It isn’t difficult to find people complaining about how “people of color” are treated in America today. Turn on the TV, and you’ll see highly-paid NFL players lamenting this. White liberals are constantly bashing “whiteness”, and attending lectures and classes wherein white people are variously termed devils, demons, oppressors, or some other thing. It is the same for men in general, as opposed to women.
Whites, and white men in particular, are generally seen as squares. They can’t dance, can’t sing, are uncool, lame, stupid, and as the famous movie title once explained for us, white men can’t jump. If white men do anything interesting or cool, it will be seen as cultural appropriation, denounced as racism, or become an Obama “you didn’t build that” situation. White people either have no culture (that link is interesting, because many white American liberals genuinely believe that they have no culture), or their culture is based primarily on white supremacy.
Here is a video in which we see how men are portrayed in TV commercials, versus how women are also portrayed:
Men are variously buffoons, abusers, stupid, sexist, racist, misogynistic and otherwise. Women, of course, are strong and empowered paragons of virtue. They are smarter, wiser, stronger, kinder, and just better human beings. TV commercials are a great way to see this bias laid out, because marketing departments usually want to stay as tightly within the Overton Window as possible. Political Incorrectness in commercials is a no-no. When it does happen, as with the infamous Pepsi protest commercial, you’ll see a lot of back peddling and excuse-making. Somebody will likely get fired for such mistakes. So don’t think this is an accident. Marketing departments think this is normal, acceptable, and even desirable, given present sociopolitical circumstances.
Here’s one that’s a little more subtle. Because using white people stereotypes as awkward buffoons is politically correct, but doing the same of other races is not (double standard), we have commercials like those in this compilation:
Now to be fair, both videos contain a lot of cherry-picking. But when attempting to cherry-pick the reverse, I find very few examples, and most of those are old and/or foreign. Certainly you can go back to the 80s, and to some extent the 90s, and see all races and both genders depicted as smart or stupid, good or evil. But in the late 90s, we see the trend begin toward only white men being stupid, evil, or lame.
Still, I searched Youtube for a long time to find what example I could. The most blatant anti-black ad I could find was actually produced in China. See below:
For the most part, Social Justice Warriors deny any such discrimination exists. Instead, white men are privileged. They have the world handed to them. It’s all so easy to be a white guy. But this doesn’t jibe with reality, where we are the butt of all jokes, the one group that it is still politically correct to shit on. Most of the purveyors of the Twitter #KillAllMen are still around. Most of my old conservative and libertarian friends on Twitter are gone, suspended for much lesser infractions than arguing for the genocide of half the human race. Somehow most the Nazi LARPers are still around – perhaps because they make white people look evil. I don’t know.
The thing is, as the narrator in the first video explains, making fun of white guys doesn’t bother me, per se. I can take it. It’s fine. What’s wrong here is that this is only permissible one way. You may use any ethnic slur you wish with regards to white people, but they are off limits for white people to use on any other race. “Nigger” is acceptable when used by a black man, but beyond the pale when used by a white man. Any number of slurs against white peoples are permissible. Cracker, guido, greaseball, mick, paddy, kraut, hillbilly, cousin-fucker, white trash, pollack, donkey, redneck. All of these are okay. Say “porch monkey” and prepare for the army of SJWs to cry out for your head. And let us not forget that a completely non-ethnic related use of “chink in the armor” was widely decried as racist, many times, including one where it was literally being used to describe a weakness in tank armor.
Here is an old ad (early 90s) that depicts a black man the same way white guys are generally portrayed today. SJWs would go apeshit if they saw this:
The merest whiff of a possibility that someone might be insulting a “person of color” is enough to warrant dismissal and denunciation. Meanwhile crapping on white guys is so pervasive and acceptable, it’s used to sell us consumer crap on the television. Imagine if they used a dumb black person to sell watermelon on TV today. The outcry could be heard from space. SJWs would be like William Shatner screaming in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: RAAAAAAAAAAAAACISM! That’s more or less how it works with white guys.
Being a white man in today’s society means walking on eggshells constantly, every waking moment. The black coworker next to you could be cool, she could be like any other person. Or she could just be waiting for an excuse to cry racism to HR if you accidentally said something that could be interpreted as racist in some fashion. It creates a constant sense of tension when white folks interact with a person of another race.
