Rationalization Case Study: “How Affairs Make My Marriage Stronger”

I don’t recall which blogger coined the term “Rationalization Hamster.”  But this article is clearly a case of a rather vigorous one running loose:

“How Affairs Make My Marriage Stronger”

Summary: woman marries “player” who cheats on her during her pregnancy.  Afterwards, she cheats on him.  They continue cheating on each other.  She makes it clear this isn’t an “open” marriage, and that the affairs are an open secret.  Woman rationalizes the whole thing as somehow making her marriage “stronger,” which obviously raises the question of what she considers a marriage to be, and what makes one strong.  The couple is approaching The Wall, and, conveniently, only now that her prospects are dimming faster than his, she begins to doubt the wisdom of the affairs and thinks of curtailing them.

File this under: “Garbage printed to assuage readers’ consciences.”  It dishonest and harmful on its face: again, under what definition of “strong marriage” is this woman operating?  But further, it re-frames the author’s selfish concern that she soon will be “out-played” by her husband as some sort of maturing…some sort of wisdom gained along the way.  The article is nothing but pandering to the delusions and selfish desires of readers, through-and-through.  Just like most Progressive proclamations, this is a bad idea “disruptively” disguised as a good one, and I just felt the need to call it what it is.

“Help Me Help You,” or: “Just Take the STEM Job!”

I’m not a fan of small sample sizes.  “Anecdote” is not the singular of “data.”  But every time I read a mainstream news article, I can’t help but notice how neatly it conforms to the social trends openly acknowledged and analyzed among the Dark Enlightenment writers.  Progressives spend a lot of time telling the public that “not every X is like Y,” and they are right.  However, when a repeated samplings of “X” turn out to be “Y,” it is both useful and prudent to form a worldview that takes both facts into account; something which would be an anathema to the standard Progressive mindset.

One such issue is that of women in STEM careers.  The Progressive party line is that women make up a minority of STEM workers because they are discriminated against in both educational and employment opportunities.  They believe that in a world free of discrimination, the demographics of all sub-populations would exactly reflect the demographics of the overall population, and any deviation is prima facie evidence of discrimination, a belief codified as the doctrine of disparate impact in the United States.

While Progressives are right to attack actual discrimination, and the jury is still out on whether there are genetic (to include gender) factors which influence certain cognitive capabilities vital to STEM, their claims that women are just as interested in STEM as men have always struck me as baseless.  These claims appear to be rooted in a desire to achieve a genderless world, rather than in any actual, empirical evidence.  By assuming equal interest and then interpreting unequal ratios of men-to-women in STEM fields as evidence of discrimination, Progressives manage to create a problem from scratch…one which, of course, can be solved with significant government funding and displays of contrition from all men everywhere.

The problem is that even in Progressive-friendly media, nearly every woman-on-the-street seems to serve as counter-evidence to the Progressive worldview.  Unless an article’s purpose is to shine a spotlight on women-in-STEM, it seems like not many women-in-STEM become subjects of articles.  As an outside observer of the cause, it almost makes me want to grab the writers and tell them to maintain consistency in their narrative…to help them help theirselves, as it were.

At issue today is this article from CNN.com: Opinion: College Graduates, a Job is Just a Job.  The article itself is fine, and contains decent advice.  The issue lies with the two examples used to discuss the difficulties in finding jobs.

First is writer Peggy Drexler’s friend’s daughter:

A friend’s daughter graduating this week from UC Berkeley with dual honors degrees in sociology and math and four years of experience working in sexual assault advocacy on campus will be spending the summer working at her local Williams-Sonoma — and readying grad school applications — after a number of dead-end interviews with women’s rights groups. “And I feel grateful,” she told me.

Second is the author’s daughter’s friend, Stephanie:

Stephanie, a friend of my daughter’s, graduated from her Ivy League school two years ago. She imagined a career in magazine publishing — she really wanted to be a beauty editor — but ended up in finance instead. The money is good, and the job is fine, but it’s not her passion. And so she has an end date in sight.

