, as such frustrating democracy. Our leaders did little against this phenomenon, and the intelligentsia kept mum...
On c) of (1): Acquiescing in wickedness. In Brazil, higher-level officials (such as judges) often earn salaries of $ 30,000 net per month, and receive corresponding pensions. Even if they were only a few months in function they get them for a lifetime. Parliament refused even to introduce mild changes. (NRC Hb., 21 Jan. 1999.)
At the same time, millions of Brazilian farmers have no land and are on the verge of famine, while enormous areas of agricultural land lay fallow. Brazilean government does nothing, not even obliging the landowners to lease the unused land cheaply to those farmers. The IMF, the US and other Western countries on which Brazil strongly depends, not even protest. (De Telegraaf, 5 July 1997.)
40 percent of the budget of the Palestinian self-rule territory ends up with corrupt ministers, high officials and Arafat himself, sometimes directly on their bank accounts from foreign aid (Dutch Radio-1 news, 22 July 1997). NRC Hb., also on 22 July 1997, added that according to the Palestinian Audit Office almost half of the Palestinian Budget disappeared because of corruption and mismanagement.
Such circumstance appears to be no reason for Western countries to end financial aid and political support and cooperation...
Neither is this: "In many Muslim countries a murder in such a case [i.e., murdering a girl or woman by a male family member to `save the honour of the family'] is not punishable." (NRC Hb., 17 July 1999.)
3. On d) of (1): The ideology. From a review of my work (Peter Bügel in Het Parool, 30 Aug. 1997):
"History should be seen in his [Rietdijk's] view as a struggle between such [negative] forces and people who are looking for the truth and true emotions, and in this way correspond to the red thread [of progress in history]. Currently, evil is no longer represented by church and emperor, but rather by a group of rulers and publicists who play into each other's hands and whose principal interest is their own position. For this reason, they are against clarity, honesty and scientific integrity in all important domains. As to painting, they are abstract, in prose and poetry, obscure, in law enforcement they are inclined to social explanations of wickedness and permissiveness with respect to the criminal, whereas in education they are against evaluating quality."
Indeed, also in modern society there are many interests that are positively unenlightened, and which disguise themselves in intuitive sympathy for chance, uncertainty, "mystery", "games people play", "man is unmeasurable and scientifically unknowable", "poly-interpretable" art, non-intellectualistic ("socially oriented") education and relativistic philosophy.
As to relativism, also note its anti-progress, or conservative, essential purport. For, if reason and rational values could not objectively decide what is truth and/or morally the best decision, power, convention, and the status quo will generally do (of course). Then they are the de facto decision makers, nothing fundamental being there to call them to account.
On this page, we will discuss in more detail various means of current ideological manipulation unconsciously functioning for the benefit of those establishment forces that instinctively feel that troubled waters, uncertainty, anti-intellectualistic ("progressive") education, the poly-interpretable and relativism serve their interests better than emphasizing reason and the progress in enlightenment in general which we call the red thread in history. By this we mean development in the direction of awakening, further articulation and application of reason, rational values (optimizing happiness by integrity and neighbourly love), and emotional faculties (think of art, intimacy, coherent seriousness and depth of feelings...).
Most phenomena in society that are little understood up to now can be explained as symptoms of the controversy and partly indirect-unconscious struggle between on the one side the anti-enlightened tendencies indicated above, and on the other side those having an interest in reason, openness, rational values and progress. In my book The Scientifization of Culture (SoC) I concretely elucidate in such way most of what is puzzling and disquieting in social policy, economics, education, population policy, the juridical domain, political strife, art and the socio-cultural sciences. Within this scope, the core of sociology and most important message of this site is that the powerful and the in-crowds more often than not want things to be decided by power, position and "historically developed" convention, rather than reason and rational values. This is the essential reason why major sections of them intuitively do not like red-thread tendencies and ideas. All subjects of social science other than the (often hidden and "instinctive") struggle between pro- and anti-red-thread forces are of secondary importance.
Indeed, life, culture and society to a major degree amount to a struggle between open straightforwardness longing for progress in reason and integrity and, therefore, in happiness, and those who - not inclined or in a position to admit their interests to be elsewhere - instinctively feel troubled waters and the "relativization" of the just-mentioned concepts to be more advantageous to them. Especially because hidden manipulation, myth and subtle fraud are so.
Its not realizing that what rightly gave politics its bad reputation - obscurity, manipulation, lying, its giving precedence to power and vested interests,... - is far more generally inherent to how society and culture work, constitutes the essential shortcoming of current social science. In not studying manipulation and bad faith in the concrete - such instances of them which are more than incidental, that is, "institutionalized" -, it ignores the gist of what is still unexplained in its domain of research. Within the above scope, the main impact of the anti-red-thread, anti-enlightened, forces and mentality in society is that, just as more specifically is so often the case in politics, the most vital arguments, interests, motives, exposures and ideological and procedural fighting methods will be repressed, hushed up or tabooed out of the discussion. This occurs by a kind of tacit or even unconscious "gentlemen's agreement" among the elites. A host of concrete specimens of the relevant "dangerous" essentials, whose mentioning is "not done" even among social scientists, can be found on this page and in this site - about education and eugenics, egalitarianism and crime policy, philosophy and art, "nature"and "nurture", ethics and selection, sex and emotional awakening, progress and relativistic sociology, and many more core subjects.
In a way, public discussion became a round game in which all established social actors are a priori considered to be in good faith, even as to their (unconscious) ideological manipulation. E.g., suggesting that Western leftist parties will instinctively accept massive Third-World immigration because, in the long run, it means more "deprivileged" voters, or that value relativism is an ideological instrument undermining the moral dimension as a means of appeal against the status quo, is virtually taboo. (Also, in such climate true issues hardly survived among political parties.)
In essence, the above has already been written down in the Gospel of John 3: 19-21: "the light came in the world, but men loved darkness more than the light, because their actions were evil. Anybody who acts wickedly abhors the light and does not go to the light for fear that his works will be disclosed. But he who does the truth, goes to the light, in order that it may appear that his deeds have been done in God."
In the last resort, these words express the essence of socio-cultural problems, in coherence with the four paragraphs preceding them. The most important thing left to be done is finding out the precise fallacies and mechanisms that "institutionally" serve those "abhorring the light". These pages and my two books SoC and Wetenschap als bevrijding also concentrate on it...
There is a common moral flaw in "fundamental uncertainty", relativism, the idea of "privacy" in the the juridical domain, objections to measuring man up to and including his genes, motives, lies and brain waves, permissiveness as to anti-social conduct, seeing man as some "unique, irreducible being", apart from his qualities and mentality, egalitarianism, anti-eugenics and anti-determinism. Such flaw is simply: not taking deadly serious the ideas of truth, human quality, the enforcement of integrity and the vindication of victims of (hidden) injustice.
It amounts to liking loopholes for lack of integrity or compassion, and for manipulation, misleading "images", and "games people play".
Jacques Ellul wrote: "Our deepest instincts and most secret passions will be analysed, published and exploited. We shall be rewarded with everything our harts ever desired." (See SoC, p. 297.) This is simply paradise. And those against it? Sadists, I would say. Or let us be somewhat more tolerant: exploiters of others' vice and defenders of their own, obscurantists wanting to hide things in complicated, "institutionalized" ways.
A rather comprehensive background of the above, as to interests and mentality, is a deep anti-enlightened attitude of those many who instinctively like uncertainty (i.e., troubled waters and anxiety), relativism (i.e., excusing crooks and abuses), myth (i.e., a subtle variant of fraud and manipulation), such as "man as a unique unmeasurable being", "fundamental freedom" (i.e., man above the laws of nature, choosing his values and social preferences beyond rational criticism), egalitarianism (i.e., man's qualities and failings are relative or not very important after all), and pure chance (i.e., raffling happiness and tragedy among men).
Some oppose: "Rietdijk too often returns to this kind of things". However, the point is that most of the rest of sociology and philosophy is merely "technicalities". Even my opponents realize this: their favourite authors and ideas virtually do nothing else but - in unending repetition and variation - paraphrasing the denial of my main points in these pages. For, as to Heidegger, Foucault, Rorty, postmodernism, "progressive" (socially rather than intellectually oriented) eduation, "avant-garde" art, anti-eugenics, opposition to genetic fingerprints and to "measuring man", the advocates of fundamental uncertainty and chance in human life and destiny,..., what have they more to say than that:
a) troubled waters (uncertainty, chance, the poly-interpretable,...) are inherent to life and nature, thank goodness;
b) the social life-world precedes or defines objective truth, reason, values and/or human quality (as regards the latter, until recently mainstream sociology was even so dogmatic as to deny the major influence of genetic factors with respect to crime, class differentiation, mental health and school performance);
c) man is above science and objective values in that his quality - genetic, moral, intellectual,... - can neither be measured, nor be improved in principle, again thank goodness!
Even most criticism of "bourgeois values" that characterizes both radical rightist and "progressive" intellectuals fits within the above scope of fighting the red-thread and, therefore, enlightenment in the broadest sense. For what unites those critics is their not liking "bourgeois" individualism, rationalism and method, performance ethic and delayed gratification, and the concomitant capitalist attitude of individual initiative, growth and progress. (This remark does not imply my sympathy for all aspects of current bourgeois establishment!)
In modern society the most fundamental chasm is no longer between various religions, political preferences or social classes, but between on the one side other-directed, trendy personalities finding their compass and inner basis in social entities such as groups or in adjustment to predominating ideas, and on the other side autonomous personalities for whom substantial reason and their innate conscience and emotions constitute such basis. The latter category is on the side of the red thread by nature... In other words, the real chasm is between those who wish to belong (and conform), and authentic people.
The first category will evade substantial confrontations in the intellectual, moral and emotional domain. The relevant people prefer complication, relativation, ambiguity, "image" and social games, hushing up what bursts them, "the indirect method" and the "political way" in general, that is, troubled waters. Moral indignation at all is "out" with those conformed to the anonymous authority of "the group". It is most revealing that social talk substitutes substance and argument in their "way of socializing". Even hard music may help in generating mindlessness.
I feel the strongest points of the above theory - i.e., the struggle between red-thread progress and its opponents constitutes the core of socio-cultural dynamics and the most productive source of explanations - to be its coherence, its simplicity and its joining evolution in general.
4. On e) of (1): Egalitarianism. This is part and parcel of the dominating ideology, and at the same time fundamentally immoral in its current form containing that underclass figures, anti-socials and youth-gang members are "of equal value" as righteous, emotionally subtle and intelligent people, and that genetic rearguards do not exist. It amounts to positing that positive qualities in men are relative or not very important after all.
Just as the idea that human intelligence, personality, character and conduct are a matter of "nurture" (the social environment) rather than nature (genes), egalitarianism as an ideology especially serves the "disadvantaged industry". For it implies that huge sums, positive discrimination, "emancipatory" organizations and much work and influence for the helping professions are better than law and order, "bourgeois" values such as performance ethic, and eugenics. Permissiveness and egalitarian propaganda perpetuate the problems and the pleasant position of helpers and liberal politics that thrive on the idea that also in the West moral and/or genetic rearguards are "deprivileged". The immorality of the ideologists in question is already demonstrated by their seldom expressing emotional disgust of street-corner types, anti-socials, those procreating irresponsibly, or even recidivists.
Some revealing facts and arguments about egalitarianism and corresponding policies are these:
1) Almost 80% of drug addicts suffer from personality disturbances. Alcoholists: 44%, and the population as a whole: 15%. (NRC Hb., 25 Oct. 1997.)
A report like this so strongly tells against egalitarianism that the fact that the latter all the same dominates Western social thinking cannot but be explained by huge vested interests in "helping" professions and organizations. These would lose clients if common sense would have its way: forcing the addicts to kick the habit and isolate and/or sterilize those with which it does not succeed.
2) In The Netherlands we saw more than thirty years egalitarian reforms in education, inter alia, less selection and less discipline. Now it appeared from a representative poll among parents of children of 8 to 20 years old that 3% felt education to have improved in the recent period, 83% deemed it to have deteriorated and 14% had no opinion. Particularly, the parents wanted more discipline. (De Telegraaf, 19 April 1997.) Again ideology prevails on common sense and democracy, for nothing changed after the poll's results were published...
