Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Feelz vs Realz



See that girl in the picture there?

That's Leni. Yeah, THAT Leni.

Check out the Supermen, will to power and all that other stuff...eh? What's happening to Leni is she that she is getting what H.L. Mencken said every democracy gets....she's getting it good and hard. What we are seeing in that picture is the crash of intuitive response to reality.  Anyone interested in the story of the picture should go here.

As Jordan Peterson mentioned in the previous post, people,by and large, vote according to their temperament but the proviso that Peterson didn't add is that people also vote as cognitive misers. i.e they think in simplistic terms and use a heuristic toolbox. The reason why politicians tend to reduce their message to simple political slogans is because it taps into this heuristic feature of the average man.  Simple slogans to complex problems are feature, and not a bug of modern mass-man democratic systems.

After the War, many people wanted to explain the German drift to Nazism as something peculiar to the Germans, but what people fail to recognise is that fascism was very chic pre WW2. It's only when the full horror of the system became apparent that it lost its cool........... except among the psychopathic. The fact of the matter is that the German drift to Fascism was a contingent phenomenon that could of happened in any other country given the circumstances.  The Germans weren't special.

Leni Riefenstahl's dalliance with Natsoc--like those of many other ordinary Germans-- is perfectly rational if we assume that despite her exceptional artistic abilities she was for all intensive purposes a political idiot. In her own words from the Wiki article;
Of course, you know, I'm really so misunderstood. I'm not political.

To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength.(1937)
I was one of millions who thought Hitler had all the answers. We saw only the good things; we didn’t know bad things were to come
People think of this as a commitment to the Nazi ideology but the truth is the Leni then, was probably as political as Ariana Grande is now. Today, the artists sing at concerts, yesterday they made their films. I doubt if you asked Leni in 1938 for an articulation of Natsoc policy you get much more than Hitler wants to make Germany great again.

Now imagine being an average German of conservative disposition in the early 1930's,  faced with the terrible situation around you, who do you vote for? The commies? Hell no. The old conservatives, who did bugger all?  Based upon the experience of Hitler at the time, he seemed to be the best thing around.  For Leni, like millions of other German cognitive misers Hitler, had all the answers, except if you thought about it for a bit you'd realise the answers he had was about to send the country to Hell.

Wilhelm Ropke,  a proper "right wing Aryan" and one of the smartest tools in the shed, recognised immediately where all this was leading to and tried to warn his fellow Germans, but deep thinking is so "boring" to the average man that he was mocked and ignored for his efforts. People don't want to think they want simple solutions. And simple solutions, as Mencken said, are easy to grasp and nearly always wrong.  Life is complex.

Once we accept the fact that most people are cognitve misers, and once we accept that people vote with their temperament, we realise that universal suffrage shifts political decision making from rationality to emotive expression.  We stop thinking and start feeling our way through political problems. Universal suffrage is intrinsically hostile to reality calibration. i.e. the Right.

If we think of politics as a system, success in politics, and by success I mean good social policy which ensures security, prosperity and happiness, is dependent upon reality calibration.  Since Life is complex and reality calibration hard, it means that only a few people will have the capability to make the right decisions. With universal suffrage--muh demokracy--we ensure that those who are capable voices are drowned in ocean of emoting idiots.  The system, ultimately governed by the emoters, spins further and further away from reality.

As in Leni's case, reality eventually asserts itself.




16 comments:

Nulle Terre Sans Seigneur said...

Same with the New Deal (and specifically NRA) intelligentsia, as John P. Diggins and James Q. Whitman documented.

I think I realize why many Old Right figures like John T. Flynn interpreted fascism in economic terms and levied the charge against FDR. It's because much of the media produced by the Italian fascists presented the regime for foreign consumption *did* portray fascism mostly in economic terms, as a sort of Third Way system based on enlightened administration and an ideology of *stato corporativismo*.

FDR probably thought "that admirable gentleman" Mussolini (as he called him) was just some fat Italian version of Rexford Tugwell. And I suppose that was true in a way, at least for Mussolini's first decade until the invasion of Ethiopia.

