The Overton window cannot be “broken”

September 28, 2015 § 84 Comments

Unprincipled exceptions to liberalism usually have to be expressed in sciency-sounding language in order for modern people not to immediately reject them by default. That’s why the term “human biodiversity” is used these days to refer to racial differences, rather than using the term “racial differences” to refer to racial differences.  The sciency-soundingness of the former carries the right materialist metaphysical baggage necessary to get past the reflexive rejection by the modern mind of anything which appears to contradict liberalism. Sciency-sounding stuff is cool and hipster, so it might actually get read on the iPad at Starbucks.

The “Overton window” is a sciency-sounding way of referring to the obvious fact that, contrary to liberalism’s false conceits about itself, every society (whether healthy or unhealthy) is authoritarian and has its taboos and heresies.  There are certain things which are open for respectable and respectful discussion under the conventions of a given society, and there are many things which are not.  This is always the case.

Socially acceptable ideas about what is legitimately in contention are “inside” the Overton window; taboos and heresies are “outside” of the Overton window.  For example in our society, mass-murdering unborn children and cannibalizing their body parts for profit in the name of science is inside the Overton window. The suggestion that possibly the female franchise is something other than an unmitigated good is outside of the Overton window.

In a thread at The Social Pathologist commenter Asher suggests:

The bottom line is that if you want to break the Overton Window you’re going to have to deal with the reality that everything will be on the table.

This idea of “breaking” the Overton window is malformed.  It isn’t even wrong, as the saying goes, because it rests on an impossible premise: that the Overton window is the sort of thing which it is possible to “break.”  But it isn’t possible for everything to be on the table, even in principle, let alone in practice.  If everything must be on the table then one of the things that must be off the table is the view that not everything should be on the table.

So trying to “break” the Overton window is fundamentally irrational.  The Overton window isn’t the sort of thing which can be “broken”.  It can only be shifted to be more or less aligned with the good, the true, and the beautiful.  And just because some particular person or group opposes the current configuration of the Overton window, it does not follow that that person or group is advocating better aligning it with the good, the true, and the beautiful.

With apologies to The Who, “meet the new sociopaths; same as the old sociopaths.”

§ 84 Responses to The Overton window cannot be “broken”

  • Mike T says:

    Regarding HBD versus traditional meaning behind “racial differences,” one area of difference that comes to mind is that HBD rejects the notion that you can just say “blacks this, blacks that” because HBD rejects the notion of very broad racial categories in favor of related populations. For example, HBD recognizes that there are some big genetic differences between Western Hemisphere blacks and black Africans. So from a HBD perspective, judging all black groups the same is both actually false and racist because it ignores notable differences between populations within a “race.”

    HBD may have baggage, but a lot of it is an attempt to discuss race in a way that actually is scientific and neither crude nor an intellectual cover for racism. Based on my observations, most of the rhetoric in the past about “racial differences” was at best pseudo-scientific and just boiled down to “we like non-whites or we don’t like non-whites.”

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    most of the rhetoric in the past about “racial differences” was at best pseudo-scientific and just boiled down to “we like non-whites or we don’t like non-whites.”

    Right. People who lived before us were benighted and ignorant, but these days we are all sciency.

  • Anymouse says:

    Well, if we go back to the age before race in it’s modern form, we have family differences and bloodline differences, which is indeed much more non-prejudiced, and is much closer in concept to human biodiversity.

    People often talked of their bloodline long ago, but many do not know their bloodline now with any detail.

  • Mike T says:

    Right. People who lived before us were benighted and ignorant, but these days we are all sciency.

    Many of them were bigoted and ignorant, if that’s what you mean.

  • Svar says:

    Race is a reality and what really matters is that mostly homogeneous societies (doesn’t have to be 100%) work and an extremely multi-culti society doesn’t.

  • Asher says:

    In all of human history how many Overton Windows have existed? How many of them still exist? In its time, every single Ovwrton Window is inevitably broken. All of them. Without exception.

    In this case, you are simply incorrect.

  • Asher says:

    When Islam conquered Christian North Africa the existing Overton Window, there, was smashed not shifted.

  • Scott W. says:

    Chesterton

    It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say “The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment,” you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin “I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out,” you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word “damn” than in the word “degeneration.”

