Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Institutional Man vs Internet Kid

Every professor or journalist is an institutional man(or woman or person). Institutions are necessary, and without them, we wouldn't have organization and structure. (Some people say they are not against religion, only institutionalized religion, but this is like saying education is okay as long as it's not institutionalized. Yet,r religions wouldn't have survived without institutionalization, and most people would be uneducated if not for institutionalization.) That said, all institutions are inherently about conforming to norms and standards. This isn't a problem and, indeed, it is even a necessity insofar as every department or discipline must maintain its rules and principles. After all, a chemist has to know & practice real chemistry, and his work has to be examined and approved by his peers. If every alchemist posed as a chemist, chemistry would soon turn into anarchy.

So, institutions must enforce standards. But when do standards turn into dogma under peer pressure, ideological or otherwise? Ideally, regardless of the ideology of scholars, they should live up to academic standards of research and discourse. In some fields, it’s easier to uphold proper standards. It’s harder to fake studies in math and hard science. But history and social sciences are open to interpretation, bias, ideology, passion, and personalities. So, as Jonathan Haidt came to realize, most of the social sciences and humanities operate as rigged systems. They don’t so much uphold objective standards of academics as enforce or nudge-nudge the peer-pressure of dogma. Indeed, some academics have admitted that they favor their own ideological kind. So, they prefer a second-rate ‘leftist’ to a first-rate ‘rightist’ even though, by objective academic standards, the latter is more deserving. And some academics and journalists dismiss the notion of 'objective standards' altogether and blatantly favor only those facts, data, and even lies that legitimize their chosen Narrative. Their logic says, since absolute objectivity is not possible in the social sciences and humanities --- or worse, since objectivity might sometimes favor the counter-Narrative --- , it should be shucked whole hog in favor of Narrative as sacred dogma.

Institutions are exclusive and open to just a few. Every academic department can hire only a handful of people for coveted slots. So, everyone knows he has to play ‘politics’ and say the ‘right thing’ to be accepted and move up the ladder. Furthermore, even though professors(esp those with tenure) are technically free to pursue knowledge wherever it may lead, they know very well that if they say or do the ‘wrong thing’, they will be targeted for demotion or prevented from further promotion. Or, SJW’s, as barking dogs of PC professors, might come running after them, even physically assault them.

This is the curse of all institutions, secular or religious. This is why nearly all great religions arose from outside the institution: Jesus and Muhammad. For most of history, academic institutions enforced strict dogma or the sacred canon of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. This may explain why so many false scientific theories of Aristotle went unquestioned and unchallenged for so long... until Galileo came along.  And China was hooked on Confucianonics.
In contrast, the modern German university conceived of a new academic culture that allowed greater leeway in discourse and research. But the model came under attack time and time again from the far right, the far left, the tribalists(Jews here, Hindus in India and even UK and Canada), and religious forces(in nations like Iran and now Turkey). Sometimes, the attack on academic freedom came from within the institution as certain personalities and thinkers wanted only their ideas to prevail.

When an institution becomes excessively ‘institutionalized’ — a tendency that exists in all institutions — , it turns into a fortress of dogma, the island of Nurse Ratched. And PC has really done damage to Western academia and to 'mass media'(which are worse because most of media are owned by six conglomerates that hire and fire people based on adherence to PC, homomania, and tribal interests of Jews).

But thankfully, there is the internet. Now, in terms of erudition and access to sources/materials, internet personalities like Stefan Molyneux and other would-be ‘thinkers’ fall short of the best of professional academics and journalists. But there is one crucial difference in favor of internet personalities. Whereas those in the institutions — even the very best, most honest, and most capable individuals — must always look over their shoulders and fear peeing their pants lest they be denounced by peers, hunted down by SJW’s, or fired from above, no such fear exists among internet ‘thinkers’ who have the freedom to notice and spout off on anything since they got nothing to lose. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
If institutions allowed total freedom to academics(who were hired on basis of qualifications regardless of ideology) and protected free speech, the internet personalities couldn’t compete with professors or media people. But people in the media and academia must play the PC game because every institution has a gatekeeper who decides who gets in, who stays out, and who-inside is pushed outside. Gate-keeping is essential to all institutions, but the politics of gate-keeping compromises the freedom of every institution since would-be-entrants must not only live up to objective standards but, more often than not, demonstrate that he or she is 'one of them'. So, no matter how experienced or knowledgeable an institutional man is, there are tons of things he can’t say and lots of topics he can’t broach. Even if he is technically or theoretically free to deviate from dogma or canon, he most often chooses not to out of dread of being shunned or hated by peers. When institutions grow Byzantine, it is the rag-taggers with guerrilla spirit who gain a sudden advantage. This wouldn’t be the case without the internet, but it now exists. Some youtube ‘thinkers’ reach many more young people than professors or journalists could possibly hope to. And people find their views interesting because the unrestrained nature of the talk seems closer to reality or doesn't shy away from controversy.

Leftists once spoke of ‘long march through the institutions’, but the metaphor is faulty. The Chinese Communists' Long March was not a trek into the centers of power to away from them. During the march, Mao and his men covered some 6,000 miles and ended up in the hinterlands. And it was from the periphery that Mao devised plans to take power. He appealed to the masses than to the elites.

In contrast, the Western leftists lost connection with the people and burrowed deep into institutions to take on monastic roles as the clergy of PC. It was more a deep dig than a long march. Despite their claims of caring about real people in the real world, half of what they yammer about is ‘gender politics’ over tranny issues.

If anything is long-march-like, it is the politics on the internet. Because internet is not institutionalized, it is an open platform for the free movement of ideas. While some of these ideas are crackpot and crazy, there are also discoveries & discussions of truths that the media and academia simply refuse to address. It’s like Colin Flaherty has the gall to spill the beans on the racial nature of US crime & violence that the institutions of media & academia don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole.

So, the Culture War is turning into Long March through the Internet vs Fortress Mentality of the Institutions.

Incidentally, Mao was like Muhammad of his age. How did Muhammad and his Muslims take power so fast over such vast an area? Clash of empires created a great vacuum of destruction and exhaustion. Persian Empire and Byzantine Empire battled one another ceaselessly and ground each other down…. and that provided the opening for Muhammad and his ragtag Arab raiders.
Likewise in China. The clash of big powers — Chinese Nationalists, Japanese Imperialists, and US military — led to a huge power vacuum in China; and Mao, esp thanks to Soviet intervention at the request of the US, found his opening and took all of China. The lesson to learn from this is that the minor power should look for an opening when the big guys cripple one another. When two lions maul each other nearly to death, even a hyena can take over as king.

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