The other day I had what seems like a fairly obvious idea in hindsight: an inversion of the famous Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. A quick internet search reveals that this idea has occurred to others although I didn’t find a version that fits the way I was thinking about it.
My idea was that the Maslow hierarchy needed a Jungian shadow or inverted segment. I was pondering this in relation to Kierkegaard’s idea that “the door to happiness opens outward”. That is, you cannot “push” your way to happiness. You cannot read Maslow’s hierarchy and try to follow the steps. (Disclaimer: I haven’t actually read Maslow, so I may be doing his ideas an injustice here).
Anyway, here is my version of the Maslow hierarchy with a Jungian shadow below mirroring the pyramid that everybody will be familiar with. It seemed fitting to draw it in doomy grey.
The idea is that the inverted segments below the mid-line are the “shadow” side of the positive segments that we all know. Thus, the shadow of Physiological Needs is Addiction. The shadow of Safety Needs is Fear. The shadow of the need for Belonging and Love is Clinginess and the projection of your own insecurities onto the other person. The shadow form of Esteem is Egotism and Narcissism. Finally, the shadow form of Self-actualisation is the denial of Self. Ultimately, all the shadow forms are an attachment to the ego which prevents the transcendence to the Jungian Self.
I also mapped Jung’s anima/animus progression on the left as this matches to Maslow’s concept in the sense that Jung believed one progresses through the different levels. The basic physiological needs Jung considered to be the base level anima/animus as represented archetypally by Adam and Eve. Belongingness, love and esteem maps to the second tier anima/animus as the man of action or accomplished woman. This is the person who has found a place in society where they feel they belong.
Jung had two extra tiers of anima/animus that map to the Self-Actualisation phase of Maslow and this is where things get interesting because Jung’s individuation concept seems to imply that you have to first manifest the shadow forms in order to get to individuation. In other words, Maslow was missing half the story because he implies that you can “ascend” the hierarchy in a purely “positive” fashion whereas Jung believed you have to first descend down to “hell”. You have to manifest the shadow before you can integrate it.
Kierkegaard had a similar idea. He would have called the “self negation” tab at the bottom of the hierarchy “despair” and he implied that one could not self-actualise without first going through despair. This fits with Jung’s concept of enantiodromia. There is a sudden reversal from despair to self-actualisation/individuation but it is not something you can plan for. The door to self-actualisation/individuation must open for you, you cannot push it open.
Just as despair has many forms, so too does the positive side of the equation and thus the last two anima/animus steps to go from Maslow’s esteem needs to self-actualisation. Thus, in relation to the anima, Mary is the 3rd tier and Sophia the top. Both of these would be sub-levels within Maslow’s self-actualisation phase. The poet, Robert Graves, had a similar idea although he a triad of anima figures with Mary, the White Goddess and the Black Goddess as Sophia. This is probably where the correspondence with Maslow breaks down since it doesn’t feel right to call these “potential”.
That’s why so many famous religious figures were actually successful people in earlier life but renounced their success to pursue something higher. It may very well be that you need to renounce all the other needs in order to pursue Self-Actualisation at all; hence poverty, celibacy and living away from society. Whether that renunciation is the equivalent of manifesting the shadow forms in a Jungian sense is an interesting question. I think Kierkegaard would have said one needs to be a sinner first. Avoiding sin altogether is also avoiding despair.
Both Jung and Kierkegaard believed that most people will avoid despair. Within this model, that would prevent them from attaining self-actualisation. Because we live in a time where physiological needs are taken care of, this would mean that we would expect most people to get stuck at egotism and narcissism, unwilling (or perhaps uninvited is a better word) to take the final leap into despair necessary to transcend the ego and integrate the Self. Sounds like a pretty good description of modern society to me.
The reference to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in last week’s post reminded me of a hypothesis that occurred to me some time ago as a way to explain part of the current state of public debate in western countries. Dr King saw the civil rights movement as having two stages for success. The first was equality before the law and King was quite clear of the limitations that the legal approach entailed. You cannot legislate for everybody to love each other, he said, but you can legislate so that people do not hurt each other.
The second part of the civil rights movement included reference to the spiritual teaching that could at least strive to have everybody love each other. But it also aimed to address historic economic inequality through training, education and employment opportunities. Dr King called this economic justice. The idea was that poverty, ignorance, social isolation and economic deprivation would all be fixed by creating employment for all.
To this day, we think of these two approaches as intrinsically related. There are still attempts to address various inequalities through legislation and other attempts to address it through what we might give the generic title of social programs. However, these two approaches are qualitatively vastly different.
Legislation presents us with a crystal clear outcome. You either have the right to vote or you don’t. There is either a law for equal pay for equal work or there is not. Because the outcome is binary, when the outcome is achieved you can throw a big party and celebrate because you and everybody else know that you succeeded in your mission.
Viewed this way, the main legislative goals of the civil rights and feminist movements had been achieved by the late 60s or early 70s at the latest in most western nations. That led into the second stage of the program; namely, programs to address poverty, ignorance, social isolation and economic deprivation.
There’s a lot that can be said about all that but I want to focus on a single point which is that the second stage of the program involves a shift from legislation to systems. We can use a computer programming analogy to elucidate this.
Legislation is the equivalent of computer code. You either have code or you do not. But the fact that you have it does not mean that the code will run. For that to happen you need a system. This includes a computer, the computer’s operating system, the runtime environment including all the other programs that the program you wrote relies on and whatever peripheral objects interact with the computer such as mouse and keyboards.
If the program interfaces with the internet, the system now includes all the things that make the internet work. Then we have all the people involved including those who will use the program for its intended purposes (the users), the government agencies who manage the regulatory environment that the program operates in, the malicious users who want to subvert the system for their own ends etc etc. All these make up the system within which the code runs.
The same is true with legislation. Governments might pass laws but those laws are only put into action through the bureaucracy including the courts, lawyers, judges, police, administrators and all the people who implement the law. Thus, even though you have the legal right for something, that right only matters if the system decides to uphold it. Over the last three years, all kinds of legal rights were thrown out the window because the system decided it was going to ignore them. Arnold Schwarzenegger summed it up best by going on television and saying in his inimitable vocal style “screw your rights”.
Legislation requires a system to enforce it just like a computer program requires a system to run it. However, the passing of legislation is a simple fact with no ambiguity. But the goal of fixing poverty, ignorance, isolation and economic deprivation is far less clear because these are not the laws that generate the system but measurements of the system. Poverty is the outcome of a system. In order to talk about it, we must first agree on its meaning and the reality is that there are no objective meanings for concepts like poverty, ignorance and inequality.