    Or, even simpler, The Simpsons: https://youtu.be/GKqhHhLNA7o

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:
    You defined breaking the Overton window as “everything is on the table”. A change – even an abrupt and dramatic change caused by invasion or whatever – in what is on and off the table isn’t that. You (and folks who think like you) need to face the fact that this “everything is on the table” idea isn’t even rational, let alone practically possible.

  • Zippy says:

    Anymouse:

    if we go back to the age before race in it’s modern form, we have family differences and bloodline differences, which is indeed much more non-prejudiced, and is much closer in concept to human biodiversity

    I agree, actually, but I’d suggest that the post-enlightenment concept of race (as a kind of oversimplification of family differences, bloodline, etc) came about in part through scientism. I’d be perfectly happy to use terms even less infected by scientism than race (e.g. bloodline, breeding, etc); but adopting even more sciency-sounding terms which appeal to modern materialists precisely because they double down on scientism is foolish, in my view.

  • Asher says:

    “Everything is on the table” doesn’t mean everything is under consideration. It’s not a tabula rasa. For example, phedophilia woud be on the table but it wouldn’t considered because there simply is no reason for any measurable portion of the population to consider it.

    That you conflate “on the table” with “under consideration” indicates how mired you are in the existing Overton Window.

    A change – even an abrupt and dramatic change caused by invasion or whatever – in what is on and off the table isn’t that.

    Wrong It is precisely that.

  • Asher says:

    You first have to break the existing Overton Window for a radically new one.

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:
    You had me at “pedophilia”.

  • Asher says:

    Yes, pedophilia as something on the table but not considered by any significant portion of the population. Just because something is on the table doesn’t make it under consideration.

    Please at least try to respond to points your interlocutor is making.

  • Asher says:

    Every single Overton Window that ever exists breaks. That is the way of all things, all things human. I’m sure that when ours breaks there will be some people muttering in their basement about rounding up and killing all Jews. So what.

  • Asher says:

    Further, I would point out that an unending historical gradual shifting of the Overton Window is precisely how liberals view it. What Moldbug would call the Whig view of history.

  • Zippy says:

    “Historical gradual shifting” of the Overton window isn’t something I’ve argued, for the record.

    I’m perfectly happy to let folks evaluate for themselves the value of the contention that pedophilia is simultaneously “on the table” but not “under consideration”.

  • Asher says:

    On the table simply means that it is not actively suppressed. Once the Overton Window breaks people will be concerned with serious things, not whether a few people are muttering in the basement about pedophilia or rounding up and killing all the Jews.

    Yes. On the table /= under consideration.

    You’re not presenting arguments against that.

  • Scott says:

    On the table simply means that it is not actively suppressed.

    This brings to mind Justice Alitos comments after Obergfeld in his dissent. He wrote something about how you may find someone whispering about the sacrament of marriage in the dark recesses of their own homes, but that they really aren’t “free” in any real sense of the word to advocate for it.

  • Scott says:

    I think I am more or less in agreement with Mike T upthread on the whole “HBD vs Racial Differences” thing.

    Not because Zippy doesn’t have a good point to make here about how even language is subservient to the Overton Window. But because HBD is not limited to discussions about race.

    I think it might be the website “Those who can see” (not sure) that has the tag line “because people are different.”

    In that sense, HBD is shorthand for “race and gender realism” which is technically 1 syllable shorter than Human Biodiversity. But when you abbreviate it, HBD is 4 syllables shorter!

    All of them are shorter than “mean intra group differences exist across all dimensions of the human experience and we think that everyone should be treated fairly and with dignity until they prove they shouldn’t be.”

  • Asher says:

    “But because HBD is not limited to discussions about race.”

    Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. HBD isn’t just about global diversity between groups of humans but diversity within groups, too. Sex differences being the most salient example. Liberalism’s assault is against all differences, per se, which lumps in sex, race and everything else.

    If you’re going to exit the field when the issue of race is broached then you are going to end up conceding all of it.

    “HBD is shorthand for “race and gender realism””

    Incorrect It is about the entire gamut of human differences. For example, the vastly bloated population of college students, regardless of population cluster (i.e. race) and sex, is explicitly an HBD issue. The reality is that most people, regardless of race or sex, simply aren’t college material. And, no, I use “population cluster” not as a codeword but simply because it is more accurate than “race”.

