The future is all about Clouds vs Dirt
Why a long essay on what seems to be socio-political commentary on a business blog, I hear you ask. Well, for want of a better word, let's call it meta-segmentation. The 'segments' of the 'market' at the socio-cultural level ' is where you will find the root cause of long-term trends and shifts in buying behaviours. The brouhaha caused by Nike's sponsorship of Colin Kaepernik is a simple case in point - it wiped $3Bn off the market cap of Nike; so it is best to understand these things.
And the article below will be referenced in future as we discuss other trends and issues related to it, so I need the link as a reference. Here goes...
CLOUD PEOPLE, DIRT PEOPLE
It’s a broad brush, but the world can be divided into two types of people. The fit may not be perfect for every individual, but we do it all the time. Political views are classified as right and left, religious views are for or against and you get climate change believers and deniers.
The interesting thing is that if you do a meta-analysis of these binary positions on a range of social/human issues, it you arrive at two clusters of worldviews as well. On the one hand you get the Cloud people and other hand you get the Dirt people.
(I first read of these terms somewhere else, but I can’t remember the author’s position/definition or indeed where I read it — but the idea stuck as an apt metaphor for the world we live in.)
Cloud people are idealists and Dirt people are pragmatists.
Whilst we all like to see ourselves as a little bit of both, the reality is that when pushed to clarify our position on a range of issues, we tend discover an aggregate of perceptions that coheres with either clouds or dirt.
But there is one particularly odd anomaly in the worldview of the Cloud People that sticks out and can only be seen as an inconvenient truth. And what is fascinating is how they choose to deal with this little inconvenient truth.
The Cloud people generally believe in..
- Open borders/ globalism
- Climate Change
- Pro Euthanasia
- Big Government
The Dirt People generally believe in…
- Controlled immigration/ nationalism
- Climate Sceptic
- Traditional Family Structures
- Small Government
If you try to understand the central thesis of the Cloud People, they will argue that it is ‘science’. Gay people are born that way, climate science is conclusive and science has not proven the existence of God.
But if you scratch the surface, the argument falls apart, and all that it reveals is the same prejudice they accuse the Dirt People of.
Whilst a definitive scientific right/wrong answer is not possible with many of these social issues, the Cloud people are not even willing to consider the possibilities of downside, and completely shut down debate.
Gay people are born that way, and should be accepted on that basis. Yet, the very idea of gender is fluid and as a social construct can simply be chosen from a spectrum of options. The biology that reveals real scientific differences are irrelevant.
The economic science of globalism and open borders is irrelevant. There are compelling arguments that (a) developing nations in particular are impacted more adversely and (b) that globalisation tends to centralise power and wealth amongst a small elite. Yet facts inconveniently get in the way of the Cloud dogma.
Thomas Sowell, American economist and author, has statistically shown over decades the net negative effect of (white) welfare programs on black societies, yet Cloud People are so convicted of their power and their obligation to do ‘good’ that these facts are inconveniently ignored. There are many examples and studies to this effect.
The rise of the welfare state in the 1960s contributed greatly to the demise of the black family as a stable institution. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among African Americans today is 73%, three times higher than it was prior to the War on Poverty. Children raised in fatherless homes are far more likely to grow up poor and to eventually engage in criminal behavior, than their peers who are raised in two-parent homes. In 2010, blacks (approximately 13% of the U.S. population) accounted for 48.7% of all arrests for homicide, 31.8% of arrests for forcible rape, 33.5% of arrests for aggravated assault, and 55% of arrests for robbery. Also as of 2010, the black poverty rate was 27.4% (about 3 times higherthan the white rate), meaning that 11.5 million blacks in the U.S. were living in poverty.
This is an inconvenient truth too. In order to maintain coherence in their worldview (which generally subscribes to Anti-racism) the Cloud People have to (a) ignore the facts and (b) ironically and perversely focus on race, and so perpetuate the distinctions they claim do not exist.
There are many examples of how Cloud people selectively embrace truth, science and rational argument, but to summarise:
- Science shows there are gender differences — but ignore that
- Science shows there is climate change — accept that
- Science shows life begins at conception — ignore that
- Science shows welfare programs are net negative — ignore that
- Science shows there are racial differences — ignore that
- Science cannot prove God — accept science
This incoherent approach to reason and fact (as embodied in science) is really interesting to explore. The obvious question is WHY and the next question is HOW they resolve the conundrum in order to eliminate the inevitable cognitive dissonance.
The latter question first: The general response to this issue has been the rise of Postmodernism. Led by academics and philosophers, it was adopted by mainstream media and primary education over time and has embedded the essential relativism at the heart of our culture. Truth is now whatever you define it as. What is true for you is not necessarily true for me.
How perverse is this? They claim ‘science’ as the bedrock and simultaneously claim that ‘truth’ is whatever the individual feels.
How perverse is this? They claim equality and diversity for all, and it order to do so they have to focus on differences and disadvantages that inherently positions them as the ‘saviours’ and benefactors and the all round good guys. That is, whilst I claim to be your equal, I am the one in the position to ‘help’ you. (And I will do that by keeping you dependent on the welfare system I create.)