3) In his Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (Praeger, 1997), psychologist Richard Lynn found that of the higher-educated women in the West about a quarter will remain childless, against one tenth among the lowly-skilled (p. 56). Still, eugenics remains about taboo...
5. On f) of (1): Immigration policy. We compare a number of reports:
1) NRC Hb. of 3 Dec. 1998 informed us that according to a ministerial report 50 to 70% of asylum-seekers in the Netherlands are not persecuted at all, and that other sources even mention 90%.
2) Het Parool of 20 Dec. 1997 reports that 60% of the Dutch population feels that their country cannot accommodate more foreigners. The journal adds that in other European countries this percentage is even higher, on the average.
3) In Elsevier of 8 May 1999 a study by Pieter Lakeman is reviewed in which it is calculated that the immigrants cost The Netherlands 13 billion guilders a year.
4) The Dutch NOS Journaal reported on 13 Nov. 1997 in its 22 o'clock news that among asylum-seekers 70% had no legitimation at all, of 3% of them it was fraudulent and of 21% it was worthless.
5) We can add some generally acknowledged facts:
On an average, immigrants commit a multiple of crimes per 1000 people as compared with autochthons; half of the population of Dutch jails has been born in foreign countries;
On an average, their children perform much worse at school;
Their level of education will be much lower than that of autochthons and the percentage of them being unemployed is dramatically higher.
6) Now compare the above drawbacks of Third-World immigration with the following report from De Telegraaf of 24 Sept. 1998:
If the 4.2 million immigrants in Germany would have voting rights, about 90% of them would vote for the Socialists or the Greens. (Also in the Netherlands it appeared that a stiff majority of the voting immigrants did so for the left.)
Now there's much that can be explained: Though the disadvantages of Third-World immigration clearly overwhelm the positive aspects, some powerful groups are benefitted by it, viz. leftist political parties and those helping organizations and professions that more generally thrive on many "disadvantaged" being around. These intimidate and discredit opponents ("racism", "discrimination",...) and amply use egalitarian ideology according to which it are mere "social factors" such as "discrimination" that cause the relevant immigrants to give so many problems.
Compare with our explanation how a half century ago, the Roman-Catholic clergy induced the believers to produce many children, the power motive similarly being cloaked by ethically sounding ideology. Leftist ideologists appear to be not better, at least in their unconscious minds...
Many addicts, many immigrants, many permissively approached anti-socials and other chronic problem cases, and neither law and order, nor enforcing "bourgeois values", nor eugenics, and the "disadvantaged industry" is happy, consuming much more of the national means than the military-industrial complex ever did...
6. On g) of (1): Sexual morality. 1. De Telegraaf of 9 May 1998 reported that asylum seekers in The Netherlands receive free condoms because the authorities feel that "The conviction exists that good and regular sexual intercourse plays an important role in reducing stress".
2. Het Algemeen Dagblad of 11 March 1999 discusses a ten-year research study by neuropsychologist David Weeks (Royal Edinburgh Hospital) to the effect that sex is good for man's health. People look younger, feel younger, and their production of chemicals corresponds to this. On the other hand, an unatisfactory sexual life often causes physical symptoms.
Now it is in turn a symptom of the conforming domination of the sexual ideological orthodoxy that what appears here has been hushed up for so long. Or rather: it appears that traditional sexual morality is far from good for us, and hardly anybody asks himself publicly for what reasons it has ever been imposed in the first place.
Before answering this question concretely, we should first realize that in the sexual domain repression has by no means ended.
First, only very few ever drew attention to the sad but evident circumstance that in such domain positively attractive individuals constitute a small minority.
Second, this situation is compounded by the fact that our sex market continues to be medievally primitive, no massive, large-scale and rational comparison of many thousands of potential mates being possible in an efficient way, so that "chance meetings" prevail.
As a consequence so much frustration exists that demand for surrogate sex is immense; think of girly magazines and the fact that by far the most popular Internet subjects have to do with sex...
In The Scientifization of Culture, Chapter 3 is devoted to sexual problems and to the background and disguised interests in connection with repressions and taboos in this domain, such as our not even realizing the two problems under "First" and "Second" above, and about the question why repressive sexual ethics have so long been so powerful. Note here that the mere circumstance of sociology not occupying itself with such subjects is intriguing. We only give here a brief outline:
What is (was) the purpose of censorship? Of course it is frustrating "free trade in ideas", as Goethe said; it simply kept people underdeveloped in the intellectual domain. Well, I would add: "Sexual taboos, lack of opportunity, shame of openly `advertising' one's longings and the like, similarly, amount to frustrating free trade in emotions. And the hidden (unconsciously-intuitively felt) motive of those pushing and thriving on such frustration is also similar to the one of censors in the domain of reason: keeping people underdeveloped in the emotional-instinctive domain, in order that their manipulation becomes more easy. All of this contributed much to myths, emotions, hysteria and many more "superstitions and superfeelings" around kings, religion, tradition, countries, social hierarchies, races, the proletariat and so on. That is, sexually repressive policies and mores do similar things to man as intellectual censorship. Our social science "oversaw" this...
Much of this site deals with many more things that have been "overseen" by such science because of the role they are playing in our mechanisms of power, privilege, manipulation and ideology, and because - just as in other periods - our thinkers highly adjusted themselves to a dominating orthodoxy that harmonizes with the establishment, with the in-crowds and their vested interests which so often disharmonize with the "red thread in history" [compare (3) above].
II. Further Elaboration of the Theory
7. We could give a plethora of quotations like the following, from authors held in high esteem, holding prestigeous academic positions and getting much publicity, but we confine ourselves to these three examples:
"The Mastery of the Same, that is so difficult to express by words, wipes out the difference between the signs in its language.
Hence, without any doubt, the going together of poetry and insanity in modern Western culture. But it is no longer the old Platonic theme of inspired delirium. It is the mark of a new experiment of language and of things. In the margin of a kind of knowledge that separates living beings, the signs and the similarities from each other and, as if to limit his power, the lunatic assures the function of homosemantism. That is: he collects all signs and overloads them with similarity or resemblance that develops ever further." (Michel Foucault: Les mots et les choses; see further SoC, p. 176.)
"The Einsteinian constant is not a constant, is not a center. It is the very concept of variability - it is, finally, the concept of the game. In other words, it is not the concept of something - of a center starting from which an observer could master the field - but the very concept of the game." (Quotation of Jacques Derrida in The New York Review of Books, 8 Aug. 1996.)
"Rorty's advice is that we change our vocabulary. We need to purge our language of unnecessary anxiety-inducing distinctions like the one between `rational' and `irrational' or between `subjectivism' and `objectivism' or even between `truth' and `falsity'." (Partisan Review, 1996, No. 2, p. 223, Eugene Goodheart in The postmodern Liberalism of Richard Rorty.)
Passages like these appear so massively - from postmodernists, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Heidegger, Habermas, Lévi-Strauss and a host of other cultural mandarins - and also join with such tide of incoherent, nonsensical poems, paintings etcetera, while at the same time they evoke so much applause and so seldom the Homeric laughter that would be in order, that something unconscious and hidden will be meant by them. (Relevant within this context: Foucault appears to be the second most quoted author on social science - Freud was first -, according to NRC Handelsblad of 15 Jan. 1998.) I feel the simplest and most coherent hypothesis here to be: such hidden motive is similar to and joins the one directed against "the red thread" that we discussed earlier: relativizing, undermining and declaring irrelevant as to many problems reason and objective rational values such as integrity and compassion. Former establishments - probably also mainly unconsciously - did so otherwise (censorship, violence, pushing superstition and convention,...). I see no simpler and more coherent explanation. If no massively supported ideology and suggestion were unconsciously behind the relevant kind of unreason, the Homeric laughter referred to, or an outcry, could not have failed to appear. There cannot but be much hidden consent...
Moreover, if no message were hidden in our quotations, their authors would simply be crazy...
The forces thriving on the ideology in question are precisely the interests which cause the abuses discussed in various parts of this site to continue, and which rightly feel substantial reason and rational values to be their basic enemies.
For the rest: if I were in error, and no disguised ideological purposes would constitute the background of the massive wave of anti-rationalism, subjectivism, "progressive" education, relativism and incoherent ("abstract") art, then the state of human conscience and reason would be even worse than implied by my argument. For in such case our socio-cultural establishment, among which our intelligentsia, would appear to be far from upset by the reports, quotations and situations about and around points a) through g) of (1), as given or mentioned above in (2) through (6), even without its being unconsciously manipulated by powerful socio-cultural interests.
8. The quotations of (7) and the related attitudes discussed betray even more a basically anti-enlightened purport because the relevant thinkers, besides on the one hand cultivating the vague and irrelevant ("alienation", "accepting oneself", "intersubjectivity", "Being",...), on the other hand are conspicuously silent about precisely those things that matter most:
a) evolution and progress (in science, technology, economically, in organizing the world,...);
b) the moral, intellectual, genetic and sexual quality of man (as to the sexual one, again think of attractiveness, which is much less widespread than corresponding to optimizing happiness!);
c) concrete social abuses apart from the egalitarian theme;
d) scientific research as to reincarnation and other alternative possibilities with respect to human survival.
Conclusion: There is an enormous cultural lag in the sense of mainstream socio-cultural and philosophic thought not merely being largely irrelevant, but, even worse, also in a sense of their mimicking old-fashioned theology and convention. Viz. in their largely amounting to antagonizing and/or relativizing enlightened ideas and values attuned to effecting progress. Progress in a spirit of reason, science, technology and rational values, and enlightened ideas also containing the scientific approach of man, his functioning, nature, values and longings. Fitting within this general scope of anti-reason and anti-coherence are seemingly diverse phenomena as the educational fashion - think of reducing systematic grammar, deduction, coherence and consistent threads, respectively, in teaching languages, mathematics, physics and history -, postmodernism, modern art and emphasizing the here and now and the incidental. Also fitting here is the "adversary culture", which undermines middle-class values such as delayed gratification, performance ethic and, therewith, once more the idea and practice of progress.
"There is system in this madness": a present-day variant of anti-enlightened ideology, still serving non-enlightened interests.
9. The above indeed refers to the core of philosophical, socio-cultural and concrete political controversy in society. In (3) we already saw that at this point current orthodoxy even agrees with me in actually consisting of not much more than a number of basic ideas of which the only purport is opposing those of the "red thread". The difference between such orthodoxy and me is that we are on opposite sides and, more importantly, that I try to explain in a coherent way why and how the various anti-red-thread positions constitute an interest-related ideology.
It is clear from the above why there is a great demand for prose such as the quotations of (7), and why this - and the massive crave after uncertainty, indeterminism, relativism, the subjective, just as the aversion to genetic fingerprints, lie-detection, whistle-blowers, and consistent rationalism and enforcement of integrity (that is, a bias towards troubled waters) - is closely connected with what we quoted from the Gospel of John in (3). There is simply too much "love of darkness": interest and investment in socio-political, ideological and individual fraud, power, underhand indirect methods, and "games people play" for allowing our elites to be happy with consistent enlightenment and any "scientifization of culture". For these undermine the most "popular" and successful mechanisms of fraudulent power and privilege in politics, business and personal careers. (Think of ideology, hushing up fundamental dissent, mazes and jungles of bureaucracy, legislation, rights, subsidies and procedure, "political" lies, tactics and manipulation,...)
Simply too many pieces of the puzzle fall in place for the coherence of the foregoing - especially the many symptoms of the bias spoken of above - to be a mere "coincidence".
10. Very much would improve in society if informal censorship (repression) and covering up human failings (and, therefore, social abuses) would radically be reduced in at least an elite. If, say, one in hundred intellectuals got the moral courage to say things irrespective of how others would react. Both in business and in politics (and little less in socio-cultural sectors) we see a general tendency of giving priority to what others think of us and especially to playing an informal market of mutual help ("networking", good relationship, "I humour your interests if you do mine",...). This will be indeed very often positive in business (less so in politics), and it may even be profitable for scientific careers. But it is extremely unfruitful as to getting substantially new results in socio-cultural science, also in its being kindred to conformism. Because the relevant attitude now pervades our whole commercialized and politicized - other-directed - society it constitutes the single most negative factor in the relevant research.
