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Archive for the ‘Hegelian Dialectic’ Category

Mr. GM Palmer was kind enough to say that it made him sad that I post so seldom, which inspired me to get to work on the last post for a while about the Hegelian Dialectic. I’ve already started work on a long post about another subject, but it isn’t finished yet, so:

In the late 80’s, there was a TV cartoon about the Flintstones and the Rubbles when they were children. I was too old for non-classic cartoons by then, but for some reason I watched one episode. Little Wilma’s friends had started taking drugs and pressuring her to join in, and I think she was tempted to give in to keep their companionship. She talked it over with her parents, and they sat there smiling as they listened, then told her about the things drugs do to you. “They can even stop you from thinking straight!” they told her cheerfully, and little Wilma replied, “YUCK!” They didn’t issue any orders, like, “You are NOT going to use drugs, young lady,” nor did they seem at all troubled that their daughter was associating with drug users. If I recall correctly, when little Wilma bravely stood up to her friends, they were so inspired that they stopped using drugs too.

At that time, I didn’t understand why that approach to keeping your kid off drugs would probably be ineffective, but I do recall finding the storyline unconvincing. Now, I recognize this approach as one derived from Carl Rogers, and I realize that it was what my teachers and many of my classmates’ parents were trying to do.

Allow me to quote again from the very good The Road to Malpsychia:

…Values Clarification was essentially an adaptation of Maslovian motivational theory and Carl Rogers’ ideas about person-centered therapy. Instead of being taught that certain things were right, others wrong, children were encouraged to “clarify” their inborn values. When students discussed hypothetical moral dilemmas in class, the teacher-facilitator carefully refrained from suggesting that one response was preferable to any other. Like shoppers in a market, children could select their beliefs from a dazzling array of possibilities.

Values Clarification was destined to have a lasting influence on programs that aimed to educate American schoolchildren about drugs…. In these programs, teacher-facilitators – or, in the case of DARE, specially trained police officers – were careful never to say in so many words that drug use was wrong. Students were supposed to discuss the facts among themselves and come to their own conclusions about healthy choices. All too often the long-term effect was to remove some of the stigma surrounding the subject and leave children with an unwarranted confidence about their ability to experiment safely.

Because of Values Clarification, which alert readers will recognize as a variation on the Hegelian Dialectic, since the 60’s teachers have had the silly notion that by encouraging students to discuss things instead of telling them facts, they are “teaching them to think”. This doesn’t apply only to drugs. Schools have become hotbeds of violence because instead of telling children, “Don’t hit other kids,” teachers try to inspire bullies to reach, on their own, the enlightened conclusion that they shouldn’t. Meanwhile, the smaller kids have to resign themselves to being punching bags until their larger classmates receive their enlightenment.

The Values Clarification attitude often lingers well into adulthood. The problem is a logistical one: people simply do not have time to figure out the moral course in every situation they are going to meet. In addition, given how fallible even the best human minds are and how incomplete our knowledge always is, sometimes with the best will in the world we will reach the wrong conclusions. That is why we have codes of conduct that have been worked out over centuries.

Values Clarification leaves us at the mercy of whatever conclusions the people we deal with have independently come to. I once dated someone for two months before discovering that I had been lied to about several very important matters, including whether or not he was seeing other people or using illegal substances. When I angrily accused him of lying to me, he said, “So what? We’re not married, we’re not living together. We’ve only been dating for two months.” He and his friends had decided that there’s nothing wrong with lying to people as long as you haven’t known them for very long.

Another ex frequently did things, usually minor things, that hurt me, and when I asked that he stop, he would respond by demanding a convincing philosophical reason that he do so. “You claim to love me and this is hurting me” was apparently not good enough. Now, people who have read my blog might point out that giving convincing philosophical arguments that someone stop doing something is not much of a challenge for me. This is true. The problem is that when I gave him my theoretical appeals, he never decided, “Yes, that is a valid reason, I will stop doing that.” His next step was invariably to argue more. Only years later did I realize that this was the process to him. He had so internalized Values Clarification, the Hegelian Dialectic, that he believed that the proper response to an objection to his behavior was to continue discussing it, weighing all possible permutations and arguments, with no resolution ever in sight. Nowadays, of course, I put distance between myself and anyone who displays this attitude even once, but back then, I naively believed that we were having real arguments that could be resolved.

