Equations vs. Upvotes

Those of us who went to primary school back in the Jurassic were taught to think, for lack of a better term, in equations.  In History class, for example, you spent the junior high years memorizing a bunch of crap that happened, so that in the high school years, you could begin figuring out why the crap happened.  You take the facts, infer a rule, and test it, like a scientist.

For example, you can get a decent handle on 18th century European history with a phrase: The mercantile system.  Mercantilism funds the large standing armies and navies that newly consolidated nation-states need.  Militaries are meant to be used, though, and are savagely expensive either way, so states begin fighting each other, not over dynastic politics (though the wars are often confusingly called “War of the ___ Succession” or “King So-and-So’s War”), but over access to markets (which leads to further state consolidation).  Colonies are essential to markets, and colonial expansion opens up whole new venues for fighting — North America, India, the Caribbean.  This in turn leads to internal political conflict, e.g. the American Revolution… you get the idea.  It’s not perfect, but you won’t go too far wrong by trying to figure out where X event fits into the framework of the mercantile system.

This way of thinking has its disadvantages, to be sure — Marxism appeals to limited thinkers who long to appear deep, because it’s an easy way to see “what really happened.”  All you have to do to get an A+ from your idiot socialist teachers is to find the exploitation in a given situation… and if you can’t find any, or if people in the situation appear to be getting freer, healthier, richer, and happier, you say “false consciousness.”  Still, following the money, Marxist-style, gets you in the neighborhood of right often enough that pretty much all modern history is “Marxist” history in that sense.  It’s an easy, workable equation.

The Millennials, though, aren’t taught that way.  I’m not sure how they are taught, as by the time I get them, they’re already so far gone that I spend far more of my time correcting old misinformation than I do presenting new information.  My guess, though, is that they’re taught via PowerPoint and think in Facebook thumbs up.

They absolutely cannot correlate the contents of their minds.  Lovecraft called that a blessing, but in a Cthulhu-less world it’s actually quite the curse.  Now, putting two and two together is something we all struggle with from time to time, but they’re uniquely terrible at it.  It’s not political, necessarily, though almost all college kids necessarily spout SJW platitudes.  They just have never been taught that it’s good, desirable, and frequently necessary to connect the disparate facts in one’s head.

Example: I have never, in all my years of teaching, gotten anyone to venture that “Inclusion” is anything but a universal good.  Ditto “Racism” as a universal evil.  And Eugenics is also a universal evil, because Racism.  And, of course, everyone says they’re ProChoice.  But when I point out that the “birth control” movement was always, and primarily, a Eugenics movement…. their brains shut down.  Their eyes glaze over, their jaws drop, they look like someone blew up the mothership.  Vaya con Dios, and will the last one out please flip off the lights?

I think they think in upvotes exclusively.  The first four items on my list are Chestnuts, things “everybody knows.”  You’re not going to get banned from Facebook or kicked off YouTube for saying Eugenics is bad or Inclusion is good.  In fact, you’ll get upvoted and retweeted and have all kinds of praise heaped upon you, because it’s all just virtue signaling.  That “pro choice” leads directly to eugenics — and socialized medicine is guaranteed to make that happen in the long run — just doesn’t compute, because one is upvoted and the other gets you reported to the Thought Police.

One cannot, in other words, correlate the contents of her mind, and remain in good standing on social media.  So they never do.

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5 thoughts on “Equations vs. Upvotes

  1. P_Ang

    Well, upvotes and downvotes certainly do have an effect, and not just on millenials and SJWs. I’d LIKE to have a meaningful conversation with XXXX because I disagree with the current trend of the alt-right to blame their problems primarily on RINOs, and most recently, any one who doesn’t agree 100% with alter ideology. That’s liberal thinking right there. If you don’t spout the propaganda, you’re an enemy. However, if you disagree with the OP and his followers sniff the fart in the wind, it’s blood in the water. Or the wind. I’m not sure which.
    It boils down to no more meaningful conversations. Now, with liberals Dems, I gave up long ago. “Meaningful” never was an option, and it took a long time to parse that out. But there USED to be a time you could talk to someone on the right, say that you want to boot illegals, say that you want a halt to immigration until good vetting is in place, but also say that you don’t mind a RARE minority admitted as long as they benefit the country and not be called a “cuck.” Now if you don’t toe the line on every issue you’re an enemy of the cause.
    I guess what I’m saying is that blank stare isn’t one of confusion. I think they are parsing your statement and determining if you don’t UNNERSTAND!! their commitment, or if you truly are an Enemy of the Cause at which point they’ll double their protestations, because as we all know Enemy = My Cause Squared!

    1. P_Ang

      Darn it, I always think of something better after posting. The new Millennial equation…Emotion = My Crisis Squared! There dammit. Grumph, grumph…

    1. Severian

      Deep cover. I’m a sixth-generation legacy; my real name is Slade Jackington van Pelt VI, Harvard ’89. 🙂

      Seriously, though, it’s easy. Just present it as the OBVIOUSLY WRONG reasoning of evil, awful racists. Just when you see the horrified gleam in their eyes — “my God, he’s right, that’s airtight!” — you say, “of course, we all know that’s what H8ing H8rs that H8 believe.”

  2. Gary

    They absolutely cannot correlate the contents of their minds.

    One cannot, in other words, correlate the contents of her mind, and remain in good standing on social media. So they never do.

    I see two separate forces at work here:

    1) The social media PC minefield punishes Thoughcrimes so severely that people are trained to go beyond censoring what they say to censoring what and how they think. Orwell called this process Crimestop:

    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.

    2) Their “education” has been so heavily marinated in progressive propaganda, they have received little, if any, training in how to think properly. Actually, it’s worse than that. They are browbeaten into accepting “correct” opinions, but the explanations (if any are given) are cobbled together from dubious concepts, false premises and specious logic — and conclusions are never tested against reality. Thus, K through 12 (and beyond) pedagogy contains a large helping of instruction in anti-thought; that is, incorrect ways of thinking.


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