Especially in the higher regions of politics, business, social organizations and the media our establishment is so much a relatiocracy that most of its members very well realize that they largely owe their position to "good relations" with many "friends", kindred spirits. Feeling "solidary" with these - with their mentality, mores, ideas and preferences -, therefore, will simply be an interest, consequence of gratitude and way of life among them. So pervasive conformism is born as regards what is really important! People throwing doubt on the good intentions of the game or some vital part of it are instinctively sensed as spoilsports, in particular if some truth is felt in their arguments.
In the Introduction of his Animal Farm George Orwell wrote:
"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is `not done' to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals."
Just as the old Philips IIs, Richelieus or Pétains were less interested in the factual correctness of the teachings of the Church than in their utility for effecting and supporting "unity", obedience and other instruments of power, and just as politicians will give precedence to power over ideas, the relevant orthodoxy is less important as to concrete correctness or plausibility than because of its usefulness for "solidarity" and a mentality serving major interest groups. It corresponds to a positive fundamental attitude to what dominates in the group. It is a declaration of intent. Never mind if it is irrational such as nationalism or incoherent art, or immoral like censorship, Victoran sexual morality or giving priority to privacy over truth. Complying with it is a social sieve with regard to your dependability in playing the game of established interests and forces in a spirit that is good for them. Also compare here wearing the correct clothes, speaking with the correct accent or being an alumnus of the right students' union.
Almost every paragraph of this site emanates my not subscribing to the relevant declaration of intent; and you can clearly see the consequences - as to its leading towards alternative explanations as well as regarding the reactions of others...
The above is compounded by the inherent bias of established power and in-crowds for fuzzyness, manipulation, and leeway for the "political" and relatiocracy-in-action. This contributes to the upholding of the described anti-red-thread informal complex of ideas shared by the "well-meaning" and to which one should at least pay lip service in order to be recognized as one who truly belongs. Ridiculing "modern art", fundamentally criticizing egalitarianism, being inclined to put a cat among the pigeons, and lacking "flexibility" in ethical questions do not tell for one's reliability within this context. For they suggest that one might give precedence to truth and integrity over group interests, and to one's own reason and conscience over "going with it", in certain circumstances.
One of the consequences of the above is also that, just as in the past, most leaders still adjust to the delusions of their time, e.g., as they are analysed in these pages. Social scientists, however, should see through them and say so. In actual fact, hardly anyone among them risks his or her career, an uproar or being hushed up. I even get the impression that about all of them either feel society to be about perfect now (a small minority) or that its failings and frustrations are "coincidences" [a stupidity: never in history abuses did continue without the (values of the) establishment being to blame].
We can summarize much of the foregoing by quoting Helvetius:
"People are always against reason if reason is against them".
Somewhat more concretely: Massive relativization or undermining of reason and rational values is a mere abstract-ideological complement of what we see in practice. Viz. that many have an interest in being guided by considerations of power, politics in a broad sense, privilege or position rather than by such reason, rational values and the open discussion and criticism going with them.
Just as the substantial Aha-Erlebnis in the intellectual domain is "relativized and uncertaintized away" (or simply repressed) by the current spiritual climate, something similar occurs with being morally or emotionally moved. "Moralizing" is out at all with our present intelligentsia and in-crowds in general, whereas not even art should evoke and focus emotion. It strongly has the appearance that as regards all three major faculties of the human psyche - the intellect, conscience and emotional life -, whose progressive awakening, articulation, application and becoming more coherent constitute the substance of socio-cultural progress, anti-enlightened interests and mentalities aim at something similar: frustrating, moderating, confusing or making petering out the coherent climaxes we call catharsis. Things should remain obscure, having no point or climax, in order to frustrate the red thread of progress embodied by the above awakening etc. In this respect, relativizing reason, "not moralizing", the old-time sexual taboos, and emotionless modern "poly-interpretable" art all have an essence in common: the anti-enlightened one of fostering incoherence, repression and petering out of the utmost human culmination, catharses, clear insights and also emotionally coming to the point.
In what actually is in line with former strivings of the Church to keep people ignorant and emotionally primitive, modern obscurantists go indeed to the extreme. The quotations of (7) cannot be surpassed in unreason. On the emotional level we have something similar, e.g., in that many artists and cultural mandarins openly advocate the ordinary, everyday things and even superficiality. Leading Dutch NRC Handelsblad of 7 March 1997 says that "the arts wanted attention for what does not make impression, for the ordinary..". Six days later, the journal informed us that Judith Herzberg received the P.C. Hooftprijs, The Netherlands' highest literary award, quoting her as saying that she likes superficiality. The daily praised this as "modesty".
In The Times Literary Supplement of 4 Dec. 1998 sixty-one writers selected the books which impressed them most in 1998. In the pages 8-13 devoted to this commentary I found not a single sentence of substance... E.g., Seamus Heaney and D.J. Enright attained abysmal depths of inanity.
Worst of all: neither the authors quoted in (7), nor the "artists" of the trivial make themselves impossible by their "work". It is integrated into the quasi-orthodoxy and hardly anybody protests.
The relevant people and tendency - as a general culmination of their anti-catharsis attitude, lack of inner direction and/or cult of the obscure or the trivial in the three central sectors of the psyche - are simply disinterested in coherent knowledge, in the poignant aspects of the human soul and in any kind of progress. They do not experience life as a dramatic evolutionary struggle upwards. They consume, they play games, they conform... In their personal lives too they generally are lacking direction, as are most modern literature, "progressive" education, and the usual ways of finding a love partner.
11. Let's be more concrete as to what kind of socially relevant rational or moral insights are censored, repressed or tabooed by the anti-enlightened and anti-cathartic attitude discussed in (10). Mind that the essence of such mentality is that one prefers problems to be settled by the "social life-world" (Habermas) - i.e. frequently manipulating powers that be and interest groups - rather than rational argument and values, in conjunction with awakened and coherent emotions about which can be argued too. Now let us consider some specific domains and instances as meant above, where reason and conscience are evidently repressed to a major degree:
1. Why genetic origins of being "disadvantaged", and eugenics as a solution, are virtually tabooed?
2. From what interests, in major parts of the Earth and periods of history, sexually repressive morals did originate, and why our sex market still is so frustratingly primitive? Why primitiveness is so intense in this domain that the radical scarcity of positively attractive people even has not yet been recognized as a problem?
3. Why hardly anybody suggested applying lie-detection to (groups of) politicians?
4. What interests cause our juridical systems to be obstructed by a host of technicalities and rights merely frustrating finding the truth and, therefore, true justice?
5. Why, in most Western countries, education more and more deviates from the "old-fashioned standards of soundness" most parents prefer? Why discipline, selection, homework, and often examinations, continued to water down?
6. Why there is very little substantial scientific research into the problems of survival (reincarnation etc.) and the paranormal, though so many are interested?
7. Why "Munich instances" appear time and again: authorities yielding to organized groups to the detriment of the public interest (import duties, special-interest regulation, restrictive practices and laws, or concesions to active pressure groups,...)?
Why, in this connection, hardly anybody in our elites or Parliaments gets active in connection with the 53%, 58% and 12% mentioned in (1) above?
8. Why don't they do so, either, about cases such as mentioned in (99) through (104) of Beyond Current Paradigm?
9. Why Jackson Pollock, Marcel Duchamp, incoherent poets, nonsensical passages written by Foucault, Derrida etc. etc. were hardly ever consistently criticized or ridiculed in high-brow periodicals and mass media?
10. What causes the near-absence of criticism, among our elites, of most Western states' massively admitting lowly-skilled and low-IQ immigrant groups that statistically appear to be much more crime-prone than the autochthonous population? Because most Third-World immigration into the West has the very clear disadvantages mentioned in (5), while it is still very permissively accepted, one asks oneself: "What influential groups benefit from it?" We gave an answer in (5), but this intriguing question is generally ignored... Why?
The above examples correspond to repressions, taboos and questions one avoids answering which are too striking for our not suspecting that various interests are at the background of them. That is, interests that above all rely on subduing the three main faculties of the human psyche mentioned in (3) above and elsewhere. That is, they precisely rely on similar forces as those on which abuses, manipulation and irrational situations always in history relied: censoring or otherwise frustrating reason, rational values and free (catharsis being allowed) emotional life.
In short: Anti-enlightened philosophy and ideology, sufficiently disguised for their analogy with former ones not to be recognized too easily, are still at the basis of, inter alia, the above ten examples of present-day massive abuse. Our power elites simply don't want such issues to be settled by reason and rational conscience. They want them to be addressed in the spirit of "the social life-world": "political" wheeling and dealing, position, power, privilege and subtle ideological and organizational manipulation. These constitute their primary strength and force. Their typical representatives will be "grey", shaded, soft-spoken, and don't like controversy or radical solutions.
12. We further give some additional examples of how primitive socio-cultural thinking indeed still is, in great part because of the anti-enlightened, anti-"red thread" ideological bias discussed above. Such primitiveness indeed constitutes a major obstacle to man's taking his destiny in his own hands - which is the essence of truly progressive thinking. Now the examples:
1. The antithesis of left and right became very muddled since the former can no longer be identified with progress-mindedness and the just-mentioned essence. For, logically, the left should favour performance ethic, rationalism, technology, delayed gratification and eugenics. On the other hand, the right is not very consistent as it is a friend of business, techno-growth and (therefore) consumption - the great rationalizers of society and its values - while, at the same time, it loves traditional values as to sex, abortion, euthanasia and so on.
2. It is a general habit to bracket together sex and violence, which betrays much emotional confusion;
3. By far most rationalists reject even serious research into paranormal phenomena, of which they will deny the existence. Also, most among them are reductionists, denying any possible holistic aspects of reality. Don't they see that both paranormal phenomena and such aspects need not at all be inconsistent with the world being governed by - possibly even deterministic - coherent rational laws, that are even so much coherent that in special circumstances nonlocal "orchestration" appears?
4. Neither are most rationalists consistent as they (like the positivists) exclude values from the rational basis they posit there is for facts. They abandon them to arbitrariness and the subjective. (See for these problems SoC.) On the contrary, we need rational thinking about moral and emotional things too!
13. The medieval paradigm was that everything emanated from God - the universe, man, values,... -, the Church knowing the details. Within not very many decades, Nature, its deeply coherent laws and, further, rational humane values will have succeeded the medieval Deity, producing a new paradigm starting from reason, experiment and such values as supreme authorities.
In our era the leading paradigm is a kind of hybrid: man, "the subject", and values would to some degree be exempt from the domain and competence of rational natural law. Typical examples are the belief in "free will" (exempt from natural law), "the existential", "subjectively chosen" values, the idea that many problems fundamentally cannot be solved by science, technology and (the enforcement of) integrity, and finally the idea that human qualities can neither be measured nor rationally be compared. Man above natural law, experiment and reason. Also typical in this context is doubt or scepticism as to reason and rational values being in a position to produce real progress. A typical assertion of radical adherents of the hybrid paradigm is that language and social context come before consciousness and truth.
Such paradigm - also influenced by Romanticism -, that dominates in our culture between the theological and the scientific one, simply takes man and his culture(s) to be the new God.
As the scientific paradigm comes nearer and nearer - the "romantic-personalist" one and man's "deification" fading -, various ideas proposed or defended by me in my books and in this site will more and more harmonize with dominating ideas and the state of technology. Think of a rational large-scale Internet love-partner market, using lie detectors in politics and elsewhere, genetic blue prints and eugenetics. Genetics, brain research, artificial intelligence and "Promethean thinking" will all contribute to demythologizing man, objectifying him to an evolutionary genetic and psychological product of not seldom dubious quality. This will extend rational thinking and the Enlightenment unto the intimate, unconscious and genetic construction of man. It will probably be the main spiritual revolution of the twenty-first century. In conjunction with demystifying man as a personality, such development will do so too with respect to many powers that be, it becoming more normal to suspect bad faith in traditional interest groups and cultural institutions as soon as the demystification (rationally seeing through and sometimes the exposure) of psychological forces, intentions and ideas becomes usual practice.
It may have been historically wise to "deify" man for a while, to offset not a few harsh tendencies of not sparing him. But the new science, technology and rational honesty with respect to living beings and consciousness will do more than compensate such harsh tendencies. One thing is that they will find out genetic and ideological causes of them, in a general ambiance of science and exposure of what formerly was "accepted as it is", from rulers by birth to genetic rearguards, and from convention to veto groups that "socially developed".
