I wrote an article about “Eugenics” several years ago, and at the time I didn’t fully appreciate how insidiously tainted the term “eugneics” has become. Eugenics is a curse word. The very idea of Eugenics can no longer be disassociated from the atrocities waged in its name. On account of this idea people were imprisoned, tortured, mutilated and murdered, all throughout the western world.
Eugenics means simply that an all-powerful authoritarian force mobilizes its full state power to categorize people on certain qualities, then spies on these people based on those qualities, and brings to bear the full force of legal and extralegal (and eventually arbitrary means) and progressively moves along a quickly escalating sequence of acts of intimidation, institutional discrimination, societal isolation, arrest, pseudo-medical treatment, internment, quarantaine and eventually a regimented and finally murder.
It has proven very easy to alienate society from certain groups, for vaguely plausible sounding reasons. Nonetheless historical eugenics was largely a pseudo-science. At best Eugenics was instrumental in “enabling” racist and genocidal policies. Not much has changed since the mid 20th century. We are still widely swayed in to action by superstition and hysteria.
Take for instance the whole debate surrounding pedophyles. I am not saying that practicing pedosexuals are predisposed towards their pathological urges because of their genes. It may be true that pedophyles are born with their predispositions, but I regard it as irrelevant for the point I am trying to make. The point I find far more relevant is how deeply dismissive society has become of acknowledging any rights of pedosexual (in specific) and predatory sexual deviants (in particular). I would argue this estrangement has itself taken on the level of sinister pathology of a witch hunt.
I might agree that practicing ‘pedosexuality’ can be strongly argued to be an inexcusable transgression, regardless of whether or not the pathology emerges on account of genetic frailty, disturbed psychosexual aberration, sexual (or other) forms of abuse, yet the disturbing societal response to pedosexuals (or pedophyles, which is a different thing) has taken on the dimensions of an equally irrational and vicious pathology, and the hunt for ‘sexual predators’ is often considerably more violent than the sexual acts envisioned or desired by the typical pedosexual specimen. Indeed, in recent history we see the pattern alluded to above – based on certain very severe (and many less severe incidents) all categories of pedosexuals world wide have come under exacting surveillance, random arrest, intimidation, persistent and cruel popular and state discrimination, often quite ruthless internment and forms of treatment (including te occasional castration), routine police violence, and pervasive and often random and lethal violence from society and its people.
I am not defending pedosexuals in this article. I simply don’t find myself caring. What does concern me is the irrational severity of treatment of pedosexuals (and rapists) and I am able objectively assess that this is what we should call a “witch hunt”.
The same is pretty much the default level of irrational hysteria in any case when ‘terrorism’ raises its ugly head. I can argue that western society is responding much as if it suffers from a deficient immune response when it comes to “the war on terror”. The cure may be considerably worse than the affliction. It isn’t that society is wracked with anxiety over the possibility terrorist attacks (bees cause substantially more deaths, and influenza causes many hundreds of times more economic damage, yet we see no wars against bees, or widespread paramilitary security measures against influenza) and I could even go as far as voice my suspicion that the State apparatus in numerous countries is abusing the threat of terrorism to implement laws and security measures that are largely self-serving and “politically convenient”.
Even the mere association “with” terrorism, no matter how remote or imaginary, can have pervasive and disruptive consequences for the subjects of anti-terror laws. People have careers and lives ruined for being listed on this US no-fly list. Right now journalists, political activists, lawyers, people with certain names all find themselves all capriciously hurled on terror watch lists, and the mechanism of this ‘proactive persecution’ is of the same level of indiscriminate state and societal violence as is the case with the witch hunt against pedosexuals, or the so-called “war against drugs”. In all cases there is an interesting unifying element at work, which many people will find my argument offensive when I invoke it.
Point one – modern western society is more violent than in earlier eras. Especially the last decades media, entertainment and casual violence has become highly symbolic, ceremonial and part of how people “have fun”. I don’t care why, but violence seems to sell and the majority of people are buying the product wholesale. Something about the age we live in makes “witnessing” a range of forms of violence, emulated or real, to be strangely seductive. I personally am unable to watch this categories of movies without getting fairly upset, but I would argue that in the last decade things have become possible (and commercially viable) that would have been regarded as mostly unthinkable expressions just two decades earlier. If a movie such as SAW would have been released to the audience in the 1970s, the uproar might very well have led to imprisonment of its makers. Yet after late 2001 somehow most people don’t seem to care anymore, and/or care less with every passing year. I would argue this level of apathy is the core issue which I am addressing here and the apathy (or denial) itself is what should cause most concern. Of course censorship of free speech is a very bad thing, but freedom of expression does allow for society to consistently insist to consume some pretty deranged topics.
I personally conclude that a movie such as SAW emerges not in a vacuum, but is just the scum churning on top of a turbulent society, much like debris welled up from a putrid psychologtical undercurrent. In essence I might find myself arguing that society as such currently revels in forms violence, probably empowered by the rize of new forms of communication. In this process internet is a catalyst and not a causative.
Point two – current society is pervasively inundated with equally severe forms of sexual expression, which are at odds with the last century or centuries. I had the fortune of casually visiting the KINK.COM studios last year in San Francisco, and while I am an avid supporter of the freedom to self-express and the freedom to explore unconventional styles of erotic interaction between people, KINK is a brand that produces a category of pornography that is so viciously intertwined with explicit and violent sexuality that it something dazzles me that this is so widely consumed in society. Porn is pretty hard core these days, and extreme porn is more popular than ever.