Example #1 has degrees in sociology and math.  While the sociology degree is meh, the math degree had real promise.  Then I read about the work with sexual assault advocacy on campus and already knew where this was heading.  Did she pursue a STEM career with her math degree?  Nope; she attempted to go to work with women’s rights groups.

Example #2 graduated with an unknown degree, but one which obviously qualified her for a job in finance.  Finance is a decidedly numbers-oriented career…but note that her aspiration isn’t to continue on in finance but rather to become a beauty editor in a magazine.

So, let’s recap: article in a Progressive-leaning media outlet, where the lack of women-in-STEM is a perennial issue, uses two young female college grads who are qualified for work in STEM yet don’t want to work in STEM as examples of how difficult it is to find a fulfilling job early in one’s career.  In a world where women were just dying to get into STEM jobs denied them by evil discriminating men, I would expect to see the reverse.  Yet I don’t.

Again, this is admittedly a small sample size discussed here.  And there are many capable women working in STEM.  I only mention this particular article to aggregate it into the case file against the Progressive myth that all demographics want all the same things in all the same ratios, and any deviations from this even distribution are prima facie evidence of discrimination.  None of those things are true, and we need to remove them as assumptions guiding public discourse and policymaking.

We Are *Not* Better People

“We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”
–U.S. District Judge John Jones’ decision in Whitewood v. Wolf

This quote caught my attention because it perfectly summarizes the beliefs and mindsets of the progressive vanguard of our society.

It also caught my attention because it is completely wrong.

As Francis Fukuyama points out in The Decay of American Political Institutions, (article now behind a paywall, book forthcoming later this year), Americans know little about how our version of democratic government compares to the functioning of other democratic governments.  He highlights the American faith in representative democracy, and how the division of power among the independently elected legislators supposedly yields a system responsive to the people yet immune to undue influence and lobbying, in contrast to the supposed corruptibility of executives, judges, and bureaucrats.

While he makes several excellent points about the effectiveness of this system, and whether or not it is operating “as intended,” I want to focus on his observation that several significant civil rights victories were the result not of the people acting through their elected legislators, nor the result of executives or bureaucrats using their authority.  Instead, these rights were litigated for, with considerable delay and at considerable expense, in response to individual grievances which had to wind their way through the federal court system, very often to the Supreme Court itself.

Gay marriage is one such issue.  11 states have legalized it through referendums or legislative votes, but 8 were forced to legalize it via court decision.  8 additional state laws have been ruled unconstitutional and are pending appeals.  40 states outlawed it as recently as within the last 20 years. Source

While the language of Judge Jones’ decision is flowery and triumphant, it is also clearly untrue; I see little evidence that the majority of Americans have “become better people” with respect to gay marriage in the last 20 years.  The majority of Americans, via their most representative branch of government, continue to oppose gay marriage.  It is once again only after considerable expenses and delays in courts that citizens have been granted their rights by judges, rather than by the vote and support of their fellow citizens.  Is America progressive?  It appears so.  Are Americans progressive?  It seems rather clear that we are not.

This is not a condemnation of “activist judges.”  This is not a commentary on the correctness or incorrectness of Judge Jones’ decision.  It is not a statement supporting or opposing gay marriage.  My purpose here is to point out that Americans’ civil rights are continuing to be advanced despite American voters and the will of the people.  While I don’t feel like digging into Moldbug and linking chapter-and-verse tonight, I must mention that this is clearly an instance of public policy trumping politics, or that of the experts ruling the people, something which doesn’t bode well for the future of our democracy.

John C. Wright’s “The Unified Field Theory of Madness”

My favorite post to write so far has been my analysis of post-modernism.  The post has roots in a problem which bothered me for years; attempting to make sense of both the causes and effects of the full range of leftist social pathologies.  While self-reinforcing behavioral cycles do occur, I was unsatisfied with the chicken-and-egg cyclical nature that seems to apply to the entire post-modernist phenomenon.

