Sunday, November 19, 2017

On Progressives

This has proved incredibly hard to write. The most accurate word I can muster to describe the emotional state of writing this - is vexing. I'm vexed.

It comes largely from the nebulous term of 'Progressive' and ultimately I have to conclude that as far as subject is concerned - I quite literally do not know what I'm talking about. I'm also confident, that neither do you.

In writing this, my first stop was wikipedia to just grab a definition of 'Progressive' where I discovered that 'progressivism' isn't a thing, or more accurately, it isn't the thing I'm talking about. And to be honest, despite their being characters like David Pakman and Sam Seder that identify themselves, or their content as 'progressive' I would be hesitant to suggest that 'progressive' is not a pejorative (especially since I first came across the term on 'The Rubin Report') and the urban dictionary definition is clearly pejorative.

At best, perhaps it is simply 'least pejorative' when referring to the same people that are labelled 'Social Justice Warriors' (SJWs) or 'regressive-left' and I'd be completely open to an explanation that all this terminology is part of a liberal identity crisis.

It's possible that anybody who is more, shall we say, exuberantly left of you becomes 'one of those people' and anyone less exuberant or more skeptical than you becomes a 'closet right-winger' or something.

Anyway, I wanted to write this because I'm fucking curious. And I'm specifically curious as to what is going on emotionally with the kind of people, that behave in the kind of way, that might have them, or me, describe them as progressive.

So I could fuck around all day with exposition and attempting to define something with no authority but personal opinion. What I discovered upon digging though, is that 'Progressives' are really just people, reactive people rather than people in possession of a specific or explicit ideology.

But let's dig.


The first important emotion to consider is 'confidence' and the linked wikipedia page gives a pretty good definition of how we tend to employ confidence in everyday speech and how we think about the emotion. The etymology of 'confidence' is a derivation of 'confidere' the latin verb 'to trust' and from that we can understand confidence in other contexts like 'I told you that in confidence' or 'I was scammed by a con-man' (even though you may not realize that 'con' is an abreviation of confidence).

The important thing about trust is that something or someone is being trusted. I don't want to go down the rabbit-hole of trusting something whether it be a rope ladder or a bridge, or whether it is a process whereby we obtain knowledge like empiricism, skepticism, the socratic method etc. I'm not qualified or motivated enough to look at the nuances of epistemology.

When we are confident because we are trusting someone it's a different matter though, and this is a very human characteristic. As a simple example where you and I probably agree is that climate change is a real phenomena caused by human activity. Something else we probably have in common is that left with no devices to refer to, there's only so far we could explain the phenomena of climate change to a stranger. For me that threshold is reached by the time I'd have to explain why carbon particles being more massive and retaining more heat would remain in the atmosphere instead of filtering down through the less massive gases back to the surface, and also the properties of methane emitted by cattle that make it a concerning greenhouse gas.

Hitting that threshold though, I could pull on a thread and find someone trustworthy that is the basis for my confidence that climate change is real. Figures like Al Gore, Bill Nye, Noam Chomsky none of whom are themselves climate scientists, but even so you can pull that thread and with internet access you can find institutions, papers, government agencies, private research firms etc. to trust in. You can find whole disciplines of science to defer to - experts. Meteorologists, chemists, physicists, actuaries, statisticians etc. You can defer to.

So here was my question. Who are the progressive public intellectuals? Who do progressives trust? What institutions are driving progressive thought?

When I got curious as to these questions, I assumed, I guess you'd say stereotyped it into being an easy ask. I made two assumptions 1) I was ignorant of the progressive thought leaders. 2) tertiary education correlates with liberal preferences and therefore liberals tend to recognize experts aka defer.

By comparison who are the 'alt-right' deferring to? It's easy - Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopolos, Ben Shapiro etc. It's real fucking easy to point to where the Alt-right are getting their fucking crazy ideas from.

Now I presumed that progressives would also require a greater standard of expertise, dignity and decorum for their trustees than the alt-right do. I presumed that I would not need much search skills to find out where progressive ideas are coming from.

