Category Archives: psychology

hypotheses & implications

1. Hypotheses

[1] There are innate sex differences in psychology which arose primarily from evolution, and specifically from the evolution of the pair bond. These innate sex differences have been enhanced, or suppressed, to varying degrees in different cultures, but never eliminated. The dominant feature is a ceding of moral authority to women, thus facilitating men’s essentially altruistic role in the pair bond. Men are motivated to avoid female disapproval.

[2] The ability of humans to form very large cooperative societies depends upon an innate tendency to conform to agreed (and partly arbitrary) rules of social behaviour: a social morality. This is policed by severe social disapprobation (outrage) and sanctions against offenders. The social emotions, especially guilt and shame, are instrumental in promoting conformance. Most people will self-police for fear of guilt and shaming. Whilst social morality will have common elements between cultures, much of it is contingent and malleable: moral relativism. (State controlled criminal law and punishment is not the most significant factor in promoting stable and cooperative societies).    

[3] Humans’ rational cognition, especially the perception of mortality, promotes an existential unease manifest as questioning the meaning of life. In the past many (most?) people have found an adequate answer in adopting the socially approved stance in relation to [1] and [2], above, underpinned and “anchored” by a common religion which promoted the same values and addressed meaning through a metaphysical credo. The decline of religion has uprooted the anchor and left people adrift as regards meaning. The results are manifold, including anomie and nihilism and a tendency to seek meaning in social causes, which are then adopted with intense, and intolerant, religious fervour. (Such intemperate religiosity was condemned in times past as “enthusiasm”).    

[4] People are strongly motivated to avoid the socially-enforced discomfort of guilt and shame, even though the socially prescribed morality may be arbitrary. Unease may arise because our rational cognition is able to perceive the arbitrariness of morally relativistic rules. This cognitive dissonance is relieved by the erection of narratives (ideologies) which rationalise the social morality. Such narratives survive despite being commonly replete with contradictions because of the pressing need to provide ostensible motivation for beliefs which are actually motivated by the urge to avoid the discomfort of dissent (instantiated by shaming).

[5] Reversing [4], the power of comforting narratives to validate arbitrary social rules can be exploited by those who control the narrative to impose opinions on the public which become perceived as moral. This is the basic process of moral manipulation made possible by the disappearance of an externally imposed moral “anchor”.  

[6] In the absence of an externally imposed moral “anchor”, the above conditions define a dynamical system in which social morality will undergo continual change in a direction which advantages those who control the narrative. This will continue until such a time as the deception is perceived by the majority. What then happens is unknown.   

2. How the Hypotheses Relate to Our Current Malaise

Behind our present political polarisation lies moral manipulation by those seeking power. The above hypotheses describe the human proclivities which enable this mechanism.

Feminism is naturally aligned with those seeking power through this mechanism because evolution has imbued women “ready-made” with the requisite moral cachet (hypothesis [1]). The much-discussed relationship between feminism and Marxism arises because they both deploy the same mechanism based on moral force. In classical Marxism it is the moral force of the economically oppressed; in feminism it is the moral force of the oppression of women. Success of the political strategy depends upon success of the oppression narrative, not on its factual accuracy.

It would be an exaggeration to claim that a suitable narrative could impose any arbitrary social moral code. There is, at any given time and place, only a certain degree of latitude in what the public will accept. Push the narrative too far, too fast, and the public will reject it. The narrative must be presented as aligned in some way with existing perceptions of fairness. This careful choice of the ground on which the narrative is promulgated by its proponents, namely the ostensible moral high ground, presents the dissident with a great difficulty: opposition will always appear to the masses as morally reprehensible.

A basic strategy of narrative projection is Moral Vampirism. Any source of moral cachet can be annexed, co-opted and redirected for the purposes of the Grand Narrative. These subjects are moral redoubts which, like forts on the border of enemy territory, are the jumping-off points for attacks on the prevailing order. 

These sources of moral cachet act as a smoke screen behind which less well advertised objectives are pursued. Thus, the promotion of women’s rights was always the moral face of a political desire to erode and bring down our existing culture. To the public it is promoted as equal pay and preventing violence to women; to its zealots it is promoted as “smashing the patriarchy”; but its purpose was always to eliminate the nuclear family and bring down the western capitalist system. It is remarkable that these overtly revolutionary aspects have been written about openly, in the name of feminism, in vast numbers of academic books and journal papers for half a century – and yet the public remain incredulous that such things could lie behind what is presented to them as the morally unassailable “preventing violence to women”. Such is the power of moral blind-siding.

