Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things You Don’t Say in Polite Society

I was listening to a podcast by Keith Preston at Attack the System regarding the question “Who are the Power Elite?”  If I recall correctly, I found this podcast through the good efforts of Charles Burris.

In this podcast, and I will paraphrase as best as I can, Mr. Preston suggested certain ways that the elite control the population.  For the lower economic classes, control is achieved through various laws that allow for an overly aggressive police – drug laws, prostitution, and the like (see William Grigg for a few examples of the methods). 

For the middle and especially upper economic classes, control is achieved through enforcement of political correctness – the avoidance of certain views found to be unacceptable in polite society.

Michael Rozeff asked an interesting question: “Why trust a government that supplies narratives at variance with the facts, or alters its narratives contradictorily from one year to the next?”

“Narratives at variance with the facts.”  It strikes me that this is the key characteristic of politically correct views, views that are acceptable in polite society; one accepts, or at least does not openly question, “narratives at variance with the facts.”

This seems to be more the case the higher one goes in economic and intellectual circles.  One need look no further than the so-called bastions of intellectual purity – the top colleges and universities – to find this to be the case.  How many students regurgitate the acceptable answer instead of the correct one – no matter how well they defend their position?

It is interesting that the brightest minds have, in many ways, been captured by the system – whether the owners of those minds understand this or not.  Consider, the top researchers, economists, financiers, academicians, journalists; all hold privileged positions much more lucrative than would likely be the case in a free market.  The brightest minds – the ones best able to question the very system that controls them – are beholden to that same system for their oversized positions.

While the internet has helped to put a crack in this armor of political correctness, the acceptance of “narratives at variance with the facts” still holds tremendous power to control – or, worded another way, the questioning of “narratives at variance with the facts” still holds tremendous power to chastise.

Consider any of the following – each topic comes with its own, very strong, politically-acceptable view:

September 11, Pearl Harbor, dropping the atomic bombs, Ron Paul, central banking, global warming (or climate change), the two-party system, an independent press, honor the troops, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, the Good War, the gold standard, Iran, Israel, Austrian economics, .

You hold one of these privileged positions – perhaps a nice research position at the NIH, or a high-profile position with a major newspaper or nightly news broadcast; an employee of a central bank;  an eight-figure-a-year-bonus banker; an executive at a defense contractor.  You are a cog in polite society.

Go to your next cocktail party, and question the politically acceptable view of any of these topics.  I don’t mean one-on-one, where your counterpart’s views will not be heard by others.  No, say something to the crowd of five or six standing by the cheese table, where each member of the group must be concerned about witnesses.  You won’t do this too often before you are no longer invited.

Put faces on the people at the party: Warren Buffet, Ben Bernanke, Jamie Dimon, Jeff Immelt.  Have you heard any such individuals question an official narrative – one at obvious variance with the facts?  How about the news anchors, business journalists?  Maria Bartiromo?  Do you think you will be invited to Davos after such an indiscretion?

I am trying to remember my internal explanation for the existence of “political correctness” prior to hearing the above-mentioned podcast.  I cannot remember it – the explanation given by Mr. Preston was one of the bigger light-bulb moments I have had in quite a while; it has erased any thinking from my memory that I had about this concept before.


  1. I think Political Correctness is just a modern expression of the ancient tribal taboos.

    Taboos serve(d) the survival function of maintaining rituals whose effectiveness was guided by the survival bias: if we did it yesterday, and we're still alive today, then we'll do it tomorrow.

    Most people are guided by time-preference to survive and thrive; for many, that means learning the advantages of the system (which worked yesterday, kept them alive today, should still work tomorrow...)

    In the cases where those intellectuals guided by a long-term time-preference towards "truth" (the philosophers of any era) question the status-quo (the cultural ideas protected by taboo/Political Correctness), there is always a Freudian-Ego blowback.

    Scrapping whole survival systems (including taboos) is a daunting task for a population that mostly just wants to get by. So when you agitate people at a party about the two-party illusion, or about AGW pseudo-science, or any of the cultural ideas they are inundated with by a regular exposure to controlled MSM, the reaction is fairly obvious. You're not just confronting a logical problem, you're calling into question their whole identity built around the assumptions they have made about the culture they live in. In short, you're being a dick.

    I often wonder whether all good work done by honest, wise philosophers doesn't amount to a whole lot of arm-waving. I think cultures mostly learn to survive and then roll forward on momentum until all the cracks in the system eventually bring it down. Seems to always happen historically.

    That being said, the body of work regarding liberty, non-aggression and free-markets that has survived those collapses; that has been built upon by subsequent cultures; that has been carried forward and advocated for despite a near impossible resistance, does seem to sometimes seep into the zeitgeist of the new cultures that are built from the rubble.

    Plus, it seems like the only genuine discussion being held by those of us looking to systematize the crazy world we live and what it all means. Also, its funny (excuse my schadenfreude) to see the looks on peoples' faces as their worldviews get shattered on the alter of truth (as far as feeble, human minds can take that concept.)

    1. Alaska, thank you for this excellent comment.

      “Scrapping whole survival systems (including taboos) is a daunting task for a population that mostly just wants to get by.”

      This is very true, it seems to me. It is an interesting treadmill – through inflation and taxation, even very productive people are only able to just “get by”; just getting by limits their ability to both focus on the discrepancies in the narratives, as well as their desire to be seen thinking outside of the acceptable bounds due to the risks such displays pose.

      “You're not just confronting a logical problem, you're calling into question their whole identity built around the assumptions they have made about the culture they live in.”

