Monday, November 10, 2014

Dueling World View Monday

I picked up a straight-from-the-shoulder definition of the left's world view over the weekend. It's from Danusha V. Goska. To the left there are three kinds of people: the oppressors, the oppressed, and the champions of the oppressed.

There's a soft version, of course. It says that there are the privileged, the underprivileged, and the activists.

The point of such a simplistic world view is to reduce all human life to politics, because if there are oppressors, they must be smashed. If there are privileges, they must be erased. And we, the evolved, the enlightened ones, the champions of the oppressed, are the ones to do it.

But the problem is that it reduces human life to war. Of course it does. If you reduce life to politics, it means you reduce life to us-and-them. It means that life is merely a fight between our kind and the other.

I suppose you can soften the paradigm down to mere advantage and disadvantage, with knowledgeable experts applying settled social science to fix the disadvantage.

But this is a world where something is missing. You know what's missing? Humans, the social animals.

Weird, isn't it, that the folks that talk endlessly about peace and justice are the ones that believe in societal war.

Now I have my own three-sector world view. In my world there are three kinds of people. There are the People of the Creative Self, who believe in the German cult of creativity. There are the People of the Responsible Self, who believe in responsible individualism. And there are the People of the Subaltern Self, who believe that they are the pushed-around.

But there's a problem. People who believe in creativity are usually going to be disappointed, because very few people get to be creative and create a new thing. I like to say that my ambition is to have one original thought in my life. That's almost impossible, because almost all knowledge is social, something we learn from other people or in combination with other people. So what are the not-very-creative also-rans among the People of the Creative Self going to do? It's obvious. They are the champions of the oppressed, the activists doing their advocacy. It's the dull person's way out of the creative problem, that many are called but few are chosen. If you can't create, then the next best thing is to break things.

By contrast, almost anyone can be a responsible individual. Individualism gets a bad rap as selfishness, but that misunderstands the situation of the human individual. Humans are social individuals whethet they like it or not; they must make their life in society. The question is: shall they be compelled in their sociality or shall they find their own way to contribute to society, by making and doing things that help other people?

The great problem is the under-people: the oppressed, the victims, the underprivileged, the disadvantaged, the dependent. Used to be that they were simply slaves and serfs in some hierarchical society with the big men on top and the subservient underneath. That was in the old days, when, as Eric Hoffer writes, work was dishonorable and the rulers told the people what to do. But in our days work is honorable and work is the responsibility of each individual worker. Those workers who have not joined the culture of work live indeed at a great advantage.

There are many different ways of thinking of the three Peoples: Creative, Responsible, and Subservient. We could think of their self-image: Evolved people, Responsible people, and "the" People. Or we could think of pejorative descriptions: Educated Snobs, Selfish Careerists, Slave People. But you get the point.

And you can see how our national politics breaks down. The Democrats are a coalition of the Creatives and the Subservient. The Republicans are the party of the responsible individuals. That's why Mia Love and Tim Scott are Republicans.

The thing is that to win the culture war we have to scotch the creatives as fakes and pseudos. And exalt the responsible individual as the best and noblest kind of person. And we have to find ways to help the Subservient lose their addiction to free stuff in the service of some great One and join the modern world as responsible individuals.

One good thing is the the liberals of 2014 seem to be Bourbon retreads. They seem to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. But I suspect that in the next few years we will see something like the Clinton New Democrats, trying to look like Republicans only not so much.

Well that's all today, except that I thought of a real good word for the Under People, but I forgot it. Hopefully I'll remember and put in an update.

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