When Prophecy Fails

At Jim’s Blog, a post on the notion of Left Singularity has spurred some excellent discussion on the subject. Jim writes:

We are seeing a political singularity – the leftwards slide that has been under way since 1710 or so is going faster and faster.

Many people have already commented on the ludicrous absurdity of calling 1% cuts in a budget that rose 27% in three years, “drastic”. Supposedly this makes the Tea Party not merely conservative, but “ultra conservative”. If the tea party is ultra conservative, what then would we call someone who attempted to restore the status quo of 2004? Super fanatical ultra nazi right wing extremist?…

That which cannot continue, will stop. Trees do not grow to the sky. This does not, however, necessarily mean that freedom will be restored and everything will be lovely. The last time we had theocracy, we had stagnation for four hundred years…

Obviously this cannot continue. Eventually the money runs out, in that we shall have a hyperinflationary crisis, and revert to some other form of money, such as the gold standard. As that happens, the increasily lawless behavior of the rulers against the ruled will become increasingly lawless behavior of the rulers against each other. Civil war, or something close to civil war, or the dire and immediate threat of civil war will ensue.

In When Prophecy Fails, Leon Festinger‘s classic, participant-observer study of cognitive dissonance, Festinger discovered that, in the case of a doomsday cult, when the cult leader’s predictions of imminent doom on December 21, 1954 came and passed (with no doom), rather than the cult leader’s ideology being discredited, it actually gained strength in the eyes of the cult members. Of cult leader Marian Keech (real name: Dorothy Parker) and her followers:

Festinger and his colleagues saw this as a case that would lead to the arousal of dissonance when the prophecy failed. Altering the belief would be difficult, as Keech and her group were committed at considerable expense to maintain it. Another option would be to enlist social support for their belief. As Festinger wrote, “If more and more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly it must after all be correct.”

In this case, if Keech could add consonant elements by converting others to the basic premise, then the magnitude of her dissonance following disconfirmation would be reduced. Festinger and his colleagues predicted that the inevitable disconfirmation would be followed by an enthusiastic effort at proselytizing to seek social support and lessen the pain of disconfirmation.

What are the conditions upon which core beliefs are actually strengthened in the face of disconfirmation? Festinger concluded the following conditions led to increased conviction in the core beliefs of cult members following disconfirmation:

  1. The belief must be held with deep conviction and be relevant to the believer’s actions or behavior.
  2. The belief must have produced actions that are difficult to undo.
  3. The belief must be sufficiently specific and concerned with the real world such that it can be clearly disconfirmed.
  4. The disconfirmatory evidence must be recognized by the believer.
  5. The believer must have social support from other believers.

Look at #1 through #5 above and think about what the Left has implemented in the United States and across Western Europe, from welfare entitlements to the de facto censorship of political correctness to the Left’s thorough grip on Culture). Leftism (e.g., marxism; anti-HBD stances; blank-slate theories of human nature; a refusual to process the realities of racial differences) is tantamount to a wide, culturally dominant cult.

For example, in the face of growing HBD findings, the Left’s resolve hasn’t weakened but actually hardened. (When, back in 2007, I called it quits on my own first incarnation of Logical Meme, it was largely because of my pessimism on this matter, which led me to believe in the absolute futility of blogging. See also Half Sigma‘s reason for calling it quits on HBD posts.) The Left has become more strident in censoring any debate on the matter (ruining careers, interrupting AmRen conferences, screaming ‘racism’ ever more loudly and successfully translating that scream into real political and judicial results, etc.) and continue to control the primary levers of cultural production.

They have invested heavily. And now they’re closing the wagons.

Urbanatomy has an outstanding post on the subject of the Left Singularity dynamic:

Dark Enlightenment begins with the recognition that reality is unpopular, so that the ‘natural’ course of political development, under democratic conditions, is reliably based upon the promise of an alternative. Pandering to fantasy is the only platform that delivers electoral support. When the dreams turn bad it is politically obvious that they have not been held firmly or sincerely enough, their radicalism has been insufficient, and a more far-reaching solution is imperative. Since either deliberate or merely inertial rightist sabotage is clearly to blame, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

This syndrome, essentially indistinguishable from political modernity, calls for a cybernetic theory of accelerating social deterioration, or self-reinforcing economic repression. The trend that dark enlightenment recoils from demands explanation, which is found in the diagram of Left Singularity

As society moves ever leftwards, ever faster, leftists get ever more discontented with the outcome, but of course, the only cure for their discontent that it is permissible to think, is faster and further movement left.

As a leftist inversion of Clausewitz (“War is the continuation of Politics by other means”), Urbanatomy also notes the relevant research of Gregory Bateson and draws the parallel of the alcoholic:

Gregory Bateson referred to cybernetic escalation as ‘schismogenesis’, which he identified in a number of social phenomena. Among these was substance abuse (specifically alcoholism), whose abstract dynamics, at the level of the individual, are difficult to distinguish from collective political radicalization. The alcoholic is captured by a schismogenetic circuit, and once inside, the only attractive solution is to head further in. At each step of life disintegration, one needs a drink more than ever. There goes the job, the savings, the wife and kids, and there’s nowhere to look for hope except the bar, the vodka bottle, and eventually that irresistible can of floor polish. Escape comes – if it comes before the morgue – in ‘hitting bottom’. Escalation to the extreme reaches the end of the road, or the story, where another might – possibly – begin. Schismogenesis predicts catastrophe.

Hitting bottom has to be horrible. A long history brought you to this, and if this isn’t obviously, indisputably, an intolerable state of ultimate degradation, it will carry on. It isn’t finished until it really can’t go on, and that has to be several notches worse than can be anticipated. Left Singularity is deep into the dregs of the floor polish, with everything gone. It’s worse than anything you can imagine, and there’s no point at all trying to persuade people they’ve arrived there before they know they have. ‘Things could be better than this’ won’t cut it. That’s what progress is for, and progress is the problem.

Europe will, as they have several times in the past, likely reach bottom first.

When that happens, will it still be possible to prevent the spiraling, collective death wish that is built into our current zeitgeist here in the U.S.?

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