14. Not many modern intellectuals are struggling for truth, integrity and some rational concept of progress. Quite the contrary, most are mainly engaged in their careers and (therefore) in playing social games, humouring political correctness, egalitarianism or some rightist orthodoxy such as traditionalism as to sex, abortion, and euthanasia.
The consequence is sterility in socio-cultural thinking and the dead of social criticism beyond egalitarian subjects such as "the disadvantaged", "racism", and "neo-colonialism" on the one side and "back to traditional values" on the other.
Sterility became so radical that hardly a few intellectuals even think in terms of exposing concrete social evils and ideological manipulation, enforcing integrity, progress (inter alia by science and technology), (genetic and other) human quality, good and evil - especially as to social forces -, optimizing happiness (reducing frustration), constructing coherent socio-cultural theories and finding concrete explanations of puzzling phenomena such as irrational "modern art", (former) sexual taboos or anti-semitism. On the contrary, current categories of thinking - "alienation", "deconstructing" truth, good and evil out of existence, "language games", (rather abstract) "social groups" - seem unconsciously attuned to leaving everything in its place. Therefore, not much of interest is produced by current socio-philosophical schools. Neither is it by neo-"leftists" such as Foucault, Habermas and Sloterdijk, nor by existentialists and postmodernists who deny objective coherence and progress, nor even by positivists who deem values "subjective" and are little interested in explanation and, again, in the very concept of coherence.
Our intelligentsia became "socialized". The sterility of social thinking competes with that of "abstract art" in their virtually abandoning the purpose of seeking catharsis: the Aha-Erlebnis by seeing substantial coherence and experiencing strong emotion, respectively. Censorship has been internalized.
15. In my opinion, the moral failure of twentieth-century intelligentia is particularly illustrated by three points:
a) Its members will be so little interested in enforcing integrity that only very few objected to the circumstance that in the juridical domain "privacy", complication and technicalities often prevail on truth and justice. That is, in many vital cases, our leading thinkers give precedence to such privacy or technicalities over questions of good and evil;
b) They will be so little interested in human quality that a mere few publicly objected to the procration of the mentally clearly subnormal;
c) More generally, they will be so little interested in corruption and injustice (social abuses) that not even the sad fate of most whistle-blowers inspired them to require the revision of relevant laws.
During the past eighty years, most vocal intellectuals drained their energy into the "socialism-versus-capitalism" and "disadvantaged" problems (or rightist issues such as nationalism), not merely ignoring that of moral and genetic quality (see above), but even the core revolutionary factor at all: science and technology. (Also think in this context of the idolization of "language" and "art".)
There are common grounds of the latter failure and the moral one discussed above: one is the intelligentsia's having been integrated into the establishment and its related disinterest in substantial thinking about progress or injustice. At most, intellectuals want more power - hence their "egalitarian" aversion to the business community (which is a competitor as to power) and its bourgeois values. Another common cause is the dominating moral relativism and anti-rationalism now generally functioning as a modern version of censorship, that is, as an instrument of power against reason and moral indignation.
In the first half of 1999 I got much publicity because of my publicly advocating the right of parents of seriously handicapped newborns to choose for euthanasia, after consultation with doctors. Though 54% of the Dutchmen appeared to share my opinion (30% disagreed), not a single prominent intellectual took my side publicly. A few more comparable cases occurred in the past (in which I was not involved). This is telling as to the intelligentsia's current role: it shuns what is substantially controversal.
Within this scope, e.g., modern art is also a kind of lightning conductor for "nonconformism" and for being "shocking". Moreover, it embodies a veiled, indirect way of fighting a cultural struggle: Those purporting not to get that Cobra, Jackson Pollock, Marcel Duchamp, absurdistic plays and John Cage embody an intuition-guided attack on rationalism and techno-scientifically oriented society, are stupid or simply lying.
Generally, institutionalization and "bureaucratization of thinking" - as contrasted with the true intellectual's independent individual thought - increased to the effect that in major sectors of society the difference between "expert" and "interested party" largely faded away. We see this reflected, e.g., in current habits of thought in the juridical sphere (emphasis on "rights", technicalities and complication), in those on welfare and education ("nurture"- rather than "nature"-mindedness), in the world of art and in various other domains. Parkinsonian expansion tendencies, accepting social actors as they are and also more radical versions of "solidarity" with the status quo are concomitant with the institutionalization etc.
mentioned. So much so that true debate is virtually dead: Where do you see a dissident discuss with an elite member, who alternately give arguments during three minutes, say, twenty rounds in a row, or as long as necessary for fallacies to lose spectacularly? "Group thinkers" don't like such debates and will evade thorough argument on what is controversial. They prefer "real life" to decide controversies. That is, in-crowds, publicity, status and salability (that is, trendyness), in which they are more interested than in truth and arguments even in the first place...
Further, Francis Fukuyama spoke of "the end of history" in the sense of a fundamental struggle of ideas, whereas sociologist Daniel Bell gave notice of "the end of ideology". Both seem to be wrong as far as they feel that enlightened Western ideology (liberal in an historic sense) lacks substantial opposition since the demise of communism. Actually, (Western) anti-enlightened forces and interests continue to work "underground", in ideologically or otherwise disguised forms, as we see on these pages. Repression, especially of fundamental criticism declaring something influential in default, taboos (e.g., with respect to eugenics, ridiculing modern art, or attacking the many rights of a defendant), the absence of true discussion indicated above, and their many analogues and consequences, essentially continue to constitute a radical counterforce against what are, partly nominally, the enlightened values of Western society.
16. Inter alia, much of what we saw above contributed to the fact that Western intelligentsia is far from being at the core of dynamic elites, which are the business and techno-scientific ones now. Even the politicians are mainly followers of trends set by them.
Though the latter is a happy circumstance and a ground for optimism, it is sad at the same time that by this being so, human progress is mainly effected as a corollary of financial and other ambitions that have very little to do with that of making the world better. Probably we have simply to acquiesce in that forces like Adam Smith's invisible hand are wiser than almost all individuals (intellectuals included), political parties and interest groups.
As we now continue socio-cultural criticism, this has to be understood from a background of much more optimism than it seems from such criticism as such and from so many negative (unconscious) motives. It would have been better and more dignified if man would have positively wanted and aspired to the progress now being effected by the "invisible hands". Progress that, far more important than mere affluence, will also amount to genetic engineering improving man, sophisticated lie detection, efficient Internet markets in about everything, more and more insight in consciousness and nature at all, and other things even more significant than cars and refrigerators...
Generally, the solution of most "problems of life" will be effected by techno-scientific progress rather than socio-ideological factors. Moreover, in the longer run the latter will adjust to the former. Especially, Internet and genetic engineering constitute major victories of reason, information, a qualitative vision on man, purposiveness, well-considered and efficient selection and markets in about everything (up to and including reproductive cells) over chance, uncertainty, incoherence, other-directedness and "social games and manipulation".
About those problems of life in relation to the techno-scientific revolution it is important to note that, inter alia, as to our anxieties, uncertainties, and threatening and neuroticizing situations, e.g., as a result of competition, manipulation, aggression and wickedness in general, we are much more helped by a transparent and "scientific" world in which man, his genes, brain waves, lies, hidden motives, faculties, preferences etc. are measured in the spirit of Ellul's quotation in (3) than by "social solidarities, conventions and games". The right man in the right place in the broadest sense - from job to sex to friends to taking various initiatives - can be so effected, one thus avoiding many kinds of cruel competition and manipulation.
The above means that the Promethean revolution - progress, evolution, genetic quality,... - rather than left, right and ideology should be the focus of our thinkers' thought.
17. Partly summarizing: among the main socio-cultural problems - that is, those on which the intelligentsia should concentrate - are these:
a) Priority of reason and of an ethic that aims at minimizing suffering and optimizing happiness; fighting all ideas contrasting with such enlightened starting-point;
b) Realizing that human moral, emotional, intellectual and, therefore, genetic qualities are vital in the relevant pursuit of happiness and that, consequently, eugenics and genetic engineering applied to man are more progressive than egalitarianism, also in reducing underclasses, addiction, crime and the like;
c) The realization that by far most ideas contrasting with the spirit of a) and b) serve vested interests that are in line with historical anti-Enlightenment. E.g., the "disadvantaged industry" that ignores the results of genetics in giving precedence to "nurture" over "nature" as the main cause of problem groups still appearing in an affluent welfare society. For such idea creates jobs, status and power for the major interest group which is constituted by this industry. [Note here that the original Enlightenment appeared to be naïve in one important respect, viz. in assuming (all) people "to be good by nature".]
One more vital example of ideas serving interests has been elaborated above: many still have an interest in relativizing reason and rational ethic for similar reasons as, e.g., nobility and clergy had two centuries ago: such reason and ethic threaten and undermine the power of vested interests, in-crowds and convention.
d) Finding concrete explanations of and conceiving specific theories about socio-cultural phenomena, especially such ones that explicitly or implicitly expose powerful groups and interests, being aware of the fact that especially social actors and situations which are of questionable good faith and rationality deserve scrutiny. (For, good faith and rational practices will be more easily recognizable for social research, not being hidden by ideological disguise.)
e) Immoral vested interests should be recognized in various purportedly well-meaning laws, institutions and practices. E.g., think of the privacy and technicality cult in law enforcement that often makes finding the truth more difficult. Intellectuals (and politicians) should be extremely suspicious about the interests behind such situation, and particularly about a mentality that actually accepts that an accused is set free because "privacy" has been violated or a technical error appears in his summons. One should ask oneself: "What is hidden here?"
f) Just as in the past, the uneducatedness and moral indifference of the majority are ultimately the main cause of social evil. Those many who are more interested in and invest more agression in sport than, e.g., in the fact that in the US democracy is made highly theoretical by the mere fact that elections will largely depend on money spend by interest groups, those many get what they deserve if they complain to feel "powerless".
The intelligentsia, however, should take the lead in opposing such situations, rather than drain its own energy into what is equally irrelevant as such sports: irrational philosophy (Heidegger, Foucault, Lyotard,...) and incoherent art without any function in awakening and focusing emotions.
g) In this context one has also to ask oneself how it could occur that our sociologists are so much intellectually disinterested in so major a subject as sexuality that the most essential points are systematically ignored, as we saw in (6) above.
Could it be that, e.g., the relevant research is not popular because it would expose typical means by which establishments used to and will manipulate people's minds, in this case by censoring emotions and instincts in a way comparable to how "traditional" censorship did so with respect to our intellect? [Compare (6), and (23) and (30d) below.]
h) Whereas in former ages censorship, illiteracy and poverty, the lack of mass media and the like caused the majority to be unaware and/or powerless with respect to eliminating abuses and fostering progress, currently it is the complexity of society, bureaucracy, procedure and power relations, and the concomitant obscurity, as well as our inundation by the media by facts from which only few can discriminate what is relevant. Note that such inundation, the spirit of the TV-commercial, and the proliferation of "contacts" all contribute to other-directedness, superficiality and "image" subtituting substantial content. These join indifferene ensuing from affluence and relativistic ideology. All of this works for the status quo. (Remind: even the French revolution only began when there was hunger.)
We can say that, essentially, "only" science and technology still move it - radically. Is it a coincidence that our intelligentsia is very little interested in their preponderant socio-cultural role (or even distrustful), or does this betray its basic conservatism?
Still, the intelligentsia should see through complication, discriminate essences as to abuses, take the lead in exposure and attack the immoral and irrational so that the silent majority would no longer feel powerless while vested interests manipulate politicians and, moreover, educational, juridical, medical and other establishments out-manage and out-power the public and its interests.
III. Some more Points around the Core Subjects
18. The main source of evil is values and solidarities that cannot be legitimized by reason - nationalism, other-directedness, dogmatism, traditionalism, racism, sexual taboos,...