It's almost impossible to find someone reputable, working for a reputable institution or organisation speaking for a publication with any shred or modicum of quality control in place to advocate an idea like race is a social construction. Or someone to coherently walk an audience through why trigger warnings and safe spaces are appropriate ways to address mental health issues like chronic anxiety or trauma.

And mental health issues/advocacy is low hanging fruit to demonstrate how conspicuously absent the trusted experts are behind progressive behavior. Because mental health is a serious issue and should be dignified with serious treatment. 'Trauma' means something, it requires clinical diagnosis, because it has serious treatment outcomes.

As somebody who holds a degree in economics and finance aka 'a certified fool' I know it is okay to hold opinions that run against the consensus of a social science. It's okay to be critical of an orthodoxy. But the thing is, if I hit my explanatory threshold as to why I reject Neo-classical economic dogma, it's easy for me to point to economics professors who have substantiated their criticisms: Mark Blyth, Robert Schiller, Yanis Varoufakis, Richard Thaler. I can point to finance critics like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Warren Buffet, Peter Schiff or outsider critics like Noam Chomsky a linguist and David Graeber an anthropologist.

These public intellectuals not only have expertise but they get to speak on platforms such as TED, Big Think, Talks @ Google etc. They do keynote speeches at universities and so forth. They leave big obvious foodprints for me to follow and thus derive my confidence.

If you are going to adopt tactics that go against psychology, that's fine. But I would expect you to be able to point to charismatic, coherant, articulate public intellectuals that can walk out on the stage at TED and advocate why people are blank slates formed purely by their social environment that is constructed by conscious agents and society is as it is for non-arbitrary reasons.

I can't. It's exceedingly difficult, with some exceptions. If you take a basic transferable skill known in the business as 'search skills' I should be able to find someone who can justify a concept like campus safe-spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions, privilege (in any of it's variants), male-fragility, the patriarchy, intersectionality etc.

The few exceptions are Kimberle Crenshaw who appears to have originated 'Intersectionality' as a concept, and Ta-Nahesi Coates who speaks eloquently on race as a social construct. There's also plenty of Feminist public intellectuals running a large gamut, from Camille Paglia through to Andrea Dworkin.

Which is the second aspect of confidence, which is the assumption that the confident people know who they have confidence in. So Crenshaw articulates in a TED talk a quite compelling argument about intersectionality that addresses almost a difficult logic puzzle of acknowledging discrimination that happens at the intersection of two discriminated groups. But even so, this is limited in terms of Crenshaw's ability to provide a rationale for disregarding psychology - marketing even...

It's difficult to not dig into the side tracks to try and illustrate the lack of deference, but at best I've found a few people, far less than you'd think who are very good at describing problems that progressives and broader liberals alike are concerned with. It has thus far been impossible to find someone who can justify the solutions that are adopted and thus characterize progressives in terms of attacking feminist initiatives for not being intersectional, utilizing trigger warnings, diagnosing psychiatric conditions, advocating safe spaces, vandalizing confederate statues or punching nazis.

Thus the conclusion I came to was via what I feel is the most useful analogy. People by and large are economically illiterate. Thus we tend to defer when it comes to investment decisions. But what you can freely observe anywhere is that people from all walks of life can defer vast sums of money - the majority of their personal net worth to investment in property. And who do they defer to?

Their parents, their friends, mortgage broker ads, reality shows about renovation and property flipping, bank aps, real-estate industry funded advertorials, real estate agents, gossip and hearsay. Even though we have, and have never had more access to accountants, financial planners, economists, fund managers, professional investors etc. Experts exist and have legal obligations to provide best-advice to people, but they don't they simply trust in often the people who are immediately around them. I am confident in saying that the majority of investment behavior is just herd mentality.

Another way of saying it is, that people have confidence not in people that have a superior understanding or superior reason for being confident than them, but they have confidence in people who are just like them. They look across not up.