Rather than just organically connecting with that person as used to be the case in America (I remember in the 80s, it was still largely like this), now you have to micromanage every interaction, be on constant lookout for possible narrative violations, microaggressions, and otherwise. It creates a demand for ideological perfection that poisons any interaction between people of different races.
I’m part Southern American English(-ish, I found a few Dutchmen from the 1700s in the woodpile recently), through my father’s side, and half Armenian through my mother’s side. My Cuban/Spanish in-laws and I trade barbs back and forth about Cubans, and gringos, and about the Kardashians being distant relatives of mine (I’d throw the Kardashians into a woodchipper if I could, but it IS funny). One of my closest friends is a full-blooded Irishman. The drunk jokes and potato jokes write themselves. I participate in a closed conservative science fiction community with a lot of Jewish folks. And yes, even Jew jokes are permissible. Every once in a while, they’ll even provide me with a Jewish joke I’ve never heard before.
Nobody cares. Nobody takes it so seriously. And so folks of differing backgrounds can laugh, drink together, and make friends.
But outside of closed-off communities and personal relationships, this never really happens anymore. Everybody is so uptight about race, gender, sexual preference, whatever. The interactions are poisoned before they even begin. And the so-called “Safe Spaces” just make things worse, because in such places the echo chambers reinforce one another, and the hate festers and spreads. The benign social divisions (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, for example) are destroyed. Toxic ones like SJWs safe spaces and neo-segregation (except this time, keep whitey out) are erected in place of them.
It’s almost like these people can’t wait to hear something they can spin as racist/sexist/whatever, no matter whether or not it really is. They are excited and salivate over opportunities to divide people, to further poison interactions between people, and to deprive us all of things like humor, fun, and genuine friendship. Remember folks, if your friend is outed as a “racist” you must immediately purge him and say twenty Hail Anitas in recompense.
In the end, hating white people is not merely permissible, it is required. Even if you are white. No, especially if you are white. Hating men is also required, especially if you are a man.
Social Justice purports to be a movement of tolerance, love, and diversity. Me? Fuck them. I’ll go hang out with my people and make tasteless jokes we can all laugh at. SJWs? You go be boring and unoriginal, because at this point I think every funny white guy joke has already been done to death. It’s so cliche it’s a TV commercial, now.
This morning, I was parsing through the usual suspects, and noticed a back link to Right as Usual. The author, Linda Fox, is also a contributor for Liberty’s Torch, and so it piqued my interest. Linda reiterates the dangers of debt:
The Declination has an old post addressing this, from January, 2016. Such a long time ago.
How might we survive, both individually and as a nation? Hunker down, pay off debt, and detach yourself as much as you can from dependency.
Failing that, try to diversify your income sources – yes, that means part-time work, freelance work, and under-the-table work/bartering.
If the powerful can control whether or not you have access to money/income/daily needs, they own you. The peasant, who does NOT control his income, is most at risk.
If you are familiar with the concept of the Overton Window, you understand that mainstream political discourse occurs within certain boundaries. For instance, if a man started espousing Nazi-like sentiments, like throwing Jewish folks into concentration camps, he would be rightly disparaged and ostracized for them.
A relatively wide Overton Window that encompasses a wide variety of views, but omits the utterly evil and detestable, is generally desirable. It is how free speech is kept alive, while evil is still recognized and treated as such. But, like anything, you have to ask yourself: who gets to decide what is evil? Most reasonable people would probably agree that Nazis are evil. But SJWs have a habit of labeling anyone they don’t agree with as a Nazi or a fascist. That Nazism and Fascism are not, strictly speaking, the same things doesn’t stop them from using the ideologies as synonyms. Fascist leader Francisco Franco, for instance, may have been a ruthless dictator, but he did not have the racial ideology or genocidal inclinations of the Nazis. Either way, however, no matter the label they choose, they wish such labeling to immediately expel you from polite discourse.
All of this is very important, because for the moment the Overton Window is still controlled by the mainstream media, and to some extent the policing and censorship policies of social media. Remember that Facebook curators were caught suppressing conservative news stories. Overt and covert manipulation of the Overton Window is one of the Left’s most important tactics.
But what if a man decides to exit the Overton Window and accept social penalty in the name of what he believes is true? What stops him from doing it, if he is prepared to be called names and otherwise taunted for it?
But there is something else that is less commonly understood, and that is the relationship between debt and political censorship. It is at the very center of what the elitists are trying to do. Their SJW patsies are, of course, the designated attack dogs.
