The Vision of the Anointed: Review

[Note: This article originally appeared in a more abbreviated form on Return of Kings on October 4th, 2014]

There is a tendency for men (and women) who first come into this corner of the world to be dismayed and overwhelmed by the degeneracy. I would say that this is also true of the majority of people out there, who may not be quite as aware, but instinctively know that something is wrong. How did society get this way, seemingly in such a short period of time? How do these people think? What is the history of their radical, deconstructivist ideology? There are many articles but a surprising lack of definitive guides. I’m currently working on a project to remedy that situation. You can’t fight an enemy if you don’t know how.

Fortunately there is a compact, definitive, and powerful book that encapsulates some of the thought processes, tricks, and recent history (mainly the late 50’s to the 90’s) of the lunatic “social justice” left. That book is Vision of the Anointed, by Thomas Sowell.

Vision of the Anointed | The Masculine Epic

In Vision, Sowell expands on various important themes regarding the contemporary left, some of which are amazingly prescient (the book was written in 1995). The major thing to understand in Vision, according to Sowell, is that there are two visions of the world, the “tragic vision,” which emphasizes the tragedy of the human condition based around incentives and trade offs (ie: that there is no magic bullet), and the “vision of the anointed,” which proposes magical “solutions” to problems while ignoring human behavior and allowing the said anointed to make themselves feel good in the process. Those opposing the anointed, the benighted masses, are not only wrong but morally inferior.

One thing that Vision is lacking is that Sowell does not provide any solutions, but it is a nevertheless crucially important read, particularly for beginners just now realizing the insanity of the contemporary, postmodern left and to political philosophy in general.

I’ll expand on a few important themes so that you can get the GIST of the phenomena Sowell describes in Vision:

Targets vs. Mascots:

As Sowell notes, one of the anointed’s keynotes is their target vs. mascot method of judging situations. We generally know this in contemporary parlance as the privilege vs. victim dichotomy of Cultural Marxism. Sowell writes:

The ideals of “a government of laws and not of men” and “equal protection of the law” are at the heart of American constitutional law and the democratic process. Yet, increasingly, government has come to be seen as a way of benefiting particular groups adopted as mascots, often without much regard for what that does to other groups or the integrity of the system as a whole. Groups disliked, distrusted, or feared by the general public are particularly eligible to become mascots who symbolize the superior wisdom and virtue of the anointed. (pg. 149)

On the other side of the equation, according to Sowell, you have targets:

Just as the logic of their vision guides the anointed in their choices of mascots, so it guides their selection of targets. The prime requisite for both mascots and targets is that they must distinguish the anointed from the benighted. Just as groups disdained by others become eligible to be mascots of the anointed, so groups respected by others are eligible to become targets. These include business people, physicians, and other professionals, members of religious communities, policemen, and others whose social roles or financial success engender respect or influence in the society at large. Just as the law is stretched and strained for the benefit of mascots, so it is stretched and strained to the detriment of targets. (pg. 168)

Nowhere is this more obvious today. In everything from “agender” weirdos to violent, actual rape cultures invading Europe, the postmodern left constantly seeks to champion “the other,” no matter how corrosive or dangerous, ignoring laws in favor of said “other” while passing nonsensical and draconian ones against those that they see as “privileged.”

The Benighted Public:

In a situation that is perhaps reminiscent of the classic neg, the anointed (what we would now call the social justice warriors), in order to feel good about themselves and make it seem that they are capable of leadership, must treat those that oppose them, the benighted, with contempt, lowering their status. Sowell writes:

For those with the vision of the anointed, it is not sufficient to discredit or denigrate opponents with the tragic vision. The general public must also be discredited, as well as the social processes through which the public’s desires are expressed, individually or collectively, such as a market economy or social traditions. In short, all alternatives to the vision of the anointed must be put out of court, by one means or another. (pg. 119)

As we saw with the freaks trying to censor Roosh’s lecture in Canada, this pathology (which I aim to elucidate on in my own project) is at play. No other narrative can be allowed to exist, whether that erasure be done through government censorship or SJW witch hunts. The only way these freaks can be elevated in status is to constantly degrade all other avenues and competitors to them, which are inherently superior. It is the neg tactic that they normally so disdain in the foremost pejorative of the term, and Sowell exposes it brilliantly in Vision.

Verbal Inflation:

The most common tactic that the far-left freaks use to jockey for status and neg their opponents is what Thomas Sowell calls “verbal inflation.” What Sowell could not have foreseen was just how prescient his words were with the contemporary power of social media. If, when Sowell first wrote Vision, the verbal inflation game was played by devaluing the metals of the verbal coinage, today’s inflation is an endless digital stockpiling of that verbal coinage, almost turning language itself into a virtual reality:

In addition to particular words and phrases which betray the mindset of those with the prevailing vision, there is a more general tendency toward verbal inflation among the anointed. Thus ordinary vicissitudes of life become “traumas.” Any situation which they wish to change becomes a “crisis,” regardless of whether it is any worse than usual or is already getting better on its own.

Verbal inflation, like monetary inflation, would have no effect if everyone understood what was happening and could adjust to it immediately. A ten-fold increase in the price level would mean nothing if everyone were free to add a zero to the sums in all contracts, laws, cash on hand, etc., and do so immediately. Inflation has an economic effect precisely because there is no such instantaneous and total flexibility. In the real world of lagging adjustments, borrowers pay back less than they owe, workers are paid less than they were promised, and the government cheats its way out of part of the national debt by paying it off in dollars that are worth less than the dollars that were borrowed. Verbal inflation likewise enables some people to cheat others. When “harassment,” “discrimination,” or even “rape” are redefined to include things going far beyond the original meanings of these words, there would be no real change if everyone understood what the inflated words now mean and neither social stigmas nor the penalties of the laws applied to the vast range of new things encompassed by these new meanings.

In both cases, runaway inflation is not just a zero-sum game. Monetary inflation not only redistributes benefits but can also reduce the sum total of those benefits, by undermining the credibility of the monetary unit and with it undermining the predictability of the whole system of which it is part, causing the economy to be less productive as people restrict what they do and plan, in order to avoid vastly increased risks. For similar reasons, human relations suffer when the verbal common currency of social interaction loses its meaning and predictability, so that people now protect themselves from new risks by various ways of withdrawing from one another and reducing their cooperation. (pg. 215-16)

Remember, Sowell wrote these words in 1995. What most compelled me about this passage was not a mere elucidation on general trends, but that Sowell wrote the exact words that are today used to silence and destroy opposition.

The Need for Novelty:

To demonstrate their superiority to the benighted masses that aren’t as smart and sophisticated as they are (they’re right about this – we’re smarter and more sophisticated, which is why they have an inherent need to destroy beauty and sophistication), the freak show on the left has a need to flaunt their freak-ism. If they can’t be beautiful, they’ll signal their moral superiority by celebrating vulgar things under the guise that they are “new,” and they are thus “enlightened.” This is a phenomenon we are all familiar with, and so was Sowell:

The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else? In everything from avant-garde art, music, and drama to exotic animals and “radical chic” activities, the stress is on their own differences, their specialness. A chorus of public outcry against what they are doing or advocating is not a reason to reconsider but music to their ears. To disdain “public clamor,” as it is caked when court decisions are protested, is a badge of distinction. All this, of course, contributes to the sealing off of the vision from feedback and reality.

