On Ideology: Narrative

Imagine this: You’re walking along a beach somewhere, and you stumble over a metal object in the sand. You dig it out, brush it off, and realize you’re holding an antique lamp. You polish it up a bit, and a genie pops out. Since he was bottled in tough economic times, the genie only offers you one very specific wish: Say the word, and all forms of cancer will be instantly cured.

This isn’t an O. Henry story; there’s no twist ending. There are no codicils, fine print, or weasel words. Say the word, and all tumors instantly go into remission, and no one, anywhere, will ever develop cancer ever again. There’s only one catch: No one but you can ever know. You’ll always have full knowledge of what you did, but to the rest of the world, it’s a miracle… and if you state, imply, hint, or in any other way make any effort to claim credit for it, all the cancer in the world instantly comes back.

Would you take the deal?

Think it through for a sec. It sounds like a Ray Bradbury story, if you get into the mechanics. What happens if you get drunk and blurt it out? What if you talk in your sleep? If you want to be sure, you might have to have your voice box surgically removed before moving to a remote Tibetan cave. But even then, what if you develop dementia and just start babbling? Hell, you could end up President of the United States that way! If you want to be sure cancer never comes back, you might well end up committing suicide…

Now ask yourself this: Would any SJW take the deal?

After all, they care so much more than the rest of us, right? I’m a Christian, which gives me an out. Hold on a few years, Mr. Genie, while I talk it through with my priest, the bishop, the archbishop, the College of Cardinals, the Pope… the only thing I learned in Sunday School that even remotely comes close to this situation is Matthew 4:1-11, and that’s not gonna go your way. Ok, ok, that goddamn Marxist parading himself as the Pope might sign off on it, seeing as how he’s pretty obviously in bed with the other guy from that Bible story, but I don’t think any real leader of any major religious denomination could approve my decision with a clear conscience…

…but that’s only a problem for those inbred rubes with the Magic Sky Fairy, right? So what say you, Snowflake? No cancer anymore, ever, but you don’t get any credit. Deal?

The surest sign you’re dealing with an ideology is that it provides a narrative for privatizing benefits while socializing costs. And the point of this narrative is to, in effect, freeze time. The narrative explains why things must be as they are now, and it explains why things must be the way they’ll be in the future, but when you examine it, the narrative provides no explanation whatsoever for how any action in the now advances, even for one second, the inevitable future.

Russian critics of Bolshevism, I’m told, liked to compare Marxists to schizophrenic astronomers — they’re mathematically certain that an eclipse will happen, yet somehow feel compelled to form a revolutionary party and start murdering people, to make sure it does. The modern SJW catechism works the same way, obviously. We’re nine months into “fifteen days to stop the spread,” and it’s obvious — it has always been obvious — that lockdowns and masks don’t do a damn thing, yet here we are, gearing up for round two. No less an expert than Greta Thunberg insists that the global climate is doomed no matter what we do, and yet we’re supposed to ban the internal combustion engine. And so on down the line. We’re required to do all kinds of things that not only don’t work, but that can’t work — that are so absurd on their face that you have to laugh before you start crying, because you’ll never be able to stop. And yet… here we are.

My little thought experiment is designed to present a very stark tradeoff, because nothing in the real world exists without opportunity cost. The Left’s narrative, like all ideological narratives, insists that there are no opportunity costs to anything, ever. No tradeoffs at all. Thinking through all the stories SJWs might tell themselves to avoid saying yes to the genie could give us some clues as to where their heads are now, and where they might be going.*

*This thought experiment has been brought to you by Friedrich Nietzsche. It’s not the same thing, of course, but when you consider the strength of character a man would have to have to take the genie’s deal…

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6 thoughts on “On Ideology: Narrative

  1. texinole

    I must be missing something because that’s a very easy “yes” for me. I wouldn’t commit suicide to ensure it’s longevity – due to my hubris I suppose – but would instead look at whatever time the world was spared cancer as a gift.

    That unreformed narcissists and big Pharma execs would be unable to agree makes sense, but is it really that hard of a question?