  • Scott says:

    Incorrect It is about the entire gamut of human differences

    Agreed. I should have wrote “every dimension upon which you can categorize people.”

  • Asher says:

    “Race” as used in the 20th century is a throwback to the Victorian Era where there was an obsession with placing everything into rigid categories, a precursor to logical positivism. This attempt at rigid categorization applied to every single field of intellectual endeavor, not just examining humans.

    In biology, the notion of top down rigid categorizations of “species” are being undermined by bottom up probabilistic analysis.

    Attempting to broadbrush anyone talking about “HBD” with Victorian era notions is just being intellectually unfair and, possibly, intellectually dishonest.

  • Asher says:

    @ Scott

    I sorta of thought you meant that but I just wanted everyone else to be aware. Sorry if I sounded curt

  • Scott says:

    No worries. I am a Serbo-Scottish-Irish psychologist. I originally stated reading HBD sites trying to figure out exactly what percentage of those three ethnicities contributed to my IQ, my chosen profession, how many marriages I have had, how many kids I have, how pretty my wife is, my earning potential and….

    I think this is what you mean by “bottom up probabilistic analysis” which I agree can be tedious and exhausting.

    Now I read that stuff and come away with “wow. People really are different.”

  • Asher says:

    Yeah, if you go to any mainstream liberal news site that has an article touching on race you’ll see significant majorities of people who are fed up with the racial circus. These are just normal people who are sick of the idiocy that is being perpetrated for “racial justice”. I simply don’t see a bunch of nazis, closet or otherwise.

    The problem is that rejection of such idiocy is a huge percentage of the population and, yet, is marginalized as if it were comparable to pedophilia.

  • Zippy says:

    If HBD is a sciency way of referring to every way in which human beings naturally differ then that doesn’t really undermine what I’ve been saying. In addition to starting to become one of those “it means everything therefore it means nothing” concepts, it just confirms that folks adopt it precisely because it is sciency-sounding, that is, because of its metaphysical baggage.

    It isn’t as if all of humanity did not know that human beings naturally differ in many ways, up until last tuesday.

  • Asher says:

    But it doesn’t mean “everything”. It’s simply acknowledging the limitations of human power, something I’d think a Bible believer would approve.

    It’s basically just another way of saying “human nature” only with a beefy body of evidence behind it.

  • Scott says:

    Of course, I get that. I think its a bridge too far to say it means “everything” though.

    It is a tough position to be in though. It’s like trying to hide stuff that everyone can see by just looking around because the rules of discourse say you can’t talk about them in the open.

    Simply talking about things in terms of statistical distributions makes you an intolerant racist bigot monster etc…

    Plus, all of the names you get called are so laden with political baggage. So you try to figure out a way to say “in general, men have more upper body strength than women” without risking being shunned from polite company.

  • Asher says:

    “It isn’t as if all of humanity did not know that human beings naturally differ in many ways, up until last tuesday.”

    If by “last tuesday” you mean about a hundred years ago, then, sure. However, since then there has been a concerted effort to deny that human beings are different – has the full implication of “tabula rasa” been lost on you? The Overton Window explicitly denies that there are any real differences between human beings, a denial that will only go away with the breaking of the current Overton Window. So much of the current power structure is wedded to the “tabula rasa” that to challenge it is to challenge the entire gamut of the existing power structure.

  • Zippy says:

    “Human biodiversity” can’t be just another way to say human nature, or the folks flocking to its altars would actually say “human nature”. It isn’t as if evidence of human nature from natural science is a new thing invented by the current generation of transcendent hipster geniuses.

    Whatever else may be the case, people clearly think that “HBD” is some new thing that is different from human nature or racial differences, and adopt the banner “human biodiversity” precisely because of the metaphysical baggage they are carrying. Some folks may like that metaphysical baggage and support it; others may reject it. But if we can at least move past all the BS nominalist denial that would be something.

  • Zippy says:

    Scott:

    It’s like trying to hide stuff that everyone can see by just looking around because the rules of discourse say you can’t talk about them in the open.

    Right, so HBD represents an attempt to give in completely to the modernist frame and yet still talk about things like racial differences. This has been done before.