The worrying thing is though, articulated by Nietzsche 'The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think different.'

Confidence II

Which won't be as long. In fact it's really just two quotes. Something I am extremely confident in is that the more secure your belief is, the more willing you should be to have to defend it. Which is to say, a willingness to engage with dissenting views. If you have any confidence in your beliefs, then the concept of a 'dangerous viewpoint' shouldn't exist. If you can defend your beliefs against it, then what of it? If you can't then you have an obligation to adopt the superior belief until you can defend the previously held one.

So I'm reminded of Mark Twain's 'The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.' is something to endeavor to keep in mind, I find progressives dismissive - quick to label a dissenter as a member of the outgroup, or even to dismiss whole areas of science - like biology or evolutionary psychology. But if you can, be like Twain and suspect yourself whenever you feel the compulsion to dismiss someone.

It also alludes to something greater as regards the easy confidence with which a progressive may act - they have an onus to refute psychology if they want to advocate trigger warnings, or call people out for microaggressions, or ask for service workers to train themselves into gender neutral speech. You have an onus to justify moving the limits of individual rights from where one person's end where another person's begin etc.

This is the big question as to the confidence of progressives - as hard as it is to find reputable experts to articulate the rationale of any specific progressive meme, it is quite easy to find reputable articulate experts that provide compelling and coherent critiques of much of what progressives advocate. Ben Franklin expressed a similar phenomena that reminds me of my experience researching progressive ideas "Some Books against Deism fell into my Hands; they were said to be the Substance of Sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an Effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them: For the Arguments of the Deists which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much Stronger than the Refutations. In short I soon became a thorough Deist."

This interview for example, is a pretty comprehensive coherent explanation of the phenomena of progressivism although they use the language of 'Campus Culture' mostly as Jonathon Haidt was one of the earliest critics. However if you aren't suspect that your own religion isn't folly, then you should be able to sit through it and easily dismiss what they discuss and the sources they sight.


Not so much an emotion but an intuition, but dualism is an intuition we can get emotionally invested in. It's basically the mind-body dichotomy. For the record, I do not believe in dualism.

And for me, it isn't even that I defer to philosophers or nueroscientists. I can do the necessary experimentation myself to determine that my mind and body are very interlinked. I get a filling in my tooth at the dentist then ride through traffic home as the anesthetic wears off and I notice I am far more acrimonious towards the drivers than I normally am.

I try to cut pizza out of my diet and find myself caving after 1 day and rationalizing why it's a bad time to cut my diet and tomorrow would be better. I find someone attractive and discover I am suddenly tolerating different viewpoints that I have previously been scathingly critical of. (One of the best aspects of falling in love.)

My physiology has a huge impact on the shape of my thoughts. Thus as regards addictions and what not, it is by now virtually impossible for me to cede that we can simply think ourselves into new ways of being.

Thus as nebulous and unofficial as it is, I feel the handle 'progressive' is non-arbitrary and quite descriptive. It describes people that possess the intuition that you present them with an updated belief - for example, a new attitude towards transgender individuals, and they will simply become open tolerant people because that is how the mind works.

Unfortunately, it isn't how the mind works. The mind works through 'belief perseverance' and 'confirmation bias'.

And this is purely speculation but in my experience progressives really want to believe that we are who we think we are. And therein I can go no further because it gets into postmodernist philosophy which I - like most progressives do not understand, but like Ben Franklin, I find the critics of postmodernism far more compelling than the arguments of postmodernism. Whether it be someone as distasteful to progressives as Jordan Peterson, or Camille Paglia or an activist as beloved as Noam Chomsky you should be able to substantiate rebuttals not just to these people, but what psychologists and nueroscientists can demonstrate repeatedly in the lab, whether it be experiments in embodied cognition, enclothed cognition etc.


Feeding straight out of dualism, we come across egalitarianism. And this seems to be the thing that divides people within the spectrum of being liberal or left. It seems to be where one stands between notions of equality like 'equal opportunity' and notions of equality like 'everyone is equal'.

