In the comments of the last “Hard Truths” post, several commenters alluded to the “death instinct” Freud says we have. Several others mentioned the utter ineffectiveness of facts and reason. Combine the two, and you get Hard Truth #2:
Consciousness is often more of a burden than we can bear.
In Gene Wolfe’s great series The Book of the New Sun*, there are throwaway characters called “zooanthrops.” It’s set millions of years in the future, the sun (already a red giant) is about to go out, and so some people have decided to lay the burden of consciousness down — they get lobotomized and dumped in the woods, to live what’s left of their lives as feral animals, because hey, why not? The literal end of the world is not far off; why deal with the stress?
We’re not quite to that point yet, but I’m sure y’all see where this is going. Radical politics is an ideological lobotomy. Drug addiction is something closer to a literal one, and it’s no accident that the drug of choice for the White underclass is painkillers. Social media is something close to a social lobotomy; the Internet in general, an informational one — with access to everyone, everywhere, and every fact ever unearthed in all of human history available to us on a handheld device, we use that awesome power to construct our own little delusion-bubbles, and every new advance helps us shrink them smaller and smaller.
In the case of radical politics, at least, the urge to be lobotomized is obvious. This isn’t a cheap joke — it’s right there, big as a mountain, and if we don’t see it, that’s because it’s so big, so ubiquitous, that we don’t notice it, like air. We laugh at “victim bingo” because we think Leftists are engaging in conscious status-jockeying — “my level 3 sexual assault survivor beats your level 5 heterosexual Blackness!” That is, we want to think they’re doing this, because the truth, though obvious, is horrifying — what they’re really doing is setting up a flowchart, so that they don’t have to think. Evaluating grievances is stressful; micro-calibrating identities the way they do could entail making hundreds of judgment calls each day. They want a clean, clear decision tree that covers every possible situation, so that they can get through their dreary, pointless days in blissful unconsciousness.**
That’s why unreason always wins. It’s also why your higher IQ types tend to be — counterintuitively — Leftists. Smarter people see farther, grasp logical entailments better, process information quicker. But all that means is: Smarter people get to an uncomfortable mental place quicker, and more often, than dull people do. No wonder they — we — retreat so readily to fantasy. No wonder our fantasies are so elaborate and murderous — if you can lose yourself in the arcana of Dialectical Materialism, you can forget Materialism’s bottom line, which is that all our works and days do nothing but temporarily alleviate some of the physical misery of dumb, grunting, naked apes.