Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Metamorphosis," Ch. 23 from BUT...AT WHAT COST

In the previous chapter I listed some questions which when answered are, to me, evidence of our continuing moral decline. Others may not see my examples as moral issues. I do. I further believe a diverse, democratic republic can survive only if a majority adhere to the same basic moral and ethical standards.

In a brief political conversation with my doctor, he said, “Politics is just opinion.” Yes, Doctor, beliefs (political or otherwise) are opinions; however, some beliefs are true. There are provable facts that should influence beliefs. If political beliefs are based on scientific, historical, and statistical evidence and not ideology, there is a very good chance one’s opinions are, in fact, true. There are some ultimate truths in this world and many are provable. Isn’t that the standard by which we should judge our politicians: that what they claim is, in fact, true?

By the end of the nineties, I was very critical of the changes in many of our prevalent cultural beliefs. I saw a country in moral decline. I’ve recounted some of them in previous chapters: higher divorce rates, more promiscuity, a declining education system, and a declining black ghetto culture, to name a few. However, I had never connected these unwanted results to political policies.

It wasn’t until my father became a political junky and listened to talk show Conservative, Rush Limbaugh, every day that I was forced to pay attention. As I recall, neither Rush nor my dad approached their political beliefs through the same lens I did – human nature, neuroscience and group psychology didn’t enter into their rationales. We were, however, distressed by the same things: the increasing lack of personal responsibility for one’s actions (the blame game), the proliferation of frivolous lawsuits, the apparent absence of critical thinking and common sense, affirmative action, trophies for losers, and diversity initiatives.

These guys who were upset at the same things that bothered me were Republicans… so I guessed I was a Republican too. I swear, I didn’t know. It was a completely unexpected revelation. I simply hadn’t known which political party stood for what. I was grossly uninformed or misinformed about all things political, so had never made those connections.

I have been accused of reading only those books which agree with my philosophy. That’s mostly true of my current reading list, but it wasn’t true when I was forming my beliefs. My life philosophy grew from my experiences – all of them – ranging from living with only adults in a poor neighborhood to tutoring immigrants. I have rejected much of what has been the accepted orthodoxies my whole life when they haven’t made sense to me. Because of my personal studies of biological, psychological and sociological disciplines (and from having common sense), I rejected feminist dogma. Men and women are NOT different only because of the way they’re socialized; they’re born different. I rejected much of the self-esteem dogma: asserting one’s group identity has little to do with self-anything, unless the group is the honor society.

I rejected the diversity dogma on many levels: bad behaviors should never be accepted no matter who is doing them. It’s best to judge only individuals, but sometimes whole groups of individuals tend to demonstrate the same unwanted qualities that we as a society must reject. It’s human nature to both be friendly toward AND a bit suspicious of strangers. The whole cry for accepting diversity unconditionally is nonsense.

Reasonable people behave reasonably, and supposing that most folks these days need to be forced to accept minor differences such as skin color is ludicrous. We respond primarily to present circumstances, not to old biases. We don’t still hate the Japanese and the Germans because of World War II. Old biases die a natural death and new ones arise when circumstances demand. It’s human nature.

In the beginning of this book, I said the disdain rained on me for my presumed political views by family members and a good friend prompted this memoir. Our disagreements were surely due to our seeing the world from different perspectives. Suffice it to say our motivations are exactly the same: being able to raise our children in a non-racist America. The ways by which we hope to achieve that end are miles apart… and have unfortunately become too sensitive an area to discuss.

My friend Dave has no dogs in the race, so I’ll use him to demonstrate just how divisive and alienating political tactics can be. Dave and I were in the middle of our once-a-year phone conversation when he said, “You are such a Republican!” At first, I didn’t get it at all. I wondered what I had said to get that response. I reviewed. We were talking about older women letting themselves go – not caring so much about how they looked. (Guilty.)

