Egalitarianism is the god of our time

by Brett Stevens

Those of us who talk about cause->effect logic recognize its power in understanding human behavior. For example, you are not free of a hated enemy (effect) until you replace the role it serves that perpetuates it (cause). Such is the case with our modern atheist, liberal and consumer-oriented society.

We have replaced all ancient gods with a single one: equality. To act in such a way as to offend equality causes people to retreat from you as if in fear of diseases or demonic possession; conversely, any activity can be justified in the name of upholding or expanding equality, regardless of its outcome. That is the key to the religious nature of egalitarianism: it is not measured in real-world results, but in the symbol itself, much like God who provides the only case where the symbol is enclosed by its referent.

For example, consider the case of education. Politicians get tears in their eyes and pound tables when the test scores come in. But what did they expect? Mathematics themselves opposes them: for any given curriculum, there must be some winners and some losers, with the number determined by how difficult it is. If you dumb it down so that everyone gets an A, it becomes worthless. People do not have the same abilities, especially not in the narrow competition for memorizing and repeating material.

Or contemplate politics. We insist that a popularity contest — “democracy” — can determine the best course of action. This denies the fact that people vote for what they understand, and most understand very little, which reduces actionable items to the over-simplified and generally reality-denying. But to mention this is to offend the god Equality and to bring on the wrath of his followers who are only too happy to have a witch-hunt.

Even in employment we engage in the fiction of equality. We like to think that we can sit down with a piece of paper that tells us everything about a candidate with specially marked fields, and that we can then hire anyone who matches those traits. These however are mere abilities, and tell us nothing about the person and how they will work with others in the team, or even how they would do in a situation as particular and unique as the average workplace.

We cannot as post-Enlightenment™ humans face the possibility of natural differences between people. It violates the fundamental idea that unites us which is that each human is the best person to make all decisions for herself. This idea arose when we replaced the order of nature and the divine with a human order. Social order of this type implies that the human is the highest goal, over reality, and therefore, that human choice is more important than real-world results. That was the path we took that branched off from all of past history and arrived at our present state.

In our view, natural differences between us — which are more mathematical, by the nature of most patterns following a Standard Distribution or “Bell Curve” — serve no utility and only serve to divide us. And yet these things evolved with us much like our other abilities. We know natural selection serves to rigorously cleanse, except in extremely isolated populations, unnecessary traits. These have persisted with humans and other groups throughout time, serving like natural selection itself to keep groups in a constant state of imbalance so they do not fall into sameness which can lead to entropy. If we were identical, all striving would cease and so would all ability for our acts to be meaningful.

Other benefits exist to inequality both within and between populations. Inside a population, inequality allows people to specialize, which means that they can devote all of their energy to developing an ability they wish to be unique to them. Inequality occurs both vertically, in terms of general competence (or even general intelligence, or g), but also on a horizontal plane. Out of all the artisans, some will become fine-motor workers like watch-makers and others will be carpenters. But some of the most radical benefits are seen to inequality between populations.

Equality outside the boundaries of a specific population would imply a Universal Human or a person who fits into any society. This idea however conveys the notion of a person without culture, unique abilities or pre-determined inclinations that might cause clash with whatever is the norm elsewhere. It also suggests a generic person, an interchangeable part, as the basis of all societies, rejecting the need for shared culture, heritage, or values. And yet as events in Japan suggest, that trust — formed of a commonality in orientation and philosophy that cannot and does not need to be put into symbols — creates a much better life:

What accounts for this unusual degree of independence? Not self-sufficiency, in fact, but “group reliance,” according to Dwayne Dixon, a cultural anthropologist who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Japanese youth. “[Japanese] kids learn early on that, ideally, any member of the community can be called on to serve or help others,” he says.

This assumption is reinforced at school, where children take turns cleaning and serving lunch instead of relying on staff to perform such duties. This “distributes labor across various shoulders and rotates expectations, while also teaching everyone what it takes to clean a toilet, for instance,” Dixon says.

She wouldn’t let a 9-year-old ride the subway alone in London or New York—just in Tokyo.

If you want to know the solution to the problems socialism claims to address, like class warfare, or even the problems the right bemoans like a lack of public morality, this is it: have people be similar in genetics and culture. That refutes the idea of equality, where the choice of the individual determines fitness to be in a certain society, and replaces it with the notion of cooperation, or the idea that people work together on ideas that they find mutually compelling and over time, those ideas become part of them on a biological level. Without the trust engendered by similarity, people drift apart and become less likely to work together or preserve shared resources.

The now-infamous Robert Putnam study on diversity showed that in diverse populations, trust declined — even among people of the same group. That is because, like surface tension on water, similarity once broken for one becomes broken for all. Society is no longer held together by a mission and values in common, but by compulsion, whether through money or authoritarianism. This path leads to an increasing cycle of tyrannical power, petty rebellion including apathetic performance, and eventual collapse of the higher functions of the society, leaving behind a third-world style ruin.

Diversity also paves the way for a tragedy of the commons:

Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons…As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain…Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another…. But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

The only force that can unmake the tragedy of the commons is a sense of shared destiny. We cannot all add as many cows as we would like, because then we kill the resource, and with it our society. Without trust, and a shared sense of purpose and destiny, that sentiment rings hollow. The individual sees no choice but to exploit resources before the other guys get to it, because they are not on his team — they are in fact the enemy. By creating freedom, society removes obligation to the commons. With equality, it destroys the notion of sharing the commons toward a mutual goal, and guarantees accelerating exploitation and ruin.

