Remember when we were undergraduates? Do you remember saying something that seemed perfectly reasonable, only to be met– usually by a TA or an older student– with a withering look of contempt and a dogmatic assertion. Or perhaps we saw this happen to a classmate.
I think this is one of the most powerful methods by which ideological conformity is enforced. After this encounter, we struggled to understand the dogma. Even if we didn’t understand it we’d pretend we did.
Whether one is left-wing or right-wing, it works the same way; expressions of contempt for stupidity reinforce barriers between people and reify ideologies.
One of the problems with rigid ideological positions is that they blind people to reality. For instance, in the United States, “conservatives” and “liberals” are both advancing the cause of a totalitarian regime, while each group thinks they’re doing their best to protect the nation from the evil designs of the other group.
Contempt for the stupid is a form of stupidity. We are all stupid. Stupid is a relative concept. Those who are the most contemptuous of the stupid are probably the most afraid of being shown up as being stupid themselves.
I was raised by a father who always said “the masses are asses.” The overwhelming majority of people consider themselves above average. The elite in the United States, and the aristocrats and elites of all nations, are vulnerable to a kind of thinking that says: you are privileged because you are superior.
In the United States a tremendous amount of effort has gone into miseducating the masses. John Taylor Gatto explains it well: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/ A short and deceptively glib narrative of this process might go as follows: in 1914, the Rockefellers massacred striking workers, women and children in Ludlow, Colorado. This turned out to be bad public relations for the Rockefellers and hurt profits. As a result, the Rockefellers set up non-profit think tanks to study ways to solve the problem. The think tanks suggested that the work force be educated in such a way as to sap their will to fight the Rockefellers and their ilk. Compulsory public schooling was instituted, and the bland fare taught there concealed an ideology hostile to the students, who then either identified with this concealed ideology and rose to the top of the “meritocracy” or rebelled against it and joined the ranks of the “stupid.”
It isn’t hard to see that a societal feedback loop was created, in which those who conformed to the covert ideologies were taught to consider themselves smart and superior and those who rejected it were denied opportunities, marginalized and misunderstood.
The “meritocrats,” the workers in offices, the owners, the clever people who write for newspapers and magazines, bankers, the managers, and their sympathizers, whether nominally liberal or conservative, are, ironically, more deeply damaged by this system than those who are excluded. They are cut off from their own history. They lose their identities. They are unspontaneous, affected, neurotic, stressed-out, and profoundly unhappy (unless they are sociopaths, in which case they find the whole arrangement comfortable.)
I was born in the meritocratic camp, but I moved over to the camp of the stupid. The stupid are not inherently better than the meritocrats, they’re often deeply flawed and damaged, but they are not actually stupid (just as the meritocrats do not actually posess merit.) On average they are more generous (although they have fewer resources.) They are typically better dancers. They tend to clam up around meritocrats, who are not equipped to understand their thinking, and who treat them with condesencion and contempt.
The stupid are a microcosm of the “other,” i.e., from the standpoint of Western Civilization, barbarians. Barbarians have always been an intractable problem, requiring either conversion (enslavement) or extermination. Contempt for the stupid is just an attenuated version of the eugenic drive for genocide.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to assassinate our own better selves in order to escape the barbarian hordes.
Keep an eye out for the contempt for the stupid. Whenever I feel that twinge of contempt for the stupid, I know that, like a marionette puppet, my string is being pulled. I may think it’s my own thought, but it has been carefully placed there by skilled propagandists, who are trying to alienate me from my people.