is Your Private Censor; Their Roles in a Coherent Social Theory
C.W. Rietdijk, D. Sc.
The pre-eminent instrument of power is the anxiety
that deters us from violating taboos. Jointly with repression, these protect
mainstream ideas and vested interests.
1. Socio-cultural evils come from a mentality or hidden motives rather than amounting to coincidental errors; they will be ideology
Some phenomena arouse my particular suspicion. Among them are:
a) Religion will be more restrictive with respect to sexuality than non-religious people. Social science appears not to be interested in why we see this.
b) The great authors of Antiquity appear to have been so conformist that none among them ever criticised slavery.
c) Establishments will hate whistle-blowers.
d) “Progressives” generally tend to a “nurture” rather than a “nature” position; the helping organizations will join with this.
e) Leftists will be more positive as to immigration from the Third World than others. (They unconsciously look forward to the votes of the “disadvantaged”.)
I am of the opinion that social science fails in its not clearly establishing that in all above instances, and many more, (un)conscious interests play a part. Interests that are extensively discussed elsewhere on this website, and also partly below. The general failure of sociologists and many others as to identifying and exposing concrete interests in ideology, in much of received wisdom and in mainstream thinking, actually boils down to a deficient role of reason, rational values and coherent emotions – that is, of man’s enlightened side – in their addressing the relevant problems. This already constitutes an instance of the weak aspects of man and of the double agendas reflected in some of our values or standpoints.
We go even as far as to hypothesise that the simplest and most coherent model of history and society is one in which socio-cultural dynamics mainly originates from the open or unconscious (hidden) antithesis of the enlightened and the dark sides of man: reason, rational values, emotional openness and coherence versus troubled waters, dogma, taboo and repression or (inner) censorship. Or, such dynamics is directly related to how much room and weight we allow to rational argument, in all domains of knowledge and judgment. The antithesis in question is highly similar to that of the original left and right, but differs much from their current contrast. Actually, the latter is such a mess that prominent Dutch journalist H.J. Schoo could posit that in the 1960ties left and right largely exchanged their positions. For example, think of “progressives’” tolerance with respect to cultures that never passed through an enlightenment, and their supporting educational reforms that more and more substituted knowledge and the intellectual by social skills and adjustment. Or note current leftists’ little enthusiasm for the idea of progress and the “Promethean” in the first place.
The enlightened and the “dark” position both amount to a mentality. The essence of the first is our looking forward to man’s ever more taking his destiny in his own hands via techno-science and his awakening to rational values that put first and foremost integrity and total well-being. On the contrary, the basically conservative position – whose historical prototype is that of nobility and clergy as contrasted with their Enlightenment opponents who in principle started from reason – is that the wisdom of history, of “God’s hand” and of collective-cultural, largely unconsciously produced values and institutions, will be superior to that of “short-term and local” reason, at least in fundamental questions. Apart from mentalities, therefore, the two positions also amount to hypotheses on the factual level about the relative wisdom of collectives and history as compared with the reason of Galileo, Voltaire and Einstein.
This author, though in both the first instance and in the last resort an “adherent of God’s hand” (see also his work in theoretical physics), is disappointed by such hand’s faculties in the medium term. I am very impressed by some “intelligent design” (ultimately based on remarkably coherent natural laws and constants) in biological evolution as well as in the social one of the past millennia. Also, I am by the collective wisdom that unconsciously produced consistent language and writing. On the other side, and in the spirit of our two motto’s, I cannot see much of such hand and wisdom in the above-mentioned nobility and clergy, in Victorian morality and its more moderate variants, in “God, King and Country”, in censorship and autocracy, in massive and age-long wars, looting and persecution, in anti-Semitism, slavery and torture. Also because of this, I don’t trust the wisdom of history or the collective in current ideas or developments such as anti-intellectualistic educational reforms, “abstract art”, subjectivist philosophy, moral relativism, political correctness and other brands of inner censorship. Neither do I believe such phenomena to be “coincidental errors”.
On the contrary, my strongly guided hypothesis – on account of what history teaches us, and of simplicity and coherence – is that both ideologically disguised interests and man’s inheritance from the jungle play a vital part in them. For example, nationalism, most religion and unenlightened convention are unconscious compromises between on the one side the establishment’s striving after “many exerting themselves for the interests of a few” and on the other side the masses needing solidarity against the adversities, uncertainty and anxiety of life. In recent times, anti-rationalistic philosophy, “abstract” art, anti-intellectualistic education, other-directedness (Riesman), and relativism (also with respect to progress, science and the quality of human individuals) can most coherently be understood as modern and more indirect variants of the same anti-reason and ideologically disguised interests as we saw more openly with nobility and clergy two centuries ago. The frequent absurd doubt “whether modernity and the Enlightenment made people really more happy” betrays that the doubters – far from deeming God’s hand more efficient than reason as to progress – do not even want the latter in the first place, as also appears from popular relativism that emasculates both rational argument and the idea of progress (and thus shields the status quo and the establishment against reason and exposure). This basic support of the status quo is in line with positing that genetic engineering and eugenics are against the “inviolability” of man as he actually exists.
