Friday 28 January 2022

Something In The Water.

Youll Look Better Without It: Authoritarian males admire men of power, enthusiastically replicating their controlling behaviours in their own lives. Big bosses beget little bosses, and bossiness becomes society’s standard operating principle. To be a right-winger is to both embrace and enforce the politics of control.

IS THERE SOMETHING in the water? Some dangerous mix of chemicals that’s turning so many Kiwi males toxically right-wing?

I remember my mother telling me that it was the iodine deficiency in New Zealand’s soil that made goitres such a problem a century ago. That problem was fixed by adding iodine to our table salt and daily bread. Tooth decay in our kids was similarly addressed by adding fluoride to the water supply.

Surely the manifold deficiencies of right-wing Kiwi blokes could be remedied by quietly introducing an equally efficacious additive? The rest of us would be so grateful if someone did.

What prompted me to climb aboard this contentious train of thought? Reading the public endorsement, by former All-Black, Zinzan Brooke, of fellow Kiwi, Dan Wootton’s attack on the Covid-19 policies of prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. “Cruel, Deluded, Doomed” was the headline grab from Britain’s Daily Mail, and it was all downhill from there.

Now, some might excuse Zinzan on the grounds that he’s been living in the UK for the past quarter-century and, as confirmed by Brexit and Boris, there’s definitely something dangerous lurking in the English water supply.

Others might simply point to the fact that Brooke’s a Rugby player and, therefore, highly likely to have knocked his brain about in what must surely be one of the most brutal games on the planet. (The Americans still shake their heads in disbelief at the absence of helmets and shoulder-pads.)

Unfortunately, the predictable misogyny and ill-informed opinionizing of Wootton’s contribution to The Daily Mail is not confined to the British Isles, or the game of Rugby. Exactly the same sentiments are expressed with monotonous regularity by right-wing blokes across New Zealand. What makes them do it?

A large part of the answer undoubtedly revolves around the issue of “control”. Right-wingers – especially right-wing males – seem utterly obsessed with the idea. It begins with the masculinist notion that maintaining control, both of oneself, and others, amidst the all the frightening chaos of human existence, is absolutely vital.

To lose control, or, even worse, to surrender to that chaos, is to embrace failure. “Real men” do not fail – they succeed. In the calculus of this particular expression of masculinity, failing is the equivalent of losing, and the one label no “real man” will ever accept is “loser”. Real men are not losers – real men are winners.

This obsession with winning: with not being a loser; is what distinguishes these men as right-wingers – authoritarians.

To control human societies requires strength, and the willingness to use force to preserve the hierarchies of wealth and power that keep all but the simplest human communities functional. Historically, complex civilisations have been dominated by men with the material and psychological resources needed to control other men, women, children, and nature itself.

Authoritarian males admire these men of power, enthusiastically replicating their controlling behaviours within their own lives. Big bosses beget little bosses, and bossiness becomes society’s standard operating principle. To be a right-winger is to both embrace and enforce the politics of control.

But, what happens when the hierarchies of wealth and power are disrupted? When the “natural order” is overturned? When forces beyond the control of those normally in control compel them to abandon business as usual? When the need to keep other human-beings safe and society functioning over-rules the interests and inclinations of bosses large and small?

What happens when the needs of those deemed inferior to the bosses: women, children, people of colour, the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable are accorded equal status, or even elevated above, the needs of the people who usually call the shots?

Well, when that happens – as it has as a consequence of the global Covid-19 pandemic – right-wing males start behaving irrationally. Their loss of control frightens them, and they fixate on individuals and groups – like Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Party – who seem to embody the forces which have dislodged them from their privileged perches (both real and symbolic) in the pecking order. Nothing makes human-beings more hateful than the conviction that they are being robbed of their status – their control.

Hardly surprising, then, that so much of the vitriol directed at Jacinda Ardern is being spat out by high-status, authoritarian males.

What’s poisoning the water? Toxic levels of testosterone. Time, perhaps, for an efficacious injection of estrogen?

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 28 January 2022.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Ah, but authoritarianism and hierarchies are natural you realise though Chris, at least according to Jordan Peterson. Because lobsters. Personally I think the argument that communism is natural – because bees – makes just as much sense. :)

greywarbler said...

I think this that you wrote is at the heart of the matter.

