At one time I developed a really bad ear infection. This must have been 7 years or so back. I felt miserable. But it wasn’t until one of the kids came in from school, looked at me and said “mom, why are you tilting sideways?” that I realized my sense of the vertical was off. Apparently something to do with the inner ear.
In the same way, it’s possible for our thought to slowly TILT out of all semblance to normalcy until it is in some place very far from normal, but we don’t realize it. This is not uncommon (at least brought in as a defense) for crimes committed by tightly-wound groups.
It’s entirely possible if a woman fell in with her church choir she would be saintly, but when her only source of support and love is ye little orgy next door, it will be otherwise.
Now, normally — in most cases — it is easier to do this to teens. To do it to adult humans you need a really powerful narrative, usually a simplistic one that explains “Everything.” It doesn’t of course, but so long as no one brings in the things it doesn’t explain, or you can keep them away with vigorous excoriating of outsiders, you’re fine. Or not.
There was discussion here of the never sufficiently to be reviled Zimbardo who is sort of like Rousseau’s evil twin. Rousseau thought that raising a total savage would make a noble and wonderful creature. Zimbardo thinks raising any civilized man is BARELY keeping monsters out of the Nazi indoctrination factories at bay.
It’s not either. Of course it’s not either.
Mostly raising children with no discipline and no instruction creates really dysfunctional eternal toddlers. But toddlers, while throwing epic tantrums (particularly when the toddlers are over 100 lbs and in adult bodies) aren’t refined enough to think of making lampshades with humans’ skin and/or feeding humans on cardboard. No, those are refined and civilized monstrosity. It’s the difference between your cat eating you when you die, and your SPOUSE eating you when you die. One is just the natural beast, the other is repulsive evil.
And no, not every human is just waiting for a little bit of power to become a monster. Some are. And some have been socialized to be. Taught to be.
Which is not the same as being savages.
Rousseau and Zimbardo, the mirror twins, are in fact partners in taking apart human civilization. There is this horribly dichotomy going on, a similar one to “every culture is equally good, except Western culture, which is evil.” In the same way “noble savages are just perfect and wonderful, and evil comes into the world through the west/white people/males/people who are minimally competent, all of whom are nazi prison guards waiting to happen.”
The goal is to stop from instilling in kids the necessary training to keep them from descending into mere feral behavior, while at the same time convincing those that have the propensity — and some will or will have acquired it — with the belief that “everyone does it, so as long as you hide it behind virtue signaling, you can. Everyone who says they don’t do it — no matter how heinous the it — is only lying. Or is too coward to do it.” Which is how you end up with things like… well… high-placed men flying on the Lolita Express. The president of the united states violating the trust (etc) of his intern, someone at his beck and call. And the press turning a blind eye to it, because “everybody does it.” And the feminists turning blind eyes to it because “At least he advances the right of women to have abortions. And all men do this.”
It’s also how you get fiction in which the highest, perhaps the only true crime, is “hypocrisy” i.e. claiming you shouldn’t do these things, while, of course, doing them, because everyone does.
Except that of course not everyone does it. But the entire society has been subjected to gaslighting on the subject since Zimbardo’s crazy was accepted as science, so now everyone is walking a little tilted. And they think they’re vertical. Which is why both of those gaslighters need to be debunked wherever possible.
Which brings us to how this happens to groups: look, we’re social apes. We’re designed to pick up narratives, particularly tribal narratives.
It probably saved the lives of many an orphan or lostling to be able to integrate with the tribe and start doing the things the tribe did, even if he came from some place they didn’t. That’s humans for you.
But cultures can go… weird.
It normally doesn’t happen all at once (and no, it’s not just some kids stranded on an island. Geesh.) It takes either generations of bad raising (coff. Not that we’re not facing that) or a culture under severe stress for a long, long time. And people being afraid. And suddenly you start seeing people doing and saying things that you’d never have imagined a year or two ago.
Yes, to some extent we’re seeing this happen to the left, and it’s clear to us, because we’re not of the left. And while a lot of them were always this crazy, a lot aren’t. In fact we’re seeing a lot of it infect the left-fringes of the right who are suddenly saying things like “Better Red than Trump.”
Do I understand? To an extent I did. I was a never Trumper almost up to election 16. Until I realized the sort of suicide pact was going to land us with Hillary. It took effort to step away from the group think, to go “Wait, what am I doing?”
Richard Fernandez sometime back did something about “infective memes” that act like demon possession. Oh, I’m not saying any of the people affected by them go overnight into monsters. It’s more that you have friends you’ve known for years and suddenly they’re telling you that it’s okay if we elect a socialist because– and then you get word salad. And something about how rude or ignorant Trump is (Which I guess after the gentle Obama who gave people the middle finger and talked of the Austrian language… is completely insane, yes.)
This is terrifying.
I’ve been talking for years about how we’re tap dancing on a powder keg. Well. Someone decided to add some nitroglycerin to their soles.
And I’m starting to see a response on the right. We’d be more than human if I didn’t.
Look, I understand preparing. Hell. I’ve been stockpiling necessities for over a year. I call it “the apocalypse closet”. I don’t think bad things will happen in my neighborhood, but you never know. And I’ve told you guys — all of you — that it will get very bad in spots. It’s already bad in spots. And it will get worse. And you’ll have to think twice about where you go and what you do in your lawful pursuits.
But I’ve been seeing things like “Kill them before they kill us.” And no, not just in comments on this blog.
