Getting into this box is what's best for both of us. During your time in the box, you will learn so much, and yet experience so little. It's a wild ride, my friend, one well worth the time spent...and let's face it, you don't have much to do these days anyway.

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Hegelian Dialectic in action - two recent cases.

 The Hegelian Dialectic is a nifty little theory posited by Friedrich Hegel, summing up how people can be tricked into supporting societal changes that eventually result in their own willing enslavement. It's one of the oldest political tricks in the book, and the reason it's one of the oldest is that it's so goddamned effective. It taps into the natural prospensity for human emotionality over rationality, stupidity and reflex over informed opinions, and the inability of people to think long-term when it comes to cause and effect - or even in the short term.

Yes, yes, I know that the Dialectic originally required that the antithesis arise naturally instead of being manufactured (which was a Marxist introduction, Dialectic Materialism et al), but for our intents and purposes we'll take the Hegelian Dialectic as it's commonly used to refer to political manipulation through memes.

Essentially, it boils down to these three steps:
  1. Problem (thesis). The government manufactures a problem, or exploits one that already exists.
  2. Reaction (antithesis). The people demand that the government help solve the problem, and are willing to give up their rights and freedoms in exchange.
  3. Solution (synthesis). The government offers a solution that that was planned all along.
To illustrate, let's take a hypothetical example (for now). An El Presidente of a banana republic wants to get rid of those nasty resistance fighters hiding out in the jungles. The fighters are partly dependent upon the goodwill of the local natives for their provisioning and intelligence, and taking those away would severely cripple them. At the same time, it would also be nice to have a tighter leash on the jungle natives, since El Presidente's eyes and ears find it a little harder to pry into the affairs of the natives for want of the trees.

So El Presidente manufactures a problem. Maybe a couple of the natives' daughters go missing and their corpses are found dangerously close to the rebels' camps. Maybe the natives' cassava and bean crops are mysteriously set afire. Maybe there was a misunderstanding between a native and a rebel regarding three pints of palm toddy and the use of a donkey, and El Presidente's infiltrators blow the incident out of proportion. Whatever the case, a problem crops up.

Now the jungle natives aren't so clear about what's going on. These rebels who've always helped them reciprocally are for some reason beginning to turn on them, or so it seems. Maybe some cooler heads on both sides can prevail, but the more emotionally charged the issue, the less likely a peaceful resolution can be found - and once things start turning mob-shaped, there's no hope left. As Terry Pratchett once pointed out: "To get the IQ of a mob, take the IQ of its stupidest member and divide by the number of people in it."

All right, so you now have the natives up in arms against those pesky freedom fighters. That's when El Presidente comes driving into the jungle in the safety of his his armoured car and starts speaking to the natives. He tells them that if they give him his support, he will "do all he can" to "pacify" the rebels and "make them behave with respect and decorum". For the added safety of the local tribes, if they would be so nice as to make a clearing in the jungle for him, he'll station troops there to "protect" them, and if they're lucky, they'll get to benefit from the piped water the camp will have.

So it can be seen that if El Presidente had gone in alone and tried to force himself and his military camp on the natives, they'd have resisted him and he'd have to force them into complying. By using the Hegelian Dialectic of problem-reaction-solution, he was able to both cut off support to the rebels, build his own military camp, and get the support of the natives who don't know that the camp is as much to monitor, and if necessary, suppress them as much as the rebels.

Now that we have some understanding of what the Hegelian Dialectic is all about, let's try and apply it to some recent real-world examples, namely, the New Delhi rape case (a successful one) and the Sandy Hook shooting case (a not-so successful one). First, we'll examine the Delhi Rape case - I'll assume that you're in the know with regards to what's been put out in the mainstream media, so I won't go over it once more.

All I have to ask is: why here? Why now? Why this particular instance? In a country with so many issues, with so many children dying of simple malnutrition, why the sudden fixation on a single case out of so many, and just because of her sex?

Nevertheless, we have a convenient problem just lying around waiting to be picked up, and that is just what happened.