Starting from my observations and working backwards, I arrived at the conclusion that modern leftists fail to understand entropy and opportunity cost.  They do so because they have inherited a society wealthy enough to insulate them from the consequences of their actions, which effectively breaks the cause-effect feedback loop upon which all learning is based.  From these twin failings of cognition, the rest of their policies and behaviors follow.  This satisfactorily addressed the fact that all my observations boild down to ways in which leftism was somehow detached from reality itself.  (Not that this didn’t stop me from addressing these observations seperately in the many posts linked at bottom!)

So yesterday I came across a post in the same vein that easily earned a spot on The Encyclopedia: John C. Wright’s “The Unified Field Theory of Madness.”  Wright spells out his motivations clearly from the get go:

Do not be deceived: Leftism is an enigma. We need a theorem that explains not one or two aspects of Leftism, but all their traits.

He then follows up with his own observations:

The theory must explain, first, the honest decency of the modern liberals combined with their astonishing indifference, nay, hostility to facts, common sense, and evidence; second, it must explain their high self-esteem (or, to be blunt, their pathological narcissism) combined not merely with an utter lack of accomplishment, but with their utter devotion to destructiveness, a yearning to ruin everything they touch; third, it must explain their sanctimoniousness combined with their applause, praise, support, and tireless efforts to spread all perversions (especially sexual), moral decay, vulgarity, and every form of desecration; fourth, their pretense of intellectual superiority combined with their notorious mental fecklessness; fifth, it must explain both their violence and their pacifism; sixth, the theory must explain why they hate the very things they should love most; seventh, the theory must explain why they are incapable of comprehending an honest disagreement or any honorable foe.
The rest of the post is his analysis of these observations and the construction of his explanatory theorum.  It is well worth it to read the article in full, but I will add one last quote that most directly addresses the leftist detachment from reality:
I spoke above of the Unreality Principle. Here is where it comes into play. The Unreality Principle is the moral imperative to ignore and deny reality at all costs, and remain loyal and faithful to the consensus-made make-believe illusion-choked funhouse-mirror Wonderland of Liberal Bullshit. You must bathe in the bullshit, eat the bullshit, drink the bullshit, and stuff the bullshit up your nose as far as far can be, because from now own the offal will be feast and wine to you, and will be your baptism and your oxygen. It will feed and sustain you.
However, the Unreality Principle demands a cost. First, there is something like a daily maintenance cost: you must attend closely to whatever the social cues are telling you, and believe them and not your lying eyes. The needle to perform this particular lobotomy is called the Mass Media.Thanks to the Mass Media, you can live in the richest nation in the history of forever, and believe that poverty is overwhelming. You can live in the least imperial nation of all time, and denounce it daily as imperialist. You can live in the nation, out of all of infinity, which grants the best opportunities and bends over backwards to offer education and jobs to women, blacks, Jews, and immigrants of all colors and backgrounds, and denounce it as systematically racist. You can live in the nation where there are fewer Fascist White Supremacists than there are members of the Flat Earth Society, and yet believe that the brain of Hitler kept alive in a jar in Brazil is about to give the order for a sudden Aryan insurrection, and the blacks will be strung up from lampposts as far as the eye can see tomorrow. Meanwhile the real fascists who are really committing real atrocities, and are indeed leaving corpses as far as the eye can see, the social cues tell you that these are kindly people devout to the Religion of Peace provoked by the evil Jews, who only want to fly kites under the benevolent and avuncular leadership of Saddam.

Readers of Moldbug will have picked up on elements of Cathedralism in the quote above, and there is more in the full article and the comments section.If you thought these quotes were interesting, check out the whole article!  John C. Wright’s “The Unified Field Theory of Madness.

