The paradox of institutional “emotional blackmail”:

I’m pretty familiar with the myriad of Amish sub-denominations.

You can’t really avoid it, if you are unfortunate to originate from an area with any significant amount of Amish population:

For one thing, they squeeze every drop of sociopolitical “accommodation” they can  manage from local/state/Federal government and any “private” businesses in the regions they infest.  (For example: hitching-posts outside of Walmart).

The “Payoff” for this kind of pandering is (of course), that local tourism boards can relentlessly “milk” the Amish right back, without coming off as vicious for doing so:

The Amish are the perfect go-to subculture, in this regard:

  1. Their population is overwhelmingly “White” (so nobody can plausibly be accused of racism).
  2. At first glance, their technophobic idiocy might appear “quaint” to anyone stupid enough to buy into (misplaced) “nostalgia” about a “simpler time”, etc.  (I personally find it hillarious when people babble about the supposed virtues of the “simpler” horse-and-buggy era — while living in a house with indoor plumbing, electricity, access to the sum total of human knowledge via the Internet/public libraries etc. — not to mention the myriad medical advances such as the polio vaccine which they TAKE FOR GRANTED.).

At any rate, the Amish can be relentlessly “milked” by tourism boards because their subculture happens to be overwhelmingly “White” and “Christian.

Oddly enough, they illustrate the fundamental paradox inherent in any attempt at “emotional blackmail”.

Ordnung (“Shunning”) is their go-to means of social control:  lack of (mindless) obedience/conformity to the idiotic, unreasonable superstitions of whichever variant of the Amish you were unfortunate enough to have been born gets you ostracized by your “family” and “community”.

Typically, the vast majority are simply too weak-minded and cowardly to stand firm against this kind of thing.  Thus, they tacitly consent to their own enslavement by pretending to give a shit about idiotic superstitions and taboos.   In reality, they conform NOT because they “believe” any of the idiotic bullshit about hat-brim style, or buttons vs. “hook and eye” fasteners or etc, but merely because their “significant others” will only continue to interact with them if they conform.

In other words: Their “closest” relationships are predicated on dishonesty, herd-conformity, and what amounts to a mass tantrum.

The weird thing about this is: the Objective value of any given “relationship” is INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL to the amount of dishonesty required to sustain that “relationship”.

What’s worse, we all “intuitively” recognize the above fact on an individual level.  Why do we not “get” this, when it comes to “collectives” (relatives, “friends”, “peer”-groups, etc.?)

I mean, yeah: I can understand pretending to “convert” to another religion if the alternative involves being tortured/burnt at the stake/stoned to death, etc. — but……self-abasement because your hat-brim happens to be “too wide”?

The same thing goes (for example) for individuals involved in “transgressive” romantic relationships (IE: those which cross “racial” or other demographic boundaries).

Why do so many actively enable their own enslavement?  Is the “approval” of others really worth the level of abject belly-crawling that “approval” often requires?

I don’t think so.  If the two alternatives are: “I continue to respect myself, but you never talk to me again” vs. “I BETRAY my own convictions on the off-chance that you just might pat me on the head for doing so”, then there’s really no “choice”, whatsoever:

IF I have to LIE TO YOU to preserve the “relationship”, then the “relationship” is probably worthless, if not outright harmful — to BOTH of us.

 

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