2. Interest-based mentality is kindred to unconscious conspiracy
In current sociology, convention that suppresses women, nationalism that causes many to sacrifice their lives for economic interests or the lust for power of an “elite”, medieval Church fostering guilt feelings that in turn made people more psychically dependent on that Church, will all be accepted at face value. Within this scope, it is far from modern sociologists to consider “conspiracy theories”, not even if the relevant motives are unconscious, which they indeed will be. Say, consider the cases a) – e) of Sect. 1 , nationalism or the use as scapegoats of witches, Jews or foreign countries. This attitude of “face value” rather than unconscious interest-driven motives makes sociology much less coherent than it should be. For example, our joint explanation, in other sections of this site, of existentialist and relativistic philosophy, “non-figurative” irrational art, modern “post-religious” anti-Semitism, anti-intellectualistic educational reforms and most sexual taboos, as present-day and more subtle (unconscious) successors of the anti-Enlightenment position of the earlier-mentioned nobility and clergy, is rejected by mainstream sociology. (As to sexual taboos, our explanation sees them as an emotional analogue of censorship on the intellectual level, with a similar purpose: keeping people in “inarticulate, unconscious ignorance” so that manipulation is more easy.) In short, “coincidence” passes for the main source of explanation in modern sociology, as contrasted with “unconscious conspiracy”. Machiavelli and the historical role of ideology have been forgotten: our establishment is always deemed to be in good faith, as are culture and institutions. You should not seek unconscious motives behind, say, more and more substituting hard knowledge in education by social competences and other-directedness, or behind the circumstance that the juridical domain and its procedures become ever more complicated and different from common sense (lawyers keeping thriving).
In all, our socio-cultural and philosophical thinking did not yet awake to the insight of a vital historical parallel. That is, in past ages, interest groups like clergy and nobility tried to keep reason and enlightenment away from being applied too seriously to the vital problems of life and society, whereas in our present era we see something similar happen before our eyes. But the sad thing is that hardly anybody sees the parallel: subjectivist philosophy, irrational art, man as he is being considered “inviolable” (anti-euthanasia, also as to seriously handicapped new-borns, anti-eugenics), “group-minded” education, and politically correct ideology all conspire – indeed unconsciously – to give precedence to man, his life-world and socio-cultural ideas as compared with reason, coherence and transparency, as to fact and value. History repeats itself…
Just as clergy and nobility, in the rightist tradition, wanted religion and convention to be people’s mainstay rather than reason and inner autonomy, current anti-enlightenment prefers mainstream thinking and an other-directed attitude to guide us. Note that both attitudes or mentalities equally contrast with putting first and foremost reason and rational values.
I continue by giving four arguments that bring more simplicity and coherence in our model of society and culture, as well as in philosophy.
(1) All above major orthodoxies point in the same anti-rationalist direction, from subjectivist philosophy through political correctness: people as they are and think are put on a pedestal. Can this be a coincidence? Even in theoretical physics a kindred spirit emanates from “fundamental uncertainty” and the abandonment of coherent models in microphysics.
(2) The “orthodoxies” are shielded by taboos; especially, one will seldom publicly ridicule “modern art” or the contorted verbiage in Heidegger’s and much other philosophy, or champion eugenics, whereas political correctness is taboo-loaded in itself.
(3) Why deviating from mainstream thinking would strongly have been discouraged through the ages if no interests were at stake? Are we witnessing the first time in history this does not hold?
(4) Historically recently, man emerged from the jungle state of survival of the fittest, in which his “claws, teeth and outsmarting others”, also by deceit, were his primary assets. Nobody doubts that man still is more jungle and self-affirmation than enlightened reason. Well, is it plausible then that in his current values, institutions and habits of thinking – in sum, in his culture – he would suddenly have given up latitude for such “claws” etcetera, rather than cherishing many troubled waters in his culture and society that shield vested interests or evil subtly ideologically? Small wonder that many “insiders” prefer complicated bureaucracies, laws and procedures, “the poly-interpretable”, the “political way of being”, relativism and fundamental uncertainty to coherence, reason and “those going to the light because their deeds were in God” (John 3: 19-21).
All of the above is vital to understanding society and its evolution and to the position of the main players in their relevant preferences and ideas. Crucial in this is a mentality that clearly senses that too much emphasis on consistent reason and enlightenment, up to and including in the domains of the intimate and the unconscious, is not in the best interest of various major social players, no more so than it was in the era of clergy and nobility. The poly-interpretable, conventional values rather than rational ones, and both man’s intelligence and his emotions being manipulated by taboos, repressions and an inner censorship based on anxiety, are preferred by many, in the establishment and beyond. In particular, taboos and mainstream thinking precisely shield us from insights that make not happy many among the most influential.
