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

6 thoughts on “hypotheses & implications

  1. Christophe Stévins

    Brilliant analysis.

    Sometimes I wonder how historians of the future will speak about our period. I guess they will do as you do here.

    Maybe even a new chapter of sociology is opening in studying how using manufactured discourses to modify the shared moral code can be used as a tool for political power.

    Reply
  2. Callum

    When talking about the top universities being filled with the most privileged individuals, there is a startling correlation that many overlook:

    – 7% of women in the UK identify as feminists
    – 7% of children are privately educated

    Whilst the childhood private education may in itself not be causal, the overlap is clearly evident. If it were a venn diagram the two circles would be so closely aligned as to be nearly indistinguishable from one another.

    The other political trick that plays a part is the near destruction of the grammar school system. I don’t wish to debate the rights and wrongs, just to point out that many working class people greatly benefited from grammar schools, which used to be reflected in their greater participation in politics, media and other prominent areas, but they have now been effectively disenfranchised from the system. Of the grammar schools that remain, most are based in affluent areas which are served by an overabundance of private primary schools whose raison d’être is training for the 11+, therefore ensuring that grammar schools are just a way for the upper middle classes to avoid paying for 7 years of secondary education. The Independent Schools Council have a search facility on their website called ‘school finder’ where anyone can check this for themselves (Buckinghamshire is a prime example; it has more primary the secondary private schools).

    Between enforced crap education on the working classes and a stranglehold on excellent schools and opportunities for rich children, any turn around of this current malaise of identity politics could take a generation.

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  3. Douglas Milnes

    An interesting article come from you, William. I might almost think that you have been reading Anonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse!

    You write:
    “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…”
    Yet societies lasted a long time treating men and women differently. These societies include some of the most stable the world has seen. Societies which have attempted to treat them as the same have foundered within three generations.

    Inevitably, the desire to treat men and women (identified by sex) differntly has its political element. This is a form of identity politics, though distinct from what many think of when they utter the words ‘identitiy politics’ lately. However, it is worth examining the difference between the identity politics that works and the identity politics that has the intention of — and is suceeding in — breaking apart society.

    I think a lot of the distinction between good and bad identity politics comes down to those innate differences in psychology {hypothoses 1.}. Unfortunately, no identity politics can ever hope to satisfy all individuals within a specific identity. Not all men think and feel the same. Not all atheists think and feel the same. Not all people with the surname ‘Collins’ think and feel the same. Good grief, even I don’t think and feel the same from one day to the next, so even an identity politics at individual level will be excluding me on some days!

    This is why citizens can be happiest when government interferes as much as needed to keep them secure, but otherwise interferes as little as possible. If politics isn’t a big issue, we aren’t likely to be harmed by it.

    We have individual needs. We are not equal and treating us as though we are can only be dissatisfying. Whether we call this dissimilar treatment as ‘equality’ or ‘essentialism’ or ’empathy’ doesn’t matter: what does matter is that no individual is disadvantaged beyond that to which society is disadvantaged by not having them disadvantaged. What is happening with feminism recently is not that they are defining people by needs, but that they are treating males increasingly as a lower order of people. Feminists calling it ‘addressing needs’ is just like them talking about ‘equality’: just hot air, intended to divert the mind.

    Reply
    1. William Collins Post author

      No, its the Equality Act I’ve been reading – though if that aligns with Gramsci & Marcuse I’d not be surprised. I hope you didn’t get the impression that I was praising the use of “needs” as a spurious legitimisation of different treatment. But that is exactly what the Equality Act makes legal under the aegis of “equality” (which does not mean treating everyone the same, don’t you know). I’ll be ripping this to shreds next Sunday. To clarify, in as far as I have a political credo it is that the seat of moral deserts, and moral obligation, is the individual. I define “identity politics” as the submerging of the individual as an undifferentiated member of a group, and where only group membership is acknowledged. Political power is then achieved by setting group against group. I think I can boast that no one knows better than me how catastrophic this is, as I have demonstrated the fact mathematically. To point out that everyone has identifying characteristics is not the same thing as identity politics. Identifying characteristics (your face, name, etc) identify you as an individual, but are mere markers which the right-minded do not mistake as implying anything about you. Identity politics is the reverse in which one or two characteristics are all that is needed to condemn you. Of course the appeal to “needs” is hot air – but it is also legally sanctioned hot air. In the case of women, the appeal to “needs” is simply gynocentrism.

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  4. Groan

    A good summation. Of course life is messier than theory but it is important to have an analysis of the problem in broad terms. It was for a long time completely perplexing to my why conservatives frequently enacted policy which did the social marxists’ work for them. As feminism is largely a heresy of Marxism it seemed inexplicable that they so frequently simply junked traditional institutions. The key is that very special meaning of equality. In any survey and vox pops the vast majority of the population express equality as same treatment. Indeed even in my professional life in social care and health few actually describe equality as the idea of different treatment to achieve same outcomes. Those that do are the University educated. I suspect it has always been the case that the intricacies of theology have always been the concern of a narrow band of society.
    Personally I believe that the way to counter the power of this is to constantly appeal to the popular understanding of “equality” and being fair and equal opportunity. Success will at least mean males are treated the same , rather than less well, as women it also pokes at the weakness of the virtue signalling elite(who are after all signalling not to the populous but to fellow privileged folk). I think there is no hope at all in referring to “mens rights” as no one has any interest in helping “men” but equality remains a powerful “good” understood as same treatment.

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