Consider my own recent case. Yes, I apologize for harping on it excessively, but I do prefer to use practical examples where possible. So someone doxxes you and starts making threats to your livelihood. They will tell your clients, or employer, or friends, family, etc… that you are a big meanie poopy-head Republican, and you say things they don’t like. Whatever.
Point is, if you are debt free, your expenses will be low. You will have to eat, and pay the usual bills. But these can be managed. You can eat a little less, conserve electricity and water, etc… They are at least partially in your control. But what about a car payment? What about a mortgage? What about the credit card payments and installment loans?
That’s a very different kettle of fish. You might be able to juggle some things around for awhile by being creative. But soon you are facing a wall which cannot be moved. You will lose your home, car, possessions and ruin your credit such that you cannot get these things again for a long time. Your family could be ruined with comparative ease.
How quickly would the average person correct their wrongthink and toe the party line? Or, at the very least, self-moderate their own positions to stay within the increasingly-narrow Overton window of the Left? Indeed, this has consistently been one of the most powerful weapons in the SJW arsenal, because they naturally subvert institutions and HR departments to put their men (or transsexual otherkin) into these positions. So help will not be forthcoming from these avenues. You cannot appeal, because the Court of Public Opinion answers to no higher court. And defending yourself is proof of guilt.
You are labeled as a Nazi, or a fascist, and now you are beyond the pale. Any defense is proof of guilt. Only by espousing Leftist social policy can you be freed of the label. If you don’t, they can tattle on you to your employer. They can play a game like they did with Brendan Eich and force your resignation through a PR campaign. I remember seeing a site that was dedicated to “getting racists fired”. I won’t link to it here for obvious reasons.
Naturally, since such courts of public opinion have no legal standing, they also don’t follow the presumption of innocence or allow for the possibility of defense.
Now any debt you are carrying becomes an albatross around your neck. If you have no debt, and live well within your means, the SJWs can damage you. But they can’t destroy you, they can’t force ideological compliance with their dictates. Extensive debt forces a man to keep his opinions within the Overton Window. And then, using media and social pressure, the window can be moved to the position the Left desires, dragging you along with it (perhaps kicking and screaming, but dragged nonetheless).
Whether the promotion of debt was designed to do this, or whether the Left merely took advantage of circumstances, I can’t say. But regardless of whether or not this was intentional, it has happened. Avoiding debt and living within your means is a way to avoid a sort of new variant of slavery.
It is a consensual slavery, mind you, but that is neither new nor unique. In ancient times, selling yourself into slavery was a common practice, and carried with it certain benefits. A slave was likely to be fed and cared for as valuable property, and a freeman who could not feed himself or his family might have no other choice. It is understandable that some would do this, even if very unfortunate.
But today it is different. Most of the people who are selling themselves into slavery are doing so for frivolities they don’t really need, for nicer cars or fancy furniture, for more house than they need, or for vacations to exotic destinations. It is not merely unfortunate, it is stupid. Folks need to take debt a lot more seriously, and minimize it where possible.
As in ancient times, there may have been circumstances where debt was unavoidable, or the consensual slavery was preferable to the alternatives. But give the decision the gravity it deserves. Do not go into it lightly, and know what the real cost is. It’s not just the interest you pay. It’s not just the payments from your future labor, it’s also the right to say what you believe.
Our resident Lefty troll has spent the better part of the last few days lecturing my readers on their moral inferiority. He offers no solutions, no costs, no benefits, and is quite vague on matters of policy. Rather, he hopes to play the Alinsky handbook out and see where it takes him. But in the process, he has exposed a facet of Weaponized Empathy that bears elaboration.
A few months ago, a friend of mine suffered some serious legal trouble. He was innocent of the charges levied against him, and his lawyer was confident of victory in court. Indeed, the charges were immediately lowered, and just last night I heard that his lawyer had secured evidence that ought to clear him. But, as is often the case, the punishment is the process. My friend’s legal fees were mounting. He does pretty well for himself, but while the court case was pending, his employer placed him on leave. So he was eating into savings very quickly. Things were looking grim.
A few of us got together and did some crowdfunding for him on social media. We secured enough money to pay his legal fees through small, private donations. It was enough to allow his savings to cover his day-to-day costs, and keep him afloat in what would otherwise be a very trying time. And we did so with small donations. $25 here, $50 there. It all adds up. So at no great cost to ourselves, we willingly helped him, and it worked.
