387. Opposition (III)
Rightists will tell you that STEM subjects are superior to the humanities and that political life would be considerably better if more people went into STEM; and, indeed, when STEM departments are surveyed staff tend to report, by party affiliation, more right-wing views. So it would seem that the old progressive chestnut about religion and science being in conflict is true, except that the progressives are the religious fanatics; the humanities programs remain, per Yarvin’s Harvard, theological schools for progressive religious thought. Further to this observation, genuinely scientific approaches to religion tend to support the idea that long-standing religious traditions have shorthand value, being symbolic representations for deeper truths.
STEM requires higher intelligence levels: the general approach is rational, logical, and unemotional; and, overall, these subjects could be considered to be involved in “the study of reality”. Another difference is between form and function; the humanities are concerned with form and STEM with function. This is pertinent for politics because left-wing views rely on a superficial approach to reality, an approach encoded in the expression: “Real communism has never been tried.” To be precise, a scientific approach seeks to locate a hidden—an occult—“X factor” that lies behind events in the world, whereas the humanities satisfy themselves with appearances.
When I was a teenage Marxist, I pulled a book from the school library called Let History Judge. The book was by Roy Medvedev, the poor man’s Solzhenitsyn: Medvedev’s book carefully chronicled the crimes committed by Stalin—just as Solzhenitsyn did—except Medvedev, still Communist, followed the line that this was due to betrayal; Lenin’s legacy, “Soviet legality”, had been betrayed. Similarly, at the same time, I learned about Dubček’s “socialism with a human face”—and this was before you took into account non-Marxist socialism, such as Chomsky’s anarchism. Conclusion: there are lots of varieties of socialism—even within Marxism-Leninism—so perhaps one variation works, even if the USSR did not.
Galileo famously dropped objects—particularly metal balls—that weighed different amounts from a tower; the person interested in superficial appearances would say, “These will fall at different rates because they weigh different amounts, or because every ball is different.” In reality, with wind resistance taken into account, there was a hidden force—an occult force, gravity—that acted on the objects and explained their rate of fall. Galileo had to clear out excessive reasons and explanations to get to the truth (hence “reason” and “rationality” are often not very useful, in the sense that they can be used in story construction and delusion); he had to discount metaphysical ideas about objects in order to find the common force that explained the functional similarity between the observed behaviour.
To return to socialism, the humanities encourage people to think about individual differences that occur at a superficial level; to literally be “super-special snowflakes”. From a poetic or artistic perspective, every snowflake is different; and this is true—no objects are exactly identical, at minimum they occupy different spaces. It is just that although we are all different we are also, for the most part, pretty similar—very few are exceptional in any dimension. The humanities are effectively interested in fashion—again, this relates to the left’s feminine aspect—and so can easily be convinced that contemporary calls for social justice are nothing like communism. “What do you mean AOC is communist? Communism is hammers and sickles and a completely different theoretical framework. AOC is an enemy of class-conscious workers. Educate yourself!”
But if you think about these ideas as a Galilean you will come to the conclusion that, whether it is Stalin or Dubček or Chomsky or AOC, in functional terms it all amounts to the same thing: communism—the abolition of private property, by one means or another. The outcome will be the same; and consequently the crusty retired libertarian oil engineer who glances at the the latest slogan and snaps, “It’s communism,” is more right than his children who protest, “Dad, this is totally different.”