On saviors promising to “make humanity great again.”
Why do people sometimes invent conceptual models of “perfection?” In other words, when do people find it relevant to select some things to favor or encourage and other things to discourage or label as negative?
It all comes from an experience of worry (as in lasting stress). Further, worry is just a natural result of a sense that certain (alleged) essentials of life are unreliable.
For instance, there was a hurricane recently that led to lots of people wanting to evacuate a region by car. However, cars need fuel and, if a million people all want to leave a city of one million people, there just is not enough fuel there for all of them to fill the gas tanks of their cars. Someone will have to come and bring more fuel in and then distribute it to people for all one million to leave. Will the fuel distributors be the very last to leave?
Or, in extreme cases, maybe some big buses are sent in to remove people who, gasp, do not even have a car. Ultimately, ideals of perfection are about our preferences, like whatever is familiar and presumed satisfactory.
Obviously, some people could say that in a perfect world there will be no hurricanes, no evacuations, and no fuel shortages. Further, the perfect way to prevent hurricanes would be to hold a referendum for voters to all get together and pass an amendment banning hurricanes. That way, we can all pretend that we are not worried now about the likelihood that, at some point in the future, there will be an imminent cause of worry.
Social movements to condemn worry and fear are not new. They are much older than the famous speech of US President FDR (Franklin D. Roosevelt) in early 1933 (which was near the “bottom” of what is called “the great depression”).
As a brief aside, most people do not know that only a few months after his inauguration, FDR issued an executive order which criminalized the possession of gold by US citizens (which was not fully reversed until 1975). The penalty was 10 years imprisonment AND a fine that was equal to several years worth of income for the average employed person.
An organized group of armed militants went around forcing the masses to give the rulers the gold previously owned by the masses. If the citizens were caught in possession of the criminalized, controlled substance, then it was confiscated from them and they were imprisoned.
Yet, FDR was saying “do not fear” (or, more precisely, “only fear fear”). It is a classic example of a confusing statement of reverse psychology.
Go in to shock. Be intimidated. Be obedient. Why? Because the group of bullies that he directed was about to unleash one of the most intense programs of intimidation and wealth extraction in the history of government confiscation programs. However, apparently FDR was attempting to publicize the new confiscation program as a wonderful service to the public which they should cheerfully support.
How did FDR respond to those who criticized his move to confiscate gold? According to this newspaper headline from 1933, FDR responded by “scorning” them.
On the other hand, only gold was being confiscated from all US citizens. That was a small change compared to something like taking huge numbers of Native Americans and relocating them all to reservations.
Anyway, I said above that my commentary on 1933 (including the criminalization of the possession of gold) would be brief. So, let’s get back to the issue of any particular kind of emotion being negated or shamed as “negative.” Or, some emotions are at least labeled “imperfect,” typically with some glorified ideals of perfection being formed (as the contrast to our condemnation of selected aspects of everyday reality).
Further, we can attack certain realities as unjust or shameful, such as a particular type of alleged imperfection. Imagine that we present “equality” as an ideal while condemning “inequality.”
Typically, these kind of social ideals are contrary to actual reality. Note that I am contrasting broad, utopian social ideals with statements of practical ideals, like saying “the ideal time to visit Alaska is in the summer” or “the ideal way for the grandkids to get from Texas to New York is by airplane.” Practical ideals are just preferences. Social ideals, in contrast, are typically implicit condemnations of reality.
So, all of that was to introduce the following content. I am just going to quote a single paragraph (out of an exchange) and then present my response to it.
GM wrote: “While I don’t ever expect 100% equality, I could never be comfortable living in a society where people are made to feel less than me simply because they were born to different parents. I don’t even like being waited on at a restaurant!”
This is not about different parents. When I was 3, was I equal to my sibling who was 7? Of course not. When I was 12, I was also not equal to my sibling who was an infant.
Should the queen bee be the only one to get the much better nourishment of the royal jelly and thus grow to become fertile and able to reproduce, while ALL of her identical twin sisters are infertile drones? That is what happens.
Only humans erupt in to verbalized hysteria to attack (or defend) such realities as “what should NOT be” (or “what should be”). Lots of creatures erupt in to social protests and physical attacks to punish “violated social boundaries,” but only humans VERBALIZE such distress.
So, if I had an identical twin, we would still eventually explore different behaviors and thus get different results. Some behaviors get rewarded and some get punished (such as getting shamed or spanked or jailed). Inequal results will be produced from different actions.
Next, if the display of an emotion is shamed or invalidated or suppressed or negated (by those who are socially dominant), then people may call that emotion “negative.” The root issue is most people are pretending not to be in a chronic state of tension or stress relating to the inhibition of the display of certain emotions as “less welcome” than certain other emotions.
Is it okay to “feel bad?” Is it okay for others to “make me feel bad?” It is natural. Social competition is natural and it includes harassment, ostracism, bullying, and organized networks of extortion (aka governments).
We are programmed with social ideals about “how people should be.” To the extent that we are deeply terrified about at least pretending to fit those ideals, we experience a chronic form of social anxiety generally known as perfectionism. That distressed or hysterical habit of perfectionism corresponds to social idealism and political idealism.
If i relate to myself as imperfect, then I just take on some method to compensate. My compensation is to take on the social ideals about how “the world” should be, then condemn the world for not being how it fundamentally should be (which is a state of rejection or denial), then I talk about fixing the world. My redeeming glory will be when I am savior of the world, making it perfect.
Until then, I will display my arrogant state of distress by wearing a hat that says “make humanity great again.” If I believe in all that, I might be a naive fool. However, If I do not believe it and I am just getting on TV to establish my brand and sell these hats (that cost me $2 each) for a retail price of $10, then I am just Donald trump’s “apprentice.” [I was referencing the name of a TV show there… a “reality competition game show” that was hosted by Donald Trump.]
People might make fun of Trump’s campaign slogan, but the same basic idea is in every campaign slogan. When we stick together by voting for Hillary, we will be even stronger and so we will be making America greater than it is now. Or, vote for someone else in order to improve America and make it great like it was in 1990 or in 1890 or in 1790 BC.
Idealistic reformers wish to alter the things that they invalidate as shameful. That is distinct from someone who just wants to alter this or that policy, but does not take on the glorious identity of being a reformer.
The reformer is internally tense and even if every reform they want manifests, their inner tension will remain. They are trying to avoid grieving and they are triggered by lots of things. But for every thing that they know will trigger grief, there is another thing that can also trigger grief unexpectedly.
They are looking for grievances… justifications for perpetuating their grief while avoiding it and calling it rage. Or, maybe that is just what I spent a few decades doing and I am the only one in human history who has ever used those coping mechanisms to pretend not to be grieving for some development in my personal life.