I was a pre-teen in the seventies, which means that long before I hit the jaded age of fourteen when older men tried to use it to get me to peel off clothes, I was used to hearing “we’re all naked under clothes.” (Later on I greatly regretted most of these idiots hadn’t read Heinlein so I couldn’t say “nul program.” So instead I had to say things like “We’re also all clean under our dirt, so I see you don’t intend to shower ever again.”)
There were other just as crazy aphorisms that passed for “deep thought.” I’m honestly not sure what caused this, whether it was more people than ever being pushed to higher ed they weren’t really qualified for, but that made them want to sound “intellectual” or that the Soviets were diligently working with their wrenches to take apart the ability to think of the new generation. Or perhaps for whatever reason mass media and TV just encouraged a ridiculous wave of aphorisms that not only didn’t mean much but that aimed to destroy rather than build habits, patterns and ways of life that led to success.
You know, crazy stuff like “What difference does a piece of paper make to whether we’re married?” (Other than meeting potential obligations to potential children, and getting the buy in of both sets of inlaws and recognition of society that protects well…. mostly the woman who puts more biological investment in the relationship, none, really.) And “If it feels good do it!” and– Well, a lot of you are old enough to have heard all this cr*p growing up. And the younger ones, trust me, the current spate of crazy is well anchored in a barrage of crazy — to my certain knowledge — from the sixties and seventies.
I fell for some of them too. The unflappable Miss Almeida was not unflappable when this stuff came at her from someone she respected. So for a long time I bought my brother’s “romance is the opium of womanhood” long before I realized where the origin of that nugget came from, or that my brother — never having been a woman — was in fact assuming that without having romantic notions to encourage her to care about attachment and feelings, young women would be as “free” and sexually available as men wish they’d be. Of course now we know that’s the rankest and most absolute bull excreta, and that in fact women have — surprise! It’s not like we evolved to be the caretakers of children or anything — a different set of sex related hormones that encourage attachment to sexual partners and incidentally children.
But the excreta of “pseudo-profound-social statements is now everywhere, and yesterday I was hit in close proximity by two bits of crazy. And suddenly it hit me “And what is the alternative, precisely?”
One of them was in an otherwise unexceptionable animated movie that husband was watching (in the after-matter, which husband always watches, we found the people who created it were exceptionally woke, but fortunately what they thought was “African-American” culture was in fact just American culture, and if you didn’t know they were all borderline crazy, the movie is touching and cute. Oh, it’s total theological bug f*ck nuttiness with an extra side of nuts, but it’s so crazy that it doesn’t even pretend to have any touch with traditional religion, and so it didn’t offend as much as more “plausible” works, and less than most depictions of the after and pre (!) life in movies, even from the forties.
So about halfway through I got hooked, and put aside the post I was supposed to be writing, and took up my crochet.
But there, in the middle of it, the main character is talking to a high school student, and quotes someone (I want to say Marcuse, but I spent all day yesterday on three hours of sleep, so I’m not going to make any promises it is right) about how schooling is how the upper classes keep the lower classes from committing violence.
I was not in a good mood, partly because of lack of sleep, so my answer was “No, it’s not the upper classes, which is Marxist bullshit. It’s the culturally dominant classes. And yes, it is, but it’s stopped working, which is why the capital is surrounded by barbed wire and filled with an occupying army.”
Of course, the people writing the movie consider themselves the “lower classes” while the upper classes are some prototypical villainous Victorian male, probably twirling his mustache as he puts them down. We’ll leave aside this charming illusion of the crazy Marxists, though I’ll be glad to expound on the inner mechanisms of it in another post, if you guys want. It needs a whole post, though.
Instead, and leaving aside the fact that the leftist cultural dominance tracks with extreme attempts at suppressing violence, probably because they like quiet and obedient widgets for “subjects” of their experiment, let’s instead think about the alternative.