A major present-day specimen of vested interests censoring, repressing and tabooing common sense about rational values (moral or as regards human quality) is provided by what we may call the “disadvantaged industry”. Starting from the idea that “nurture” is more important than “nature” as to poverty, underperformance in education, crime and underclass phenomena, redistribution and related organizations – also via political correctness – taboo much of common sense and scientific results about the role of genes. That is, results pointing in the direction of eugenics, or which refer to genetic differences as regards the average talents of various races, and to who and what is responsible for poverty, problem youths, crime and anti-social behaviour. Among the relevant common sense and results are facts like these:
a) In spite of an enormous increase of funds and energy spent on the “disadvantaged” since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”, poverty, crime and the underclass were far from reduced. So much and so long can ideology and inner censorship mislead us.
b) Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, found in IQ and the Wealth of Nations (Praeger, 2002) that the economic performance of a country is highly positively correlated with the average IQ in that country: low-IQ countries will have low prosperity. Our governments join so much in the ideological game that they are apparently disinterested in this, also in the sense of not understanding that they are importing ghetto’s and many problem cases by allowing massive immigration from low-IQ Third-World countries. Neither do they appear to be interested in Richard Lynn’s alarming result that in the Western world the lower social strata – generally having lower IQ’s – outbreed the higher ones. See his Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (Praeger, 1996). About all “well-thinking people” are protractedly wrong on the nature-nurture question, just as the authors of Antiquity were about slavery and those in Erasmus’ time about witches. (Note in the above context that Herrnstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve (1994) taught us that a low IQ is correlated with many other unfavourable characteristics.)
A second major step in making our model of the (socio-cultural) world simpler and more coherent is our awakening to the semi-truism that the core of the (irrational) power instruments throughout history is constituted by the (un)conscious anxiety and interests preventing both the masses and the elites from violating or abandoning taboos, (inner) censorship and, therefore, mainstream thinking. (The first major step was made in Sect. 1 and referred to the antithesis of pro- and anti-enlightened tendencies in the struggle of interests.) There’s no irrational power, social abuse or anti-enlightened manipulation apart from the relevant censorship and mainstream thinking that will be the ideology of the establishment. Without such censorship etcetera we would see a true survival of the fittest of arguments, which in turn would lead to progress also beyond techno-science and the economy. The above conduces to the guided hypothesis that it is the mere frustration of such survival by anxiety and mainstream conformism which prevents most problems from being solved in an optimum way. Also in this sense remind Franklin Roosevelt’s: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”…
For the rest, man’s capacity of repressing the evident is almost beyond limits. Think of repressing the genetic factor by political correctness, or of the two main sources of sexual frustration even in a free society: a shortage of physically and psychically attractive people and the primitive, chance-meeting-dominated, nature of the love market.
Further, there is one major additional argument that should convince us that the general anti-enlightened mentality that emanates from many different sources and standpoints – and that converges to mainstream thinking – is far from a coincidence but is so much coherent that it boils down to an unconscious conspiracy that also refers to the moral and emotional levels. That is, our leaders seldom show moral indignation or “abdominal sentiments” towards social abuses and chutzpah. Neither do they do about the fate of whistle-blowers, nor about multi-offenders, nor about bloated bureaucracy, and so on. They appear to be virtually disinterested in everything except politically managing and coordinating big vested interests: big business and big labour, juridical, educational and medical establishments, farmers etcetera. They practically ignore deteriorating educational levels and the genetic deterioration to which Lynn pointed in his Dysgenics, and a host of other problems and evils. Philosophical relativism appears to have spilt over to the factual socio-cultural level (or conversely). I want my leaders to be outraged about injustice done to me, rather than their belittlingly speaking about “gesundenes Volksempfinden”. In addition, unconscious conspiracy on behalf of big interests, via a mentality, is obvious because of the consistency and the coherence of how our establishment ignores common sense and rational values in so many cases, not showing moral indignation. It’s indeed a comprehensive mentality. Again, ”there is system and consistency in the madness.”
In sum, all of this amounts to a mentality that substitutes the moral and partly the emotional dimension by power and politics. The latter, as known from before Machiavelli and modern ideologies, concentrate on friendly humouring the well-organised at the cost of the individual voter and of the concept of progress at many instances (such as education, human genetic quality, crime-fighting,…). As I made sufficiently clear in the foregoing and in other parts of this website, such friendliness extends to the level of ideas: (inner) censorship corresponding to unconscious conspiracy towards a mainstream thinking that, from the Church and convention to nationalism and Riesman’s other-directedness, was or is also friendly to the big players. The mainstream mentality of all well-thinking people is the result of the unconscious conspiracy in question, which is a conspiracy precisely because material and psychological sanctions (such as anxiety) will indeed conspire to making prevail such mentality.
Conclusion: There is a mutual coherence and consistency in
a) Robert Michels’ Iron law of Oligarchy (to the effect that in all organizations a tendency toward oligarchy prevails in the long run),
b) The phenomenon of the cartel of major interests we call the establishment,
c) The appearance of a socio-cultural (ideological) complex of ideas that – having as prototypes nationalism, orthodox religion and anti-enlightened ideas in general – fulfil a function in supporting the establishment and major interests; this complex is “a cartel of ideas”,
d) The mainstream mentality of all well-thinking people (cultural leaders), which is at the background of such complex,
e) The circumstance that even things such as the above-mentioned ones about sexuality and genes could be massively repressed via unconscious ideological conspiracy.
