“Traditional societies” are traditional for the very best reason: It keeps them safe.
Consider what life in prehistoric Africa (hold the jokes, please) must’ve been like: Food is abundant, but “food” includes you. It’s hard to starve to death, but easy to get eaten by a lion. Whatever “it” is, if it works — if you don’t get eaten by the lion that one time — then it’s the only way to go, now and forever.
Old Africa Hands tell me this is the way Africa works even today. The reason traffic accident rates on the Dark Continent are so appallingly high — and generally fatal — despite a near-total lack of traffic is exactly that “it kept us safe from the lion” principle. A European who nearly kills himself taking a turn at 100mph will think “hmmm…. excessive speed nearly caused the car to crash. Better not do that again!”
The African, on the other hand, will conclude that since we didn’t flip over that time, we must do the exact same thing again, to prevent flipping in the future. Please note: This isn’t a reversal of cause and effect. They may be primitive, but they aren’t stupid. Rather, they seem to regard “car crashes” as they would “the presence of a lion” — that is, as random, and therefore unpredictable, events. It’s akin to learned helplessness — in a world full of lions, you can’t avoid running into one; you can only hope that your juju is stronger and, if it is, make sure to do nothing that will weaken it.
Here’s where the HBD crowd jumps in and crows that we Europeans have evolved past that. Which is true, but — as is their wont — in their rush to pat themselves on the back, the HBDers conveniently forget one of their other sacred principles: Regression to the Mean. It doesn’t take long for the Juju Principle, the “we didn’t get eaten by the lion this time” effect, to kick back in. Inertia is mankind’s ground state.
Consider l’affaire Coonman. Along with everyone else in Our Thing, I was angered — but not really surprised — to learn that Coonman’s GOP opponent, Ed Gillespie, hadn’t bothered to do basic oppo research. But there’s another — far more disturbing — way to look at it. Consider that Coonman’s people were as surprised as the rest of us when the blackface photos came out. They didn’t have a contingency plan in place. Before you snark that “The Media are the Left’s all-purpose contingency plan,” consider that the Virginia Democrats got caught flat-footed by the allegations against Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring, too. Yeah, yeah, the Media are doing their best to bury those, as well — you actually have to type “Virginia attorney general blackf” to get Google’s auto-complete to suggest “blackface,” and no news stories about that appear anywhere on the first page of search results otherwise — but the fact that those stories exist at all isn’t just laziness or hubris; it’s insanely dangerous complacency.
It wasn’t a calculated risk. It’s not as if the Dems knew this stuff and ran the candidates anyway, counting on Media cover. Nor can it be the case that they cut a deal with the GOP — any political operation that knows enough to hire data-mining operations (which, you’ll recall, are only bad when Trump uses them) knows enough to know that the Internet is forever. Even if the GOP did graciously agree to run a sham campaign — you’ll hear no argument from me on that one — they’d know that the dirt exists, and they’d have a contingency plan in place.
They didn’t. Which means they truly didn’t know.
They’re regressing to the Juju Principle. “It worked last time!” — last time being 2016, I guess, when it was obvious to all the world, up to and including car-smashing Africans out on the savanna, that Hillary Clinton was as crooked as the Gordian Knot. Hillary herself is a fantastic example. There’s really no other way of looking at all the breathtakingly crooked, stupid, hubristic things she did. Check out this (helpfully minimalist — thanks Wiki!) list of Hillary Clinton’s “controversies” (thanks again, Wiki!). Every time she gets busted, she ups the ante, because even though she keeps getting busted, she never faces any consequences.
Hey, it worked last time!!
Pretty much everything the Democrats do fit the template. What kind of idiot, for example, would let Elizabeth Warren take a DNA test? Warren herself is dumb as a box of rocks, so maybe she thought it was a good idea, but that’s why Senators have aides. She should be surrounded by half a dozen bright Ivy League kids who….
See what I mean? Because Warren actually IS surrounded by half a dozen Ivy League kids, 1%ers all, with the most expensive, and therefore most “elite,” educations money can buy. These are the smart ones. I have no doubt they all aced their SATs, just as I would bet the kids’ college fund that none of them has ever made less than an A in her life. For professional political operatives, keeping Fauxcahontas away from the blood lab should be as instinctive as breathing, just as schlepping on down to Podunk Tech to check Coonman the Babykiller’s yearbook photos should’ve been. It’s beyond complacency; it’s regression to primitivism.
This is why I say we’re much closer to a serious crisis than most anyone thinks. The Juju Principle means that the spark might be, in itself, quite minor — the kind of thing that anyone with the ability to see half a step ahead could easily squash while it’s still a minor-league local crime story. But not only have we lost the ability to see half a step ahead, we’re perversely incentivized to up the ante. It worked last time!!!
UPDATE: Some good feedback on this makes me realize I haven’t quite conveyed my main idea yet, so let me add on.
I’m something of an amateur Africanologist. I haven’t been there, but I read up on the place as often as I can stomach it — which isn’t very often — because Africa is our default state. Evolution, as they say, is copious, local, and recent… and so, alas, is devolution. Without vast, society-wide effort, we’ll return to Africa within a few generations, so it’s important to understand what Africa is.
