Sunday, April 28, 2019

Nerds and Predators in World Affairs: Déjà vu from Childhood

In the schoolyard, the most aggressive children—typically boys—dominate the weaker kids, bullying and harassing them. The bullies know they’re only children themselves, not invincible, so secretly they’re afraid they’re overstepping their bounds. When society discovers a predator in its midst, the predator is locked up or slaughtered like a rabid dog. So the bully learns to conceal the depth of his depravity, acquiring the con artist’s knack for lying. This is the birth of the subcriminal psychopath, of the real-world monster that’s the source of all fictional villains.

On the other side there are the girls and the nerdy, effeminate boys, the budding intellectuals and gentle, proto-spiritual souls who are physically weak but mentally too strong for their good. These weaklings are ignored, dominated, or exploited as the case may be. For example, nerdy or unattractive girls may be teased or sexually abused by the popular boys who have wealthy parents and thus the apparent right to victimize the lower classes.

This dynamic between the thugs, con artists, and psychopaths, on the one side, and the girls, effeminate nerds and idealists, on the other, doesn’t disappear in adulthood; on the contrary, the divisions deepen.

In Europe, the elite bureaucrats are facing a backlash against antiglobalist authoritarian nationalists, including white supremacists who are opposed to immigration from Arab countries. In England, for example, the naivety of the elite neoliberals in the Labour and Conservative parties, protectors of the Establishment and of the Rule of Law, was revealed by their having been outmaneuvered by the demagogues who had whipped up anti-Europe sentiment in England, prompting the elites to promise the angry masses a referendum on the question of remaining in the European Union. Having underestimated the resentment from the many who were struggling under globalization, David Cameron held the referendum, campaigned that England should remain in the EU, and lost the referendum with only a bare majority of 51.9% voting to leave the EU. Despite the obvious split in public opinion, the elite intellectuals running the country refused to consider a do-over, and moved for the country as a whole to leave. What happened, then, is that half the British public was terrorized, fed misinformation, and bullied into surrendering Britain’s role in world affairs, by a pack of con artists and short-sighted anarchists (also known as “libertarians”).

Or take the war between Donald Trump’s Republicans and Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats. The former represent the free-loading, anarchical predators and powerful evil-doers (that is, the selfish parasites who are incapable of empathy). In counting on the Mueller report, the rule of law, and the wisdom of the founders, the Democrats, by contrast, represent the naïve pencil-necks and girly-men, the pie-in-the-sky spiritualists, artists, and intellectuals who are guided by utopian dreams.

The Democrats have their heads in the clouds and can’t bring themselves to fight dirty against the Republicans, because the Democrats are loath to admit the depths to which their society has sunk; in particular, they’re embarrassed by the fact that their political debates are driven by advanced renditions of schoolyard squabbles. The idealistic, “progressive” Democrats haven’t grappled with the catastrophic existential implications of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016. If a psychopathic predator can legally become president even in the country that’s supposed to lead the free world, why trust that democracy is an alternative to the authoritarian state? Why trust in the law if obvious evil has been rendered legal by decades of cynical lobbying? If nature wins in the end, why pretend the world can be improved, when you can just go with the flow of jungle law, as in theocracies, dictatorships, and oligarchies? 
The capitalistic liberty to maximize private profit is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent, since that selfishness which is supposed to be regulated only by an invisible hand, not by any real one, as the libertarian and scientistic economists would have it, is at the heart of natural evolution which has nothing to do with human ideals. In the United States and other neoliberal countries, capitalism is nature’s mindless, self-destructive undermining of democracy and of other such egalitarian, progressive, or religious dreams.

The 1984 movie, Revenge of the Nerds, presents an intermediary illustration of this primordial battle between mental and physical strength, between human ideals and brute, amoral force. Between children’s schoolyard and adult political games, there’s college. In the movie, the nerds beat the fraternity of rich bullies in fair competition, winning the Greek Games which gives the nerds the right to choose the council president. The thuggish jocks respond to their defeat by burning down the nerds’ house on campus.

In similar fashion, the Democrats attempt to play fair against the Republicans, but we shouldn’t expect a scorpion to do anything other than clawing and stinging its way to domination. The Mueller report rationally demonstrated that Trump is unfit for high office, but Mueller’s verdict undermined itself, since he had to admit to the irrelevance of the entire American legal apparatus: a sitting president can’t be indicted, according to tradition which pencil-necks are quick to adhere to, traumatized as they are from having been bullied by psychopaths in their youth. Likewise, Trump has corrupted the Law in his favour by having stacked the Supreme Court with authoritarians (including a jock and preppy, Brett Kavanaugh, who is straight out of Revenge of the Nerds). Nerdy, no-drama Obama had trusted in the rules and lost the opportunity to assign the moderate liberal Merrick Garland to that highest court in the land.

What weapons have the do-gooders left when facing the forces of evil, when the Law has proven impotent, when God is obviously dead, and when the pitfalls of consumerism have shown the emptiness of liberal ideals? What willpower can the women and effeminate males who run the Democratic Party summon to square off against the monstrous cancer that infiltrated the body politic? Will Pelosi take up the equivalent of a sci-fi machine gun, like Ripley from Aliens, and destroy the monstrous Trump? Is there some meritocracy like the Greek Games in which the idealistic nerds and girly-men can prove their superiority to the conmen and psycho predators? Or would the defeated Republican trolls, militias, and plutocrats just burn down the country in retaliation, like savages?

Who wins in the struggle for transcendence, the mindless, amoral universe or the anomalous human spirit?


  1. Are you familiar with the Iron Law of Oligarchy?

  2. Yes, I wrote about it some years ago on this blog. It's not a real law in science, but it's close enough. I think it's one of the sources of oligarchy, another one being the psychological basis of how we're typically corrupted by power, so we crave more and more, the more we get. Some are better at being Machiavellian than others, so power gets consolidated in fewer and fewer hands as there are winners and losers in that political game. It's interesting that Wikipedia's development conforms to the "Iron Law," as that article points out.

  3. "Is there some meritocracy like the Greek Games in which the idealistic nerds and girly-men can prove their superiority to the conmen and psycho predators? Or would the defeated Republican trolls, militias, and plutocrats just burn down the country in retaliation, like savages?"

    We should pull a John Galt. But instead of psychopathic plutocrats hiding out in a canyon, as Rand would have it, the truly human among us should simply leave this benighted planet of the apes and start colonizing space; after all, there are more resources up there then there are down here and surviving in such a hostile environment would demand exactly what nerds and effeminate men are distinguished for: intelligence and the ability to put our egos aside and cooperate. And if the neanderthals prove to be more technologically adept than we anticipated and try to follow, we can always 'close the red sea' by detonating EMPWs (electromagnetic pulse weapons) in Earth's atmosphere which would render all their electronics useless and send them back to the pre industrial era - they'd be standed on earth forever while WE would inherit the heavens! Mwa ha ha ha ha!!!

    I understand your likely objections to such a scenerio but I think you underestimate the level of violence even effeminate men are capable of if they feel pushed into a corner. Theodore 'Unabomber' Kaczinsky was a nerd (a mathematician!) and yet he had no ethical qualms over murdering innocent people to get his luddite manifesto into the public spotlight. Vladimir Lenin was an intellectual AND a violent revolutionary. I'm not condoning what either of these men did, but it does illustrate that nerds need not be politically important. Even the hyper-rational Vulcans of Star Trek understand that Klingons only respond to violence.