Quite frankly, the phrase “demographic trends” is a euphemism for the uncomfortable fact that too many individuals default on the basic responsibility of being human: thought.
Instead of actively trying to understand themselves and the “world” with which they are confronted on a daily basis, they merely ape and parrot others.
Tragically, this is typically their “blood” relatives, and/or the larger socioeconomic “collective” to which their parents “belong”.
In other words (to dip into another insightful point from Ayn Rand), most peersons are “second-handed”, as opposed to “first-handed”.
Tragically, this includes the vast majority of Objectivists as well.
Why does this happen?
Rand’s basic self-deception was that it was strictly a matter of individual choice, and merely came down to a refusal to be in focus (psychologically speaking).
I think this is idiotic. Quite frankly, unless individuals learn rationality (which includes critical thinking skills the ability to “set aside” emotional considerations as required, at least the fundamentals of logical reasoning, etc.) — they cannot be expected to have the cognitive “tools” available to question/reevaluate/refute whatever their “significant others” happen to have foisted on them during their “upbringing”.
To expect any given individual to rediscover skills and cognitive methods which took THOUSANDS of years to develop ON THEIR OWN — especially when those individuals are typically surrounded by “subcultures” which aggressively militate AGAINST those very skills — is a “tall order”, indeed.
I don’t claim to have “perfected” them, myself. I Do, however, recognize at least some of the specific “steps” which culminated in my current “mind-state”.
To understand the rest of this post, I think an anecdote from my past would be helpful:
I used to attend various “picking”-contests (IE: competitive instrumental performance), typically at Bluegrass festivals, etc.
Often, these involved both individual contests on various instruments (banjo/guitar/mandolin/”fiddle”, etc.), and group performance (where an already-established group would perform, OR individuals would get a “pick-up” group together, on occasion.)
At any rate, at the last such contest I ever attended, one of the groups stuck out.
For one thing (as I later discovered), all of the members originated from a specific church-community of exceedingly “Conservative” Mennonites. Not only did they prohibit the use of musical instruments in church/during church services, but they also prohibited the members of their specific ethno-religious “subculture” from owning/learning to play/using musical instruments/engaging in public performance, on “theological” grounds.
(Being Mennonite, they undoubtedly had some particular morass of “verses” which they had cherry-picked — much as they would to “justify” those head-coverings their women were forced to wear).
In other words: the mere fact that these guys had all rented/borrowed musical instruments, learned how to play them (badly), and then participated in a contest was roughly equivalent to someone OUTSIDE of their particular ethno-religious subculture “coming out” to his or her parents as gay.
Well, being the sort of person I am, my first inclination was to figure out a way to “rat them out”. However, IF I had been able to do so, the results would have been pretty horrible for those guys:
- They would most likely have been expelled from their particular church.
- Since they were all employed by businesses owned by members of that particular church, they would most likely have been fired (undoubtedly on some flimsy pretense or other, so as not to run afoul of “anti-discrimination” laws, but still….)
- Most (all?) of their current “friends” and relatives would have discontinued any further contact with them.
In other words: these guys — merely because they had been “born into” a particularly absurd and vicious ethnoreligious “subculture” — were pretty much “trapped” into at least pretending to give a shit about that subculture’s absurd/vicious superstitions. Most of them had married at a ridiculously young age. None of them were “educated” in any legitimate sense of the term. The sociological “stakes” were comparatively high for these guys — even though they had all figured out that at least THOSE particular superstitions were idiotic.
Now: yes: I will fully admit that they were both cowardly and hypocritical: cowardly in that they couldn’t bring themselves to flaunt their (justifiable) disdain for idiotic superstitions openly, and hypocritical in that they pretended to support those superstitions, themselves. The thing is: their particular ethnoreligious subculture was itself comprised of a number of “total institutions” — family/employment/church etc. — which were all tightly interwoven to the point where these guys had seldom — if ever — even encountered more “liberal” Mennonites. (As it turned out, the one guy had rented/borrowed the musical instruments they were using from the same neighbor who had initially “turned him onto” Bluegrass music.)
Quite frankly, the entire “subculture” functioned via self-imposed insularity (ghettoization), backed up by “emotional blackmail”.
Isolation creates the illusion of “community” (by keeping the victim ignorant of the alternatives). Emotional blackmail serves as an aversive “punishment” — much the same way that a dog wearing an electrified collar gets “zapped” if he/she gets too close to the perimeter wire.
Regrettably: the truth Ayn Rand never wanted to face is: those who claim to be in “authority” over others are exceedingly skilled at “breaking” those presumed to be “below” them in their specific hierarchy.
Over thousands of years, would-be “authoritarians” of all sorts have developed a myriad of tactics (ranging from exceedingly subtle “heart-tugging” right on up to outright torture and slaughter). The sole purpose of all such tactics is to induce FOG (“Fear, Obligation & Guilt”) in their victims.
The bizarre (and rather horrifying) thing is: “emotional blackmail” is only recognized when done by “isolated” individuals. Truthfully, it is the basis of most (if not all) un-chosen “social” structures:
Specifically, “family”, religious “belief”, and nationalism:
Fortunately, I figured out the fact that my “blood”-relatives are (mostly) deluded sub-animals who are only capable of incoherent babbling, emotional blackmail, and/or physical violence toward me. (for example: my idiot, heroin-addict half-brother, and his primary Enabler/apologist, my so-called ‘mother’).
One of the primary reasons why “tolerance” (let alone “acceptance”) is so difficult is: we’re so used to resorting to using FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) as a “psy-weapon” against one another that merely refraining from doing so appears to be radically “Utopian”.
That’s horrifying, if you think about it.