I think that many unscrupulous young men have learned to use a crude form of this Delphi Technique to gain sexual favors from a girl. This never happened to me, but a couple of female friends have told me about this kind of thing. “Take your hand away from there.” “Why?” To a girl in a vulnerable state of mind, this can be surprisingly difficult to deal with. Especially when she herself has been trained in Values Clarification instead of told in no uncertain terms that she is not to allow her boyfriends to take liberties until she is married, or at least of legal age.

This attitude has a more sinister side. When I was younger, before I embraced my reactionary inclinations and started digging through musty books to learn the theoretical underpinnings of everything I dislike about the modern world, for years I was good friends with a man with whom I went to high school. He ended our friendship a few years ago for trivial reasons, and in retrospect I am glad. His behavior was mostly good, except for ditching old friends, but his conversation would be maddening to someone who has studied Edmund Burke and G. K. Chesterton.

For example, there were a few times when he and I happened to be discussing child molestation, and I mentioned something I have read, that sometimes children do enjoy being molested, which only adds to their confusion and guilt, and does nothing to lessen the damage it does to them. My friend would always reply with an idiot statement he got from someplace: “Old enough to want it is old enough to do it.” Every time, I would lay out in detail everything I knew about the many reasons that child molestation is damaging even if the victim derives some passing enjoyment from it. Every time, I believed that I had cleared up this bit of confusion in his mind, only to have him say the exact same thing months later.

Now, I do know that he would never have actually done such a thing. In practice, his morals were actually much better than his conversation indicated. But supposing that he had wanted to have sex with a pre-teen or child. His Values Clarification code of conduct would have been a flimsy barrier to anything he had felt any desire to do.

And now that we have a large population of adults who were trained in Values Clarification, that barrier has not proved strong enough. When Mary Kay Letourneau was first arrested, I remember the incredulous reaction of everyone – including the friend in the last few paragraphs – that a grown woman would have any interest in sex with a 13-year-old boy. I myself found it utterly bizarre. Today, fifteen years later, it has become commonplace to hear about female teachers molesting their prepubescent male students. I even once read a profile of the type of teacher who does this (no longer online). A great many women clarified their values and discovered that helping themselves to underage boys did not conflict with their innermost selves.

This attitude can be applied to many things besides sex. Property, for example; I would guess that part of the reason for the continuing increase in socialist measures is that the old moral imperative not to covet one’s neighbor’s goods has been replaced by asking yourself if you believe that it would be wrong to get the government to steal them for you. Abortion is another; unfortunately, I would not be surprised if Peter Singer and his accomplices get their wish to have “abortion rights” extended until two years after the child is born. (And if they do, they will not stop there.)

When your fellow citizens start clarifying their values, everything is up for grabs.

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I spent a couple of days reading up on this theory. I wondered if I could perhaps tie his stages to differences between progressives and conservatives, and perhaps build a case that the puritanical conservatives who trouble me are stuck on Stage Four. However, this is precisely the conclusion Kohlberg and his fans wish for us to draw. “Oh, those people who believe in religion and tradition and the rule of law mean well, but we are on a higher plane. Kohlberg proved it.”

But after reading a while, I decided that his theory just wasn’t true. Jonathan Haidt’s criticism is demonstrably valid, for one thing. For another, I have observed children showing moral senses more advanced than Kohlberg’s theory admits is possible. Oh, they still need training in it, but the basic sense of duty and principle is something some people are just born with.

