Streetwise Professor

June 28, 2019

The Doublethink Party

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 3:30 pm

George Orwell described “doublethink” thus: “to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic” and “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”   With the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination getting underway, we are seeing numerous examples of doublethink in action. So much so, that it is more than fair to call the Democratic Party the Doublethink Party.

This is most evident when it comes to immigration. On the one hand, leftist (i.e., mainstream) Democrats lament that Central American countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are so wretched, poor, violent, and oppressive that it is our moral duty to admit any migrant from those countries (and others equally benighted). Indeed, during last night’s Democratic candidate debate, Kamala Harris gave an impassioned plea, saying that conditions in these countries were so brutally awful that it was perfectly understandable that a mother would subject her child to a high probability of rape, and a non-trivial probability probability of death, by paying a human trafficker (a “coyote”) to get her to the United States.

Boy, those countries must be real shitholes if it is worthwhile to pay such a price to escape them, right?

But you know, metaphysically, that the same people will call you a racist, or worse, if you make the simple declaration: “those countries are shitholes.” You know that, because that’s exactly what happened when Trump referred to immigration from “shithole countries.”

That’s 99.9 percent pure doublethink.

Another immigration-related example. No doubt you’ve heard the shrieking over the terrible conditions in which asylum seekers, children in particular, are held. Sleeping on the floor. No toothbrushes.

But the same people–yeah, I’m looking at you, oh bucktoothed bug-eyed one–fought tooth and nail against a bill funding the detention centers, and said it was totally righteous for employees of a company contracted to supply beds for the centers to walk out in protest.

Again, doublethink in its almost purest form.

Doublethink is so pervasive on the immigration issue that it is beyond certain that the Democratic Party position on the issue, and the position of every Democratic Party presidential candidate, is open borders. If a country’s corruption, violence, poverty, and oppressiveness imposes a moral duty on the US to allow anyone from those countries to claim asylum in the US, since every country south of the Rio Grande is corrupt, violent, poor, and oppressive, per the Democrat’s logic everyone from those countries has a right to enter the US. Indeed, immigrants from African and Middle Eastern nations (again uniformly corrupt, violent, poor, and oppressive) have been transiting to the US via Mexico. Meaning that they have a right to come here too.

And of course, even if the US adopted that policy, the “logic” in the Democrat’s position would be that’s not enough: we should actually provide the means for them to come here. If you doubt that, note that every Democratic presidential candidate supports free medical care for immigrants.

I am of a mixed mind on this. On the one hand, the position seems so stark raving insane that it will be political suicide for the Democrats to run on it. On the other hand, if they win . . . . Meaning that although encouraging this insanity has a positive expected value, the downside risk is severe. Especially as immigration is only one issue on which the Democratic Party is now starkers.

Although I’ve focused on immigration doublethink, this Orwellian mindset is not limited to that issue. Not at all!

One more example–I could spend all day and many days to follow adding other ones. Donald Trump is routinely lambasted for his unilateralism. But when he says things like the US should not be unilaterally responsible for securing oil flows out of the Persian/Arab Gulf, the lamabasters freak out on him for turning his back on American policy that dates back to the halcyon days of the Carter administration. I guess the “logic” is that the United States is obligated to provide security services that everyone (including rivals like China) free rides on, and is also obligated to be nice to the free riders and say only nice things about them.

One closing thought. I’ve used the word “logic” several times (in scare quotes!), but this is one way in which Orwell’s definition of Doublethink doesn’t do justice to its modern practitioners. Recall that Orwell said that doublethink “use[s] logic against logic.” But postmodernists and deconstructivists and leftists generally strenuously oppose privileging logic. To them, logic is an instrument of oppression, a weapon of the white patriarchy wielded against women, LGTBQ, “people of color,” and most of all, the intersectional (i.e., those who can check more than one of the above boxes). Orwell anticipated that logic would be twisted. He did not anticipate what has actually transpired: logic has been denied.

The objective is the same, however. Orwell portrayed Doublethink as an instrument of power and control. Since logic is a constraint on the will to power, it must be destroyed. Nothing good can come of that: indeed, many evils will follow in its train.

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  1. On the subject of doublethink:

    1) Do you think it’s true that Vlad has ordered Trump to let the S-400 deal with Turkey go ahead without repercussions? Surely seems like Erdogan is not thinking twice about it.

    2) France, Germany, and the UK have set up some sort of a “vehicle” with the purpose of financing Iranian terrorism. No surprises about France and Germany, but how has the UK doublethought its way into this?

    Comment by Ivan — June 29, 2019 @ 12:16 pm

  2. The lines are so drawn when it comes to the immigration argument that other arguments cannot even be brought to the fore. For example, we know that a major way for nations to grow in prosperity is by increasing the rate of population growth in a sustainable manner. As most Western nations face a decline in fertility rates (due to various cultural phenomena) the shortfall can be compensated by immigration. A compromise could be worked out that would fall somewhere in between the imposition of controls at the border and the acceptance of the fact that we need more cheap labor to fuel our economy. Increasing our population size is also one way to counter an emerging China.

    Neither side wants to entertain the argument along these lines, because the idea is not to find a solution, but to win (or retain) political control.

    As to the Persian Gulf issue, I do agree with Trump in that there’s no reason we should be the ones saddled with securing the Straights. My guess is that the unspoken argument, held at the Pentagon and the State Department, is do we really want to see China building a fleet to be based in the Gulf? Do we really want to yield the field to them, seeing them perhaps encouraged to impose their versions of maritime law, there and elsewhere, in the future?

    My own feeling is that China should be welcomed to do so (and let’s break out the popcorn). But it would entail a whole new world view at Foggy Bottom.

    Comment by I.M. Pembroke — June 29, 2019 @ 11:20 pm

  3. Commenter I.M. Pembroke writes: “we know that a major way for nations to grow in prosperity is by increasing the rate of population growth”.

    Now I can understand that a larger population increases prosperity (beyond what technological advances alone would provide): this by further economies of scale. However, I don’t see why the gradient of population must be continuously increasing with time for there to be such improving prosperity. That would, IMHO, soon go against I.M. Pembroke’s “in a sustainable manner”. This (in ongoing circumstances of low fertility in first-world nations) by excessive immigration leading to loss of cultural cohesion – and that quite soon (if not at first) leading to reduced economic prospects.

    The cultural understandings that support and go beyond the economic aspects include such things as law and order, stable political discourse through real democracy, suppression of corruption, understanding of the contribution of non-governmental institutions.

    Incomers need to assimilate these things and the existing population needs to assist them at least somewhat (and not be overwhelmed by too fast increase in numbers). In addition, the existing population needs to take on board previously absent favourable aspects of immigrant culture – again without being overwhelmed or making mistakes by too much rush.

    Furthermore, first-world benefit is not the only aspect. The economies and cultures of the (population) donor nations are at least somewhat weakened by their brain drain (and likely capital drain too) – and this must not be run too hot.

    If these things were simple and unaffected by rate of change, we would be able to advantage the rest of the world by directly and quickly plonking first-world culture and its clear associated benefits straight into every country in the rest of the world. However, we know that approach does not work – and the reasons are ones of too rapid an attempt at cultural assimilation. Please note that it works both ways round.

    Best regards

    Comment by Nigel Sedgwick — June 30, 2019 @ 5:22 am

  4. I am still of two minds on trumps policy of threatening tariffs on people unless they cut their tariffs. A sensible goal, but a risk of ending up in a worse state if the process fails. Some tricky balancing to figure out.

    However, the EU is imposing an economic blockade of switzerland (their financial system will be deemed of lesser quality than the european bourses* and EU citizens near-banned from trading there) until they sign a treaty of “dynamic-balancing” – i.e. as EU law changes the swiss are forced to follow (it does not cut both ways). This is using tariffs to gain political control of huge swathes of non-trade law in a target country. The swiss have stayed independent for many centuries. Will their citizens be finally be stripped of their democratic voice without a shot being fired?

    To the (UK, possibly other) press, the US bullies countries, and the EU is a force for good.

    * anyone familiar with the outright fraud that happens in Germany will find this particularly ironic

    Comment by isp001 — June 30, 2019 @ 6:26 am

  5. Nigel Sedgwick’s points are sound, but I think they apply more to Europe’s problems with illegal immigration, and less those of the US. Europe’s volk welfare states will always have difficulty in assimilating outsiders, but in the US what defines an American is simply adherence to the US Constitution (wonderful thing, that). Assimilation is quicker, because the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution engender a cacophony that entices loud participation, and as soon as outsiders participate, they are being molded to think like Americans.

    The only problem posed are the Muslims who continue to adhere to Sharia Law. These are, by definition, traitors to the Constitution, and should be excluded from citizenship. So the argument for walls and robust prerequisites for admittance will remain.