Some of my own thoughts on reality vs madness:

Left Wing Intolerance

A common theme, both on my blog and similar ones, is that what is commonly referred to as “diversity” or “multiculturalism” in our society are actually “homogenization” and “progress to a singular culture.”  Progressivism, masquerading as Liberalism, is fundamentally an intolerant, tyrannical, and often fanatical force*.  This is rarely discussed, but recently two articles worth sharing on this subject came to my attention:

Who Are The Real Gay Marriage Bigots? – A nasty intolerant streak runs through the argument of some gay rights supporters

…As I’ve made clear repeatedly in my writing, I support gay marriage and am cheered that advocates for it have made such stunning legal and cultural gains so quickly. I consider these gains to be broadly harmonious with recent legal precedents and cultural trends, as well as the deeper political implications of liberal democratic government and theological implications of Christian egalitarianism.**

But I’m also troubled by the equally stunning lack of charity, magnanimity, and tolerance displayed by many gay marriage advocates. This very much includes Mark Joseph Stern, Henry Farrell, and others who are cheering them on.

This quote gets at the core of how I am simultaneously a conservative person, and very tolerant of people with different lifestyles than my own, and absolutely not a Democrat, a “Liberal”, or a “Progressive”.  There is simply no political party, other than perhaps a small sect of Libertarians, that truly advocates a live-and-let-live social policy.  It is often said that conservatives think liberals are good people with bad ideas, and liberals think conservatives are evil people.  That is a serious asymmetry.  I often find myself siding with conservatives simply in opposition to left-wing vitriol.  I believe that establishing a reasonable common-ground is the place where understanding begins, and the self-righteousness of the Left is almost always a larger barrier to that than the religious beliefs of the Right.  To use an analogy, a boxing referee is on no one’s “side,” and if he’s always restraining only one boxer, that’s because he’s the one always kicking the loser while he’s down.

This same theme was tackled recently at HuffPo, of all places:

Why Are Left-Wing People So Annoying?

…When I was at university I realized I was never going to make the cut when it came to being a fully-fledged social activist on a mission to destroy global capitalism….I floundered because I refused to accept something that many of my other like-minded peers already knew: some left-wing people are just really quite annoying.

If you want to know what I’m talking about, try going to a political meeting where you will certainly find someone who will shout at you for wearing jeans BECAUSE IT MEANS YOU ARE COMPLICIT WITH THE SYSTEM!!!

You will also probably find the agenda derailed for 25 minutes as people discuss whether it is ‘problematic’ to use the word ‘pet’ because it might be encouraging the offensive cultural appropriation of northern people.

This article hits quite a few aspects of the problem, but I’ll highlight only one.  Note both the dress code, and the extreme moral significance placed upon the dress code.  This is not live-or-let-live.  Progress demands conformity.  Progress leads to a singular, universal, mandated culture with approved answers for all things.

A second bit is worth quoting because it ties into a long-running theme here at iParallax:

It must be said that, inevitably, this behaviour is most common with student activists: they have not had enough experience with the real world to know that adult life is full to the brim with moral and ethical compromises. It’s easy to buy all your veg from an organic farmers market and spend all week putting up aggressive flyers when you have a big old loan and four hours of lectures a week.

Consider that nice, eloquent bit of writing, and see it expanded upon in this long-winded excerpt from my Post-Modernism, Wealth, and Entropy post:

I’ve used a lot of analogies to this point; now I’ll get to a real example of how this plays out in real life.  Over the summer I mowed my yard, weeded the garden, and trimmed overgrowing bushes and trees.  I didn’t just do this once and quit forever; every weekend I had to spend a little bit of time engaged in at least one of those activities.  In order to maintain my yard in a state of low entropy, I had to continuously exert effort.  Despite my education, training, and qualifications to do many high-minded things, the task of simply maintaining my home requires repetitive, boring, simple work.   No further amount of specialization or civilization on my part is going to remove or reduce the requirement to constantly overcome chaos.  Despite my white collar job, I am still very in-tune with entropy thanks to this simple connection to reality via my yard.