      What’s really funny about this is that the sleepwalker is almost always the one who prompts the discussion – it’s almost as if they want to be sure other people believe the fairy tale as well.

      “Also, its funny (excuse my schadenfreude) to see the looks on peoples' faces as their worldviews get shattered on the alter of truth (as far as feeble, human minds can take that concept.)”

      Often, they first go through a few verbally violent outbursts before they allow their faces to give away their awakening.

    2. I'd only amend one statement: "In short, you're being a dick,"
      to: In short, you're being (perceived as) a dick.

      I often find it difficult to draw the line that keeps my integrity in tact and is not just me saying things to schadenfreude another person's un-substantiated belief system.

      So in polite company, I too stick to chit chat, unless some sleepwalker goes ferreting out from me "the nature of the thing."

  2. very interesting comment, makes you think.
    one thing though, while it may seem almost self-evident to you, Mr Rozeff, and readers here, that this narrative is at odds to the truth, that is NOT the case for most of the people who are so in the PC mold.

    PC think only needs to control the questionable Apple, and even most of them will have, at most, a vague unreflected uneasiness about the specific topic, with PC simply discouraging any more reflection.
    When someone questions this actively in an obviously UN-PC manner, the reaction is almost automatic, a how dare you question mom-and-apple-pie!

    so subtle this mechanism.

    But what should one think of a topic, where it isn't the social sanction mechanism of PC, but the force of criminal law, that is employed to control? (shouldn't that fact alone make one wonder why thats needed?)
    Best example is France's holicaust-denial law, which declares as fact the Nuremberg trial evidence, and punishes questioning those, even though we now know that the Soviets entered faked facts, as in who perpetrated Katyn

    Raising THE MOST un-PC topic here, btw, and I found it interesting that you did NOT include it in your list above (good war and Israel are too general to stand in lieu of).
    hope you didn't pc-out there!

    1. No, I didn't PC-out: most are just pawns, like the rest of us. And the elite aren't all beholden to the same text.

      What I wish I remembered to include was JFK...and his brother. And I will likely think of more examples over the coming days.

  3. I once got into a discussion on Pearl Harbor, online, at a special forces directed website with a fairly well known former Navy seal. My argument was the American government knew full well in advance, the Japanese were going to attack. He argued they did not break the code until after the attack and continued on a scripted diatribe why I was wrong and he was right. Despite my overwhelming argument to the contrary (point, counterpoint) I could not get him to change "The Government is always right" belief system. The old line about arguing with a fool comes to mind, but despite that I just would not give this up. I believe he works for the CIA or another alphabet soup organization and was trying to dis-information my argument. The thought being placing a seed of doubt into the mind of anyone reading the comments section.

    1. It seems to me the best we can hope for in such situations is to place a seed of doubt, as you suggest. In any discussion (online or in person), many people follow that do not otherwise comment. You might reach one or two.

      This reminds me of the courage of Ron Paul on "Meet the Press"when he was pressed about Lincoln. How many people left that viewing and looked something up that they might not have considered before?


  4. Maybe it is time for a politically incorrect news network.

    1. you think the system would let that happen?
      no one would buy/get away with buying ad time; anyone working there will have automatically blackballed himself; the cable systems would never carry the station;etc.
      the Howard Sterns are only permitted to be when they're un-PC in inconsequential matters; and the George Carlin's when its above the listeners heads or just perceived by them as a laugh..

      nvr happen

  5. Dear Mr. Bionic Mosquito,

    From what I read here you may benefit from my story. Though it pains me to say it now, on account of his fomenting and later starting the Civil War and suspending fundamental rights and setting the stage for the decades of oppression and hatred of the South, I once exclaimed to my colleagues that Abraham Lincoln was the worst president in the history of America. After about five seconds of apoplectic silence, with a clamor the others in the room in one accord bowed to their knees and paid the proper homage to the true god—repeating fervently “Lincolnu Akbar! Lincolnu Akbar!”—for a few minutes, and with one voice rebuked me for my blasphemy. No amount of reason could persuade them otherwise. Their undaunted reverence touched me so much that I at once converted to the truth. I no longer dabble in what I know now to be subversive and clearly wrongheaded things like questions. They call it orthodoxy. You should try it; I haven’t had a thought since.

  6. These people who simply can't accept reality are what I call "simple minds" or "weak minds". In short they are cowards. Most people don't have the guts to question what their 4th grade teacher taught them. They're a waste of time.

  7. Coming out of World War 2, US psychological warfare operatives knew they could turn their skills to political purposes. They had just succeeded in making Americans believe that all Japanese and German people were horribly evil. They had been able to manipulate imagery successfully in that area. Why couldn't they shape America's view of a whole planet that lay beyond personal experience?

    See "Foundation of Mass Mind Control"
    "Ebola: why hasn’t a pandemic ever started in Brooklyn?"
    Both articles by Jon Rappoport

    In The Second Sin Thomas Szasz wrote, "Man is the animal that speaks. Understanding language is the key to understanding man; and the control of language, to the control of man." Alfred Korzybski, founder of General Semantics indicated that, "Those who control symbols control humanity."

    Slavespeak (what I will call Violent Communication) is ALL language (internal as well) that [IS DESIGNED] to put an individual at a disadvantage in relation to others and to the world in general. Slavespeak probably occurs in most domains of human endeavor such as conversations, blogs etc etc...

    Marshall Rosenberg on domination structures and communication...

    Marshall Rosenberg on domination structures and communication on youtube. Part 1 thru 3.

    http://m.youtube (dot) com/watch?v=-2vd8dHwaCM