The power of the oligarchic structure of society can be seen from the mere difficulty of reducing bureaucracy: though society as a whole is benefited by such reduction, the combination of special interests and the establishment’s moral-emotional disinterest in progress (efficiency) causes Parkinson’s law to be operative, to the effect that local and special interests will prevail on the common good and bureaucracies expand.
Among the content of mainstream-ideology is a crucial manipulation of the important concepts of solidarity and public spirit. The latter actually means subordinating individual and special interests to those of us in general. In actual fact, however, mainstream thinking and current ideas on “belonging” transformed this into “joining in with the game of the great We”, into our conforming with the mainstream or one’s particular group. Whistle-blowing or fundamentally defying received wisdom or taboos is positively not wanted. It is expected from you that you accept all major players as they are, and feel solidary in the establishment’s context and that of corresponding mainstream ideas. People are more solidary with their country, organization, sports’ club and so on than with the moral or public good and corresponding enlightened ideas. The most coherent conclusion from this, and from points a) through e) is:
The main reason why society is far from a Utopia is that the Machiavellian tendencies in the leaders and the anxiety of the majority (un)consciously conspire to producing a general disinclination towards leaving mainstream thinking or violating taboos. Problems remain unsolved mainly because in order to find a solution one should precisely do so. Solutions will be frustrated by the frustration of true free trade in arguments. That is, by conformism, taboo, (inner) censorship and other unenlightened phenomena that are all pushed unconsciously by ideological manipulation in behalf of vested interests.
An anti-enlightened and conformist mentality that amounts to unconscious conspiracy irrefutably appears to exist from the mere fate of whistle-blowers up to and including the collective (“conspiratorial”) resistance against the violation of taboos and the again collective hushing up of various incorrect ideas. (On the other hand, harmless pseudo-non-conformism such as “modern” art is protected by taboo.)
We conclude with a vital result. In this Section 2 we virtually devastated the moral authority of mainstream conformism and the establishment. This makes it far more easy for anyone who has a minimum of inner independence to cast off their moral power over him or her and, therefore, the very censoring anxiety the title of this essay speaks about.
3. A core antithesis in society: reason and freedom from intimidation versus (inner) censorship and repression
If true survival of the fittest of arguments would have prevailed, social evil and stagnation would not have played a major role in history, and socio-cultural progress would far more directly have followed techno-scientific developments. The mere fact that so many are far from enthusiastic about this idea illustrates why this did not actually happen: many instinctively sense that such “Darwinism of arguments” is not in their best interest and that troubled waters, ideology, taboos and sanctioning deviation from the mainstream even in science give better results in Machiavelli’s varnished jungle. We can also say that enforcing mainstream thinking by anxiety, (inner) censorship and taboo is the primary instrument of social evil such as irrational power. If political correctness, anti-euthanasia or anti-eugenics strongly discourage us, say, from freely arguing about genetic causes of underclass behaviour or about the equally genetic basis of some Third-World countries being “disadvantaged”, you should be on your guard as to various interests being ideologically active, such as the “redistribution bureaucracy”. (As to those Third-World countries see again R. Lynn and T. Vanhanen: IQ and the Wealth of Nations.)
We cannot sufficiently emphasize that, as far as society fails by “the human condition”, one should not acquiesce in this but concretely find out where the jungle sides of man seize opportunities via less than enlightened instruments such as other-directedness, mainstream conformism and taboo.
We give some more concrete examples of how mainstream conformism works by the repression or tabooing of major facts or arguments.
1) By repression of the earlier-mentioned undersupply of attractive individuals and of the primitiveness of the love market, the relevant frustrations remain unconscious and produce anxiety rather than more rational reactions. Such anxiety, in turn, can be manipulated into upholding taboos.
2) As regards educational problems, one will repress the genetic factor, so that “reformers” can endlessly try and fail to “emancipate” low-IQ students. Also, one represses the core factors in the “reforms”: less and less coherent facts, more and more “social skills”. Thus the anti-intellectualism and conformism remain shielded.
3) More generally, one emphasizes “nurture” and semi-taboos “nature”, for the benefit of “emancipating” bureaucracies devoted to crime-fighting, problem cases, or the underclass.
4) The major fact is repressed that the enormous increase of money that is spent on “the disadvantaged” since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society did not reduce their number (compare the foregoing).
5) It is repressed that prevailing relativism and subjectivism as to facts, moral standards and human quality (that is also kindred to egalitarianism) actually amounts to devaluing the argument, reason and progress and, therefore, is utterly reactionary rather than “progressive”. Ultimately, the status quo cannot be exposed in the relativistic frame of thinking.
6) The successive opposition of the churches to contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and their total disinterest in scientific research into a possible afterlife, strongly suggest their striving after monopolizing the domains of life and death and thus is the umpteenth specimen of ideology transforming interests into moral dogma.
