Saturday, 16 October 2010

Why do Western elites disbelieve in culture (as well as genetics)?


Who could ever have imagined that any society, such as the modern West, would deny that genetics makes a significant difference to human society, and also deny that culture makes a significant difference to human society.


It is - surely? - very obvious that people from different nations or societies behave differently. And that such differences are enduring, multi-generational - are, for example, carried with migrant populations and reproduced all round the world.

That is not a matter for debate, that is what needs to be explained. 

The most obvious explanation (a matter of common observation throughout history) is that many differences in personality and intelligence are inherited from parents and run in families; they are present from early life and stable through many changes; and rationally we would now regard these differences as substantially genetic.


Of course this obvious and common sensical interpretation is flatly denied by the politically correct elites, and indeed regarded as extremely dangerous.

But that still leaves the phenomena to be explained - the default explanation being culture. 

A serious cultural explanation would be along the lines of that argued-for by Thomas Sowell - that culture is much stronger than realized, much harder to influence or change, and endures through many generations even when populations migrate or are displaced halfway round the world.

So (Sowell argues) Chinese adopt middle-man economic positions in all the places where they have migrated, Germans are good at crafts wherever they have migrated etc.

Sowell, rejecting genetic explanations (wrongly in my opinion) does take the observations seriously, does not dispute the basic phenomena that need explaining - but argues that the reason must be that culture runs deep and is tough.


For all the PC talk of cultural influences, for all the assumptions that everything which is taken as evidence for the substantially genetic, inherited nature of intelligence and personality can be better explained by culture; it is clear that the politically correct elites do not really believe in culture as the really powerful force it would need to be to explain the magnitude of cultural differences, and their stubborness to displacement, and resistance to policies designed to eradicate them.

Western elites indeed assume the opposite - they assume (in the teeth of massive contrary evidence) that all cultures will inevitably 'get along', and that unwanted cultural aspects like violence, corruption, cruelty will simply be melted-away by...

...well, melted-away by politically correct public discourse, by the policies of kind bureaucrats.


This is a pure, unadulterated form of wishful thinking; a political version of the kind of naive personal recklessness that would invite a known serial murderer to share in a quiet, private meal.

It is a refusal to generalize or predict; a denial of relevance of the past for the future, a denial that knowledge of the group allows any probabilistic inferences of the individual.

It is - in short - the behaviour of a solipsistic social incompetent.


However, although naive, political correctness is not innocent, because innocence is humble.

PC by contrast is vastly arrogant and prideful - indeed it is motivated by pride that is not merely unrestrained, but by the moral inversion whereby bad becomes good, pride becomes a virtue instead of the worst of vices.

It is the pride that everybody has always gotten things wrong about everything important until *now* (or very recently) when the PC elite saw through the errors of the world.

Why was everyone in the past so wrong, and why are most people still wrong about the fundamentals of human existence? - well, because they were and are wicked. Why are people wicked? - well, because they were predisposed to wickedness by wicked public discourse (not by genetics, and not by culture).


Political correctness therefore rejects *both* genetic and cultural explanations for national and ethnic difference, and denies the power of national and ethnic differences - but not by direct denial rather by restructuring evidence, evaluation and knowledge such that national and ethnic differences are trivialized. 

To PC, unwanted (conflictual, aggressive) national and ethnic differences are merely like bad manners, something learned that is readily correctable by enlightened public discourse.


At a psychological level political correctness is implicitly a wholesale rejection of the past, indeed a wholesale rejection of human knowledge and experience as it applies to human interactions. This is why I regard PC as insane, literally.

Yet PC is not a benign form of insanity; it is manic, aggressive, irritable, impatient; its delusions are grandiose, self-glorifying. PC wants to monopolize discourse; wants power and glory, wants to be listened to: wants everyone else to shut-up and be forced to listen.

And PC believes that if only it got what it wanted, then national and ethnic differences would (like bad manners) simply melt-away.

In the mean time, PC behaves as if national and ethnic differences were utterly trivial, just an amusing bit of 'vibrant' colour; and it feels free to ignore their obvious power.

And protects this ignorance, by force if necessary.


No, PC is not really nice.



a Finn said...

Underlying PC is the belief in the power of social construction. E.g. by manipulating authority and social conformity factors in Milgram experiment researchers can cause normal people to "kill" the "learner", the percentage ranging from 0% to 92,5% of the participants. Stanford prison experiment, Asch conformity experiment, etc. experiments showed similar or supportive results. Individual differences (and group differences, it is implied) seemed not to matter much, and it seemed as if people in power could create the societal reality they happened to want. Hence the intoxication with the feeling of power. This was exacerbated by the belief that Western scientists and people in power have this information to some extent exclusively, or in more extensive and detailed form than others.

The Western scientists did not properly notice that other civilizations already have this knowledge, often in more efficient form. It could be called evolutionary knowledge, instead of scientific knowledge. Also individual and group differences create many critical tipping points, both alone and in combinations, and thus decisive differences in outcome despite social construction.

