If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know my take on morality. It is the manifestation of a subset of our suite of innate behavioral traits. The traits in question exist because they evolved. Absent those traits, morality as we know it would not exist. It follows that attempts to apply moral emotions in order to solve complex problems that arise in an environment that is radically different from the one in which the innate, “root causes” of morality evolved are irrational. That, however, is precisely how the Europeans are attempting to deal with an unprecedented flood of culturally and genetically alien refugees. The result is predictable – a classic morality inversion.
…moral reasoning does not cause moral judgment; rather, moral reasoning is usually a post hoc construction, generated after a judgment has been reached.
In other words, the “emotional dog” makes the judgment. Only after the judgment has been made does the “rational tail” begin “wagging the dog,” concocting good sounding “reasons” for the judgment. One can get a better idea of what’s really going on by tracking down the source of the moral emotions involved.
Let’s consider, then, what’s going on inside the “pro-refugee” brain. As in every other brain, the moral machinery distinguishes between ingroup and outgroup(s). In this case these categories are perceived primarily in ideological terms. The typical pro-refugee individual is often a liberal, as that rather slippery term is generally understood in the context of 21st century western democracies. Such specimens will occasionally claim that they have expanded their ingroup to include “all mankind,” so that it is no longer possible for them to be “haters.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The outgroup have ye always with you. It comes with the human behavioral package.
If anything, the modern liberal hates more violently than any other subgroup. He commonly hates the people within his own culture who disagree with the shibboleths of his ideology. Those particular “others,” almost always constitute at least a part of his outgroup. Outside of his own culture, ideology matters much less as a criterion of outgroup identification, as demonstrated, for example, by the odd affinity between many Western liberals and radical Islamists.
Beyond that, however, he is hardly immune from the more traditional forms of tribalism. For example, European liberals typically hate the United States. The intensity of that hatred tends to rise and fall over time, but can sometimes reach almost incredible levels. The most recent eruption occurred around the year 2000. Interestingly enough, one of the most spectacular examples occurred in Germany, the very country that now takes the cake for moralistic grandstanding in the matter of refugees. Der Spiegel, its number one news magazine, was certainly in the avant-garde of the orgasm of hatred. It was often difficult to find any news about Germany on the homepage of its website, so filled was it with furious, spittle-flinging rants about the imagined evils of “die Amerikaner.” However, virtually every other major German “news” outlet, whether it was nominally “liberal” or “conservative,” eventually jointed the howling pack. The most vicious examples of anti-American hate were typically found in just those publications that are now quick to denounce German citizens who express concern about the overwhelming waves of refugees now pouring into the country as “haters.”
On the other hand, refugees, or at least those of the type now pouring into Europe, seldom turn up in any of these common outgroups of the modern liberal. They land squarely in his ingroup. Humans are generally inclined to help ingroup members who, like the refugees, appear to be in trouble. This is doubly true of the liberal, who piques himself on what he imagines to be his moral superiority. Furthermore, as the refugees can be portrayed as victims of colonialism and imperialism, one might say they are a “most favored subset” of the ingroup. Throw in a few pictures of drowned children, impoverished women begging for help, etc., and all the moral ingredients are there to render the liberal an impassioned defender of the masses of humanity drawing a bead on his country. Nothing gives him more self-righteous joy than imagining himself a “savior.” This explains the fact that liberals are eternally in the process of “saving” one group of unfortunates or another without ever getting around to accomplishing anything actually recognizable as salvation. All the pleasure is in the charade. We find the same phenomenon whether its a matter of “saving” the environment, “saving” the planet from global warming, or “saving” the poor. For the liberal, the pose is everything, and the reality nothing.
Which brings us back to the theme of this post. All the sublime moral emotions now at play in the “salvation” of the refugees have an uncanny resemblance to many other instances of moral behavior as practiced by the modern liberal. They have a tendency to favor an outcome which is the opposite of what the same moral emotions accomplished at an earlier time, and that led to their preservation by natural selection to begin with. In a word, as noted above, we are witnessing yet another classic morality inversion.