I’m as guilty as the next guy (and the next guy is Bob the Registered) of demanding heads on pikes, or of posting helicopters with “Go be a commie somewhere else.”
And that’s okay. It’s probably horrifying for the left, but so is everything we say and do. So much triggering becomes silly. Boy who cried wolf and all that.
But the thing is, we too are in our groups, and it’s easier to start tilting. And not notice. We’ve been under stress for a long time. All of us. And we’re looking at the left and seeing their flaunting of the laws and established procedure. And yes, yes, I do believe them when they say they want to kill us. I believe them even more when they say they wish we’d all die, because frankly most of their threats to kill us are like the crazy guy who followed me around downtown yelling he was going to kill me with his snake (yes, he had one. No, not poisonous or large enough to squeeze to death.) Until I got tired and told him I was going to do something anatomically improbable to him with my knife. And then he backed away from me so fast he almost fell.
Most of the left has a lot of aggression and given complete safety to express it will in the manner of undisciplined toddlers (and a few psychopaths.) But yes, there are the few psychopaths who are legitimate threats (a lot of them in politics.) I’m not discounting that.
Or that in certain times, in certain places, you might have to defend yourself/ves.
At this point I will not attend anything that’s likely to attract antifa without being armed. And since firearms are a problem at most rallies, I’ll have to take knifes or maces. But frankly I can’t understand people who don’t. (Yes, metal detectors, but there are ways.)
And yeah, I’m not going to tell anyone it’s evil if one of the antifa kiddies ends up looking for his kidneys on the floor because he messed with the wrong old guy or girl. Mostly because, though many of them are misguided or mentally ill, they did put themselves in arms way and you can’t give a sanity test to every attacker. (Nor should you.)
Yes, there will need to be a lot of self-defense to stop them thinking they’re immune.
But right now, where you stand, where I stand, to go after, say journalists or lawmakers with physical force would be — if not unwarranted — unwise. To the outsider, who hasn’t been watching politics closely, you’d look like the aggressor.
The way to fight a war of laws (or ignoring them) and of lies is to fight them with speech and demands for legal action.
And as for attacking the loudmouths, the every day meme posters, the nonsense talkers of the left, the everyday agents provocateurs on blog and social media? That’s where you’re tilting so far you don’t realize how far.
Memes should be fought with memes — we will fight them with photo shop, we will fight them with Leonidas memes, we will fight them with gifs, we will never ever ever surrender — and words with words. Even when it seems like you’re throwing pearls before swine. You are. But it’s the spectators, the maleducated, the gaslit, who go “Wait… maybe there is a reason…”
And when and if the time comes to fight? Yeah, there will be crimes. Our side has its psychopaths, too. We’re not angels. And some people have been under tension a long time (in a way we all have. All my friends’ groups have weird stuff going on in them.) Will there be what we call “War crimes?” of course there will. Look, there are “War crimes’ in every war. That’s why war is hell.
But will there be systematic, organized war crimes? Will we be rounding up people that the left insists are in their “preserve” and just killing them because of skin color, or — yeah, I do have an interest in this one, think on — accent, or how they dress, or their profession? Because we’ve stopped seeing them as people or even thinking about who they might be, and just see them as widgets and “enemy markers.”
I’ve told you before that — in my neighborhood next to Colorado College — I went to vote early morning, 2004. And the precinct was full of what my mind catalogued as “hippies” and “Lefties.” Women in lose skirts, with long hair. Men with long hair, in modish clothing. And then I realized I was assuming their politics. After all, I was wearing my Indian cotton skirt, had my long hair in a pony tail, and was carrying an art bag slung on my back.
As it turned out, my precinct went Republican that election.
But that instinctive target acquisition is group-think. Yes, we do it too. And when we juxtapose that and the idea that all them sumsobitches should be killed… evil results. Monstrous evil. And then society turns against the people they see as evil and their ideas and — as often happens — throws away the baby with the bathwater. And we careen into socialism, which kills even more people.
I think right now the left prays every day for some inadvisable violence from the right. No. Make that “I know”. I know, because every time there’s a shooter they wish-cast it onto our side.
Let’s not fall into a trap so obvious that it’s like an arrow on the path, saying fud, and leading to a red-painted noose, okay?
No one is telling you that you can’t defend yourself. But step back and think about what you’re trying to do and what the actual immediate provocation is.
The left is acting so crazy, that it’s making everyone crazy. But are they like pre-historic man trying to stampede the bison over the cliff? Or are they an actual clear and immediate threat? And should we throw ourselves over the cliff to certain death, or think how to defend ourselves, rationally?
Step outside the group and think. We are unfortunately social apes. It does influence us.
We are also, in this blog at least, goats. We shouldn’t stampede easily. Think.
If and when the time comes you need to defend yourself, be prepared. No one says otherwise.
But even if it seems impossible, try to avoid a conflagration that destroys the civilization we’re trying to preserve. Think of the mal-educated, indoctrinated, gaslighted generations who would, of necessity, do the rebuilding. Don’t rush.
I pray every day that a conflagration won’t come. For the first time in my life I have A prayer life. It might not help. But who knows, it might.
Be ready for the worst, but do try to avoid it.
Be not afraid, but neither jump, arms wide into the void.
Be of the group, but not so wholly immersed you don’t see how things look from the outside. (Given the lively arguments here, there’s not much danger, at least on this blog.)
Watch for tilting.