May 16, 2006

Tom Wolfe's concept of the "fiction-absolute:"

In Wolfe's recent Jefferson Lecture, he wrote:

Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world--so ordained by some almighty force--would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles.

I only wish Wolfe had come up with a catchy name, which he, the coiner of "radical chic," "the Me Decade," and "the Right Stuff," is certainly capable of. A reader writes:

Tom Wolfe's "fiction-absolute" structure of the mind has tremendous explanatory power.

Regarding (racial) groups with significantly different innate abilities, it would suggest that the 2 groups cannot ever live together in harmony. No group would ever agree to take part in a society that valued traits that would ensure that their group was valued less. Even though their group overall well being might be materially better, and any individual might gain status and prestige within this system, if it decreased the status potential of the group they will rebel and create their own values.

I have been waiting my whole life for someone to systematically explain this to me. It seemed intuitive but I wasn't smart enough to systematically understand it.

It would also explain the phenomenon of political correctness. It never made sense to why telling the truth was such a big deal. Maybe the liberals understand the human mind better than I do. Maybe each particular group must feel that they have a theoretical chance to dominate or else there will be a psychological schism too large to bridge without overt domination of one group over another.

A diverse society therefore has two options: living a lie that every group is equal in ability (eventually backed by force as it fails) or a caste system backed by force.

This would seem to argue against neoconservative color blind society that ignores group differences. It would also argue against your citizenism where we are all aware of our differences but get along fine and only think about the nation as a whole.

What happens is that people are perfectly capable of living happily in a society where their group is below average ... until they think about it. The problem is that as time goes on, people general get more time on their hands to think about things like this, and more "ethnic leaders" to encourage them to dwell on the insult of it all.

The funny thing is that your group doesn't even have to be below average for you to be outraged. Indeed, it appears to be a general pattern that the closer your group gets to being the top dog today, the angrier you get over slights to your group in your great-grandfather's day, as JPod's tantrum over immigration last Friday on NRO's "The Corner" showed.

Let me add, thought, that the point of citizenism is not that its natural or easy but that it's necessary to head off trouble caused by natural divisiveness.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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