Well, when that happens – as it has as a consequence of the global Covid-19 pandemic – right-wing males start behaving irrationally. Their loss of control frightens them, and they fixate on individuals and groups – like Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Party – who seem to embody the forces which have dislodged them from their privileged perches (both real and symbolic) in the pecking order. Nothing makes human-beings more hateful than the conviction that they are being robbed of their status – their control.

But if looking for the female hormone (remembering that wee all have a mixture of testosterone and estrogen), there is the same effect as in males to be found in certain females, a love of authoritarianism. Many females have allowed this to burgeon, unwisely I think, though some have rejected that, hide their strong impulses and express them in diffuse ways.

And some are confused about what hormones they want, blaming an imbalance and body fornmation for their problems in this modern world with many finding being rigid in belief and function becomes an essential to maintain a recognisable identuty and personality. People's surnames in the past were connected to their lifelong jobs - Thatcher, Miller etc. Now we are told by government that we may have to change jobs and re-educate ourselves, three or four times in our lifetime. We cling onto some persona in a changing world.

A bread advertisement I saw from a train said 'Hovis bread - what you eat today walks and talks tomorrow'. What new thing we hear today, morning, afternoon and night, will have to be absorbed and acted on to some extent forcing change, and those who don't know or refuse to change their behaviour will still be affected by the inexorable movement of the population
and the planet.

David George said...

Interesting theory Chris, more than a few problems with it though and really pushing it to attribute criticism to moral or psychological deficiencies or, absurdly, mental incapacity. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Criticism of government actions (and inactions) in similar countries, including quite personal attacks, is hardly confined to our leadership, or the gender of the leader. It has come from men and women and from the powerful and the downtrodden. Witness the Maori girls in Paihia or at the Kawakawa presser giving Jacinda an abusive telling off and, in the Paihia case, trying to run her off the road.

There's nothing to suggest it's down to misogyny or a will to authoritarian power. Many are concerned with quite the reverse and are horrified with the authoritarian state mandates being imposed. There is now widespread and growing concern with the mandatory vaccination of children. Expect to see the "Momma Bears" having something to say about that.

I, and many with a sense of history, was shocked with the "one source of truth" pronouncement. There's no such thing, particularly with this virus and the vaccine, much about which was, and still is, unknown. It's the sort of thing that just begs to be challenged, doubly concerning that our gullible legacy media seem to have been taken in with it as well.

No government will have got this right, no matter how well intentioned, however, trying to shame people into silence is not good, ever.

Kat said...

I doubt if Jacinda had played rugby it would have made much difference.

"There's no success like failure and failure's no success at all"

Winners are not afraid of losing, but losers are and failure is part of the process of success.

A song for the post:

Don Franks said...

Well, I wish it was that simple. Or confined to a political bent that I don't relate to. Many left wing males - and females- Stalinist, Troskyist, Anarchist and social democratic of my acquaintance through books and in real life have been controlling to an unsufferable degree. So have many men and women in trade union offices, although there its debatable whether they should be listed as as left, right or indifferent.

Don Franks said...

I should add to my previous comment that among the most controlling elements at work today are the nice woke liberal people who will censor your writing, deny you a platform or tell tales to your employer if you insist on the new heresy that women are adult human females and humans are unable to change their sex.

John Hurley said...

You've assumed a link between Brexit and attitudes to Covid. Have you noticed culture warriors like Mark Daalder have Vaccinate and wear a mask in their Twitter handle. I think the way that side have jumped on (with such enthusiasm) provokes a skeptical inclination. It is a distaste for universalist ideologies that trample on freedom.

Kate Hanna (Misinformation Chief)should be a warning.