  • Mike T says:

    In addition to starting to become one of those “it means everything therefore it means nothing”

    I think you are the only one here who actually has this problem. You had it with “Game” as well when I pointed out that Roissy is not, in fact, the alpha and omega of what it meant. I will also remind you again of my argument about martial arts which you did not refute which is that there are a host of styles that are completely different in technique and philosophy, yet no one says “martial arts means everything therefore it means nothing” due to how broad the meaning is when you consider each style it covers.

    [The discussion Mike T is referencing took place here. Folks are welcome to make up their own minds about whether or not he has accurately characterized it. — Z]

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I think you are the only one here who actually has this problem.

    I suppose it is surprising then that anyone bothers to read my navel-gazing posts.

  • Scott says:

    “Human biodiversity” can’t be just another way to say human nature, or the folks flocking to its altars would actually say “human nature”. It isn’t as if evidence of human nature from natural science is a new thing invented by the current generation of transcendent hipster geniuses.

    Whatever else may be the case, people clearly think that “HBD” is some new thing that is different from human nature or racial differences, and adopt the banner “human biodiversity” precisely because of the metaphysical baggage they are carrying. Some folks may like that metaphysical baggage and support it; others may reject it. But if we can at least move past all the BS nominalist denial that would be something.

    Well, again, sort of. For example. in developmental psychology we talk about the “diathesis-stress” model which essentially says there is an interaction of nature and nurture that works in ways we don’t totally understand to create your individual personality/aptitude/motivation/etc. It’s basic hypothesis is that nature endows you with a temperament that is immediately worked on by the environment. The argument is always about how much variance they account for.

    HBD appears from my perspective to be making huge strides in the “we don’t understand” part. Especially on the “nature” side of that equation. But it is not simply about “human nature.”

  • Zippy says:

    Scott:

    But it is not simply about “human nature.”

    It seems to be a squirrelly little thing, this “HBD”. Now it is about this other thing that nobody has ever heard of before, “nature versus nurture”.

  • Mike T says:

    To Scott’s point, HBD is very similar to “racial differences,” but without the baggage of what “racial differences” actually meant to most people for the last few centuries. Whether you want to see it or not, “racial differences” was almost synonymous with white supremacy in the West; it was essentially pseudo-science aimed at propping up the view that whites are naturally superior. Even the Bell Curve would not have been well-received in those circles because it suggests that Asians and Jews statistically tend to have mildly higher IQs that whites.

    It is much like how the term “state’s rights” became synonymous with bigotry to a lot of people because it was always cast in the light of putting down blacks by its loudest and most powerful proponents. The “new label” is necessary to actually engage the topic in a meaningful way and from a different angle that is actually based on real science in genetics not a warmed over version of 18th century species classification.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    It is much like how the term “state’s rights” became synonymous with bigotry to a lot of people …

    You seem to be agreeing with me, then, that HBD is an attempt to capitulate to modernity and craft a politically correct way to talk about racial differences, because some bad people in the past were known to use the word “race”.

  • Asher says:

    “Human biodiversity” can’t be just another way to say human nature, or the folks flocking to its altars would actually say “human nature”.

    Entirely incorrect. The label “human nature” is loaded with such a bloated array of metaphysical baggage that it is utterly useless – it pretty much means anything one wants it to mean. Way back in the day when I was a standard religious conservative any time I used “human nature” I was immediately assayed with every inconvenient use of the phrase in all of human history.

    Sorry, but if being unwilling to have to apologize for every single use of that phrase in history means I’m giving into the modernist frame then I plead guilty. If you think there is a way to turn back the clock to a pre-modern conception of human nature then I am happy to hear it. Otherwise, I’ll stick with HBD.

    It isn’t as if evidence of human nature from natural science is a new thing invented by the current generation of transcendent hipster geniuses.

    Okay, but the amount and rigor of that evidence *is* very new. Are you suggesting we simply throw away the mountain of evidence accumulated in the past few decades? Are you suggesting a moratorium on all future empirical investigation into human behavior and outcomes? I mean, if you think Overton Windows are inevitable and think that empirical investigation into human behavioral differences necessarily leads to Nazism it only makes sense to outlaw all empirical investigation into human behavior. After all, we don’t know a priori whether or not some research will uncover such differences, therefore, it’s best that we simply outlaw all research that might possibly reveal them.

    This is the necessary conclusion of your line of reasoning.

  • Asher says:

    the folks flocking to its altars

    This is a particularly uncharitable way of labeling a vast array of people interested in the topic. It’s really scummy – no other way of putting that.

