Not all, but many children are born with a strong innate moral sense. I had the misfortune to be one of them. It was a misfortune because of the era into which I was born; the cultural revolution of the Sixties had just “liberated” all of the adults around me from all those repressive old morals, freeing them to do whatever they felt like at the moment, and here I was, a little brat trying to bring the rules back.
To such a child, things seem simple. If two or three larger children run up to her and start hitting her for no particular reason, she tells the authorities (the grownups), and expects the adults to order her tormentors, “Never gang up on smaller children! Now go do a bunch of extra chores as punishment!”
Of course, that is not what happens. She informs the mother of a couple of the young hooligans and the mother demands, “What did you do to upset them so much? You should play nicely with the other children!” The child appeals to her own father for justice, expecting him to tell the bullies, “If I ever catch you three beating up my daughter again, I’ll skin you all alive!” and the mother, “You had better make your little thugs behave!” Instead, her father, being an enlightened sort, smiles at the boys ingratiatingly, asks them what their names are, then nicely introduces them to his daughter and encourages them all to play together. Of course, only a nasty-minded person would ever think that if they did play together, it would be virtually inevitable that the girl would be violently assaulted again. Any nice person would naturally understand that things would be all honey and roses from then on.
This happened to me countless times throughout my childhood, at home and at school. Finally around the age of ten, I stopped bothering to report any assaults, because I knew by then that if any punishment was meted out for an assault on me, it would be to me for complaining about it. I couldn’t understand it, but concluded that I simply happened to have been born in the midst of a handful of mentally confused adults.
I was in college before I finally got it through my head that my parents and teachers were not confused about particular incidents, they were genuinely amoral. They were indifferent to such concepts as “right” and “wrong”; what they cared about was the license to be lazy and cowardly (not, for instance, having to face the angry protective parents of a bully) while simultaneously admiring their own higher morality in doing so. All teachers and a significant percentage of parents do this. They have been trained to do so, in the service of a greater social movement towards progressivism.
This particular element is the Hegelian Dialectic, a way of thinking that has infected all of Western society. When I first read about it last year, I finally understood how my father could stand by and watch happily while his small daughter was repeatedly battered and ostracized. Nature and civilization have provided that for parents who do not feel enough affection in their hearts to protect their children, which is many more parents than we care to believe, possessive anger that someone else dares to attack what is theirs will motivate them to do so. The Hegelian Dialectic wipes out even that motive and tells them that neglecting to protect their children is serving the greater good.
So what is the Hegelian Dialectic? It isn’t easy to define, because it is irrational.
Hegel took logic to the next logical level, in what many consider to be a higher intellectual level, claiming an (A) ideology conflicting with its (B) opposite ideology = (C) a new and sometimes better philosophy. The dialectic pits A against B in a constant conflict and resolution, which eventually creates an outcome that may or may not have any resemblance to A and B. According to modern social scientists, C does not have to be a reasonable conclusion, since Hegel’s dialectic takes pure reason out of the reasoning.
If you don’t get it, that means you got it, because anything arrived at using Hegel’s “logic” doesn’t have to make any sense.
The simplest and clearest definition I have found is this one:
The concept of the dialectic has been around for a long time. It is simply that of opposite positions: Thesis (position) vs. Antithesis (opposite position). In traditional logic, if my thesis was true, then all other positions were by definition untrue. For example, if my thesis is 2+2=4, then all other answers (antithesis) are false. George W.F. Hegel, the nineteenth century German philosopher, turned that concept upside down by equalizing Thesis and Antithesis. All things are now relative. There is no such thing as absolute truth to be found anywhere. Instead, “truth” is found in Synthesis, a compromise of Thesis and Antithesis. This is the heart and soul of the consensus process.
And here we have the basis of today’s moral relativism, the opposite of what Chesterton’s Father Brown said:
“Reason and justice grip the remotest and the loneliest star. Look at those stars. Don’t they look as if they were single diamonds and sapphires? Well, you can imagine any mad botany or geology you please. Think of forests of adamant with leaves of brilliants. Think the moon is a blue moon, a single elephantine sapphire. But don’t fancy that all that frantic astronomy would make the smallest difference to the reason and justice of conduct. On plains of opal, under cliffs cut out of pearl, you would still find a notice-board, `Thou shalt not steal.’”