Generally, the relevant solidarities - "unity", group-mindedness, going with it, not questioning the good faith of major social actors,... - will be favourable for the powerful because they facilitate vested interests to undisturbedly play into each others' hands. Therefore, questioning the orthodoxy and/or the good faith of major social actors (interest groups) is disapproved apart from whether the dissident is factually right: he "de-solidarizes" from the community. Accordingly, most of our "nonconformists" are networking media pets who - as far as they do not actually support the orthodoxy - are "repressively tolerated" because they have nothing of substance to say. Think of Greens, radical egalitarians, environment devotees, rap musicians, and representatives of "revolutionary" art.
Within the above scope it is much less taken ill of me that my explanations, theories or ideas might possibly be incorrect, than that they challenge the spirit of the orthodoxy, question the good faith of various parts of our establishment and imply the mentality dominating in the group to be rather corrupt in major aspects. This is the principal reason why the concrete contents of such explanations etc. will evoke little discussion. My work is correctly felt as a coherent attack on the whole of a mentality in which selling oneself, image, "intersubjectivity", social games, the political in a broad sense, being put in the right, networking and accepting others as they are take precedence over substantial reason, enforcing integrity, being right, the idea of progress, moral and genetic quality and its measurement.
It is correctly felt that one cannot seriously and systematicly call attention to facts like
a) President Clinton had legal costs of about $ 2,000,000 because of the question whether he dropped his trousers for Paula Jones or not, and
b) Much of "modern art" positively does not pretend to be in any way impressive, and still continues to be accepted by major parts of the expert and speech-making communities,
without implicitly calling into question the quality of our establishment. Most of all, many take offense at my doing just this. Time and again, I offend those who belong, finding fault with their very wish of doing so, which in my view amounts to acquiescing in injustice and to subordinating truth and authentic arguments and emotions to dominating interests or one's career.
19. The ideas of the Enlightenment "failed" precisely to the degree to which some hate or oppose them.
20. Some feel present-day social abuses to be "coincidences" rather than originating from stupidity and badness. My question: "Why those of the past were not at all coincidental, but caused by open or hidden interests?"
Let's consider this point in more detail.
Language and its complicated, consistent grammar constitutes an unconscious "conspiracy". For there were no linguists consciously "constructing" them, whereas nevertheless there are designs. Well, why deny then that our culture and society may show many more unconscious "conspiracies", inter alia, tending to serve certain interests. E.g., if some social abuse continues for many years and some interest can be associated with it, why not assuming then that some forces want it to continue? Think of the complication of the law and juridical procedure on which lawyers thrive (and in which the rich have an interest too because expensive lawyers often find loopholes); think of many subsidy and other regulations at the cost of the consumer, or of US politicians depending on contributions of doctors, farmers, unions,...
Also think of the past; of authorities finding scapegoats in witches, Jews, minorities or foreign countries, and of priests unconsciously pushing feelings of guilt making people even more innerly dependent on the Church. And think of kings intimidating the masses with glamour and (unconsciously) manipulating them by the idea of their "divine rights", or the Nazis devising the ideas of Herrenvolk and superior race as very adequate manipulative answers to the humiliation of the Germans by the Versailles treaty and other frustrations.
For the rest, also orthodox religions, adats and conventions were (are)
a) Far from being consciously constructed, but of an unconscious "design";
b) Often serving various - not always sympathetic - interest groups;
c) Even more often simply lies and/or frustrating many;
d) Almost generally accepted within the relevant societies, and shielded by sanctions and taboos.
Well, what else were (are) they than unconscious conspiracies?
Let nobody say that modern (unconscious) "conspiracies" are far-fetched; our age is certainly not the first one without them! Actually, as far as we can see, the simplest and most coherent explanation of the conspicuous dominance in philosophy, socio-cultural thinking and modern art of tendencies against rationalism and the Enlightenment, is the hypothesis of its being the most important unconscious conspiracy of our time. Viz. the pre-eminent modern ideological instrument against reason, rational values, optimism, the exposure of abuses and of everything else shunning daylight, that is, fearing such reason and rational values. Within this scope, it is very clear why so many relativize, subjectivize, and devalue reason and rational values or declare them incompetent in various domains: from Wittgenstein to postmodernism, from Heidegger to Foucault and Lyotard, and from Becket and Pinter to Cobra and Karel Appel.
They do now to reason what was formerly done by censorship, jails, the Church and convention - to the benefit of similar interests and forces: irrational and/or immoral power and practices.
Let us be happy that the future of mankind is defined in the laboratories and by economic forces rather than by philosophers and ideologists... But it is sociologically and morally interesting to study the influence of the latter, too, and also the material and psychological interests behind them.
21. Facts and phenomena do not at all depend on values; on the contrary, true (non-ideological) values depend on objective facts, objective phenomena and objective reason, such as genes and good arguments, inter alia, to the effect that suffering should be avoided.
22. In "progressive" education we recognize the mentality that dominates more generally. We see unmethodical project learning, and neither much system as to grammar nor in the deduction and proofs in mathematics, nor a substantial line in studying natural laws or history. Also think of "the spontaneous" and a here-and-now attitude, of little discipline, of equality rather than quality, and of little homework and much other-directedness and "social adjustment". In short: anti-intellectualism, incoherence and group-mindedness, i.e., the opposite of substantial thinking, of autonomous personalities and of elevating man.
These tendencies are so radical, persistent and clearly anti-enlightened that one can never pretend them to be "accidental", not having an (unconscious) anti-enlightened intention too! The more so because the ballyhoo with which all these things will be recommended is so hollow and thin (and, therefore, clearly conceals something): "Keep up with the times!", "Knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete", "We should not create a dichotomy in youth (as to intelligent and dull students)", "Education should emphasize social skills rather than knowledge that cannot be applied", etcetera.
Still, not seeing through "progressive" education as one more specimen of ideologically disguised anti-enlightenment is the rule rather than the exception. It is part of the single most important fault of current social thinking: repressing the idea of concretely studying (a) hidden group interests, (b) ideological manipulations with which they promote their power and privilege, and (c) the general violation of reason and rational moral values within this scope (anti-red-thread tendency, ideological manipulation and deception). Similar repressions as that with respect to education can be seen as to "abstract" art, relativistic and subjectivistic philosophies, conventional sexual morality, law enforcement and various other subjects. Rather generally, the moral dimension as well as (genetic) human quality is "out" with our intelligentsia, which amounts to a vital repression, also in the domain of science.
Education is rather radically adjusted to other-directedness and superficiality: learning how to react to impulses from and changes of the environment gets precedence over the cognitive, over a coherent frame of thinking and values, and over becoming an autonomous personality primarily interested in substance. Man is simply degraded.
Especially in the US, we see that the general upbringing of youth is intensely conformising: one should be "popular" and spend much time with others, actively engaging in group activities. You should find pleasure in taking initiatives to them and in participating in them, such as sports. Generally, what others think of you is essential. Adjustment is the central criterion of psychological health, and those not liking "getting along with others" - e.g., teenagers regularly taking a walk alone, simply for pleasure, e.g., in thinking - are not in high esteem. One of the consequences is that often the best, most serious and intellectually oriented youths feel unhappy or get psychological problems, the more so because the degree to which one should engage in the "social" is so intense. One can hardly confine oneself to feigning interest in it...
Probably, Internet will gradually provide a solution to this kind of problems too.
Finally, the situation as to "progressive" education is also illustrated by a report of the Dutch daily De Telegraaf (19 April 1997) about a poll, by the Instituut voor Communicatie Research in Hilversum, among a representative sample of 789 Dutch families having children of 8 to 20 years old. They answered the question: "Do you feel education improved or deteriorated during the latest years?" Result: "improved" 3%, "deteriorated" 83%, "no opinion" 14%. Also, lack of discipline was judged to be a vital problem by most parents. To put this in perspective: in such "latest years" Dutch education has been reformed in "progressive" sense in rather radical ways.
Neither Dutch parliament nor the media appeared to be upset, or even took further notice...
23. Those wanting uncertainty, want anxiety. This is so obvious that the barrage of "chaos", "chance", "inner void", "unmakable", "indeterminacy" in many high-brow discussions could hardly be a coincidence.
Also, already Freud discovered that much anxiety has its origin in the sexual domain. He ascribed it to Oedipus complexes and other early-childhood experiences. I don't believe so. More probably, frequent anxieties (and many other problems) in this domain, too, originate from the uncertainty inherent to the extreme primitiveness of the sexual marketplace. This causes many to look out for a partner for years, from a much too small base of alternatives, in an mostly irrational ambiance of chance, waste of time, unintentionalness, loud music and superficial contacts... (Of course, the radical scarcity of attractiveness compounds the problem. The more so because this factor is repressed, and the relevant unconsciousness contributes to helplessness.) In short: radical uncertainty as to a primary necessity of life. Small wonder that not merely anxieties abound in this domain, but also a host of problems between partners who had far from optimum alternatives to make a well-attuned choice.
One of the primitive aspects of the present love market also is the difficulty for women to compare many potential mates as regards physical attractiveness, beyond their faces. For man's clothing will hide much more of this than women's.
24. One major cause of the stagnancy in socio-cultural thinking and of the lack of enthousiasm about progress is our lacking any coherently optimistic value system. It might be that unconsciously operative status-quo forces frustrated what is obvious from an intellectual and moral standpoint, viz. an integration of a), b) and c) below:
a) An enlightened version of the Sermon on the Mount (truth, integrity, neighbourly love);
b) Promethean enthousiasm as to homo faber and techno-science;
c) Enlightened rational values also in the domain of instincts and passions: anti-aggression, pro-sexuality; not constructing any artificial antithesis of on the one side well-consideredness and performance, and on the other side happiness and catharsis. (Freud, Marcuse and hippy culture actually constructed such antithesis.)
25. It is not merely major parts of the establishment that favour fuzzyness, troubled waters and the like. In ordinary life too, many intuitively prefer repression, convention, illusions, hypocritical or untruthful games and false images in order to veil or make bearable conflicting desires, inconsistencies, relational problems, inferiority feelings, faults, mistakes, threatening situations, anxiety etcetera. Many want to close their eyes for various abysses in or outside them, and for many other unhappy things. It is not merely neurotics wanting to shield their "defence mechanisms" who play essentially unhealthy games or delude themselves. This may be the principal source of the antagonistic feelings of so many with respect to rationalism, analysing and measuring man to detail, the words of Ellul in (3) above, and much of the spirit of this site. There is a huge market for relativism, uncertainty and "playing games".
In other words, rationalism, consistently rational values and emotional openness - that is, the spirit of the red thread - are felt to be threatening by those many who will be pious on Sunday at church attendance and ruthless in business or otherwise on Monday: by a majority for which compromising with one's conscience is a way of life. Generally, also think of those avoiding problems and inner conflicts by "politically" adjusting themselves to very divergent opinions, groups, atmospheres and priorities. They have an instinctive bias towards superficiality, relativism and not being too consistently rational...
Still, the best instruments against evil and, therefore, unhappiness, are truth, better technology and better genes. One should feel them to be one's principal allies.
On the other hand, many instinctively prefer "games people play", Heidegger, Finnegan's Wake, Lacan, Derrida and "fundamental uncertainty" to something like "the scientifization of culture" for the same reason why thieves prefer darkness to daylight...
We see an example of "manipulated anxiety and obscurantism" in the attitude of many with respect to rational matchmaking and dating agencies: most people object to their photograph, videos about themselves and their looking for a mate at all becoming public. Anyhow, our culture and mores intimidated people into feeling ashamed for such search. (The anxiety, shame and intimidation in question ultimately stem from our very need and dependence on uncontrollable chance and the scarcity of attractive people!) Of course, this has similar consequences as to our finding an optimum mate as feeling shame of expressing opinions and arguments would have for finding the truth. The whole complex of "spontaneity", "romanticism", chance meetings, and aversion to "presupposed availability" - that is necessary for our being in a position to compare and balance the qualities of many potential mates, with respect to which "mystery", illusion and projection are very frustrating - as to the sex market is part of post-victorian anti-sexual ideology because it frustrates optimum gratification to a high degree.
Just as in other domains of life, an atmosphere contrasting with openness, optimum information, rationality and well-consideredness is detrimental to happiness in the sexual sphere.
Also compare here the cult of "privacy" and "due process" as highly frustrating finding the truth in the juridical field.