    1. Codex

      Yes. The scary part of the deal is the no “monkey paw” claim: djinni, powers of the world, liars and all that. But make it a real angel, and sure. Why would anyone need to know?

      Hard would be the angelic claim: “It will save more wicked men then good, but God will grant this if you asked.”

      On second thought, you’d still have to say “conditional yes” IFF Deo Volente.

      1. Severian Post author

        That’s the insidious thing – no one HAS to know. I’d have no problem keeping my big mouth shut… Or would I? Here come Dr. Fauci and The Experts, telling us only eternal masks and lockdowns stopped cancer…

        But note that intention doesn’t matter in our thought experiment. If it slips out, even accidentally, cancer comes back. Are you going to bet you’ll never get drunk and mutter something? Never talk in your sleep? Never get dementia and blab the whole story?

        It’s a tremendous, life long burden to bear. Imagine waking up one morning to find out cancer has returned, because you had a dream about the genie and muttered in your sleep…

  2. Prodigal Son

    Eh? The SJW calculus does acknowledge trade off, it’s just that it’s The Bad Guys who will get the raw end of the deal. An SJW would not wish away the cancer because it would also cure the sick people of Team Red, and old people with stuck habits are forever conservative relative to the advancing agenda. So cancer is a net benefit for Team Blue goals. Don’t you know Science Will Triumph once we get rid of the old Religious people? We’ll cure it anyway once cancer has done it’s part to remove the obtuse demographic. Plus ‘the world’s over-populated anyway.’

    As a former SJW I can tell you, anything that is characterized by diminishment and abdication of responsibility will ultimately be favoured. The ethos hangs on being powerless to the environment; choosing to rid the world of cancer would mean being responsible for something – and thus not powerless. That one Act would show they had agency all along, and so they suddenly own all of their failiures. Usually that’s not an option because ‘it’s not my fault’ is the only reason most of them haven’t committed suicide. “You mean I put myself in this hell-hole? That means the longer I live, the deeper the hole I’m going to dig! May as well end it now.” Hence the twin compulsion towards victimhood and totalitarianism. ‘Make it forever not my fault by really taking away all my power.’

    I’ve often read that the Left fantasizes they’ll be running the show, and not be the proles. In my experience that’s not the case. They think the authority will compel them into the role they were born for – but that they can’t seem to discover or reach under their own power. That’s why they always respond with their Dream Job for what happens after the revolution.

    As for doing what is pointless, here are some sensible rationalizations:

    Mask Wear Logic:
    ‘I care enough to soothe your fear about the virus, even if i think this mask is pointless. I wear it so stupid people will be less stressed. I can’t tell who is scared, so I wear it around everyone. I do this because I genuinely care and do not want to add to mental suffering. Also, if I don’t wear it – which is such a simple gesture to comply with – people might consider me a sociopath for not playing along. This is also why I ignore the rules in any private setting. I know the people and we all agree it’s stupid.’

    Car Ditch Logic:
    ‘I got rid of my car because I intuit – sometimes unconsciously – that the automobile distorted time and space to the point that it made neighborly love impossible. If I can compel enough people to give up their cars, maybe the restriction on travel will force neighbors to become neighbors again.’

    1. Severian Post author

      Fascinating that you were once an SJW. If it’s not too painful to share, what caused you to give it up?

      Well said about the revolution *forcing* them to accept their destiny. Another thing Vox Day deserves credit for is popularizing the “secret king” idea. Like Luke Skywalker, SJW one day is forced by events beyond his control to find out he’s the galaxy’s last hope. It’s the hardest thing for the non-SJW to accept about them — how can they not see that they are always the first ones shot after The Revolution? But of course that can’t happen to the secret king…

      1. Prodigal Son

        I had enough good seeds planted in my youth that I eventually reaped the harvest. That’s what it came down to. There were enough habits and role models instilled in me that my mistakes could only take me so far off course before I self-corrected. Eventually enough poor decisions were avoided for a couple years that the Good ones began to compound.

        People who don’t have enough good seeds to reap though? Those people are stuck until order is imposed on them. Just not the kind of order they’re asking for.

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