by David Heleniak
I read through your piece on demographics. One group that’s not on the list and is important despite in terms of quality as opposed to quantity is non-PC intellectuals like evolutionary psychologists, who, because they have not focused on it, are not tuned into the problems of the State are conventional in their politics, but would be open to our ideas if we pitch them in an appealing way. Some Objectivists could become more radical anti-statists, maybe some cognitive psychologists, which, since the discipline is pretty good, would be open to truth.
I was a psych/philosophy major in the early 90s. Overall I would say psychology at the undergrad level, which is focused on the scientific method as opposed to training future therapists, is PC free. I spoke with one of my former teachers a couple years ago–when my New Chamber article came out I gave a little presentation at Albright–and he was definitely keyed into anti-male bias in the culture, and he wasn’t an AltRight guy or fathers rights guy or anything like that, just observant and intelligent.
It’s like this in psych: as an undergrad, you are taught that psychology is an infant science: “We know a few things and are in the process of learning more, but don’t believe you can take a few psych classes and read someone’s mind.” This would be the same story if I had gone on to study experimental psych in grad school. If I was to go on to shrink school, however–therapeutic psychology–I would be mentored by a master shrink, who would have taken me under his wing and revealed the secrets of the craft: “Forget all that stuff about not knowing how the mind words, here’s how you read someone’s mind, how to tell who is a better parent when doing a custody evaluation (psst…it’s the Mom), etc.” This is where the bullshit and PC ideology come in.
Even in English lit, there are PC free pockets. I had a teacher–Michael Adams–who taught Arthurian lit, among other things, and was, in retrospect, euro-centric. He moved on to teach at North Carolina State University and was put on notice by Stephen Colbert for not properly acknowledging him as the originator of the word “truthiness.” Colbert later accepted his apology, even though he didn’t exactly offer one:
Philosophy is also relatively free from PC. It can either be AngloAmerican (e.g., logical positivism)–which is boring as shit–or Continental–which looks at Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sarte, etc., and is exciting. Either way, there’s lots of focus on the history of philosophy, e.g., what Plato and Aristotle said, and that’s all good.
You know, I regularly get lectures on tape from the Teaching Company, mostly on history. No PC guys there either.
I’m listening to a tape on Tocqueville right now and am getting a lot out of it. I’ve modified my theory on democracy getting us into war. As Tocqueville and people like Nock, Sunic, and Peikoff have noticed, the average American is uninteresting in intellectual matters and is mostly engaged in practical affairs, i.e., making money, building a better mouse trap, getting laid. As a result, he does not fully absorb ideas, which can be a good thing, because he only superficially absorbs bad ideas. The real impulse to spread democracy by gun point comes from the intellectuals and some relatively intelligent, bookish folks on top, like the neocons, Wilson, and GW. The average people would not have supported going to war to spread democracy had that been the rational for war presented to them (they agreed out of fear and anger), but now that we are there, they do not respond to atrocities with outrage because they have only vaguely absorbed “democracy worship”: “We’re a democracy, democracy is good, therefore we are good, therefore whatever we do is good, therefore if we kill or injure someone, it’s good.”
This is also true of PC, as the Gottfried article PCU suggests. The students at the Harvard and Yales get the real thing; the dummies at the dummy schools get a dumbed down version. The public only absorbs a vague version: e.g., it is appropriate to laugh at a guy getting kicked in the nuts because men aren’t worthy of sympathy.
Also, because average Americans don’t get too deep, they don’t try to reconcile bad ideas with the good ideas they absorbed, e.g., rugged individualism–don’t tread on me. As a consequence, they don’t reject good ideas in the name of consistency.
The problem lies with the intellectuals and the solution lies with the intellectuals. Get good intellectuals saying good things and good ideas will trickle down to the masses.