Let’s take two pertinent examples from recent history. Assuming the existence of a disease-causing virus, what number of cases and what Case Fatality Rate (CFR) are required before we declare a “pandemic”? There is no objective answer to this question. Some people will say 0.1% CFR. Some will say 1%. Some might say 5%. Some might say that a single fatality is unacceptable and the whole world must be shut down until such time as scientists figure out how to prevent anybody from dying.
The same goes for vaccines. There was a time when a handful of deaths from a new vaccine would stop the rollout. Now we declare a vaccine safe and effective and give it official approval with orders of magnitude more fatalities and side effects. One of the reasons this can happen is because there is no objective measurement. Some people will say that no fatalities and side effects is the definition of safe and effective. Others will accept different numbers of fatalities and side effects.
Thus, even when we attempt to define specific measurements to nail down the definition of seemingly simple concepts such as “poverty”, “inequality” or “pandemic”, we have the inherent problem of subjectivity to deal with. That’s the problem with trying to measure systems. But that’s just the beginning of the fun.
All measurements have an error rate. The great German mathematician and astronomer, Carl Friedrich Gauss, is credited as being one of the first to realise that astronomical measurements were never exactly the same but had to be averaged out as a kind of best guess. If that’s true of a relatively simple measurement like the position of a star in the sky, how much more true is it of biological or sociological measurements involving hugely complex and constantly adapting systems?
How accurate is the Case Fatality Rate, for example? Well, first we have to understand that this statistic combines two separate measurements: the case measurement and the fatality measurement. So, we need to know the error rate from the PCR test which defines a case and the error rate of cause of death analysis. In relation to the latter, blind autopsy tests have shown that the cause of death written on a death certificate is wrong about 1/3 of the time. Assuming a 10% error rate in the PCR test, you’ve got 10% error multiplied by a 33% error and that’s before you get into errors caused by other parts of the system such as when hospitals are incentivised to find “cases” and causes of death because they get extra money for doing so.
So, we have a problem of defining which measurements to use, what those measurements mean, and what is the error rate of those measurements. But even if we agree on a relatively well-defined measurement and we are pretty sure of its accuracy, focusing on just that measurement to the exclusion of all other measurements can lead to pernicious outcomes. The more complex the system, the more of a problem it is to focus on just one measurement. Let’s elucidate this idea by modifying an example pointed out by Frederic Bastiat about a hundred and fifty years ago.
Your nation’s economy is not growing according to the latest GDP statistics. How are you going to kickstart it into action? One way is to break windows. Pay a mob $50 each to go around throwing bricks through plane glass. Not only will the mob’s income go up, but window repairers in the nation will see a boom in business. Voila! You have now increased GDP. But only a fool would believe that the economy got better. That is the problem with relying on only a single metric. Metrics can be useful but you have to know what your metric does and does not measure.
Taking the last two points we can formulate an iron-rule of politics: the measurement of systems can and will be gamed if the incentives are in place to do so. And the gaming will include the choice of measurements, the definition of them and the way in which they are gathered. Let’s take another example from economics to explore just the first concept in the list.
John Maynard Keynes pointed out three quarters of a century ago that persistent trade deficits (or surpluses) will eventually ruin a country. So, you’d think that the trade deficit figures would be an important metric in the public debate, right? Perhaps it was once upon a time, but not anymore. Why?
As the graph on the right shows, the US has been running trade deficits for about five decades. No coincidence that those deficits began around exactly the time that the gold window was closed in 1971. Trade deficits are the price you pay for having the global reserve currency. But there are winners and losers from that system.
The losers are the companies in your country that manufacture things. They’ll get screwed. On the upside, you’ll get cheap imports from other nations who are running a trade surplus. The banks and financiers will win because your nation has the reserve currency and somebody has to facilitate all the trading of financial tokens. Thus, banking and other “service” jobs will rise at the expense of working class jobs. There are a number of other side effects, but these are the main ones and we can clearly see that this is exactly what has happened in the US since the early 70s.
(As a side note, when Trump said he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, that could happen but it would reduce the trade deficit and would almost certainly require the US to give up its reserve currency status. Whether Trump knew that is anybody’s guess but it certainly explains the utter terror he struck into the hearts of all the people who benefit from the status quo).
Keynes noted that persistent trade deficits will lead to internal political strife and eventually crash the economy if allowed to go on. He wasn’t just basing this on theory but on real world evidence from prior to WW2. If he was right, then a persistent trade deficit is a grave danger to a nation. We don’t hear about any of this, of course, because the people who benefit from the system use some of their profits to ensure the trade deficit metric and associated consequences never makes the news. That’s one way to game the system with metrics.
This leads to a final point. It’s tempting to say that those people are corrupt and are using the system for their own gain at the expense of others. But for really complex systems, few people are willing and able to see beyond their perspective. (In more philosophical/theological language, we might say that only God can see all perspectives).
We can put the same idea into more neutral language and say that everybody has a different perspective on the system. This relates back to the earlier point about there being no objective measurements of systems, only subjective ones.
In relation to corona, for example, it was clear to me from the earliest statistics that the virus wasn’t a risk for myself. But, if I was thirty years older, overweight and had diabetes, then the story would have been very different. That alternative me would have been looking at the same set of measurements, the same system, but would have drawn very different conclusions.
Same with the trade deficit measurement. If you’re a manufacturing business or somebody trained to work in a manufacturing business, the trade deficit figure is a disaster. If you’re a banker or a consumer, it’s good news since it means lots of profit for the former and cheap consumer items for the latter. Same system, different perspectives.
Now, we might argue that it is the job of government to weigh up all these different perspectives and do what is right for the country but even here there is a problem because who gets to decide what is right when there are multiple incompatible viewpoints?
Let’s take the trade deficit issue. Although history shows that persistent trade deficits inevitably lead to bad outcomes, this is not a logical necessity. If one country wants to run a persistent trade deficit and other countries are happy to run a corresponding persistent trade surplus, they may do so indefinitely. What inevitably upsets the apple cart is politics and so governments are always tempted to simply suppress the perspectives that go against current policy. In fact, that’s what always happens and what always has happened.
Putting all this together we can see that dealing with systems is far more complex and challenging than dealing with legislation. Wherever there is complexity and ambiguity, there are people with questionable motives who are willing to use it to their advantage. But even people with good intentions suffer from the fact that complexity usually means that the relation between cause and effect is not clear. There is an inevitable temptation for those who make their living from the system to tell little white lies which over time become bigger and bigger lies.