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:
    You seem to have some sort of puppet in your head that you are responding to. My answer to all of your “are you suggestings” and “if you thinks” is that you don’t seem to have any idea at all what I am suggesting or what I think.

    This is the necessary conclusion of your line of reasoning.

    Yes, and I am just trying desperately to understand how it is that you are not a jackass.

  • Scott says:

    …a vast array of people interested in the topic.

    In my field, the latest technology allows us to order a DNA test to determine which SSRIs a person will respond to best. By “best” here I mean best mood improvement/symptom relief with the leas side effects. This is a very expensive test right now, but it will save us big money in the future. It is invaluable.

    To track this correctly–that’s modifying observable differences in behavior at a micro level but is detected and occurring at a large-scale genetic level. (This is one of the modern definitions of “racism.”)

  • Asher says:

    One more thing, I have soft spot for religious conservatives and speak out whenever I see them slandered or dishonestly attacked.

    If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your house. – Prov 17:13

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:

    whenever I see them slandered or dishonestly attacked

    Who, by name, has been slandered or dishonesty attacked in this thread? Is it that HBD is such a sacred cow that to criticize it, even wrongheadedly, is to slander people who have a favorable view of it?

  • Asher says:

    Zippy, it isn’t at all clear what you think. You have registered vague sentiments and not much more. That people most would classify as neo-Nazis are using “HBD” is indisputably; that studying differences in human behavior necessarily leads to a resurrection of Nazism seems pretty dubious. The factors that led to the rise of Hitler simply don’t exist in the US or Europe so I don’t see it as a threat.

  • Asher says:

    Who, by name, has been slandered or dishonesty attacked in this thread?

    I am beginning to doubt your reading comprehension – there is no nice way of putting it. I’m talking about the slander and defamation of religious conservatives by leftists/liberals/atheists on other sites. The statement I made was simple and direct.

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:

    that studying differences in human behavior necessarily leads to a resurrection of Nazism seems pretty dubious.

    I don’t know of anyone who thinks that studying differences in human behavior necessarily leads to a resurrection of Nazism, though, so as usual you seem to be having a conversation with yourself.

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:

    I’m talking about the slander and defamation of religious conservatives by leftists/liberals/atheists on other sites.

    Does that have some pertinence to the subject here?

  • Scott says:

    It’s an interesting question because of the nature of it. It’s actually difficult for me to operationalize “favorable” versus “unfavorable” view of something so benign.

    A major component of HBD is objectively looking at any factor that might be involved in accounting for the intra-group variance in human behavior. In other words, being open to drill down into any theory posited about it, including genetic components. Who could be against that?

    Oh right. The so called “tolerant” open minded crowd.

  • Asher says:

    ah, I see what you are say. Your use of the term “altar”, implying religious devotion, was slanderous. It’s the sort of rhetorical tactic I regularly see from leftists/liberals/atheists

  • Asher says:

    yes, it is pertinent. I regularly defend religious conservatives, yet, I am slandered and defamed by them, your use of the term “altar” being an example.

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:

    Your use of the term “altar”, implying religious devotion, was slanderous…

    That sounds bad. Who, again, exactly, by name, did I slander? Your ongoing posting privileges here depend upon you providing the name of the person I slandered, to demonstrate that you (Mr. “pedophilia is on the table but it isn’t up for consideration”) aren’t just a troll wasting my time.

  • Asher says:

    First of all, the term “altar” has connotation of religious devotion that transcends mundane reality. Secondly, you can slander groups of people.

    That statement slanders anyone who simply thinks differences in behavior are useful fields of research and that such research illuminates the world we experience. I am in that group.

  • Asher says:

    Also, I find it odd that you write a post directly addressing a comment I made on another blog and then call me a troll when I respond to your post.

  • Zippy says:

    Asher:

    I am slandered and defamed by them, your use of the term “altar” being an example.

    Ah. So it is you, yourself, whom you believe to have been slandered when I said of HBD “the folks flocking to its altars”.

    So the very notion of people flocking to the altars of HBD because of their religious views — their most fundamental beliefs about the world, ourselves, nature, etc — is a slander. And because you personally are favorable to HBD, this is a slander of you personally.

