Social Guilt as Social Parasitism

When a person uses the term guilt to express a feeling, it is generally used to express two different meanings: I (individual guilt); the feeling produced when one commits an action unjustly harming another individual, or II (social guilt); the result of actions, perceived as unjust, that were committed by an person’s culture, nation, family or ancestors — actions not committed by the person that experiences guilt.  In biology, social parasitism is the action of taking advantage of interactions between the members of social organisms.  It involves manipulating various pre-existing or innate social structures of an organism to provide a reproductive benefit to an entity not originally affiliated or involved in the host’s social structure.  This parasitical interaction between different groups is not only a phenomenon of non-humans but, as I will argue, a phenomenon of human social relationships between multiple groups competing for cultural dominance of a society.
Our emotion of guilt is a preventative emotion against harming someone or something that may retaliate, and may also prevent us from harming relatives that increase the abundance of our own genetics.  Social guilt is an evolutionary misfire that allows an out-group to produce the same emotion of guilt against a competing in-group, and hence causes the in-group to fragment and have decreased levels of social stability.  Social guilt gives an advantage to the genetic material of the out-group, while the in-group is disadvantaged under the burden of their own perceived wrongdoing.  When guilt is manipulated by different groups the evolutionary benefit of guilt is an evolutionary detriment; an out-group is gaining from the loss of a guilty in-group, thus the out-group is committing social parasitism against the in-group.

While individual guilt manifests itself from actions committed directly by the individual, social guilt is passed through society like a virus — it originates from the perception that a past injustice has contributed to the current emotional or material state of an individual, and thus an individual is tainted with a guilt that ripples through the present state of his life.  After a person experiences this guilt he feels that he must correct an indomitable wrong, and thinks he has a responsibility to renounce the source of the guilt and expunge its influence from his life.  Since social guilt originates from an external conflict rather than an internal conflict, the guilty individual feels the need to separate oneself from the external cause of the guilt rather than searching for an internal solution.  The victim also feels the need to do this publicly so that he can signal his virtue to others who will thereby affirm the truth of the guilt underlying the self-immolating actions of the victim.  Otherwise the victim will realize the subjective delusion of their own social guilt.  After others from the same in-group see the self-immolating actions of the guilty individual they also perceive the need to purge the newfound guilt from their lives and to be free of perceived cultural wrongs they were never (or only indirectly) complicit in. The guilt that is spread within the in-group can only be fixed by a personal renunciation of an existential element of the in-groups identity or culture: thus weakening the influence or power of the in-group.  This is the process by which social guilt is transmitted towards a parasitical end.

Social guilt is parasitical in much the same way that a lie is parasitical; the lie and social guilt are both used to manipulate a person into doing something that they would have not pursued had another person not provided false information or (in the case of social guilt) false emotions.  Both actions by an individual with bad intentions cause a person to take an action that negatively affects their wellbeing, but improves (emotionally or materially) the condition of the social parasite or liar.  A lie is providing false information that is meant to prevent a person from acting towards their most important end.   Social guilt is just a lie behind a veneer of emotion and social conditioning.  Since social guilt is based on external conflicts from the individual, and not necessarily based on any particular actions of the individual, it is deceiving the individual into thinking that he has an obligation or debt toward some cause he is objectively independent from — the victim can therefore no longer have full control over his own actions as he (the victim) carries an emotional burden that is not the result of his own actions.

Not only is social guilt a lie, it is a much more dangerous and infectious form of the lie.  While a single lie can deceive an individual or a targeted group of people, social guilt can deceive a much larger group and cause them to act in ways they otherwise would not.  A single lie is much less dangerous than social guilt as it usually attempts to target only a highly specific set of people and is not easily communicable outside of its initial victims.  In contrast, social guilt can target entire cultures, families, and nations of people as each successive victim has a personal interest in spreading the guilt.  A simple dialectic can be used to model the destructive contagion of social guilt.  As each guilty individual intuitively feels he has committed something wrong, he thinks he must correct the guilt by spreading the antithesis of the thesis that guilts him — what alleviates the social guilt.  However, the communication of the antithesis will also spread the guilt that prompted the antithesis; resulting in more people accepting the burden of the guilt and working to communicate its antithesis.  This results in a synthesis or what was intended to be brought about by the originator of the thesis — namely the destruction of whatever thesis is the target of the dialectic.  Thus an out-group can claim an entitlement in the present based on a perceived injustice of the past by manipulating the guilt of the in-group.  In other words, social guilt is a parasitic meme towards the host cultures well-being.