7) In Sections 4.3 (Candidly, on Economics) and 2.5, part 6, item 13 of this website I gave a possible approach of the problem of economic recessions. It implies some vested interests having to make concessions, such as wage controls. This mere circumstance sufficed for silence about my proposal from the side of mainstream economists.
8) The popularity of “literary defeatism” such as of Camus, Céline, Houellebecq, the subjectivists and postmodernists, logically stems from the circumstance that in fact they deny that “there is system in the madness” so that nothing can be done about it.
9) The increasing complication of organizations, juridical actions, procedures, formalism and bureaucracy, that means a head start for insiders and “position” versus common sense and the general public, is (of course) not really fought by the establishment. It is the essential source of the increasing gap between government and the voters. Again, it is vested interests that obstruct remedies. Among the latter are roughly reducing all taxes to income tax, and reducing about all civil juridical procedures to a small number of round-table meetings of judges, the parties and their lawyers who radically reduce formalism but engage in a substantial common-sense discussion. This basically has earlier been proposed by jurist Brenninckmeijer in his inaugural speech in Leiden (1994).
10) What should ultimately be done is that social science addresses as its main problem the question why and how the inner censorship works concretely in keeping even most scientists within the mainstream, and in preserving taboos, thus at the same time leaving vital problems unsolved and unsolvable. The relevant anxiety and manipulation should in particular be unearthed. For, they are the core of the mechanism of power. Resistance will be strong because many invested very much in position, power and the veiled-jungle way of doing. Simply realize that many would even be abhorred by the idea, say, of genetic rearguards to be easily identifiable by scientific methods. They want latitude for troubled waters, for the underhand and “political” way of the struggle for life and for the Machiavellian dimension. All of this is reflected in our values and culture too, and needs relativism, “the poly-interpretable” or “fundamental uncertainty”…
4. On socio-cultural survival of the fittest among power mechanisms such as ways of censorship, coherent organization (states, bureaucracy, oligarchies,…), conventions and ideologies
Conservatives are of the opinion that historical institutions and convention are valuable because they will be the result of a survival of the fittest process as to social workability. This is largely true, on the condition that we read “fittest” particularly in the sense of fittest in self-preservation and power wielding, not in producing optimum happiness for most individuals. History is our teacher. A few points:
(1) From a standpoint of self-preservation (of states, organizations, ethnic groups,…) oligarchy has a head start, also as regards which individuals will come at the helm. This may very well explain Robert Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy (1911): individuals and more or less integrated minorities compete for power. That is, this law rests on two bases. First, there is an internal survival of the fittest (SF) process in organizations from which those come to power who tend to stand out as to “meritocratic talents” or superior power instruments (manipulation, ideological and self-preservation instinct,…). Second: the mere oligarchic nature of mutually competing businesses shows that oligarchy will be the most efficient way of managing organizations, which, therefore, became prevalent.
(2) John Dewey said: “If we once start thinking no one can guarantee the outcome, except that many objects, ends and institutions will be surely doomed”. This crucial fact explains why censorship has always been a vital instrument of all vested interests, that wanted to survive. This censorship in recent democratic times became internalised into other-directedness, our conforming to mainstream thinking and anxiety as to violating “correctness” or taboo. “Correctness” such as the RU (relativism-uncertainty) paradigm or the “religion of Man” (see Sections 1.1 through 1.5 of this website).
(3) The (relativistic-egalitarian) “correctness”, the RU way of thinking, and the (other-directed) religion of Man have especially two common focal points:
a) The new God – “We” – is never morally in default: no bad faith or unconscious conspiracy is operative from the side of established groups and interests, and
b) No individual or group is below others in genetic or fundamental moral quality.
Both “We” and separate individuals are in the last resort felt to be above rational values and natural law (free will, no inferior quality or genes, moral inviolability, values originate from the community rather than rational argument). The whole of this point (3) amounts to censor or conform away the exposure of much that (Dewey) is “certainly doomed” by reason. Convention, religion, violence and ignorance found their modern-“liberal” successors as regards censoring instances and shielding vested interests from indeed being doomed.
(4) The above also contains that secularised new religion continued the function of its openly dogmatic and authoritarian predecessors as to sanctioning the (fundamental) status quo and shielding it by anxiety, censorship, taboo and group-mindedness. All of this highly resulted within the scope of a social survival of the fittest of (also unconscious) power mechanisms.
Note that the above shows that the two core current taboos – against radically declaring in default “the group” and the genes of some individuals – precisely support the establishment and the disadvantaged industry, respectively.
Realize that the relevant other-directed mainstream conformism also covers socio-cultural science and partly even (micro)physics: “fundamental uncertainty” and the impossibility of constructing understandable models call the tune. For example, googling <“string theory”> produces 1,750,000 hits versus 33 for <”understandable models” microphysics>.