MK said...

Your thesis using the Germans has a big weakness; Hitler was elected by the Germans from the north; the West & South Germans voted against him. It was a regional election, not a "conservative" or "liberal" one. I don't know if it there was an urban-rural divide like the US today.

The Germans weren't special.

One may define "Fascist" however, but the Germans were and are unique. High IQ. Unified race. Hell even after two WW losses they are still something like the 4th largest economy. Organization freaks. Incredibly strict. For example, homeschooling is illegal there. Total groupthink.

But regarding cognitive miser-ing & government, old news. The US founding Fathers tried to set up a representative government to deal with it (clearly failing today due to IQ/education/religion). Just a feature of political life.

Anonymous said...

Of course fascism was chic - it's just a muscular form of socialism. Remove the nationalization efforts of the hard left. Tamp down on the International aspects of modern socialism and replace it with a healthy dose of patriotism - and there you have National Socialism and Italian Fascism.

During WWII, much of the German propaganda sounds like it came from the EU - they repeatedly talk about the wonders of a united Europe. And that propaganda worked - as the international SS Divisions swelled with volunteers from all parts of Europe.

David Foster said...

One of the characters in Thomas Pynchon's mammoth novel 'Gravity's Raindow' is a German rocket scientist named Franz Poekler.

Poekler--a likeable if weak man--is assigned to work on the development of the V-2 missile. He does so not because of any particular affinity with Naziism, but because rocket development is his profession; he finds it intellectually interesting. (He is given an added incentive by the fact that his daughter is being held hostage by a Nazi official--but it seems clear to me that he would have willingly worked on the rocket even without this factor.)

As is well-known, the V-2 was used to attack civilians in London. As is less well-known, the very production of this weapon involved an atrocity. Substantial parts of it were manufactured by slave laborers, prisoners at the Dora concentration camp--adjacent to the facilities at which Franz Poekler carries out his design tasks. In the novel, Poekler is vaguely aware of this, but prefers not to think about it.

As the war ends, Poekler walks into Dora, and is confronted with the reality of the V-2 project on which he has worked:

"The odors of shit, death, sweat, skckness, mildew, piss, the breathing of Dora, wrapped him as he crept in...All his vacuums, his labyrinths, had been the other side of this. While he lived and drew marks on paper, this invisible kingdom had kept on, in the darkness outside..."

In the novel, Poekler makes a small act of contrition:

"Where it was darkest and smelled the worst, Poekler found a woman lying, a random woman. He sat for half an hour holding her bone hand. She was breathing. Before he left, he took off his gold wedding ring and put it on the woman's thin finger, curling her hand to keep it from sliding off. If she lived, the ring would be good for a few meals, or a blanket, or a night indoors, or a ride home... "

It's not much. But did Leni Riefenstahl ever do as much?



David Foster said...

Peter Drucker, who left Germany in 1933, wrote about three men he knew who became at various levels Nazis or Nazi enablers..

–Reinhold Hensch, who came from a working-class family, became an SS officer. He summed up his motivations to Drucker thusly: “Now I have a party membership card with a very low number and *I am going to be somebody*.”

–Paul Schaeffer became editor of a major newspaper, believing he could influence the regime toward moderation. He disappeared when the front that he provided was no longer needed.

–An un-named professor, a distinguished biochemist and a “great liberal,” was expected by many to raise objections at the faculty’s first meeting with their newly-appointed Nazi watchdog. His main concern was about maintaining the level of research funding.

The Social Pathologist said...

@NTSS

FDR probably thought "that admirable gentleman" Mussolini (as he called him) was just some fat Italian version of Rexford Tugwell

I imagine that Post War many Americans of the New Deal wanted to play down their admiration of the blackshirts and their friends. I also suppose its impolite to mention that when Mussolini was asked by some reporter what Fascism was all about, he replied that it was just like the New Deal.

@MK

Hitler was elected by the Germans from the north; the West & South Germans voted against him.

