Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Convincing 1955 To Be 2015

During the Charlie Hebdo imbroglio, I discovered this cartoon and this quote from President Eisenhower.
Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend our own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.
There is no way on Earth that my parents or their contemporaries would have found that cartoon to be even vaguely acceptable. If you were from 1955, you'd have to have been several standard deviations off the norm, on the order of Jack Kerouac, in order to think the cartoon wasn't worthy of censorship.

1955 America was America, too. 2015 does not have a copyright on that title.

Over the last 60 years, our morals and society have gradually changed. We did not become the porn-besotted, weed-soaked, worship-our-groins nation overnight. It took 60 years of deliberate, incremental steps to get here.

When we interact with Muslims, a decent mental model might be 1955 America. Imagine trying to convince Harry Jones of 1955 Cleveland that all family structures are equally valid, that sex on TV is fine, abortion is OK and religious symbols need to be removed from all public places.

Then catch him up on social pathologies by showing him things like this.
Lolcat translation: Moral dekadenz not goin so well akshually.
Two things are going to happen that don't happen in conversation with someone from 2015.

First, Harry's not going to be intimidated by the ad hominems the libertines throw around today to bully their opponents into silence. He hasn't yet learned that you have to wriggle around, avoiding the chance you could be accused of homophobia or being a fundamentalist. Our accepted norm of not morally judging behavior will be alien to him and he won't accept that. Talk about the oppressive cisgendered Patriarchy is going to sound like what it is - lunacy.

The second thing that's going to happen is that Harry is going to dunk on you, over and over and over again. That graph is just the beginning. There are lots more. The moral prudes from the 50s who warned of what would happen if we allowed the libertines free rein have been, for the most part, proven correct. Accusations of racism aren't going to fly, either, as Harry beats you to death with statistics of black poverty and black family structures.

The data is available to all of us right now. The difference between then and now is that the people of 1955 would be willing to use it and would dismiss the condescending sneers of 2015 out of hand. As our moral compass has decayed, our ability to call things what they are has as well. It was a necessary loss in order to maintain the fiction that our new "freedoms" were not destructive. They are, but we can't say that.

Muslims can. Accusing a devout Muslim of being a judgmental prude probably doesn't have the same effect as it does on one of our modern university graduates. I've no doubt that their Imams are shoving these statistics in their faces on a regular basis. Since their moral attitudes haven't had 60 years to be gradually diluted into nothing, they're not going to be pushed around with our idiot, Unitarian-style arguments.

If our modern, secularist leaders are going to win cultural arguments with the Muslims, they're going to have to show them the concrete advantages of porn and weed. Good luck with that.

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