But of course those who wish to steal will not allow this. And so we have a culture which has increasingly and implicitly elevated harmony above justice. The schoolteacher who admonishes students to “play nice together” instead of punishing bullies is doing the same thing as politicians and UN denizens who exhort natives of Western nations to be “accepting” and “tolerant” of the violence, vandalism, and terror Muslim immigrants bring with them instead of either locking up Mohammedans who violate our laws or else shipping them back whence they came. To previous generations, the conflict was between the bullies who wanted to batter smaller children and the smaller children who expected the adults to do their job and protect them. The question was whether right or wrong would prevail. To the Hegelian, the point is for the bullies who wish to beat up others and their prospective victims to somehow come to a compromise which does not involve either side “winning”. In their ideal world – and in a great deal of their fiction – this happens by the victims coming to a greater understanding of how difficult the bullies’ lives have been and offering them friendship, which makes the bullies feel greater self-esteem and reform their ways. (Anyone who in any way participates in creating such a work of fiction is an accomplice to murder and should be sent to the electric chair.) Similarly, Muslims do not engage in violence, the stoning of suspected adultresses, or the murder and oppression of “infidels” because their holy book and their culture encourage it, but because their intended victims seem to them to be meanies. If we Westerners just supplicate enough, give them enough welfare payoffs, turn the other cheek enough, and otherwise behave like doormats, Muslims will eventually decide that we aren’t so bad after all, and we will thenceforth live in peace and harmony. (In other words, Hegel is a direct path to dhimmitude.)
Of course, in practice, bad people – whether fanatical terrorists or mean fourth graders – react to all this kindness and understanding by gleefully taking advantage of it to cause their victims further injury. I remember hearing the bullies in my class laughing about the naivete of the adults who punished their victims for “whining” instead of punishing them for committing assault and battery.
Dean Gotcher put it this way:
Well, the process is built on three stages which are more complex than this. There is thesis, which is simple, that’s you and your position and facts based on what you believe. Antithesis is somebody who’s different than you. The moment the two of you who are different are in the same room, there’s a potential relationship there. However, the only way you can get to it is synthesis [agreement in the relationship]. You and the other person have to put aside your differences for the sake of a relationship and try to find facts or elements of your belief systems that are in harmony. That’s socialism. Eventually if that becomes your agenda– the dialectic way of thinking–you have a socialist cosmic mind which puts aside anything that gets in the way of the relationship. That, by the way, means any information that’s introduced that breaks up human relationship is impractical and is irrational. This then is John Dewey’s instrumentalism approach to this process.
Accountability to a higher authority. The patriarchal way means children are to obey their parents. That’s being rejected –its an old fashioned way of thinking. Now it’s partnership and dialoging to consensus. Finding common ground through the use of consensus– that’s synthesis By the way, in a meeting we find that we are to focus in on what we can accept for sake of a relationship. The church is really more troubling to me as far as its involvement in it. The state and the government has been in this process for some time, but the religious community is being pulled into it. I really don’t know if there’s going to be a turn around without God’s direct intervention.
Its uses go beyond feeling good about cowardice, however. It also makes it impossible for the person wielding it without shame to lose an argument.
My fellow American conservatives – the mainstream ones, I mean – keep expressing bafflement that we won the Cold War and yet socialism is still around. Hasn’t it been demonstrated beyond all doubt that no matter what variations you come up with, the system still doesn’t work? So why do America and Europe keep enacting socialist laws? Why do the various left-leaning parties continue to advocate measures which have been tried and which failed utterly? The answer is that they are kidding themselves that they are trying something new, what Pope Pius XI called “a third way between socialism and capitalism”. They have left us fogeys arguing about capitalism (thesis) versus communism (antithesis) behind to move on to greater things: the synthesis between the two, which will be utterly new and shiny and exciting! No need to commit to any of the old systems or moral codes. No, we can move beyond petty old concepts like right and wrong and be as gods!
Another manifestation of the Hegelian Dialectic is in the social push towards androgyny. Indeed, when I was in college I came across a book arguing that in a few more decades, humans would become so androgynous that it would be impossible to distinguish the sexes from each other! That will never happen, obviously, but modern women have been made far less feminine and modern men far less masculine. There is a place (in art) for highly stylized androgyny, but if most people have entered a dreary gray zone of neither masculinity nor femininity, the artistic impact of it is lost.
Men hold doors for women as a symbol of the chivalrous obligation of men to protect the women of their society. Women wear prettier clothes than men as a symbol that men have done a good enough job in protecting and providing for them that women are free to wear impractical clothing, a gesture which also implies that male valor and labor has created a society with sufficient security and leisure to make such things as great art and philosophy possible. That is, a society in which symphonies can be composed is also a society in which women can wear high heeled shoes. To conservatives or traditionalists, the myriad differences in dress, grooming, and manners that point up the biological distinctions between the sexes are valuable and deserve preservation. To the fringe radicals who introduce the new bits of madness that will later become widespread, such as feminism or environmentalism or communism, such distinctions are the tools of the oppressor and must be attacked, which is why early feminists burned their bras (apparently on the theory that men who see bouncing breasts are moved to reflect on how similar the sexes are), and why the mothers of many of my female classmates cut off their hair and forced them to wear drably colored pants and boys’ shirts to school and to play with balls instead of Barbies. But to the Hegelian, the burning of bras and the deprivation of children of the toys and clothes they would prefer is only the antithesis, the second step. Now it is time for the synthesis, for everyone to transcend the petty categories of male and female and evolve into something that is both and neither, the androgyne. Never mind that without substantial genetic engineering, this is not going to come anywhere near to working. All divisions, all boundaries must be broken down.