    So pedophilia being “on the table but not up for consideration” isn’t offensive, and is needed in order to reconstruct what it means to “break the Overton window” in a way that is (ironically) more politically correct. But any notion that affinity for HBD has anything to do with some folks religious beliefs is so offensive that it is slanderous, not just to the unspecified poor souls themselves, but you personally.

    Did I get that right?

  • Asher says:

    So the very notion of people flocking to the altars of HBD because of their religious views — their most fundamental beliefs about the world, ourselves, nature, etc — is a slander.

    It’s a slander because it’s false witness. Look, massive amounts of what we see today are unfathomable unless one accepts that there is a vast array of human difference. Most people interested in “HBD” are simply interested in understanding what they see in the world around them.

    The term “religious” makes your statement false and, thus, slanderous. Very few people are interested in “HBD” because of “fundamental beliefs about the world”. Are there some? Sure. The majority? Not even remotely close.

    So pedophilia being “on the table but not up for consideration” isn’t offensive, and is needed

    This statement implies that the goal is to put pedophilia on the table. It’s not. It’s an effect of breaking the existing Overton Window.

    But any notion that affinity for HBD has anything to do with some folks religious beliefs

    I gotta say, your vague and shifting language is beginning to suspiciously look like dishonesty. Your initial claim was “flocking” which does not imply “some”. It’s tough to say what you got right when what you are claiming keeps changing.

  • Asher says:

    Okay, since we’re trying for a dialogue let’s estimate what percentage of those interested in “HBD” are driven by “most fundamental beliefs”. My guess is that it’s fewer than 10 percent.

    I won’t hold you to your estimation, just curious what it is.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Mike T

    I think you [Zippy] are the only one here who actually has this problem.

    Nope. I’m here, too.

    Re: The OP

    Overton Window, Cathedral, The Culture[1],…the Beats and Hippies called it The Establishment. There’s only one, and you are either in it, or out of it. Your group either controls it, or it doesn’t.

    That doesn’t mean the group not in control are all one group, or even that we should want that. It just means those inside aren’t you.

    Just to be clear: Do you consider yourself–according to your defintion–a sociopath, Zippy?

    [1] I’ve seen a lot of recent focus on taboos as the glue of a society. Perhaps we should call it The Taboonacle.

  • Asher says:

    I was going to let it slide, too, but this idiosyncratic definition of “sociopath” renders pretty much all other uses of the term meaningless. It’s also eerily to how liberals use it. If I had a dollar for every liberal who called me a sociopath for disagreeing with a particular liberal policy (ie. the Overton Window) I’d be a rich man.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    Re: am I a sociopath (in the non-clinical sense): certainly, though I don’t venture to guess whether it is endogenous or exogenous.

    When suppression of basic and obvious truths is rampant it becomes difficult to avoid engaging in antisocial speech and behavior. Sick societies like ours are factories of sociopathy.

  • Scott says:

    Re: am I a sociopath (in the non-clinical sense): certainly, though I don’t venture to guess whether it is endogenous or exogenous.

    When suppression of basic and obvious truths is rampant it becomes difficult to avoid engaging in antisocial speech and behavior. Sick societies like ours are factories of sociopathy.

    Man I would love to collaborate on this with you some day.

    This is something I struggle with quite a bit, and the weirder our society gets the worse it is.

    In graduate school, there was a fellow student who dropped out during the first year and cited the psychopathology and diagnosis class as why. When he learned how the DSM criteria sets are derived– and what they mean– he determined that mental health professionals had replace clergy in the new social order. We had simply replaced the word “sin” with “inappropriate” and given the mental health professionals the authority to summarily imprison those outside the norm ( at least for a few days). I have this authority now.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Somehow, as I often do, I forgot my salutatory opening to your post, a link to one of my posts on a similar theme, and also a quote from Doug Wilson, which someone left for me.

    “Like a circle, every society must have a center. That center is defined by the central principle of worship. The center must actually be a center, and a society cannot have two centers, any more than a circle can have two. If you have two centers, that means you have two societies, and one of them must prevail. So one circle can displace another one, and one center can replace the previous center. That can happen, but when a circle tolerates a new center it is in the process of ceasing to be a circle. Just so you know.

    So Christian societies have a center, just like Muslim societies do, or Hindu societies do, or secular societies do. A society must have a center. The thing that distinguishes Christian societies is not the fact that they have a center. Christ is the arche, the principle of all integration, the center of all things. How could He not be? He rose from the dead, and He is Lord.”

