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Subversive common sense


[This is another book-excerpt, a negatively charged one this time.]

Nietzsche’s self-appointed task of “revaluating values” isn’t difficult. It requires only a slightly independent mind to see the silliness of conventional wisdom. For example, to be “successful” typically means to obey, to follow institutional norms slavishly, not to have moral and intellectual integrity or to be a broad-minded and compassionate human being. Quite the contrary! Thus, financial and career success, in themselves, can be seen as contemptible (for many reasons, actually).

Or, being a man who “gets” a lot of women tends to have negative implications regarding your moral and intellectual worth. The Tucker Maxes of the world are beloved by young women, while the merely good men are not. There is nothing admirable about seducing females by projecting “masculine dominance.”

Or, to act morally, while always a good thing, is usually psychologically indistinguishable from acting so as to be thought well of by others. Even if you want to do something considered immoral or unkind, you take the easy way out and fit in with the crowd.

Or, most leftists conform almost as much as everyone else, only in a different milieu. To question Leninism in the International Socialist Organization will get you ostracized or expelled; to point out obvious truths about human biology and psychology to feminists will get you demonized as a misogynist; to offer slight qualifications to anarchism in some anarchist group will get you hated as an authoritarian; and hipsters are just embarrassing. Ideologically defined groups are no credit to humanity.

Or, an “intellectual” can, to a first approximation, be defined as an educated person who loves to hear himself or herself talk. Other criteria can be given: one should have no commitment to truth for its own sake, one should take others seriously as long as they have a few letters after their name, one should care far more about career goals than mentoring students, etc.

Or, being a soldier, that oh-so-noble vocation, requires a unique skillset: being uniquely willing to submit to orders without question, being willing to kill others only because you’ve been told to, and being naïve enough to believe that there’s something called “my country” for which you should kill and die, because you’ve been told to.

Or, children are more interesting and independent than adults, who have matured into a propriety-worshipping, authority-respecting, penny-pinching old age.

Or, believing in God makes you less moral than atheists, because it supposedly means you act morally mainly for God’s sake (not humans’—or only indirectly), and it’s a way of disrespecting the suffering of billions of people (God is just), and, most likely, it means you’re prejudiced in various ways.

Or, the U.S. government is second only to the Nazis in the number of people it has killed or helped kill. (Actually, in two hundred years, from the Indians to the Iraqis and beyond, we’ve surely taken first place.)

Or, the glorious “free market” means that starving people without money can’t eat, and public education or public transportation or a social welfare program doesn’t exist, and future generations don’t have a say in what kind of world we leave them (because they lack money), and nothing can interfere with the reduction of people and nature and life itself to commodities.

Or, the U.S. Communist Party, for all its faults, basically began the Civil Rights Movement in the 1930s, organizing whites and blacks to fight for their collective economic, political, and civil rights. The welfare state in the U.S. was born in response to Communist agitation and stimulation of mass protest in the early 1930s. In the 1940s and ’50s authorities crushed the laborite institutions that had nurtured racial equality and solidarity, so the later Civil Rights Movement had to be organized largely around churches rather than unions.

–See? It’s not hard.


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