Saturday, 9 September 2017

The backwards thinking of Winston Peters and anti-immigrants

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the country is “being overwhelmed by migrants,” but what he calls multiculturalism is really just homogenisation.

Being in opposition to something you hate is powerful branding in New Zealand. Like Marshall McLuhan once yelled, there's a war going on out there, and it isn't between liberals and conservatives or atheists and believers, it's between us and them, where them is defined as everyone who is not us and us is defined as me. You lose.

NZF doesn’t want to import cultural traits from the 15th century – oops, I mean the "Muslim world.” But here's the thing: the way to defeat an enemy is to get them to agree with your version of the good life, to capture their psychology.

That’s why anti-immigrant ideologues are thinking backwards. They should be championing any policy that homogenises the world under Western assumptions. The policy of invading and inviting the world has been so successful that today every piece of dry land is both a nation state and a democracy.

Mr Peters, presumably, thinks this is what failure looks like. Actually, it’s what empire looks like. Al-Jazeera isn't the "Islamification" of the West, it is the westernisation of the Middle East. The news channel reports in English, they have western values, and, most importantly, accept ads – Western style aspirational ads, not representational. "You know, these immigrants aren’t so different from us, they want the same things we want." Yes. Why do you think that is?

The moment you have the other people's ideas, you cannot shake that information. Any "independent" idea necessarily includes that idea in some way. You can't unlearn it. Either your idea converges towards the herd, or your idea is classed as against the herd. Either way, the dominant herd affects your thinking in ways you don't fully comprehend. That you don't want to be part of it ensures you are part of it.

Every time you hear a jihadist bomb, you should see it as proof the West still controls the concept of the good society. By attacking us, they are confirming that we are dominant, otherwise, why attack us? The acts appear personal and individualised but conform beautifully, they are no threat.

New Zealand First should welcome people. It should campaign to increase the level of education about Western freedoms among immigrant children. It should be soaking them with advertising to desire a consumption lifestyle and to get a job and start producing and consuming like good little Westerners. Plug in, baby.

Power never thinks of you as an individual. Power never thinks of you at all. Western culture is winning because Muslims choose to come here. They accept the default assumption that the major tenets of New Zealand’s culture are categorically better than theirs. That's what immigration means.

New Zealand First should also convince immigrants to create political parties of their own so that they are absorbed further into the system. It should encourage immigrants to ask for greater representation because when the system protects them, the system has power over them. It gives them the trappings of power so they don't take actual power.

I'm always bemused by people who expect there to be some third way between the “market” and central planning.

Either people do whatever they want and create a legal system in which everything which is not prohibited is permitted or you have an official authority. The former is called liberalism. The latter system is called totalitarianism. It’s as simple as that.

In totalitarianism, there are no individual acts. That's the whole point of the structure, that's what it wants, what it wants you to become. The essential ingredient is psychological capture. It’s very hard to call a society totalitarian if it includes different subcultures with their own beliefs and perspectives. We all need to think the same things at the same time in the morning. In other words, a reasonable definition of totalitarianism is the absence of intellectual diversity.

Instead of complaining, Mr Peters should be asking: how do we get from here to there? How can the State get everyone to think in step? One way is to send all the intellectuals to camps. Let’s call this the Orwell approach, and you can’t say it doesn’t work. But a better way is the Huxley approach.

For Huxleyist totalitarianism, you start with the perspective that’s already the most fashionable view among the intelligentsia. The natural flow of intellectual fashions, just as in clothing, is from hieratic to demotic: from high-status people to low-status people. When you try to reverse this, you get things like Nazism, which was hardly a success.

Marxism should not be mistaken for a demotic movement, and it was very fashionable among intellectuals. It still is. But when it actually gains power, it tends to alienate them quickly. If you want your totalitarian system to work smoothly, you need an intellectual framework people can live their whole lives inside without ever feeling the need to violate its bounds.

Marxism and Nazism, although they certainly had their Huxleyist moments, are not good examples of this kind of successful totalitarianism. Catholicism, Judaism and Islam are much better.

The traditionalist version of Christianity is extremely weak in New Zealand and is being outcompeted by Islam. But Islam stands no chance against the new version of Christianity – American progressivism. You can see it infecting the psychologies of Muslims when they say concepts like freedom of speech, human rights and equality are universal human aspirations, when in reality they are core Christian ideas.

Persuasion is the only weapon that can make a difference. And to persuade, first, you must control the conversation.

If Mr Peters is concerned about political correctness, he should read Roland Huntford's insightful observations about Sweden.

First, he notices that party of the Social Democrats had achieved a level of intellectual conformity unique in the Western world using the mechanism we now call political correctness.

Second, he notes that organised intellectual conformity is really nothing new in Sweden. It is simply a continuation of the close ties between Church and State that have been a Swedish phenomenon since the Reformation. Protestantism, and specifically Lutheranism, have always been political religions with a strong collectivist bent. The only change is a doctrinal shift away from belief in the supernatural, and an institutional shift from the church to the universities.

But Sweden has forgotten Machiavelli. There are now two cultures in Sweden. One is Swedish and the other is Euro-Islamic, relating to each other like Eloi and Morlocks. This was not true in Mr Huntford’s time and it is interesting to see how completely and successfully the Swedish state religion has suppressed the innate human talent for xenophobia. I seriously doubt either the Soviets or the Nazis could ever have gotten this far toward creating the new socialist man.

The parallels to New Zealand's intellectual history are obvious and I have a bit of sympathy for Mr Peters' viewpoint. The idea that liberalism in the 19th-century sense of the word is outdated was the predominant mechanism for deprecating it before the rise of political correctness.

Political correctness has a bad habit of changing its name, but it goes back to Calvin and Luther, and I think it is perfectly legitimate to regard Christianity itself as a sect of collectivism. In other words, Communism is best understood as applied Christianity.

That's the rub.

If Mr Peters considers his way of life represents some universal nature of the "good society," then psychological capture is a great strategy. Rather than punching the wave, he should ride it all the way to the shore. Think of all the Muslim children just waiting for some tight Western propaganda and "state education." Ride that wave, Mr Peters.

Don't misinterpret me, there is no plot. The Illuminati is not involved. The miracle of social evolution is that its results are indistinguishable from the product of an intelligent designer. Or, in this case, an intelligent conspirator.

Even though his ethical views might be much the same as Murray Rothbard’s, or John Locke’s for that matter, it doesn’t follow that those ideas are universal. But thinking they are is an excellent idea if your game is to secure power on a global scale. Ride the Progressivism wave, Mr Peters. The religion is healthy and vigorous.

But you may have a different opinion. Do you see it jumping the shark perhaps? For example, do you see environmentalism (as a political religion) as something with centuries, or decades, or years to live? Is it a permanent occupant of the brain’s religion module? Or will something else displace or replace it?

Who knows? But right now, if Mr Peters is actually playing the power game, it's much better to stand on the side of the big battalions, don't you agree?

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