Monday, 29 December 2014

The psychology of abstract suicide deriving from secular altruism - the 'hypocrisy' of Western elites is a necessary consequence of self-destructive policies pursued by cowardly and short-termist people

While The West as a culture is clearly suicidal - and suicidal in a long-term, planned and strategic manner - it is interesting to analyse how this arises as an indirect consequence of altruism being the greatest Good, the highest-valued virtue in a secular Leftist society.

While pretty-much all of the other (one-sided and partial) virtues of The Left have by now been discarded, altruism - favouring others above oneself - remains as the ultimate.

And, in a secular context, where reality lacks any objective basis, altruism becomes necessarily subjective and relativistic - which means that altruism has become, in practice, defined in terms of the effect on 'me'.


Since in secular modernity there is no objective concept of doing Good - Good has been reduced to pleasure, and pleasure cannot be measured or quantified in other people - so 'doing Good to others' has been redefined as 'doing harm to myself'.

In a modern, 'relativist' context, without God; instead of doing-good to others; secular Left altruism is redefined as doing-harm to myself.


Modern political altruism is therefore a mass, cumulative consequence of the ethic of 'doing harm to myself' but refracted through human short-termism and cowardice.

That is, a modern secular Leftist sets-out to harm himself - but is thwarted by his own cowardly short-termism, and he ends-up doing harm to other people similar to himself.

He tries to help 'the other' by hurting himself, ultimately by killing himself - but lacks the moral resources to implement his plan on himself - and therefore (guiltily, but effectively) expends great effort and ingenuity personally to avoid the consequences of his own advocated policies.


Because secular modernity has rejected religion, specifically Christianity, then it has no basis for educating, supporting or enforcing the full range of Christian virtues including courage and prudence - and modern culture is notably cowardly and impulsive (short-termist).

So the most moral modern secular people want to be good by being altruistic, and can only understand altruism to be what harms themselves - but they lack the courage, self-discipline and long-termism actually to implement this morality upon themselves personally.

Therefore, modern secular Leftist morality advocates an abstract form of self-harm - in which the advocate can (in a cowardly and short-termist fashion) work towards self-harm and suicide (which he regards as 'altruism') yet in practice to do his utmost to avoid these bad consequences falling upon himself, now.


The typical moralistic Leftist therefore advocates policies which harm other people like himself now - and finds excuses (or just feels guilty - 'liberal guilt') for the fact that his own position remains insulated from these bad consequences, in the short term.

The typical moralistic Leftist therefore has policies against his own interests - his sex, class, race, social situation - but in practice exempts himself as much as possible from these bad consequences, because he is a short-termist coward who lacks the real Christian basis to be anything else.

So we see strategic, abstract 'class warriors' who in practice accept knighthoods and peerages; strategic abstract egalitarians who are the ultra-rich; those who in principle argue in favour of high taxes, yet avoid paying them; white family men who occupy high status jobs but who argue that blacks, women and those of unconventional sexuality should ideally occupy such jobs; those who favour population replacement by mass immigration in the West elaborately cocooning themselves from the social destruction and suffering this brings; those who strategically and abstractly crusade against 'private' schools and health care (i.e. against the possibility of going outside state-controlled provision) yet avail themselves of its advantages; those who advocate a 'small carbon footprint' yet who travel everywhere by private jets and dwell in vast and wasteful mansions - and so on and on and on through all the other gross hypocrisies of the Left.


It is indeed absolutely normal and inevitable for the powerful Left elites to invent ever-more new pseudo-moral policies which are imposed by ever-more laws, taxes, subsidies, regulations and mass media propaganda at an international, national, local and institutional level - yet themselves, personally to evade the ethics they themselves have invented as much as they possibly can.

What seems like hypocrisy is simply moral weakness operating in a context of a self-destroying ethic; secular Leftist altruists believe-in suicide - that is, they believe in the self-destruction of people-like-themselves, but - precisely because they are secular, hence relativists/nihilists - they have no basis for all-round virtue, so they do their utmost to squirm-out-of the consequences of their own policies.

They have enough moral strength for only one virtue, thus any Good which may come from the pursuit of that single virtue is undone and more, by the failure to pursue other virtues and by the unrecognised, denied and unrestrained evils out-with the one-eyed pursuit of altruism.


'The personal is political' means, in practice, that politics is for 'other people', for the general good, for abstract altruism; but not for me.

For such reasons, pursuit of any single virtue always leads to great sin: monomania is always net-destructive of Good.

In secular modernity, the monomania is for altruism - altruism redefined in the only way that secular modernity can recognize. 



Nicholas Fulford said...

If I read you correctly, you are saying that many/most secular elites espouse the position of, "Do as I say, but not as I do."

This is not unexpected if the rational - which is coldly detached - drives the creation of policy which if applied to the person advocating the policy would deprive that person of his or her pursuits of creature comfort and pleasure.

One of the major fallacies of our age is the equating of pleasure with meaning. Pursuit of pleasure is a cyclic process, where satiation is a temporary bliss following peak pleasure that lasts for a short interval before hunger for pleasure returns. Be it an immersive video game, sex, drugs, gambling, eating, material acquisition/consumption or an extreme sport; the cyclic nature I have described holds. This implies a neural-chemical addiction which is over-indulged in and hence creates insensitivities leading to the need for ever greater levels of stimulation to achieve a peak-satiation experience.

It a form of bipolar disorder (hunger - pursuit - peak/satiation - depression - hunger ... ) without resolution.

Hedonism functionally imprisons in addiction.

To escape the trap of addiction requires abandoning hedonism, and replacing it with engagement with others in the pursuit of meaningful jointly valued goals. It means being willing to surrender personal privilege to live within policies being prescribed as normative and functional goods. The medicine is for the physician as much as the patient, and if the physician is unwilling to use his own medication it indicates a hypocrisy / dissociation.

