January 9, 2018 – FRN –
The Irish Crimean – Padraig Joseph McGrath
Most Crimeans are oddly relaxed and reticent when they encounter a pseudo-educated liberal idiot or a semi-literate NGO-provocateur. In that situation, most Crimeans don’t bother to answer – they just privately think to themselves “Well, that person is just an idiot, so there’s no point in arguing.”
People often say that you shouldn’t argue with idiots. On one level, that’s true, and on another level, it’s extremely short-sighted.
It’s true insofar as idiots are impervious to counter-argument. You already know that, no matter how strong your arguments are, you won’t persuade them of anything. But the point of answering an idiot is not only to win an argument. Actually, winning the argument is not the point at all – there’s a far more important point at stake.
The point of answering an idiot is to try to ensure that idiocy does not become culturally normalized – that’s a far larger and more important point than whatever subject-matter you happen to be arguing about in any given instance.
The purpose of answering an idiot is not to persuade them of anything – you already know that’s impossible. The purpose is not even to defend “the truth.”
The purpose of answering an idiot is to defend basic standards of argumentation. We need those standards to productively talk about anything. Once standards of argumentation disappear, very quickly, all other standards in the society disappear – ethical standards, standards of professional competence, standards of social competence, standards of legality, etc…
All other standards for their application, are practically dependent on standards of argumentation. For example, in a legal system where lawyers are allowed to obfuscate and bullshit non-stop, it means in practice that “the law” becomes irrelevant.
Analogously, when non-lawyers are allowed to obfuscate non-stop, it means in practice that basic ethical standards become meaningless. All standards, for their application, depend on standards of argumentation.
I grew up in a country where nobody ever bothered to argue with idiots. Whenever people heard an idiot talking, they thought “there’s no point.”
But this reticence was also partially a product of smugness – they sat there silently thinking to themselves “I’m so above it all…. I’m so clever….”
But pretty soon, because everybody suffered fools, because fools made more noise than anyone else, it became regarded as normal to talk like a fool – it became a communicative norm.
Gradually, everybody started talking like an idiot, because everybody regarded it as diplomatic and cunning.
In fact, eventually, anybody who didn’t talk like an idiot was collectively, insidiously retaliated against. Not long after that, the society’s entire managerial class had started talking and behaving like idiots, because anybody who refused to do so was passed over for promotion.
Eventually, the society’s political and financial elites talk and behave like idiots too.
And once that happens, the entire society goes into social and economic meltdown, and everybody conveniently blames “the political and financial elites.”
But it didn’t start with “the elites.”
It started on the street.
It started on the factory-floor.
It started in the ordinary workplace.
It started in the pub.
It started within families.
“The elites” didn’t glean their sloppy values from a cultural vacuum. Suffering fools on the ordinary, interpersonal level is not just a personal decision – it’s socially corrosive.
Let’s imagine that your mother starts behaving like an impervious, childish, pointlessly bitchy, unreformably menopausal, toxic idiot. Or let’s imagine that you encounter a drunken, deliberately annoying idiot in a bar. He overhears your conversation, and he immediately walks over to your table and starts trying to shut your conversation down, making a deliberate nuisance of himself.
Or let’s imagine that one of your work-colleagues or trading-partners is always fucking around or playing bait-and-switch, always trying to shave the edge….
In each of these cases, you think to yourself – “There’s no point in arguing. They’re just an idiot. I’m so above it all. I’m so clever…..”
Well, in that case, sorry to be the one to tell you, you’ve just forfeited your right to complain about the idiocy of your country’s financial and political elites, or the idiocy of your country’s managerial class. You’ve just forfeited your right to complain that the bank is repossessing your house. You’ve just forfeited your right to complain that you personally owe the IMF fifty large.
Interpersonally, you never enforced or insisted on any basic standards of accountability – not within your family, not in your workplace, not in your social circle. You tolerated socially and professionally incompetent people all the time. You suffered fools, and you insidiously retaliated against anybody who didn’t do likewise. And yet you still magically expect your society’s “elites” to be competent. How was that supposed to work?
When people hear an idiot talking, and their immediate reaction is “That person is just an idiot. There’s no point in arguing,” they usually don’t realize that their reaction is a manifestation of liberal ideology. That is to say, it is an ideologically trained reflex.
Why does liberalism implicitly teach people that they have a social duty to suffer fools?
Well, any society which suffers fools on the ordinary interpersonal level will eventually become governed by fools, and societies like that are much easier to economically colonize.
A society whose entire political and managerial class has been recruited on the basis of idiocy has no chance whatsoever of economically defending itself from the 900lb-gorillas in Davos.
So you hear an idiot talking – maybe within your family or your workplace or in a bar – and you think “I’ll just sit here and smugly bite my lip. I’m so above it all. I’m so clever…..”
Actually, it means that you’re the mug.
You were trained to react like that becaue the 900lb-gorillas in Davos wanted your house. They wanted to load you with debt. They wanted to rob you blind. And it worked – they robbed you blind.
Yet you still considered your reticence toward idiots to be a mark of your cunning.
During the 4 years which I have spent here in Crimea, I have watched 2 nations go into total social and economic meltdown. The first is my country of origin, the Republic of Ireland. The second is Ukraine.
The Irish and the Ukrainians have a lot in common – for example, they both think that it’s diplomatic and cunning to interpersonally suffer fools. In both cases, liberal ideology trained them to be passive and tolerant whenever they encounter socially or professionally incompetent people.
Also, both nations are imbued with “baryga”-(“profiteer”)-culture. It’s inevitable in nations where everybody is trained to have a pathological obsession with their own cunning.
So I’ve been here 4 years, during which time I have watched both of those nations – Ireland and Ukraine – go into total social and economic meltdown, simultaneously.
I’ll be perfectly honest with you – you have no idea just how much vindictive satisfaction it gives me to sit back and watch the show. Wannabe-cunning peasant-nations are the same everywhere.