Snowflakes, Pussies & the Moral Hierarchy of the Right
I’ve spent the last week or so jumping into conversations about Baby It’s Cold Outside and sharing the perspective of consent and choice and how it IS important to weigh todays standards against media we broadcast, regardless of when it was first produced.
I’ve (luckily) encountered (mostly) civil discourse around the topic with women who disagree, admitting that they understand where I’m coming from and they understand how women can feel this way. Men on the other hand, have not been understanding.
They don’t get it.
They don’t care and they don’t want to listen or empathize or understand.
People today are SOFT. PUSSIES. NO BACKBONE. SNOWFLAKES.
A literal meme I saw shared - but it made me think of George Lakoff’s article on the moral hierarchy of the right. All of the insults and reasons to dismiss those wanting consideration for their trauma originate in this moral hierarchy.
George Lakoff & the Strict Father
George Lakoff wrote this great article during the Trump campaign to place the supporters of Trump into a human psychological context that could be understood beyond “these people are stupid” or “these people are racist” (they are) or “these people are…” something else that I don’t understand.
I love learning “why” and this is an article I return to regularly.
Government as Family
We view all groups and organizations through a lens of family since that was our first experience of being governed. Families can be roughly separated into Authoritarian vs. Nurturing parental structures with Conservative and Liberal ideology falling under each respectively.
The Authoritarian parent, or Strict Father model of the family is one where the role of the child is to obey and to follow the rules. Do what you’re told, do what’s expected of you, do what I say, do it now. The idea is that “Father Knows Best” and is the ultimate authority. Obeying is the same as winning and winning is the ultimate moral good.
The purpose of obedience is to make us disciplined and internally strong so that we will be successful. If we’re not successful, then we have not become disciplined. If we do not prosper, we are not moral. (Here lies the connection between wealth and moral goodness and why the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving.) Responsibility is personal responsibility only - there is no sense of social responsibility at all. We are responsible only for ourselves, not others and society has nothing to do with it. Winners deserve to win and life is a meritocracy in a vacuum where socio-economic, racial, gender and cultural factors have no effect.
Direct vs. Systemic Causation
The authority justified by this moral hierarchy is that those in authority deserve to be there. Patriarchy and white supremacy are the result of discipline and hard work and is a social structure (privilege) that is both earned and deserved. Jordan Peterson is in this camp. The break down of moral superiority in the Strict Father hierarchy is pretty clear:
Man > Woman
White > Non-White
Christian > NonChristian
Straight > Gay
Disciplined (Strong) > Undisciplined (Weak)
Stoicism > Emotion
Rich > Poor
Employer > Employee
Adults > Children
Western Culture > Other Cultures
America > Other Countries
These hierarchies define how the world should be - by nature and by right and by God and natural systems. Any other way is an aberration and a deviation from moral correctness. Conservatives tend to favour direct causation logic where the success of an individual can be seen as the direct result of individual action as opposed to a coming together of a multitude of effects.
Liberals on the other hand have an easier time being able to use systemic causation logic, where a more complicated reality of factors contribute to an individuals outcome. This logic differential is the main difference between the progressive push to equalize socio-economic, racial and gender hurdles to individual success vs. the political rights’ insistence that such programs give a helping hand to lazy, undisciplined people who aren’t deserving. If they just tried harder, the poor and traditionally oppressed would rise to the same success as rich white men by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. The fact that they’re not on top isn’t due to any implicit or unconscious cultural bias, but rather it means they’re not meant to be on top. They’re keeping themselves down. Society has nothing to do with it.
“You are not special. You're not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We're all part of the same compost heap. We're all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk, “Fight Club”
The term might have come from Fight Club, or maybe from the 70’s, or might have even originated in the Civil War era for anti-abolitionists. Today '“snowflake” is the insult du jour of the right for liberals - a group they see as entitled individualists and coddled young people who are lazy and undisciplined and offended by everything.
Offended vs. Triggered
Offended and triggered aren’t the same thing. Triggered is a physiological response to trauma and is automatic and unconscious. Offended has it’s roots in ‘strike against’ and is the response human beings have towards being attacked. For the first time, mainstream media are listening to traditionally oppressed groups that are shouting their outrage at a lifetime of attacks against them. To mock an individual as a “snowflake” for being triggered or for being offended by attacks against their person or safety, is an attempt to silence these new voices from upsetting the supposed “natural way” of things.
This response comes from the same place and intent as those squealing about “Political Correctness gone out of control”. The mainstream are upset that the target of their jokes and bias are no longer just sitting “in their place” and being quiet about the abuse at their expense.
It’s your own fault
The Strict Father moral hierarchy says that things are the way they are because the best way prevailed. Winners win because they’re supposed to win, so if you’re not winning you’re a loser and you’re supposed to fail because you’re immoral.
“Snowflake” is shorthand for “no one has time for your sensitive little feelings because no one in power has the problems you’re talking about so it’s probably not really a problem - you’re just trying to get out of taking responsibility for how you’ve failed. Suck it up and shut up and just take it because you don’t matter.”
Deal with it. I guess life “isn’t for you”.
White Man > Woman, Children & POC
If you’re complaining because things aren’t going your way, it’s your own fault for not being born a rich white man. Stay in your place and shut the fuck up because listening to you and changing things to help you be recognized as a valuable member of society means that being white and male and rich no longer means that I’m automatically worth more than you.
The conservative moral hierarchy sees the world as a neutral equitable meritocracy where the winners are not only deserving but have earned it and are morally superior for winning. Lacking the ability to reason with systemic causation, conservatives are often unable to understand how social, economic, gender and racial biases can hinder the progress of those in society who are not rich white men.
It is in the best interest of rich white men to deny and claim these biases do not exist and do not happen.
I see this barb a lot, as well as “no backbone”, “not gonna make it in life” and “life is not for you” - which are all very typical of the moral hierarchy of the right. Being disciplined and strong and winning is prized above all else and equal proof of your worth and morality. (Which is a bit weird considering that the pussy is exceptional flexible and resilient. It stretches to birth babies and funnels blood every month and accommodates penises - it is far from being weak or frail.
Testicles on the other hand, are pretty fucking frail.
Barely touch a man’s testicles and he’s doubled over in pain for ten minutes and then complaining about it for the rest of the day.)
I think testicles are the real snowflakes.
The only responsibility recognized by the moral right is PERSONAL responsibility. Our life is our own and for good or ill, it is what we make of it. Society, government, employers - no one owes you shit. If you’re hurt or starving or ill - that’s your own fault and your own problem. The moral hierarchy equates winning with power and strength - the worse thing you can be is weak or lose or admit that you need help.
It is a view of the world that is hyper masculine and toxic to everybody - including men. There is no room for empathy, compassion or care.
What is Society?
Society comes from the Latin ‘socius/societas’ which means “companion”. Society is the “friendly association with others.” Human beings don’t exist to serve society. Society is individual humans banding together in a collective that exists to better serve it’s members.
ALL MEMBERS of society.
Members of society have the right to safety - to be free from murder and sexual assault. Members of society have the right to expect the freedoms and fairness enjoyed by some members to be enjoyed by ALL MEMBERS of the society. Society has a purpose and an obligation to meet the basic human needs of all of it’s citizens, whether we agree with their choices or not.
Apparently Rich Fat White Interests hasn’t changed image in 100 years.
Being a member of society means that we are all valued as equal deserving members and not just considered profit earners, burden carriers and service workers for a privileged group who sees themselves as the only rightful and deserving authority.