Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Orwell On the Intellectual Mechanisms of PC

It is a shame that Orwell is appreciated as a great writer instead of a profound cognitive scientist. But that's the danger of being a good writer;  people enjoy your prose instead of grasping your ideas. Orwell is the "go to" man for an understanding of the mob cognitive mechanism and the "intellectualism" of the Left.

In my post, Dalrymple on Sentimentality I wrote:

In some instances their refusal to "see" what they are doing is a product of habituated thought-filtering, but most of them are just stupid.  Not stupid enough to be what Catholic theologians would call "invincibly ignorant", and therefore morally inculpable,  rather men and women who can't think past the obvious. Essentially, they are capable of first order thought, thoughts which stop when they feel right about a solution.  The best (and therefore least culpable) simply cannot comprehend how something that feels so intuitively right is so utterly wrong. The worst, suspect that they are wrong but fear of psychic pain stops them from pursuing their thoughts. Their intellect is constrained by their feelings. They can't think past the pain and hate those who make them do it. 

Well it appears that Orwell recognised the phenomenon as well.  He even gave it a name, Crimestop. According the Orwell the characteristics of Crimestop were:
"The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short....protective stupidity."
It needs to be understood that phenomenon is observed amongst the unthinking right as well and is a characteristic of individuals who prefer an ideology (of any persuasion) over the truth. The cognitive mechanism at play here is a preference of an ideology above reality. The practical operation of the mechanism results in either reality avoidance or reality suppression when it challenges ideology.  That's why PC is a form of cognitive censorship, a policing of thoughts.

It's why the HBD crowd (I'm a lukewarm supporter) is so despised on the left. Whilst the Left can dismiss the religious, attributing to them superstitious beliefs and intellectual stupidity the HBD crowd are far harder to cognitively dismiss. Being atheists, the HBD crowd argue with the Left on the Left's term's, i.e through secular methods.  It's the ugly head of reality prodding the PC conscience.

Hat tip, Parapundit.