March 02, 2012

Collectivism, Conservatism, Sanity, and Dissent

I am appalled and horrified at how narrow-minded the western world has become. Even worse, the most "progressive" among us are in reality the most narrow-minded and deeply prejudiced of us all. Progressivism has become so deeply entrenched in their worldviews that they cannot even perceive that they themselves are using a corrupt, poisonous filter to interpret the world around them. Please take twenty minutes or so and read these two articles:

CNN: How partisan politics drove Olympia Snowe Away
Mad in America: Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

Please, if you have not done so, click on those links and read those articles. It is very important to understand exactly the message I am trying to communicate and if you haven't read them you won't understand anything beyond the merest surface impression of my words.

First, the CNN article.

The core message I pulled from that piece, the message I am reading in John Avlon's words, is that Sen. Olympia Snowe is a centrist politician, open to debate, reasonable, mature, and always balanced in her decisions. As far as I can tell, that is the message he wants me to hear. Unfortunately, that message is a complete falsehood. Senator Olympia Snowe is a deeply prejudiced woman who hates conservatism, seeks to use her position to bring about a utopian society, and considers anyone who disagrees with her to be insane. This is vitally important to realize. Sen. Snowe considers her opposition to be insane. She doesn't consider them to be her equals. She doesn't consider them to have a different worldview. She does not consider them to be capable of rational thinking because if they were, they would understand that her views on every issue are the only correct views. She believes that her personal opinion reflects sanity, rationality, intelligence, and reason. Therefore, by definition, if you disagree with her you are insane, irrational, and unreasonable.

This is why she is leaving the Senate. She no longer considers Republican senators to be sane representatives of a sane populace. The very fact that neither those senators nor their constituents can see the inherent and essential rightness of her opinions has made it impossible for her to continue fixing the problems of her constituents. It never, ever crosses her mind, not even slightly, that she might be wrong. The very possiblity that her opposition might have a valid position is unthinkable for her, therefore, any form of compromise that is reached must involve the wholesale adoption of her platform for solving the needs of her constituents. The simple fact that people oppose her forces her to conclude that her opposition is creating a partisan climate based on party lines and John Avlon agrees with her, thus he wrote this op-ed and CNN gladly published it.

So, what evidence might I have to demonstrate that both John Avlon and Olympia Snowe are, in reality, the problem and not the rational parties in this "debate"? Well, John Avlon's own words clearly demonstrate his inability to see the world outside narrow party affliation:
"Republicans might soon learn to regret the departure of centrists like Olympia Snowe for purely practical reasons: Their attempts to take back control of the U.S. Senate in the 2012 election just got a lot tougher. Snowe was hugely popular in her home state despite some tea party grousing. It is, after all, one of the states where registered independents outnumber Democrats or Republicans. But now her seat is likely to be won by a Democrat, leaving Republicans fighting to pick up another."

In other words, the Republicans are not being good Republicans unless they vote in agreement with rational Republicans like Sen. Snowe who believe in big government, endless deficits, collective action, and destruction of the American meritocracy in order to support a Democratic agenda based on "fairness", which in practical terms able to be realized in the real world actually means, "favoritism toward homosexuals, women, and minorities irrespective of individual competence, legal citizenship, or demonstratable ability to perform a given job".

Now, don't misunderstand me. Nepotism and despotism are destroying the American meritocracy as well. Far too often internal promotions in major corporations, in government, and even in small businesses are strictly based on family lineage, shared hobbies, and shared prejudices. We, you and I, have a very dangerous tendency to use positions of authority to damage people we disagree with and to stop the careers of people who either have a different lifestyle than we do or who don't spend "quality time" joining us for our favorite hobby. This is a very real problem. It happens every day. The problem is both John Avlon and Olympia Snowe are doing exactly the same thing, only instead of helping along the people they claim to support they are forcing you and I to do it for them. The real problem with American politics, and even with American society as a whole, is we have reached a point where competing oligarchies are trying to prove they aren't oligarchies by forcing anyone who is not part and parcel of their inner circle to change the way they conduct their daily life by passing laws specifically targeted at their competition.

This is why Sen. Snowe votes in favor of GE, Monsanto, and GM while consistently voting against opposing bills intended to advance Sony, Merck, and Honda. The "partisanship" that is happening is not the result of Democrats vs. Republicans or even Liberals vs. Conservatives. The real source of partisanship in Washington D.C. is opposing lobbyists representing competing global corporate interests while real laws that could make life better for real people never leave the hundreds of small committees that write bills and present them for voting by the larger Senate and House of Representatives.

The first crack to appear in this monolith came with the 2010 elections that saw dozens of new Congressional Representatives and Senators backed not by the traditional party apparatus but by a grassroots initiative that calls itself the "Tea Party". These freshmen Senators and Representatives stand in bold, uncompromising opposition to the traditional way of doing business and have either stalled or destroyed numerous bills that career politicians like Sen. Snowe favored because those bills would have helped the oligarchies that got her elected and kept her in the Senate for eighteen years. This is also why the House of Representatives has passed over 300 bills since these freshman Representatives took over, including two different Federal budgets, while the only thing to make it through the Senate has been West Point appointments and new names for Boy Scout camps.

And that brings us to the second article.

