Yes, I’ve seen fit to inflict the world with more of my verbiage. It’s probably an illness.
Well, it might be crap but at least it’s shorter than the last one.
It’s only fair to warn you that the new book is nothing like the last one, The Empathy Gap. That was mainly a presentation of empirical evidence. There are no tables or graphs in the new book. It’s more a work of opinion, and more overtly political though it focusses on the role of morality in political and social change. The contents of Part One of the book aligns well with my ICMI21 talk. But the book develops from there covering three more Parts plus Appendices.
Sorry about the price. Print-on-demand is wonderfully flexible and makes publication by the amateur very easy, but it isn’t cheap for single copies. I make essentially nothing, perhaps a few pence. My UK RRP was £14.99. At present it is £15.24 on UK Amazon, at least 36% of which goes to Amazon, and quite a lot more than that if Amazon bulk up the order. You may wish to wait for the ebook version which I intend to produce in the next couple of months – assuming other projects don’t get in the way.
For people in the UK this is the Amazon link.
For people in the USA this is the Amazon link.
For people in Australia this is the Amazon link.
Here is the Description…
All “Western” societies have become deeply divided, and the divisions have become ever more acrimonious. The reason is that the differences of opinion stem from differences of moral perspective. One side sees the other as dangerously bonkers, whilst in return the latter interprets the former as fascistic hatemongers (or so they say). Where existing works fall short is in explaining why and how this dichotomous morality has arisen, a question which is related to who benefits from it.
One of the purposes of this book is to address that question: why has a radically different view of moral rectitude arisen and become so widespread? The answer cannot be morally neutral. Indeed, that moral neutrality is itself a moral error is central to the thesis presented, which is based upon the existence of a true, absolute or natural morality. The central thesis of the book focusses on “moral usurpation”, a process of nudging popular opinion over many decades and targeting moral perceptions. The mechanisms deployed are familiar from PR campaigns or outright propaganda, but it is the targeting of the moral sensibilities which produces adherents who are so implacably hostile to contrary views.
The cluster of social and political phenomena, the origin of whose peculiar rise to prominence the theory seeks to explain, is known by many names: Progressivism, Cultural Marxism, Collectivism, Identity Politics, Intersectional Feminism, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, Critical Theory, Victimhood Culture, Social Justice (complete with Warriors), or simply “Woke”, or perhaps just “the hard Left”. With no pretence of neutrality, all these terms are replaced with one umbrella term: Destructivism, because their common feature is the undermining and destruction of Western culture – hence the book’s title.
It is not original to observe that annexing the moral high ground can provide a smokescreen for other purposes. But a further aspect of the thesis presented is that capturing ostensible moral peaks (even if fraudulently) functions as a source of social and political power. This has been too little appreciated, but is not new. It is pointed out that ruling elites have always needed to present themselves as upholders of moral principle, and one could always question the extent to which they truly lived up to such pretensions. However, a more virulent problem arises when the moral principles which the public endorse have been nudged away from their valid origins in the true morality. If public morals can be distorted into precepts which happen to favour the elites, then the elites can be relied upon to uphold them.
According to the thesis presented, this provides the answer to a pressing conundrum: why have all agencies of the State, including the justice process, as well as large corporations, mega-rich globalists and trans-national bodies like the UN, all aligned themselves so eagerly with feminism and Woke – in short, with Destructivism? The answer lies in three things: (i) that all these entities are keenly interested in acquiring or consolidating their power, (ii) that power is inherent in ostensible moral cachet, and, (iii) that the Destructivists are manufacturers of artificial moral rectitude, via the moral usurpation process.
Understanding our predicament requires appreciation that we are not dealing with a single phenomenon or a single group of people, but with an ecosystem of mutually supporting groups who trade between themselves in different forms of power. These forms of power are: money, civic and legislative power, the control of information, and moral standing. Unless the implicit power value of moral standing is appreciated, the overall ecosystem cannot be understood. But the ecosystem forms the Woke Industrial Complex (a term coined by Vivek Ramaswamy).
However, the confected morality manufactured by the Destructivists is false, which is why this mutually self-supporting ecosystem of traded power is wreaking cultural destruction as it pumps ever more power to the triumvirate of power groups which are its higher socio-political animals. Identity Politics and allied moral corruptions are providing the perfect moral smokescreens behind which authoritarianism is advancing, which is why these issues are so very pressing.
The Contents (chapter titles)…
- A Signpost
- Our Parlous Society
- Social Morality
- How do the Few Control the Many?
- Divide and Conquer
- True Morality
- Moral Infantilism
- Moral Vampirism
- The Creation of Zealots
- The Appeal of Moral Usurpation to the Elites
- The Role of Feedback in Moral Usurpation
- Gramsci and Moral Usurpation
- The Woke Industrial Complex
- The Inevitability of Intolerance under Identity Politics
- Ideology, Auto-Totalism and Ethical Capture
- The Evolved Pair Bond and Female Moral Authority
- Weighing the Anchor
- The Moral Elements of Political Opinion and the Care/Harm Axis
- Is Liberalism to Blame?
- The Psychology of Female Feminists
- The Psychology of the Male Feminist
- The Psychology of the Masses: Obedience and Conformity
- Feminism as the Gateway
- Individualism, Collectivism, Hierarchy and the Destruction of Merit
- The Destruction of Truth: Postmodernism and Critical Theory
- The Destruction of Beauty
- The Destruction of Love
- The Destruction of Religion and the Transcendent
- The Destruction of Education
- The Destruction of Family, Parenting and Relations between the Sexes
- The Destruction of Science
- The Exploitation of Tolerance: LGBTQ
- A Multiplicity of Tactics
- Directed Intent
- Examples of Moral Usurpation Praxis
- The Globalists and Rising Authoritarianism
- The Cleft Stick
- Living Within The Truth
- Conclusion and Forgiveness
- A: The Destruction of Education (Elaboration)
- B: Rousseau, Hegel and the Philosophical Roots of Totalitarianism
- C: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab
- D: Examples of how Feminism is Embedded within Global Organisations
For people buying the paperback, the html links to the references are here.
