Où Sont Les Lewises D’Antan?

Let’s begin with a couple of quotes:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C.S. Lewis

“The lies of the Jewish press on the subject of National Socialism justify the actions of National Socialism” — Josef Goebbels.

Our society’s defining ethos is equality: People of all genders and races have the same aptitude and potential.

But people of all genders and races are most decidedly not equal. What to do? The sane and rational thing would be to abandon equality, since it clearly does not correspond to reality.

The Puritan, the super-Protestant, does not give in so easily to sanity and reason. His response is to elevate the poorly performing genders and races as favored totems of his belief system, as martyrs.

Unfortunately they are metaphorical martyrs. Actual martyrs have a fixed impact on their religions, for obvious reasons. The social justice martyrs are not really suffering or oppressed. They constitute a further dystopianization of Lewis’ dystopia, in which tyranny is exercised for “victims” who are actually the tyrants.

Imagine if every time a Christian zealot were to fall asleep, he awoke with the confident conviction that he had died for Jesus and had been resurrected. No doubt anyone who tried to reason with him (“sirrah, you were merely unconscious, it is a thing in common with all animals”) would be viciously denounced as a tool of Satan. No doubt our megamartyr would grow more and more crazed, adamant, dogmatic.

And thus we come to our second quotation, a fiction of mine. The actual quote, from a British journalist named Helen Lewis:

“the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism”

Eric S Raymond calls this “kafkatrapping”: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression}”

Here is theory put into practice:

A new study by Dr Corinne Moss-Racusin and colleagues has analysed comments by the public responding to a prominent study on gender bias in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The researchers find that men are more likely to post negative comments in response to scientific evidence of sexism affecting women’s science careers (http://goo.gl/oZXRua).

If your belief system is designed to insulate you from criticism, if your belief system has a built-in immune response to any adverse evidence, you are either insane or will soon become so. Insane like Azathoth, who is bathed in music strange and beautiful, but can neither listen nor understand.

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