Legal fees being about as ridiculous of an albatross as healthcare, one wonders why this approach isn’t championed by the morally-enlightened paragons of the political Left. With the rise of the Internet, and the power of mass media, it seems there is a great missed opportunity. When a leftist browbeats you with some sob story, and uses it as evidence as to why we need some government program, why we need higher taxes, ask him about this.
The tone of the article would have you believe that the landlord is a heartless, cruel company (or person). Why, for a mere $173, they charged this woman late fees, and now she can’t catch up! More subtly, the article is asking the question of why this woman should even have to pay rent at all. Clearly, the government should pay all of her housing expenses (it only pays most of them now). There is even a picture of the woman in her wheelchair next to her son, trying to waive down a bus to take them to the courthouse. Think about that, a reporter who knows this woman’s story is right there taking the picture, seeing this woman suffer, and can’t even be bothered to give her a ride. But the staff photographer has plenty of time for some quick Weaponized Empathy photo ops.
Yet if $173 is a mere trivial nothing, and the late fees so unimportant that the landlord should be expected to waive them away because of media outrage, where is the gofundme for this woman? And why have the journalists who exposed this terrible case not donated a few dollars themselves? You could circulate that crowdfunding link around the office of The Dallas Morning News and pay this woman’s bills for an entire year with what these people spend individually on a cup of overpriced Starbucks coffee every morning.
Some time ago, I read an article (which I can’t find at the moment – if my readers know, please reply in the comments) where some old woman wound up dying because she could not afford her electric bill. The electricity wound up getting shut off, and she froze to death in the winter. Naturally, everyone was angry at the utility company for shutting off her power. Why, the whole community was outraged at the greed of such a terrible company.
Yet where were these outraged people when she was still alive? Could they not cobble together a few dollars each to pay her bill, to see her through the rough times? No, chances are they didn’t even notice she existed. And if they did, they paid her no mind. She wasn’t their problem. She was somebody else’s problem. And when she died, they were shamed, because they let it happen. The utility company, who likely had no idea what was going on (only that they weren’t being paid), became the scapegoat for their shame, for their lack of caring for their fellow man.
The solution for such people is to outsource the responsibility of caring to someone else, namely the government. Out of sight, out of mind. They never have to mix it up with folks living at the edge. They don’t even have to bother with the time it takes to go to a gofundme link and donate a few dollars. Let the government handle it all, they say. And they account themselves our moral superiors because of this.
To them, charity is some distant, impersonal thing. Some money is taken out of their paycheck every month. Where it goes, nobody knows. But the leftist has done his duty, you see. He doesn’t have to think about his fellow man anymore. Indeed, he could write a story about a poor woman in his own community who needs a mere $173, and use his podium to lecture the public that someone else ought to cough up that money.
When government charity fails, when it breaks the human spirit, when it destroys entire communities, leftists can always point to the mean old Republicans and blame us for the suffering. All because they can’t cope with the shame that, when you get right down to it, they did nothing. All they did was watch the IRS come and take some portion of their paycheck. They did the easiest thing in the world: they threw some money at a problem and hoped that it would go away and trouble them no more.
Usually, when you encounter an item with no definitive price tag, it is because the item is absurdly expensive. When a potential customer is forced to ask for the price, the salesman might gauge his wealth, his gullibility, his willingness to part with his money, and a myriad of other things before settling on what he believes he can get. It also provides an opportunity to sell the customer on the object, rather than merely counting on the item and its price to convince the potential buyer.
In simple terms, forcing another to be open about his wants, and being closed off on your own, gives a man a decided bargaining advantage.
Lately, we’ve seen this at work with Antifa, BLM, #TheResistance, and other assorted left-wing groups. Grievances are produced, from slavery, to the plight of Native Americans, to American foreign adventures in the Middle East. Being honest with ourselves, some of these grievances have at least a historical merit to them. But for such leftist groups, the price for burying the grievance is obfuscated behind buzzwords and jargon. We must dismantle the cisheteropatriarchy, we must check our privilege, we must become a positive advocate for change. Everything from microaggressions to cultural appropriation are cited as examples of these things.
But I ask, what change?
Allow me to step into the shoes of one of Babylon 5’s villains, Mr. Morden, and ask the question: “what do you want?”