Possibly because of a different cultural history it seems the importation of the Anglo Saxon moral usurpation to South Korea is faltering. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/21/asia/korea-angry-young-men-intl-hnk/index.html
To the extent it has affected elections. With successes in regional elections followed by national success https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/10/asia/yoon-suk-yeol-new-south-korean-president-stance-intl-hnk/index.html
The reporting is fascinating because it is mainly incredulous that young men should object to being treated as second class citizens in the cause of “gender equality”. What the voting patterns seem to show is the paradox that it is the older generation of men specially those of higher social class who support the gynocentric favouring of girls and women, while young men competing with these favoured females who are protesting the discrimination against them. In other words it is the “patriarchy ” that are for feminism and young men with no patriarchal power who notice they are held back.
I do wonder if younger men here, bombarded with “gender equality” may also be more likely to see and experience the reality that they are discriminated against and start to feel similarly aggrieved.
Good observation, and valid I think. It’s easy to explain why older men are more supportive of policies to advantage women than are younger men – the older men made their way in the world before the days that their doing so would be frustrated by discrimination. Younger men are more likely to notice the discrimination against them now it impacts them personally.
This work seems to relate closely – though it is a far broader and more comprehensive analysis – to the classic by Norman Dennis and George Erdos, Families Without Fatherhood. There, they chart the collapse of traditional working class morality which was based on strong families, hard work, honesty and neighbourliness, and had been espoused by the early Labour Party. In their analysis it had been undermined by an underclass characterised by criminality, worklessness and illegitimacy and the creation of a particular type of irresponsible and poorly-socialised young man living in a state of ‘permanent puerility’, liberated from the expectation to be responsible for the well-being of wives and children.
Traditional morality had distinguished between the deserving poor, whose misfortune was not of their making, and the undeserving poor, who had brought misfortune upon themselves. This distinction had persisted most tenaciously amongst the ‘respectable’ working class, who were most adversely affected by irresponsible, ‘immoral’ conduct. By the 1990s, Labour had dismissed working-class values as ‘bourgeois’ and sold out to the middle-class intelligentsia who taught that social disadvantage was due to poverty and stigma, and that to believe the single parent family inferior to the married was ‘reactionary nonsense’.
Dennis and Erdos blamed, firstly, the individualism which had forgotten that the traditional family was both the foremost safeguard of children and the source of national prosperity and, secondly, the attitude that children were just another commodity like cars or holidays. Far from rewarding parents for producing the wealth-creators and pension-payers of the future, the tax system had progressively penalised parenthood since the 1960s.
They asked how far welfare had undermined morality by weakening adherence to established rules of conduct. A new commandment reigned, ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit A Value Judgement’, which held that human lives and interactions were too complex to allow for free will, or for praise or blame. The more difficult it was for the individual to calculate the consequences to himself of not discriminating, the easier was it for him to avoid making judgements. Personal responsibility had given way to a narcissistic belief that the state would pick up the tab for irresponsible behaviour.
There was thus a conflict between two groups: those who based their morality upon not moralising, and those who ‘remain within the mindset of common sense’ and explicitly judged and moralised. Whatever the correct philosophical position, Dennis and Erdos reasoned, the results would be different: one would ease human suffering, while the other would intensify it. The issue for policy was to what extent the large ‘category of people whose misfortune stemmed from their own conduct’, such as gambling, drinking and sloth, which threatened the standards and achievements of others, should be protected from their own decisions.
Received wisdom is that social norms aren’t deteriorating, but merely changing. Because some children ‘biologically created in any number of technically available ways’ thrive almost as well as children raised by their married biological parents, the non sequitur has gained ground that families without fathers are just as good, provided they are given sufficient money – ‘fatherhood is only a matter of cash’ – while the pre-1960s family is viewed as an oppressive ideology. The state thus becomes an enormously powerful but thoroughly amoral step-parent; it knows perfectly well what policies benefit children and society, what policies form strong families and tight-knit communities, but it cannot afford to pursue them and risk losing all its power.
I hope that The Destructivists becomes as successful and widely-read a classic; it certainly deserves to. It may be all that stands between us and the abyss.
I quote Dennis and Erdos at length in The Empathy Gap. Whether your analogy holds up re The Destructivists is another matter. It is heavy on the moral aspects, my objective being to try to get to the psychological (as well as the political) root cause of the rapid spread in popularity of a mindset which seems, to some of us, as dangerously bonkers and destructive. Thanks for your kind words – but you should read it first – and you will be free to alter your opinion on these pages. I confess to nervousness over the whole enterprise. However, self-censorship based on fear is not the way to go. Better to fuck up than that.
I am sure my opinion will only be enhanced! Seriously, though, these are vital issues which require urgent and extensive discussion and, as you rightly say, it is better to say something now and amend it later than to say nothing at all. I wish you every success with the book. As for the psychology, much of it, in my limited experience, seems to arise in immature, damaged and anxious minds, and in minds more concerned with narcissistic individual identity and closed to wider integration with family and community. Such minds focus on the differences which divide us rather than on our common humanity. Identity politics is driven by an urge to fit in and belong only through being different, which generates a destabilising cognitive dissonance.