One of the most significant victories for those pursuing this covert strategy was to have enshrined in legislation the ruling that “equality does not mean treating everyone the same”, Ref.1. Here we have the clearest example of how morality-as-smoke-screen operates. The public will readily accept that the pursuance of equality is a moral good (whether this is true is not apposite). But, cunningly, “equality” has been redefined on the basis of needs. We have been told that treating people equally may mean treating them differently because their needs are different. Thus the covert objective of implementing biased policies is achieved in the guise of “equality”. Prejudice is repackaged as the New Equality, and those pursuing this objective pass themselves off as the champions of loveliness whilst those who object are castigated by the narrative as reprehensible.

The legislative, political and judicial recognition that different groups have distinct needs, and that policy must be driven by these needs, enshrines Identity Politics within our culture. Identity Politics is inherently divisive, the approved distinct needs sanctioning preferential treatment – for some. The conflict between preferenced groups and out-groups which is promoted by this system reinforces the tribal perspectives within these groups, and amplifies an Identity-based mindset. The system therefore benefits from positive feedback once established. All this assists those of a collectivist stance, as group membership gains in significance. Were they wiser, they might realise that unopposed positive feedback is always catastrophic. This mechanism creates a monster which its creators will not be able to control; schism is inevitable, Ref.2.   

The widespread adoption of the strategy of advancing unexamined policies behind a façade of moral rectitude has left us vulnerable to policies whose motivation is destructive. Motives which are psychologically dark may be amplified into widespread societal malaise by being promulgated via this covert mechanism. In particular we now have the female shadow running rampant through society, released by feminism. For this reason it is appropriate to examine the negative psychological characteristics of feminism in particular (see my next post).

Douglas Murray (Ref.3) has observed that, as regards gay rights, women’s rights and racial equality, we seem to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory – or, as he puts it, “just as the train seemed to be arriving at the station, suddenly it has accelerated away again”. He is puzzled. I can explain. Gays, women, racial minorities,….they are all sources of moral cachet. The Morality Vampires descended upon them to usurp their causes for use as smoke screens for their Greater Purpose. What Murray, and any reasonable person, would perceive as “near victory” for these causes is, from the point of view of the Morality Vampires, the near exhaustion of their reserves of moral sustenance. Consequently, the narrative has been activated to revivify the oppression of these groups, so that they may still function as effective moral bludgeons. The speed of the train, in Murray’s metaphor, is proportional to the power these issues grant to those willing to exploit it.

It has become obvious that the in-groups of gays, women and racial minorities are being used as a front for entirely different political purposes than the interests of these groups themselves. Murray discusses many case studies which expose the matter. For example, merely having sex with other men, and not with women, is no longer sufficient to qualify as gay, apparently. In Murray’s words, you will be “excommunicated from the Church of Gay” for not having the Correct political opinions. In the reverse manner, Rachel Dolezal was rather put out when it was suggested that she was not an African-American black, as she had claimed. She felt that criticism of her stance based merely on the pathetic grounds that she was in fact white, with white parents, was invalid. She knew, she felt, she believed, that she was black – and so she was. And Whoopi Goldberg agreed. So now you understand trans. Of course a person with a penis can be a woman; it’s just a matter of holding the Correct political views. In this way, political Correctness becomes all there is; objective reality dissolves. Two and two is five because I say so.

The preferential treatment for some groups which results from this system naturally encourages support from within these groups (excluding those individuals who are sufficiently enlightened to see through the game). But the implied disadvantaging of other groups is part of the benefit to Identity Politicians. The ignoble motives that lie behind Moral Vampirism are again clear. Orwell observed that the motivation for so many socialists in his day was not love of the poor, but hatred of the rich. In our time the promotion of the rights of gays, women, racial minorities and trans is not so much compassion for these people as distain, even hatred, for white heterosexual men and a desire to bring them down. This is where “equality does not mean treating everyone the same” takes you. Many of our political class do not have the wit to understand this. But then there are those who do. And they are worse.

Control of the narrative includes propagandising, control of access to information, control of the media, limiting of free speech, and monopolising sources of supposed authority (schools, academia, the judiciary, charities, quangos, the civil service, Parliament and Government departments). At the start only partial control of a few of these functions will apply. As the narrative takes root, all these areas will be colonised. They are now.

Profound changes in social morality require a sustained campaign over decades (nudge, nudge, nudge). But over a single lifetime, moral sense can be completely reversed (e.g., the perception of what constitutes racism; Martin Luther King is now a racist). A signature feature of moral manipulation is a complete reversal of moral position occurring quickly (e.g., politicians’ rapid reversal on same-sex marriage). Conservatism is an instinctive protection against moral corruption. But at the level of those in positions of power, conservatism has fallen.    

