When I was very little I was afraid of all sorts of things, including that devils/trolls/evil creatures would grab me from the back of grandma’s garden.
This was probably the result of trying to make me properly afraid of SOMETHING so I wouldn’t run up to strangers or try to pet the neighbor’s semi-feral pig, or equally crazy adventures.
But what it did was make me so afraid that I had entire sets of prayers that started playing in my head when heading out of sight of adults. It took me till my late teens to stop the words running through my head reflexively whenever I was in trouble/scared.
These weren’t prayer as such. I mean, they really didn’t mean much except saying these words, even when I was little. What they did was stop me thinking. I stopped thinking about the bad thing that could jump out or the bad thing that could happen. They were a thought stopper.
I was talking to a younger friend, a few days ago, and he said that’s what schools teach mostly. They teach you to “un-think”.
There are a set number of phrases and sentences, and approved thoughts. If you deviate from them, starting when you’re very young, you get punished. Worse, you get cast out. You’re told you’re an awful person, not one of us, evil.
When evil is defined in terms of having an unapproved opinion/belief, and not in terms of what people DO with that opinion/belief, people become deathly afraid of their own thoughts.
This is not an invention of the progressives. I have no idea why in heck I’m fascinated by Tudor England, but it was another such period. If you were a Protestant/Catholic you were evil in the eyes of the other side, regardless of who you were or what you’d done or not. They would cheerfully turn in their best friend, from whom they had nothing but good on finding he was a secret Catholic/Protestant, depending on who was in power.
They had, in their defense, more reason for this — at least rationally and explicitly — than our current-day fanatics. They thought one’s thoughts and beliefs, more or as much as one’s actions determined one’s fitness for eternal life. So there was a lot of burn the heretic to stop the infection going on.
Of course, to an extent our current fanatics believe the same as well. They think that people’s wrongthink is the only thing standing between them and utopia. If they could just change humans enough! Which means stopping humans thinking/saying/believing whatever they want, and instead believing what the fanatics wish them to.
Unfortunately what the fanatics wish us to believe goes against not just human nature, but reality. No one in his right mind thinks that a person of pale skin has inherent “privilege” when you consider the person with pale skin can be born to a coke addicted mother in the Appalachia, and the person with dark brown skin might be the son of an upper middle class communist who married an upper class foreign polygamist, both of them with channels in the corridors of power.
As a person of relative swarth who has friends who are blond and also raised by wolves, (I lie. Wolves would have been better parents) I never felt the overwhelming burden of their privilege.
The only people who can believe that twaddle are upper class ninnies who never had to struggle a day in their lives and, if they’re pale, believe that other people have it much worse (true) because of their tan (untrue); if they’re tan believe that anything they failed to get is the fault of “unconscious racism.” BAH.
In the real world where people live among real people and not Marxist constructs, there is a certain recoil (unconscious) from a certain type of looks. There are ways to get around those, often amounting to cultivating a studied upper class accent and a certain mode of dress. Take my older son (please? He has a final today and his driving me bonkers) who is a tall, dark, bulky swarthy menace built like a football player (or a mini-Larry-Correia) and who looks inexplicably Cuban. (I guess my African ancestors and Dan’s Amerindian ancestors met and made whoopy in his genes?) Sure people — even I when I’m scanning for menace, not for son — will cross the street to avoid him. This is why at thirteen or so, when the beard came in, he started wearing a button down shirt and tie every day. NO ONE recoils from a guy in a shirt and tie, no matter how big or blunt featured.
Now, yeah, sure there are prices we pay for the fact that people who look like him are considered menacing (and that’s a statistical analysis people do, and it has bloody nothing to do with racism and a lot to do with certain communities being troubled) such as we had to pay more for his apartment to be in an area he wasn’t likely to get caught in gang crossfire with police (not literally, but possibly literally.) Heck, given his ambiguous looks, for him not to get caught in the crossfire of rivals gangs. But that’s okay, because as a professor of his pointed out sometime ago, he had lots of books growing up and a family that insisted he learn, so he always had “lots of privilege.” In other words, yeah, he has some factors that tell against him. For him he has only one: a family that told him early on the only inheritance we could give him was a good mind and the ability to use it. So far he’s doing okay, swarthy menacing looks notwithstanding.
And in the end, in the whole question of privilege, that’s what normal people notice. No matter who you are, if you behave like a decent human being, you will do better than people who don’t. Also, the only real “privilege” is money and connections and (except at the highest levels of society, which I think is where they get the idea) this correlates poorly with inverse ability to tan an has for at least the 30 years I’ve been in country.
People can’t help noticing this. Because it’s before their eyes. And that’s just an example. There’s a ton of other things they can’t help noticing: like for instance that no, women and men AREN’T exactly the same in different bodies. That those who work hard tend to get ahead. That some people are just lazy/crazy, NOT victims (except of themselves) etc.
It is because they can’t avoid noticing these things — it starts as early as pre-school when my younger son noticed that contrary to cartoons, most girls don’t want to get dirty and have adventures, while most boys DO — that they learn to unthink.
Consider that a single, stray thought can get you cast out of “decent people” and you’ll understand why people start deploying magical words of unthought to cast out the bad thoughts.
This is why so often, in conversation with otherwise decent people, you say something unapproved of — say that men and women are different (without any value judgement) and they call you racist, sexist, homophobic. Or accuse you of privilege. Or call you a neo-nazi.
ALL of these things are ridiculous from the statement you made, and often applied to you are risible. VISIBLY so. That doesn’t matter, because the words are not “real” words with meaning. They’re an incantation, a string of “unthought” to keep the person talking to you from having badthought that would get them cast out of the community of “good people.”
I remember feeling like that, though my triggers were much higher than other people’s. Coming from Europe, though, I found all nationalism uncomfortable, having been taught NOT to feel it. So open expressions of patriotism made me reach for the same place those prayers came from when I was little.
Until I started evaluating things in the cold light of reason, and understanding the differences between the US and Europe. Now I still despise European blood-and-soil racialism applied to the US (not so much to Europe, not unless they come up with a version where only blond people can be German, or other a-historical nonsense. Which a lot of them do. But I come from a mixed country where that doesn’t apply and the idea that someone who wants to be Portuguese — I don’t know, I presume there are misplaced Portuguese born in other places because the stork was imbibing Port Wine! — needs to worship the Portuguese ancestry even if they don’t have it themselves, sounds about right.) I despise it because we’re a covenant nation, not one of blood. But I don’t need to reach for magical words and call those who have that idea bad names. Only a few of them deserve those, anyway. The rest are confused bunnies who know no REAL history.
As far as I can tell, the only cure for “unthought” is thinking. And the only way to force someone who’s been thoroughly indoctrinated in unthought to think is to make them very uncomfortable. It is a process like de-programming cult members.
I did it to myself when I immigrated and decided to acculturate. How to do it to the vast majority people under 30 or so is a puzzle. Except that life itself makes them uncomfortable enough to plant doubts. It’s important to remember this unthought has been taught in one degree or another to three generations, and yet some of us escaped.
My guess is with what’s coming down the pipe, a lot more people can’t help escaping.
So, in addition to economic turmoil we’re going to have some very angry, confused people who know they’ve always been lied to. The problem is that the first reaction is to fall into unthought of another kind, to turn the American left exactly on its head. Which leads to the European right, not the American.
Be ready to offer an alternative and to tell them thought IS safe. Thought doesn’t make you evil. Only actions make you evil.
Teach your children well and fight unthought. It’s all we can do.