Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Hideology": the ideology of the ruling classes...

image is from here
Hideologues, such as many liberals and liberartarians, deny their views are anything but objective and their actions are anything but oppressive. Meanwhile they are being bigots and oppressors. Not just in ideas expressed, but in actions taken and policies upheld.

The above image states, "To take over the world, all you need is an idea." This is far from the truth. There are many ideas roaming around, and only some take root. The ones that take root do so for many reasons--and the fact that the idea is "an idea" is the least of them. How an idea fits with existing systems of thought and action, with existing patterns of oppression, domination, and dehumanisation, will dictate a lot about the course it takes toward being a "movement" or a new form of doing civilisation. For example, Adolph Hitler's ideas were not new and were not his. He borrowed heavily from the anti-Semitism of the Weimar Republic in which he grew up, but crystalised those ideas with a new one: an actual plan to eliminate Jews from the European population. They way he and his cronies figured out how to do it--not just in ideas, but in very forceful social actions--was new for the time.

After some exchange with Hank Pellissier over at his place (I link to his place a couple of times below), I realised, once again, there is a strange belief among many ruling class people (not necessarily Hank, however) that they are capable of doing something that no one can do: observe the world objectively, as if not from a vantage-point or social station or political location that exists relative to other classes of people, as well as other individuals.

We generally understand that the rich hold such positions, socially, politically, and certainly economically. Although the mythologies do insist that the rich are constantly threatened by the greed of the poor, as opposed to the truth of the matter: the poor are constantly threatened by the greed of the rich.

Whether men in the gender class, whites in the race class, hets in the sexual class, or the rich and wealthy in the economic class, that those of us who are not stationed structurally with men's, whites', hets', and the rich's privileges (to not experience what the oppressed experience), power (including the power to name reality as if being objective), and entitlements (to have access to most of the world, and to hold oneself in accordance with how one's own people are held by the elite, such as with a sense of moral superiority, greater intelligence, finer appreciation of what's important in life, belief in the civility of civilisation, and so on.)

This is an example of  current CRAP-loaded hideology:

1. "Men are smarter than women, usuallly." Hideology holds these secret and not-so-secret beliefs: when a woman is smarter than a man, then we must say things like "she's smart, but ALSO attractive" as if the former quality rules out the latter, and as if we must always be reminded that a woman's job, after all, at the end of each day and at the break of dawn, is to be pretty in ways that please the het doods who punish women both for being pretty and for not being pretty. Men are so smart, in fact, that when they coerce women to have genital sexual intercourse, the men never call it rape and also never take responsibility for the woman getting pregnant, if she does. And they want to plead complete innocence--as if the woman took the man's penis and placed it, against his will, into her body--when it comes time to pay something called "child support".

2. "Whites are more moral than people who are not white." Hideology holds these viewpoints not spoken out loud in polite white society: Black people are dangerous. Except Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby. Brown people are also dangerous, and do things like sneak across "our" border and steal all our jobs. Indigenous people... well, whites usually ignore Indigenous people altogether, in many parts of the U.S. Oh, except white het men who trespass onto res land and rape Indigenous women and girls, comprising the largest demographic of rapists of Indigenous females (at least 80% of the men who rape Native women are white). There are odd twists and turns when it comes to understanding "Asians". On the one hand there are those "smart" East Asians. And on the other hand those terroristic Central Asians. But whites don't refer to them as being people in Central Asia, because whites don't understand geography very well.

3. "Heterosexuality is natural and normal and all the other sexual orientations exists because something went wrong during pregnancy or during upbringing, such as being molested when young." This viewpoint is held despite the fact that the most sexually assaulted people on Earth are heterosexual women, who are incested, molested, raped, pimped, turned into pornography, and trafficked by heterosexual men.

4. "The rich are good. Very good, in fact. Great, even." They must be good and great because they are rich. Society won't let just anyone become rich, you know! When the rich have children, they are planned, well-cared for, and well-educated. When the poor have children, they are never planned, are either abused or neglected, and are not well-educated.