This brief survey gives us an insight into why the second half of the civil rights and feminist programs have gotten stuck in the mud. What was implied by those programs was perhaps something that has never been achieved before. For most of history, humans have developed systems in a receptive fashion. We found ourselves in an environment and we found a way to make the most of it. Through trial-and-error, we developed what we call culture, which is a set of adaptations to an environment.
To try and create or change a system in an active fashion is incredibly difficult. Every new business venture is an attempt to create a new system and we know that very few business ventures survive for any significant period of time. What is true of business ventures is just as true of government programs but the latter is part of the system of politics and therefore subject to the rule cited above that all measurements will be gamed if there is incentive to do so.
Quantum physics found that you cannot remove the observer from the measurement. If that’s true in physics, its ten times more true in the far more subjective world of politics. Systems are complicated enough by themselves. Once you add humans emotions and politics into the mix, they become exponentially harder and when you scale the system up to the size of a modern society, well, you find yourself in a hall of mirrors. Which is pretty much where we are right now.
The world sure is a strange place these days. Gaslighting is the order of the day and the perennial question is “are they doing it on purpose?” I made the mistake recently of taking something on face value, a big no-no, and ended up going down an interesting rabbit hole.
This particular rabbit hole involves a referendum to be held in Australia later this year that purports to enshrine a “Voice” for aboriginal Australians in the constitution of the country (it will actually be called The Voice). What exactly will be the nature of this Voice is unclear. The politicians tell us they will sort out the details later, which doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence. It’s kinda like buying a car from a used car salesman sight unseen.
I admit, I haven’t been following the debate around the issue very closely and so I decided recently to go and read the document called the Uluru Statement from the Heart which was written by delegates to the same convention which proposed The Voice. The interested reader can view it here.
Naively, I expected a statement from the heart to contain, well, a statement from the heart. Now, I’ve never read a statement from the heart before, so I had no point of reference. But I anticipated some kind of poetic language or, at the very least, the everyday language of real people. Given the subject matter of the issue, perhaps it would even be written in indigenous languages with an English translation.
What I found instead was a document written in mild legalese. It actually contains the words thereto, therefrom and thither. I suspect 99.99% of Australians of any background have never used thither in their life. If they know the word at all, it would only be from their high school readings of Shakespeare. How did such arcane language make it into an indigenous “statement from the heart”? What is really going on here?
It’s probably my background in linguistics, but I did recognise the style of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It belongs to a genre that has a tradition going back centuries. And here is where we go down the rabbit hole because the genre in question is declarations of independence.
Declarations of Independence
The most famous declaration of independence is, of course, the American one written in 1776. But Thomas Jefferson almost certainly took inspiration from the Act of Abjuration which was written in 1581. That document signalled the intention of the provinces of the Netherlands to no longer be under the rule of Philip II of Spain. As with almost all declarations of independence, it was written at the end of a long war.
What marked the Act of Abjuration as unusual, and made it arguably the first exemplar of modern declarations of independence, was that it featured a long preamble outlining the ideological commitments of the newly independent nation. That ideology was inspired by various anti-monarchical ideas that had roots in Calvinism. In the same way, the US Declaration of Independence would later be strongly influenced by the political theory of John Locke. Both documents can only be understood in light of the breakdown of the divine right of kings ushered in by the Reformation. I talked about this issue in detail in a recent post.
The purpose of the preamble was, therefore, to provide an ideological basis for sovereignty that replaced the old divine right of kings. On this basis, a new political structure would be formed. We might call declarations of independence propaganda tools in the old-fashioned, non-pejorative sense of the word since they were designed to unify a group of people behind an idea. Written propaganda was especially suited to protestant nations since literacy rates were high due to the desire to be able to read the bible for oneself. All of this cultural context is necessary to understand why declarations of independence came into being.
The formation of the United States provides a useful case study here because it’s not well remembered that war was not originally waged for independence. In fact, when war broke out in 1775, most colonists were not thinking of independence. Thomas Paine published Common Sense in early 1776 and his book became the lightning rod which sparked the idea of independence. When the Declaration of Independence was written later that year, its purpose was to give coherence to the ideology of the new movement and, just like the Dutch had done earlier, to point out how the monarch they were declaring independence from had failed to fulfil his obligations to the people.
Thus, modern declarations of independence contain three core elements: 1) the ideological basis of the claim to sovereignty; 2) a list of grievances against the old ruler justifying his removal; 3) details of the new political entity which would replace the old.
It’s important to understand that all this is highly context-specific. There may have been declarations of independence in other cultures or throughout history, but the written form which would become the pattern for the modern world originated in post-Reformation Europe with the United States as the poster child for the idea.
Within the context of protestant culture, it can be said that declarations of independence come “from the heart” because of the special place of the bible as the foundational text of that culture. Paine’s Common Sense drew heavily on biblical references as did much of the political propaganda of the time. This mixing of religion and politics was very old. The Magna Carta, for example, was read out in churches across England back in the day. Europeans were used to the idea that written texts could not just be heartfelt but the actual word of God. It was, in some sense, the word of God that the declarers of independence were claiming to have access to. Hence, “all men are endowed by their creator”.
In the aftermath of the war of independence, numerous other declarations of independence were written as various nations were inspired by the US example to throw off the yoke of “tyranny”. Almost all of the South American nations made declarations of independence during the revolutionary period of the early 19th century as they broke free from Spanish and Portuguese rule. The Mexican declaration is of particular interest to the current Australian debate as it contains the concept of a “voice”:
The Mexican Nation, which for three hundred years had neither had its own will, nor free use of its voice, leaves today the oppression in which it has lived.
The document also contains obvious references to the US declaration of independence.
Restored then this part of the North to the exercise of all the rights given by the Author of Nature and recognized as unalienable and sacred by the civilized nations of the Earth, in liberty to constitute itself in the manner which best suits its happiness and through representatives who can manifest its will and plans,
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness granted by the “author of nature”. The other core concept used is that of will and here we see the influence of Enlightenment ideas which proclaimed that the will of the people was paramount and based in natural law which “tyrants” may not supercede.
It was Edmund Burke who saw the problem with all of this early on. In his analysis, even two countries as similar as England and France had divergent enough public institutions and cultural practices that for one country to copy the other as the French attempted to do in the French Revolution would not work.
The British model provided inspiration for the US model and it has worked out fine for both of those countries as well as for Australia, New Zealand and Canada which were culturally tied to Britain anyway. Did it work elsewhere? Arguably not. It was a disaster in France and a worse disaster in Germany later on.
Constitutions and declarations of independence are just the tip of the Burkean iceberg. They are predicated on a vast base of shared beliefs and cultural traditions that make the whole thing possible in the first place. In the absence of such a base, they become little more than cargo cults.