I looked at this stuff in 2012. It was more a Catholic / Protestant thing.

http://socialpathology.blogspot.com.au/2012_04_29_archive.html

@Anon

Of course fascism was chic - it's just a muscular form of socialism

Bingo. It's a socialism that is designed to appeal to those of a conservative temperament and who are cognitive misers.

@David.

Thanks for dropping by.

It's not much. But did Leni Riefenstahl ever do as much?

I imagine that in the German self analysis after the war, when many of the horrors of what the regime did came to light, many Germans were able to "explain away" their guilt and responsibility, even though they had voted for Hitler, by saying that they were "tricked" or that "he lied to them." Leni clearly had Pro Nazi sympathies but its clear that when she put her support behind Hitler, she didn't envisage the shootings, gassings and other horrors. The look of distress on her face, and of the lads, is not the look of one cheering on the destruction of innocents.

And by the time she became aware of it, the political climate in Germany was hostile to any dissent from the official party line. I imagine that by the early 40's many Germans knew they were in a totalitarian system but a combination of moral cowardice and self preservation made them keep their mouths shut. Jaeger called it "internal emigration" I think. In reality it was more of keeping a low profile and hoping things would blow over. I think that many realised that they had made a dreadful mistake, but it was a mistake they felt that they were not culpable for, since they had not deliberately foreseen the path things would take.

And in a sense they weren't, since they were stupid. Goebbels certainly knew that the Germans could be manipulated. I think that, from a Right perspective, we commit an error of fact when we expect the sheeple to have the same standards as men. Leni was a technically skilled sheeple. One of the reasons that men like the Founding Fathers did not allow universal suffrage is because they knew that the people weren't up to the task.

However, the intelligent Germans,realised that there was a huge moral failure of society. Adenauer, who was blameless with regard to the Nazi regime, recognised that Germany had to offer some atonement to the Jews. I think there is no other country in Europe that is as ashamed of its past as the Germans, and I think that there is no other country that has paid in restitution as much it has. But the generation that besmirched Germany's history is now nearly dead. The new Germans have no guilt at all.

MK said...

I looked at this stuff in 2012. It was more a Catholic / Protestant thing.

Exactly; different religions within the same race/country are not a difference in "temperament" per se. Rather, it's just voting with one's tribe, family, or area regardless of temperament. Of course, vote follows race (extended family) first, religion second, and economics third. Temperament? A distant fourth, if that.

The Social Pathologist said...

@MK

You took the wrong lesson away from the post.

The vote in Germany was largely sectarian. However the consequences of the voting were dependent upon the respective religious ideologies.

In Catholicism, the average voter was expected--and did--vote according to the teaching of the Church. The hierarchy wanted them to vote for the Centrist party of von Papen. And given the hierarchical nature of the Church they did. In the Catholicism of the time, the bishop and Pope did your thinking for you, regardless of your temperament.

In Protestantism, with its freedom of Conscience, and autonomy of the individual, the vote was split along temperamental lines. The Protestant vote was basically split between the Communists and the Fascists.

Hitler got into power because von Papen, an idiot, aligned with the Natsocs. The rest was history.

Jason said...

I guess a question to ask, doctor, is what can actually be done about the problem of cognitive misers and its attendent phenomena. In my mind at least, not much. It seems to me a dilemma that can at best be managed, not solved.

While I'm skeptical about its efficacy, perhaps a very limited faith can be placed in education. It would be helpful for instance if all American youth (or maybe even more, the American elite who in the future will lead in our most important sectors), to refer to those I know most about, were consistantly taught to think about how they should attempt to balance the four secular virtues: courage, moderation, prudence, and justice. Such contemplation enables one costantly ponder what are probably the four most valuable words in politics: "up to a point." It's good to have trust in a leader, a "fuhrer" even, up to a point. It's good to promote the sovereignty of the people, up to a point. And so on.

