Moral fudging is no longer acceptable in decent company
|Once upon a time, the economic drivers of an indulgence variant of capitalism gradually colonized, conflated with and then finally pulverized everything they touched, from natural ecosystems to social/political ones and the existential software that made sense of them. And in the process, an economic system that had revolutionized the means of production and distribution, now closed in on consciousness, to wrap it in a totalitarianism fully optioned with democratic features and ‘free’ choices, that would eventually blunt disciplined critical thought and paralyze non market social governance.
This Golden Gulag (referencing Alexander Solzhenitsyn's writings about the Soviet slave camp system) lacks walls or guards, but the inmates cannot bring themselves to leave, for they are held their by visions of paradise, brought to them by the proud sponsors, whose messages form the architecture of their minds.
Such crushing capacity to dominate consciousness strips the inmates of their critical capacity to tell the difference between 'discrimination' and discernment, 'humanity' and species narcissism, 'dignity' and caricature, ‘rights’ and consumer entitlement, 'inclusion' and opportunistic colonization, ‘humanistic compassion’ and an indiscriminate soft touch, ‘freedom’ and disinhibited life without boundaries, ‘authoritarianism’ and firmness, ‘justice’ and sectional interest, 'fairness', special pleading and excuse making, ‘tolerance’ and indulgence, ‘respect’ and unjustified regard, ‘compromise’ and being compromised, 'flexibility’ and weakness, ‘concern for ‘the value of human life’ and cowardice, ‘dissent’ and treason, ‘repression’ and discipline, ‘assault’ and chastisement, ‘abuse’ and toughness, and 'violence' and the legitimate use of force.
Distinguishing ‘disadvantage’ and dysfunctional willfulness, 'personality' and moral character, ‘individualism’ and egoism, ‘helpless disempowerment’ and passive fecklessness, ‘impoverishment’ and a frugal life, 'misfortune' and inconsequential thinking, 'judgmentally' and and the ordinary exercise of judgement became all but impossible.
Desire and fantasy became synonymous with ‘needs’, needs with ‘rights’, human rights with consumer entitlement, and ‘democracy’ with consumer satisfaction.
‘Love’ conflates with lust and eroticism, biological sex with sexual political gender, ‘sexuality’ with identity (sexistentialism), vilificatory hate/phobia with principled reproductive consciousness, and sexual ‘alternativism’ with sexual error/corruption, parody, infantilism and/or cruelty.
‘Equality’ conflates into creative equivalencing that legitimizes reward for the incompetent, promotion of the unqualified, penalizing the industrious, and in the name of equality, exploiting the unequal (especially the inexperienced and young) by getting them to compete as ‘equals’ out of their league against invisible stronger players who control the rules of the game against them.
In the Gulag, failure, poor behavior and dysfunctional values are denied, smoothed away and no one’s fault because better judgement was discombobulated by larger social forces. If it were their fault, they didn’t mean it. If they did, they couldn't help it. If they could, it seemed like a good idea at the time, because everyone else was doing it. Even if it weren't, it was just ill luck that it turned out badly; shit happens. And they have to be cut a bit of slack, because hell, they are 'disadvantaged' and/or 'misunderstood' poor things who need uncritical empathy rather than be held to account.
Whatever truth values had been originally embedded in the human rights movement, as part of post World War attacks on traditional state sponsored totalitarianism, European imperialism and racism, their longer term effect was to dishonestly corrupt and obfuscate political discourse into a barrage of negative cliches and soggy indulgences. What had once been critical discernment, ordinary judgment, belief, social generalization and inter-ethnic criticism, fudged into 'discrimination’, ‘judgmentally', 'prejudice' 'stereotyping' and ‘racism’.
As time went by, this was all too often ‘crying wolf’ in order intimidate and silence opposition by using devices suspiciously similar to prejudice, judgmentally and stereotyping, to create critical vacuums around designated ideological ‘sacred sites’.
Not dissimilarly to the degradation of Marxism-Leninism into Soviet Cominternspeak during the 1930s, ideological discourse fudged and then hollowed out into name calling, sloganeering, oracular declamation, history rewriting, retrospective moral revisionism and the labeling language of heresy or political deviationism, as libertarian apparatchiks cleaned out the ideological leftovers of the pre-capitalist and ‘imperialist’ periods, sometimes using the classic techniques of discredit and delegitimation used in Soviet show trials.
(See ‘A Sorry Story’ at: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1594087-A-Sorry-Story.)
In their wake, marketing, advertising and entertainment behemoths took control of mass social consciousness, freed not just from past constraints, but anything. The wholesale removal of 'old fashioned' and 'obsolete' traditional values did not produce replacement autonomy controls, but a libertarian social management vacuum that available commercial inputs could easily fill, right under the collective nose, without anyone realizing the enormity of the substitution that had occurred.
The giveaway was the systematic unbundling and marginalization of the corresponding mirror obligations that underwrite every social entitlement or benefit. It was a sign of the times when children were given human rights without first being trained to social obedience, respect and mature responsible judgment. Instead they were trained to market obedience and the consumer lockstep.
The disappearance of powerful training mentoring within disciplined social management models meant traditional adulthood was traded in on the ever newer one of the adolescent consumer idealtype: 'The Consumerbabelet' is now as fully under the control of ‘the proud sponsors’ and the Pied Pipers of Cool, as Mao’s young Red guards in China were in the 1960s, when adult society was set upon and brought to heel by its political master, using its children.
The Cultural revolution collapsed under the welter of its own violence. Mao died. But in The West, the children’s revolution goes on, like some terrible infantile inter-generational disorder, that leaves mass adult populations as children, stripped of all their social software, except the production drivers and consumer responders.
All the great totalitarians of the twentieth century tried to interpose themselves between adults and their own thoughts and between parents and their children. But none of them have had even remotely the protracted and profound success of indulgence capital and its libertarian acolytes in the twenty-first. Our answer to this must be to rebuild our critical awareness, have the courage to call the bluff of alienated consciousness and prepare for a Judgment Day that will enable all the Peter Pans and Wendys to awake from the consumer Never Never Land that now enthralls them.