New Zealand as Case Study
And this bring us to an example close to home that can shed light on the current Australian debate.
Recall the three elements in a modern declaration of independence: 1) statement of sovereignty (based in ideology); 2) list of grievances against the incumbent; 3) declaration of the new political form which will replace the old.
Some Maori chiefs on the north island of New Zealand made a declaration of independence in 1835. The problem was that there was nobody to declare independence from since New Zealand was not unified as a country and the chiefs themselves were the leaders, at least of their own tribes. So what was really going on?
All 3 of the elements of a declaration of independence were formally present in the document. The chiefs began by claiming sovereignty. The basis of that sovereignty was “mana from the land”.
Step 2 is the list of grievances but the the Maori chiefs’ grievances were not against an incumbent but against their political rivals in the south who were invited to drop their “animosity” and join the northerners.
Then, in the final section which is supposed to outline the new form of government, we see a request to the King of England who is asked to “continue to be the parent of their infant State, and that he will become its Protector from all attempts upon its independence.” The chiefs did not desire independence but protection. So, what was the point in writing a declaration of independence?
The answer to that can be found in an occurrence that happened some years later; namely, the Treaty of Waitangi. International law requires that treaties can be made only by sovereign nations. But New Zealand had not been a unified country with a sovereign government in the form required to make a treaty with the British. Thus, the declaration of independence in this case was in fact used to assert the sovereignty of the Maori chiefs of the north island for the purposes of signing the treaty. That’s why the document makes an explicit request for recognition by the British crown.
Why did the Maori chiefs want to sign a treaty? Here we see some of the major differences which distinguished European contact with the Maori from European contact with indigenous Australians.
Both missionaries and traders had set up relations with the Maori well before both the declaration of independence and the subsequent Treaty of Waitangi. This had allowed cultural and economic exchange to take place resulting in the development of an understanding between the Maori and the pakeha. For example, the Maori had adopted a written script for their language, something they previously did not have. Certain Maori chiefs had even fought alongside the British in battle.
What happened in New Zealand was a more reciprocal arrangement based on trade and the Treaty of Waitangi was there to facilitate and enhance that state of affairs. We shouldn’t sugar coat it, of course. The British were experts at divide and conquer by this time and it seems certain that they were playing exactly that game in New Zealand.
And things didn’t go smoothly after the signing of the treaty. It turned out the Maori understanding of the word “sovereign” differed from the British. As is always the case, things that make sense in theory turn out rather different in practice. A treaty is one thing but the everyday business of government is another. The disagreements about political decision-making eventually ended in armed conflict.
Why none of that happened in Australia is one of those eternal debates for which there is no absolute answer. But we can see some of the reasons in the comparison with New Zealand. There is the obvious problem of size. Australia is geographically far larger than New Zealand. The Maori language was spoken in the whole of New Zealand while Australian aboriginals had about 300 distinct languages at the time of white settlement with many more distinct political groupings. Even if every aboriginal tribe had wanted a treaty with the British, negotiating one at the national level was as good as impossible on logistical, political and linguistic grounds. For that and many other reasons, no treaty was made.
And this brings us to the current issue at hand in Australia. What the New Zealand example showed was how formal declarations of independence can be, errr, adapted for other purposes. In that case it was a treaty which at least a segment of the Maori population was in favour of. Alongside the declaration of independence, the Maori also developed a flag and a form of government that could uphold the treaty obligations. We might summarise this formula thusly: declaration of independence + flag + form of government = treaty.
As I noted earlier, the Uluru Statement from the Heart is in the form of a declaration of independence. It meets the 3 critieria.
Firstly, there is a claim to sovereignty: “This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature…” [Note the similarity to the Maori “manna from the land”].
Secondly,there is a list of grievances: “Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet.”
The third element would be a declaration of the new political entity to come into being and that’s exactly what we see: “We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution…”.
Following the Maori example, we have a declaration of independence/sovereignty and a form of governance (The Voice). What we would then need is a flag and that would pave the way for a treaty. By coincidence, the Australian government purchased the aboriginal flag just a few years ago. Does that mean we can expect a treaty? The statement from the heart puts it this way:
“We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations…”
Surely this “agreement-making” is code for treaty.
If the point of all this is to sign a treaty, why not just say so. Why not call the Statement from the Heart a Declaration of Independence, The Voice a sovereign government and the Makarrata Commission a Treaty Commission?
There’s numerous reasons why this can’t happen but the most obvious is that it would be a direct challenge to the existing sovereignty of Australia. So, instead we get all the exact forms of a declaration of sovereignty but we change the names and pretend they are something else. It’s not hard to see why some people are convinced the whole thing is a trick.
Why the need for any of this and why the need for a big bang treaty at the national level at all since there are already numerous local treaties across Australia that have been negotiated with individual aboriginal nations?
Here we come to the final piece of the puzzle.
Equal but Different
In 2007, the UN General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). Curiously, only four nations voted No: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Then, almost simultaneously, those same countries changed their mind in 2009 and supported the declaration. Canada has subsequently passed a bill through their parliament in 2021 to adopt UNDRIP into Canadian law. It’s pretty clear that The Voice is the Australian version of the same idea.
Have any other nations adopted UNDRIP into law? The answer seems to be no. So why is it that this is an issue only in Anglo countries and why did those same countries seemingly change their position in unison after initial objections? Seems like a very big coincidence to me. Could it be that the Anglo model of governance which achieved hegemony in the post-war years is being targeted directly?
One of the things that model of governance achieved was equality before the law in the 1960s through the civil rights movement. The most famous exponent of that movement was Martin Luther King and the future he envisioned was one of integration of all races within the democratic system of government.
King’s belief was that you started with equality before the law and then you supplemented that with various social programs to address economic inequality since it was previous discrimination which had led to things like high crime rates. As King stated:
If there are lagging standards in the Negro community, and there certainly are, they lag because of segregation and discrimination. Criminal responses are environmental and not racial. Poverty, ignorance, social isolation, economic deprivation, breed crime whatever the racial group may be and it is a torturous logic to use the tragic results of segregation as an argument for the continuation of it.
If there is any country that should understand that message it should be Australia since the country was established as a penal colony for white European criminals. As my surname suggests, my ancestry is mostly Irish. The Irish were not criminals through choice or because of race. They were criminals because they had been ground under the wheels of British imperialism. Per Dr King, you need to solve the discrimination problem in order to solve the crime problem. That was the idea inherent in the civil rights movement. It could best be summed up by a word that King used a lot – integration.
