Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Power Of Comfortable Beliefs | The Z Blog

A frustration of our side is that vast numbers of people, who should be on our side, continue to believe things that are obviously untrue. Everyday, for example, we see new evidence against the alleged benefits of immigration, yet most Americans still worship immigrants like they are magic talismans. Show some principled conservatives, who claim to work from facts and reason, video from a naturalization ceremony, featuring bearded Muslims, and those principles conservatives will burst into celebratory tears.
What makes this even more frustrating is that you could sit down with these same people and explain the facts of immigration and they will nod along in agreement. Then, an hour later they will say something stupid like “we need these workers to do the jobs Americans won’t do!” Generations of propaganda about open borders plays a role, but a bigger part is that it is just easier to stick with the familiar opinions. Once you arrive at an opinion on some subject that seems to work, changing it is hard work for no obvious benefit.
This is not just something that happens with the hoi polloi. The intelligentsia suffers from it more than normal people. Steve Sailer often notes how supposedly smart people in the human sciences fall for old fallacies about genetic group differences. Here’s and example from a while back. Eric Turkheimer is a smart enough guy to know he is wrong, but it is easier to be wrong than re-think his position. There’s also a social benefit to remaining wrong, so he stays in the easy chair of egalitarian ignorance, rather than change.
Greg Cochran puzzles over this stuff in the field of medical reaearch, about which he knows a great deal, because he regularly challenges old truths about the human sciences. His idea that pathogens may be the root cause of things like Alzheimers is a revolutionary idea that is universal rejected by science, despite some promising evidence in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Cochran remains puzzled by this, but the answer is the same as with group genetic difference. It is is simply easier to believe the old ideas.
There seems to be something baked into the human consciousness that rejects empiricism, even for people in empirical fields. Mystery is more interesting than certainty, superstition is more inspiring than materialism. A famous example of this is how medicine initially responded to the Spanish Flu. Despite germ theory being established science, many doctors still thought the cause was bad miasmas that came from burning human waste in the Midwest. Maybe they just liked wearing those beak masks.
One obvious cause is that when everyone believes something, or people assume everyone believes something, it is assumed to be correct. This is human nature, which is why propaganda is such a big part of our lives. Our rulers flood the zone with one set of opinions, in an effort to drive out all others, so that people will assume everyone accepts the official dogma. It’s why every TV ad features race mixers and a Google image search of white couples returns race mixers. There can be but one opinion, the approved opinion.
There are practical considerations, as well. If you are in politics, there is no upside to pointing out to your liberal colleagues that open borders is suicide. Bernie Sanders is not a bright man, but even he understands the laws of supply and demand apply to labor markets. He will enthusiastically support the Puerto Rican bimbo running on a mix of open borders and universal free stuff. There’s no obvious benefit to Democrats in pointing out that this woman is as dumb as a gold fish, so they nod along with her.
When even people in difficult STEM fields virtue signal on nonsense like racism, there’s more than practical necessity at play. Paige Harden is a smart women working in a field compiling mountains of evidence contradicting the Progressive narrative, but she will stick with the narrative, because everyone she knows believes it. If she gets her way, brown people will be squatting in the burned out husk of her lab, as society will have reverted to that which can be sustained by them. Yet, she preaches in favor of white genocide.
It is an important thing for outsider movements to keep in mind when thinking about how to approach the other side. The normie BoomerCon in the tricorn hat hooting about the constitution is not amenable to facts and reason. He’s in a comfortable place that let’s him feel morally superior to lefty, while embracing Progressive morality. You turn him to the dark side by making that place uncomfortable for him. It’s why mockery and humor are the most powerful weapons of outsider movements. No one feels smug when being mocked.
It’s also why various forms of socialism persist, despite the monstrous failures at implementing them and the mountain of evidence contrary to the theory. The appeal of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is that going along with her is easy and fun. She is being celebrated by the media and all of the beautiful people. She’s like a viral video that everyone feels they need to see. Socialism has always pressed on that nerve, that need to feel like you are being swept along by the tides of history toward the promised land.
Barak Obama was the definition of an empty suit. He managed to make John Forbes Kerry seem complex. Yet, millions of white people showed up to vote, crying as they pulled the lever, believing they were about to experience the rapture. Obama was obviously a feckless ninny, but it was easier to believe he was the messiah, so most people went along with supporting him. It turns out that the most effective movements are the ones that make it easiest for people to accept things that are obviously untrue.