The psychology of ‘Not’: Meet your (unexpected) inner conservative


Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamIf conservatism is famous for anything, it’s famous for what it doesn’t do. Conservative platforms since Thatcher and Reagan have been all about ‘Not’:

  • Not regulating.
  • Not funding.
  • Not culture.
  • Not education.
  • Not public health.
  • Not social justice.
  • Not science.
  • Not environment.
  • Not modernizing.
  • Not listening.

These Nots are basics, monotonously droned out by conservatives in every Western country on Earth without exception. They’re therefore usually ignored, and therefore not at all understood, by progressives. This range of Nots are everything about conservatism that any progressive has ever claimed them to be, and devalued accordingly.

The problem is that’s a very simple, and shallow, way of looking at conservatism. It’s also a great way of totally misunderstanding what Not really means in practice.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

For example – The usual appeal to “tradition” is often based on a personal reward. It brings back to you things that barely exist anymore. Tradition, however, is also the incarnation of a range of Nots, too, if you spin it that way. These appeals to tradition are great for those lost in the modern world, modern thinking and modern initiatives.

Tradition can be a huge reward. It’s a return to the womb or the family home of childhood, a safe place in your mind. (You could call it a luxury, on that basis.) It’s also a well-known psychological manipulative process. It’s guaranteed to appeal to the insecure, the overstressed and the under-acknowledged. It’s particularly effective on the modern psychological plague, anxiety.

This is the major, classic version of ‘Not’. These pre-adult nostalgias are at their core all about things  that are ‘not’ the things now bothering you. It’s like watching an old TV show from when you were a kid; you’re back home, somehow, at least for a while.

Let’s be fair about this –

  • Everyone over 10 has an established ‘Not’ zone, and a range of experiences and preferences to back it up.
  • The ‘Nots’ are real, perfectly valid psychological buttons, and they work on anyone. People use their Nots as valid reasons.
  • There’s a natural, and reasonable, right to insist on your personal ‘Nots’.

The problems with ‘Not’ as a basis for anything start with the ultra-dangerous “Not real”. This is a double entendre in a whole new class:

  • It can mean your personal Nots are real.
  • It can mean that any reality which isn’t a Not, isn’t real.

The separation between reality and Not is based on deep Fight or Flight catalysts. Fear is always effective, delivering adrenalin to upgrade non-specific Nots to personal crusades or deeply held, sudden beliefs in anything and everything.

Case in point – Many people fear change, and by extension, progress. Others may fear ideas, which leave them lost and totally unprepared for the thinking that goes with new ideas and new things.  They feel insecure, and disadvantaged by these things, and, in fact, they are. Their Nots have excluded them.

This is another universal human experience. It can be a very honest experience.  Many are highly distrustful of the often fake, facile logic of business culture. They distrust it, both on the job and in general.  That distrust is usually backed up by truly lousy personal experiences, and the belief in Not, which is a natural defensive reaction to adversity, becomes entrenched.

It’s a type of logic, perhaps not very focused, but it can drive a drastic response to anything. It can also drive a demand for more Nots. Nots are both a combination of conflict evasion and a position for conflict. Any Not can be used as a stonewall reaction to any group. It can be a rallying point. Add some dopamine, and you can even use it as a basis for “friend or foe” relationships.

The reality or unreality of Nots in history

Put enough Nots together, and you have a society based on Nots. That would be all fine and ducky, but Nots have a 100% record of failure over time.

  • China had a policy of not introducing foreign goods, for decades; look at China now.
  • Tsarist Russia had a policy of two very separate economic classes, not connected in any way and a strict social hierarchy on that basis; look at Russia now.
  • The sun did not set on the British Empire; Not-style mindsets destroyed it with unpreparedness and mismanagement based on the Not mentality. Look at the UK now.

The moral of history is that it’s not about Nots. Nots are straws in a hurricane. Life isn’t, and can’t be, entirely about negativity. The question is this: Does everyone’s inner conservative, the usually self-serving Not-addict, recognize the risks? Probably, Not.




Why do poor people support conservatism?


Wasp2It’s one of the great mysteries. The people who are most despised by conservatives support conservatism. Maybe it’s upbringing, maybe it’s religion, maybe it’s just good ‘ol stupidity. The fact seems to be that these people support those who couldn’t be paid to spit on them.

Conservative policies target health, education, employment, and basic civil rights. They’re usually a minority with clout far beyond their democratic demographics. The NRA’s total membership is about 1% of the US population, yet they dictate gun policy to the GOP, which has about 20-25% of the popular vote, (bearing in mind that only about 40% of eligible people in the US actually vote)

The 1% has 60% of the wealth, and you can assume they won’t be sharing that wealth with the poor any time soon. 158 families in the US, (including, ironically someone with a family name which is part of the German side of my family) are providing 50% of the GOP donations for 2016.

American Valhalla page 28 Are we poor enough yet page 11 Are we poor enough yet page 12  Are we poor enough yet page 14 DC Doom page 28  DC Doom page 30Conservatism is about government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. It always has been. The Roman Republic was split along economic/social lines, in the patricians and the plebeians. There’s only one way to cross this divide, and it’s with money, not democratic principles of equality.

When it comes to support, there’s also the “status” factor, aka the “social delusions” factor. Voting for the rich means “me too”, in many ways. Pathetic as this may be, it’s understandable, if you consider “me too” to mean aspirations.

Less credible is the fact that it’s also wishful thinking on the part of those whose social status needs some work. Modern conservatism is pretty trashy in some ways. It gives the illusion that even the sour little bastards in middle management and the self-promoters in finance and media are somehow turned in to conservatives by association.