Well, leftists? What do you want? What is your price for putting away identity politics and your incessant portrayals of right-wing racism, sexism, homophobia, and islamophobia? These portrayals have silenced some of us, enraged others, and sent many conservatives running for the political closet. And once there, they still voted right-wing. Thus we now have one Donald J. Trump, despite all predictions to the contrary.
Some of us, like the esteemed Francis at Liberty’s Torch,have made peace with the incessant accusations and said something to the effect of “if you think that means I’m a racist then fine, I’m a racist. Now what?” Others, like myself, maintain that the portrayal of racism as the greatest of all evils is a mistake, dredged up because of the relative historical freshness of Nazi evil, and America’s own struggles with slavery. These evils most Americans are familiar with, but judging from the proliferation of Che Guevara t-shirts, the evils of Communism are less well understood.
And so racism becomes the number one evil in America, a sort of 21st century red scare, except there are even fewer to play the part of the reds (and many more actual reds).
All of that is immaterial, however. What is the end goal of the leftist? What does he want? What does his ideal America (or world, for those of a globalist persuasion) look like? Who gets to live there? What becomes of us and others who do not fit this progressive vision of the future?
When asked, leftists are often quite silent on the price. Just today, one explained that I should google the matter (never mind that I’ve exhausted google as a resource for this) because she didn’t want to “perform free emotional labor” on my behalf. Naming the price is now something that, in itself, costs money. Imagine if you asked the salesman what the price of a thing was, and he replied “you have to pay me to find out.”
Like the little psychological trick of decreasing sticker shock with slick salesmanship, the left understands that by hiding the price, they increase the possibility of ripping off some gullible idiot. Namely, us. And it works well enough on some. Enough that the thought of being accused of racism or prejudice is enough to elicit outright fear in many, not just an answer to the question.
Once an accusation of racism is leveled, very little is sufficient to dismiss it. Do you have many friends of the race in question? RationalWiki tells you that this is insufficient (after all, Hitler liked one Jew). You’re still a racist. What if, instead, you married a black woman, loved her and her family, and had a child with her? Well, you’re still a racist, because as some Puppy-kickers explained on Facebook (they have since deleted the posts in question, but I saved a screenshot, and Brad Torgersen can confirm it), black pussy doesn’t mean you aren’t racist. The Puppy-kickers even made this into a t-shirt. This argument was recently resurrected on Twitter by Talib Kweli Greene where he explained that if you marry an Indian woman, you’re still a racist, you just like Indian pussy.
So your friends, family, and relationships are dismissed. The accusation still stands. And remember, you are guilty unless proven innocent. And to prove your innocence, you must embrace leftist politics. That is the only accepted coin. And even by doing that, you would still have to abase yourself thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, a woman who murdered her own 4 year old son applied to Harvard, and was denied. Naturally, this had something to do with racism, according to Vox.com. Of course it has little or nothing to do with being a convicted murderer of a child.
Ultimately, the choice is this: convert to leftism, or risk being tarred as a racist with no possible way to prove otherwise, because you are guilty until proven innocent, and all evidence except leftist political sentiments will be summarily dismissed as insufficient.
Meanwhile, a reasonable man might be inclined to ask the price of buying this weapon off the left. What would it take for them to put it away?
Their rants and raves on this matter are difficult to parse. Ta-Nehisi Coates penned a long piece in support of reparations, and when I first read it I expected a concrete answer to the question “what do you want?” Instead, we were treated to a historical lecture on the plight of blacks in America. We already knew this. Everybody knows about slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination against blacks. How can anyone not know? The media has been bombarding us with these things for as long as I’ve been alive. And if the media wasn’t, BLM sure has been making a rather more raw effort at doing so. We get it. These things happened, and blacks got a raw deal.
What I want is a price. What are the demands? What do they really want?
I suspect the reason the demands aren’t named is that the sticker shock is likely to be quite mighty. I recall reading some time ago (and I can’t remember where presently, but if any of my readers know, please reply in the comments) that one black leader suggested a one-time payoff of $1 million to each black citizen. That bill would come out to approximately $36 trillion, approximately double the GDP of the United States, and likely an impossible sum. But to be honest, I suspect the left’s real demands would be much more expensive, and involve something much more Marxist than a massive one-time payment. The left would probably want to ensure the racist right-wingers never got to express their racism again, and would need to be actively suppressed. Somebody has to be the kulaks when things go bad, after all.
In the end, it’s just like Barack Obama’s campaign of hope and change. What change? How much will it cost? Hopeful for whom? These are questions the left leaves unanswered. There are never any (accurate) price tags on their merchandise. And so, I’ve no interest in buying.
