Increasingly into adulthood, I notice how often people will cling to their ideological convictions at the expense of the wellbeing of themselves and others. Probably this is unconscious in the majority of people: their reflexive, deflective neural pathways for shutting down cognitive dissonance are so strong that they never experience full conscious awareness of their hypocrisy or admittance of the possible validity of alternate perspectives.
The recognition of alternate or opposing viewpoints can induce intense stress, and the baseline stress of modern society is already so strong that most people don’t have the time or energy to rework their worldviews conditioned into them early in life, and by their social circles and mainstream media consumption. Additionally, our society doesn’t equip people with the emotional intelligence tools to navigate their own psyche or understand complex social dynamics, or epistemology, or manipulation and persuasion tactics.
The integration of recognized-opposing viewpoints can alienate one to the entire structure of society as it is. Humans have evolved to orient their worldviews toward what is socially advantageous, and to align more-or-less with the consensus of their social groups. To transcend that biological drive to conform is to risk much, but when lives are at risk and the future of society is uncertain, transcendence of fear and ignorance becomes of perhaps the greatest importance.
The neo-liberals tend to deny the reality that leftist corporate authoritarianism (“woke capitalism”) is encroaching upon all that is good at a terrifying rate. They gaslight and strawman those that have experienced harm at the hands of that authoritarianism. The most radical of them practice a secular religion resembling Christian egalitarian morality but inverting and decrying all the Christian aesthetics.
The neo-conservatives seek to defend our foundations and traditions, but they neglect the outliers and anomalies of our society, and the importance of innovation. They deny the harm that some aspects of traditional practices may do, or try to stifle necessary progress in the face of novel crises or opportunities.
The minds of ideologues are necessarily opposed to nuance and complex discernment. A little bit of ideology can motivate a person towards something productive, but when it overtakes a personality and its epistemology, it manifests with stagnation, distortion, and destruction.
Personalities and temperaments already prone to authoritarianism will often gravitate to fill ideological soapboxes and use the moral cloak of their “cause” to act out viscous sadistic aggressive sanctimonious power fantasies against the preordained enemy and those who criticize the madness.
My background in nutrition research includes involvement in the Ray Peat community, who advocate ample carbohydrate intake, even embracing pure cane sugar and soda as mitochondrial health “supplements”. Their excitement at such a novel approach to health—the idea that the metabolic rate, increased by sugar, carbon dioxide, and thyroid, is the key to health—has created a cultish adherence to its own principles and gaslights anyone who is succeeding at some other approach or who is harmed by their approach.
In ideologies and their constructed cults, any harm done is blamed on the victim, or denied entirely, and any benefits experienced by those outside the cult doing other or opposite things is deemed a delusion, or attributed to some quality of the cult that is indirectly blessing oblivious non-members.
I’ve interacted with several people in fitness communities who deny that the content of calories matters at all aside from the need for adequate protein, for example recommending Gatorade and candy as acceptable energy supply. The consensus-dogma of “it’s all the same as long as you eat according to your basal metabolic rate” or “a calorie is a calorie” dominates public thought, and it’s married to the erroneous belief that “whole grain cereal and low fat yogurt are part of a healthy diet.”
The Mayo Clinic has put out videos warning against Low-Carb, High-Fat (LCHF) diets that include putting coconut oil in your coffee, with the reasoning “that has lots of calories and saturated fat, which is dangerous and bad for your heart”. Coconut oil is actually heart-protective under most conditions (see: A Review of Coconut Oil’s Health Benefits, 2020; Aseem, et al., 2017). The perpetuation of anti-scientific, fossilized dogma is what’s actually dangerous and despicable, but the autodidacts, health entrepreneurs, and a few exceptional scientists and doctors thankfully push back against the ecclesiastical insanity of health institutions.
“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness”
— Richard Horton, Offline: What is medicine’s 5 sigma? (The Lancet, 2015)
State-sponsored Science™ is pseudoscience that government institutions and the media call “science”, and the public portion of state-worshippers follow suit, chanting their indoctrination and reacting in horror to anything resembling real treatment that renders one self-reliant, empowered, or cured.
It is politically incorrect to experience positive outcomes from decisions that public consensus has deemed inappropriate, despite the fact that many contemporary medical fields incorporate and perpetuate pseudoscience and quackery, for example, mainstream psychiatry, dietetics, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor of The New England Journal of Medicine”
— Marcia Angell, The Truth About the Drug Companies (2004)
Real science is sacrificed for ideological loyalty to tribal, ego- and profit-driven State Science™. This is not to say that rogue quackery doesn’t exist, but it’s a similar loss of discernment that political zealots create when anyone who deviates from the groupthink is called a “fascist” or “socialist”, etc.
The epistemology of even highly educated knowledgeable peoples is not an objective deductive process. We are often mired in emotional and cognitive biases when reaching decisions and making judgements, and those that don’t realize this are more dangerous because of it. To understand one’s own tendencies to skew reality in favor of social advantage or stress avoidance, we can begin to uncover more accurate understandings of reality and ourselves.
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics And Religion by Jonathan Haidt
- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
- Against Method by Paul Feyerabend
- Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis, the Expropriation of Health by Ivan Illich
- How Statins Really Work Explains Why They Don’t Really Work. by Stephanie Seneff
- The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It by Marcia Angell
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay
Angell, Marcia. The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It. Random House, 2004.
Gyles, Carlton. “Skeptical of Medical Science Reports?” The Canadian Veterinary Journal = La Revue Veterinaire Canadienne, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, Oct. 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4572812/.
Horton, Richard. “Offline: What Is Medicine’s 5 Sigma?” The Lancet, vol. 385, no. 9976, 2015, p. 1380., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(15)60696-1.
“How Statins Really Work Explains Why They Don’t Really Work.” People, people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/why_statins_dont_really_work.html.
Malhotra, Aseem, et al. “Saturated Fat Does Not Clog the Arteries: Coronary Heart Disease Is a Chronic Inflammatory Condition, the Risk of Which Can Be Effectively Reduced from Healthy Lifestyle Interventions.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 51, no. 15, 2017, pp. 1111–1112., doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-097285.