Apply this same attitude towards patriotism and we have the universalist ideals of the UN, the EU, the euro, the proposed global currency, the metric system, proposed international courts, etc. Apply it to religion and we have those brainless “COEXIST” bumper stickers. (Note: refraining from killing heathens is not at all the same as believing that their faith is just as good or true as yours, an inherently contradictory idea.) Also to the irritating cliché, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” and the Dalai Lama writing in the Forward of Spiritual Politics by Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, “Narrow-mindedness and self-centered thinking may have served us well in the past, but today will only lead to disaster. We can overcome such attitudes through a combination of education and training.”
The Hegelian Dialectic is not just a fossil of 19th-century philosophy that, yes, does fit the behavior of today’s moral relativists. It was the basis of the manipulation methods of Saul Alinsky. Most of my readers are probably familiar with Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s training in the Alinsky method. What might not be so familiar is the related Delpha Technique. Here is article from which I first learned what the Hegelian Dialectic is:
Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus by Lynn M. Stuter
The Delphi Technique and consensus building are both founded in the same principle — the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, with synthesis becoming the new thesis. The goal is a continual evolution to “oneness of mind” (consensus means solidarity of belief) — the collective mind, the wholistic society, the wholistic earth, etc. In thesis and antithesis, opinions or views are presented on a subject to establish views and opposing views. In synthesis, opposites are brought together to form the new thesis. All participants in the process are then to accept ownership of the new thesis and support it, changing their views to align with the new thesis. Through a continual process of evolution, “oneness of mind” will supposedly occur.
In group settings, the Delphi Technique is an unethical method of achieving consensus on controversial topics. It requires well-trained professionals, known as “facilitators” or “change agents,” who deliberately escalate tension among group members, pitting one faction against another to make a preordained viewpoint appear “sensible,” while making opposing views appear ridiculous.
This led me to more digging:
As he observes the group he begins to evaluate the positions of each member, watching for those with the strongest opinion and those who may be a little hesitant in their convictions. The weaker ones become his target. He begins to question the position of the leaders, playing on the doubts or fears of those with weaker convictions or differing opinions. Finally, he begins to drive a wedge between them – always, he says, with the “good of the group” in mind.
Soon, as a result of his manipulation, dissension breaks out in the group. Its goals become clouded. Eventually it will break up completely or take a radically different position on the issue. The outcome that the Educrats wanted is achieved. Their opposition has been neutralized.
How Delphi Works
Using a series of surveys to develop a “consensus” was the original technique. A 100 page report using a Delphi technique survey done in 1989 is typical. The study was titled, Teacher Perceptions of the Effects of Implementation of Outcome-Based education. It was financed and distributed by ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) of the U.S. Department of Education. The report described the method used. It said: A random sample of 60 teachers was selected from 600 teachers in an Iowa school district. The 60 teachers were given a “survey” which included 39 “statements” concerning educational goals and implementation of OBE. Those surveyed were given a choice of six responses from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. Space was provided for writing any comments or reactions to each statement.
When the surveys were returned, those conducting them tallied the results and analyzed the comments. An effort was made to determine the degree to which at least 75% of those responding would accept each of the statements. On the first “try” 75% or more of those responding agreed to (or would go along with) twenty of the original thirty-nine statements or premises. Those twenty statements became a part of the “consensus.”
Try, Try And Try Again
A month later the sixty participants were surveyed again. They were asked to rethink their positions and then were again given the nineteen statements on which there had been no “consensus.” When these tabulations were done, there was a consensus on twelve of the nineteen. Thirty days later, a third survey was done on the last seven points. By the time the third round was completed and the written comments were tabulated, it was found that a consensus was achieved and at least 75% of the participants were “in agreement” on the pre-determined package of statements. When the Delphi “consensus” is achieved, a lengthy and comprehensive report can be prepared and released using the “consensus” to support the goals and techniques of OBE or a tax increase or some other new project. When experienced teachers, or citizens, or business leaders, etc. have come to a “consensus” anyone disagreeing, must obviously be uninformed or out of step and may be an odd ball. The technique avoids the possibility of informed people with conflicting views influencing others.
Ultimately, depending on how big the project is, the “consensus” may be packaged beautifully (expensively) for dissemination to parents, teachers, legislators, and media.
With some exceptions, progressives are not people who are confused about a couple of things, who will accept reality if they’re shown enough evidence that socialism doesn’t work and that men and women are different, etc. No doubt some of the young people who are voting Democrat or Labour because all their friends are and because they’ve heard it would be “racist” not to, can be brought around with facts. But what we are really facing is people far more sophisticated than this, who will be unswayed by facts or events. Their most fundamental philosophical convictions are utterly alien to us. And if they are to be fought, they must be understood.
Note: Essays linked here are not necessarily endorsed in their entirety, nor are the sites on which they are carried. At least a couple of the essays I have linked in this post have many wrong conclusions or invalid connections, but their insights on the Hegelian Dialectic are very useful.