I believe progressives are much closer to the latter notion of equality. And this is problematic, particularly for progressives, because without distinctions between individuals, particularly in concepts like merit - you cannot have quality control.

So in part that explains the issues of confidence, there's no deference to authority because everyone is equally an authority. It also explains the complete absence of delegation among progressives and within progressive campaigns.

Emotionally there seems to be a great investment in the notion of a 'popular movement'. People power etc. I suspect that may be where critics of progressives infer the influence of Marx - because the lack of delegation isn't democratic. Democracy is a system whereby the people delegate somebody to serve as their leader - thus ideally we are meant to elect people more capable than ourselves of representing our interests, in the same way as you might employ a defense attorney to represent you in court. If you are a progressive, confronted with a alt-right troll, and you had the option of tagging-in Barack Obama to argue with them on your behalf, would you tag him in? If yes, that's democracy at work. If 'no' you believe in popular movements.

Popular movements are to me problematic though, for example I found upon first exposure this video to be actually distressing to watch. It's been criticized enough, trolled more than enough, that I would find anyone hard pressed to suggest that it helped the cause more than it set it backwards.

And the trouble is, when you have campaigns for social justice that are completely decentralized and anyone on their own initiative has equal opportunity to represent your cause, I tend to observe quite visceral human behavior one that doesn't promise a brighter tomorrow filled with 'due process' and 'rule of law' and that respects 'onus of proof' and has protections against 'the tyranny of the majority'.

This short video of toppling a confederate statue by protesters captures what I'm talking about. It's obviously nothing compared to a neo-nazi driving a car into protesters and murdering a person, but all the spitting and kicking of the statue when it's down is a far cry from Ulysses S Grant's shushing of the Union army band and remarking "The war is over, the rebels are our countrymen again."

For me, emotionally it is hard to believe I'm on the winning side when my allies show no decorum and do not extend the concept of human dignity even to themselves. This is the general pitfall of popular movements and looking at history it's hard to find examples of egalitarian movements overcoming opponents that exert some level of quality control as to who gets to be in the front lines.

Another piece of Nietzsche that is worth baring in mind is "The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments." you take out the 'deliberately' and you essentially have egalitarian popular movements, where the only qualification to represent the cause, to speak for the cause is that you are on it's side - loyalty to the ingroup. After that it doesn't matter as to questions of your temperament, your verbal abilities, your intelligence, your comprehension of your own avowed ideology. It is simply enough that you are a member of the same team.

Much as we don't want to believe it, xenophobia, fear of 'outsiders' or 'outgroups' is a very human intuition, it takes personal discipline to compensate for that, and egalitarianism is no exception. Which brings me too...

Double Standards

Ta-Nehisi Coates articulated this really good point talking about 'We Were 8 Years In Power' that upon hearing it seems self-evident. Which is to say, the current Republican party obsession, and President's obsession with reversing every decision of Barrack Obama's administration is driven not by a belief that he was a bad president, but by a fear that he is a good one.

I basically agree with Coates, and I view him through the context of being one of the racists he criticizes. But I also agree with commentaries like Yanis Varoufakis about Obama's missed opportunity to penalize wall street rather than bailing them out that helped Trump's campaign. But even then, Coates concedes that not all Trump voters are necessarily racists, but the fact of Trump being a racist and white supremacist was not disqualifying does need answering for.

But most relevantly is the observation that a black President has to basically be perfect, where a white president can be pretty much as flawed and reprehensible a human being imaginable has an interesting implication. Which is to say, if you want the best candidate - vote for the one who is held to the highest standard.

It's almost a stoic philosophy, of utilizing hardship to temper yourself into a stronger person. But do progressives embrace stoic philosophy?

No. Advocating trigger warnings, campaigning against microaggressions (or punishing them), advocating or demanding safe-spaces flies in the face of stoicism, not just psychology.