If democratic integration and equality before the law were the guiding principles of the civil rights movement, what is the guiding principle behind UNDRIP? The second paragraph of UNDRIP states:
Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,
It goes on to say that indigenous people should be free to exercise their “right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests… which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources”.
The whole historical problem with nation states was that there was an underlying assumption that Edmund Burke was prescient enough to understand. That assumption was an indigenous populace with a relatively homogeneous shared interest, social structure, culture, spiritual tradition etc. As we saw earlier, the whole business around declarations of independence was the product of the shared heritage of Protestant Europe. It came out of a specific cultural milieu. When the same idea was transplanted into a different milieu, as in New Zealand, it caused problems due to cultural misunderstandings.
UNDRIP takes the starting assumption of the nation state and applies it to “indigenous people” who are also assumed to be perfectly homogenous in relation to shared interest, social structure etc. It then requires that such a people be free to pursue their shared interest within existing nation states. Viewed this way, UNDRIP aims to create nation states within nation states. We see this idea in the language of the Uluru Statement from the Heart:
They (indigenous children) will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
Again, isn’t “world” here just a euphemism for “nation”? The Voice will create two “worlds” within Australia: one for the indigenous and one for the rest of us. What this amounts to is the segregation and separation that Dr King railed against. He went so far as to say that “if democracy is to live, segregation must die”. And yet here we are about to reintroduce separation and, in fact, to put it in the constitution of the country.
Which us brings us back to the original question: are “they” doing it on purpose? Depends who you mean by “they”. There is the they which wants a national treaty in Australia and a they which even wants full sovereignty for aboriginal Australians. It has been suggested in the past, for example, to turn the Northern Territory into a separate sovereign nation just for aboriginals.
On the other hand, there are the unelected and unaccountable “experts” who writes things like UNDRIP and the bureaucrats in the Australian government who make their living managing the results. Then there are the politicians who love heroic gestures that will see their names etched in the history books. Finally, there are the smart political operatives who understand how power works and can see that the indigenous question is an easy way to keep the public divided.
Note that this constellation of interests is very similar to the one which brought us corona. There are the unaccountable global institutions (UN, WHO), the opaque globalist NGOs with mysterious funding models who handle the propaganda activities, the government bureaucrats who earn their living from the issue, the egomaniac politicians living out their dreams of exercising power and the vested interests who stand to make significant financial gain.
If The Voice does get up, I expect it will work out about as well as corona. I suspect Dr King was right. You can’t have segregation and democracy. But maybe that’s the whole point. The central problem of democracy was always how to prevent a tyranny of the majority. A little appreciated fact of the Anglo tradition was that it avoided a tyranny of the majority while both France and Germany fell into that trap. In our highly networked society, it’s fair to say our “elites” are more terrified than ever of demagogues and mob rule.
So, perhaps the degradation of democracy is a feature and not a bug of the new proposal. Once upon a time, such matters were handled quietly behind closed doors. Now they are handled by gaslighting, fabrications and outright lies. As I pointed out a couple of posts ago, this politics of division allows the government to leverage the minority rule to their advantage. The “elites” have always had an interest in ensuring that the will of the majority can be subverted where necesary.
Recently, I finished reading the book Number and Time by Marie-Louise von Franz. Von Franz was one of Carl Jung’s collaborators and the theme of the book was born out of the interest Jung took later in life in the qualitative study of number and the attempt to unite the psychic and the physical worlds through the concept of the archetypes. Feeling he was getting too old to deal with the issue in depth, Jung handed his papers over to von Franz and the result was partly Number and Time.
While reading the book I got an answer to a question I had been pondering for several years ever since I did some experimentation with the practice of divination. Divination did not work for me and von Franz has provided me with an explanation why.
For those who don’t know, divination is the practice of trying to guide one’s actions or the actions of others through an interpretation of what we might call random stimuli. Numbers can be used for this purpose and that was why the subject came up in von Franz’s book. Tarot cards are another option and it was tarot divination that I began playing around with in 2019. What I came to realise was that divination clashed with an existing practice I had developed purely by accident. Therein lies a story.
The story behind the story is that I’ve moved around quite a lot in life. Several times in my adult life I have packed up and moved somewhere new. This was a continuation of my childhood where our family relocated several times. I changed schools six times during my primary and secondary years.
This fact is important to the story I am going to tell because the story is about one of the times I relocated in my adult life. The details of the move are not important. I took up a new job in a city in a different state of Australia. It’s because this was not the first time I had done this that what happened next cannot be explained as an emotional or psychological reaction to a novel experience. If I had only ever lived in one place my whole life, it’s not hard to imagine that a move to a new place would trigger elevated emotional states, anxiety or even depression. But I was used to moving around and so I knew what to expect.
Well, I thought I knew what to expect. But then something strange happened. Almost immediately after arriving in what I thought was going to be my new home, I had the “feeling” that the move was wrong. What was the nature of this “feeling”?
As I have mentioned, it was not emotional. The move had gone exactly as I had imagined it would. Nothing unusual or aggravating had happened. In our age of modern information technology, it’s possible to do extensive research about a new place before you arrive. In a sense, this actually negates some of the feeling of excitement about a move since you can plan your arrival in great detail including looking for places where you might like to live etc. My new home had thrown up no surprises that triggered a strong emotional reaction on my part.
If the “feeling” I had was not based in emotions, neither was it based on rational grounds. My new job turned out more or less how I had anticipated it would. There were no big surprises there either. And, in any case, the “feeling” had begun before I started work.
If I was to give a name to this “feeling”, I would call it gut feel. My gut was telling me this was a wrong move. I have had these kind of gut feelings as long as I can remember so, in and of itself, this was also not surprising or new. But what made this situation different was that for the first time my gut was telling me to do something that was explicitly irrational in nature.
Think about it, you move interstate to take up what you hope will be an interesting and rewarding job. There’s the possibility to make new friends, meet new people, broaden your horizons etc. Logic and reason say that, even if things don’t work out exactly as you imagine at the start, you should give it a chance. You should wait at least a few months so you can make a proper judgement based on experience rather than jumping to conclusions.
The trouble was, I wasn’t jumping to conclusions. That would imply that I was over-thinking things. But I wasn’t thinking at all. All I had was this incongruous feeling in my gut. It was kind of stuck there droning away like an off-key singer in a choir.