    Not the same thing, but a similar theme regarding who is the lord of the (civilization) ring.

    On Sociopathy: So have you put aside your self-identification as a sigma (according to Vox’s table), or would it be more accurate to say that you don’t why you’re a sigma?

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    The thing that distinguishes Christian societies is not the fact that they have a center. Christ is the arche, the principle of all integration, the center of all things.

    Indeed. And societies which believe themselves to be without a center still have one: at their center is Nothing.

    …have you put aside your self-identification as a sigma (according to Vox’s table), or would it be more accurate to say that you don’t why you’re a sigma?

    As I understand it the “sigma” actually is a kind of sociopath (in the non-clinical sense). But as I’ve mentioned before, the usefulness of these kinds of models is probably, at least past a certain point, inversely proportional to how seriously we take them.

    The problem with modern society is that everyone is a sociopath. Either he holds to sociopathic liberal beliefs ‘at the center’ if you will, or he rejects the core beliefs of his society and remains outside.

    Bonald had an interesting post recently in which he suggested that most of the smart, well-adjusted people are liberals precisely because they are smart and well adjusted. That puts them inherently in a better position to crush the rest of us. Nobody thinks things through ‘all the way down’, and people naturally predisposed to be successful will do as much thinking as is required to be successful and won’t end up as sociopathic outsiders. The folks who are sociopathic outsiders will be so more because of their personal flaws than because they are some sort of geniuses who see through liberalism’s lies.

    However, being a sociopathic outsider will make it far easier to see liberalism’s lies for what they truly are; and there may be other “advantages”. (Caveat).

    So there are “advantages” of a sort to being a sociopathic loser outcast despised by our society, at least inasmuch as being able to see some things as they really are is an advantage.

  • Zippy says:

    Scott:

    Man I would love to collaborate on this with you some day.

    I don’t really know what I could do to help, honestly.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    As I understand it the “sigma” actually is a kind of sociopath (in the non-clinical sense).

    That’s my understanding as well, but there is another significant facet to Vox’s sigma, and that is its rarity; that there aren’t many sigmas even within the writers and readership of whatever we call this sub-net of the Web. Yet you’re saying nearly everyone is a sociopath. It seems to me that both can’t be true.

    I’ll add that I am biased against Vox’s socio-sexual hierarchy table, but it does have the benefit of being testable.

  • Scott says:

    I don’t really know what I could do to help, honestly.

    Well I won’t cut paste everything you have written in the last 2-3 comments on this thread but it’s related to an idea found inbedded in all the criteria sets.

    Namely, a disorder is not a disorder without impairment in at least one of three dimensions of functionality; social, interpersonal or leisure.

    In short– if it doesn’t bother the patient, it’s not a disorder, by definition.

    When you (and Cane) have a conversation like you are having here and then run it through the filter of my comment about mental health professionals being the gatekeepers of what is or is not appropriate or disordered–THEN account for the fact that I, a mental health professional with (sone) WAY outside the Overton window beliefs– I would have diagnose myself as antisocial.

    It begs for a discussion, or it’s own thread.

  • Cane,

    This would only be if Zippy and Vox were both using sociopath in the same sense, right? In my understanding you can be a Zippy sociopath without necessarily being a Vox sigma.

    Now, perhaps a Vox sigma is inevitably a Zippy sociopath. I’m not sure, though I’d tend to doubt it. But either way, I don’t think an overlap is necessarily inevitable. One is dealing with social realities and the other with ideas, if I’m getting the gist of this right.

  • Scott says:

    Sorry, hit reply a second too soon.

    As a psychologist, my beliefs will very soon start become “delusional” (or be labelled that way) soon enough, even though I have not changed– the society has. This will (and has already) begun to effect my occupational and interpersonal functioning.

  • Or, if, as Zippy says, Vox sigmas are necessarily Zippy sociopaths, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people of other sociosexual ranks can’t also be Zippy sociopaths.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    First of all, curse you for making me think about this silly stuff again :D.

    Yes, sigma == sociopath, but sociopath /= sigma.

