X is variabilized in the title. Essentially, the X stands for all individuals belonging to a particular and usually identifiable group: Jews, women, blacks, gays, fascists, Muslims, etc. I won’t bore readers with the rest of the alphabet. In this post, I want to talk a little bit about one of the most psychologically conditioned responses when discussing group behavior.
Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any preconditioned response in North America that is so pervasive AND that simultaneously transcends political ideologies as the NAXALT fallacy, but that just may be due to the poverty of my memory. Dear readers, you’ve seen this yourselves, undoubtedly. In any discussion on “Why do women start drama?” (etc., etc., the multiplicities of X) the token drone chimes in: “But NAWALT, i.e., Not All Women Are Like That!”
We know, junior, we know. We fucking know. We get it. Of course, because you were engaging in a conditioned response designed to entrench certain “equalitarian” norms in society in order to get validation, you didn’t.
My apologies. Since when does the term “women” refer to all the members of the set of the term “woman”? It merely denotes the plural version of women. So that just fucking means more than one. You can’t derive “all women” from that. It’s obvious. I’m sorry you didn’t get it. You weren’t thinking. That’s not how semantics works.
And even if a term was used to denote all women, it wouldn’t matter, since careful interpretation goes infinitely beyond the literal interpretation of words. I know–it’s really hard. There are these things called “metaphors.” But it’s infinitely clear what the speaker means, here. Even if the “sense” of the word literally by definition denotes all of the members of the set of “woman,” the “reference” is clearly meant–based on context (crazy, I know–language is dependent on context?)–to be restricted to either a few individual women, or is meant to refer to the distribution. Nevertheless, the original poster (on cue–just follow out that script, baby! Read your fucking lines!) apologizes endlessly over something he never said, namely that all women are X, etc. etc. Let me help the OP out: visualize a nice, juicy bell-curve. Stick with that mental image. It’s quite helpful.
Now, not to be outdone by their feats of banality yet, the angst-ridden PCers retort: “But you can’t have privileged access to their subjective mental states, so how could you discern their intentionality, in order to distinguish sense from reference?” (Please be advised that you’d be extremely, extremely lucky if you could get the response phrased like this. In other words, you fucking won’t. It’ll be: DURRRRR!!–THAT WRANG ITS WRAAAAONGG).
In all the threads you’ve ever seen, has there ever been a single time where the original poster ever responded and said: “No, Susy, you’re quite incorrect, here. I did, in fact, mean for this predication to apply to all women–everywhere–across time and space, across the far reaches of the Siberian wasteland to the sun-soaked south of France.”
Answer: no. And even if they did, the number would again be so statistically insignificant that it would mean exactly nothing. Secondly, if we were unable to comprehend and distinguish sense from reference in everyday speech, we’d be dead. Context is king. Our actual lives often depend on not treating metaphors literally and distinguishing between identical senses to pick out the right reference.
Here’s an example: bug-chasing versus bug-chasing. If you fail to discern the context, one of these terms will guarantee you a nice trip on entomology–the other will guarantee you bleeding, blisters, puss, and death. Just for fun, I’m not going to explain the latter reference fully.
The problem is the inability to comprehend group dynamics. The problem is obsessively focusing on individual cases and trumpeting them around as counterexamples, as if that actually meant something. It doesn’t; they don’t. In group dynamics, counterexamples exist for virtually everything. But PCers fail to note the obvious trend. They fail to think in terms of statistical distributions, rather than in terms of individual observations. They fail to think in terms of averages.
Failure is as failure does. The beautiful thing is that it’s relatively simple to make short shrift of PC views by lambasting them for statistical ignorance. As Steve Sailer often remarks, we have to think in terms of fuzzy probabilities–not abstract platonic entities. Nuanced thinking, of course, is entirely lost on persons who haven’t taken full control of their psychology. They’re boinked around by the unconscious urge for validation, and so they’ll happily play the fool in the game. That’s okay, I suppose. Every game needs its fool, but the otherwise intelligent ought to know better.
Here are some more examples:
-ERHMAGERDDDD, not all women are more emotional!! Response: No shit, Sherlock. We’re just noticing a general overall trend that’s extraordinarily helpful as a heuristic in day-to-day interactions with the opposite sex. Shut the fuck up.
-ERHAMGGERRDD, not all Ashkenazi Jews have high IQs!! Response: Well, the response is literally the same as the above. No shit, Sherlock. We’re just noticing a general overall trend that’s extraordinarily helpful as a heuristic in day-to-day interactions with X.
It doesn’t even have to be about interactions. It’s literally anything that can be predicated of a group, namely, higher average intelligence, lower than average time preferences, higher than average propensity towards drama and emotional fits, higher than average propensity to breed regardless of consequences, etc. etc.
It’s not “can we predicate attributes of groups” –rather, it’s what attributes can be predicated of groups, and how did these groups come to have these attributes? Those are the interesting questions. That’s where debate can be had.
Re-posted from: Amos & Gromar