Now consider the stereotypical young, urban college student living in a dorm, or a young activist living in a city apartment performing some paper-pushing job and spending his free time raising awareness for organic, pesticide-free farming and against genetically modified organisms.  He’s never so much as maintained a yard.  He has no appreciation for the amount of effort required to keep it looking nice this week, and he certainly has no appreciation for the fact that he’ll have to do it again the next week.  Instead, his world is a constant treadmill of progress; he takes his 100-level classes, then his 200-level, then 300, 400, and on to a capstone course.  Maybe he continued on to grad school, and then wrote a thesis.  Then a PhD, and a dissertation.  He watched fellow socio-political activists secure hate-speech rules.  Then he watched “tolerance” become the law of the land.  Then he watched the newly empowered Political Commissars intolerantly silence anyone who disagreed with them.  (After all, democracy is a vector, not merely a system)  Never once did anyone repeat anything.  Never once did anyone lose ground to chaos.  Never once did someone have to exert effort just to maintain the status quo.  And so this individual who knows only life inside a low-entropy system tries with the fervor of a prisoner of Plato’s cave to impose the rules of his low-entropy world upon the farmer, whose entire job it is to create order in of a high-entropy environment.  After a summer of home ownership, this activist would come to appreciate Round-Up and drought-resistance grass, and by analogy would probably support moderate pesticide and GMO usage on the part of the farmers who feed him.  But his near total-disconnect from nature’s high-entropy state, made possible by the ultra-long supply chain of a major city, has rendered him completely ignorant of the issues upon which he speaks.

Both the HuffPo piece and my example above, as well as the gay marriage article linked at top, highlight the themes that animate the entire Dark Enlightenment movement.  Liberalism/Progressivism are neither liberal nor progressive.  Those preaching tolerance the loudest are the least tolerant among us.  Conformity to a certain worldview is being demanded.  Even worse, that worldview has no grounding in the actual world.

The emergence of left-leaning authors, writing in mainstream publications, who dare address left-wing fanaticism, however obliquely, gives me hope that perhaps a higher degree of sanity will prevail in the socio-political arena at some point in the near future.

*Related posts on Progressive intolerance and its goal of human singularity include:

** Paging Moldbug and his Ultracalvinist Hypothesis:

The “ultracalvinist hypothesis” is the proposition that the present-day belief system commonly called “progressive,” “multiculturalist,” “universalist,” “liberal,” “politically correct,” etc, is actually best considered as a sect of Christianity.

Specifically, ultracalvinism (which I have also described here and here) is the primary surviving descendant of the American mainline Protestant tradition, which has been the dominant belief system of the United States since its founding. It should be no surprise that it continues in this role, or that since the US’s victory in the last planetary war it has spread worldwide.

 

 

“Wingman Culture” and Military Sexual Assault

For various reasons, sexual assault in the military is both an issue I feel strongly about, and find exceedingly difficult to write about.  At this point, too many layers of misinformation and propaganda need to be scraped away from the topic before any semblance of the truth can possibly be addressed.  My thoughts on the mess this problem has become are best expressed by one of my favorite Moldbug quotes:

“It is impossible to enumerate the full list of reasons behind this belief. It’s like asking you why you prefer a romantic candlelight dinner for two at a simple, yet elegant, French restaurant, to being dragged alive behind an 18-wheeler at highway speed until there is nothing on the rope but a bloody flap of skin.” – Mencius Moldbug, “An Open Letter to Progressives,” pg 121

Accordingly, this post will be short on analysis.  I will merely clarify one point up front: the term “wingman” is commonly used in modern parlance to roughly mean, “a friend who facilitates one’s sexual adventurism.”  In the institutional culture of the US Air Force, however (where I believe, but can’t prove, that the term originated), the term “Wingman” is analogous to the the Army and Marine Corps’ concept of “Battle Buddy” or the Navy’s “Shipmate.”  The understanding is that once you cross a threshold from safety into danger (combat, or otherwise), it’s “game on” and everyone is obligated to be vigilant and pro-actively protect and correct one another.  However, the term has morphed to include not just authentically dangerous situations, but everyday life.  It has gained a connotation of “collective punishment,” or “babysitting,” which is expressed more thoroughly in the article I’m about to link.

