Monday 11 May 2015

Microagressions - Why the Left is so hysterical about trivialities

Why is it that the Left has focused on ever smaller and smaller issues, until now the Left is exercised by issues so tiny that they are acknowledged as 'micro', as in the phenomenon of micro-aggression? - The prefix micro confessing itself to be 'one millionth of' a significant aggression.

This attention on ever more trivial issues is no accident, but because the position of the Left is so very precarious.

As the Left has triumphed ever-more-completely over Western culture, the conflict with what is spontaneous, natural and intuitive gets ever-more-extreme.

At any moment the whole elaborate and artificial, carefully and incrementally built-up edifice of Leftism in a particular person can collapse - years of deception, falsehood, the product of vast and intricate propaganda, manipulations and bureaucratic pressure... since it is ever more false, ugly and gut-level wicked it is terribly, terribly vulnerable - the slightest crack in the fa├žade may propagate to and crumble.

Hence nothing is too small, too trivial, too insignificant to let pass - every slightest transgression needs to be stamped-on; the terror must be maintained, nobody of significance can be seen to get away with anything!

This is where thought crime comes in. Any stray word, fleeting facial expression, small inappropriate gesture, any omission of piety, is evidence of impure thoughts which must be stopped and punished because who knows where they will lead?

So far, the edifice remains in place, because of the ever vaster and more pervasive power of the addictive media. But the media must keep growing, the detection of dissent must be ever-more thorough, the sanctions ever more disproportionate to the infractions.

Because in spiritual warfare the odds are stacked in favour of God and salvation, and against the devil and damnation; as the tempter demon Screwtape openly acknowledges in CS Lewis's book. There can be repentance and acknowledgement of Christ at any time up to the last moment of mortal life, and indeed somewhat beyond.  

Having said all this - the world as it is now, in the West, under the influence of the mass media - is probably the most hazardous for souls that it ever has been in the history of the world; because never has the inversion of Good been so thorough and so powerfully propagated.

Nonetheless, it is important that we don't forget the weakness of the enemy; and recall that the thoroughness of modern thought-control as it moves into micro-aggression (and beyond into nano-aggressions?) is evidence of the extreme fragility of Leftism - not of its robustness, nor of its resilience.



Thursday said...

It requires enormous riches to keep leftism going to even the degree that it is today.

Thursday said...

I should clarify that I don't think leftism has really succeeded in any substantive way in getting what it wants: sex roles have been perverted but hardly destroyed, ethnic and racial division are still very much in evidence and we still have enormous economic inequality.

However, enormous amounts of money are resources are needed to maintain even the current fascade of sexual, racial, and economic equality.

Thordaddy said...

The other way to look at micro-aggressions is that in the zero sum game of radical autonomy, "freedom" is measured in micro-units. The real battle is actually amongst radical liberationists of all variety with Christians mainly in an opt-out/get in the stew decision before them.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Th - Good points. And I suspect that the riches is not really there; and we are increasingly living off concealed-inflation and -borrowing.

Inequality is insoluble, but poverty (in the world historical sense) was abolished in the West several generations ago - either when the lower classes began to out-reproduce the upper classes, or when the child mortality rate fell to a tiny fraction of historical levels, or when it became impossible to measure a significant effect of birth social class on income, life expectancy etc. when IQ was controlled-for, or when the problems of 'poverty' began to include idleness, obesity, excess smoking and drinking, and other products of luxury.

However, none of this had anything much to do with the Left - who mostly fought tooth and nail against the increases in productivity which caused these changes.

So the Left gets more and more worked-up about less-and-less-real (or more and more often not-there-at-all/ inverted/ lying) instances of inequality, sexism, racism, and so on.

Actually, that is quite important; I mean that (for example) the up-front, explicit, open, large-scale privileging of women (and other groups) is accompanied by the pretense that these groups are net-discriminated-against.

It is not so much a case of the aggression being 'micro' - because there is zero aggression - as it is the moral inversion of stigmatizing victims as aggressors.

Thursday said...

By historical standards, we are just ridiculously wealthy. Perhaps not as wealthy as we think, but the economy still does produce a rather enormous quantity of stuff.