An Indian on the ground noted over at AVFM:

"This is not accidental knee jerk reaction.A Delhi protester killed a police constable.To organize protests,you have to pay minimum Rs 500 per day.The campaign is costly."

Who is funding these protestors? The poster suspected western NGOs pushing their agenda, which is certainly a possibility, but without concrete evidence, it's all speculation.

Conspiracy theory? Not that far, perhaps, but there are definitely players who would be interested in enacting new laws to control the populace/push idealogies, and the money has to come from somewhere. I've been looking at the news stories (which have begun to die down as the Problem begins to outlive its usefulness) and I don't think there was any mention of any grassroots funding for these protests, that individuals came and donated their money to hold them. Correct me if I'm wrong.

But it can be seen that the crux of the Hegelian Dialectic's effectiveness lies within the response by the target populace. If the response is not appropriate, then the ploy falls apart. You want your howling masses, your roaring mobs demanding justice or more freebies or that the group next door needs to be culled. You don't want people sitting in circles looking at studies and statistics and asking just how well each proposed solution will measure up when it comes to solving the problem, and you definitely don't want them questioning the costs.

Hence, three important points come up when those orchestrating the dialectic take steps to ensure that the proper reaction is produced:
  1. You want your problem to be intrisically emotionally charged. That's not to say problems involving men have not been used before, but due to the wonders of male disposability, women and children produce a far greater emotional kick to society than men do. Add to that a naturally emotionally charged crime such as rape, murder or sexual assault as opposed to something more detached like burglary. If the problem in question is not emotionally charged, such as the prevalence of drugs or burglary, frame the problem such that it is ("what if it were your house that was burgled/child taking drugs?") and aim to provoke an emotional response.
  2. You want to gear your propoganda machine into overdrive; influence your target populace as much as possible.

    "it has been full 15 days these types of views are written in every local and national papers of India.There are atleast 7-10 articles in every newspaper in every language (tamil,marathi,telugu,hindi,malayam,bengali,punjabi etc etc). Since india has highest number of newspapers in world,i expect a total of 25000 articles have been published on this topic in last 15 days alone.It is overkill."

    You want to stir the pot, heat it until boiling. Play up the emotional parts, and downplay or outright ignore the inconvenient parts (like the male victim, or that he was the initial target of the aggressors until the female victim, to her great credit, tried to intervene and save him). Fudge the facts if you need to and lie by omission; no one will care once the ball starts rolling. In fact, encourage all sorts of rumours and half-truths, so long as they spread fear and irrationality. Notice how the articles paint the case: women are in danger. Women should be afraid. The problem is not framed in terms of perpetrator and victim, of individual upon individual, but of men and women. Protestors are not just howling about the rapists, which as individuals should be punished, but about "the patriarchal system" and "men", wallowing in their self-selected victimhood and doing the unfortunate female victim a disservice by trying to grab a slice of the victimhood pie.

    You want to spread irrational fear and rage. All your talking heads, all your monkeys sitting at word processors must be mobilised. Constantly bombard the target populace with the idea that the problem is overwhelming and all-pervasive, and get the animalistic reaction you so desire.
  3. You want to shame all calm, rational thinkers and potential detractors of your solution as evil. This feeds back into point two - if there is no one to contradict the message of your problem, then your propoganda becomes so much more effective as people rush to join the herd for fear of being ostracised. Remember that the bigger the mob, the stupider it becomes. So in the case of the Delhi Rape case, label anyone who even questions the new proposed laws as misogynists and rape apologists - that is enough to shame most blue-pill people into shutting up. Say "how dare you, you have no compassion for the victim!" without even bothering to read what others have written. When shaming fails, physically attack questioners to silence them into submission.
Not that I'm saying that the female victim wasn't one, that this thing isn't horrific or that the perpetrators shouldn't be punished when found duly guilty in a court of law. However, I fully expect that if I made this quick analysis more public than it already is, I'm sure that someone would accuse me of these sentiments - hence proving point number three.

So what is the end result of this exercise of the Dialectic?

"it will happen in just 15 days now.First congress ruled states will form a commission and law will be passed.Most of it will be copied from west verbatim.Then our beloved hard working parliament will pass law in next session without discussion by “voice vote”.No majority needed."