I had laughed and said, “You should have seen Jean and me on our last trip. We just rolled out of bed, brushed our teeth and headed out the door. So what? Nobody saw us but a Pakistani in a turban and a couple of truck drivers.” Apparently, that’s what had drawn his response.

I couldn’t believe it. What was wrong with saying “Pakistani in a turban?” I figured the “word police” were working overtime again, but I said (because I never was any good at clever come backs), “Yes, I am.” I wasn’t really mad about my being called a Republican, but the more I thought about it, the more confused I got. What on earth does my describing someone’s ethnicity have to do with my being a Republican? It makes no sense. Was “in a turban” the problem? I don’t have anything against Sikhs. Ashley’s doctor is a Sikh, and I had a very pleasant Sikh student. If I have a bias, it’s a positive one.

First, why did Dave presume a negative bias on my part? Does he dislike Sikhs, so presumed I did too? More likely – no one in his world (ultra-PC California) is allowed to describe any person who is “different” without being presumed a bigot.

Second, how did my presumed bigotry translate to being a Republican? Where is that connection? Dave has known me for more than forty years, but it wasn’t until I told him I joined the Tea Party that he effectively accused me of being a bigot. It was an automatic designation for him, so I’d like to know his reasoning… if there was any reasoning involved. I don’t think there was – his was an automatic response. Bigot= Republican, and vice-versa. Why, Dave? Was discounting the opinion of a Sikh who was a stranger to me somehow worse than discounting the opinions of truck drivers who were also strangers to me? My point was: Jean and I didn’t care what people we would never see again might think about how we looked in our traveling duds. To make that point, I described the people who saw us. No more, no less. His perception of me was wholly presumptive – and false and insulting!

Where do these mostly unfounded, unproved, presumptuous, and false perceptions come from? In this particular case, I believe they came directly from the Left’s political tactics. Since the sixties, that has been a primary political strategy of theirs: to label Republicans “racists.” Hey, it worked on me, too. It’s dead-easy to win over uninformed, but well-meaning, people to your side that way. Because of my affection for Rod, I became aware, saw the unfairness and believed the rhetoric without any further thought. I didn’t know the history of either political party, their rationales, or anything else. I didn’t know, for example, that Democrats had run the segregationist, Jim Crow, South. I just saw a lot of political ads at election time – all of which were pure rhetoric. Democrats, apparently, were better at the racial rhetoric, and that was the issue I cared most about. Slam dunk!

Long before I had any serious interest in politics, I started making the connections between psychological advice-mongers and false perceptions. Next, I started making connections between PC mandates and unwanted educational outcomes. The “enemy” in my mind was junk social science. It wasn’t until I fully understood the influences of memes, culturally imposed beliefs, and our natural tendencies to conform to the norm, that I connected these bits of knowledge to purposeful, political strategies and tactics. Obviously, the propagandists knew what they were doing. They knew what buttons to push for each group they were trying to reach or keep.

In short, my evolution from Democrat to Republican grew from knowledge gained in other areas (neuropsychology, group psychology, human nature, etc.), and my subsequent recognition that the policies of the Democrat Party were, in fact, causing or exacerbating most of the unwanted results I was seeing: the sustained delusion of rampant racism in America, a failing educational system, and the creation and maintenance of a very dysfunctional black ghetto culture.

When the underlying premise of a social experiment is wrong, unexpected results will follow. In my view, instead of achieving parity, the Left’s instituted policies achieved further racial and political alienation. As soon as I looked back and noted how race relations and assimilation had progressed under the old (naturally formed) rules, I had to conclude that for many, it’s gotten much worse under the new rules. I count myself with those for whom it has gotten worse, but the real victims are those whose trespasses have been automatically forgiven – poor black people.

The only question left for me was: Did the Left know what it was doing or not? Were the consequences of their policies intended or accidental?


We are serializing on this blog Judy Axtell's memoir, BUT...AT WHAT COST, available in paperback from its publisher, Outskirts Press, as well as from online booksellers like and I am proud to have been her coach and editor for the book.

My coaching-writing-editing site is

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