and do they not in the course of it become aware, on the one hand, of a self which dominates; and, on the other, of something in them which is brought to heel? This dominant self is then variously identified with reason, with my `higher nature', with the self which calculates and aims at what will satisfy it in the long run, with my `real', or `ideal', or `autonomous self, or with my self `at its best'; which is then contrasted with irrational impulse, uncontrolled desires, my `lower' nature, the pursuit of immediate pleasures, my `empirical' or `heteronomous' self, swept by every gust of desire and passion, needing to be rigidly disciplined if it is ever to rise to the full height of its `real' nature. Presently the two selves may be represented as divided by an even larger gap: the real self may be conceived as something wider than the individual (as the term is normally understood), as a social `whole' of which the individual. is an element or aspect: a tribe, a race, a church; a state, the great society of the living and the dead and the yet unborn. This entity is then identified as being the `true' self which, by imposing its collective, or `organic', single will upon its recalcitrant `members', achieves its own, and therefore their, `higher' freedom. The perils of using organic metaphors to justify the coercion of some men by others in order to raise them to a `higher' level of freedom have often been pointed out. But what gives such plausibility as it has to this kind of language is that we recognize that it is possible, and at times justifiable, to coerce men in the name of some goal (let us say, justice or public health) which they would, if they were more enlightened, themselves pursue, but do not, because they are blind or ignorant or corrupt. This renders it easy for me to conceive of myself as coercing others for their own sake, in their, not my interest. I am then claiming that I know what they truly need better than; they know it themselves. What, at most, this entails is that they would not resist me if they were rational and as wise as I and understood their interests as I do. But I may go on to claim a good deal more than this. I may declare that they are actually aiming at what in their benighted state they consciously resist, because there exists within them an occult entity--their latent rational will, or their. `true' purpose-- and that this entity, although it is belied by all that they overtly feel and do and say, is their `real' self, of which the poor empirical self in space and time may know nothing or little; and that this inner spirit is the only self that deserves to have its wishes taken into account. Once I take this view, I am in a position to ignore the actual wishes of men or societies, to bully, oppress; torture them in the name, and on behalf, of their `real' selves, in the secure knowledge that whatever is the true goal of man (happiness, performance of duty, wisdom, a just society, self-fulfilment) must be identical with his freedom--the free choice of his `true', albeit often submerged and inarticulate, self.
Two concepts of Liberty - Isaiah Berlins.

Hitler and Stalin had much in common

It sort of makes sense that a few of the bulls start getting restless when there is the detection of a threat, even if it's form isn't fully realised?

Archduke Piccolo said...

A reminder: not all of us blokes are agin Jacinda Ardern's policy on COVID - nor agin Jacinda Ardern qua PM, nor qua public figure. The COVID policy has been a pain in the arse, sure, but I don't reckon that in the circumstances she and her government could have handled it much better. It could so easily have been a bally sight worse. Try and imagine the outcome if Judith Collins or John Key had had the prime ministership. Yeah, right, 'nuff said.

I am quite aware that Jacinda Ardern is Tory Lite, but - in this in my view is a very rare thing among Tories - she does 'Tory' with some heart, and a bit of brain as well. Tell you what, compare her leadership qualities with what has been on show in the US, UK, NATO, Canada, and Australia, and she stands out in large letters as a statesman.

I'd rather her as PM than just about anyone else kicking around in this country right now.
Ion A. Dowman

sumsuch said...

As we both know, Rightie leaders are often soft in person, the epitome of humanity, 'in their circle'. And Lefties, the reverse. You're certainly right about many of the Right's male voters among the lower middle class 'down'. Dunning Krugerers -- so dim you have to squint at their stupidity, or the average Evangelical congregation. Thank fuck we don't have the numbers of them Oz and America have.

Steve said...

Jesus Christ Chris - seriously you are overdue for a cup of tea & a lie-down. Perhaps tomorrow you can enlighten us how all “left wingers” are rabid, deranged losers. Which, going by your efforts here, it is fair to saynthey are.

AB said...

Yup. I'm a (straight) male and the majority of the kiwi males I have encountered for decades at work or socially drive me crazy with their crude brutality.

Scott said...

Wow. Maybe men want to have some control of their own lives. Maybe they don't want others telling them what to do at all times. Maybe they are law abiding citizens who earn their own keep, pay their taxes and want the government to leave them alone.
Maybe they resent the soft feminist tyranny of the woke left. I know I do.

Russ the muss said...

I must confess I'm on Team testosterone in this. If pointing our the inadequacies of this incompetent government make some an alpha Male, then an alpha I am:)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Maori "girls". Jesus Christ, some things never change do they? And all you people that don't want to vaccinate? Those of you that are still alive can maybe enjoy sitting around drinking your own pee. Good luck with that. I call it evolution in action except that you will infect innocent people.

David George said...

We need to hear from everyone but a lot of opinion, though we like to pretend otherwise, is motivated by our personality types. There's no need to invoke all sorts of imagined faults and failings, it's not at all surprising that Zinzan Brooke is opposed to the mandates and other restrictions; "better to die on your feet than live on your fknees than live on your knees" is not just a cliché for him. He's a risk taker, he's put his body and reputation on the line at the highest level, for him life is an adventure to be lived not something to be feared, he's not one afraid of life and probably not of death either.

The government have also copped criticism for not going far enough, Michael Baker would have us locked down in perpetuity. What would happen if we were? What would happen to a society that committed to a no risk , safety is everything approach; a society that set out to socially engineer Michael Bakers rather than Zinzan Brookes?