Nobody would be able to believe all the ridiculous things people today believe, if we didn't have the wealth to shield ourselves from reality.

Thursday said...

The focus on microaggressions also reflects a kind of exhaustion with all the big government programs that haven't exactly delivered on their promises. All the big stuff has been tried, and paradise does not seem any nearer, so it must be something really sneaky and insidious.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

When I first encountered "microaggression," it was on a reactionary blog. I just assumed it was a sarcastic term invented by the Right to make fun of the Left (something along the lines of "hate fact" or "grievance studies"), and I thought it was a pretty good one. It was quite a surprise to discover that it was a real word used in all seriousness by the PC set! The Left is truly becoming increasingly hard to parody.

Misanthropist said...

"Actually, that is quite important; I mean that (for example) the up-front, explicit, open, large-scale privileging of women (and other groups) is accompanied by the pretense that these groups are net-discriminated-against."

It often seems that the more measures society puts in place to favour a particular group, the more that group tends to complain about how hardly done by they are. This is perhaps in part due to the fact that the more measures are put in place to favour them, the more they have to justify those measures or deter envy from others by claiming they are really disadvantaged in many ways. By making more concessions to such groups, one is ultimately creating an even bigger monster that will never be appeased.

"It is not so much a case of the aggression being 'micro' - because there is zero aggression - as it is the moral inversion of stigmatizing victims as aggressors."

As Belfort Bax put it, feminism is based on the principle of aggressive weakness. That is, women are encouraged to be aggressive towards men. But men are not entitled to counteract this or even call it for what it is, as it is always assumed that women come from a position of disadvantage and so no real harm can be done.

JP said...

I view the obsession with trivialities as a sign of the Left's total triumph. They have no important battles left to fight, but the need for constant fighting is so basic to the Left that they have to invent imaginary problems and imaginary enemies. If the Left admitted that they had achieved final victory, then all the people involved in the Great Social Justice Struggle would lose their purpose in life and would have to give up their sinecures and get real jobs. This is of course unthinkable...

I admit I am skeptical of the Left's intellectual / ideological / spiritual fragility, though of course I hope this is true.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - Both are true. The Left's triumph is near-total in a context of the vast and still-expanding mass media; but the Left's triumph is egg-shell-fragile and would/ will collapse to dust almost instantly if/ when the mass media collapses.

Misanthropist said...

The basic problem is that the Left have a worldview which is largely negative and oppositional by nature. That is, they can only define themselves by being in perpetual opposition to some oppressive power or status quo, i.e. economic inequality, social traditions etc. Yet the Left don't have any real alternatives to these alleged enemies that are actually constructive and workable. This is shown time and again whenever the Left gain too much power, and the results are invariably economic and cultural decline.

When that is your entire worldview, it is inevitable that as you make further gains you can only reinforce the existing worldview by manufacturing ever more exaggerated or imagined oppressors and injustices. And there is a need to create scapegoats for the failures of the Left's own policies.

Bruce Charlton said...

@M- I agree.

That is indeed the thesis in my (now free online) books Thought Prison and Addicted to Distraction (see links in sidebar).

But I think the special super-added shrill, shrieking and hysterical quality comes from the fear and insecurity - the Left knows that they have a great groundswell of 'human nature' bottled under high pressure; and if the lid starts to come-loose....

Tucker said...

When I first encountered "microaggression," it was on a reactionary blog.

Yes, and does this term actually exist in real life, outside blogs? It seems made-up; a tempest-in-a-teapot.

Bruce Charlton said...

@T- Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation by Derald Wing Sue (2010) sales rank 31, 211.

Thordaddy said...

Micro-aggressions is an "intellectual" term that grew out of the "driving while black" and "shopping while black" memes of late 90's/early 2000. Since the drive is for ever more radical autonomy AND the field is finite/zero sum THEN the next step after maximizing one's autonomy IS MINIMIZING the autonomy of all in proximity. This is what "micro-aggression" attempts to do. It "paralyzes" mainly "white" liberals from asserted actions or lines of thought AND it uses the most "micro" of expressions, looks, glances, tweaks and twitches in what amounts to some bona fide mind control.