But even then, there's another abandoning of the double standards, which is that there are no 'rules of engagement' progressives engage in, for those that identify as 'progressive' they do not appear to hold themselves to higher standards than their sworn enemies the alt-right.

Take for example two of the few people that actually identify themselves and their content as 'progressive' David Pakman and Sam Sedar. When first introduced to David Pakman I commented on how similar he was to Alex Jones. Of course the similarities I see are there, but obviously not in the content of their ideologies.

But both basically are white men, that sit behind the affectations of a professional news studio, both wear suits and watches and both promote sponsors while neither are held to any kind of journalistic standards.

Credit where credit is due, David Pakman obviously possesses a lot more dignity than Alex Jones, and as a host he has some impressive qualities - for example he tends to demonstrate as an interviewer a quite hospitable and dignified demeanor. He also extends the principle of charity, where he tries to summarise the views of his guests and obtain their confirmation that their views are fairly represented.

That's nice. But then he posts videos like this that he himself is for some reason personally proud of, when he does a lead in. To me it is a weak interview, where instead of questioning the validity of the strategy of burning Korans to achieve his avowed aims. Instead he drives at trying to get the guy to expose himself as a racist red neck, and the interview subject winds up coming across as someone who believes the dogma of his own religion. Thus unbelievably, Pakman somehow manages to take a person burning Koran's to send a message to Islam and conduct an interview that makes him look like a man with the courage of his convictions. A feat in and of itself.

Furthermore, the video is titled 'Koran Burner interview goes bad quickly.' which would be accurate insofar as describing Pakman missing the window to truly reveal something reprehensible about his subject, but promotes it as far more dramatic than it is. This is a theme with Pakman videos in terms of his marketing strategy - video titles like '#GamerGate: Brianna Wu Accuses Interviewer of 'Hit Piece' Attack' and 'Pastor David Manning Admits to Gay Impulses, Claims Gay Semen in Starbucks Coffee' that not only sensationalize the content of the actual interviews to the point of being misleading, but are straight out of the propaganda play book.

And if you take the David Pakman Show and lower the journalistic standards a 1000% you get the Majority Report with Sam Sedar. I would trust most people to have an immediate visceral response to the Majority Report that tells them they are watching something bad, try it, if you dare. The smarm, the condescension, the clique laughing in the background. Even when fundamentally I agree with the ostensible stance of the segment, I'm not sure how someone could be so dedicated to being so unlikeable.

The quality control is so low that the channel has segments like this that it releases for general consumption. Billed as 'Trump Forces Japanese Prime Minister To Hold His Stupid Hats.' it's propaganda that wouldn't even get by the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. The emotive language, the innacuracy ... it's just irredeemably bad content given that the hats were provided by Japan, whom are most concerned about getting rid of North Korea, are brazenly pandering to president Trump and if anything is true, it's that Japanese prime minister forces Trump to hold stupid hats through excessive pandering.

It's just fucking juvenile and emotionally indistinguishable from the worst of the alt-right commentators. An In-group circle jerk of a program that appears to be dedicated to reassuring themselves that they are right and everyone else are idiots.

The thing is, there's no progressive leaders or authorities that could ever say 'you guys (you white college educated guys) are harming more than you are helping, we need you to lift your game and quit this sensational smarmy bullshit.' because there is no deference to any authorities. The internet isn't regulated like television media.

Australia has a publicly funded broadcast channel that has a program called 'Mediawatch' that is tasked with holding journalists to journalistic standards. And yes, newsprint, radio and free-to-air television is still more influential in Australian politics than Youtube amatuers, but Mediawatch wouldn't know where to begin with Pakman or Seder, and they pump out more content than can be scrutinized to any degree.

If the self-identified 'progressive' podcasts aren't open to reasonable debate, don't fairly represent their own content we can at least conclude there is no double standard in terms of Alex Jones and Sam Seder. They are just two white men who disagree about which side they are on.

If you do want to hear progressive content from a white male behind a desk, there's Jon Oliver, Steven Colbert and Seth Myers who don't pretend to be legitimate news anchors, have research teams, are scrutinized and held to standards and don't resort to brazen marketing propaganda.

