It’s quite frankly amazing how easy it is to ignore obligations without having some giant threat hanging above my head.
Hello people of the future, and me too I suppose. Have I told you how much I hated you all yet? Isn’t that a great start, insulting my audience? Really brings in the fans, I’m telling you. You are living in a world with better technology and more information than what we have right now. You probably think we are idiots with the information you have in the future.
Why didn’t you vote for that guy? He could have prevented the third world war! Why didn’t you save that obscure species in Borneo, don’t you know that that beetle has the chemical that is the miracle cure for AIDs!
Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, shut up.
Humans have this massive hard-on for moralizing and looking down on those they perceive as inferior to them. Whether this inferiority is one of moral character or wealth or birth situation or fiscal situation or ideological bearing is of little relevance. Which brings us to the topic of this discussion: moral posturing.
Many an ideology today talks about the past, or others countries, other cultures, other social classes. Nearly instantly, those comparisons quickly devolve into a cheap point scoring exercise and accusations of oppression and hatred invariably by those who would demand that others rise to their provocations and raise their arms to action whilst they would sit behind barricades as they command the masses like a puppeteer commands an army. This ideological bickering, more so than any other, is the cause of more conflict and divisiveness within the human species.
There are many causes of this division. Tribalism and chauvinism is an evolutionary mechanism that has served a important purpose, it keeps humans united and moving towards a common goal. Many have taken advantage of this fact, and many a ideology has been born from this. An ideology needs to necessarily postulate certain aspects of reality and culture as central to it in order to advance the good of the ideology. Whether those central facts are true or not is of little relevance. Once humans have a common flag to rally behind, they would defend that flagpole to the death. To do this, they need to justify their own actions and, much like the human mind, the justification for what we do comes after the decision. To do this, they take all of the aspects of their own movement or ideology and pedestalize it. If something in their ideology doesn’t fit with their principals they ignore it. If those who act in the name of their ideology acts inappropriately they rationalize it away. Those who step out of the group loses the protection of their group, add that with the withering effects of evolutionary biology and the tribalism is only intensified. This is likely the root cause of ideologies, written right into the code we depend on to survive. Due to this, societies and cultures often excuse or cover up the bad and destructive behavior of its elements both to spare the conscience of its members as well as to maintain the ability for the ideology to spread.
There are many negative consequences of these actions and these ideological formations however. One could argue that this is a new problem that arises out of the increasing size of the human population from small communities to a planet spanning superorganism has created a dredge of empathy that continues to divide society even today. I contest this. Ideology can in may ways be compared to any other organism, its ultimate goal is to convert as many segments of the universe as possible into copies of itself. Ideologies often conflict in what they find important and therefore they are not so much symbiotic organisms as they are competitive. What values that they value doesn’t coexist in the mental environment, they get assimilated. The problems with obfuscating reality and defending bad elements in an ideology is a problem in and of itself, but it has other consequences as well. To bring up the point of hiding of bad behaviors of its members, there are reasons for an idea organism to act in such a way. Admitting to the bad behavior of its elements means that the ideology has less chance of wining over neutrals in the form of converts, but completely ignoring the bad elements would mean that the ideology is poised for destruction. These two factors combined means that ideologies that don’t clean house fizzle out quickly, but often spread quickly and allows its bad elements to run riot. This conflict happens both on the interface with competing or incompatible ideologies as well as within the ideology itself. Whomever wins out, destruction is often left behind in the trails.
One of the most dangerous things is when we come to believe our own lies. It is when we come to believe that we are above wrongdoing, that we are above madness and destruction. Ideologies have done well to convince us that we are above the crimes of those outside of our ideologies. Due to this, we often look down on others on the outside of our own ideology and readily accept deceit and lies about them. Ideologies have the unintended effect of not only deifying its tenets but also demonizing the tenets of its opposition, whether justly or deceitfully. Through words and definitions it obfuscates the truth and draws division and contrast in action and thought where there is none. It is a virus that infects where no medicine can reach, and can never be cured as one idea will soon be succeeded by another. Those in the future reading this, you aren’t special. A thousand generations before you thought they were right, and a thousand generations from now they’ll be laughing at you.