In his book Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard explores the issues raised by the biblical story of Abraham being told by God to kill his son, Isaac. Filicide, the act of a parent killing their child, is obviously one of the most heinous acts known to man and the story of Abraham makes it all the more problematic because Abraham has no excuse other than that God told him to do it. Were such a case to go to trial, a defendant who attempted to excuse himself on the basis that God spoke to him in the middle of the night would be thought of either as a liar or a madman. Kierkegaard explores the moral implications of the story and the question of whether there is a “suspension of the ethical” in such cases.
Although I didn’t know it at the time as I hadn’t read Fear and Trembling yet, my experience with the gut feeling raised a similar problem. Imagine if I followed my gut, quit my new job after just a few days and returned to where I came from. My friends and family would naturally ask me what went wrong. If I told them the truth, that nothing had gone wrong but I had quit because my gut told me to, this would not be a socially acceptable answer and people might begin to question my mental state. That comes on top of the moral issue of quitting a job without giving it a real chance, something that would be an inconvenience and expense to my employer that they could quite rightly hold against me.
In our rational society, irrational answers are not acceptable. Thus, what I found myself doing at the time was trying to find logical reasons to do what the feeling in my gut was telling me. But it seemed very obvious to me at the time that I was just in denial. I was looking for excuses to do what I knew that I had to do anyway. If I was honest, this gut feeling was irrational and why should I pretend otherwise.
To cut to the end of the story, I did end up quitting the job after a few months and I went back to where I came from. Things worked out well after that despite the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do next. The lesson I took from the experience was to listen to my gut and not to waste time trying to rationalise the irrational.
In the last few years, as I have been reading Jung more extensively, I have learned that Jung defined gut feeling as Intuition and explicitly categorised it as an irrational function of the psyche. He called Intuition “perception via the unconscious”. When a person acts via Intuition such as I did in quitting my job, that’s called extroverted intuition. Extroverted intuition is perceived by society as irrational and often immoral. The biblical story of Abraham and Isaac takes the problems of extroverted Intuition and turns them up to 11.
What I now realise is that my story about gut feeling is the story of learning to accept Intuition for what it is. I’ve experienced some of the social and moral problems that come along with extroverted Intuition, although I haven’t tried to kill anybody yet. I promise.
With that background, I’m ready to tell the second part of the story and we return to my experimentation with divination in 2019. The date here is crucial because, although I had no idea about it at the time, my experiment with divination would prove hugely important. Once again, the issue would revolve around a change of residence and job, although this time I was moving within Melbourne.
When you’re beginning with divination, it’s recommended to start with small and seemingly insignificant questions so that you can get practice before moving on to more important matters. I had been trying the beginner divination exercises that for about six months and produced results that can best be described as “meh”. Feeling a little frustrated with the situation, I decided towards the end of 2019 to do a tarot divination on a decision of weight. Again, the details are not important. Let’s just call the two options A and B where the main issue was a decision about where to live.
My gut feel, my intuition, was telling me strongly that Option A was the right decision but I decided to do a tarot reading anyway. The tarot cards seemed to tell me equally clearly that Option B was correct. This was a problem. I was hoping the tarot reading would agree with my Intuition. I mulled over it for a few days and then did a second tarot reading. Again, the reading seemed unambiguously to favour Option B. I decided that it was time to put this tarot business to the test and so I went against my Intuition and chose Option B.
The results of the test came back almost immediately but at the time I had no idea that they would become even more meaningful later. In the short term, Option B caused me to lose a small but not insignificant amount of money and endure a couple of months of frustration and mucking around. I’ll skip the details. Let’s just say it was very clear that Option B had been the wrong decision and that my reading of the tarot cards must also have been wrong.
Then the story took a twist. By a fluke, I got another chance at Option A. This time I didn’t bother with a tarot reading. My Intuition was still saying that this was the right decision, so I went for it. By now it was November 2019. I moved house into the suburban setting that I mentioned in my recent post on accidental ornithology.
We all know what happened next. Melbourne ended up having the longest lockdown in the world and I ended up spending it in a relatively pleasant suburban garden. Option B would have seen me climbing the walls of an inner-city apartment. I know a several people who had to endure that and they looked visibly the worse for wear when I saw them after the lockdown. So, yes, Option A really was the right decision. My Intuition was well and truly right and my tarot divination well and truly wrong.
But here was the theoretical problem: divination is supposed to use Intuition. How could the Intuition I had developed naturally over the years have been contradictory with the tarot reading? I must have been doing something wrong. Von Franz’s book, Number and Time, has given me the answer.
Von Franz notes that archetypes and the unconscious only become visible when consciousness is “dimmed”. But this “dimming” is relative to the charge that is present in the unconscious which we can call “psychic energy”. Thus, the archetypes can be said to become visible when there is either a breakdown of the conscious-ego or a heightening of psychic energy in the unconscious. I would further add that the breakdown of the conscious-ego can’t be a traumatic one because that would trigger an emotional reaction and the emotional reaction would serve to cloud any perception of the archetypes.
This explains my gut feeling experience in my initial story. A change of job and location provides exactly the circumstances where we would expect “psychic energy” to be elevated. It was precisely because nothing else went wrong and I was not affected emotionally that I had access to the unconscious via Intuition.
Von Franz make the same point in relation to divination. She says it should not be conducted in a spirit of frivolity and that “the greater the psychic tension the more probable and to the point the result.” This explains my poor results with the beginner tarot divination exercises because they were rather frivolous and there was no psychic energy behind them. Both natural Intuition and divination seem to require that there is actually something at stake; something that elevates the energy in the unconscious without triggering the distracting energy of the emotions.
This still leaves open the problem of why my divination was so wrong in late 2019 because there definitely was psychic energy behind that decision. Von Franz has the answer to that question too; namely, I was using my conscious-ego when doing the divination readings.
I had learned over the years to “listen” to Intuition. For me, Intuition was a receptive mode of the psyche. Most of the time, Intuition had nothing to say and this makes sense because most of the time there is no elevated psychic energy to kick it into action. In modern civilisation, we spend most of our time in psychic homeostasis. It’s only when things “go wrong” or we try something different that the psychic tension rises enough to trigger the Unconscious into action.
Thus, when I did the tarot divination exercise, I was in conscious-ego mode and not in Intuition mode. Accordingly, I approached each tarot reading as a problem to be solved. Von Franz notes that scientific exploration is founded in the rational-ego while divination is based on randomness.
“In (scientific) experimentation the observer’s conscious ego cuts a particular system out of the realm of wholeness. But in the oracle one allows chance to make the cut and only subsequently tries to read a result from it.”
The problem I had with the tarot exercise was that I treated it more like scientific enquiry. The question I was asking the cards was the hypothesis that framed the situation. It cut the hole in reality to use von Franz’s metaphor. Thus, I ended up too much “in my head” when the whole point of Intuition, as I had previously learned, is that it lays outside the rational mind. It must be “felt”.