The second article is written by a psychologist (Dr. Bruce Levine). It proposes that American mental health professionals have begun to habitually diagnose as mentally ill many young people who are, in fact, sane. The only problem these young people have is they oppose the authority of their teachers, parents, and part-time employers because they consider those in authority to be "illegitimate authorities". In short, those in authority over these young people don't deserve to be in authority over them. In point of fact, the writer is none too fond of those who have from time to time been in authority over him. He points this out here,
"In graduate school, I discovered that all it took to be labeled as having "issues with authority" was to not kiss up to a director of clinical training whose personality was a combination of Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Howard Cosell. When I was told by some faculty that I had "issues with authority," I had mixed feelings about being so labeled. On the one hand, I found it quite amusing, because among the working-class kids whom I had grown up with, I was considered relatively compliant with authorities. After all, I had done my homework, studied, and received good grades. However, while my new "issues with authority" label made me grin because I was now being seen as a "bad boy," it also very much concerned me about just what kind of a profession that I had entered. Specifically, if somebody such as myself was being labeled with "issues with authority," what were they calling the kids I grew up with who paid attention to many things that they cared about but didn’t care enough about school to comply there? Well, the answer soon became clear."

A caveat, I'm one of those "good boys" who adults respected. I was not a rebel. Except in one point, I became a born again Christian when I was sixteen and ever since have annoyed people with endless sermons and opinions that more often than not, ran counter to what they themselves regarded as "true". I was a good boy, but also a rebel, which made it very hard sometimes for those in authority to know what to do with me. They liked my compliance and hated my non-conformity.

The opening paragraphs of Dr. Levine's article fascinated me. I was cheering him on wholeheartedly until he brought up Saul Alinsky. Books like "Rules for Radicals" and those who enjoy it have been a thorn in my side ever since I became a Christian. I have zero respect for Saul Alinsky. Personally, I consider him a great fraud and a hypocrite because he spent his life making millions off of the capitalist system that sheltered and nurtured him while pretending to oppose it. His followers tend to fall into two groups, the conformists who deny conforming (like the good Dr. Levine himself) and the social dropouts who live parasitic lives enabled by the very things they claim to hate: hard-working, tax-paying captialists.

Seriously, people. If you don't like capitalism then why are you living in America? If "being one with nature" is so vitally important to you why not fly down to Brazil, Argentina, Pakistan, or some other country that has a strong tribal culture still living the same way they did five hundred years ago and join one of those tribes? I live in Ohio. Every single day Amish people in their horse and buggy ride past my house headed for the local feed supply. I love and respect the Amish for all I'm worth. They are completely consistent in what they believe and how they live. Their way of life deserves to be respected and allowed to flourish. However, I do not believe that everyone should live the same way. If I did, then by God I would sell everything I own, walk down the road to that Amish farm and sign on as a hired hand.

After the paragraph devoted to Saul Alinksy Dr. Levine's article deteriorated rapidly. of mainstream mental health's leading authorities on ADHD, says that those afflicted with ADHD have deficits in what he calls "rule-governed behavior," as they are less responsive to rules of established authorities and less sensitive to positive or negative consequences. ODD young people, according to mainstream mental health authorities, also have these so-called deficits in rule-governed behavior,...
Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn't pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert's problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, "The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants."
Many people with severe anxiety and/or depression are also anti-authoritarians. Often a major pain of their lives that fuels their anxiety and/or depression is fear that their contempt for illegitimate authorities will cause them to be financially and socially marginalized; but they fear that compliance with such illegitimate authorities will cause them existential death.
...many anti-authoritarians in highly stressful environments will occasionally take prescribed benzodiazepines such as Xanax even though they believe it would be safer to occasionally use marijuana but can't because of drug testing on their job.
In an earlier dark age, authoritarian monarchies partnered with authoritarian religious institutions. When the world exited from this dark age and entered the Enlightenment, there was a burst of energy. Much of this revitalization had to do with risking skepticism about authoritarian and corrupt institutions and regaining confidence in one's own mind. We are now in another dark age, only the institutions have changed. Americans desperately need anti-authoritarians to question, challenge, and resist new illegitimate authorities and regain confidence in their own common sense.

It turns out that in Dr. Levine's mind, collectivist thinking and Marxism are the only forms of "sane" rebellion. Anyone who opposes this "sane" rebellion is left undefined, the assumption being they are obviously part of the "illegitimate authority" that his "anti-authoritarians" so rightly oppose. Conservatism, the "tea party", and even Christianity are the unspoken enemy of these sane anti-authoritarians. Therefore, just like Sen. Snowe and John Avlon, anyone who opposes Dr. Levine's definition is, by definition, a member of an insane, fascist society desperately determined to keep these poor souls drugged up and compliant. The unspoken assumption being that it is Dr. Levine's critics who are the ones who really ought to be drugged into conformity with his enlightened and rational view of sane anti-authoritarianism.

It's very disappointing to me to see Dr. Levine, Sen. Olympia Snowe, and John Avlon working so very hard to convince the rest of us to adopt wholesale their personal prejudices and biases. Given their way, those of us who believe in smaller government, capitalism, and a society based on meritocracy would be driven out of our homes and jobs in order to bring about their utopian society where everyone is equal and subject to their enlightened oversight. Although it disappoints me greatly, it comes as no surprise to learn that yet again, those who put themselves forth as guiding light to a glorious new future are in fact, old-school monarchists who believe they ought to be in charge and the rest of us ought to accept our natural role as peasants under their enlightened and benevolent leadership.

Well, Dr. Levine, I find your authority to be illegitimate. I find Sen. Snowe and John Avlon's authority to be illegitimate as well. I'm going to exercise my own anti-authoritarian bend and declare here and now that all three of you are nothing more than collectivist oligarches working to advance a utopian agenda based on Marxist principles and I will continue to do everything in my power to see it fail.

I'm all for compromise, though. Since in your worldview someone has to be the peasant, I will sacrifice the ease of peasantry and allow you that role. Unless, of course, you'd rather keep the benefits of modern capitalist living. In that case though, I do ask one thing in return, stop trying to convince the rest of us to think like you, live like you, and worship you as enlightened, godlike authority figures!