David George said...

Oops, that should have been "better to die on your feet than live on your knees"

Just to add: we need the range of people, the adventurous and the cautious, the warriors and the worriers. Obviously both won't be right all the time but failure to allow a plurality of opinions and attitudes, the strength of diversity, is certainly fatal in the long run.

greywarbler said...

Scott Law-abiding citizens. Who makes the law - the government? Whatever government is in power law-abiding citizens need to work at being thoughtful citizens trying to keep the country in balance with other people in mind than their own personal wishes and desires. Get it you self-centred male? The woke will pass, but the mania has to be watered down and you as a citizen are needed to think it through along with the community and manage it, there is no way to have a working democracy without that. Fascism of course may suit you better if it is cut to fit your particular size of brain.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Michael Baker would have us locked down in perpetuity. "

And you know this how? Could you perhaps give us a quote from him? Because I suspect as with most epidemiologists, he simply wants to keep us locked down or maybe lock us down every so often, until most of us are vaccinated and we are not going to overwhelm the hospitals with people on ventilators that prevent others from having treatment.
Zinzan Brook of course is well known for his knowledge of epidemiology. A bankrupt who believes in taking horse dewormer? Or shoving bleach up his fundament? That's whose advice we should be taking? If he suggested drinking your own piss, would you do it? Tell me David, do you get your heart surgery done by a diesel mechanic?.There is a list of prominent antivaxers who have popped their clogs from covid on the Internet somewhere. Let's hope you don't manage to get yourself on it.

For Christ's sake, there are opinions and opinions. Some are worthy of note, some not.
With some it means means that they work in a virology department at a major research university, they have a PhD in virology, and have at least 10 years post doc research, and about 100 published papers. Presented at at least 6 international symposia and are on the peer list of referees for most of the major publications in the field.
If they ain’t that, then they must have read a post on facebook from stayathomemom89.

We all know which one you are. :)

sumsuch said...

That explains my brother-in-law. Dim doesn't do him justice but he has a high opinion of his opinions which if enacted would kill us dead. On the spot.

Let the social democrats take command, as even Jace has done in the covid experience. And the great hope for America -- not really, their hope is to free everything up as the Right demands. By which the Dem states at best can find their way to Canadian democracy.

What you have to do when the rich have too much power. Not like the idiotic Yank Dems know anything apart from their donors. So we rely on ordinary but exceptional fury. It happens regularly -- I remember how Mandela somehow stopped the Zulu opposition war.

sumsuch said...

Authoritarian males -- the sad temptation of social democrats, even those who are willing to wait for ever, the Fabians.

My socialist great grandfather gave his first son the name Carlyle. Reading up on Carlyle lately I'm disgusted in my fellow Scot. His racism and strong man worship. I now wonder about my ancestor -- it would account for his strongman personality. I wonder whether he is truer to my four fascist siblings than me. Must go to the National Archives and look at his publications. So many of the early socialists had no rightful humility -- were happy for their family to pay for the expense of 'the Cause' -- why I admire MJS in that respect.

Doug Longmire said...

In this case, I think you are wrong, Chris.
You quote two individuals to brand 50% of the population.
Also - history tells us that Left wing dictators have caused immense human death and suffering.

AB said...

@Russ the Muss
Oh Gawd - another right winger trying to disguise their ideology as 'competence'.
No ideology here sir - just competence and common sense, really there is no alternative.
Sickening claptrap.

greywarbler said...

sumsuch refers to the Fabians. I note they have lectures in the main centres FTTT. What else do they do now - what do they achieve for society's betterment? If you have done a fairly recent post on them Chris can you guide me to it please? Or would you give us an update with historical and personnel perspective?

David George said...

Certainly some controversy over the past few days, the extraordinary kerfuffle over the Joe Rogan discussions not the least of them.

Neil Young, in a spectacular own goal, tried to blackmail Rogan off Spotify and only succeeded in getting cancelled himself and having Rogan's already huge viewership increase massively. The issue? Rogan's discussion on Covid was branded "misinformation" "unscientific" - and probably racist, misogynistic, transphobic etc.

The truly bizarre thing was that the discussion was with Dr Robert Malone, the patent holder and leader for the scientific team that developed the mRNA vaccines in the first place.
Why would his serious, considered and informed concerns regarding the use of covid vaccines, particularly for children and healthy young adults be such an issue? Are we really expected to only allow the "official narrative" and discredit and demonise all contrary reasonable evidence and opinion?