26. The essence of all philosophy about the foundations of science can be summarized very briefly:
a) We experience that about all mentally sane people agree on what they find to be (repeatable) observations;
b) Similarly we experience that such (educated) individuals also agree on what are logical inferences and arguments;
c) Finally, we again experience that extremely few "paradoxes" appear, that is, (seeming) mutual contradictions within the set of facts, phenomena, and relations between them, that is produced within the scope of a) and b): via controlled observations and their intelligent processing by modern educated and enlightened men.
The three points above imply that a vast coherent Network of Scientific Phenomena objectively exists. If it is a dream, it is a very coherent and consistent one, with an enormous predictive power. This undenyable state of matters refutes or makes irrelevant those substantial parts of current philosophy of science purporting or suggesting that the concept of objective science and/or its major relevance would be somehow problematic.
27. I see some striking mutually coherent circumstances:
(a) In spite of the hope and strivings of many well-meaning people and the publicly avowed good intentions of many among our leaders, we see that actually the role of reason and rational values in society is not very impressive;
(b) Also, we see that - just as in the past - various powerful groups in society have an interest in such role being modest. Formerly, they kept it modest by violence, censorship, manipulation or superstition, money and the uneducatedness of the majority. How is such role kept modest now?
(c) I venture a hypothesis, focusing on some popular ideological theses and ideas tending to indeed devalue and undermine the authority of and the trust in reason and rational values to the benefit of other major means of influencing the course of events, such as power, well-connectedness, money, social position, convention and hushing up arguments. Such theses and ideas are:
"Truth, facts, good and evil are relative, and the world is "not makable";
"Abstract art is valuable; it is positive to playfully disorder our way of looking at the world, and `decohere' it";
The ideas of existentialism which subjectivize, and those of postmodernism that declare context-dependent truth, reality, quality and progress, again imply power and the status quo to remain as what ultimately matters: they are by no means "subjective", "relative" or "context-dependent"; they are very hard and inescapable;
"Technology has many drawbacks, the Enlightenment failed and it is very questionable whether man's happiness increased since the Middle Ages";
"Science, rational arguments and even observation start from non-rational premises";
"We sense that even if all possible scientific questions have been answered, our problems of life have not yet even been touched" (Wittgenstein).
Why such irrational and inveracious theses and ideas are so popular?
Considering (a), (b) and (c), the hypothesis referred to at the start of (c) seems rather obvious, that is, what ideological instruments successed violence, censorship etcetera to keep the role of reason and rational ethic in society so modest as it actually is, and what continuity there is in history as regards the instruments of power...
Concluding comment: The essential effect of such (psychological) instruments is in an indirect way keeping the majority from translating vital needs and problems into rational action. On the other hand, encouraging people to do so indeed constitutes the core of enlightenment in the broadest sense, as to which our anti-rationalist orthodoxy never becomes tired of repeating the fiasco: "It appears that we can do little to solve the great human problems". Quite to the contrary, we can do so much that even the concerted exertions of the bulk of our intelligentsia - pushing anti-rationalism and scepticism as to science and technology - do not suffice to keep the relevant role of reason and rational moral values so confined as to stop progress. Still, they help vested interests - bulwarks of privilege, relatiocracy and irrational power - to minimize it to current deplorable level.
28. There is a radical flaw in dominating thought among our speech-making community - such as the intelligentsia - about how human problems should be approached. It implies the denial of what culture amounts to: Culture is efficiency in reducing suffering and increasing happiness, by intuitive or rational organization starting from human nature.
The relevant conceptions are both pessimistic and conservative because they deny that objective progress is possible in the sense that reason, technology and objectively correct enlightened moral values can indeed systematically reduce frustration and foster happiness.
Such conceptions go with a way of thinking in which social relations and subjective choices, projection, social influencing, convention and various kinds of romanticism precede any objective nature, wants and longings of man, as well as rationally obvious values. The relevant ideas about man and culture are especially pessimistic and conservative in the sense that
1) They promise little which we can do to translate general human needs and problems into rational action;
2) They make the individual rather fundamentally dependent on "the group" and those manipulating it;
3) Within this view on man it is obvious that ideology, social convention and relations between groups in society (that is, power) play dominant parts, much more dominant than science, technology and objective rational values (that aim at optimizing happiness), human genetic quality and progress.
Probably, the controversy indicated in the first paragraph embodies the most important antithesis in socio-cultural thinking. It joins with Helmut Schelsky's idea that ideologists tend to distrust technology because it makes the individual less dependent on the overwhelming powers of nature (and on the group, "the others" and chance!, W.R.). This causes him/her to be less accessible to the messianism and religious or social utopias of the ideologists. Note in this connection that modern rational and technological societies indeed do not appear to create a favourable climate for ideology. Think of orthodox religion, nationalism, socialism, and political radicalism that formerly thrived in the West and continue to do so in many ratio-technologically underdeveloped societies.
It is very obvious where various interests are.
Also, it is clear that the above joins with what we discussed in (27) above about what currently shields the status quo and its dark sides against reason and rational or moral criticism.
29. In (28) above we mentioned Schelsky's idea and already indicated some extension of it. A more radical extension is that not only ideologists but also status-quo forces will not merely distrust technology but, more generally, any tendency to translate frustrations and needs into well-considered rational and moral action.
Now I call attention to the remarkable circumstance that not only the slogans quoted under (27c) above, but virtually the bulk of modern philosophy and socio-cultural thinking, as well as most abstract (incoherent, "emotionless",..) modern art breathe a spirit contrasting with the above-meant translation. Think of endless discussions - leading nowhere - about such concepts as "alienation", "language games", "Being", "Intersubjectivity", "premises" with respect to science [compare (27) above], "life as a game" etcetera.
What we see above is conservatism and related defeatism pervading our cultural climate as a definitely anti-enlightened "orthodoxy" that ideologically shields many interests in society which have to fear from rational thought and action - i.e., everything that is wrong in the sense of needlessly frustrating anyone's happiness. It is too conspicious for being a mere coincidence that most currently trendy philosophies and ideas contrast with the spirit of what we earlier called the red thread of enlightenment in history.
30. Joining with (28) and (29), we mention some more concrete examples of the "keep-them-dependent" tendency discussed there, partly in connection with Schelsky:
a) Objections to contraception, abortion, euthanasia - also applied to mentally or seriously physically handicapped newborns at the option of parents -, eugenics and genetic engineering applied to man. Especially the churches do not like man to become more independent from "God and fate";
b) Additional especially leftist objections to eugenics and genetic engineering that stem from the circumstance that such interventions tend to soundly solve social problems for which we now depend on the powerful social bureaucracies helping the "disadvantaged" and on the social utopias of egalitarian ideologists (think of the ferryman who objects to constructing a bridge);
c) The rather massively pushed idea of the world to be "not makable" and "fundamentally uncertain" (remind the relation between uncertainty and anxiety);
d) Sustaining an atmosphere as to sexuality which contrasts with rational, large-scale and transparent love-partner markets, that would violate "romanticism", "the subjective nature of love", and our not being "willing to offer ourselves" (which shyness is rather irrational). Actually, such efficient markets would make the individual much less dependent on chance, on intimidating extended periods of frustration, and on the group and its mores that - a coincidence? - so often benefit conformism and superficiality.
31. Almost the entire content of most high-brow Cultural Supplements and related periodicals amounts to giving the idea to those who "want to belong" that they indeed do so, without even touching substance. The relevant pretentious non-information is roughly what sport news is for low-brows: draining away energy to the utmost irrelevant with fake status. Within this scope, also much art (literature) devalued from emotion to amusement.
32. Addicts and street-corner types sponge on society. Therefore, their not being forced to kick the habit and adopt performance ethic, respectively, are counter-intuitive and need an explanation. I surmise it to be: Western "disadvantaged industry" looks for customers, just as business, and within the scope of Parkinson's Law about organizations tending to expand.
Why not execute chronic offenders, painlessly by injection, within 24 hours after their seventh bag snatch (or anything like that) has been established, and without juridical complications?
What is humane in subordinating the interests of (potential) victims to those of recidivists and their lawyers?
Chronic offenders, chronic anti-socials, and chronic addicts, just as mentally handicapped, simply are errors of the chemistry of evolution. Those denying this are hypocrites or lying.
I never hear egalitarians and opponents of eugenics speak about the unhappiness moral and genetic rearguards bring over their fellow-men... (For the rest, genetic engineering and eugenics simply are the application to man of the idea of progress.)
It was a good thing of the spirit of the sixties to challenge both sexual taboos and dominating mandarins. Alas, it threw out the baby with the bath water, standing model for a degrading permissiveness towards squatters, anti-socials, criminals, addicts, unruly students, underclasses, the unskilled, illegal aliens, corrupt and anti-enlightened Third-World regimes etc. Actually, the left became the lobby of moral and genetic rearguards and even more of the - as such useful and humane - redistribution and "helping" organisations that, of course, are not benefitted by eugenics, middle-class values, and law and order.
33. The most important thing is not that ratio-empiricism is true, but that its opponents are ideological fiddlers who unconsciously try to shield vested interests. For what they do is claiming the right to be wrong (according to the standards of reason and/or empirical facts).
More generally, it is rather obvious why many do not like the ideal of a crystal-clear world in which truth, measurable quality, integrity and efficiency are the catchwords. For most among current in-crowds and success-career people realize how much they owe to image-building, manipulation, social games etc.
Within this scope, many sense intuitively that existentialism, postmodernism, irrational art without content or beauty, anti-intellectualistic ("progressive") education and egalitarianism are in the interest of and go with various dominating elites, by undermining reason (and substantial quality) as formerly done by censorship and orthodoxy. This in itself gives them additional weight. For many instinctively want to join the powerful. (Think of the nazi's, who also won respect by their mere dominating the streets.) Don't forget that human intuition will be rather deep and consistent.
Again consistently, they feel my work to be associated with outsiders, loners, the unpopular, which is a reason for many not to go seriously into it: it does not have the status of in-crowd matter, also being the opposite of the trendy, as is correctly felt from every paragraph. It even opposes the trendy...
Mind that most people do not adhere to an idea or socio-cultural theory because of its strong arguments or coherence, but because they feel it to be emotionally attractive or because of an (unconscious) instinct that it serves their interests. An example: many conservatives want Christian religion to regain more influence, without their actually believing in it. (Of course, this is mere mental fraud.)
In our other-directed and "networking" age, truth and the morally good became ever more "inter-subjective" and relative. Exposingly explaining abuses and chutzpahs as done in my work, and even calling into question the good faith of those adhering to the orthodoxy, became a liability rather than an intellectual and moral virtue, even apart from the quality and coherence of the relevant arguments and theories! Within this scope reviewers' consistently not going into my points about abuses and chutzpahs (e.g., absurd quotations from mandarins) has to be seen in a similar light as the practically universal blindness of the then intellectual and moral elites for history's abuses like slavery, persecutions, torture etc.
34. In the Yom Kippur war in 1973 all Western-European governments except Franco's Spain (of unlamented memory) refused American airplanes to stop over on their territories in bringing badly needed military goods to Israel. Seldom the moral level of the relevant establishments has been exposed more clearly. There's nothing that can compensate for such mentality...
Add various other chutzpahs discussed in these pages, and you have a striking moral image of our establishment (that, in a technical sense, is not incompetent in general). Still I am an optimist because of accelerating progress, inter alia, in genetics, artificial intelligence, Internet, rationalization of society and ethics, and even morally (e.g., think of recent interventions of NATO, the UN, and the World Bank).
All the same, one should not think lightly about the moral corruption in our society: in reviews of my work, the chutzpahs-abuses get the least attention of all subjects I discuss. Only very few people appear to be upset by them. On the other hand, their continuation is merely due to such very fact and to the speech-making community's remaining solidary with "the group" - while the latter is still fully responsible.
It is also such solidarity of conformed ideologists which causes them to be less infuriated by weak arguments against the orthodoxy than by the irrefutable.
35. Reading proponents and reviewers of most modern art I see: "vigorous lines", "alienation", "strong composition", "shocking", "new ways of expression", etc. etc. Evidently, some tacit message and meaning are implicit in this verbiage. For in common parlance it is meaningless.
