Cognitive Killswitch

George Orwell described crimestop, the bedrock survival principle in Airstrip One, like this:

CRIMESTOP means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. CRIMESTOP, in short, means protective stupidity… orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one’s own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body.

And that, our Nine Regular Readers, is why Millennials suck.

It used to be that the main thing wrong with Our Betters, The Liberals, wasn’t so much what they didn’t know, but that what they did know wasn’t so, as various folks apocryphally said.  After that, it was just plain ignorance.  Both of those things are correctable, should one want to (or be forced to) get corrected.  The problem nowadays is that they’ve mastered crimestop.  Facts — which to them are synonymous with “opinions” — can’t get through.  That armor’s too strong for blasters.

Harpoons and tow cables don't work, either.

Harpoons and tow cables don’t work, either.

Imagine yourself a properly goodthinkful priest teacher, preaching teaching students the catechism History.  What you’re teaching is, of course, mostly lies, but they still have to contain a grain or two of truth, for verisimilitude.  It’s child’s play to get the dullards to simply memorize the right answer, copy it down on the test, and forget about it.  The brighter ones, though, might get to noticing things.  Things like: “even though we spent most of the school year on Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, it still kinda seems like white men pretty much did, said, and invented everything useful.  Yeah yeah, it’s cool that there are 300 uses for the peanut or whatever, but that doesn’t really stack up against ‘all the rest of agriculture,’ plus antibiotics, math, the phonetic alphabet, and everything short of fire itself (and I bet it was one pale-ass caveman who figured that out, too).”

It’s not enough to say, as the Afrocentrists maintain, that Honky stole everything from those who wuz kangz, as there’s far more physical evidence for the life of Jesus Christ than there is for Afrocentrism (suck it, atheists!  Afrocentrists, too).


Nor is it enough to say that The Man is keeping wymyn down via Teh Patriarchy, because again, you can refute it Samuel Johnson-style.  Take a look around — a mere 40% of high school teachers are men; the lower grades barely crack double digits.  Given that two-parent families don’t exist anymore, the last time a grade school boy saw a male authority figure was never.

The logical conclusion:  If they haven’t — despite every conceivable opportunity and umpteen zillion programs, quotas, set-asides, and awareness-raising campaigns — it’s because they can’t.

And we can’t be having that.

The only way to get around it is to go all-in on teaching crimestop.  You can’t consciously teach people NOT to think, though, so what you do is 1) bury them in trivia, and 2) immediately and brutally punish any deviation.

1) is self-explanatory, and the reason why all high school students hate History.  They’re forced to memorize every known fact about Harriet Tubman’s life (all three of them), and quite a few more fakey-fake bullshit ones, while that whole “Civil War” thing gets a single passing mention.  Make them memorize enough trivia about the trivial, and their brains will be too stuffed to wonder what the point is.

2) is accomplished by changing the facts without warning.  It’s Global cooling warming cooling Climate Change on a grand scale.  It’s a fact because the Science is Settled!, and Settled Science ™ can never be questioned, even when yesterday’s Settled Science is 180 degrees away from today’s.  See also “gender;” “homosexuality, genetic basis of;” “homosexuality, cultural basis of;” etc.  Since what got you the gold sticker today gets you reeducation tomorrow, it’s best not to do anything other than memorize today’s fact and write it down in the test blank, fingers crossed that it doesn’t change between the time you remember it and the time you finish writing.

Thus, by the time they get to college, they not only can’t make a logical deduction or follow a chain of reasoning, doing so actually scares them.  Safe spaces for everyone!

Loading Likes...

6 thoughts on “Cognitive Killswitch

  1. P_Ang

    The new “The Tick”‘s definition of “Mad Science” seems to fit modern liberal thought on “SCIENCE!!” (The all-caps science with apostrophe’s, not actual observational science as most people understand it.)

    The two definitions they gave that fit perfectly are:
    1.) Of course YOU don’t understand it, it’s “Mad Science.”
    2.) Where real physics end, “Mad Science” begins.

  2. Retired Special Operator

    I have been teaching graduate level military history, strategy, and related topics to military officers for over 20 years now and I can assure you that the impact of public school curricula and undergraduate programs (even among the hard sciences) are now producing adults without the ability to think critically about any subject. Add to that the negative impact of social media, laptops and smart phones in the classroom, Google, and everything else in society today that encourages young people to avoid thinking at all. Our society is in trouble. And I don’t see it getting any better any time soon.

    1. Severian

      Yow. I would’ve thought that, at the very least, those interested enough in military strategy to study it at the graduate level would be capable of critical thought.

      This is very, very bad.

  3. Deplorable Black Man

    Home Run post Severian – it’s the best explanation I’ve read for what I’m seeing with my kids’ education. It perfectly explains why kids are being forced to immediately associate John Glenn and the early days of the space program with the gals from “Hidden Figures” – can’t tell the story of American heroes without a nice side dish of racial guilt, right? My kids know the “Hidden Figures” story is ” fakey-fake bullshit”, but when this crap is being crammed into your head every day it’s gonna wear you down eventually.

    As you guys are fond of saying “this will not end well”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *