Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Engine Of Contemporary Collectivism

     The brilliant and indispensable Chris Muir provides the ignition for today’s tirade:

     He’s right, you know. White, heterosexual men are now the officially despised class of the Western world. even though we are the builders and defenders of the Christian-Enlightenment order and all that flourishes within it. Members of all other blocs feel either entitled to disparage and demean us, or obliged not to speak in our defense. Ironically, even some of us participate, in acts of self-denunciation.

     Yes, it’s bad. Worse than bad, as one of the consequences has been the adoption of a “tolerance” that urges us to tolerate the intolerable. What else do the preponderant reactions to the atrocious behavior of Muslims in Europe signify? What else could it mean when high government officials react to Muslims’ brutalization of European women not by encouraging European men to rise to their defense, but by advising women to cover up, travel in groups, and stay away from public places?

     Anyone with three functioning brain cells can see that this is insupportable. The marginalization and demonization of the defenders of Western civilization will doom that civilization. Progress will be displaced by riot and destruction. Public order will be smashed to flinders. Indeed, these things are already taking place. How, then, did it get to this point?

     Perhaps you already know.

     Some time ago, a dear friend penned a series of essays condemning broadcast journalism. Among his most powerful points was that that industry is a creature of the government. Without the intrusion into journalism of the Federal Communications Commission, the powers of broadcast journalism – indeed, the broadcast networks as a whole – would never have come to exist.

     Among my habitual points is that bigness gravitates to bigness: that huge organizations will tend to cluster, and more often than not to ally with one another, despite a superficial appearance of competition. In the case of the broadcast networks, the matter is more than obvious, as the networks must please the federal government to retain their licenses. That naturally results in promoting the ideas and viewpoints Washington likes and suppressing those it dislikes.

     Every government on Earth, no matter how constituted, is a collectivizing force. Thus, its creatures will tend to be collectivizing forces as well, for their parent will not tolerate a great divergence from its will.

     It is in the nature of any centrally controlled entity with a broad scope, whether broad geographically, economically, or demographically, that it will promulgate and promote a kind of uniformity among those it affects. Japan provides an extreme example: the huge zaibatsu corporations exert enormous influence over the thinking and behavior of the near-uniform Japanese people. When some idea or practice gains a foothold among them, it spreads at great speed to become a universal fad. Though Westerners are more diverse in many ways than the Japanese, our own large conglomerates, especially those in the business of spreading news and ideas, have comparable influence over what’s commonly called “conventional wisdom.”

     The idea-propagating industry in all its manifestations has been a principal target of the Left:

  • The broadcast networks;
  • The newspapers;
  • The publishing industry;
  • The visual media;

     ...have all fallen under the sway of “liberal” / “progressive” assumptions and thought. As that mindset is inherently collectivist, the ideas thus propagated have swerved a hundred eighty degrees from the individualist propositions at the foundation of Christian-Enlightenment civilization to a Marxism not of economic classes but of oppressed and oppressor groups.

     (The attempt to spread “classic,” economics-based Marxism in the West has been indifferently successful; Europe bought partway into it, but America never did. Here, the entering wedges were racism and the early exclusion of women from the vote. The emphasis on oppression and groups derived for it, followed naturally.)

     If you’ve ever wondered about the hostility the major media players have demonstrated toward individualist thought expressed on the World Wide Web, right-leaning talk radio, or upstart Fox News, you have your answer.

     The inescapable conclusion is that American collectivism, manifest through the Left’s various gospels of:

  • Race;
  • Ethnicity;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation; almost entirely the product of the Left-dominated idea propagating industries. Recent flare-ups in the ideological battle between individualism and collectivism, for example in the “Sad Puppies” contretemps over the Hugo Awards, only illustrate the ferocity with which the Left defends what it sees as both its bastion and its indispensable tool.

     There are lessons to be drawn here:

  • The broadcast networks’ products are far more likely than not to grate against the sensibilities of an individualist-minded American.
  • The products of major media companies, whether in print or electronic form, will continue to be collectivist in their assumptions, whether or not those assumptions are made explicit.
  • The government-controlled educational “system” has as its first priority the inculcation of collectivism (and subordination of the individual to the State) in minds under its sway.
  • The recent attack on video gaming for emphasizing enjoyment over “social justice” ideas, is no accident and will intensify over the near term.
  • Government at all levels will side with the “social-justice warriors,” albeit not necessarily overtly, regardless of whether under the dominance of Democrats or Republicans.

     Consider that a checklist of things to be avoided by the prudent adult, and as far as possible deflected in favor of wholesome alternatives by the parents of minor children.

1 comment:

Joseph P. Martino said...

Hi, Francis:

Regarding TV networks, you are correct, but may not know the full story.

Before the FCC was established, there was a Federal Radio Commission. It was established to assign frequencies to commercial radio stations, after it was recognized in the 1920s that there had to be some way of keeping stations from interfering with each other (I'm obviously ignoring amateur, maritime, and similar services here).

The FRC had a brilliant idea: radio was going to supplant newspapers as people's source of information. Therefore radio stations had to be "local." That is, their signal had to be limited to a local area, and they should focus on carrying local news. To implement this idea, FRC assigned the same frequencies to stations in different parts of the country, and limited their broadcast power to a level such that they wouldn't interfere with each other (there were a few "clear channel" stations like WLW in Cincinnati, but there were very few of those).

How, then could all that bandwidth be filled? Simple. You set up a studio in New York, put on a performance of some kind (Jack Benny, Charlie McCarthy, The Shadow, Stella Dallas) and put it out on a telephone line to subscribing stations. So there would be dozens to hundreds of "local" stations carrying the same programming, at the same time, to their "local" area, all day long.

This was the origin of "networks." The Red Network and the Blue Network got their designations from the colors the engineers used to mark out the telephone connections on a map.

When TV came along, the shorter wavelengths automatically limited the broadcast coverage area, making networks even more necessary.

How else could it have been done? With radio, every station could have been a "clear channel" station, with nationwide coverage. We wouldn't have needed as many stations, but the total number of programs a person could choose among would have been much greater, leading to much greater diversity of programming. Even niche audiences could have been served, by aggregating them nationwide.

As for TV, Cable would have provided more channels and greater diversity than did the networks, and later, satellite TV would have given nationwide coverage to a great many more channels than networks and terrestrial broadcasting did.

We missed some great opportunities, as a result of the FRC's social engineering.