Narrative and Taboo

Since early November I’ve wanted to write, again, about the topic that frequently appears here – slothful induction and islamic terrorism. But new events keep occurring that cause my thoughts to become superseded, and thus I’m left having to catch up to reality.

There are two big stories happening now in the West – most notably in north America, western Europe and Australia, which have been subjected to both terrorist attacks by islamic fundamentalists and to an elite-promoted narrative of cultural self-loathing, open borders and denial of criminal misbehaviour and conspiracies by muslim citizens. 

The first is the slow but sure deterioration in these countries’ internal security, as a result of not only the governments’ and security services’ inability to address the threat posed by islamic fundamentalism, but also their encouraging muslim immigration and suppression of all public criticism of both muslims and islam, regardless of the quality of the arguments supporting those criticisms.

The second is the deterioration of popular support for the elite-promoted narrative, as a result of the deterioration in the security environment which the narrative has caused to happen.

On reflection, this seems like a classic case of over-reach on the part of the elites: promote (impose?) a narrative, and promote policies based on the narrative, and then see the narrative weaken as a direct result of the outcomes produced by those policies.

The ‘doubling down’ reaction on the part of the elites is to be expected: ‘It’s not our fault, it’s because you lot are racist islamphobes like we always said you were – less tolerance for you!’ In other words, on with the programme. Motivated reasoning never felt so good.

Nevertheless, the deterioration continues. Public figures, such as Donald Trump in the US, and Tony Abbott here in Australia, now feel sufficiently emboldened to speak out, even if only tentatively. The response has been predictable: both have been hit with the ‘fascist lunatic’ stick. But that’s not working any more. Not only is the emperor wearing no clothes, not only have people noticed his nakedness – they now feel able to talk to each other about it, and have a laugh.

And so the narrative keepers become rattled. And they start acting desperately: like the Prime Minister asking (commanding?) the head of the internal security services to tell elected politicians to ‘shut up, or else …’.

These were my thoughts on hearing the news, on Tuesday, written, in no particular order, in a notebook as I caught the train to town.

  1.  Is the head of ASIO telling the population that the security services have lost control of the threat, and that the best we can do is to hope not to provoke the terrorists?
  2. What exactly is the head of ASIO talking about? What is the threat? Who is making the threat? If these people pose a clear and present danger to the public, why haven’t the security services arrested them?
  3. What good does Lewis think will come of the politicians’ and public’s remaining silent about this issue? How will that solve the problem? Especially as the government has a bull-headed determination to import people who have a non-zero propensity to ‘flip out’ and murder the electorate?
  4. Is this attempt at social control a manifestation of what Thomas Hobbes would describe as the Prime Minister’s all consuming ‘power instinct’? If so, what else is in store for us?
  5. Is this the first example of an Australian intelligence officer telling his population to ‘shut up, or else …’? Has he been taking notes from his counterparts in the Russian FSB, or China’s Ministry of State Security?
  6. Is he telling us that, not only are we at risk of being murdered, but that we aren’t allowed to talk freely about the nature of that threat, and how our democracy will respond to it?
  7. Is this an example of the politicians and apparatchiks taking the ‘path of least resistance’? That is, are they doing this because they think it easier to tell people to shut up, than to address the terrorist threat?
  8. The job of the security services in a democracy is not to shut down or control debate, as it is in, for example, Russia and China. The job of the security services in a democracy is to protect the population while they have that debate. Does ASIO work for the country, or for the state?

To quote the male psychiatrist on Fawlty Towers, ‘There’s enough material here for an entire conference‘.

I’ll continue to monitor the situation as it develops. It is fascinating, and falls into an area of interest of mine at present: the relationships between governments, populations, narratives, taboos and social control. We are seeing an epic transformation of western electorates and populations, and with that is going an epic battle over the  narratives employed by elites for social control.

One last bit, a quotation concerning the role that narrative and taboo played in causing the financial crisis in 2008, from Steve Sailer:

But Occam’s razor suggests that long-term ignorance and deceit is caused by taboo: Our most sacred value today is diversity, so that was the one cause we weren’t allowed to question.

And we still aren’t.

That may be changing. I can’t see the muslims giving up their jihad against the west: with complacent and even sympathetic western elites encouraging them in their quest, they are becoming ever more bold – things here will get worse before they get better. As for the narrative keepers, they will continue to double down, I think, until they lose power outright – I suspect that will happen in time, as their present policies simply encourage the jihadists to pursue actions that undermine the narrative, and their defence of that narrative, already weak as water, becomes in response both more strained and less credible.

It’s a one-way street. There’s little ambiguity about how this will play out, I think.

As someone else said: it’s an exciting time to be alive.

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About Stebbing Heuer

A person interested in exploring human perception, reasoning, judgement and deciding, and in promoting clear, effective thinking and the making of good decisions.
This entry was posted in Democracy and freedom of mind, Groupthink, Motivated Reasoning. Bookmark the permalink.

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