Read the whole thing, it’s a very important point to understand. The motive is always power. If casting Rightists as Nazis will help them obtain power, they will do it. If casting them as people who like cats will do likewise, they will do that too. The point is to find a lever which moves you; to find something that that will get under your skin and force you to obey them. Francis references this point in a quote from the book:
‘You are ruling over us for our own good,’ he said feebly. ’You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore-’
He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body. O’Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.
‘That was stupid, Winston, stupid!’ he said. ‘You should know better than to say a thing like that.’
He pulled the lever back and continued:
‘Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others ; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.
O’Brien has the virtue of honesty in this scene, at least. But then, he is in a position where the truth will actually serve better than the lie, at least for that one moment. He will lie as readily, if not more so, if the lie will serve his purpose. We are currently in a time when tyrants wish to justify their rule over us in terms of our own good. We are not wise enough, you see, to govern ourselves. More and more functions and decisions must be made by the Party.
But the time will come when the O’Briens of the world will be more truthful about it. It is about power, no more, no less. Trouble is, this will only be admitted when the usefulness of the existing weapon has expired. When saying that we are governed by our supposed betters, for our own good, no longer produces a benefit, the claim will be discarded. By the time this truth is admitted, it will likely be too late to do anything about it.
When SJWs discuss oppressive power systems, they are really lamenting the fact that they have not been able to fully impose such systems of power themselves. If and when they do, the mask will come off readily.
There have, however, been a few radical Leftists who have admitted these things semi-openly when it suited their purposes. Saul Alinsky is a great example. Reading his Rules for Radicals exposes a man for whom causes are merely weapons in the pursuit of power, not articles of genuine belief. Now, true believers do exist, of course. And one difficulty a Rightist has today is separating the true believers from the power seekers. One is to be pitied, perhaps. Not the other.
As Francis points out, however, this pity of the true believer can actually be a weapon, too. Our desire to be nice to such people is used against us by the power seekers behind them. Useful idiots form a sort of ideological human shield to protect tyrants. The practice has a long history in physical warfare. Place innocents in a target likely to be bombed, and then accuse your enemy of killing civilians. This helps a tyrant gain a moral high ground position in the eyes of the mass media. We should not be surprised that in politics, a similar tactic is used.
But it is important to understand who you are dealing with, regardless. A deceiver, or the deceived? Some folks may have noticed the arrival of new Leftist detractor in the comments section of The Declination, and might be wondering why I am permitting him to air his inconsistent spew. They come from time-to-time of course. And I continue to maintain that if you do not have enemies, you’re doing something terribly wrong. But it is interesting practice in spotting the difference between the deceiver and the deceived. It is tough to say with certainty yet, but I lean toward the former in his case.
The difference is in directing your own attacks. Don’t waste time on the deceived, that is a mistake. Find and neutralize the deceiver instead. Behind every batch of gender-confused, rainbow haired crazies ranting about the oppressiveness of eating Chinese takeout is an Alinsky-like figure (or perhaps more than one) using such idiots for his own personal gain.
Earlier, I spoke of hardship, and the notion that our world is a fallen world; that a utopia of man is impossible. But the philosophical principles that hold up this view are much more fundamental than all that. It boils down to something Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses in his books rather frequently. A certain degree of hardship produces resilience in a man. It tests him, teaches him, makes him stronger. Like how building muscle requires a certain level of pain to achieve. Without this pain, strength is impossible. It’s related to the concept of antifragility, something that gains from disorder, something that benefits from stress and pain. Human life is like this.
This is a fundamental bone of contention between what we account as the political Left and the political Right. Ever notice how many Leftists are opposed to the very concept of punishment (save for their political enemies, of course)? Spanking your child is child abuse, to them. Imprisonment of criminals is unfair. Some have even come the view that prisons ought to be closed; that nobody really commits a crime, for free will and choice do not exist.
Poverty causes crime, in their view. So if fault is to be assigned, it must be pinned on the evil rich people who took the wealth from the poor. Redistribution will fix it, they say.
This goes against not just human nature, but Mother Nature. Hardship produces strength. Or maybe it kills you. But either way having everything provided for you, having the eternal safety net, the assurance that no matter what happens, you will be safe, winds up sucking away human potential.