For example, If I say that nobody should live in poverty, and that the ecological footprint of humanity needs to be reduced, it follows that I must be willing to surrender my high consumption lifestyle to raise the level of the impoverished without creating further ecological harm. If I am not willing to do that, then it is a case of, "Do as I say, but not as I do". This indicates that I am still imprisoned.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NF - Well, that is not what they 'espouse'; it is what they end-up doing - I am trying to understand *how* this happens, at a psychological level.

Valkea said...

Many liberals harbor such thoughts and feelings (including guilt and lack of determination in their principles), especially among the executing middle class liberals, middle-level managers and such. They are the weak-willed true-believer liberals. However, among high status liberals I think it works differently. High status people have inflated sense of self, they become more narcissistic as their status rise. They are more likely to break rules, and take liberties and privileges to themselves. They are more likely to escape from the scene of accident, which they caused. They are more careless, and more likely to cause accidents. They are more indifferent to the negative consequences they cause ot others. They feel entitled. They are less likely to feel jealousy, schadenfreude, envy, bitterness, grudges, etc. They feel more positive feelings, and have more positive self-esteem. They have less negative feelings, and less need to heal negative feelings and low self-esteem with e.g. schadenfreude. When they compare themselves socially to someone who is at the same class, but has a little bit higher status, they are less likely to feel negative feelings, such as envy, bitterness, grudges, diffidence etc., and more likely to feel positive feelings, such that they can e.g. use the higher status person as a positive role model (thus they are more likely to imitate and conform unthinkingly to the prevailing norms and requirements). They have less emotional attachment to principles, systems and ideologies, whatever gives them high status is likely to be OK (not true believers). Etc.

Because of this high status liberals are not likely to feel guilt or lack of confidence. When high status liberals cause negative consequences to their reference group, e.g. whites or Finns, but not to themselves, they are likely to feel this as genuine self-sacrifice and altruism, sacrifice for a higher cause and principles. Symbolic sacrifice which feels to them as genuine sacrifice. They feel benefactors of whole mankind or some such lofty sounding entity. Whatever they do, they want a positive emotional spin to it, and often get it from others due to their power. They live inside a liberal echo-chamber, a liberal bubble. No matter how irrational or illogical their thoughts and actions are, they always get their social confirmation. At the same time they profit from the misfortunes of other whites and the deterioration of the system and country. E.g. high status leftists get more leftist voters and bureaucratic customers from immigrants. High status rightist owners get more cheap labor and more customers to their businessess, e.g. malls and department stores, from immigrants. Etc. It doesnt matter to high status rightist that immigrants have lower productivity, lower IQ, less money and wealth, higher criminality, more welfare dependency, more religious radicalism, more social and job dysfunction, etc.; high status rightists get more mall customers even from welfare dependents, and thus more profits, thus higher status, and more capacity to insulate themselves from the negative consequences of their own policies.

Valkea said...


High status people are more likely to cheat on exams and tests, and more likely steal from common cash.

Bruce Charlton said...

@V - I think you may be talking about the powerful minority of people who, by my understanding, are actively evil, deliberately destructive, people who are (more-or-less consciously) the servants of Satan.

Matias F. said...

I'm not sure that the suicidal tendencies of the West follow from altruism being the highest-valued virtue. I would say that altruism as a virtue follows from the current constellation of nihilism or "the will to power, as interpreted by Heidegger.

The current stage of the West's "will to power" is directed against power itself. The rationalist plans of economic planning and welfare for all did not succeed, so what is left for "the will to power" is to discover that it is itself the problem and source of misery. The final stage is then for the "will to power" to attack all power and all structures, which might create enough power to rise above somenone else.

So the goal is to destroy power or to harm those deemed powerful, before they oppress others. It might look like the doing harm to oneself or people similar to oneself, but it is part of the idea that those on this historical mission to bring permanent peace on earth should be the last ones to commit suicide.

Valkea said...

Bruce Charlton,

yes. Michael Lindsay and M.G. Hager (View from The Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape The World) interviewed top U.S. high status people from bureaucracies and companies. They were asked about their religious views also. 92% were in one way or another religious or believing, and only 8% atheists. It was voluntary to answer this, and not all answered, so there might be self-selection sample distortion, but the result might still be somewhat in the right ball park. The share of believers is surprisingly high, and share of atheists is surprisingly low, considering their anti-religious policies, ideologies and measures. Nothing was said about the contents of their beliefs, so degree of satanism in their beliefs must be inferred from their actions (the trees are known by their fruits). Why these supposedly religious people destroy other peoples religious beliefs? Do they want to get all the benefits of religion to themselves, and to deprive all the others of these benefits (everything to the self and nothing to the others; selfishness)? Or do they care about their own religious beliefs, but not what happens to other peoples religious beliefs because of their policies etc., do they care only what profits them most (atheistic and liberal materialistic policies increase consumption and bureaucratic dependency; indifference)? Do they love their religious beliefs, but hate that other people have them (jealousy)? Do their religious beliefs have explicitly or implicitly evil contents (evil and hateful intents)? Etc.

Notice also that high status people cheat, steal, avoid responsibility etc. to some extent for different reasons than low status people, who also do those more than the average people. Low status people do those things to reduce negative feelings and to lift self-esteem, to right "injustice", because of thrill seeking, to gain more status and wealth, for which there is a high need, etc. High status people do those things more because of over-confidence, feeling of entitlement, arrogance, high self-concept, because of "rules dont apply to me, I make and decide my own rules", because of blurring of the boundaries in the mind between what is mine and what is yours, etc.