As an aside, let me dismiss the notion that “everybody” believes themselves to be moral and justified. I keep hearing this, but it simply isn’t true. It is true that some monsters believed they were doing a righteous thing; I don’t think that Sir Thomas Moore had any doubt that he was serving God by burning heretics, and similar could be said for some of those responsible for implementing or promoting communism. But there are two types of people who do not believe themselves to be virtuous. One is the genuinely evil, people such as Stalin or Saddam Hussein or serial killers. We tend to conclude that such people are either insane or else believe that killing millions of people is moral, because genuinely turning to evil is impossible for anyone who hasn’t done it to comprehend. A normal person with a functioning moral sense might conceivably be driven to commit a murder or assault or theft if he is in enough distress, but he will still know it is wrong, even if he tries to justify his own actions to preserve his own sanity. In fact, people who commit crimes of passion often crack and confess within a couple of days, because their own moral sense will not allow them to get away with it. Soldiers and policemen often feel regret over killing people even though they fully understand that they had to do it to protect the innocent. Genuinely embracing evil in your heart is a world away from giving in to human frailty and doing an evil thing or two.

The other type of person who does not consider themselves moral is the one who has simply not internalized any moral sense whatever. They believe, though they may not articulate this belief, that morals are a scam used by the ruling powers to keep the rest of us down, and that those who actually believe in morals are suckers. If you seriously invoke morality in their hearing, they think it’s funny. These people are generally only ever guilty of minor evils, because larger ones are too much trouble and carry too much risk – they are at Kohlberg’s Stage Two, you might say. But if genuine monsters are in power, these types make excellent henchmen.

I also became suspicious of Kohlberg’s theory because it is tied to intelligence; the idea is that with improved reasoning powers and more education, people become more moral. When I was in elementary I was always more moral than my teachers – in fact, virtually everyone outside of a maximum security prison is more moral than my teachers – so I cannot help but regard this theory with skepticism. It sounds like another justification for keeping people in brainwashing camp school longer. I have known too many highly intelligent and educated people who were vicious jerks to put too much faith in intelligence causing morality. Of course, more intelligent people cannot help being more future-oriented, they naturally think more about long-term consequences, so this does at least make them less likely to commit many felonies, but that’s as far as it goes.

Some of the essays I read also tried to put the hippies and protesters of the 60’s in Stage Five or Six, the “post-conventional” morality of those who see the deeper principles beneath laws and customs. In fact, in Kohlberg’s terms they were all at Stage Three, wearing ludicrous clothes and defying the rules of civilized behavior in order to get along with their contemporaries. The price for refusal to throw off those rules is the denial of companionship. It is a price I have spent my entire life paying.

In addition, Kohlberg insists that Stages Five and Six, the highest stages, are dedicated to “democratic” ideals and ways of changing society, and that they all believe in the “equality” of all humans. I’m pretty sure he was not talking about the Judeo-Christian sense in which all humans have a soul and are created in God’s image. That is the only sense in which humans are “equal”. All humans are not of equal worth to society (this does not negate our ethical obligations to those who are of less use) or equally capable of doing such things as governing or anything else.

By the way, the joke is on the liberals who wanted to use this theory to prove their own worldviews. The first page I linked points out that most women remain at Stage Three throughout adulthood, while most men are at Stage Four. One feminist, instead of either accepting female moral inferiority or rejecting the theory as a whole, tried to argue that putting being liked above principles was just as moral as standing up for principles. The typical feminist approach: if women can’t compete, demand that the rules be changed. People who believe in white superiority can also use the data based on this theory to prove their point. Oops.

Now, this theory is fairly obscure, though apparently the test based on it is sometimes put to practical use. So except for my own intellectual curiosity, I was about to conclude that the theory wasn’t worth blogging about.

But then I read Wikipedia’s definition of Stage Six.