Unfortunately, this is an unpleasant truth. The child doesn’t want to be spanked, even if he must be. People don’t want to suffer through pain to gain their reward. And so they are often receptive to the charms of folks who say that all is possible without this pain. Just give the poor man some money; just give the sick man some care, and the hungry man some food. It’s so simple, so easy. And it’s so difficult for the mind to reject the idea. The simplistic morality of it is clear and easy to grasp. And it’s hard to look at person suffering, even if the suffering was his own fault, and say “no, let him suffer.”
Get rich quick schemes pop up all the time, and for all the evidence that they do not work, people still fall for them. Every diet plan on the TV is about some way to lose weight without exercise and while being able to eat things that are tasty and satisfying. Hunger and pain from a day of hard exercise… these are the prices paid for achieving the goal.
Deep down, this belief separates people rather obviously. One sees a man in pain, a man dealing with some terrible problem, and thinks immediately that society has failed him; that his pain can be taken away by waving a government wand. And sometimes, the government wand can do exactly that. It can remove the pain from that man. But at what cost, not only in dollars, but also in the soul of the man so “helped?”
Some years ago, I recall watching all of the old Milton Friedman Free to Choose videos, and there was some interview conducted with some welfare recipients in Britain. They were ordinary folks, a small family just trying to get by. But they lamented that welfare was actually holding them down. Getting a job would take the welfare away and, paradoxically, result in them making less money. But without long job experience, they could never rise up the ladder and make more money. Their poverty was made easy for them, escaping it was made difficult.
In such circumstances, I would take the job anyway. I would take the pain and the hardship of making less and doing more in an effort to escape. But the unpleasant truth is, many folks won’t, because they’ve been given an easy path. A path with less pain, less overall hardship. Good intentions or none, this path destroyed that young family. It sucked something out of them.
When you spank a child, he’ll look up at you in pain, in anger. In that moment, many parents melt. They can’t stomach that look, that moment of suffering, the tears. And so the punishments stop. But this is to the long-term detriment of the child. It’s a good way to raise a spoiled brat, a child who does not understand consequences.
The problem is that the benefit of pain is not immediately apparent, whereas the benefit from the cessation of pain is immediately apparent. Take this quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune:
“You’ve heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There’s an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind.”
This requires a certain amount of forward-thinking. The child does not yet possess this thinking, and so the spankings are a way of temporarily providing it to him until he gets the idea on his own. Pain in the now may be beneficial later.
It is also true at a meta level, at a civilizational level. Something that utterly horrifies us may, in fact, be to everyone’s long-term benefit. Consider what would have happened if the first refugee boat floating over to Europe had been sunk on sight? Some would die, this is true, and it would feel horrible. It would cause great pain. But the migrations would have stopped. Maybe there wouldn’t have been dead Syrian children washing up on the beach, because they’d have known not to get on those damned boats to begin with. Now, I suspect the future of Europe is much darker, even, than a few dead kids on the beach. Something very sinister is brewing.
America herself made a similar decision in World War II, to commit what might be seen objectively as a great atrocity: the dropping of nuclear weapons on Japan. We paid a moral price for doing this. But it was the right decision. Accepting the pain of that decision in the near-term prevented worse in the long-term.
Tom Kratman often touches on this theme in his books, where acts that might be seen as barbaric and utterly cruel on their own are actually a form of mercy when measured in the long run.
Don’t take this as an ‘the end justifies the means’ argument of the sort espoused by Communists either, however. Communists assured folks that the revolutionary utopia was just a few more piles of bodies around the corner. But it never was. The promised utopias never came, the payoff never arrived. In the end, we are forced to conclude that, to the Communist leaders, the piles of dead bodies were a feature; an end, not a means. The utopia was a lie.
In the end, the possible utility of pain is a fundamental point of contention between the political Right and the Left. The Left can’t look past the first boat of refugees to see the chaos and conflict beyond, they cannot see past Hiroshima, filled with civilians, to the piles of bodies required to force the war to a close via other means. They cannot see past the poor person struggling to make ends meet financially to the soulless culture of dependency beyond.
They are the children recoiling from a spanking, wondering why their loving parents would ever do this horrible thing to them. They don’t understand that pain can be a benefit.
I'm a DJ, developer, amateur historian, would-be pundit, and general pain in the ass. I still cannot decide on the wisdom of the Oxford Comma. These are my observations on a civilization in decline, a political system on the verge of collapse, and a people asleep at the wheel as the car turns toward the jersey barrier.