Japanese Don’t Loot – Orderly Disaster Reaction in Line With Deep Cultural Roots

Japanese Don’t Loot

More news stories on Japan

Jared Taylor, Special to AR News, March 14, 2011

The media are cautiously beginning to note that the earthquake/tsunami in Japan has not resulted in a single reported case of looting or even disorderly behavior. Dazed residents have gone back to smashed houses to salvage what they can, but no one worries about thieves. Thousands of homeless line up quietly and politely as they wait for emergency food and water.

The contrast with what happened after the Haiti earthquake last January or Hurricane Katrina in 2005 could not be more stark. In both cases, there was an almost immediate descent into savagery, with police officers joining in the looting. In New Orleans, evacuation centers became nightmares of violence and lawlessness, and the National Guard had to carry weapons on relief missions. In Haiti, tent cities for the quake victims became scenes of mass rape.

The next news story for today quotes two American “experts” on why the Japanese are so well behaved. Gregory Pflugfelder of Columbia University says it is because, unlike Americans, Japanese are not individualistic and care about the group. Merry White of Boston University says Americans loot and riot because of frustration over “alienation and class gaps.”

Wrong. Incapable, as usual, of considering race, they cannot see that the greatest advantage the Japanese have is that they are not black. It is impossible—and I mean impossible—to imagine any black population anywhere in the world behaving like the Japanese.

It is not just blacks. What if a catastrophe struck in Mexico or Indonesia or India or Egypt or Colombia? There would be widespread looting. Native relief agencies would make huge profits selling donated supplies rather than giving them away. Americans or Europeans who showed up with trucks of food would be mobbed. Human vileness would make the calamity vastly worse for the survivors.

Prof. White says the real question is why Americans loot, not why the Japanese don’t. Wrong again. Virtually all people loot if the forces of order are knocked out, and it has nothing to do with “individualism” or “alienation and class gaps.” That is their nature.

The “experts” are also wrong to talk about “Americans” as if there were only one kind. Everyone knows that if the lights go out there will be trouble in Detroit but not in Portland, and everyone knows why: Detroit is black and Portland is white. There would be trouble in Los Angeles, too. After the verdict in the Rodney King beating case, just as many Hispanics as blacks rioted.

Would an all-white population behave exactly like the Japanese? There might be a bit of looting and profiteering, but not much. Most whites would help their neighbors, stand in line, wait their turn. And they would probably deal harshly with looters.

Before they accepted millions of non-white immigrants, Northern Europeans would have behaved much like the Japanese. Swedes, Scots, Dutchmen, Germans, Danes—wherever they are still undiluted by immigrants they can be counted on to show courage, restraint, and dignity.

But again, these peoples are exceptions. They are exceptions for reasons that are largely genetic but also cultural. Whites and north Asians have high average IQs, but also what could be called an “average personality” that is less psychopathic, more disciplined, more public spirited. We see this in every aspect of the societies they build, not just in how they respond to tragedy. Their societies have little crime, illegitimacy, littering, or graffiti. They have high levels of public order, trust, and courtesy.

Only a few populations are capable of building such societies, and they are vastly superior to all others. That, of course, is why so many people from failed societies want to immigrate, but when they come in sufficient numbers they destroy what they came to find.

Things would have been far different in Japan if the country had admitted large numbers of, say, Malays or Pakistanis. So far, Japan has wisely limited Third-World immigration, and can face a catastrophe with the conviction that all Japanese are united both in suffering and in the struggle to rebuild. Japan is far better prepared to face calamity than America or Europe because Japan has had the wisdom to remain Japanese.


Japanese stand in line in front of a convenience store.

(Posted on March 14, 2011)


Orderly Disaster Reaction in Line With Deep Cultural Roots

CNN, March 12, 2011

The layer of human turmoil—looting and scuffles for food or services—that often comes in the wake of disaster seems noticeably absent in Japan.

“Looting simply does not take place in Japan. I’m not even sure if there’s a word for it that is as clear in its implications as when we hear ‘looting,’” said Gregory Pflugfelder, director of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University.


To Merry White, an anthropology professor at Boston University who studies Japanese culture , the real question is why looting and disorder exist in American society. She attributes it largely to social alienation and class gaps.

“There IS some alienation and indeed some class gaps in Japan too but violence, and taking what belongs to others, are simply not culturally approved or supported,” White said in an e-mail.


The orderly lines that formed when the subway reopened around midnight also made an impression on Pflugfelder.

“Such social order and discipline are so enforced in ordinary times that I think it’s very easy for Japanese to kind of continue in the manner that they’re accustomed to, even under an emergency.”

The communitarian spirit at the foundation of Japanese culture seems to function even more efficiently under the stress of disaster, he said.

The natural American inclination is to operate independently.

“So you do everything you can to protect your own interests with the understanding that, in a rather free-market way, everybody else is going to do the same. And that order will come out of this sort of invisible hand.

“And Japanese don’t function that way. Order is seen as coming from the group and from the community as a sort of evening out of various individual needs.”


Original article