This is one example of the worldwide group differences, and the consequent errors in psychological etc. studies:

Which one is more efficient, knowledge tested shortly in a peaceful, controlled environment of laboratory with a handful of people, and limited area of study, or knowledge tested in intense ethnic competition, covering whole lives of people in a whole civilization during thoudands of years?

Let's compare shortly some aspects of present Finnish liberal system and Muslim community:

F.: One police /690 citizens. The use of force restricted by law and procedures. Minimizes the use of force. Impersonal, unemotional and bureaucratic. In many respects predictable and controlled by outside forces. Follows or forced to follow universal liberal morality.

I: 10% fundamentalist and 40-50% conservative Muslims. Fundamentalists can/ might enforce rules by any means necessary. Particularist morality. Defectors, especially defectors of the system, i.e. Islam, must be punished with death according to Sharia law. Punishment is both individual and community duty, and punishers are rewarded highly by Muslim community and Islamic deity. Tenacious enforcement of rules. Severity of punishment and which acts are punished is predictable, otherwise the enforcement of rules is unpredictable. Harmony of thought and action between conservatives and fundamentalists, although methods differ. Enforcement of rules often personal, involving the strongest vindictive emotions.

Continued ...

a Finn said...

Part 2.

F: Communication and social interaction is universal, and very little in these is prevented. Influences and changes flow constantly from the outside, not much selective filtering. Very little requirements for cooperation.

I: Strong and durable preference to particular Muslim communication, social interaction and cooperation. Costly signals required for cooperation. Outside influences and communication systematically, but selectively marked negatively, distorted, made incompatible and prevented. Useful information and equipment to Islamic community is selected from the outside and Islamized in the process, i.e. it is gift from Islamic deity, received because outsiders were confounded and misled by the Islamic deity.

Taqqiya means deception, distortion, lying and lying by ommission, and is used as necessary to help Muslim community and Islam. Islam also gives advice to play along with the host society when Muslim community is small and weak compared to host society, but then gradually to increase forcefulness of it's policies when it becomes stronger.

As a side note, you can imagine a liberal bureaucrat trying to gain honest, non-utilitarian acceptance to liberal values from Muslim conservatives.

F: Economics. Everything is on sale. The procedures might be uncorrupted, but everything that is Finnish, everything in Finland and Finns themselves can be sold. Finland is on the top in international measurements of uncorruptedness, but on the most fundamental level Finland is one of the most corrupted country in the world.

No preferences in choosing economic partners or procedures.

I: Strong preferences or sometimes exclusiveness in choosing Islamic economic partners or procedures. General corruption is high, but Islam and Muslims belonging to the ingroup are never on sale, never sold. Epicorruption, but never on fundamental group/community level.

F: Monogamy and free exogamy. Mild economic and ideological expansion, but not community, cultural or religious expansion. In practice no protections or selectiveness for the ingroup.

I: Often polygamy, in some groups strict endogamy, in some groups selective exogamy. In polygamous cases many left over males, which seek spouses from outside communities, i.e. expand and make inroads to outside communities. Female exogamy is strictly forbidden. Male exogamists are required by Sharia to raise their children according to Islam. Muslims expand by marriages, converts, economy, procedures, territorial expansion (war, neighborhood expansion, street violence [The last two is happening in France, Netherlands, Sweden etc.] immigration, etc.), by acquiring privileges, culture, politics, media, selectiveness, by protecting the integrity of the ingroup (selective communication, endogamy/selective exogamy, enforcement of rules, ingroup rewards, etc.), high birthrates, etc, i.e. the whole gamut of Muslim life, which is all tied together by Islam.


The result: In the long run Muslim communities win out over Finns and Finnish system. The same process is more advanced in other Western countries.

To translate this text to the lowest common denominator language of "our" harmful liberal entertainment industry:

Android: "Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. ... I admire it's purity. A survivor. Unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality (towards outsiders/ outgroups).":

This is only one of the problems caused by liberalism.

JMSmith said...

As you say, politically correct multiculturalism trivializes group differences, and stigmatizes anyone who denies that they are trivial. This will almost certainly backfire because it does not prepare people for the conflicts, irritations, and plain hard work that necessarily are a part of everyday life in a multicultural society. It reminds me of a mistake I made as a young man, encouraging a party of friends to set out on a hike by shamefully understating the length of the trail and the elevation of the mountain. Of course my foolish deception compounded the difficulty of climbing the mountain, and the fallout permanently cured my penchant for rosy scenarios. In any case, multicultural society is for many of us a fact of life, and we should try to make the best of it. But we will be able to make the best of it only if we expect friction, just as my friends on the mountain would have been able to make the best of it if I had told them to expect a long, hard climb.

xlbrl said...

It is not that they don't believe, but that they do. Truth is not what they seek, but a place where their emotional conflicts can find peace, no matter what the price to others.

Bertrand Russell was on one occasion introspective enough to reveal something of that community of people:
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.