Empty Days

Saturday, March 20, 2004



Who is PolCor? ::

I once made friends with a German-Turkish girl who came to study in NYC. She was very eager to integrate the local academia milieu and, despite early difficulties, succeeded marvelously by marrying a Jewish-American guy who is now having a splendid career and keeping her on the academic track too.

She is a good, kindly, passionate person - but she's also a tremendous ideologue of PolCor. She says this is the consequence of her bad experiences with German racism against Turks. I am rather inclined to believe that this is the consequence of her need for acceptance (academia and its ideas) and a fragile depressive constitution (seeing herself as a perpetual victim - of sexism, racism, her parents, and I don't know who else).

I can't and don't blame her. And maybe I am mistaken in my understanding of her reasons. The fact remains however that every time we got together (which was rare) we found ourselves in dire disagreement on about everything. This usually took the following form: I would talk my mind about something and she would wince and tell me I am hurting her universalist feelings and have no right to do so - and since my opinions might be hurting somebody's feelings I gotta be wrong through and through.

In a nutshell, that's the logic of PolCor - an ideology built around the mind-boggling principle of never walking of somebody's toes - the very apotheosis of moralism. To me this looks very much like a politicized reincarnation of the well-known christian (or call it "victorian") bigotry massively derided, exposed, and castigated by pretty much every XIXc social novelist. In its political form it touches dangerously on the worst kind of mind-control. And in case you think yourself so smart, you'd better remember that mind-control is exercised through auto-censure rather than some easy-to-spot directives from higher instances. It is also exerted through your very human need to find belonging with some social milieu - and if this happens to be academia you are about as good as doomed, because there intellectual freedom usually equates saying what everybody else says - otherwise you lose your status as an intellectual. Neat, hein?

The main thing to remember is that PolCor is an extreme form of moralism - it requires you to question yourself endlessly in search of some minute transgressions against some "higher ideals". In this sense it is also an extreme form of idealism - which requires you to believe in things that are impossible and demand of people that they behave in an impossibly correct manner. All in all, PolCor is virulently intolerant of human imperfection - in its political aspect it is openly intolerant of diverging ideas.

If you are getting the impression that PolCor might be bordering dangerously on fascism or other types of extremism (communist, islamic, christian, feminist) don't be shocked - that's what it is. Most leftists today are actually imbued with this sort of thinking. As a result we are once again witnessing the not-so-unknown phenomenon of a liberal moonlighting as a fascist :)

The only response to ideological extremism is common sense. That's the one thing that can get you out of the web-of-ideas that bound and stall your every thought - from inside. Remember, nobody is forcing you, you are a willing slave - nothing is more seductive and persuasive than bigotry-in-the-service-of-higher-good. That's a very old truth - no one is immune.

The root of all this "good-as-evil" thing is the idea of a perfect society. A perfect society is so perfect that it must be imposed by force - since, by definition, there can exist no viable arguments against its perfection.

The idea of a perfect society invariably leads to stupidity. Example of a useless slogan: "let's eradicate poverty". This is stupid because it's extreme - it cannot be done. People can be helped out of poverty, but not all people all the time. The other side of this mode of thinking is another famously dire slogan: "let's eradicate wealth".

That's how PolCor thinks. It thinks in inhuman terms and it leads to an overbearing inhumanity. The problem with this is that PolCor is only a new name for a very old paradigm in western thinking - it is our blessed christian humanism taken to an inhuman, bigoted extreme.

Where is the devil, and who is our god. We wanted good and we did evil. Oy-vey.

* PolCor, so named after Pol-Pot.

[ there is quite a bit more to say on our fucked-up concept of democracy & liberty - but I'd rather leave it for some other time; in any case my paltry squeaks are meant for myself mostly - as I am also full of all the shit described above and have not the guts and/or the brains to purge my system properly ]





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