Chapter 8 of The Smallest Minority (2019) lights up a militant enemy of which we must beware – the stupid masses. The weapon they wield is a systematic organization of hatreds – an insatiable craving for status and corresponding desire to viciously deny or reduce the status of rival social groups. Social status games/contests/rituals are violently brutal. It’s high-tech barbarism that Williamson calls Anti-Discourse.
Hatreds are based on a desire for status, which is rooted in envy, jealousy, covetousness, spite and resentment – evil human emotions. Anti-Discourse (communication intended to prevent the exchange of ideas and views rather than enable them) is the weapon of the stupid, the dull and the weak, in a panic about their status. The reason it is a concern for the minority of us who are not is because the majority of humans are, in fact, stupid, dull and weak and must resort to Anti-Discourse because they are incapable of discourse. Williamson quotes Adlai Stevenson when someone told him he had the support of all thinking people. He replied “That’s not enough, I need a majority!”
To illustrate the dynamics of the status battlefield, Williamson points to the Justine Sacco affair of 2013. She was a corporate communications director who tweeted a dumb joke, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”, before embarking on an international flight. It sparked an insane twitter meltdown known as #HasJustineLandedYet. She had only 170 Twitter followers at the time but that tweet incited an ugly outpouring of outrage and hate from tens of thousands of losers. The childish, mean-spirited, schoolyard bullying mentality of the twitter mob is unbelievable.
This particular form of Anti-Discourse “began with a familiar rhetorical scheme: treating a joke as though it were a serious proposition. This is not an honest error: It is an intentional strategy adopted with malicious and dishonest intent.” The real reason for the attack was plain old ugly envy. Justine Sacco was an attractive young woman in a high profile job on a “glamorous vacation trip to an exotic locale”. She naturally attracted envy. And boy did they let her have it. Thomas Sowell said that activism is “a way for useless people to feel important”. This mob attack was obviously not about racism or AIDS.
Williamson ends the chapter by explaining the Law of Jante (I’d never heard of this until reading the book). It helps me understand the condescending, degrading attitude towards individuality and personal success that festers in some thinkers. This baffling mentality denigrates individual achievement in order to place emphasis on the collective.
Next week, we get to my favorite chapter of the book on free speech law and attacks on this vital First Amendment Constitutional right from the mob. I’ll conclude our tour of Williamson’s book there (the next two chapters are not as relevant to War Chest notions as the first 9). This enables me to move on to my next big project – away from stupid Anti-Discourse to a fascinating moral philosophical discourse occurring right now among people who know what they’re talking about – unlike the mob.