Now, here’s the thing:
- any attempt to mollycoddle/make excuses for the fact that the vast majority of all historical populations were a gaggle of illiterate, bigoted savages who were incapable of the distinctively HUMAN level of functioning – is inexcusable.
The first – and most fundamental – fact to understand about “history” is: the salient fact about EVERY “historical” culture was:
- Mass illiteracy
- Grinding poverty
- Chronic famine
- Rampant superstition
- rigid social stratification (“race”/”gender”-roles, etc.)
To the extent that humankind has done better than the above, it is because even back then, a (small) sub-set of the population was capable of the sorts of functioning that Flynn mentions:
- Abstraction (induction)
- Classification/organizing of such knowledge
- The ability to “take the hypothetical seriously” (“deduction” used to apply such knowledge to “foreign” situations)
I’ll be honest here: The above 3 “skill-sets” are what separate CIVILIZATION from SAVAGERY.
This is also not a matter of ‘degree”: the concrete-bound dolts interviewed by Luria were only able to function at all, by aping/parroting knowledge and skills gained by their (cognitive) BETTERS.
Now, the above might seem like “elitism”, but it really isn’t: Just because I recognize that literacy is BETTER than illiteracy, doesn’t mean that I must therefore believe that the mere fact of illiteracy IN ITSELF constitutes some sort of moral failing.
MERE ignorance does not (necessarily) indicate pathology.
For example, take Flynn’s story about his (bigoted scum-fuck of a) grandfather:
I submit that a bigoted asshole of that caliber would be UNWORTHY of any respect, whatsoever. Mollycoddling his bigoted idiocy — excusing it on the grounds that he (or his whole cognitively-stunted ‘generation”) were simply “incapable of universalizing moral principles” or whatever – actually ends up making things INFINITELY WORSE, in that those who ARE capable of such “universalization” end up becoming ACCOMPLICES TO TRIBALISM.
Quite simply, the most rational response to a (hypothetical) Grandparent who is ignorant trash of that kind would be to deliberately select a romantic/life-partner from one of the “disfavored” groups – AND THEN RUB THAT FACT IN THE BIGOTED FUCK’S FACE, at every opportunity.
As brazenly and openly as possible.
Time for an Ayn Rand quote, folks:
Tribalism (which is the best name to give to all the group manifestations of the anti-conceptual mentality) is a dominant element in Europe, as a reciprocally reinforcing cause and result of Europe’s long history of caste systems, of national and local (provincial) chauvinism, of rule by brute force and endless, bloody wars. As an example, observe the Balkan nations, which are perennially bent upon exterminating one another over minuscule differences of tradition or language. Tribalism had no place in the United States—until recent decades. It could not take root here, its imported seedlings were withering away and turning to slag in the melting pot whose fire was fed by two inexhaustible sources of energy: individual rights and objective law; these two were the only protection man needed.
A symptom of the tribal mentality’s self-arrested, perceptual level of development may be observed in the tribalists’ position on language.
Language is a conceptual tool—a code of visual-auditory symbols that denote concepts. To a person who understands the function of language, it makes no difference what sounds are chosen to name things, provided these sounds refer to clearly defined aspects of reality. But to a tribalist, language is a mystic heritage, a string of sounds handed down from his ancestors and memorized, not understood. To him, the importance lies in the perceptual concrete, the sound of a word, not its meaning. He would kill and die for the privilege of printing on every postage stamp the word “postage” for the English-speaking and the word “postes” for the French-speaking citizens of his bilingual Canada. Since most of the ethnic languages are not full languages, but merely dialects or local corruptions of a country’s language, the distinctions which the tribalists fight for are not even as big as that.
But, of course, it is not for their language that the tribalists are fighting: they are fighting to protect their level of awareness, their mental passivity, their obedience to the tribe, and their desire to ignore the existence of outsiders.