On Ideological Persistence, and Children

When you browse certain websites, ones with, for example, a socially dangerous ideological reinforcement system, you run across all sorts of insanity: excuses, actually – look at all the men killing themselves, it’s their fault. But never mind the particulars, I was curious about why they don’t see how crazy they’re being? Honestly this type of insanity set me down the path to something like reaction, but they seem to believe it, in earnest. Why?

I think if you have a story, and you believe in the story – perhaps you were told one particular story first, and it’s socially advantageous for you to continue believing the story. If you build your whole life around believing it, it takes a lot to convince you otherwise. People get attached to their stories, especially if its about them. Social justice warrior is apt, because they see themselves as warriors combating injustice – it’s a good story, and there are plenty of bad guys. This attachment to stories is probably a positive adaptation, in most circumstances. I wonder how many religious folk are simple trapped in the story, and never consider why they still believe; and let’s be honest, on the surface, without any depth of consideration, the Bible is kind of absurd, if only because it’s far outside our current experience as beings with limited lifespans, having only known modernity. It served a function, but somewhere along the way, it seems, it got co-opted by other forces: new stories.

And once people get a story in stuck in their heads, it looks like it’s hard to get it out: barring instructive life experiences, you usually have to go through the children. But is that practical? Maybe it could work. I hear many new traditionalists talk up having children and supporting family as being the best thing they can do. It’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But what about your kids? Will you homeschool them, maybe? Keep them away from television, the internet, and, potentially, from everyone else who has access to those things? Maybe it will work. I knew a boomer who took this path and had two children – it half worked. Aren’t the ‘trad zoomers’ rebelling against their parent’s generation? How much easier to rebel against quasi-isolationist parents when the wider society supports you. So are you really doing enough when you have a family of your own? Maybe the anti-natalists have a point! Why would you bring a child into this world? You have children, but you also have to bear them into a society which supports their future, even if it’s just a small but growing underculture. Don’t you have to build it too? Is there a story? And is it strong enough? As a side note, what could be better for the system as it currently exists, than to convince men to work within the system in order to support their family – they always need a few workhorses to pull the whole apparatus (but maybe I’m being too cynical).

Ideally, you could convert the current culture. However, pitting story against story, especially while playing the part of the enemy in the other’s story, seems very difficult. Can a story be wiped out? Is criticism the answer? People tend to clamp up and double-down when they hear criticism – especially if they have a chorus of cheerleaders. So how can you erase a story from someone’s head? Stalin was right, ideas are dangerous.

The story is currently in progress. All the characters are defined. You are their bad guy, even more than they are yours. The story is in progress, so, it sounds like you might have to work within the story – and unless you can convince their kids, is there anything else? How? I wonder. There are some stories, after all, where you think you know who the good guys are, and who are the bad guys, but it turns out you were mistaken – the story’s framing deceived you. It’s a twist, a bait and switch, there’s a big reveal, and then, most importantly, the warrior who thought they were a hero gets a chance to redeem themselves.

I can’t say what, specifically, can be done yet, but I wonder – how many Christians died before Rome converted? Were they afraid of Rome? Of death (physical, social, financial)? Of the future? Were they focused, for example, on making money for themselves? In fact, wasn’t it said in Acts that the believers held all things in common? What does that mean? Maybe I’m heading into dangerous territory, for Americans especially. In any case, the problem today is fundamentally different. In those days women had the order they needed, whereas now they must be convinced to keep society together, convinced with – money? Without money, even a child is no inducement to stay, certainly, and yet most money seems tied up in popular opinion, or ‘wokeness’, (or crime) as much as anything else – and Mammon isn’t something I’d want to chase after. Honestly, I’m not sure how to approach the problem. Maybe a persuasive feminine ideal is the answer.

Because the answer can’t be political power, and money for yourself, can it? It seems like no matter how rich or powerful one gets, and no matter how many children one has, until the story and the idea are both persuasive and relevant, there is no real hope.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what yet shall eat, or what yet shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”

Matthew 6:25

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