    Here is the description. Much of it fits:

    “The outsider who doesn’t play the social game and manage to win at it anyhow. The sigma is hated by alphas because sigmas are the only men who don’t accept or at least acknowledge, however grudgingly, their social dominance. (NB: Alphas absolutely hate to be laughed at and a sigma can often enrage an alpha by doing nothing more than smiling at him.) Everyone else is vaguely confused by them … They are usually considered to be strange.”

    Some might think that I’m a merely ‘gamma’ with self-delusions or whatever. Maybe I even am just that sometimes or most of the time — I really don’t know or much care. It is up to people who actually know me to categorize. Self-awareness is possible to a degree, but self-diagnosis on this point seems inherently error-prone, especially given its treatment of the opinions of women as the ultimate measure.

    What I know for sure is that I am no ‘alpha’, despite superficial things that look ‘alpha’ — my tenure as an entrepreneur CEO, MBA, several pilots licenses/ratings, ‘retired’ (more or less) at 35, and all the crap we’ve talked about before which look like worldly success or things that go along with being ‘alpha’. I’m way too anti-social, prone to saying things which make people wildly uncomfortable, etc to be ‘alpha’. So sigma or gamma or omega or whatever, depending on how much credence you give to measures of worldly success.

    You though must be alpha because somehow you’ve gotten me distracted into talking about myself. If so I should be able to really piss you off just by smirking at you.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:
    Right, we cross-posted: sigma == sociopath, but sociopath /= sigma.

  • Zippy says:

    Scott:

    As a psychologist, my beliefs will very soon start become “delusional” (or be labelled that way) soon enough, even though I have not changed– the society has. This will (and has already) begun to effect my occupational and interpersonal functioning.

    I can only imagine. A young person I know is interested in becoming a psychologist, and would probably be phenomenally good at it, a real natural. But what a minefield.

  • Scott says:

    I already have one colleague who says I am raising my kids to be “bigots” and we are no longer friends.

    Normatively speaking, she is “correct.”

    So my mind isn’t right. How can I practice psychology that way?

  • Scott says:

    To clarify– she says this because they are being taught sacramental (read: no such thing as gay) marriage.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy & Malcolm

    I’ll have to think on it more. When I picture what you’ve said (sigma == sociopath, but sociopath /= sigma.) I see it, but there’s something flashing at my peripheral. Perhaps it is related to something you wrote about Bonald’s post

    That puts [well-adjusted liberals] inherently in a better position to crush[1] the rest of us.

    In other words: a better position to be sociopathic.

    Maybe it’s that there is (at least in my mind) an underlying notion that sociopathic, in both your sense and Vox’s, seems to be presented as morally neutral. I’m suspicious of morally neutral explanations, and those don’t sound like you, either. It’s possible that I’m just not getting it.

    You though must be alpha because somehow you’ve gotten me distracted into talking about myself.

    Probably because I winked at you. You can read all about my signature move “The Eye-Bite” on pp. 37-39 of my new ebook. It works even when you can’t see it…

    [1] Cue Idiocracy’s “Monday Night Rehabilitation”.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    Maybe it’s that there is (at least in my mind) an underlying notion that sociopathic, in both your sense and Vox’s, seems to be presented as morally neutral. I’m suspicious of morally neutral explanations, and those don’t sound like you, either.

    True enough. Disordered might be a better term — a kind of handicap which falls short of the ideal. So definitely not morally neutral. Like (e.g.) deafness or blindness it would be morally wrong to choose it, and it is indeed an objective deficiency or disorder.

    If you want to find your way around in the darkness, though, the blind man may have some advantages. In a society gone mad, the madman knows his way around.

  • For what it’s worth, I find Vox’s sociosexual hierarchy interesting, and useful from a writing perspective, but I see exceptions too often for me to take it as seriously as he does.

  • […] a recent conversation held in the comments section at Zippy Catholic, the following exchange happened between blogger Cane Caldo and […]

  • […] a recent conversation held in the comments section at Zippy Catholic, the following exchange happened between blogger Cane Caldo and […]

  • Zippy says:

    Scott:
    Pingback worked fine, the moderator is time-zone surfing so he’s a little slow. 🙂

  • […] in the ways in which liberalism attacks and destroys the natural moral order. In order to stay respectable conservatives sometimes have to out-progress the […]

  • […] the “Golden Age” of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater after the Second World War. A few, the most radical within the Overton window, go as far as to say that we need to return to the principles of Abraham Lincoln, or even of Thomas […]

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