There's no deference to Ghandi in terms of 'be the change' it appears that living up to a higher standard than your oppressors, or the patriarchy, or right wingers is not necessary and there's no market forces in operation to make these guys lift their game.

These two guys may be poor examples of journalists, and prominent examples of progressives, but even so without busting out the Machiavelli pamphlet 'The Prince' there's kind of a thing where by the time you are denouncing your friends for committing 'thought crimes' like questioning whether gender is independent of biological sex, or preventing conservative speakers from setting foot on a campus, or circumventing local government to demolish statues on your own authority you've ceded any chance to claim moral superiority.

You've probably only made it this far because it never occurs to right-wing thinkers to imitate Gandhi's successful civil disobedience campaign, or Martin Luther King Jr's civil rights campaign.

Malcolm Gladwell outlines a quite beguiling theory as to why the discipline and standards aren't being enforced by anyone in this talk (the full version must exist somewhere).

The Narcissism of Small Differences

Did you know that your political leaning can be determined using psychometrics? Below is mine, the green bars representing how I value each of the 'moral value circuits' and from it you can see that I am more right than most left people, but much more left than I am most right people, and I'm off the chart left when it comes to how little I care about purity.

The narcissism of small differences is a Freudian idea, and therefore probably contentious. But I observe it enough in all kinds of domains the most obvious being that sport fans will dislike supporters of another team more than they dislike people who are not a fan of the sport at all. I am told but can't validate that Vegans will argue more aggressively with Vegetarians than they do with omnivores, and that Bisexuals get a harder time from the gay community than straight people like me would assume.

But what I notice is that much of the criticism of the progressives actually comes from liberal people. This point though is lost on most progressives, particularly since it seems to be characterized by a fierce need to conform to orthodoxy. (But that stuff is addressed in the Peterson-Haidt interview).

It puts me in mind of a George Carlin bit which wound up describing a kind of psychological truism. 'Have you ever noticed when you're driving that anybody going faster than you is a maniac and anybody going slower than you doesn't know what they are doing.' And when you think about that we have to believe it's the case to arrive at our subjective equilibrium.

Thus the proliferation of undefined terminology - including progressives and feminists, where the definition is highly subjective over a large segmentation means that people who actually identify as being for the same noble ideals are perfectly capable of being identified by others as having the complete opposite ideals. There's a corresponding decay of language into near meaninglessness - eg. calling someone who asks a person of Asian ethnicity 'where are you from?' a racist takes the teeth out of being labelled a racist if a middle aged white woman driving an airport-hotel shuttle bus is labelled with the exact same label as a tiki-torch brandishing white man marching in Charlottsville chanting that the Jews will not take over.

It's concerning to me that a false dichotomy might emerge between people who believe that identity politics are the most pressing and immediate concern of our times believe that other people who are concerned about preserving the social safety net, addressing environmental issues and regulating markets are right-wing. There's a lot of space between using another person's non-preferred personal pro-noun as a hate crime and believing in a white-nativist movement that should deport all immigrants.

Scared of Own Shadow

I originally forgot to actually write this in, but I feel it is for me the most compelling piece of speculation I have done.

There's this concept originating from Carl Jung called 'Integration' which loosely describes the process whereby we accept our own 'shadow' which he described roughly as the 'suppressed or disowned qualities of the conscious self.' Another psychologist Carl Rogers had a much nicer way of putting a similar concept that he called 'Incongruity' which is the gap between our ideal-self and our perceived self.

Carl Roger's humanist psychology is much softer and nicer and the ideal of achieving greater levels of congruence kind of has an appealing feel to it. But incongruity can turn ugly when the gap isn't so much between someone's ideal-self and perceived-self, as it is between the self-perception and other people's perception. That kind of disparity produces the reality show auditions where a talentless individual turns hostile upon being told they have no talent.

