Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dissent and Progress


Dissent is rapidly becoming both criminalized by the government and demonized by the media. That includes the media which is ostensibly informational, such as news,  and that which is ostensibly entertainment, such as pop culture and sports media.  In the era of the Total State and the Great Collective, all media is indoctrinational, regardless of what purpose the viewer thinks is being served by it.   

It is not surprising that government and media are now moving in the same direction since both are increasingly owned by the same entities.   Mankind has had little enough experience with true self-government, and only a small slice of that has been in conjunction with mass media concentrated in an ever-smaller set of hands.   It may be that actual self-government for the citizens of any nation is simply not possible when the overwhelming majority of its mass media is owned by a few global entities.    The illusion of self-government might be preserved for a while in such circumstances long after the essence of the thing is gone.

In the past, tyrants who tried to lecture their populations on what values to have were often undermined by the popular culture- singers, comedians, and artists of all types.  Increasingly, government and the big media are working together to convince the population to look here and not there.   They are teaching them to feel and not to think. 

The people are repeatedly shown some graphic instances of evil in some foreign land until they demand their government intervene there- which was of course what those running the government wanted all along.   Meanwhile equally insidious evils are happening all around them, maybe even being perpetrated by that same government, but they are not shown that.  Our policy is formed based on what we see, and unless one makes a determined effort all one will ever see is what they wish you to be shown.  No question is asked what right we have to impose our judgement of what ought to be done on foreign lands of which we know next to nothing.   No question is asked whether our intervention will fix it any better than our previous twenty years of interventions, nor how the cost for it all will be paid.

Increasingly, thoughtful dissent from the conventional wisdom is viewed not as a right, but as a disease which undermines our unity and makes us weaker.   This is the collectivist view of dissent.   But if it is true, how did the United States ever become the greatest nation on earth, and why is it that the harder we are pressed into collectivist conformity the more we become mired in mediocrity?

During the time when America was growing economically, artistically, and technologically one of our defining features was our diversity.  Not the superficial diversity of race or sex mind you, but of thought.  This was true, maybe even especially true, of the most controversial questions.  Whereas European nations had some state-approved Church, in America groups of people who would be killing each other over their differences in the Old Country were living and working side by side. We did not all agree on how we should be ruled, or on any other issue.  We resolved these disputes through reason and compromise, not a demand for uniformity.

The Rugged Individualist is an American Archetype.   The term "Yankee Ingenuity" connotes a way of solving problems never thought of before, much less approved of, by the community.   When one uses the head and looks at the evidence of history rather than making decisions based on the emotions generated from exposure to a limited number of heart-wrenching images the conclusion is clear: dissent is not what is holding America back.  Our past respect for it is what permitted America to move forward.   Our accelerating march toward uniformity of thought and action has not made us better.   Its making us worse.  Dissent is not the disease, collectivism is.

Collectivism suffers from an inability to absorb feedback from reality.   Whether we are talking about economic reality, moral reality, or any other sort.   The individual members of the herd are not using their minds to gather information from reality, but rather dedicate their intelligence to detecting which way the leadership of the herd wishes to go.    Most of the herd simply quits thinking for itself.  It quits responding to other stimuli from reality, because acting on them is punished by the heard, while unthinking conformity is rewarded.   

Nations where the ruling class forces conformity, such as Islamic nations or nations such as North Korea where there is a long-entrenched totalitarian state, are backward countries. They are miserable places whose people suffer greatly for their inability to conform to reality.   They simply can't compete with societies where people are free to think for themselves and speak and act on what they discover. 

My fear is that such societies are becoming increasingly rare as a global elite senses that imposing a global collective is now, for the first time in history, within their grasp.   They may be able to control what is perceived as reality for almost all people in the West.   What they can't do is control actual reality. Frighteningly, I am not even sure they believe in a reality beyond human perception.  Further, by demonizing dissent and imposing a collective viewpoint, they eliminate the vital feedback mechanism by which a population's perception of reality is corrected by input from actual reality.

Following the herd requires a lot less thinking than acting as an individual.   It provides the illusion of an escape from both the hard work of independent thought and the sometimes heavy burden of individual responsibility.  This makes it an alluring trap for us all, but it is a trap nevertheless.  The reality is that humans are made to be social animals, but not herd animals.  We can only become herd animals rather than social ones by abandoning our moral free agency- by renouncing a part of what we really are.   By choosing, subconsciously perhaps, to become a herd animal we renounce a key part of what makes us human. 

I exhort you dear reader, to cling to your humanity.  To cherish it, and to offer it up to no collective on earth, be it a national government, a corporation, a political party, or what have you.  The collective says that dissent is the disease, but dissent is what permits a culture to stay connected to reality.  And the consequences for ignoring reality, for both individuals, groups, and nations, is painful and often fatal.   Collectivism is the true disease, and the freedom to dissent is the cure.






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