How perverse is this? They claim there is no moral authority, and no basis of any moral authority, but yet simultaneously claim that OUR way is how we ought to treat people’.
All of these positions are self-defeating.
If my truth does not have to be your truth, then there is no way WE ought to treat people. If everything is relative, does that not apply to YOUR claim that everything is relative, so I don’t have accept YOUR truth that things are relative? If you deny differences between humans, why do you insist we classify ourselves into a box on a gender spectrum or why do you focus on our ‘race’ so much?
By adopting relativism as the philosophical foundation, truth no longer matters — in fact does not exist — and so the Cloud People get around the existence of the inconvenient truths that exist by defining truth as a personal feeling.
Because the inconvenient truths exist, Cloud People redefine truth.
Many theories about that exist. Some argue that it is way of creating a sub-class of voters that are dependent on the State and therefore will always vote for the side of politics that will likely vote for the political wing that will perpetuate those systems. There are (complex, sociological) theories about ‘victimhood’ — which essentially means society functions like the proverbial ‘helicopter parent’ in the interests of keeping minors safe.
I think it is merely a manifestation of archetypal human behaviours. (Occam’s razor — the simplest answer is often the right answer, and in this case the answer that that has been around the longest and still seems to hold true, is very likely the correct answer.)
It is a trait that was evidenced for millennia, and then captured in the Bible (The Original Sin) and consequently embedded in Western Civilisation as an essential trait of human beings. The story of Adam and Eve is that story of mankind, refusing to accept the distinction between man and God, refusing to adopt a posture of humility and submission, and wanting to have the awareness and level of consciousness of God, chose to bite the apple. It the original sin — believing that we are God.
Having been fed a relentless diet (via media especially) of ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘you can do anything you set your mind to’ created a trajectory that manifests to this day of people playing God.
Dirt People on the other hand are pragmatists.
For them science actually matters. When science reveals that humans are different, they accept that. When science suggests there is a better way, they change their ways. Yet, they also understand that science is merely a description of the objective, natural world and accept that their practical experience of life also suggests that there is ‘something else’ that is not natural, and attempt to articulate that spiritual dimension as best they can.
Philosophically, the Dirt Peoples’ worldview is coherent. They recognise the reality that you and I are different, and then seek to find a way that makes it better for both of us, rather than trying to make us the same. Like good scientists everywhere, they are fundamentally sceptical. If the science is inconclusive, Dirt People recognise it as such. If it is conclusive, they want to consider pragmatic options to address/resolve it.
It is clearly a law of Nature that the strongest will survive. Whilst it may feel good to protect the weak, it is more rational in the long run to make the weak stronger. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. You can’t learn to walk without falling. It may feel good to feed the animals in the wild, but it is not rational. Thoughts and ideas matter, but never at the expense of what actually works.
Life is sacrosanct. No suicide. No abortion. No euthanasia. The only time when another life us taken, is when that life has broken this law of the sanctity of (other) human life.
People are different. Some people are good and some are bad. Some are good at certain things and some are bad at certain things. How do you weave together these differences into a reality that accepts the differences, celebrates the differences without turning everything into a mushy sameness under the guise of equality?
Cloud People and Dirt People are different.
Cloud people are so fervent in their beliefs, as demonstrated repeatedly thought their behaviours, that they are willing to adopt fascist tactics. People who disagree with their views are doxxed, punished, de-platformed, trolled and boycotted — all in the fervent belief that it is justified for a ‘good’ cause.
It just so happens that it is ‘their’ cause that is the good one and it is the only one that can be good.
IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS
Organisations are finding themselves being corralled into taking a view on a range of social issues (often by a small, vocal minority). After the endorsement (of the Cloud Philosophy) comes the next step and that is participation and active support, and then the final stage is where organisations become weaponised. Ie. the organisation becomes a tool of destruction where its resources/power used to destroy opponents.
Step 1: ENDORSE:
Surely you support gay marriage? You should come out and say so. (It sounds reasonable. What another person does in their bedroom is none of my business. Organisation complies.)
Step 2: DEMONSTRATE
If you support gay marriage, then you should have education programs in your organisation to educate the ignorant people about the benefits of diversity and to promote tolerance. (How do you argue with that? Organisation complies.)
Step 3: WEAPONISE
Person X is non-compliant and in breach of your own policy about supporting this cause. You should fire them/ deny them/ punish them. The organisation’s endorsement is turned into a weapon of social destruction. (Let’s take Israel Folau’s car away. Organisation complies.)
Funny how what another person does in their bedroom has now become your business.
So that is implication #1.
Organisations who choose to participate in social causes eventually become a pawn (and weapon) for that social cause.
I strongly warn organisations NOT to go down that path. An organisation is (on a practical level) not a human being. It is a hierarchical arrangement of economic relationships and because power is unevenly distributed, the ‘organisation’ typically ‘behaves’ as directed by the small group of people at the top. This group of people are responding to their own economic interests, and are subject to their own individual biases. It is not a democratic entity and this group of executives do not and cannot express the ‘will of the people’. So, the idea of organisational support for a cause is misnomer; it is merely the position taken by a small group of people in power.