This seems to me to be a problem with the beginner divination exercises. On the one hand, you can’t expect new practitioners to make important decisions based on tarot readings. On the other hand, the triviality of the reading ensures there is no psychic energy at work and therefore nothing to trigger the Intuition.
This raises a larger question around divination. If divination is really a proxy for Intuition and is only going to work when there is psychic tension, and if psychic tension is generated by real-world events anyway, why not let the events themselves play the role of the “chance” which makes a “cut in wholeness”? Then, Intuition would be free to respond to events when necessary i.e. when psychic tension is heightened. In short, what is the point of the divination cards or numbers?
Three possible answers to this question come to mind.
Firstly, divination can be thought of as a training exercise for Intuition. Jung believed that we are each born with specific psychic predispositions. Intuitive types will already have access to the Intuition and may not need any training to activate it. But those for whom Intuition does not come naturally can try to develop it through divination exercises.
Secondly, the symbols used in divination provide an extra level of randomness that can expand the scope of Intuition. Intuition is by definition vague and interpretations of its meaning may be more or less accurate. The arbitrary symbolism of a divination reading prompts the practitioner to consider the broader implications and context.
The third point relates back to Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. Divination provides an external, visible representation to the Intuition. Psychologically, it is a projection. If you remove the projection, you allow that the individual can just do whatever they like whenever they like. The divination exercise could therefore be seen as a kind of psychic protection against ego inflation.
To the extent that a society accepts divination as an valid means of decision making, divination provides the same safeguards at the social level. Since any significant political decision will be accompanied by a heightened psychic tension, divination makes sense from a psychological point of view while also providing a central point of reference to ensure the socio-psychological dynamic does not go off the rails.
Of course, we live in a society that does not believe in divination or the irrational at all. As religion has continued to fade as a social force, we have simply replaced its irrationality with the facade of rationality provided by “science”. Corona provided a paradigm example of this delusion.
We are living through a time of heightened psychic energy which points to significant movements in the collective unconscious. It should be clear by now that corona was not the end of the story and the psychic machinations have not finished with us yet. Because our society has no way to understand this dynamic, we pretend that everything is “scientific” and “rational” and we have no problem committing acts equally as irrational in the name of science as Abraham did in the name of God. Unlike us, Abraham was honest about the irrationality of his behaviour.
Interestingly, this error seems related to the one that I committed with my tarot reading in late 2019. I used my conscious-ego where it was not appropriate. And just like my tarot reading was 100% wrong, so too has the “science” been 100% wrong for the last three years.
Because modern society has no means to recognise the irrational except as “mental illness”, it cannot process the world that we find ourselves in now. We continue to invoke the conscious-ego via “science” and “reason” in the most ridiculously illogical ways. Even Kierkegaard, the absurdist par excellence, would be shaking his head.
But we are also proving Kierkegaard’s point and it was one that Nietzsche and the other existentialists also made: reason and science are based in the Irrational because the rational-ego is born out of the Irrational. Failure to accept the irrational basis of reality will eventually lead to the destruction of reason.
Towards the end of his life, Carl Jung became interested in trying to use the concept of archetypes to bridge the gap between the psyche and the physical world. This included a collaboration with physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, and also the qualitative study of number. Jung came to think of number as a primitive form of spirit. He also gave emphasis to the number 4 and in his book, Aion, made the argument that the task of the modern world was to integrate matter, the feminine and the devil into the trinity thus forming a quaternity. (If this sounds like a strange grouping, consider that the linguist George Lakoff has provided some cross-cultural evidence for this categorisation in his book Women, Fire and Dangerous Things).
In my recent series of posts on Spengler, I covered the theory of the cycle of civilisation as described by both Spengler and Toynbee and earlier by the French historian Charles Rollin. This raises the question: is the cycle of civilisation an archetype? It seems to me that it could be since, as Toynbee pointed out, it’s not a logical necessity that the cycle should be followed and nevertheless it seems the cycle does get followed as if determined by something like an archetype.
One of the core processes that Spengler and Toynbee identified in the latter stages of a civilisation was proletarianisation. This is the homogenisation of the population; the switch from quality to quantity. It recently occurred to me that we are still in the grip of this proletarianisation but it is manifesting now in a different form than previously. The underlying archetype – late stage civilisation – is the same but its temporal expression has changed.
To explain this, we can use one of Nassim Taleb’s most insightful ideas: the Minority Rule. I’m not sure whether Taleb has read either Spengler or Toynbee. From the way he described his discovery of the Minority Rule, it seems to have been an independent insight on his part. Nevertheless, it fits into the proletarianisation of late civilisation and it does so in a mathematical kind of way that Jung would have found compelling.
The Minority Rule states that an Intolerant Minority can determine the behaviour of the Majority if the minority reaches a certain proportion of the overall population. The example Taleb uses to explain the Minority Rule is kosher food since it was while drinking a can of kosher soft drink that he stumbled across the idea.
Let’s say you have a neighbourhood in a city in the USA where the Jewish community increases to about 5% (this is the threshold where Taleb believes the Minority Rule kicks in). Local supermarkets will have been stocking both kosher and non-kosher food up until this point. This comes at a cost since it takes extra shelf space to stock two types of the same food.
If the Jewish community in the area continues to grow, at some point the cost of stocking both kosher and non-kosher food will be noticeable to supermarket management and they will look for ways around this cost. One thing management can do is to sell only kosher food. This can work if the rest of the population in the area, the Majority, does not care if food is kosher or not.
There are three core elements to the Minority Rule’s structure: the indifferent Majority, the intolerant Minority and a leadership group (management) that seeks power (profits). When these three conditions hold, the Minority can be said to determine the behaviour of the Majority through the leadership group and everybody in the neighbourhood will end up eating kosher food.
Taleb’s use of the kosher food example to describe the Minority Rule is useful because it opens up historical parallels that allow us to see the historical paradigm shift that activates the Minority Rule. The Minority Rule works in modern America but it could not have worked in old Europe because the Jews at that time lived in ghettos. The Jewish population was physically and culturally distinguished from the general population. This created parallel economies for Jews and gentiles.
What changed between old Europe and modern America? The Enlightenment. The specific Enlightenment ideal that is relevant here is the idea of equality under the law where the law represents the general will of the people expressed through parliament. We take this idea completely for granted these days but it did not exist in old Europe.
