“It is not only science that can suffer under the thumb of those in power. The anthropologist Donald Brown was puzzled to learn that over the millennia the Hindus of India produced virtually no histories, while the neighboring Chinese had produced libraries full. He suspected that the potentates of a hereditary caste society realized that no good could come from a scholar nosing around in records of the past where he might stumble upon evidence undermining their claims to have descended from heroes and gods. Brown looked at twenty-five civilizations and compared the ones organized by hereditary castes with the others. None of the caste societies had developed a tradition of writing accurate depictions of the past; instead of history they had myth and legend. The caste societies were also distinguished by an absence of political science, social science, natural science, biography, realistic portraiture, and uniform education.”

That’s another quote from Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works. It reminds me that long ago I promised to write a post on why I am not in favor of caste. I’ll have to ask for another extension on that. However, after giving a Straussian analysis of Mencius Moldbug as Islam-proponent (read the comments for MM’s responses), how could I resist finding the similarities here as well? One of the oddest statements MM has made is that history has been corrupted by “social science” (which he hates) and is properly a branch of literature. He favors figures like Carlyle or Ruskin who held that history is the account of the acts of “great men”, which sounds a lot like myth and legend. He of course despises uniform education as brainwashing by the Cathedral (I can’t say I dissagree terribly there). He doesn’t much trust natural scientists either whether the subject is global warming, string theory (though he seems more sympathetic to Lubos Motl than Lee Smolin for global warming and political reasons) and is quite ready to concede that cold fusion has been suppressed by a conspiracy of scientists.

You might note that the quote contrasts China with India, and MM currently promotes the post-Deng system of the former and named himself after a follower of Confucius. Can a good Straussian take him at his word? He once defined leftism as the belief that we should be governed by scholars, perhaps assuming people would make the connection to Plato’s Philosopher King (he later defined it as favoring disorder, while he as a righty/”pronomian” favors the opposite). A much better connection could be made to the Mandarins of China. The term he uses for our intellectual class is “Brahmin”, which like his “Vaisyas” and “Dalits” he takes from India (Optimates are Roman and Helots served Spartans). This is a purposeful bit of misdirection. The Mandarin class of China was famously meritocratic, while in India one’s caste is determined at birth (there are even some well-off intellectual Dalits). MM notes that the Brahmins recruit the children of Optimates (who are fast disappearing) and Vaisyas sent to universities, and despite PC cant those universities are very meritocratic. Even the ethnic group most closely associated with that caste, the Jews, rose up to it after starting out as lower-class immigrants or shtetl dwellers. The Chinese are well known for their abhorrence of disorder, but what’s often forgotten by Westerners is that this is the result of their experiencing the awful consequences of it repeatedly. Mao and his cultural revolution are a recent example, but there have been waves of other intellectual movements that burned the books of the Four Olds (both the Maoists and the Legalists hated Confucianism). India remained firmly in the grip of the warrior caste, and despite being the birthplace of Buddhism it ignored that faddish religion for the Chinese to take up (some of them simultaneously believe in it as well as Taoism). The sub-continent is also the birthplace of Jainism (perhaps the ultimate progressive religion) and Sikhism, but its adherents are generally content to go into finance rather than trying to overturn society. A bonus from my perspective and possibly his is that India was never unified until the British arrived and conquered the various little kingdoms.

Sebastian Flyte linked to my previous HtMW post, and he’s had me on blogroll for a while. When I first read some of his blog I decided not to add it to my blogroll because I’m not really interested in “The Game”, but there’s other good stuff there as well. The first Tyler Durden link about a self-hating lifestyle is a fairly accurate description of me and while I know it can’t last forever I pre-emptively regret its end and hope to savor what remains of it. It’s hard to imagine something better than childish irresponsibility. At any rate, this boost his traffic more than getting plugged by this nobody and the space he takes up will be vacated by Odessa Syndicate, which no longer exists and has a less fun replacement. You might be wondering why I’m not removing the inactive Brooklyn Copperhead, but he still sends comments to Philip Weiss which means he’s not dead and there’s hope for more posts.