(5) The above points suggest an integration of phenomena and explanations into a coherent model or theory that amounts to a rather radical generalization of Michels’ Iron Law. That is, we see a general competition (SF) in society among power-seeking individuals or groups as well as among (their) instruments (such as ideologies, conventions, taboos, bureaucratic organizations, manipulative techniques or, simply, “meritocratic talents”). In society and culture as a whole the SF leads to the oligarchy constituted by the establishment (SF of power instruments is included), whereas in organizations it (the SF) tends to result in oligarchy (Michels) via both internal and external competition. The latter is important because of the mere greater efficiency of oligarchic organizations. On the other hand, in the macro organization which society as a whole is, SF results in the fittest power instruments’ survival. Hence the predominance in society of subtle variants of (inner) censorship and other instruments that tend to frustrate the red thread of enlightenment that is essential in our general socio-cultural theory. Such frustration of reason is a condition of life for irrational power by the mere pronouncement of Dewey in (2) above. It is Galbraith’s onslaught of circumstance that ultimately still causes the red thread to overcome the relevant SF of counter-forces. (Galbraith observed that traditional ideas are often defenceless against new inventions, economic developments and other uncontrollable circumstances.)
This point (5) adds SF of power-fostering instruments to the phenomenon of unconscious conspiracy as a major source of successful anti-enlightened forces. A link between the two is that social actors will often intuitively sense what policies, ideas, repressions and taboos serve their purposes and which do not. All of this generates mainstream thinking as a resultant “policy” of the cartel or oligarchy of vested interests the establishment constitutes. This occurs in coherence with the need of safety and hope, and the credulity, of the general public. Nationalism and anti-rationalism are among the prototypical results. [Compare: “Nationalism is an instrument for making the many exert themselves for the benefit of the few” of an unknown author, and also remind point (2) above.]
Of course it is in the interest of the “competing oligarchs” to maintain that the phenomena discussed above are all “coincidence”.
(6) One among the facts that refute this idea is that received wisdom and many variants of mainstream thinking will all point in similar directions (also “by coincidence”?) and are often extremely nonsensical, vigorously resisting all common sense and shielded by taboo. Think of most “abstract art”, the contorted verbiage of many modern philosophers, the evasion of everything offensive to mainstream ideas by current sociology, “comprehensive” and non-systematic education, the repression or tabooing of the genetic factor in social results, and the idea that there has not been much social and moral progress since the Enlightenment.
For the rest, the vested-interest mentality, the indifference as to progress, and the appeasing attitude of current establishment is already demonstrated, respectively, by the treatment of whistle-blowers, the indifference with respect to dysgenics (compare Lynn’s earlier-mentioned book) and the tolerance with respect to both squatters and the extreme bonuses of many business leaders.
(7) The described situation is very negative for both socio-cultural science and the solution of many problems. For mainstream conformism and concomitant repression and taboo are precisely attuned to frustrating reason as well as to causing various problems to be unsolvable. The latter appears with respect to such solutions that violate major vested interests. The repression of “nature” as compared with “nurture” and of the idea of genetic quality, as well as anti-rationalism and relativism, an aversion to lie-detector-controlled group-interviews, not allowing euthanasia for seriously handicapped new-borns and, last but not least, the deplorable state of current sociology and philosophy, have all much to do with the situation and mechanisms described above.
(8) The foregoing implies that radically improving both the level of socio-philosophical sciences and society essentially boils down to the exposure of also sophisticated variants of censorship – based on anxiety, repression and taboo – that now also keep most scientists from abandoning mainstream conformism. This would at the same time lead to “solving the unsolvable”: problems whose solutions are unwanted by influential sectors of the macro-oligarchy. Let the intelligentsia and scientists resume their exposing roles rather than supporting the orthodoxy of RU, Camus-Céline defeatism and the dead-end pseudo-non-conformism of “abstract art”. Let sociology abandon its position that there is nothing to expose behind political correctness, anti-rationalism, sexual taboos, anti-intellectualist education and a taboo of ridiculing “abstract art”. Let’s clear the way for the solution of many problems that are now made unsolvable by dogma and taboo that shield interests.
I.L. Horowitz, S. Andreski and A.C. Zijderveld already emphasized that sociology evades about all major problems. I tried to indicate and explain many of them concretely. Who follows suit?
5. Who should run the country and from what ideals? How can we improve establishments? Current egalitarianism versus objective values as inner basis
To a large degree, oligarchy and the appearance of an establishment are inevitable, the more so because we need expert specialists in everything, so why not in government? Democracy to some degree “humanizes” the relevant SF and concomitant (un)conscious manipulation. Actually, the vital point is not whether the Davos people, alumni of top universities or “populists” are at the helm, but what are the purposes and ideals, and whether the rulers are in a position to get things done from a “technical” point of view. The Davos people or alumni should particularly be controlled as to whether they put first and foremost the happiness of the people and true progress as to this.
An instrument for realizing this could be that anyone running for parliament should undergo extensive lie-detector-controlled tests or interviews that should find out how far he (she) gives precedence to the common good and progress as compared to his (her) status, career or income, or to pressure groups. Such procedure would guarantee that 85 % of those defining macro policy will vote according to the correct priorities. (Mind that lie-detectors are about 85 % reliable.) Because any candidate should answer many questions, the 85 % is a minimum. Candidates who wrongly flunk would be a victim of cumulative errors of the apparatuses. The voters would better be informed via this proposal. It is revealing that it has not been made earlier. The mere fact that most politicians will not be very clear and straightforward is a sad consequence of the fact that manipulation will pay off better. Therefore, something should be done about this, like intended by my proposal.