Why an inversion? At the most fundamental level, because it will lead to the diminution or elimination of the genes whose survival a similar response once favored. At the moment, the pro-refugee side is calling the shots. It controls the governments of all the major European states. All of them more or less fit the pattern described above, whether they are nominally “liberal” or “conservative.” Indeed, foremost among them is Germany’s “conservative’ regime, which has positively invited a flood of alien refugees across its borders. Based on historical precedent, the outcome of all this altruism isn’t difficult to foresee. In terms of “culture” it will be a future of ethnic and religious strife, possibly leading to civil war. Genetically, it amounts to an attempt at ethnic suicide. I am well aware that these outcomes are disputed by those promoting the refugee inundation. However, I consider it pointless to argue about it. I am content to let history judge.
While we bide our time waiting for the train wreck to unfold, it may be of interest to examine some of the techniques being used to maintain this remarkable instance of moralistic play-acting. I take most of my examples from the German media, which includes some of the most avid refugee cheerleaders. Predictably, outgroup vilification is part of the mix. As noted above, anyone who objects to the flood of refugees is almost universally denounced as a “hater” by just those people who wear their own virulent hatreds on their sleeves while pretending they don’t exist. Of course, there are also the usual hackneyed violations of Godwin’s Law. For example, Jacob Augstein, leftwing stalwart for Der Spiegel, denounces them as “Browns” (i.e., brownshirts, Nazis) in a recent column. On the “positive” side, the “conservative” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung optimistically suggests that the refugees will promote economic growth. According to another article in Der Spiegel, the eastern Europeans, who are not quite so refugee-friendly as the Germans, are “blowing their chance.” The ominous byline reads,
Europe is shrinking. The demographic downtrend is particularly dramatic in the eastern part of the continent, where the population is literally dying out. In spite of that, Hungary, Poland and company are resisting immigration. They will regret it.
In other words, before turning out the lights and committing suicide, the eastern Europeans should make sure an alien culture is in place to take over their territories when they’re gone. Of course, this flies in the face of the impassioned rhetoric the liberals have been feeding us about the need to reduce the surface population if we are to have an environmentally sustainable planet.
I note in passing that the European elites that are driving this process now seem to have taken a step back from the brink. They are having second thoughts. They realize that they don’t have their populations behind them, and that their defiance of popular opinion might eventually threaten their own power. As a result, the number of news articles about the refugees and their plight is only a shadow of what it was only a few weeks ago. Mild reservations about refugee wowserism are starting to appear even in such gung-ho forums as Der Spiegel where, as I write this, the lead article on their homepage is entitled “Now Things Are Getting Uncomfortable.” Ya think!? The byline reads,
There is a chance in tone in the refugee crisis. SPD (German Social Democratic Party) chief Gabriel warms about limits to Germany’s ability to absorb refugees. Minister of the Interior de Maziere deplores the misbehavior of many migrants. The pressure on Chancellor Merkel is increasing.
“Ought” the Europeans to alter their behavior? Is what they consider “good” really “evil?” Are they ignoring the real “goal” of natural selection? Certainly not, at least from an objective point of view. There is no objective criterion for determining what anyone “ought” to do, anymore than there is an objective way to distinguish the difference between things, such as good and evil, that have no objective existence. They are hardly failing to move towards the “goal” of natural selection, since that process does not have either a purpose or a goal. As you may have gathered, my own subjective whim is to oppose unlimited immigration. I have, however, not the slightest basis for declaring that anyone who doesn’t agree with me is “evil.” At best, I can try to explain my own whims.
I’m what you might call a moral compatibilist. I see myself sitting at the end of a chain of life spawned by genetic material that has evolved over a period of more than three billions years, surviving and reproducing over that incredible gulf of time via an almost infinite array of successive forms, culminating in the species to which I now belong. I consider the whole process, and the universe I live in, awesome and wonderful. Subjectively, it seems to me “good” to act in a way that is compatible with the natural processes that have given me life. It follows that, from my own, individual, subjective point of view, I “should” seek to preserve that life and pass it on into the indefinite future.
I have not the slightest basis for claiming that “my way” is better than the whimsical behavior of those I see around me exultantly pursuing their morality inversions. At best, I must limit myself to observing that “my way” seems more consistent.