36. Roughly being a man of the Enlightenment, I (again roughly) moderately and optimistically applaud the direction in which mankind is making material and moral progress. Still, I feel to be in a position to demonstrate that current establishment is not much less in bad faith than its historical predecessors - for whom power and privilege used to take precedence over the happiness of their subjects. Let me first put two theses:
(a) By far most social evils originate from stupidity or moral failure;
(b) Within a broader context, most suffering and almost all frustration of happiness ultimately stem from inadequacy of knowledge, technology or integrity. For they - just as everything else - have objective causes to which science and an enlightened attitude in principle have access.
Now it is striking that - apart from whether (a) and (b) above are correct or not (I think they are) - our (cultural) establishment betrays its bad faith by rather generally admitting that it would be far from happy if they did indeed hold. That is, the relevant "elite" does not like at all the idea that human well-being would come from science and technology, and even less that consistently fighting stupidity and moral failings would be a condition of the elimination of social evil. Such (hypothetical) situation is evidently (instinctively) sensed by such elite as contrary to its interests, and as threatening for its investments in stupidity, moral failings and human dependence, a dependence which is a consequence of a lack of knowledge and/or technology. Especially regarding the latter sentence, draw parallels with history!
One more reason for not being very optimistic about the integrity of most among our speech-making community is their frequent assertions that "it is doubtful whether man really became happier in the past two centuries". This is so extremely implausible that only wishful thinking may be a serious explanation hypothesis. What to think anyway of the mentality in elites objecting to genetic engineering aiming at higher human quality, whereas they do not at all object to the procreation of underclass and street-corner types?
Moreover, one may surely suspect that those not liking the idea of b) that in principle the world and truth are objective, coherent and accessible to science and a moral approach, have some sympathy for troubled waters and "uncertainty" (that is, for anxiety being fundamental, incurable).
For the rest, there is a conspicuous contradiction in the way of thinking of almost all social scientists: on the one side they admit that there is much truth in how Machiavelli described the motives and methods of elites, but on the other they will seldom or never refer to concrete bad faith among them, here and now, and analyse its precise consequences. Moreover, especially thinkers sceptically about the Enlightenment (a vast majority now) never become tired of repeating that man's (moral) failings - such as lust for power - are so serious and abundant that it is an illusion to hope for a substantially better society. Again, strikingly contrasting with this, it will be virtually taboo - and at least highly unusual - if any social thinker (such as I) concretely and more in detail points to the bad faith of various established forces or interest groups demonstrating the relevant failings, such as in veiled ideological power plays of which almost everybody in theory acknowledges there are! Then, Machiavelli, the lust for power and the abstract failings of man suddenly evaporate! Man is full of sin, but concrete managers of our juridical system and of cartels, ideologists, the educational establishment, philosophers and pushers of art without meaning and emotion, and those continuing the US system of money deciding elections, all of them merely commit "practical errors". It's true, these continue for very long times, but this is "mere coincidence", not, of course, (unconscious) bad faith serving group interests. Question: "Where is the wickedness of man in our leaders? If I am wrong in indicating it in these pages, please tell me where else to seek!" Why should we ignore hidden agendas and be "solidary" with the group and its leaders?
Not even so-called veto groups are concretely identified and exposed, let alone that one explains why and how the relevant undermining of democracy could occur, in spite of the existence of parliaments.
One more remark is in place here. Some well-meaning people said to me: "Why do you bother about our `culturally lagging' alfa and social sectors while the techno-scientific and business elites took over in society, and - though unknowingly - lead it precisely in the direction you advocate? Let them alone with their delusions and inanity!" Still, those well-meaning people, just as by far most contemporary authors at all, concede that in non-techno-scientific and non-economic matters the role of reason and rational values in society is not very impressive. (Most vocal thinkers even doubt whether this will ever change.) Well, my exertions aim at precisely finding out how such situation could continue and at what we concretely can do about it. Not very many seem interested, most acquiescing in the relevant situation. That is my point. I simply don't want, e.g., to acquiesce in Western governments being so nihilistic as to allow the mass immigration of various low-IQ, lowly-skilled and crime-prone kinds of immigrants simply in yielding to pressure groups and (leftist) political parties liking "disadvantaged", as (predominantly leftist) voters or as clients of helping organizations. I don't want to acquiesce in such governments' pseudo-moral lofty talk about this and in many other things being mere bunk from career oligarchs...
And, for the rest, I want reason and rational values to be consistently applied to, and to define the general climate in, those - non-business and non-techno-scientific - domains of life where their role is indeed not yet very impressive. Think of the many instances discussed in these pages. And, last but not least, I want to thoroughly practice honest social science.
This does not mean at all that emotions and mentalities are less important. Not at all! In actual fact, they are about the most ignored significant category of sociology (only second to exposing bad faith). For, mentalities will reflect interests and preferences: the Cultural Revolution in China, the Killing fields in Cambodia, the spirit of the sixties, progressive education, existentialism, postmodernism, the dominant ideas about privacy and the right to be silent in the juridical domain, and the mentality of abstract art, e.g., all reflect emotions and/or interests contrasting with putting first and foremost reason, truth, coherence and rational values. (As to abstract art, think of its anti-enlightened role that is directly related to its most serious flaw, viz. its lacking emotional or moral substance, such as beauty, catharsis and point.) Only by this insight can they be explained.
IV. Various Comments and Ideas
37. In my opinion, it is very cruel to deny the right to the parents of essentially handicapped newborns to opt for euthanasia, in consultation with their doctors. Forcing parents to invest in and live with, say, a child suffering from Down's syndrom borders on sadism. Like much cruelty in the past, this variant, too, results from dogmatism, viz. the dogma that "all human life is inviolable".
38. Suppose you can find a criminal by testing the DNA or fingerprint of 100 potential perpetrators and comparing it with that found at the site of the crime. Then, in many countries, the law prohibits making the test compulsory. ("privacy", "nobody is obliged to cooperate..."). I cannot imagine a cruder way of cold-bloodedly refusing to take sides with good against evil.
The relevant juridical principle, more clearly than anything else, demonstrates that our establishment positively wants to maintain loopholes for evil. Why?
39. There is an a priori logic in Chomsky's idea that some universal grammar is innate in man: Why should the logic of mathematics be inherent to our brain while that of language would be not?
40. Don't let yourself be intimidated into inferiority complexes, "objectless anxiety" and guilt feelings if you have a serious and righteous nature and above-average IQ, are sexually reasonably attractive and work hard. If you have problems with love, in getting friends or with "social skill", don't blame yoursélf, as society will suggest you to do. Blame "the group", which burdened us with a primitive sex market not rationalized since the Batavians, with superficiality (other-directedness) as a collective mentality, and with the idea that serious people should "adjust" to all of this, such as to the massive stupidity about sport, conspicuous consumption and the wish to belong.
In the past, serious and subtle individuals were intimidated by violence, censorship, convention and (sexual, religious,...) guilt feelings. Currently, "adjustment" is fostered by suggestions like: "the group is more right than you and you should enjoy company and social activities, and simply wish to belong". This is mere conformizing ideology: company makes only sense if one has something serious and substantial to exchange, on the intimate or businesslike level. And additionally, the sex market should be efficient, transparent and very large-scale, it being attuned to rational comparison of physical and psychological qualities and, after that, the intimate exchange of ideas and feelings. As observed elsewhere in this site: more often than not, the social is a surrogate of the intimate.
41. None of my four grandparents was Jewish. Still, I have no difficulty in admitting that on an average Jews have 15 IQ point more than non-Jewish whites such as I - and that IQ is more than half genetically defined. Similarly, it should mean no problem for blacks to admit that, on the average, their IQ is 15 points lower than that of whites.
42. Even most "thinkers" commercialized: They produce according to their products being salable, just as businessmen and politicians do. Hence a tide of subjectivism, egalitarianism, existentialism and relativizing of truth, good and evil, also in order to meet demand for making the way of least resistance even easier in a consumption-minded era.
43. What a contemptible emptyness: seeking company without having something important to say or to do; small wonder that the world is full of meaninglessness, aimlessness and conformism...
44. It is much worse that highly educated women on the average give birth to less children than anti-social ones, than if all the latter would drop dead.
45. It strikes the eye that consistent differences of opinion exist between the speech-making community and the silent majority, about immigration of Third-World people, technicalities and many "rights" in the juridical domain, modern art, forcing addicts to kick the habit, positive discrimination, "back to basics and discipline" in education, and various more subjects. Therefore, referenda on such substantial matters are both necessary and easy in the Internet era. For, though John Doe is indeed not very respectable, his opinions will better correspond to the public interest than those of elites that are associated with vested interests and corresponding ideologies. (Think of those of the disadvantaged industry, lawyers, the educational establishment, business and labour lobbies favouring special-interest-shielding regulation,...)
46. Relativism, acquiescense in abuses, in the technicalities and privacy cult in law enforcement and in the idea that life and the world are incoherent and in the last resort depend on coincidence, ultimately stem from insensitiveness and moral superficiality. These are also the main cause of so many needing "the others" for making ethical choices.
For the rest, all true ethic starts with self-pity, for which one does not need "the others" at all as a compass.
47. A major flaw in the selection process for elites and in society at all is implied by the circumstance that students' unions and sporting clubs will be more useful to one's career than a debating society. It is related to such elites far too often representing relatiocracies rather than meritocracies and democracies.
The above also joins with the astounding lack of substance appearing from the fact that at places and situations where young people will meet for making acquaintance, the dominating atmosphere is usually characterized by loud music, drinking, superficial social talk (if the music permits...) and what otherwise contrasts with serious conversation and human contact.
48. Some doubt the existence of objective values. Still, a strong argument telling for it is this:
(a) It is evident that momentary values are often products of the age and transient circumstances;
(b) Then, it is logical that, just as transient values can depend on a transient "context", objective (permanent) values can be implied by a permanent "context" such as embodied by natural laws and human genes. That is, values - far from ever defining truth - will themselves be defined by nature as far as they are objective.
49. Of course, it is very clear why there is such instinctive bias for troubled waters with major parts of our establishment. E.g., how could current immigration policies as referred to earlier, or the situation in education and law enforcement previously discussed on this page, or that about whistle-blowers or the 80% of EU money for agriculture going to 20% of the richest farmers, etc. etc., how could they continue if hardly any troubled waters at all would exist and the dominating mentality were the one of these pages?
50. Various well-meaning people also recommended to me: "Be more kind to people, to the leading actors in society; in questioning their good faith, you make them feel revolted". There may be some truth in this. But how can I advance explanations of, and theories about, socio-cultural phenomena that expose the underlying intentions of many interest groups and ideologists, without repelling those who are responsible? Should I say that those preventing DNA-tests on who may have raped my daughter are jolly good fellows rather than morally rotten to the bone, just as those singing the praises of Michel Foucault who says reason not to be superior to madness, and that swindlers, murderers and muggers are merely - and wrongly - "criminalized"? (See SoC, p. 176.)
I feel any kind of compromise with those, and with people liking postmodernism, Karel Appel, comprehensive schools, the right of a defendant to keep silent, anti-eugenics, fundamental uncertainty and/or permissiveness with respect to squatters and anti-socials - people not liking the spirit and arguments of my books -, I feel any such compromise to be the utmost hypocrisy, and a betrayal of humane values at that. Also note that in the view of the relevant people even intense moral indignation about some social situation will be suspect: it raises doubt about your solidarity with the group and its "well-meaning in-crowds". (Mind here that most members of the establishment in general derive their status and career from the appreciation bestowed on them by the status-quo forces. This tends to forge some solidarity with "oligarchic traits".) Indeed, I only feel distrust of the general mentality and unconscious intentions in a society in which enforcing integrity by all available means is not priority number one, followed by that of fostering techno-science and its application unto the intimate and the unconscious. In actual fact, it still is part and parcel of the dominating ideology that participants of the "social game" should endorse the claims of being in good faith of the other participants. That made interest oligarchies work in all periods of history, even if such interests were slavery, torture, persecutions and exploitation. My not joining in this game defines the core of objections to my work. One should obey the principal law of conformism: giving precedence to how people react to what you say over the rationality of your arguments.
From my side, it is precisely such priority given by the establishment - that one should join in rather than thinking independently and morally if it exposes influential people - which mainly caused me not to like most of "the group" at all.
51. Measuring everything of man - genes, the waves from his brain, his emotions, honesty, intelligence and desires - is not only practical for "the right man in the right place", but also humane: it will make unnecessary many (most) kinds of (often cruel and stress-generating) competition.