I can’t and won’t judge KINK because what they produce as pornography most of it I have done in my private life, and I have absolutely no problems with other people doing (or watching) acts I find to be consistent with my own default sexual style but I draw the a line in the sand when it comes to most forms of violent and degrading pornography. What is the pertinent issue here is the casual availability of these modes of sexuality such as KINK (or Gonzo), but equally so the pervasive accessibility of quite sexually explicit statements in the non-pornographic media world wide. I am routinely fascinated and somewhat perplexed how far casual advertising goes, and in many cases it crosses well in to niches that would have been regarded as completely pornographic just a few years ago. Right now I can argue that advertising and casual media is inundated with imagery brazenly subsumed from pornographic and fetishistic subcultures, and people seem to want more every year. Again I argue that the Internet is a catalyst and not a causative.
Point three – society is riddled with abuse of various unhealthy substances, and ‘narcochemically toxic’. Our food, our medication, our pleasure has taken on the intensity of constant binging. I feel this excessive style of consumption to taint much of the corporate model. Whether it be Monsanto’s arguably dubious corporate policies of inundating the world’s supermarkets with equally dubious products, to the whole catastrophes which surround antidepressant use, the industry of selling cigarettes and alcohol, the fast food business… in all cases people acts like a total hypocrites when it comes to the consequences of unhealthy behavior. People are often going out of their way to indulge in excess, almost as if to make a point. This isn’t just about YOLO – obesity isn’t “fun” and the point of living an intense life shouldn’t be about making most of that life to be wracked in sickness. Again, I argue that media and the internet have done the equivalent of strapping a turbocharger to the consumption patterns of individual human beings, and turned naturally sensible people from rational and deliberate citizens in to hysterical and gluttonous consumers.
Society may feel guilty about ist collective inability to not succumb to extreme violence, extreme sexuality, extreme consumption. This guilt may take on its own morbid character and I strongly suspect that the societal response to the three “unacceptable extremes” (pedosexuality/rape, violence/sadist horror, hypersexuality) is a manifestation of this guilt. I am not denying vicious terrorists, crazed junkies/drug peddlers and (child) rapists exist, I am only arguing that society started eating its own tail, as an attempt at reconciliation of the parts of society we may all affirm there is something deeply sick with it. In essence – I see manifestations of terminal cognitive dissonance. Too many people instinctively recoil in loathing about what we as a global society have become.
This is where the article becomes a tiny bit self-serving.
I am concerned, since in all cases the alleged above (categories) of ‘witch hunts’ may be crossing over in realms I personally hold dear. I should add “unwarranted”. As indicated, I have deepseated interests in pervasive societal liberty, especially when it comes to forms of sexual self-expression, the use of (specifically) nootropics and means for self-enhancement, as well as forms of technological experimentation, and in all three above categories of “crackdowns” these interests may in the near future became impacted by these alleged societal “Jungian shadows”.
I label myself often a transhumanist and a technoprogressive, and these persuasions are impacted by the triad of persecution in terms of gender issues (a very high number transsexuals seem interested in transhumanism), study of how the mind works (nootropics, The Hedonistic Imperative, paradise engineering, etc.) and in particular “hacker culture”, technological self-determinism (which has increasingly come under purview of the ongoing international terrorism witch hunt. It takes just a little for easily confused populations to “crack down” on people with unconventional sexual lifestyles (by labelling them perverts). It takes very little for the state to want to crack down on people who have a revolutionary political message (on the pretext of national security). It takes very little for both to start yet another witch hunt in people who like to experiment with alternative modes of thinking, consumption of hallucinogens (and call them drug fiends). It wouldn’t take any especially noteworthy incident for the international community – in particular the biggest bully which is now the United States – to decide that the various “technoprogressive” memes I feel a deep personal kinship with become legitimate targets for crackdown.
But I am not the only one warning for these excesses. Being my conceited elitist self I think it is just Kruger-Dunning at work, when people such as “Vigilant Citizen” and “Alex Jones” are shooting the technoprogressive vessel across the bow with more than warning shots for a crackdown against “transhumanism”, and completely mistakenly (or lyingly) associate it with the most negative trends in the world emerging (bilderberg, Illuminati, New World Order, etc.). I don’t want “transhumanism” to become the target for idiot politicians to crack down blindly against meaningful technological and scientific progress to an arguable better world, but clearly this idea has been belabored in considerable detail.
A century ago we witnessed a pervasive and horrendous injustice worldwide. From Sweden to Australia, from Germany to the United States – people suffered and died because of this wretched superstitious pseudo-science which was Eugenics. Eugenics has mostly been put on display on its excesses and crimes and the practise has been revealed as an unambiguous pathology – to the point that right now any rational debate on the whole topic of Genetic experimentation or healing (let alone enhancement or self-directed engineering) has become next to impossible difficult. A dear friend who worked in various technoprogressive fields had the nerve to openly debate these topics in Germany, and she found herself completely marginalized in her professional field on basis of being associated with far right extremist ideas – while being a small asian woman.
Knee jerk hysterica doesn’t serve us in progressing our world to a better state. Once society overcompensates in zeal in key items because it doesn’t want to come to grips with its own pervasive excesses, it tends to “throw out the child with the bathwater”. This is as stupid as it is wrong.
That is why I point an accusing finger to this new politics of “Eumemics”, i.e. to indiscriminately target key excesses of society, such witch hunts fueled by cognitive dissonance in society, and to completely go overboard. Mass-hysteria is a collectivized mental disorder, and when it grows and festers it tends to vector into new niches of easily available persecution. Let me invoke a (slightly racist) image, on how witch hunts work, an image we can all agree on it belongs in the shame section of human history.
What do I suggest? I don’t know. But certainly we are clearly doing a lot of things 180 degrees wrong right now.