Will the new laws really protect Indian women? Maybe, maybe not. I can only note the official UN statistics which claim that 1.8 per 100,000 women are raped in India (as opposed to 63 per 100,000 in Sweden, arguably one of the most misandric nations on the planet). But what will the laws give the Indian government? Observe the lack of due process for legislation, observe the crumbling of the democratic process in the interests of "protecting the people". No doubt the state will have more powers to intrude upon the lives of people now.

And once El Presidente has enough power over the natives, he doesn't need to play nice with them any more. Once people have given up enough freedom and rights, the state doesn't need to bother with the illusion of security any more.

To quote Cappy Cap: "Pimp Daddy G doesn't beat you - yet."

The Delhi Rape case was an example of a near, if not outright perfect execution of the Hegelian Dialectic. Problem, reaction, solution. Now, let's look at a not-so-successful example of an attempt to exercise the Dialectic, primarily because the desired reaction was not so forthcoming.

I'm sure the Sandy Hook school shooting is still fresh in the minds of many - a tragedy, yes, but let's disengage from that aspect of the incident and look at the results of the shooting. Problem - the shooting. The hoped-for reaction, no doubt, was that American citizens would buckle over and accept gun control. Oh, it certainly tried - the propoganda was amped up to eleven with the whole new coverage, Obama crying crocodile tears on TV and the whole "demand a plan" hypocritical crap. The mainstream media kept on hammering it over and over and over again, pointing out "what about the childrenzzz?" ad nauseum.

What happened in the end? Sure, there were a bunch of folks who turned in their guns amidst all the gun control legislation being drawn up (and no doubt a couple of crooks who used to"no questions asked" policy to rid themselves of dirty weapons) but by and large, the result was a massive surge in sales of guns and ammunition, as well as plenty of rekindled interest in learning how to safely utilise and live with firearms.

The Hegelian Diacletic had failed, at least in this regard.

So, a couple of reasons why I think Sandy Hook wasn't as successful as New Delhi:
  1. The problem used was insufficiently polarising. It's harder to ask people to keep a cool head in a rape case, deal with accused via due process and remember that the purpose of a court is not just to mete punishment out to the guilty, but also protect those who may be falsely accused (or else vigilante justice would be sufficient). On the other hand, with Sandy Hook the argument could be made that the presence of guns might have saved those children, providing a grassroots counterpoint to the propoganda push.
  2. Innate distrust of government by the American people ingrained into their culture. I don't think I have to explain this any further. Unlike a bunch of asian cultures (like the Chinese, for example), Americans don't have this reverence for public officials - if anything, a good number of them are aware that the government isn't all rainbows and flowers, and if you're a liberterian, are as much for getting Mr. G out of your life as much as possible. People are aware that Mr. G doesn't always have their best interests in mind.
  3. The availability of alternative media, especially the internet. For obvious reasons, the internet penetration rate in the good old US of A is much higher than that of India, and much more open even to the lower classes. Official media have a much looser grasp than in India, and people have access to more information and differing viewpoints.
What this produced, in the end, is the inability of those running the propoganda train to control the discourse over the Sandy Hook issue. Instead of few-to-many media (traditional), many-to-many media (internet) came into the running in the Sandy Hook case, and people were disinclined to believe what of the former there was.

The importance of the reaction step has already been examined, and so this leads us to the conclusion: if one can control the discourse, then one can control the reaction (antithesis) and hence the solution (synthesis). Therefore, it is imperative that the entirety of the discourse must be controlled as much as possible - from something as simple as the definition of the words used to the selective reporting of facts to produce a single, stupid, violent mob begging for the appropriate solution, instead of two stupid, violent mobs going after each other on which solution is best or a single, well reasoned protest for a third, better solution.

I'm not denying that the Hegelian Dialactic is still effective, and will continue to be so as long as there are stupid, emotional and short-sighted people around. But the second opening of the media (as opposed to the printing press so long ago) will see some dampening of its effects, until the point where states manage to control it for a significant percentage of the population.

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