Other than that, there is the notion I know you've put foward, of limiting the franchise to those who have property. Besides the unrealism of getting the proposal passed in this era of democracy (although to be fair we might be at the epoch's endpoint), I'm not sure it would really improve things all that much. As you and others have noted, smart people can be just as guilty of tunnel vision as anybody else. Reifenstahl, a very intelligent German, clearly knew what was happening to Jews and Communists based on her involvement in the arts community, yet she choose to look the other way because of the stability the Nazis seemed to provide during the mid-1930s (that, and they allowed her to make her films, which is what really mattered to her-I personally see her not so much as a Nazi but an amoral opportunist who would sympathize with anybody: Communists, democrats, whoever). To again be judicious though, as Sebastian Haffner has pointed out it required individuals of great integrity during that period to be against Hitler. I think the reality of original sin simply disposes individuals, notably during times of sturm und drang, to be Stage I thinkers and there's not too much one can do to combat it.

The Social Pathologist said...

@Jason

It seems to me a dilemma that can at best be managed, not solved.

I think the first step is getting people to acknowledge that cognitive miserliness exists. Far too many people, even on the Right, still operate on a "rational man" model of humanity. Linked to this is the whole IQ fetish of the Alt-Right, which is premised on the notion that IQ= Rationality, and that more IQ will magically fix all problems.


While I'm skeptical about its efficacy, perhaps a very limited faith can be placed in education

I'm skeptical as well, though Stanovich seems more hopeful. I personal think that character i.e. self control, is more important once you pass a certain minimum cognitive ability. What Stanovich's work does show is that some people are more rational than others. The trick of any future political system will be in trying to find a method of putting these individuals in power.

I do think that we are in the age of terminal democracy, and I think that many people, in the end, will be happy to trade their right to vote for the promise of security and plenty. What people want is nice safe pastures, not liberty. Though my personal belief is that in the future, some form of democracy will still be required but I imagine it operating more on a local level, and dealing with concrete local problems, rather than democratic participation in more "abstract" national affairs.

To again be judicious though, as Sebastian Haffner has pointed out it required individuals of great integrity during that period to be against Hitler.

And yet the point of Haffner's story is that there was a time when men could quite reliably be counted upon to stand up against the king. His story about the Kammergericht comes to mind on a daily basis. I agree Character is the big issue.

Greg said...

"some form of democracy will still be required but I imagine it operating more on a local level, and dealing with concrete local problems"

Are you referring to subsidiarity?

The Social Pathologist said...

@Greg.

Yep. Nothing gets pushed up which can be dealt with adequately on a local level.

Dystopia Max said...

"Linked to this is the whole IQ fetish of the Alt-Right, which is premised on the notion that IQ= Rationality, and that more IQ will magically fix all problems."

STRAWMANNING PRETTY HARD THERE, this is barely a feature of most alt-right discourse, being a favorite more of NRX and techno-extremists who usually get heavily criticized by the present set of alt-righters. No one who talks seriously about the Jewish Question is going to have a simplistic IQ-centric worldview for long, to the extent that this exists this is popular in alt-Lite circles (even HBDers will usually know the subject enough to catch the likely exceptions and limits).

Is this ridiculous overstatement just something that Catholics do when they forsake common discourse, outsource their thinking to the last priest they knew, and become hyper-schismatic 'Protestant' in all but name?

MK said...

SP, my singular point: everyone votes tribal except midwit virtue signalers (whose meaningless votes vanish into the noise and so can be safely ignored).

In the Catholicism of the time, the bishop and Pope did your thinking

Bishops just stand in front of a pre-existing culture. That's why SW Germans stayed RC while the North went Prot. Or Ireland vs Northern Ireland. Why we got a Reformation; stay in front of the crowd or they leave you. Tribes, not religion.

Hitler got into power because von Papen, an idiot, aligned with the Natsocs.

I've never bought into this line of thinking. Then how did WWI happen without a Hitler? Events lead; leaders follow or get popped/replaced.

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Ilíon said...

"... for all intensive purposes ..."

Ahem, the phrase is "for all intents and purposes" ('intent' and 'purpose' being synonyms, as is common in English stock-phrases).