I'll tell you a secret: one of the saddest stories of childhood is from a white gay man I knew who grew up very rich, on an estate, raised not by his parents--who were both irresponsible alcoholics--but instead by people hired to raise their child. He was a very lonely child, and felt very unloved and neglected by his parents.

If I tell one of these race- and class-privileged people that a child was neglected and also poor, those who buy into the hideology will nod a knowing condescending nod which means, "Well, what can you expect, really? Poor people don't know how to raise children; they only have them to get more money from the government, you know?" When I tell them a story like the one above, about the white gay man, they insist that's an aberration; an exception to the rule.

Hideology is leaking out all over the place in a discussion, with over one thousand comments, mind you, at Hank Pellissier's place. Here is the link to that:

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pellissier20110420

I've posted about that discussion *here*.

To bolster a belief that their ideas aren't ideological--let alone rigidly so--they cherry pick from studies done within a form of inquiry that many of its practitioners insist values "objectivity": namely science. Hank is way into science, as white Anglo-Euro men define the term. And as is the case with most who invest in this objectivity-nonsense, he and his colleagues only choose the information that shores up the positions neatly cloaking their hideology. Again, I'm not sure Hank is as guilty of this as many of his followers are. Among his followers are some pretty scary individuals, almost all of them VERY privileged people, structurally.

A disagreement between the likes of me and the likes of some elitist pro-science libertarians is that they think I make too many determinations about someone based on things like "identity", which means, to them: someone's gender, race, sexual orientation, or economic class.

It's not exactly determinations they dislike, but me making generalised class-based critiques of members of these privileged groups, so that their sense of themselves as "only individuals" (accepting they are also the products of their genes), is insulted. They feel degraded when put into a box called "them". But they are quite comfortable to discuss other "thems" who are not, um, them who are white het class-privileged men. 

They think I over-determine people's personalities and values only if I view what the privileged do (because they are privileged, not because they are male humans, for example) with critique and condemnation. I criticise and call out inhumane actions and affiliations, prejudices and practices. I don't imbue being pale with a meaning; I claim society does this, and calls paleness "whiteness" and that whiteness is therefore not at all a biological or "scientific" category, but is, rather, only a social-cultural-political reality. And so the behavior of whites can be traced, followed, tracked. Whites do tend to leave quite the trail of blood behind them, after all. Primarily of Indigenous people's blood, but not only that. Whites do also attempt to kill of anyone who is Black or Brown, in many despicable ways. And whites do, on occasion, war against other whites, enslave other whites, but usually when they do this they view those "other whites" as somehow "another ethnic group" such as, say, "Irish"--if the whites are English, for example.

They defend themselves--in their manhood, whiteness, hetness, and wealth, as "only individuals" who are capable of both good and bad, while they speak about other people in very simplistic and stereotypical ways, such as in statements that reveal they think of poor people as "miscreants", for example. (Are rich people not usually "miscreants", then?)

To be fair to Hank, he's not so neatly categorisable in terms of, say, his views about women. Men's Rights guys hate him so he's got to be doing some good work in making them expose both their vulnerabilities and ugliness. Those neo-fascistic woman-hating fools accuse him of being all the hateful things MRAs accuse any "traitor males" of being. (I'll spare you the list of terms and phrases.) He tends to see humans in terms of things like genes and hormones, however. Not as humans-in-social-systems that shape our brains and our behavior--as well as our genes, health, and lifespan. His views, at times, approximate the views of a very tiny minority of women I know: that men are naturally the way they are. I disagree with any women or men who hold this view, although I concede that far too many men around the world make a compelling case that there must be something about being "male" that leads them to act like masculinist dickheads.

See, for example, this post by him on the end of men:


http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pellissier20110202

Hank and I may find some common ground, but it won't be in believing men are naturally anything, other than perhaps, in most but not all instances, naturally "male".

6 comments:

Quin said...

I guess it's more cherry-picked science studies, but this article -- yes, from a humor magazine -- put a lot into focus for me, when it comes to issues of power and oppression. Personally speaking, at least, still one of the best things I've read on the net. For your consideration.

I'm happy to have rediscovered your blog, by the way, Julian.

Quin said...