    Draining the brains and creative energies of shithole countries is a problem for said countries to solve, by themselves. They could be offered help in terms of favorable, bilateral trade agreements, one that would encourage investment and outsourcing of services (especially in tourist resorts). Costa Rica comes to mind, as it prospers with one (Costa Ricans are remarkably absent from the migrant caravans). Alas, the shithole countries of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, run by socialists/fascists, will never reach out for the gilded olive branch that is free trade.

    Comment by I.M. Pembroke — June 30, 2019 @ 9:14 am

  6. If these citizens of Central America and Mexico are citizens in waiting of the US,why not annex all those countries?Thats the logic of the Democrat position.

    Comment by sabena — June 30, 2019 @ 5:16 pm

  7. At the risk of alienating a large swath of non-biologically knowledgeable mainstream America, comment 5, para 2 touches on only one problem of Islamic cultural immigration. The far worse problem of homozygosity factors increasing as a result of inbreeding by familial muslims has been largely overlooked, and I think actively suppressed in media due to the sensitive nature of the argument. However, there is absolutely NO question of homozygosity in major muslim nations, and it is having a devastating long term effect(and has for centuries) which we will inherit, because we are not sufficiently ‘enlightened’ in the US to bring it up. Almost everyone knows about the inbreeding of western European royalty and the reinforcement of hemophilia, but there are far worse negative traits, many associated with lowered IQ, and a host of heart, and malformations of the face and lip(cleft palate) in the shithole muslim nations where inbreeding is prevalent.

    We don’t talk about it, because to do so invites threats and accusations of cultural insensitivity, or ‘racism’. Fortunately, I don’t care if someone calls me a racist when I point out that the large scale cultural effects of muslim inbreeding have led to almost zero technical, scientific, mathematic, or philosophical advancement from a previous culture which gave us (in part) Algebra, and astronomy.

    At this point, as it relates to US immigration, we made our mistake back in the 60s when standards for immigrants were abolished as being ‘insensitive’. The deciding factors for immigration changed from the good of the US to the good of the immigrant. Almost as if the US owes the rest of world a safe, prosperous, free location as a last resort. We took in millions of labor, and semi-skilled in the years that followed, and now the lack of standards has cost us standing on the world stage in terms of education, health, welfare, and general economic homogeneity. The media is correct in pointing out the class distinction of the US is getting greater all the time. Unfortunately, they won’t also point out it was the immigration of lower cultural class of immigrants that is to blame, not the rise of economic success at the other end of the skewed bell curve.

    Apparently, we can’t/won’t go back to some common sense standards in immigration. The SJW has won that battle. All we can do as individual contributors to society is see to it that we do not succumb to being bullied when pointing out what is obvious, and who is to blame for the mistakes.

    Comment by doc — July 2, 2019 @ 6:29 am

  8. Doc’s comment led me to do some literature searching on consanguinity and Islam.

    This paper includes a map of the world where consanguineous marriages are common:

    It is most prevalent in Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia averages about 50% consanguineous marriages (2nd cousin or closer). Apart from increasing prevalence of recessive genetic disorders, published literature says that consanguinity leads to offspring with more psychoses and lower intelligence.

    I’d already looked up global IQ averaged per country. Arab and Muslim countries typically average 85 IQ. The UK averages IQ 100 and the US 98. Here’s a global map color-coded for IQ:

    Vietnam makes an interesting parallel. It is poor with 64% rural population and ranks low in consanguineous marriages. It averages 94 in IQ. Compare that to Pakistan, which is 60% rural, highly consanguineous and averages 84 IQ.

    According to the literature, the IQ number for China reflects a small sample so that average is probably subject to serious change.

    Comment by Pedric — July 2, 2019 @ 4:34 pm

  9. I would say the detention centres one was more like cynical opportunism rather than pure Doublethink – make the conditions as bad as possible, then exploit that for political gain. The first example is a good one though.

    Another one I often see with the Left in the UK:

    “We need mass immigration to do the jobs the locals won’t do”.
    “We have mass involuntary unemployment caused by the Tory government”.

    Only one of these statements can be true, but they believe both.

    Comment by Rob — July 3, 2019 @ 2:03 am

  10. “we know that a major way for nations to grow in prosperity is by increasing the rate of population growth”

    There are lots and lots of countries in the world where that is not the case. Prosperous countries need enough growth to prevent depopulation and unbalanced demographics, but a big spike in population isn’t necessarily a good idea. They need food, housing, jobs, which have to come from somewhere. Many countries have a surplus of young, angry underemployed males (pick just about any country in the Arab world), not a great formula for stability and growth.