Look, all of human civilization has been an attempt to suppress inter-personal violence, or at least keep it within bounds that don’t prevent us from assembling in numbers larger than clan or tribe. Almost any reading of the records of older cities will quickly come to the conclusion that people used to be a lot more interpersonally violent. They just were. Even in early modern England, well…. Let’s say men died young because they fought over the most stupid things.
And that was already a state-nation, where people identified with the nation was though it were a race, and had not only forgotten their early tribal affiliations but their micro-kingdoms (the regional association, which given travel in that time probably had a lot of genetic backing) before it was unified into “England.” So the fights were rarely tribal or regional (though there were family feuds.)
Even families, as such were a lot more violent. And yes, I know, I’m a proponent of the swat to the butt, at least for kids who don’t respond to anything else. However, if you read original sources, getting beaten into the ground was considered fairly normal for kids being raised oh, before the 20th century. And well into it depending on time and place. And it was in no way considered abuse. (Part of it was much larger families, and parents who lived so close to the bone they really couldn’t take time off to supervise your every move until you were rational.) And yeah, a lot of us have mothers whose families were considered weird because their husbands didn’t beat them. Or at least the family tradition was not to beat your spouse, and if you were beaten, your husband was shunned. But this was enough of an exception to be considered “strange” and occasion remark. Oh, that beating your children, might extend well into adulthood, so no one would think badly of a fifty year old father who clouted his 30 year old son, though the opposite would cause extreme shock.
Take that last sentence: even in much more violent pre-modern societies, there were boundaries to the violence and an hierarchy. And sure, you can consider those who got beaten oppressed by comparison to those who did the beating. I’m not even going to argue (though I could) but the point was keeping violence within boundaries acceptable TO THAT SOCIETY.
Look, humans are not angels. We are corporeal beings, and not particularly nice ones. I’m not going to say “ree, we’re exactly like chimps” because we obviously aren’t. Even when my idiot friends were sure we’d only split from chimps 250 thousand years ago, I wanted to say “We’re still not them because they surely haven’t come half this far in that time.”
But we are built on a template of great apes, and the remains we find of hominins and other man-tribes show that their lifestyle was in fact close to that of great apes everywhere. And do you know what you call a baby chimp found by a genetically unrelated band? Snack.
So, sure, let’s assume that education — public or not — is a way for a culturally dominant “elite” to suppress generalized violence.
What is the alternative?
The left is assuming violence is justified and on their side, because of course their idea of social dominance, and the model they implement is to take control and rob everyone. But throughout history they are an exception, in fact. Even the “bad old kings” were trying to do the best they could for their tribe or micro nation. They often screwed up and followed their own desires, because human, but the idea of noblesse oblige is very very old in humanity. And most people at least try (Unless they’re all ‘et up with Marxism and self-righteousness, because bullsh*t means never having to say you’re sorry.)
Instead let’s look at it as meaning what it says “education” (by which we can mean everything we do to tame the toddler-beast and up through specific knowledge of how to get ahead in life) is a way to suppress inter-personal violence.
Well, yes. And we’re all naked under our clothes. And wearing clothes isn’t natural, maaaaan.
But what is the alternative? The civilizational process of mankind, from band to clan, from clan to city, from city to nation, accomplishing things that could only be accomplished by many people cooperating without violence is a process of suppressing unnecessary violence and waste of human life.
What is the alternative? A world in which everyone’s hand is against everyone else? Well, we know what some of those look like. I’ve read enough stories about current day Afghanistan which read like the worst nightmares of ancient Greek playwrights. The women and children always get it worse. Yes, sure, the young men also get ferociously winnowed down. But if you’re a woman or a child, or an elderly person, you’re fodder for horrible death.
In the same way, later, while doing my instapundit link rounds, I saw an article about how 2 + 2 is colonial thinking imposed on non-white populations, and are alien and evil, compared to their native ways of knowing.
After I got my eyes from under the sofa, I took a deep breath and asked “What’s the alternative?”
Because, you know, I’ve heard this before, but I never thought about precisely what their nonsense would entail.
Sure, we’re giving up the internal combustion engine, bridges, anything better built than a hut made of rough stones, and probably — let’s be honest — crops. The horrendous thing is that this might be completely acceptable to them, since they don’t realize what supports their ability to live in relative comfort.