So, perhaps you are familiar enough with Air Force culture to see where this article relates to counter-sexual assault efforts.  Perhaps you are not familiar with the culture, but are perceptive enough to imagine how this could tie in to the very public issue of sexual assault in the military.  If so, check out:  The Real Meaning of “Wingman”  (If not, perhaps this post just isn’t for you!)

Wingman. For the Air Force, this has become a loaded word.  For decades, it was a term associated with the long understood criticality of mutual support in combat operations. It stood for the proposition that assertive teamwork was the key to mission success. In recent years, it’s been hijacked by sloganeers who’ve used it as a rhetorical device to saturate bomb airmen concerning their duty to take care of, safeguard, and surveil one another…When I ask airmen what the word  means to them, the answers are mostly negative, with emphasis on the idea that “wingman” and “motherhood” have become too synonymous in the Air Force lexicon…

Here’s what “wingman” means to me.

First of all, it’s not as simple as “take care of each other.”  Sometimes being a wingman requires much more than that.  Sometimes, it requires much less.  Three qualities define a good wingman, and each has its own texture…Mutual Support…Situational Awareness…Individual Reliability

Despite considerable Air Force preaching to the contrary — especially among senior enlisted leaders and especially where off-duty conduct is concerned — a wingman culture is not a tool for collective responsibility.  Individuals are responsible for their actions.  Wingmen are encouraged to step in when things are headed down the wrong path, but they are neither law enforcement officers nor morality police, and in most cases they have no authority in off-duty contexts to tell their teammates what they can and cannot do.  Individual responsibility has always been and must always be the dominant logic governing matters of good order and discipline.  Blaming wingman action or inaction, even perceptually, when an individual does something wrong, transfers core accountability away from the wrongdoer and on to someone else.  Other potential wrongdoers view this as indulgence are emboldened.  Wingmen grow resentful of being blamed for failing to prevent wrongdoing by what amounts to judgment calls in gray areas, and tend to avoid off-duty teammate interactions in the future.  This degrades mutual support rather than enhancing it.

It shouldn’t be too hard to see the connection between the “collective responsibility” definition of being a wingman and the social phenomenon of White Knighting.  There are few things as infuriating as watching unsupportive, unaware, and unreliable “wingmen” place themselves and others in danger, and refuse to learn from their mistakes even after sobering up and hearing a debrief of their misadventures.  Except being held accountable for those misadventures, “even perceptually.”

It’s enough to make a white knight hang up his spurs.

Categorical Errors and Administrative Morality

I find myself needing the phrase “error of category” more and more often.  Simultaneously, I’ve learned that if one encounters an error of category in every discussion, one should cut immediately to ending that discussion.  It won’t reach a resolution.

Errors of category come in two flavors.

One is a direct, point-by-point comparison between items which appear to be similar, but are actually dissimilar to the point where the comparison is no longer useful.  An example of this is comparing democracy and theocracy.  Both are “systems of government,” are they not?  But the comparison broke down in a recent discussion with a friend.  We observed that, for some reason, democracies in the Middle East have tended to become theocratic.  The spread of Shari’a law in the third world is a commonly-spoken of fear in the West.  (Oddly, fears of Shari’a spreading in its native land are taken seriously, whereas expressing concern over the spread of Shari’a in the West is dismissed as a provincial attitude.)  I pointed out that democracy is merely a process of implementing majority rule, and that it is instructive to note the US Constitution specifically lists certain items which are not subject to majority rule.  Majority rule defines the law of the land-except when it doesn’t.  It seems there are certain cultural a priori foundations upon which our democratic government is based.  A theocracy, on the other hand, openly admits its a priori positions and implements them without shame or concealment.  Thus, democracy is merely a process, but theocracy is both a process and a foundation.  In this instance, the lack of a true point-to-point, one-to-one comparison undermines the usefulness of the comparison and inferences being made.

