(In which Happycrow shoots his mouth off and once again cements his place as the least popular man in America)
“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” – Friedrich August von Hayek
Traditional religiosity with its good and its ill is fading, and in its place spreads not rationality, but a thousand superstitious cults based on willful ignorance and the desire to find enemies.
We live in an era that embraces ignorance for the momentary advantage it gives in allowing its various partisans to devalue and dehumanize anybody who happens to belong to a different cult.
And the problem with dealing with cults is that cults survive solely upon jargon, and use it as their yardstick for identifying who’s in the cult, and who is an enemy to be sacrificed upon the altar of (self-)righteousness.
The cults have dominated the globe and scarred it for almost a hundred and fifty years.
1. Marx spent years investigating labor conditions, writing romantic, idealized screeds regarding the travails of the working class and the follies of capitalism.
But in all his volumes of writing which we now call “Marxist economics,” it apparently never occurred to him that he needed to learn economics, or even what capitalism is and is not. His description of capitalism is a bad caricature of violence-backed corporatism. His “labor theory of value” is so obviously wrong that it can be debunked by any five-year-old with a preference for the really good dessert, rather than the one which merely took a long time to make. The lovingly hand-built Atari 2800 in a hobbyist’s garage won’t be out-pricing modern game consoles built on an assembly line anytime soon.
But for Marx’s cult, that simply meant that the entire world was wrong and needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. “Rebuilding” made a great tool for tyrants, madmen, and totalitarian thugs to erase a hundred million human victims from the earth.
2. The next chapter was Keynesian “Economics.” Keynes’ theory of “animal spirits” or “consumer-sentiment-driven-demand” is just as woefully inadequate as Marx’s labor theory of value. In this case, the mistake was even simpler. Keynes, not being an economist, did not understand that “desire” and “demand” have different economic meanings. “Demand” does not mean that I would like to have something — it means that I am actively in the market to buy something and have enough money to purchase what I want to get.
That’s why supply-and-demand curves are never going away. No matter how rosy I feel about my economic outlook, if I can’t puchase a luxury car, the makers of that car had better not be over-producing on the assumption that I can.
His cultists live on today in the Federal Reserve, which is shocked that Americans have trouble saving, after having explicitly engaged in behavior known to repress saving. Now they are trying to sell the public on the idea that money is complicated, hard to understand, and can only exist with the strong and steady hand of government.
(Wrong. Money is the simplest thing there is, and arises without any central authority at all. Money is simply some item whose value lies primarily in the fact that people are willing to exchange it for other items. Gold. Salt. Cattle. Gummi-Bears. My Little Pony stickers.)
The public prefers to save for the future, both for emergencies and possible good things. So for the Keynesian cultists in the central banks, this simply means that the entire world is wrong, and the world must be FORCED to buy and to invest rather than to save.
Who knows what the late-21st-century version of The Cult Games will be? Probably something to do with coffee and lolcats.
3. The contemporary version of this is feminism’s slow movement from an egalitarian movement to a “Marxism of Gender.”
Originally, feminism stood for something very basic: equal rights and duties for men and women. The founding charter of the National Organization of Women? Strictly egalitarian and holding both men and women in high esteem. It has nothing to do with feminism today.
“NOTICE: This is a historic document, which was adopted at NOW’s first National Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 29, 1966. The words are those of the 1960s, and do not reflect current language or NOW’s current priorities.”
Yeah. No kidding.
That lasted all of three years before being almost completely co-opted by Marxist hate-groups (the Redstockings were “Red” on purpose, and without irony), continuing the Marxist cult of class struggle. No longer an issue of creating equality between men and women, in all their individual glories, it instead insisted on the struggle between classes of imaginary “category-people.” God help the feminist who dares to deviate from whatever the current promulgated ideology — she will be erased from history as surely as the losing side from an Egyptian temple.
Which is a pity. Because Germaine Green, Julie Bindel, and others have had an awful lot of very important things to say over the years. When you “no platform” somebody because they disagree with you, you are acting like a cultist who is horrified at the existence of a heretic.
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster…when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” – Friedrich Nietzche
Many of them are busy screaming at ghosts, believing the world to truly be an appalling and hopeless place because it fails to conform to their make-believe.
And its next chapter, the ongoing slog over Judith Butler and the alarmingly common-sensical notion that “Gender is performative.” This is obviously true and readily-observable over time: In the ancient Levant, masculinity meant collecting as many wives and having as many kids as possible. In ancient Greece, being masculine generally meant being a pederast: having sex with little boys for fun, but with women for children. In 1950, being masculine generally meant that if you caught some bastard having sex with a little boy and beat him to death in order to stop that, your prison sentence was likely to be “time served” and the heart-felt thanks of the kid’s parents.
But like Marx, who wanted to opine about work without ever having had a job, or Keynes, who wanted to opine about economics without learning what “demand” means, today’s cultists want to take this common-sense, historically obvious concept without any understanding of either social or individual context and instead try to define “performative” as socially determined, rather than happening within a social context. And the left and right wings are equally guilty.