Kim du Toit, an Afrikaaner, gives some context to what I meant with “learned helplessness:”
In Africa, life is cheap. There are so many ways to die in Africa that death is far more commonplace than in the West. You can die from so many things: snakebite, insect bite, wild animal attack, disease, starvation, food poisoning… the list goes on and on. At one time, crocodiles accounted for more deaths in sub-Saharan Africa than gunfire, for example. Now add the usual human tragedy (murder, assault, warfare and the rest), and you can begin to understand why the life expectancy for an African is low — in fact, horrifyingly low, if you remove White Africans from the statistics (they tend to be more urbanized, and more Western in behavior and outlook). Finally, if you add the horrifying spread of AIDS into the equation, anyone born in sub-Saharan Africa this century will be lucky to reach age forty.
Magical thinking — the Juju Principle, I’m calling it — is probably a psychological necessity under those conditions. Even now, the richest, healthiest, most-vaccinated and best-protected Westerner would be well advised to make out his will before heading for an extended stay in Africa. If you grew up back when American high schools still pretended to educate, you probably had to read Heart of Darkness. Stuff like this is why it’s a classic — live under these conditions for a while, and you too will succumb to primitivism.
Did I mention that our culture is trying it’s damnedest to instill learned helplessness in us? Oh, yeah, I did, and when you think about it, the whole dog’s breakfast of “intersectionality” is designed to produce it, too. Everything that happens is somebody else’s fault… but that “somebody else” is never named. It’s always a nebulous group of Other that does it, and — crucially — the Other can change without warning. Ask e.g. the lesbians how that’s working out, now that the trannies have fought themselves temporarily to the apex of the victim pyramid. At that point, you might as well just sit around clutching a fetish to your chest.
Whichever specific method you choose, though, the underlying principle never changes: You induce learned helplessness by severing cause and effect. But since we’re evolutionarily hardwired to search for causal relationships, you’ll never get a human to sit trembling in a corner, the way a mouse would. Instead, we construct fetishes, and that gives us the “Africa Wins Again” psychology….
…if you’re in Africa. There’s a much subtler way to do it: Kill ’em with prosperity. Another word for “effect” is, of course, “consequences.” If you decouple actions from consequences, you’ll arrive at learned helplessness just as fast. Just to stick with a theme, why do you think feminists are so miserable? It’s because their cause/effect vectors are screwed up. Like the Game guys say, feminists start by blaming men for all their problems… and end by pleading for men to ride in like John Wayne and solve all their problems. Feminists are the most privileged people on earth. They have everything that anyone could ever possibly want. But they’re miserable, because they have no agency. Everything comes from somewhere else.
Combine primitive fetish-psychology with the learned helplessness of intersectional prosperity, and you get the fascinating, terrifying spectacle of people with all the time, money, and power in the world doing stuff that wouldn’t make sense to a child 100 years ago. Just as the African who doesn’t crash his car taking a turn at 70 miles an hour figures he’d better take the next turn at 80 just to be safe, morons like Jussie Smollett, Hillary Clinton, Coonman the Babykiller, Incitatus Ocasio-Cortez, and all the rest figure that, since they didn’t face any consequences from their last caper, they’d better double the ante for the next one.
For instance, Smollett wasn’t setting up some White guys to take the rap. It wasn’t a frame up. It’s so terrifyingly stupid that you almost can’t get your head around it, but the truth is, he never bothered thinking that far ahead. He really, truly seems to have assumed that the Chicago PD would, you know, kinda…just… give up once they couldn’t find the mythical MAGA guys. It never occurred to him that every Media outlet on God’s green earth would be hounding CPD 24/7, 365, for not bringing the perpetrators of an outrageous hate crime to justice.
So, too, with Hillary Clinton. It’s not that she thinks she’s invincible. She knows she’s not, because she keeps getting caught. But since she doesn’t face any consequences for getting caught, she figures, fetish-style, that the only way to appease the gods is to pull an even bigger, dumber caper. It’s the only explanation, just like it’s the only explanation for Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test — this woman is 100% metaphysically certain that she’s not an Indian. She cannot possibly have believed it, not for one single second. Moreover, she knows she’s been running her Fauxcahontas scam since at least the mid-1980s, and that it’s a matter of public record — all someone has to do is wander down to the courthouse and pull the paper. In her mind, though, it’s like the African taking the 75 mph curve — the gods rewarded us with success this time, so we’d better do more of the same next time!!
And the hell of it is, she’s right. In a rational polity she’d be in jail. In even a semi-rational… hell, in even a quasi-sorta-rational polity, she’d be the punchline to every joke on late night tv for a year. Instead, she’s still a Senator, still a member in good standing of the Democratic Party, and rich idiots are still sending her money, which means she’s still, God help us, a viable candidate for President of the United fucking States.
See what I mean? We’re a lot closer to Mental Malawi than we think, which means that the crisis is much closer than we think.