I grew up with standard politically correct beliefs regarding ethnicity and the sexes and I believed without reservation until I got into college and got my first glimpse inside the workings of the high temple and had my first experience in a wider world as an apprentice adult. Back then, in the early 00’s, widespread high speed internet had just taken off and the alt-internet was not even an embryo compared to what it has become.
Having held most of the standard beliefs at some point, I can understand their appeal. Reality cares nothing for our wishes and nature is harsh. The world is superficially a much more sunny place when you believe that all people have equal capabilities and temperament and that everyone could live in a Swedish utopia but for the barriers of culture and lack of opportunity.
The state religion is not only optimistic, it is aspirational with a clear goal to improve life for everyone. What’s not to like? Until you encounter real life, there’s no reason not to believe in it. Even better, the story comes with a clear villain, people with outdated beliefs on the “wrong side of history” who actually believe stupid superstition like skin color making any difference. What could be more ridiculous? Science proves that all our DNA is 99%+ the same. So anyone that denies that is anti-science. QED. Growing up, I’d hear a lot about benighted Christians in Kansas trying to foist intelligent design on the school system while making crazy claims that the fossil record had been placed there by the devil. There was no contest in the realm of ideas. It was embarrassing and frightening that there were millions of crazy fundy Christians in the USA in contrast to the seemingly much more rational people just about anywhere else. The unbelievable stupidity of lowbrow white America was undeniable proof that no race was actually better or different than any other. It was always knuckledraggers that made such claims. I can actually understand educated contempt for middle America from the other side. Anything I heard growing up was slanted in a relentlessly negative light. Most everything about other points of view was distorted by the straw man treatment, only the craziest crazies and dimwits gleefully given airtime. Looking back, I can understand how they can adore humble Nicaraguan coffee growers harvesting “free trade” coffee yet despise the working class in their own country who keep their cozy offices lit and air conditioned.
I grew up and learned there was more to the story but we must remember most educated professionals never have to deal with real life beyond office politics, so they never have reason to question what they were taught. Their whole life is a progression from one sheltered safe zone to the next: grade school(in a “good” district) => college => job echo chamber full of others like them while living in an isolated suburb with people at the same income they make. They can easily live their whole lives without having to interact with anyone from another caste so that’s what they assume the whole world is like even if it’s actually a very narrow slice. They can never depart from their group consensus or they get exiled by the only group they’ve ever known. In their own way, they are as ignorant as the uneducated Latin American villagers they adore.
The most obvious solution is to simply make people deal with the real world. In the republican primaries, it was the states with significant minority populations that voted overwhelmingly for Trump. Almost invariably, those who are most in favor of ethnic minority interests are those who interact with them least. Or at best, if they are activist/charity types they visit the ghettoes as virtue tourists, not as residents just trying to live. They meet token minorities at work and at school and they model what other races are like based on these outliers. More importantly, they never interact with other races when they are in the majority. You don’t know anything about race until you’re the only white guy in the room. It should be a civic requirement, actually, that everyone have that experience at least once to be in the ethnic minority in a situation like a job, where power matters and you’re not in charge. The moment whites are in the minority, all the rules instantly change. The token ethnic coworkers you thought were buddies change their personality like the flick of a switch once they can smell they rule the roost and only ever promote their own kind. It’s one of the most eye-opening innocence-destroying experiences a sheltered educated person can have. Once you’re along for the ride in an environment controlled by another people, all the fundamental differences between peoples are revealed. As it happens, a deep sense of fair play, altruism, and sympathy for outgroups are almost uniquely Western European traits that more insular tribes can easily take advantage of. 4 years of college opened my eyes to the incredible entitlement of women and the evils of feminism but it wasn’t until I was out in the world on my own that I learned what race and ethnicity means in real life. What any man who has worked jobs in mixed neighborhoods or been to prison knows well, those supposedly the best and brightest of us who make the big decisions are totally clueless about.
It should perhaps also be a requirement that educated people at least once in their lives have to live and work alongside the working classes and unskilled laborers. The upper middle classes don’t understand how society works because they only interact with others like themselves who read books and are able to handle delayed gratification. If you live just a little while at crappy hourly wages, you quickly learn most people live in their instinct most of the time thinking or reading very little. You learn the truth that rational humans as the Enlightenment conceives of them are but a tiny handful of the species. Once someone grasps this lesson, they can never again see problems of governance the same.
What’s more, that sense of studied contempt sheltered people indulge in dissolves quickly when forced to live with normal people. They quickly learn the hard way that those who live in touch with their inner beast with a minimum of extraneous fluff are extremely effective at the actual business of survival, that main focus of most living things . It’s tough to compete with proles in their own element, they are hardened survivors comfortable with being only slightly removed from disaster or deprivation. Their lack of intellect and foresight limits their scope but within their natural habitat most educated types struggle to survive.
Most upper middle class types have never been truly low in rank. They were often coddled as children or smothered by helicopter parents, then as overgrown children in college, still indulged. I’ve met many successful people who earn well but are still spoiled brats. Just once, everyone needs that ubiquitous prole experience where you hit that hard barrier and find out the fundamental truth that no one cares about you. That you’re the only one that will ever really care about your own dreams. Just once, to go up and try to talk to that supervisor and have him turn away and ignore you if your query goes beyond 5 or 6 syllables. Running up against the hard bounds of reality teaches us how to separate high-minded pablum from what works. Educated people often believe sentimental ideology like it’s holy gospel because in middling ranks and above of the social hierarchy people will actually listen to your principled bullshit. People who get an education are generally smarter but their advantage in processing information only leads them further astray if they are given bad information. Even a great Empire like China becomes easy prey for a handful of toughened no-nonsense Mongols when the state is run by over-educated children and populated by downtrodden peasants who have no reason to care about who’s in charge.
History shows us those Mongols didn’t need college degrees or Confucian exams with 1% pass rates to run an empire. The downfall of untempered education is you can get caught up in credentials and then reel in shock when someone without a certificate in face punching walks up and simply punches you out.
A more constructive mentality for someone with a decent brain is to understand first that there are objective laws of reality as immutable as laws of physics and to use this baseline to interpret the lessons of education into useful forms rather than let theoretical knowledge distort earth-bound truths into airy figments of fancy. Riding aloft on feelgood ideas feels great until there’s an enemy at the gates and a crisis that has to be solved right away.
If the educated classes were no longer removed from reality, we would see a re-emergence of noblesse oblige, a sense of duty to society as a whole. They would be aware of their superior intellect in a world defined by inequality but also understand how this entails their responsibility to guide the rest rather than throw all the biggest decisions to the ravening crowds. They would understand themselves as the elites of a people rather than worker cog individuals. Armed with this core concept, they would no longer form unholy alliances with foreign tribes against their own kin as they do now. Their false pride and smug virtue posing would evaporate if only they had to test their beliefs against the world.