Let’s instead explore what this means at the interpersonal level and how much eschewing simple math would make living with other human beings impossible.
Well, you try going to Walmart, or the local farmers’ market, for that matter, and handing in four one dollar bills to pay for $50 worth of something. When the person getting the bills looks at you, tell them that according to your native way of knowing you, that morning, decided that 2 plus 2 equals fifty.
See how far that gets you.
Or let’s say you contract for the delivery of something — these days, mostly, office supplies, for us — you’re supposed to get 20 reams of printer paper, but you get four. And the delivery people explain that 2 +2 CAN be twenty, and how dare you disrespect their native ways of knowing?
“Seven years as a shepherd Jacob served, Laban father of Rachel, beautiful shepherdess” but at the end the father decided to give him his oldest daughter, because to his way of thinking the 7 years to acquire his youngest daughter’s hands MUST be 14. Hey, now, it was his native way of counting.
Humans have partly got this far, and now enjoy untold prosperity which had practically eliminated famine (until of course the covidiocy starved the third world) because “colonial thinking” defeated that of isolated tribes.
Or perhaps more cogently: those who won a clash between two populations generally (there are exceptions, like Greece and Rome and to an extent India and Great Britain, and perhaps to an extent America and Japan) imposed their mode of life on the defeated. Though they might culturally appropriate that which was worthy in the culture of the defeated.
Look, it makes sense from the POV of the survival of the species. If you go back far enough, those tribes, groups and cities who conquered the others had superior knowledge and therefore a superior culture. (Evolution and selection are very slow, so you have to think of this in Paleolithic terms. Almost all the exceptions are in fairly sophisticated levels of development, and mostly they’re the result of the older/defeated culture having become decadent. Which means conquest probably saves them from going extinct slower and in more interesting ways) Or one better able to survive.
It is no coincidence that most of the advances come from densely packed areas, where clashes were inevitable and absorptions and counter absorptions of cultures a constant.
Is 2 +2 a colonial way of thinking? Oh, probably. But that was probably way back when the colonization of the homo sap by the Neanderthal (culturally, that is. Well, that seems to have been the direction) occurred, because we have trade going that far back, and trade can’t survive without counting.
In fact, even though the concept of zero is also fairly sophisticated, we’ve come across very few tribes that don’t have a concept of counting, or a concept of numbers over 5, and those are usually highly isolated and tiny tribes. Because arithmetic is a darn useful skill, as is everything we’ve built on it from accounting to architecture.
And what’s the alternative? People walking around “Sensing” the numbers? Be real. That’s not native to anyone but the crazier tribes of Homos New Agicus, a tribe who uses cannabis in such vast quantities they’re sure to become extinct.
The alternative is never “death or cake.”
When idiots run around with blunt aphorisms, demanding you dismantle civilization, ask them what their alternative is. And stop them when they start talking of rainbows and unicorn farts, and ask them the exchange rate of the unicorn fart to the rainbow. Because if it’s a civilization, we have to know.
You want to eschew controls over violence? Basic arithmetic? Clothes?
Well, sure. I believe you’re ultimately free to do what you want, as long as you pay the price.
You’re free to take all your clothes off, and take off to the forest with your buddies, where you can live as though 2 plus 2 equals 20, or potato, or chicken.
We don’t care. Heck, you probably won’t live long, but if you do, you’ll be a fascinating ethnology-experiment.
What you won’t be and can’t be is able to shame us out of living our lives as civilized human beings, who have enough to eat and can trade a known quantity for a known quantity. Because you know, there really is no alternative. Not an alternative that allows humanity to survive.
And if you hate humanity enough you don’t want us to survive, I have an easy solution: You go first. After which the existence or non-existence of humanity stops being your problem.
As for me, I’ll call out the crazy every chance I get. And until you present a viable — note viable — alternative that uses your “ways of knowing” I’ll slam the register closed and tell you, “No sale. Go fish.”