Milton Friedman and others explained why politicians will give precedence to vested interests as compared with the public good. (This is apart from our own explanations.) He essentially argues: big business, organized labour, the juridical, medical and educational establishments, farmers and so on will be motivated more intensely by their special interests than the general voter is as to the public good. Now such special interests negotiate alliances to the effect that doctors vote for agricultural subsidies if farmers do for monopolistic fees for doctors, and so on. Funding electoral campaigns does the rest. Lie-detector-proof politicians would refuse to join in such game.
Note that the above “Friedman cartelisation” is a political analogue of business cartels. Both sponge on the majority and should equally be fought, inter alia, by the above lie-detection method.
Current relativistic-egalitarian “correctness” functions as a compromise ideology between the establishment and John Doe (the masses). Essentially it abandons the very ideas of truth, good, evil and human quality. This amounts to undermining both the concept of some judgment above the powers that be and of bestowing people with variable quality. Both the rulers and the subjects are shielded from moral exposure. Note that such idea precisely joins with what we earlier identified as the two current main taboos: against major parts of the establishment to be in bad faith (unconscious conspiracy) and against many individuals to have low genetic quality. This is apart from the benefits for the disadvantaged industry and the egalitarian-“nurture” position. (Compare with the above the orthodox religion of the past as a similar compromise between the status-quo forces and the masses who wanted to belong, in solidarity.)
Note in the above context that relativism and egalitarianism are mutually very kindred, also in their anti-enlightened, anti-progress, purport: they actually devalue truth, an hierarchy of quality and the idea of progress. The community and the status quo remain as ultimate references. Fundamental conformism and other-directedness are concomitants.
Now what is the alternative as to our starting points in life? In the first place, scientific truth and its apparent coherence. In the second place, our common natural desire to optimise our individual well-being and minimize unhappiness. A direct logical consequence of this is that we accept as a rational ethic the conclusion that the best results for mankind as a group will be produced if we jointly aim at optimising our common well-being: if I should sacrifice a not-so-intense satisfaction in order to produce a more intense one for my neighbour, I should indeed do so. If it cannot be found out whose satisfaction is the most intense, my choice is morally indifferent.
Now this rational foundation of ethics still falls short as an emotional contribution to my life to be based on hope, meaning and coherent action. What should be added? Or, what should logically be our ultimate factual, moral and emotional motivation that gives a meaning to our existence? A motivation that can successfully compete with nation, God, career, status and money? Speaking from my personal introspection, my “spiritual inventory” is largely this:
a) A both egoistic and altruistic emotional urge to fight tragedy and wickedness.
b) The emotions of beauty and impressiveness I will experience in connection with the sun setting over the sea, the starry sky, beautiful music or sex.
c) The inner voice of “God saying to me” in such experiences: “I neither play dice, nor can I be outwitted”; that is, the idea that what happens is no coincidence but obeys deep, coherent laws.
d) At the same time my imagining the “writing on the wall” of the Bible: “Mene, mene tekel ufarsin” (“Weighed, weighed, and being found too light”).
e) Within the scope of a deep coherence in nature, evolution, techno-science and the Promethean, I look forward to a society in which genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and subtle “measurement of minds, preferences and lies” will make possible an approximate “organization of happiness”, inter alia, by our being in a position of optimally matching individuals and their jobs or other tasks, love partners, and individuals and experiences in general, by means of science-based methods. The solution of conflicts will than also evolve from current stages. In all, I look forward to a true scientifization of life and culture.
f) Also, I look forward to science teaching us much more about the coherence of the world and consciousness, a possible afterlife included.
g) Further, psycho-social science can do much to remove obstacles that now prevent the solution of many problems, also by studying the anxieties that currently cause people not to violate the taboos.
Actually, I experience all of this as overwhelming, standing supreme as compared with status and what others find of me…
For the rest, small wonder that our era is highly characterized by meaninglessness, despair, God’s playing dice with destiny, disinterest in progress and the fact that only a few study near-death experiences and the like…
Finally, an essence of my work and of its position with respect to others
1. In his Die Arbeit tun die Andern sociologist Helmut Schelsky advanced the idea that ideologists and mind manipulators tend to hate and fear technology because the latter will make man less dependent on the overwhelming forces of nature. In turn, such independence makes him less eager to embrace the (Utopian) products of the mind mongers.
2. There is an analogy of on the one side such technology and on the other the rationalism, techno-science-based progress-mindedness and the “spiritual inventory” a) through g) above. That is, my coherence- and progress-centred physical and socio-cultural theories offer a concrete rational alternative of both myth (irrational ideology) and the current “religion of Man”: they make the individual not only independent of the overwhelming forces of nature, but of “the others” and their convention, taboos etcetera as well. They give us autonomy via an independent mainstay.