As social guilt is a necessary element in advantaging an environmentally inferior out-group over an environmentally superior in-group, it may be argued that social guilt is justified as a means of the out-group: that oppression has led to an unjustified disadvantage of the out-group therefore necessitating a loss or compensation from the in-group.  Oftentimes, a hodgepodge of critical theory, historical revisionism, universalist ethics, and emotionalism will be used to justify the existence of social guilt as a byproduct of a privilege or heritage passed down from generation to generation.  Most argumentation of this kind rely on a historical wrong of the past and then use this historical wrong to justify the means used in the present:— this is a logical fallacy.  Arguing that a current retaliation is justified by actions committed by an individuals ancestors or genetic in-group ignores the state of the out-group in the present.  Generally, if an out-group has the resources or time to create and spread an ideology in the present they are well enough off that the past disadvantages of the out-group have been corrected naturally.  If the people who claim reparations (the out-group) rely on the structures and systems built by those who would pay for their reparations (the in-group); then the out-group themselves are profiting from their ancestors past subjugation.  And in many cases, the present day benefit of utilizing or interacting with an oppressive structure creates much more wealth for the out-group than that which the ancestors would have achieved had they not came into contact with such a structure.  If an oppressive structure has created wealth for the present day out-group compared to that their ancestors would have had without contact with the structure then no claim for reparations can be made as nothing was ever lost.  This fallacy (committed in the majority of the guilt-based arguments for reparations) is known as the genetic fallacy.  Essentially, a person commits the genetic fallacy whenever they claim that a subject in the present is wrong (contaminated or toxic) based solely on historical origin, while neglecting analysis of the present characteristics or connotation of the subject.  A person can hold a valid claim for reparations only when there is still an economic social inefficiency to be corrected that directly results from the original actions that prompted a claim. For this reason, the subjugation of peoples can be historically moral because the subjugation itself has led to a better present condition of life for the descendants of the surviving subjugated peoples.  Thus we should not be so quick to judge a historical standard (such as slavery) by a present standard, lest we be remembered as the progressive and nihilistic monsters that some future generation will rightfully judge us to be.

If the present originates from the past and argumentation supports the power structures (systems of law, education, and public opinion) of the present, then a person is not entitled to critique past power structures as the present power structures are dialectically derived from past power structures.  Thus argumentation that critiques the past is also a critique of the present. This is the essence of all revolutionary ideals: the past is flawed, thus the present is flawed too.   And while this may be true, it does not acknowledge the potential of reaction against progression.   Each historical dialectic and revolutionary advancement allows more potential combinations for a reactionary ideology to be formed against the established progressive (Whig) thesis of historical progression and decentralized world domination: constant revolution.  As the dialectical experiments of democracy grow by an order of magnitude, the potential elements of a reactionary ideology derived from past revolutions grows by an order of magnitude as well. Thus, rather than merely adapting or deriving new power structures from present power structures and theory, the reactionary has the ability to utilize the potential of his heritage and culture to an ideological benefit.  In order to suppress reactionary potential among the general public, revolutionary and democratic power structures have the incentive to produce an environment of social guilt among the general public: thereby suppressing the untapped potentiality of an undemocratic reactionary movement fueled by heritage and culture.  To suppress reactionary elements of the populace and retain complete decentralized tyrannical control, the progressive power structure (‘the cathedral’) provides resources to out-group intellectuals in order to instill social guilt throughout the national in-group. This social guilt is conveyed through media, education, and public policy (each a contributing element of ‘the cathedral’).  

As social guilt is used to suppress natural order and reaction, this can be countered with autocracy.  If such an autocratic movement gained enough popular momentum, it could be used to displace certain key elements of the current progressive power structure: i.e., the media, public policy, and public education.  At this point, the nation could dissolve and fragment into smaller nation-states run by populist leaders and a formal corporate aristocracy: the final solution for democracy.  While still a bleak future, I see this as the most optimistic proposition for America given the reality of social guilt and (if we do not react) -- the inevitable demographic destruction of the white American. 


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