52. There will certainly come a techno-scientific stage in which conflicts can be decided by subtly measuring the brain, hidden intentions and integrity of those concerned. Judging from their general philosophies, not many are longing for such age. I don't feel this to be flattering for mankind...
53. The essential cause of poverty, corruption and deficient human-rights situations in Third-world countries is their having too little of the rationalistic, performance and techno-Promethean values Western Greens and Third-world devotees are so critical of...
54. I see it as a radical psychological flaw and "perversion" that so many will associate sexual desire and lust with aggression and animal instincts rather than with beauty, the moving and the elevated. Probably, the relevant people themselves are like their sexuality...
55. In its emphasizing playfulness, every-day things or even nothing at all rather than beauty, coherence and emotional catharsis, I feel most "modern art" to be mocking at my soul...
In fact, the worst thing about it is not primarily its evading essential dimensions of existence such as the dramatic, and deep and coherent emotions, but its suggesting such dimensions and moving truths not to be more important than the incidental, the here and now, everyday experiences and playful fantasies. It will simply be superficial.
What Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, Andy Warhol, the style of Cobra, John Cage and Harold Pinter try to fool us into is believing that coherent moving truths are not at all the primary thing life and the world are about! They try to make us believe that "being of this time", "looking to everday objects in a new way", "alienation", "the absurd" and - last but not least - "image" and publicity are much more important.
Most telling is that criticizing the relevant kind of pretentious non-information and non-emotion is not far from taboo... In troubling waters and frustrating (or not focussing on) catharsis - such subtle deceit and manipulation being modern time's pre-eminent ideological instruments of irrational power and corruption - it joins phenomena like subjectivistic philosophy and postmodernism, the cult of "uncertainty", anti-intellectualistic education and obscure bureaucracy and procedure. It also contrasts with the essence of meaningful art in not even aspiring at evoking any important emotional experience such as of beauty, awakening or Aha-Erlebnis. On the contrary, "contemporary art" is often characterized by "the poly-interpretable" and emotional or intellectual mazes of which not even proponents can explain what their sense is... No beauty, no direction, no purpose, no point or catharsis... Poems without essence, paintings consisting of a blue surface with some squares on it...
Of course, as far as abstract art still emanates beauty, or the suggestion of an important truth or coherence, something really moving - which is certainly possible in principle -, I have nothing against it...
56. In the foregoing we mentioned many social abuses, inter alia, about truth versus "privacy" and technicalities, about whistle-blowers and about the bad faith of most of our establishment. Now the thing which amazes me most of all is that the mere continuance of such immorality does not prevent most intellectuals and speech-makers from roughly feeling solidary with "the group". Remind that the general public is much more critical. [See the start of (1).]
In my opinion, this demonstrates that an amoral, conformistic and even "other-directed", "adjusted" mental attitude prevails among them and that they will be integrated in the powers that be rather than being critical outsiders.
In order to explain such situation we should remind of Friedrich von Hayek: most intellectuals merely purvey second-hand ideas. Highly as a consequence, "Their reputation depends on their being accepted by their colleagues" (See SoC, p. 249; italics mine, W.R.) This generally holds for the speech-making community. In our other-directed "relatiocracy", in which networking and media connections are vital to power and career, and a salesman mentality ("my image is my principal asset") pervades economic, political and public life, socio-cultural thought and philosophical trends became "other-directed" and "politicized" to a high degree too! The atmosphere became that of "organization men", the TV commercial and the networker. Substantial independent reason, moral indignation and the autonomous personality are out, relativism and "adjustment" are in, as we already know from David Riesman. But we failed to see that this happened in socio-philosophical thought too! In spite of the demise of censorship and persecution and the coming of democracy, substantial ideas and theories unwelcome to major interests simply find little response. This holds in the domain of socio-cultural thinking just as well as in politics, that also mainly consists of wheeling and dealing between major interests, of ideological and emotional manipulation, and of judging things on the basis of their salability and image rather than of substantial rational and moral discussion.
Some vital point of the above is summarized by the Dutch economist E.J. Bomhoff: "Active members of the establishment [Dutch: regenten] continuously meet with other such members to fend off the danger of their ever belonging to a minority standpoint". This is relatiocracy in action.
One might ask: "Are establishment members of a morally lower level than the general public?" I think the answer to be well-known: "Power corrupts (and absolute power corrupts absolutely)".
57. The difference between Demis Rousos and Vicky Leandros on the one side and Schönberg and Webern on the other, is emotional catharsis versus repression of primary sentiments. Such repression is exemplary as to a major manipulatory instrument of our establishment: frustrate the free and coherent awakening and catharsis of people's primary emotions and sentiments, for this helps in keeping them psychologically manipulable. Compare here the repressive sexual morals of the past. Also compare the aversion of most conservatives to the direct and explicit, and to putting the cat among the pigeons.
The function of sports as a way to drain striving and emotion into the utmost irrelevant also joins with the above.
58. It strikes the eye that leftists and the social care organizations seldom militate for what would really reduce the number of "deprivileged": making more homework, delaying gratification, performance ethic, compulsory kicking the habit and eugenics. They don't even seem to detest street-corner types and anti-socials. Of course not: they thrive on them...
59. A core thesis of conservatism is that happiness cannot be organized: that information, insight, skill and improving values and intentions are rather useless as to this. Why such thesis is so massively advertised, in spite of its unattractiveness? Would it still be attractive to some and serve some interest?
60. Conformists, traditionalists, relativists and the group-minded cannot really be my friends: because of their not authentically experiencing truth and righteousness from their own independent psyche, I would always fear them to betray me on behalf of some "right or wrong, my country".
Actually, we can discriminate between two main types of individuals: those being substantially open to rational and moral arguments, and the social-game-players, who are ultimately directed by (Habermas's) "social-life world".
61. The idea that mainly "nurture" and "circumstances" are responsible for underclasses, addiction etc. is part of a more general habit of shirking responsibilities. Generally, abuses, inefficiency or being underdeveloped, are purported to be caused by "circumstances", "coincidence" and - anonymous! - "others". Abuses and the like merely continue because nobody's genes, conscience, IQ or primitive emotional life are (is) held explicitly responsible for them.
62. One core manipulation is inducing people to experience the sublime and deep emotion in connection with myth, tradition, "one's country", ideology or religious orthodoxy - i.e., nurture-based sources - rather than via musical, sexual, beauty- or human-intimacy-related and other genetically, nature-based sources.
63. It is well-known that often pacifists are especially hated by parents whose son was killed in a war. Similarly, in the publicity turmoil about my proposal of euthanasia referred to above in (15), it appeared that especially many parents of handicapped children disapproved of my standpoint. There is indeed a similarity between the two cases. In both, victims of a serious misfortune turn against those declaring such misfortune for avoidable. The latter interferes with the parents' adjustment to the occurrence and evokes negative reactions to pacifists' and my somehow implying their respective sacrifices to have been unnecessary. Such reaction is to some degree understandable.
Now we can extend the relevant psychological mechanism in victims of injustice and stupidity to the more general case of people having adjusted themselves to the various unpleasant, unreasonable and immoral requirements most cultures force on their participants. As historical examples, e.g., think of the sexual domain, risking one's life "for the honour of king and country", stupid conventions, inter alia, as regards the position of women, ragging as an introduction to students' unions etc. In all of these cases, most people did not rebel, but rather turned against the few who did so all the same. For, the majority of the "victims" felt to have made a worthwhile sacrifice they saw (see) as an investment in fully participating in the relevant community. And they do not want anybody to say that such investment was superfluous or worthless because the relevant values (requiring the sacrifices in question) were or are fraudulent: unreasonable or immoral.
Another psychological mechanism related to our problem is the strange phenomenon that not seldom hostages fraternize with their kidnappers. Well, society "kidnaps" us in many ways, and emotional adjustment is indeed the way of least resistance, especially as the whole situation overpowers us because most individuals lack real understanding of the complicated and unconscious processes involved...
64. The essential reason why I don't like the atmosphere of socializing and "games people play" is exampled by the circumstance that it is inconsistent with it to eye others with a vulnerable expression, or to broach the vital or intimate without much introduction.
I need others as allies in what is vital or vulnerable, not otherwise. Therefore, I loathe social talk, closed or averted eyes, "the playful" and the ambiguous. In the best case, they are cowardice.
More generally, our vulnerability and basic anxiety in life - insomuch it exists as the most fundamental and unspecified anxiety man may feel - refer to the unreliability of existence. This especially stems from two sources:
1. The dominance of nature, "the others", chance and uncertainty in various domains; that is, the supremacy of fate;
2. The more specific fact that, to some degree and in various circumstances, "the others" are not dependable in the sense of unreasonable, immoral and/or not instinctively coherent and straightforward.
Points 1. and 2. essentially amount to our main problem of life and highly originate from mentalities and actions contrary to the red-thread forces - reason, rational values and emotional purity and coherence - that we extensively discussed earlier on this page, in a general sociological rather than individual context. (Compare various other pages of this site too.)
The above also implies that the majority of philosophers, psychotherapists, clergymen etc., who try to help man in facing life by encouraging him to acquiesce in "uncertainty", "unmakability", the irrational and the relativity of good and evil, or who emphasize "accepting others as they are", actually make things worse, not merely on the socio-cultural level but also as to our private happiness! That is, the red-thread controversy not merely dominates socio-cultural evolution but our fundamental problems of life too.
65. Of course, I need "the group" in a material-technical sense. When in a supermarket, I feel grateful time and again.
In the non-material sense, on the contrary - that of values and ideas -, I only want it for one purpose: as an ally in the struggle between good and evil (such as deceit, needless frustration and the like).
However, I daily see that the group, and especially its leaders, don't feel very strongly about the moral dimension at all. Think of the role of many technicalities and rights frustrating finding the truth in the juridical sphere, think of "the emperor's new clothes" in the domain of art, or of permissiveness with respect to anti-socials rather than whistle-blowers. And particularly think of dominant relativism among intellectuals and many others, as a philosophical sanction of the multiple moral failure in question.
That is, "the group" is far from being my ally in the struggle indicated above. Small wonder that, in any moral sense, I "militantly" feel it to be no concern of mine. I neither feel solidary with the speech-making community nor am I interested in "social cohesion" with respect to collective purposes other than progress and rational values - which both our status-quo-minded conservatives and permissive "progressives" subordinate to powerful interests.
Why most people still feel "solidary with the group"? With an eye to their careers, I think, or because their moral weakness causes them to be dependent on the others as a compass.
In addition, I feel moral social cohesion (largely degenerated into Riesman's other-directedness now) to be mainly "in" because it facilitates wielding irrational power. Mind religion, nationalism, communism and the "we" idea at all. Also remind those playing into each other's hands.
Some - who want to belong - feel the price of not morally joining the social round game to be too high, and essentially answer most of my social criticism by "So what?". I return - both as a scientist and as a moral human being - that I feel quite another price to be intolerably high. I.e. that many explaining theories and insights exposing something influential now remain repressed or hushed up because of "solidarity" and "social cohesion". More generally, too many who instinctively feel that giving precedence to the truth - that is, integrity - is not in their best interest, have their way now. Viz. in a climate of thinking adjusted to their priority: being put in the right is more important than being right. A climate dominating politics, relativistic philosophy such as postmodernism and subjectivism, the juridical domain and various others...
Additional hypothesis: Could it be that much of current "orthodoxy" - egalitarianism, "nurture" rather than "nature", anti-rationalism and anti-eugenics, relativism, the world is fundamentally uncertain and unmakable, "meaning" is subjective,... - is primarily a religion (and ideology) like historical ones? I.e., quite apart from its specific content, is it also an instrument of social cohesion, mutual recognition of "the right kind of people" and, therefore, of power, besides serving various interests more directly?
Could it be that, within this scope, many current leaders are comparable with former popes and emperors who, in the Machiavellian way, cultivated religion because it served "unity" and "social cohesion" (whereas they persecuted heretics precisely because these threatened the latter) rather than by reason of their own piety? In short: Should we really believe that our leaders believe, e.g., that hooligans are equal in value to saints and Silicon-Valley pioneers, or that the moral aspects of Auschwitz are "relative"?
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