Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Comprachicos

In 1970 Ayn Rand penned one of her signature essays, The Comprachicos, beginning it with her translation of an excerpt from Victor Hugo's 1869 The Man Who Laughs:
The comprachicos, or comprapequeños, were a strange and hideous nomadic association, famous in the seventeenth century, forgotten in the eighteenth, unknown today …

Comprachicos, as well as comprapequeños, is a compound Spanish word that means "child-buyers." The comprachicos traded in children. They bought them and sold them.

They did not steal them. The kidnapping of children is a different industry. And what did they make of these children?


Why monsters?

To laugh.

The people need laughter; so do the kings. Cities require side-show freaks or clowns; palaces require jesters …

To succeed in producing a freak, one must get hold of him early. A dwarf must be started when he is small …

Hence, an art. There were educators. They took a man and turned him into a miscarriage; they took a face and made a muzzle. They stunted growth; they mangled features. This artificial production of teratological cases had its own rules. It was a whole science. Imagine an inverted orthopedics. Where God had put a straight glance, this art put a squint. Where God had put harmony, they put deformity. Where God had put perfection, they brought back a botched attempt. And, in the eyes of connoisseurs, it is the botched that was perfect …

The practice of degrading man leads one to the practice of deforming him. Deformity
completes the task of political suppression …

The comprachicos had a talent, to disfigure, that made them valuable in politics. To disfigure is better than to kill. There was the iron mask, but that is an awkward means. One cannot populate Europe with iron masks; deformed mountebanks, however, run through the streets without appearing implausible; besides, an iron mask can be torn off, a mask of flesh cannot. To mask you forever by means of your own face, nothing can be more ingenious …

The comprachicos did not merely remove a child’s face, they removed his memory. At least, they removed as much of it as they could. The child was not aware of the mutilation he had suffered. This horrible surgery left traces on his face, not in his mind. He could remember at most that one day he had been seized by some men, then had fallen asleep, and later they had cured him. Cured him of what? He did not know. Of the burning by sulphur and the incisions by iron, he remembered nothing. During the operation, the comprachicos made the little patient unconscious by means of a stupefying powder that passed for magic and suppressed pain …

In China, since time immemorial, they have achieved refinement in a special art and industry: the molding of a living man. One takes a child two or three years old, one puts him into a porcelain vase, more or less grotesque in shape, without cover or bottom, so that the head and feet protrude. In the daytime, one keeps this vase standing upright; at night, one lays it down, so that the child can sleep. Thus the child expands without growing, slowly filling the contours of the vase with his compressed flesh and twisted bones. This bottled development continues for several years. At a certain point, it becomes irreparable. When one judges that this has occurred and that the monster is made, one breaks the vase, the child comes out, and one has a man in the shape of a pot.
I ran across a post at Dr. Sanity today, YA GOTTA DO WHAT YA GOTTA DO, where she expounds on the end-product of today's "postmodern educational system," concluding:
I think we are witnessing the consequences of having the best minds of several generations systematically hobbled and and mutilated by the gurus of political correctness and moral relativity. I think that the essential nihilism of the postmodernism intellectual craze is coming to full fruition and that the decline of leadership is just one obvious symptom. Even more insidius is a steep decline in the ability to think that is coupled with a real contempt for reason, truth and objective reality.

Joseph Stalin once pointed out that, "Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."

Our children have been deliberately targeted for decades; they have been in the crosshairs of the dead-end philosophy that drives the postmodern progressivism of today's 'intellectual' elites. Sadly, those elites have scored a bullseye.

No, there are no psychological breakthroughs on the horizon for these reality-challenged minds, or for their mentors. There is only the mindless parroting of the dysfunctional ideology for which they have gladly sacrificed their souls.
I was immediately reminded of Rand's Comprachicos.

Please, read Dr. Sanity's post and all its related links, then read The Comprachicos. Rand called it all the way back in 1970. It had already been going on for decades (Rand blamed Kant), and she knew exactly what the outcome would be even then:
It is the educational establishment that has created this national disaster. It is philosophy that has created the educational establishment. The anti-rational philosophic trend of the past two hundred years has run its course and reached its climax. To oppose it will require a philosophical revolution or, rather, a rebirth of philosophy. Appeals to "home, church, mother and tradition" will not do; they never did. Ideas can be fought only by means of ideas. The educational establishment has to be fought—from bottom to top, from cause to consequences, from nursery schools to universities, from basic philosophy to campus riots, from without and from within.

This last is addressed to the many intelligent youths who are aware of the state of higher education and refuse to go to college or, having gone, drop out in revulsion. They are playing into the comprachicos' hands. If the better minds desert the universities, this country will reach a situation in which the incompetent and the second-rate will carry the official badge of the intellect and there will be no place for the first-rate and independent to function or even to hide. To preserve one's mind intact through a modern college education is a test of courage and endurance, but the battle is worth it and the stakes are the highest possible to man: the survival of reason. The time spent in college is not wasted, if one knows how to use the comprachicos against themselves: one learns in reverse—by subjecting their theories to the most rigorously critical examination and discovering what is false and why, what is true, what are the answers.

As to the drugged contingents of hippies and activists, I should like to address the following to those among them who may still be redeemable, as well as to those who may be tempted to join their hordes.

The modern comprachicos have an advantage over their ancient predecessors: when a victim was mutilated physically, he retained the capacity to discover who had done it. But when a victim is mutilated mentally, he clings to his own destroyers as his masters and his only protectors against the horror of the state which they have created; he remains as their tool and their play-thing—which is part of their racket.
It hadn't quite "reached its climax" in 1970, but she wasn't far off. It's taken another generation to really play out.

Edited to add this, via Instapundit on "Tiger Mothers" and their end product (regardless of their ethnicity), the crème de la crème of Ivy League university graduates:
But here’s the thing. And here the point has been made easier to make by the curious fact that Tiger Mom is a Yale Law School professor and as Professor Bainbridge has pointed out, it seems almost an epidemic among faculty parents in New Haven. My fear is that little tiger kittens are not being groomed to make things that you and I can buy if we feel like it. I’m afraid, call me paranoid if you like, that those little achievers will want to grow up to, well, rule. . . . Then I worry that all this fierce intelligence, all this ambition, all this work are going toward the building of world in which my children will be mere, well, what do you call the people who support those who so intelligently manage things from on top. Not to mention the unbelievably well educated 35 year old who will tell me someday I didn’t score well enough in some algorithm I can’t even understand to get my arteries bypassed or my prostate cancer treated. I want to live in a world, and I want my children to as well, where we are free individuals, and geniuses can sell us stuff if we want to buy it. When I suspect the little elites of tomorrow are just being made more formidable still, it excites not my admiration as much as my anxiety.

Tom Smith, The Right Coast - The last thing I have to say about Tiger Mothers I hope
Remember Stalin: "Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."

It's no laughing matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.