3. Even more radically, my socio-cultural explanations so often expose those others and their ideas – on unconscious conspiracy, genetic inferiority,… – that they will utterly contrast with the “religion of Man”.
4. Also by this, my comprehensive ideas radically reduce the very anxiety (fear of the others) that in this essay we found to be at the basis of keeping up (inner) censorship and taboo. My theories make one highly independent of “the others” and their mainstream ideas.
5. My very independent theories demonstrate this once more in the sense that I did not feel any urge or anxiety tending to my conforming. I even feel agreeably superior to those many who collectively hush up my arguments but at the same time posit that there is no unconscious conspiracy in society; and I don’t need any mainstream to hold on to: its unenlightened features are a major source of our frustrations, which disqualifies it.
6. It is a major difference between my social theory and competitors that the latter show the fatal flaw that neither happiness, nor progress, nor evil plays a part in them as a vital concept. Additionally, they are seldom revealing.
7. Those happiness etcetera are also at the core of things because man’s all-important choice in life, the one as regards the meaning of existence included, refers to the question whether one’s ultimate mainstay or “God” is either objective-scientific truth, its coherence and their relations with happiness, progress and evil, or convention and what those in power say.
8. One more major difference between my concept of socio-culture and virtually all others is that in my model a concrete explanation is given of the much (over-)emphasized phenomenon that in the past few ages reason and enlightened ideas did only partly succeed in eliminating social evils. The essence of it is that neither social scientists nor our leaders did consistently apply reason to all major problems of life and society, but continued to humour vested interests, prejudice and taboo, in contrast with this essay and my work in general. Concrete instances: free will, four-dimensional realism and an alternative of “fundamental uncertainty”, sexuality, incoherent art, political correctness and the “religion of Man”, ideology and unconscious conspiracy, the function of relativism, etcetera. In sum, I refused my intelligence to renounce consistent thinking about orthodoxy, prejudice and taboo. Others did not, and clung to what “all well-thinking people” say.
9. The gist of the controversy around my work can be formulated in a few words: the “children of light” have more interest in destiny and the world to obey deep coherent laws than in basic uncertainty, incoherence and coincidence, which also frustrate openness. On the other hand, the “children of darkness” have an interest in evil to be poly-interpretable, relative, or due to coincidence. (By the way, if evil were only a question of social agreement, why then refrain from it if no one looks on?)
10. I fear that most socio-philosophical science is now in the category of “expression by those who have nothing to say”. It reflects mere mega-inflation of non-information. S. Andreski (Social Science as Sorcery) wrote that obscure and poly-interpretable philosophers will have more followers and paraphrasers than, say, clear Bertrand Russell. For you cannot endlessly elaborate on the latter and on clarity at all, whereas at the same time many in the bloated intelligentsia and academia seek “expression”, “being active in the field”. We can radically generalize Andreski’s important conclusion to domains such as “abstract art”, literature, bureaucracy, sports (that actually does not refer to anything of substance), details mongering, verbiage, the inflation of laws, regulation and procedure,… We witness a round game (the term is from Anton Zijderveld who referred to sociology). Those who actually have something to say are a menace to both the game and the in-crowds, and we see coming into being one more unconscious compromise of the establishment and the rank and file.
11. In the foregoing, we also generally emphasized that modern opposition against the enlightened red thread in history, against “Utopia” as an ideal and against the spirit of my work has its ultimate origin in “the negative sides of man”, such as loving troubled waters for the benefit of vested interests, and clinging to “our claws and teeth” from the jungle. Actually, we could concentrate this social model to an imaginable vital core by the following formulation. History shows abundantly that having power over others is about the single most intense drive in at least most among our leaders. Well, it is precisely enlightened reason, Utopian tendencies and the spirit of my work that tend to reduce such power to a major degree. Hence an instinctive opposition…
12. How life and destiny could ever have a meaning if they would (partly) be based on chance rather than obeying deep and coherent laws? That is, if nature (“God”) would play dice with tragedy, triumph and history at all? The core problem of life having a meaning or not is therefore essentially related to physics, at least if we look apart from the hypothesis of sorcery. For such meaning co-depends on a vital question about natural law: we know that causal processes coherently obey the latter, but the major question is now whether results or outcomes as such do so too. If natural law would not have an aspect of finalism or teleology that guarantees outcomes and results to show a dimension of coherence (up to and including “orchestration”), God would indeed play dice with suffering and we cannot have any meaningful, ordered, destiny. It is illustrative of the level of modern philosophy that this point hardly ever has been made earlier. Why not? Probably major powers prefer the problem of meaning and destiny to remain beyond the domain of rational science. In Sect. 6.1 of this website more about “the physics of results” can be found, such as about retroaction and natural law to refer to four-dimensional processes rather than three-dimensional objects.
Note that we cannot but accept that there is some dimension of finalism and orchestration in natural law. What else could have guided Newton’s hand in writing the Principia? The only escape is positing that Newton did not function according to that law.
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