Consistent with this pattern of seeking differentiation at virtually all cost has been the adoption of a variety of anti-social individuals and groups as special objects of solicitude – which is, to say, special examples of the wider and loftier vision of the anointed. From multiple murderers to smelly vagrants, these anti-social elements have been adopted as mascots, much like exotic animals. The stigmas put on these mascots by the rest of society merely provide yet another occasion for the anointed to blame society itself for failing to “solve” these people’s “problems.” Again, having committed themselves to this disdainful view of the benighted masses, the anointed have cut off their own path of retreat when evidence begins to pile up that their mascots have both richly deserved the stigmas they have received and are unlikely to be magically transformed by any of the innumerable programs and projects that the anointed have created for their benefit. Another avenue to reality is sealed off. (pg. 248)

In everything from fat acceptance, to “refugees welcome,” to the championing of pedophiles, the anointed leftists (or cuckservatives) get a high from promoting vulgar, indecent, or downright dangerous things, because it allows them to be “different” and “special” compared to the rest – a jockey for status.

The Future:

Sowell’s prescient warnings were dead on target:

The full dangers of the vision of the anointed cannot reveal themselves immediately. Even the anointed themselves are currently under at least the residual influence of traditional philosophical, religious, and moral inhibitions. To the extent that their vision prevails and endures, however, successive generations of the anointed will be less and less under the influence of these eroding traditional constraints, and the pure logic of their vision can operate more fully. Conversely, among those not convinced of this vision’s virtues, the spirit of resistance may well erode and the sense of outrage at its consequences become dulled by the accumulation of precedents for policies and actions that might once have been considered intolerable. (pg. 260)

Thomas Sowell, once again, wrote these words in 1995 – 20 years ago. As he wrote these words, a new generation (or perhaps more accurately, generational cohort) was being educated by the older “anointed.”

I have remarked upon the differences between the 80’s-born Millennials (the cohort I fall into) before on RVF and on my semi-regular stream/podcast, The Bardic Circle (my colleague Immortal Watchdog is also an 80’s born Millennial). We both agree (as do many on the forum), that the 90’s born Millennials are far more neurotic and are the main source of the “social justice” freak show army. With the second half of the Millennials in particular, we seem to be seeing the fruits blooming on the poisonous tree that the earlier generations of the anointed planted. It is not a coincidence that the “social justice” freak show, or the vision of the anointed, emerged into the cultural mainstream and out of the ivory towers of the intellectuals (which Sowell was mainly discussing) at the same time that this cohort came of age. Sowell was chillingly prescient indeed.

I greatly fear that as the generation behind the Millennials comes of age, the culture will get even less detached from reality, and Sowell’s prophecy will echo with even more amplification. Even Millennials, and 90’s ones at that, had a few tempering influences – access to attention whoring technology was still limited for the overwhelming majority of their lifetimes. It is not limited now, and the generation behind them (the so-called Generation Z), grew up with it.
We must resolve to use that technology for our own ends and to be examples of a counter narrative, a counter vision. Sowell was short on offering solutions in his book – that will be on us, but nevertheless, his book is important for our side to read. We cannot fight an enemy we don’t understand, and he sheds crucial understanding in Vision.

This book also reminds me that I have much work to do on my own contributions to that end. I’ll keep moving.

Conclusion:

Thomas Sowell’s Vision of the Anointed is, in my opinion, a fundamental book that all men must read. Not only will it shed crucial understanding and allow you to make sense of the freaks trying to destroy Western civilization and ruin your life, it will also allow you to understand how to deal with them, or, if you must, argue with them.

Though Thomas Sowell doesn’t provide any solutions in Vision of the Anointed outright, it will allow you to conceive of some – whether that be avoiding these people and diffusing them while saving face, or outright going to war against them. This is because you will now understand them well, and I believe this is what Sowell wanted most.

There’s been a sentiment by many in our corner of the internet that they can just “enjoy the decline” or ignore the problems facing them as long as they make money and get laid, but when the postmodern, globalist left assaults further our identity and seeks to make our lives as hard as possible, from being forced to accept wave upon wave of third world immigrants to outright criminalizing normal sexual relationships with women, we must make a stand, and Sowell has provided us crucial means to do so in Vision.

This is an enemy that cannot be ignored, because it will not ignore you.

Vision of the Anointed | The Masculine Epic
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