Those who control the narrative have become the ruling elite. Those who used to be the ruling elite have adopted the brave new narrative as the only means of hanging onto power. Once the public has been duped, the game is up in a democracy. Bad money drives out good.

One of the greatest benefits of pursuing a political strategy via moral manipulation is that, once established, its adherents will advocate the policies with ferocious energy and passion. To some onlookers, such firm conviction may be confused with validity. But actually it reflects the seat of moral conviction in the emotional psyche. Those whose opinions lean more upon rationality and evidence will tend to express their views with less passion. Unfortunately, the result is that the views which deserve greater respect are afforded less, as people tend to respond to emotionality more than to rationality.

Many social causes which have been adopted by their adherents with passion now inhabit the psychological space once occupied by religion. This comes about (I guess) because of the strong urge to find meaning and fulfilment in life, an urge which is satisfied by espousing these (morally promoted) causes with intense zeal. Feminists, eco-warriors, SJWs, supporters of Black Lives Matter, etc., are notable for their absolute intolerance of alternative opinions. These credos are akin to a religion sweeping through the world converting people by the sword.

Speaking of tolerance, Murray gives examples of very different reactions to people’s “mistakes”. A white man using, in innocence, the phrase “coloured people” rather than the approved “people of colour” will have a struggle to weather the resulting storm of criticism. In contrast, a black woman spending years tweeting KillAllMen and endlessly stating White People Are Trash and like sentiments, will face no censure. I apologise for the lack of originality, but it has to be said this is straight from Marcuse: repressive tolerance. Tolerate from the left, tolerate nothing from the right. And we have already seen that “black” means left and “white man” means right. It’s such a simple tactic even morons can do it. Despicable morons can do it especially well. So don’t bother labouring the fact that there is no semantic difference between “coloured people” and “people of colour”. No one gives a shit. They just hate you, and they will find a way to bring you down.

One of the reasons this cultural disease has spread so quickly and become so popular is that it appeals to people who are privileged. The evidence is there. Which universities are the most badly infected? That will be the most prestigious universities, attended, by definition, by the privileged. And the reason why these views are so dominant in centres of power and influence is not just entryism. It is also because the privileged can expiate their guilt by espousing the Correct views, the very purpose of which – thanks to longstanding Moral Vampirism – is precisely to reward adherents with absolution. What’s not to like? And it costs them nothing. They only need to conform. It is wryly amusing to note the virtual isomorphism between this process and Christian faith-confession-absolution. No doubt they both appeal to the same neural pathways.

The situation is further inflamed by the fact that many people appear now to be genuinely incapable of valid moral judgment.

So we have male feminists apologising for their masculinity, and we have white professors who open a speech with “I’d like to be less white, which means less oppressive, oblivious, defensive, ignorant and arrogant”. One can imagine the black audience swelling with pride at the implication that they are free from any such character flaws. Why do male feminists and white professors grovel so? It is not grovelling really. It is closer to self-aggrandisement by a circuitous route. The Pharisee may be on his knees, praying in a position of obeisance, but he is doing so on a street corner. By declaring their allegiance to “the oppressed” they distinguish themselves from “those other men” and “those other whites”. It is those others they are truly blaming, whilst they themselves are the “one good man”, or the “one good white”.

The pernicious aspect of this sneaky-fucker cunning is that it hugely reinforces the apparent validity of women’s (or blacks’) claimed oppression; after all, the oppressor has just admitted it! And does this faux-grovelling by feminist men and intersectionalist professors help heal the rift between the sexes and races? No, it works to deepen the rift by continually reinforcing the perception that it has a sound basis. Yet both sides in this wicked symbiosis are unconcerned that they are aggravating a running sore and promoting division because both sides profit from it (in terms of social standing, and perhaps financially).

The monster the pseudo-left have created is running out of control. It devours its own. The old second wave feminists are now the bigots, according to the trans lobby. And the black feminists and the BLM crew are placing all white people on the naughty table and being a lesbian won’t save you. This meltdown is inevitable. Identity Politics crushes opposition, and then it crushes its adherents. Even the dominant in-groups inevitably schism as the criteria for Correct status ratchets ever upwards and the minefield of potential errors becomes ever more tricky to negotiate (Ref.2).  

How can this be stopped? Those who believe there is an absolute morality will naturally wish this to provide the missing moral anchor, the antidote to moral manipulation. However, the benefit of an externally imposed moral order is not restricted to absolute rectitude. Even a rather poor moral code, assuming it is not too tyrannical, will be better than a condition in which society ratchets ever downwards into turpitude and eventual societal collapse.

3. References