Below are two pictures of an article in a recent issue of Science. The first is the un-edited shot, and the second is the part I wish to draw your attention to:
Since I don’t currently have a functional scanner, I had to take a regular picture. Unfortunately, even though I could read the text just fine in the camera window when I zoomed in, I could no longer read it when I popped it up in MS Paint to draw that box around the pertinent text. So, here is what is written that I wish to draw your attention to, originally edited by Caroline Ash, titled “Perception and judgement creep:”
Do we think that a problem persists even when it becomes less frequent? Levari et al. show experimentally that when the “signal” a person is searching for becomes rare, the person naturally responds by broadening his or her definition of the signal – and therefore continues to find it even when it is not there. From low-level perception of color to higher-level judgments of ethics, there is a robust tendency for perceptual and judgmental standards to “creep” when they ought not to. For example, when blue dots become rare, participants start calling purple dots blue, and when threatening faces become rare, participants start calling neutral faces threatening. This phenomenon has broad implications that help explain why people whose job is to find and eliminate problems in the world often cannot tell when their job is done. -AMS
Science, this issue p.1465
As I mentioned in a recent post titled “A Point or Two About Art and Propaganda,” I became familiar with the nonsensical social justice movement because it is infecting gaming, and we gamers want nary a goddamned thing to do with it. “In the 41st millennium, there is only war.” Does anyone honestly believe that those who enjoy stories and games about such a grimdark universe genuinely want to live in it? I find World War II fascinating as well, but that does not mean I have any desire to hop in a time machine and go fight on the Eastern Front. However, I now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why the cancer that is social justice continues to spread. It is a problem that has spread across generations, because the problems that the original social progress movements fought to destroy no longer exist, and so the victorious activists felt a need to seek out other social injustices to correct.
This, of course, began with the suffrage movement, then temporarily going into hiding because the world was otherwise pre-occupied, re-emerging as the civil rights movement. The activists who managed to get the wrongs righted in those distant decades settled down, became college professors, and started to look for other problems along the same lines to “correct.” In my last post, titled “A Conversation About Social Experiments,” I mentioned that technology changes the faster than law, which changes faster than culture. Therefore, once a social “problem” has been legislated away, it will still continue to exist, because people’s minds will not change so quickly. “Just because sexism and racism have been outlawed, sexist and racist people still exist” is the logic behind the current social justice movement, which, strangely enough, is seeking more legislation in order to make the persisting prejudice disappear. They are simply impatient. However, while unable to force people to think in manners they find comfortable, they have found other “technical” inequalities that seem far easier to “correct,” such as the lack of female space marines in Warhammer 40K. This is what has me so upset. What’s next? Not enough female soldiers in Flames of War? If you want female space marines, play as the Adepta Sororitas, since it’s about as close as you’re going to get. Then again, there is nothing to stop you from putting female heads on Adeptus Astartes figures, or better yet, just claiming that your space marines are female, since they are usually wearing helmets anyway. If you want female soldiers in Flames of War, play as the Russians. That would be historically accurate, considering that Russians were fighting for their lives during the Great Patriotic War, and there were whole units staffed entirely by women. They were a minority, but they did indeed exist.
The most important sentence in that article I shared is “for example, when blue dots become rare, participants start calling purple dots blue, and when threatening faces become rare, participants start calling neutral faces threatening.” I would add that “when those on the far-right become rare, social justice warriors start calling centrists far-right, and when nazis become rare, social justice warriors start calling normal people nazis.” I’m not the first to notice this, in fact, I’m probably not the 200th this week. Therefore, I’m not going to go into this any more than I already have. I would, however, like to point out that this is not the first time in history that this sort of thing has happened. I used the term “crusaders” in the title because actual crusaders have been guilty of the exact same thing. After the success of the First Crusade, Rome began crusades to accelerate the conversion of northern Europeans to Christianity. After many successes and failures against Muslims and Pagans, the crusaders turned their eyes toward other Christians, i.e. non-Catholics, such as the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire and Russian Republics of Pskov and Novgorod. This culminated in the Battle of the Neva in 1240 and the Battle on the Ice in 1242, in which the Novgorod Army defeated the Swedes and Livonian Order, respectively. Even the Poles had not been spared from the Teutonic Knights, which seems odd in retrospect, given that the Polish were Catholic at the time. Fast forward three quarters of a millennium, and modern-day social crusaders are up to the exact same thing. This is called “shifting the goal-posts,” which is a reference to American football, though critics have usually derided the practise, without knowing that it is, in fact, deeply rooted in psychology.
There is, of course, a solution. Social progress must be made in large, definite increments, rather than tiny, nebulous movements toward a vague goal. Furthermore, culture does not change overnight, and in order for some new world view to become normal, it cannot be forced upon a population by those who want to see results in their own lifetime. Yet, those who championed change in decades past are impatient, and have taken to indoctrinating younger generations, rather than hanging up their boots and looking for something else to do while simply waiting for their changes to become naturally engrained in the minds of the population subject to them. They must make the conscious effort to make a goal and stop when they reach it, which is, apparently, against human nature. I get it, life is a journey, not a destination, but if you choose to be a leader and not simply do your own thing, then sometimes, you need to stop and let your followers catch up.
Yeah, like that’s ever going to happen.