It’s no coincidence that it was Napoleon who “liberated” the Jews. His Code Napoleon also put the final nail in the coffin of feudalism. There were now centralised laws that were applicable to everybody in the nation. These replaced the local customs, which were informal and often unspoken. We see a similar homogenisation process in spoken and written language as often mutually unintelligible local dialects were replaced with “standard” national languages.
Hannah Arendt and other thinkers later analysed the “liberation” of European Jewry as the cause of a crisis in European Jewish identity. Herein lies the problem with the concepts of general will and equality before the law. Equality requires the sacrifice of ancient, immutable and non-transferrable identities. The doctrine of equality aims to stop the injustice of equal people being treated unequally. But it creates the opposite injustice where people who are not equal are treated the same.
Equality also turned out to be a byword for conformity. The general will became tied up with increasingly shrill demands for such conformity and the Jews became central to this dynamic because, even though their identity was arguably more under threat than anybody else’s, they still retained the last vestiges of the old world where identity was more important than equality.
In psychological terms, the Germans, French, Russians and most other European populations projected onto the Jews their own psychological trauma; the feeling of loss of identity that came with proletarianisation. The Nazis would eventually represent the final collapse into proletarianisation. They actively persecuted all minority groups, not just the Jews.
When we analyse this final collapse into proletarianisation, we find the same archetypal elements that Taleb identified in his Minority Rule. There is a homogenous Majority implied by the Nation concept, one or more Minorities and a Leadership group i.e. the State. Put it all together and you get the Nation State which struggled with the concept of minorities right from the start.
Utilising Taleb’s language, we can call the dynamic that arose in the Nation States following the French Revolution – Majority Rule. The Majority Rule archetype is invoked when an Intolerant Majority determines the behaviour of the Minority. In the days of old Europe prior to the Nation State, the Majority Rule did not apply because the homogenisation process had not yet taken place. The Jews were confined to ghettos. But for the most part they had some protection to practice their religion and live as they saw fit. The Majority did not seek to determine their behaviour.
That the Majority Rule should follow the Enlightenment fits with certain historical analyses which saw the Enlightenment concepts of the general will and equality before the law as giving rise to the Tyranny of the Majority. Although the Nazis are the most famous historical example, many European countries of that time were running a Tyranny of the Majority featuring a tyrannical leader claiming to represent a homogenous Majority in the persecution of Minorities.
Naturally, in the post-war years there has been a concerted effort not to allow a repetition of the Tyranny of the Majority and this is where we come to the current state of our politics. The Trump and Brexit votes threatened a return of the Tyranny of the Majority. At least, that’s what we were told. One thing they certainly threatened to do was to upend the political status quo that has been built after the wars.
The post-war years saw the disempowerment of the Nation State in favour of internationalisation. This went hand-in-hand with the rise of multi-national corporations and the consumer society. As long as the economy was growing, everybody was happy to go along with this state of affairs. Everything has been done to ensure its continuation through the various crises that have threatened it. The incorporation of China into the WTO may have been the last hurrah for the consumer economy. We stretched it out for another two decades on the back of cheap Chinese labour. But it’s now threatened on multiple fronts, not the least of which is the Chinese government.
In response to these threats and specifically the domestic threat posed by the Trump and Brexit votes, our “elites”, who govern more now through the Deep State than the State, have ramped up a dynamic that I’m going to call the Tyranny of the Minority. The Tyranny of the Minority is the invocation of Taleb’s Minority Rule in the political sphere.
Recall once again the three components of the archetype: the Majority, one or more Minorities and the Leaders. In the Tyranny of the Majority, you have an Intolerant Majority determining the behaviour of Minorities through the State. In the Tyranny of the Minority, you have an Intolerant Minority determining the behaviour of the Majority through the Deep State.
Examples of this from recent politics include the climate debate, although “success” there has been limited. Corona was a prime example as the Branch Covidian Intolerant Minority and the Deep State determined the behaviour of the Majority. The transgender issue is the latest and perhaps most obvious example since it has the least basis in reason and logic. Here in Australia, and I believe also in NZ and Canada, the indigenous debate is also increasingly taking the form of a Tyranny of the Minority. Australia will even vote later this year to enshrine it into the Constitution.
The Tyranny of the Minority is now actively encouraged by the highest political offices in western nations. Just as the politicians of early 20th century Europe leveraged nationalism and socialism to create a Tyranny of the Majority, our politicians leverage the various ideologies listed above to create a Tyranny of the Minority. It is the mechanism by which political power is wielded.
Recall that Taleb’s Minority Rule holds when an indifferent Majority comes up against an Intolerant Minority. It might be argued that the Majority is not indifferent on the topics I listed above. Again, the trans issue is very illuminating here since there are now many women who are speaking out on the subject and hence are not indifferent. Those women have simply been smeared as Nazis, fascists or “hard right” extremists. It’s the same smear used against the Canadian truckers, the Querdenker in Germany and pretty much any group now who speaks out against the current thing.
Logically speaking, such accusations are irrational and contrary to historical fact. But that’s precisely why we must turn to an archetypal explanation. Jung was quite clear about this. It’s when the rational mind breaks down that the archetypes become active. It’s quite clear the collective rational mind of the West has now broken down and the archetypes are coming out to play.
To understand what is going on archetypally, we must interpret these matters symbolically, not logically. When we do so, we can see that the Nazi/fascist smear is archetypally related to the historical Tyranny of the Majority. Since our current “elites” are facilitating a Tyranny of the Minority and since this is actually an inversion of the Tyranny of the Majority, there is some archetypal logic to what is going on. You can have a Tyranny of the Minority or a Tyranny of the Majority. You can’t have both.
The more cogent of the modern “elites” fully believe that the Trump/Brexit votes were the foreshadowing of a return to the Tyranny of the Majority. That is, at least, their excuse. The problem is that they have a vested interest in the status quo and the status quo is built on a Tyranny of the Minority.
In any case, the objection works from a propaganda point of view. A Tyranny of the Minority requires a compliant Majority in order to work and the Nazi/Hitler smears are there to ensure that the Majority stays compliant. Of course, at the rate we are going, everybody will have been called a Nazi before too long. When even feminists are getting called Nazis, you know you’re reaching the end game.
In summary, western “elites” have weaponised the Minority Rule and turned it into a Tyranny of the Minority. That is the mechanism of domestic political power.
The Tyranny of the Majority found expression through an actual tyrant (Napoleon, Hitler) while the Tyranny of the Minority fits the pattern I have previously identified as Benevolent Totalitarianism. It works in a decentralised fashion based around ideology. The Tyranny of the Majority requires the Tyrannical Father archetype. The Tyranny of the Minority requires The Devouring Mother.