The second flavor of categorical error is when an issue is analyzed and judged by criteria that are inappropriate for the category of the item being judged.  The difference between the first flavor and the second is that here, the comparison is *implicit.*  While the first is faulty thinking, the second is more accurately characterized as a failure to think.  I find they typically occur when the difficulties of actually implementing an idealistic principle reveal something about the principle itself and the principle’s role in society.

An example of this type of categorical error is the occasional discussions about school holiday schedules and non-Christian students.  The traditional school calendar is unquestionably shaped by three major American cultural forces: agricultural schedules, secular federal holidays, and Christian holidays.

Arguments from a strictly negative standpoint, ie “Why should everyone get Christmas off?” are non-starters.  Too few people feel oppressed by the Christmas holiday.  The discussion really centers on the positive argument, “Why can’t we take Ramadan off too?”  or, “Why not take Ramadan off *instead*?”  Here, one begins to see an argument which is not a non-starter.  One segment of society notices that the government observes one religious holiday, but not their own.  The government is facilitating one religious tradition, but not another.  The Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment gets invoked.  The government mandates school attendance during Ramadan, but not Christmas.  The Free Exercise Clause gets invoked.  It’s moral outrage all the way down.

Obviously, the ideal is that no one has to miss school to observe their holidays.  Yet it should be readily apparent that to schedule the school year around every single religious holiday, including those on the lunar calendar, would be both irregular and would not actually leave many days left over for schooling!

So the inclusive crowd is advocating an ideal which, in effect, would not provide enough time for education to take place.  Educational resources would be vastly outstripped by the simple, inevitable process of the students growing up.  Our students would fall even further behind students elsewhere in the world.

We’ve described the inability for social systems to keep up with the baseline rate of change in society: these are the Formal Causes of Post-Modernism–ignorance of entropy, and ignorance of opportunity cost!

The error of category here is applying the 1st Amendment to the school schedule; we have applied weighty principles to mere societal administrative decisions.  We run into the problem I think of as “Administrative Morality.”  The resulting conflict appears intractable.

There are a few noteworthy points to take away from this:

  1. The forces of Progressivism drive cultures towards a singularity.  Rather than Christians and Muslims living their lives by their calendars, Progress will eventually set them to living on the same calendar.
  2. From point #1, it follows that “multiculturalism” as understood today is untenable.  Diversity is best understood as forced homogenization which will undermine any culture participating in it.
  3. The collision of abstract principles with the mundane realities of life re-emphasize that culture is a matter of common, shared beliefs and practices.  This is essentially the inverse of point #2; to maintain their identities, cultures must maintain a certain amount of physical integrity among themselves.

I’ll end by expanding on my third point.  For an American expatriate community in a Muslim country to demand the silencing of muezzin calls would be unthinkable, either in the spirit under which people demand the 10 Commandments be removed from government buildings, or under the more explicitly progressive-environmental cause of “noise pollution.”  Yet what will communities do when a newly-built mosque begins playing calls to prayer?  Will they be protected as analogous to church bells, even though church bells chime briefly at set times of the day, and calls to prayer are much longer and not based on an hourly-schedule?  How will a culture which includes aurally invasive traditions coexist with a culture which does not?

I predict that, in a spirit similar to The Revolution, enough instances of categorical errors and administrative morality will eventually demonstrate that true diversity and multiculturalism resembles an old-school system of city quarters, where each culture can flourish and coexist beside, rather than comingled with one another.  In fact, most American cities can already be described in terms of quarters.  It is only the elite institutions which attempt to exist otherwise.  I wonder how long that will last?