The Psychology of Reactionary Politics

Reactionary politics is considered by many to be a synonym with conservatism but it is not. I define it as the politcs of unthinking reaction. I recently wrote an article about the anti-catcalling laws. How, among other things, the same movement against mass incarceration and arresting people for minor crimes are also for doing exactly that. The point here is their politics is whatever they are reacting to in the moment. My position, as laid out in that article, was the scientific one where we consulted the psychology and sociology to reduce street harassment without using the cops.

I am amazed that position is not a major third position in the public discourse and the fact that it is not seems very stupid to me. In the literal sense that it suggests people are stupid. The reactionary politics I speak of is mostly about using brute and dumb strategies to handle social problems. It is reactionary in that it merely reacts and does not think. New Zealand just criminalized tobacco which I am vehemently against. I am against tobacco but it is an immoral lack of mercy to deploy the bouncers of the state to punish what should be treated as a health issue. I do believe the government should promote good health and upright virtue ergo take moral positions but I am against arresting our way to a better society.

On the other side, the right-wing are just as stupidly reactionary. They are rebelling against drag queens. Why? Most sexual sin is heterosexual and they aren’t coming after strip clubs for straight people. Of course, there are plenty of pro-abstinence movements for heterosexuals but when they enter the culture war they do things like focus on the poor and the cultural left and how the former need personal responsibility and the latter need family values while rocking out to country albums which celebrate every vice known to Las Vegas. Are they designing cognitive behavioral therapies which decrease libido? Something that would actually work and that I support? No.

The cultural right screams “scarlet” when presented with an obvious and overt stereotypical sexual sin while ignoring everything more subtle and any science that may be useful. It is just to beat the obvious with a stick. The left robotically screams opposition to whatever zeitgeist they find themselves in. They scream for mercy when they hear statistics of nonviolent Black people getting incarcerated but them scream they want those same people incarcerated when their race is not mentioned but their crime is and the nonviolent crime is an act of misogynistic rudeness for which they should be thrown into a cell and rot for a month. None of these people are thinking about scientific and comprehensive means to address these issues. There are scientific ways to reduce rudeness and libido and we should do them. What the passions and the police can do; peer review and the pippette can do better.

I believe in two things more than anything else: God and science. It is, generally, immature to be reactionary. When presented with any problem, do not seek the opposite of the problem or the most punative measures, seek whatever shall resolve the problem taking into account all factors and all sides, with the ultimate aim being the benefit of humanity’s welfare and the natural environment. To science the fuck out of everything to maximize goodness for the God of love.

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