Er... clicked too soon. This is the page I meant to link.

Julian Real said...

Hey Quin!

Thanks for coming back. :)

Great stuff in there. I have questions for the researchers about what populations of people were chosen for these experiments: does it tell us more about how young het white males respond, for example? Hard to know.

Regardless, it is how plenty of WHM in leadership do behave. I'd like to see such pieces--serious ones, that is--deal with the matter of social validation, lack of accountability, institutions and systems of harm and how they shape anyone who steps into them, etc.

But, a good and interesting read to be sure. And scary too. Thank you for sharing it here.

Quin said...

I guess that's a fair question. It seems to me that since so many of the studies had to do with changes in behavior after temporarily granting illusions of power that race or sexual orientation would not matter much to the results, but of course it would be better to just know for sure.

Julian Real said...

I was very interested to read what the study revealed. And I do agree with you that it's mighty telling about how some human beings become so easily unethical or self-centered, depending on perceptions of their own position of authoritative or administrative power relative to others.

But what tends to happen again and again is that the white het male is taken to be "only human" when that cannot ever be the case. He already is positioned in certain ways, structurally, to believe himself CAPABLE of misusing power' whether conscious of it or not, he sees how his people are not stigmatised as terrorists, rapists, thieves, or as "dangerous", "animalistic", "promiscuous", or "evil". I'd be interested to know how groups who ARE stigmatised socially as those things and others, respond to cues that indicate they might get to actually have power over others to determine their own and others' lives.

My hunch is that men can more easily imagine having power that is misused against other people who aren't "him", because men can more easily do it--and do it all the time, as a class, against women. I'd argue something similar for class-privileged people, and for whites too.

The idea that "subjects" of studies can be demographically or structurally invisible, tells me a lot about the reporters telling us about the study. That they don't consider structural political location at all relevant to the study.

And, a whole other matter is this: people who don't believe themselves to have the power to use or abuse, who don't have self-esteem, who don't think only of themselves, can still do plenty of harm. For example, by investing in companies that commit ecocide and genocide. For example, by simply participating without objection in systems of gross exploitation and harm. So "HET MAN X" might, over the course of a single day, pay for pornography, purchase phone service from AT&T, and buy ExxonMobil gasoline and think himself a "darn good person". But he's just spend the day contributing to all manner of atrocities.

Such a study does nothing at all to reveal that level of our complicity with atrocity.

I live in a country that is determined to let the U.S. people believe that "unethical behavior" is only something that can happen one-to-one, or group-to-one, or from one group of "terrorists" against "us". I live in a country that cannot--willfully refuses--to call what it does evil, even when it is more systematically, institutionally evil than the heinous actions of a few members of al Qaeda. How does this reality factor into that study, I wonder?

Why won't studies demonstrate how evil U.S. institutions are?

Quin said...

On the issue of WHM vs non-WHM reactions, it does seem at least a very reasonable hypothesis that, for instance, non-WHM folks might have more "practice" at empathy, for instance, and could potentially have some kind of immunity to the corruptions of power. Then again, a hypothesis suggesting that they'd be more susceptible to corruptions of power also seems reasonable. Either way, well worth factoring into the equations, isn't it.

And who knows, perhaps one of those studies did. I'd like to figure out how to look at them in more detail some time. Maybe I should take more care when reading about these kinds of studies, in that the news they have to tell appeals to my sensibilities, so I'm already biased towards wanting them to be true. Which of course doesn't make it so.

As for studies measuring evil in U.S. institutions, well, of course "evil" is a bit hard to measure or even define, and while U.S. institutions are quite probably the source of more evil stuff than any other country right now, that's only because they're the ones (currently) on top. But understanding evil, yes, that's the name of the game here. These kinds of studies are fascinating for me because, if they can be found to reveal something universal about human nature, then we can relax a little! Think of how freeing it would be to identify the moral defects that are built into every human being's architecture, and exactly what activates them. Then, instead of wasting energy castigating every person who misuses power for things that everyone in their same position would also likely do, we can get to work focusing on ways to build our own lives so that we can attempt to improve the world around us in ways that avoid the same traps.