They’re not. They’re still the same rat like, untrustworthy, backstabbing suburban slobs from Schmuck City, but they’re wearing suits and hobnobbing with real people, so they look like somebodies. They come and go. For every pathetic blue jacket and sycophantic boyish college hairstyle, about 100 of these pseudo-guys pass through the bowels of real conservative dynamics per day. They’re in, and then they’re out. Nobody knows or cares who they are, but they think they’re part of the machinery. A few may make careers out of it; most won’t.

(Compare these Santa’s Little Helpers to lobbyists, who make millions with a few friendly phone calls and some schmoozing. The party hacks are basically cornflakes in this environment.)

What’s really bizarre, and almost totally counterintuitive, is the superficiality of the conservative image in this regard. The forever-yelling-at-top-of-voice-online conservatism isn’t conservatism. It’s paid cheerleading, by people who are “political outworkers”. It’s also an invented ideology, telling people who to root for, and if you look at the online threads, they even use the same phrases all the time.

If you’re thinking that recruiting the wannabes, losers and underachievers in to this environment is easy with a whiff of money, bingo. They get to call themselves conservatives, which admittedly does sound a lot nicer than “social corpses”, and get to wear buttons, etc.

They are then pointed at “the enemy”, which in American politics is other Americans. They are told there’s such a thing as The Left, and that these people are trying to steal their rights, which like all good conformists, they’ve totally abrogated in the name of the word “conservativism”.

Check out the working logic:

  • Civil rights = Now whiter and brighter than ever.
  • Communism = Anything which involves paying with your own money for anything.
  • Constitution = Excuse for self.
  • Corporations = Good. Corporate laws and regulations = Bad.
  • Democrats = Bad.
  • Environment = Excuse for crimes and plea bargains.
  • Earth = Some place on the Discovery Channel.
  • Education = How to find FOX on the remote.
  • Eisenhower = Some guy.
  • Family values = Now with auditing options.
  • God = Excuse for anything, one of the best.
  • GOP = Good.
  • Guns = Good.
  • Hate groups = Downmarket.
  • Health = Illegal for anyone in lower income brackets.
  • Law enforcement = Highly profitable, good franchising opportunities.
  • Libertarians = Better than good.
  • Lincoln = Some guy.
  • Military budget = Self-made billionaires who did it their way.
  • Nixon = Good.
  • Not shooting people = Bad.
  • Oil = Good.
  • Organized crime = Never heard of it.
  • Pollution = Death for others. (Conservatives are immune to poisons and diseases)
  • Poor people = Bad criminals.
  • Poverty = Cheaper than jails for the poor.
  • Public money = Your very own personal property, grab a few truckloads.
  • Racism = The easy way to avoid actual democracy.
  • Reagan = Better than good.
  • Religion = Excuse for self and personal behavior.
  • Rich people = Good saints.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin Delano = The Anti-Christ, responsible for the New Deal and the theory of treating other Americans like human beings.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore = Some guy.
  • Taxes = Bad communism, especially if payable by you.
  • World War 2 = The triumph of democracy, forget FDR and Truman.

The fact that few people on the other side believe it’s worth talking to conservatives on any subject is based on this set of cookie cutter values. All issues boil down to these basic good/bad equations. Would you bother talking to anyone who’s going to instantly categorize any incident according to these values?

The poor are typically a few generations behind everyone else, in both amenities and social knowledge. They’re the economic hicks from the sticks, and if they support something because it looks good and pays money, it’s understandable. If it’s easier to understand than the multi-faceted, very unpleasant complexities of modern issues according to the other side, that’s understandable too. It’s just that it’s so absurd.

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Rap must die


Rap is now nearly 40 years old. It hasn’t changed. It’s still the “sound of the street” according to some middle class 50 something white guy in an overpriced office who wouldn’t know a sidewalk if it bit him. Rap is about a pseudo-culture which is basically lost in its own bull.

As black music, it’s barely a joke, and very unfunny. A very few artists try hard, and some do good mixes, but the point is that the really good stuff isn’t rap, it’s music. Compare modern rap to any other type of material ever done by any black artist, including jingles on TV. Cole Porter, perhaps the greatest musician of modern times, invented the whole idea of modern music. Holland Dozier Holland took that and created a whole musical business model. Atlantic turned it in to an iconic part of 60s culture, courtesy of Aretha Franklin and friends.

Rap couldn’t create an excuse for buying a Big Mac. It’s an insult to black culture, the Ultimate Cliché of predetermined stereotypes. As for cultural statements – Where? Is anyone actually saying anything new, or worth listening to? Compare Sly and the Family for statements, and sheer talent. With rap, you get the occasional Boom, but no Shakalaka.

It’s also a very good way of ensuring artist failure on a routine basis. Less than 1% of rap artists ever go on to do anything. It’s sure not the road to riches, unless you’re lucky or know someone. It’s a rap sheet for “forget it” as an artist. If you do a rap, you instantly become “one of those anonymous people”. No ID. This is John Doe music, backed up by tired old 1980s patches from Grandmaster Flash and some real singing by chicks who never get much publicity or acknowledgement for being the only things worth listening to.

Somebody told me recently that they were getting rappers to work for free, as “auditions”, i.e. free labor in venues. Another ripoff now built in to the scene.

It’s a soundtrack to a failed society, rattling away in the depths of American despair. Put it this way – Rap started with Reagan, and black America, like the rest of the country, has been going backwards ever since. It’s now the “they’re all like that” image of black America. I heard some kid with a voice like Robeson, doing some useless nursery rhyme. As a singer, he’d be a superstar. As a rapper, he’s just another “one of them”. That’s what’s happening to black music, and it has to stop.

RAP MUST DIE. It should die like it’s been killing whole generations of black musicians. Just think of the music that might be.

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