Shades of the Lysenko disaster, the "official narrative" that cost the lives of millions in Soviet Russia?

sumsuch said...

I envied my schoolteacher pa's marking of assignments -- judgment on high, being the arbiter of all, an outpouring of my munificence. He, like every teacher, hated marking homework. Can see why you have got over us Monte Holcroft letter-writers. S'pose there is the necessary freer discussion at TDB. Certainly not TS.

David George said...

Chris: "What’s poisoning the water?"

In one of his most outrageous lies to date PM Trudeau, regarding the massive anti-mandate truckies protests "condemned the antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-black racism, homophobia and transphobia that we've seen on display in Ottawa over the past number of days. Together, let's keep working to make Canada more inclusive."

This unconscionable diversion against a group of ordinary working people of all races fighting for their rights, on the contrary Chris, was really "spat out by a high-status, authoritarian"

David George said...

Reading far and wide on a rainy sSunday afternoon I came across this wee gem from "post-woke pagan" Rhyd Wildermuth. Rhyd is currently unpacking the toxin of wokeness from a leftist perspective:

"One can even suggest without any risk of absurdity that the woke have merely retooled the formula from The Communist Manifesto with different actors. That is, rather than “the history of all hitherto existing society" being “the history of class struggles,” it is the history of race struggles, or gender struggles, or struggles of sexuality, or of ability. In the woke cosmology, it is not the limited bourgeois class against the innumerable proletariat, but rather the white heterosexual able-bodied cis-man against everyone else in the world.

The economic, political, and social system that the bourgeois class created has a name: capitalism. The white heterosexual able-bodied cis-man is likewise said to have created systems: white supremacy, cis-heteropatriarchy, toxic masculinity, and countless other sub-systems (homophobia, ableism, and so on). He has supposedly constellated a symbolic order at the top of which he alone sits, accumulating wealth and preventing all others from accessing his proprietary secrets. His systems are the reasons for which black people are poor, why trans people commit suicide at very high rates, why people with “invisible disabilities” struggle to hold regular jobs, any why many gay teenagers struggle with meth addiction or are bullied at school.

Here we must recognise that woke ideology is engaged in the very same mechanism of symbolic ordering in which Marx and Engels engaged. Whether or not there is “such a thing” as the white heterosexual able-bodied cis-man is just as irrelevant as is the question of whether or not the world can be divided between bourgeoisie and proletariat. What is important here is that the white heterosexual able-bodied cis-man is a symbolic category which woke ideology is attempting to manifest as a physical reality.

In other words, or more precisely in the words of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, woke ideology is attempting to institute the white heterosexual able-bodied cis-man into the constellation of radical political struggle"

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Neil Young, in a spectacular own goal, tried to blackmail Rogan off Spotify and only succeeded in getting cancelled himself and having Rogan's already huge viewership increase massively. The issue? Rogan's discussion on Covid was branded "misinformation" "unscientific" - and probably racist, misogynistic, transphobic etc."

Considering that Spotify pays risible amounts of money for the privilege of having musicians on their site, I doubt somehow if Neil Young had much of a known goal at all. Apparently one hit record from somebody got the munificent sum of $167. I doubt if it was much of a sacrifice for him.
And I do notice that Spotify has now pulled a number of that moron Rogan's programs because of his use of the word "nigger". So maybe he is racist after all?
Not to mention that Malone is grossly exaggerating his contribution to the development of vaccines, which you would know if you bothered to do 30 seconds worth of research.
The Lysenko disaster? I suppose that's just a tad better than equating it with the Holocaust, you must be slipping David.Jesus Christ, I'd be ashamed to show such ignorance in public. :-)

Perhaps if you'd seen the YouTube clip where Rogan is spouting his anti-scientific nonsense, is corrected, shown the scientific research, and yet fails to change his mind. Personally I think calling him a moron was being a bit charitable.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dammit, forgot to post this.

Pierre Bourdieu? He's a bit of a hero of mine, and you rather besmirch his name simply by typing it. I'd love to see the quote that says that, because it's not in the article you linked to, and I'm pretty sure the Bourdieu never actually heard the word "woke" in his life.

It simply means "cares about people I hate" anyway.

sumsuch said...

Everything turns brown and right in British Labour's waters these days, greywarbler. I 'sense' unlike Shaw and the Webbs the modern Fabians are so. Don't have your immaculate references.