As reasonable as it may seem on the surface, supporting or endorsing a cause is unjustifiable on the simple basis that it is NOT your money and it is NOT your organisation to commit. There are many causes and the people who make up the organisation support a whole range of these causes — often on opposing sides. Organisational support for one side is (a) divisive (b) dilutory, and © usually unmandated use of resources.
Thirdly, it is a slippery slope and soon you will find yourself dealing with the intersectionality problem. The inevitable outcome is that you will have to make decisions that implode under the weight of assumptions, qualifications and contradictions.
Diversity may or may not be a good idea, so let people (in the organisation) who subscribe to that continue to hold that idea. Let those who believe climate change is real, believe that. And let those who believe God is real do that too. If you create a ‘safe space’ for LGBT members, will you do so for MGTOW members? And, since you ask, no there is not really a substantive, logical difference as both groups claim to be oppressed by society and have ‘evidence’ to that effect. And both groups of people have the right to freely associate. Eventually, someone on the executive will have to say ‘no’ to some cause, and the basis for that will amount to nothing more than personal preference and/or conformity with current cultural narrative.
Adopting these social causes inevitably lead to the organisation being hijacked by the cause, and then becoming a weapon for the cause.
And then, implication #2
It should be pretty clear that I consider myself to be a pragmatist — so I identify as a ‘dirt people’. Whilst you may want to throw accusations of racism, sexism or genderism or whatever, allow me to be explicit. ( I don’t feel the need to ‘defend’ myself, but want to merely articulate what I believe.)
I am not a racist. But I recognise different races and think that the differences are to be celebrated. I think some races are culturally better adapted to operate in the Western Civilised world, but I think Western Civilisation is going to implode, so it is not necessarily better than another civilisation. I am not a racist because I believe in God and the sanctity of life and the unique character & soul that every human being is imbued with.
I am not a homophobe. I believe my family and friends can attest to that. I do also believe however that the traditional family structure is the best system for creating stable societies with best outcomes for all people over time and that by changing these structures we are tampering with something we don’t understand. Accepting or respecting someone’s choices does not mean that should become the basis for adjusting the fabric of society.
I believe there two genders and I believe gender dysphoria exists. I believe those who struggle with that should be loved, helped and respected — because, you know, sanctity of human life. That does not mean that the fabric of society should be altered to promote and embed something we poorly understand.
I believe in truth, therefore I believe in God. I don’t believe the ‘truth’ is what I feel it is or what you feel it is or what we all may think at a point in time. I believe there is an ultimate truth, because it is not rationally possible to believe differently and without reason we have nothing.
I don’t believe in abortion or euthanasia. I think that once we assume to know what life is and what life is worth and how all our lives are intricably and inseparably interwoven, we can never act in contravention. Life is all we have, and it is the one thing we all have in common and if we commoditise/productise it — we are messing with the very essence of being.
Now that I have come out as ‘dirt people’, I should be prepared to be trolled, harassed and isolated and even punished.
Of course I hope not, but if I believe that we should speak to the truth, then not speaking is the same as lying.
In the context of business, I should then come out too and say that I don’t believe in programs to promote causes. I don’t believe in special awards and programs for victim groups. I believe that we should create fair systems, I believe people should be treated equally and not preferentially — no matter what their claimed victim status. I believe people who are unable to participate in the system fully can be trained/guided and that we shouldn’t change the system to manipulate a different outcome as it reduces the stability and the longevity of the system. I believe diversity programs are exercises in virtue signalling at best and at worst, executive self-interest attempting to attain preferred economic status or cynical attempts to avoid economic punishment.
By means of analogy, I believe we should build a ramp for the disabled to get access to the building, and not deny able-bodied people access to the building. And for what it’s worth, anyone who feels like it should be able to walk up the ramp too.
I believe organisations should make and market their widgets as ethically as possible. And that is all.
I believe that social justice issues (which clearly exist and must be solved) are best left to individuals to resolve in their respective communities, nations and societies.
I am not denying that disadvantages don’t exist. I am not suggesting that abuses of the system has never and does not occur. What I vehemently disagree with is how we achieve an outcome that reflects truth, justice, love and equality.
It cannot be equality of outcome, it has to be equality of opportunity.
The cloud people look at Usain Bolt and argue that he should be handicapped, or the rules should be altered to deduct the time difference from other athletes so that everyone can win the race. Even in a horse race, where we have perfect data on historical performance and tried and tested handicapping system, there are still winners and losers.
The dirt people argue that not everyone can win. The other athlete should train as hard as he could, and he still can’t be fast enough to beat Usain, maybe learn to be a chef. Or race car driver. Or a coach. Or a marathon runner. At the very least, learn to accept and be happy that you have tried to the best you can.
The truth can wait. For it lives a long time. [Schopenhauer.]
The way you do anything is the way you do everything. [Anon.]
Image Credit: https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/dirt-road-and-clouds-cat-connor.jpg