    Comment by Rob — July 3, 2019 @ 2:08 am

  11. @Ivan:
    I would hazard the following guesses:
    1. Erdogan has lost the plot and genuinely believes that his country can act against the security interests of one of the USA’s flagship defence programs (whereas I would say that NO country could ever do so without suffering considerably). I dare say Russia is encouraging him along, but I don’t think they need any influence with Trump in order to get Erdogan keep on his current path…
    2. I think it’s unfair to accuse Europe of doublethink on this specific point: Iranian terrorism is generally confined to the middle east, whereas a rogue nuclear weapon is a threat to Europe. I’m not saying it’s morally right, but their primary interests are very clear and they appear to be acting accordingly. Plus, there’s a bit of cash to be made for some well-connected European businesses. Can’t forget that…

    You’ve been listening to too many Brexiteers. For a start, Switzerland isn’t being threatened with a blockade, merely the re-application of normal international rules. Nobody is forcing them to accept EU laws: They CHOSE to do so by accepting membership of the EU single market. They could have had a free trade agreement and more autonomy, but they chose not. The common market only works with common rules, so it is normal that after nearly 5 years of refusing to apply common rules that the EU is telling the Swiss that nobody can have their cake and eat it, because if that is allowed for the UK, then for the Swiss then for the next country and the next, pretty soon the common market would be completely fragmented.

    Comment by HibernoFrog — July 3, 2019 @ 7:25 am

  12. A blockade is an act of war, isn’t? Bit strong. Hope the EU have their army; the Swiss have a pretty effective one, for their size.

    Comment by Rob — July 4, 2019 @ 1:48 am

  13. @sabena–Ironically, the most ardent advocates of slavery wanted to extend the US to include Cuba, and large parts of Central America. The “Filibusterers” (notably William Walker) actually attempted to invade Cuba and Nicaragua to achieve this end. Isn’t it interesting that the logical implication of current Democratic Party politics dovetails with the policies of Southern Democrats from the slavery era?

    Personally, I don’t want to incorporate these people, whether it is by moving them across the border, or moving the border across them.

    Comment by cpirrong — July 7, 2019 @ 5:08 pm

  14. @Pedric–I was broadly familiar with those stats. It’s a nightmare. But we’re not supposed to discuss such inconvenient facts.

    Comment by cpirrong — July 7, 2019 @ 5:13 pm

  15. @Ivan–I’m truly confused about what is going on re Turkey/S-400s. I have no idea what’s going on. Yes, Erdo seems to be in full-steam-ahead mode. Why? Dunno. Signals from Trump? Delusions? Delusional interpretations of signals from Trump?

    The “vehicle” cracks me up. No company in its right mind will use it (at least no major company) because of something the US has implemented in recent years: secondary sanctions. You want to trade via the vehicle, company X? Go ahead–then we will sanction your ass in a heartbeat.

    Secondary sanctions have essentially extended US power to any entity that needs to access dollars, not just transactions that specifically use dollars. The European vehicle only addresses the latter issue. Any major company is vulnerable to secondary sanctions, and will not deal with Iran either via cutouts or directly even if said deals can be structured to avoid dollars/the US banking system.

    Comment by cpirrong — July 7, 2019 @ 5:19 pm

  16. @Hiberno Frog. I am increasingly leaning towards “lost the plot.” Not just on this thing. But on everything. He just fired the head of the Turkish Central Bank for refusing to cut interest rates. This just confirms international fears that he will engage in reckless economic policies, with grave implications for the TRY. The election result in Istanbul should have shown him that cratering the currency is political poison. But he did it anyways.

    Comment by cpirrong — July 7, 2019 @ 5:22 pm

  17. @Pedric–I have a Turkish friend of a militantly Kemalist persuasion who always refers to “Anatolian country people” as “low IQ idiots.” The link you provide shows that Turkey’s consanguinity rate is lower than in Gulf Arab countries, but (a) it is still appreciable, and (b) I would surmise that if you focus on rural Anatolia, and exclude Rumelian Turkey (e.g., Istanbul, Izmir, Edirne) my friend’s characterization may strike pretty close to the truth.

    Comment by cpirrong — July 7, 2019 @ 5:42 pm

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