I suspect though, that Jung's shadow archetype and options of denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation as unscientific as that sounds are more descriptive of the political climate particularly online.

People are really reluctant to identify themselves as racist, or sexist, or parochial. There's a big aspect of social desirability at play. And in Jung's model, what happens is in denying your own shadow side you can wind up projecting it onto others - which explains the dilution of terms like racist, and rape and so fourth. And perhaps more disconcertingly, blinding yourself to your own behavior, so that you don't notice when you've given the word 'mob' a bad name or that you and your friends have started acting like totalitarians, or that you are holding unsanctioned kangaroo court trials of members of your social group and inflicting economic damages on them.

It's probably all to psychoanalytical for most to swallow, but it isn't unprecedented. Like the high correlation between anti-gay activists that are eventually exposed as having same sex-extra marital affairs, or the studies of campus drinking cultures that find that the majority actually doesn't approve of the binge drinking culture and that some of the least enthusiastic wind up being the biggest enforces.

It also helps to explain why so many progressives engage in so little critical thinking, and do not engage or quickly disparage it's critics. Even the more reputable and coherent ones.

There is very similar behavior to the philosopher's Galileo wrote to Kepler about in 1610, whom refused to even look through his telescope to observe the planets for themselves. It was not out of concern for their ocular health, but a fear that their notions of the world might be disproved.

I have in my time come across people who are very emotionally opposed to permitting 'The Stanford Experiment' any of its conclusions. As near as I could discern, to suggest that environments could shape people into immoral agents is too confronting to their world view.

So too is an idea, very much akin to a belief in the mind as being this infinitely changeable entity distinct from the body, that someone can somehow both have an identity but no in-group preference. Such that only patriarchs choose to oppress other people, and everyone else is free to choose to make no distinction between themselves and anyone else on any grounds.

These are hard things to face, and I can only testify as to my own opinions, that processes like integration or achieving congruity either require a strong sense of self, or provide a strong sense of self. My own journey was accidental, I got obsessed with being honest in line with my obsession with Abe Lincoln. Thus I had to start identifying as a non-feminist, and a racist and so forth. I can report that indeed these concepts are so devalued that the bear no social cost that I've been able to perceive.

But there is a definite cost to fleeing your own personal shortcomings. No Villian ever believes themselves to be the bad guy. So perhaps exercising a little skepticism into your own virtuous character is a good place to start.


Because I'm so fucking tired. Here it is. Liberals are generally characterised by certain axiomatic assumptions that are simple and straight-forward: racism is bad, tolerance is good, equality for all, justice for all etc.

The details of 'how' are lacking, and then we get this generation of young people who are peer-oriented rather than adult-oriented and have grown up with smart phones and social media.

So some of them grew up to study contentious social sciences and for some it may have been economics courses that never made clear they were neo-classical economics and thus of a specific ideology (which was my experience) and for others they studied gender studies or the arts and were never informed of the postmodern influence and nothing in their upbringing or media consumption had them in the habit of questioning the information they were given to see if it was even contentious.

So progressives really are just members of the demographics that tend to take their information and social cues from social media that are not regulated like regular media and they are just a bunch of people with no real ideology that adopted a bunch of memes whether it's trigger warnings or micro-aggressions, or intersectionality, or rape culture, or universal basic income, or the AI singularity or whatever. The only thing it had to get past in terms of a filter were those broad liberal principles so so long as they kind of fit with not being racist and being more equal then they are adopted because everyone else is doing it.

And you wind up meeting people that believe a bunch of things as if they walked with a plate past an idea buffet and just loaded it up, and others look at it and say things like 'how do you square being feminist with denouncing critics of Islam as Islamaphobic?' and if you have no coherent ideology you can point to or defer to you simply denounce them as well, because that's what goes down on social media.

Which is a highly speculative and fairly inconclusive conclusion.

Real Conclusion

If you want to change this world for the better, do some fucking research and make sure you understand what you are doing before you do it, because researching a social phenomena that arises from people doing no research is fucking nightmare.

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