In Stage six (universal ethical principles driven), moral reasoning is based on abstract reasoning using universal ethical principles. Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice, and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. Rights are unnecessary, as social contracts are not essential for deontic moral action. Decisions are not reached hypothetically in a conditional way but rather categorically in an absolute way, as in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.[15] This involves an individual imagining what they would do in another’s shoes, if they believed what that other person imagines to be true.[16] The resulting consensus is the action taken. In this way action is never a means but always an end in itself; the individual acts because it is right, and not because it is instrumental, expected, legal, or previously agreed upon. Although Kohlberg insisted that stage six exists, he found it difficult to identify individuals who consistently operated at that level.[12]

There it is: our old friend the Hegelian Dialectic.

Makes me long to live in a society ruled by a bunch of Stage Four stick-in-the-muds.

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This evening’s survey of the blogosphere yielded a news article which is virtually a textbook example of the Hegelian Dialectic. I wish I could say that the article surprises me, but my parents and teachers spent years laboring to ensure that I would consider this sort of behavior on the part of authority figures par for the course.

Mothers of prevention
Schoolgirls in Lancashire and Yorkshire are falling prey to sinister gangs of pimps. Two men have been sent to jail, but the girls’ mothers, not the police, are at the forefront of the crackdown. Why are the authorities so reluctant to get involved?

A t the crown court in Preston on August 10, a trial involving two Asian men caused unusual interest across a number of cities in the north of England. The defendants, Zulfqar Hussain and Qaiser Naveed, were each sentenced to five years and eight months for abduction, sexual activity with a child, and the supply of a controlled drug.

They had both pleaded guilty, and they were placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

It seemed a shabby, seedy episode, probably typical of many cases down the years that have involved exploitative men and naive women. Yet, until these convictions, the police in over a dozen towns and cities, including Leeds, Sheffield, Blackburn and Huddersfield, had appeared reluctant to address what many local people had perceived as a growing problem – the groups of men who had been preying on young, vulnerable girls and ensnaring them into prostitution.

It was a very uncomfortable scenario, not least because many of these crimes had an identifiable racial element: the gangs were Asian and the girls were white. The authorities, in the shape of politicians and the police, seemed reluctant to acknowledge this aspect of the crimes; it has been left to the mothers of the victims to speak out.

Maureen’s daughter Jo was one of Hussain and Naveed’s victims, having been groomed by them and a number of other Asian men when she was 14. Jo went missing from her Blackburn home 90 times during the six-month period in 2005 that she was in Hussain and Naveed’s clutches.

“I was told by one police officer that he did not ‘want to start a race riot’ by arresting Pakistani men for sexual offences,” Maureen said. During the six months that Jo was in the clutches of these men, they raped, beat and abused her to the point where, says her mother, she did not even know who she was any more. Eventually, after she was attacked by Hussain and Naveed with an iron bar, Jo somehow found the courage to report them to police, and they were arrested. The case took 16 months to come to court. In the meantime, other pimps, undeterred by the impending trial, continued to go about their business.

Got that? The police think that getting along with Muslims and living peaceably (if you can call that peace) is more important than punishing repeated felonies. Remember what I quoted Dean Gotcher as saying: “you have a socialist cosmic mind which puts aside anything that gets in the way of the relationship.” You have the thesis: girls’ right not to be raped. Then the antithesis: the Muslim belief that the rape of female infidels is acceptable. And here is the synthesis:

So what are the police doing? Lancashire police say that in the past few months they have sent letters to 70 men who were believed to be spending an unusual amount of time with young girls. The letters warn the men that the girls are underage; the men are required to sign the letter, confirming they have received and read it.

The details are left on file – but there is no guarantee that the police will take any further action if the grooming continues.

The article goes on to say that several families are considering suing the police for their inaction. In the meantime, I am going to buy more guns, thanking God for the liberties my country still bitterly clings to. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

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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.

What is the Hegelian Dialectic?

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.

And:

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.

The “Delphi Technique” And How It Robs Parents of Control Over Their Child’s Education

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.

BEWARE – the Delphi Technique Trained Facilitators in public meetings

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.

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