“Socially determined” implies socially directed. Predictably, this means a lot of cultists telling everybody else how they should be “performing” their lives.
Cue “the Patriarchy.” It’s just as much cultist cant as the Labor Theory of Value or Keynes’ “Animal Spirits.” It’s certainly not the dictionary definition of Patriarchy. To wit, does anybody think that Joe Six Pack’s testicles give him greater social and political power than Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, or, if you want real socio-economic firepower, Christine Lagarde?
Rather, it’s become a shorthand for “sexual business as usual,” and the tragedy is that as a short-hand, it devalues the idea that there are very good reasons for differences in those sexual and gender performances, including many that drive the cultists, right-wing, left-wing, and otherwise, NUTS.
“The Patriarchy” works for an awful lot of women, many of whom are continuing to have kids and pass their sexual and gender preferences to the future. There are an awful lot of women who do, in fact, like it when men check them out in passing. There are a lot of women for whom “sexy” is fundamentally reassuring, rather than oppressive.
There are a lot of women who LIKE pink sexy, pink, and sexy-in-pink. And there are a lot of women who like to show off their bodies to hugely-appreciative audiences.
In contemporary pop-culture terms, there are a lot of women out there who would far rather spend two nights with Tony Stark than a month with Captain America or the rest of their lives with Hawkeye. And others who wouldn’t settle for anything less than Hawkeye The Total Family-Man.
And there are a lot of folks who are not at all offended by dudes showing off, either.
But for some men and women, this is their vision of hell. “Business as usual” doesn’t work for them.
We’re biological machines. This holds true whether you’re steeped in the Marxist doctine of abstract collectivist group humanity concerned about “toxic masculinity,” or the most Bible-thumpy of all right-wing Bible-thumpers for whom “be fruitful and multiply” is a MANDATE for permanent baby-bumps on Mama and “don’t dare dream of working less than sixty hours to support that family” for Papa.
This isn’t what NOW was thinking of in 1966. When did “different strokes for different folks” become heresy?
And as I’ve said elsewhere, we have to come up with ways to “solve for human heterogeneity.” It’s not going to be easy. There are very good reasons for that heterogeneity. Each has advantages in different contexts. A wildly libidinous pro-sex person is more likely to reproduce successfully. Also more likely to transmit one or more horrifying social diseases. The asexual, less likely to do either. The future belongs to those who show up: “lots of kids” usually rules, but sometimes “one kid, reluctantly, but no disease” may totally be the winning formula.
The notion that “performative” means “individually mutable for the greater good” (as defined by either left or right) is, like the Labor Theory of Value or The Animal Spirits Approach To Economic Demand, laughably false. Social “performance” does not mean that we can simply pick up and put down sexual personae like actors on a stage.
If it did, we could presume that the sex-positive and the asexual could swap places at will without suffering from doing so. But you’re not taking a sex-positive person who hangs out in a “play” group on Wednesdays and Thursdays with her six closest friends and their guests, and denying her any and all sex without irritating her mightily. And you’re not taking an “ace” and throwing him into said “group play” without traumatizing him.
Neither can you take somebody in the living hell of completely failing to identify with their own sexual apparatus, and tell them, as many right-wing cultists do, “hey, those are your balls, just get over it.” Saying “you’re not standard-model, therefore you shouldn’t exist and we don’t give a shit about your troubles” is no more excusable than advocating for all the cis-hets to go die in a fire. Both are predicated upon Othering people who deserve human empathy.
If a lot of people have problems with your preferred solution, that might be a clue that you should spend less time virtue-signalling and more time looking for solutions which can work for everybody.
- A trans-dude should be able to use the bathroom with which said trans-dude identifies without suffering a presumption of ill will.
- Parents should also be able to make sure that pedophiles can’t simply pretend to be trans-dudes in order to have easy access to prey on children.
This is a thorny problem with real, actually-legitimate beefs on both sides. If your reaction to those two points above is to simply write one off as bullshit, you’re part of the problem.
And if, when you make arguments on these issues and the public response is scorn, incredulity, and guffaws, you’re either a genius ahead of your time…
“Wegener’s hypothesis in general is of the foot-loose type, in that it takes considerable liberty with our globe, and is less bound by restrictions or tied down by awkward, ugly facts than most of its rival theories. Its appeal seems to lie in the fact that it plays a game in which there are few restrictive rules and no sharply drawn line of conduct.” — RT Chamberlain
“Utter damned rot!” –WB Scott
….or perhaps you need to spend less time “virtue signalling” and more time trying to understand what it is people don’t like about what you’re saying, and why, so that you can actually improve your arguments. Stop acting like a Cult member arguing from identity. Your efforts are meaningless posturing unless they can convince people who disagree with your position that you have legitimate issues to address.
We should be looking for solutions that work for everybody. And when we get to “everybody,” that means ALL THE INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE, not “enable the categories of people I like, and to hell with all the rest of those bastards.”
Because only a cult sacrifices real people to appease imaginary category-people. And if your take on the world is “I’m one of the Virtuous Few, and the World is Filthy and Wrong,” well, I don’t want to be dogmatic…but I’d recommend a combination of curiosity and decaf.