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The Defecated Rationality of the Left Hemisphere in Action. Right Before Our Eyes.

Photo by MARIOLA GROBELSKA / Unsplash

The question: How can people who make the smallest carbon footprint be responsible for making the largest carbon footprint?

The answer: They can't.

Except in the mental world of our brain's left hemisphere.

This is a real-life (real-time) example from Tanzania and the plight of the Massai people, who are the subject of this splendid feature essay at The Atlantic (I used to subscribe, but I dropped it when it, alas, became yet another shill for the Establishment, or so I thought . . . I might re-subscribe in light of this essay).

The Massai are nomadic cowherders. They are the African archetype: dancing pagans with multiple wives and colorful clothing. They have lived for hundreds of years by tending their cattle, roaming throughout East Africa, their cows grazing one spot, then rotating to another, in an organic and highly-responsible form of agriculture that nourished the Serengeti.

But now the Massai are being eliminated. Often ruthlessly, with death and violence, with overt intentions of eliminating their tribal character (which is deemed inconsistent with merely being "Tanzanians").

Why? Because even though they are "among the lightest-living people on the planet," they are being told they are "the biggest threat to conservation and national progress was them."

So their whole way of life must be eliminated.

Here's a snapshot of how this evil road of good intentions came together.

First, a myth was created. The Serengeti is a wild playground of beasts, virtually untouched by humans. Just the Lion King and his subjects. Nothing as mundane as cows, despite the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of them.

Second, before it pulled out of Tanzania after World War II, the British government arranged to set aside a huge swath of Massai territory to establish the Serengeti National Park. This curtailed the Massai's ability to rotate their grazing areas, putting greater ecological pressure on their remaining areas, but they were still able to continue their way of life.

Third, western (and then Saudi) money poured in through tourism and safaris. The Massai were great features from a tourism standpoint, but their damn cows kinda detracted from the myth, so huge hunting lodges continued to buy up the Massai land and evict the cows so they could better preserve the myth, thereby further shrinking the ability of the Massai to rotate grazing areas, putting more ecological pressure on the region.

Fourth, globalist elites told their corporate elite cousins that they need to buy carbon offsets. If I understand the arrangement correctly: Corporations are allowed to buy a bunch of undeveloped land, which they preserve, and then they're allowed to take a shit in a different area of the planet. The Serengeti has a lot of undeveloped land, plus it's great for safaris and tourism, so the globalists buy even more land, resulting in yet more ecological pressure.

Fifth, the ecological pressure grow so bad, the Massai are, indeed, arguably overgazing and causing ecological problems. On top of that, their refusal to give up their way of life is interfering with the Tanzania government's nationalist economic development program, which revolves around selling carbon offsets, tourism, and huge hunting preserves for the world's uber-rich (like the Saudis).

And now?

And now the Tanzania government is driving off (killing off) the Massai. They try the carrot (free house in the suburbs) and when that doesn't work, they bring the stick (soldiers).

Iain McGilchrist published his bestseller, The Master and His Emissary, in 2009. He followed it with his massive two-volume The Matter with Things, in 2021.

They're daunting and nuanced works, but they can be boiled down to four points:

  1. The left hemispheres and right hemispheres of our brains do the same things.
  2. But they approach things differently: they attend to the world differently. The left hemisphere is "tasked with tasks." It's practical. Its primary function is to get things done. As part of this function, it tends to categorize and come up with ideals: clean "either-or" solutions that give it clear direction so it can maneuver efficiently.
  3. The problem is, all those left-hemispheric shortcuts, though magnificent in their ability to help us get through life, are shortcuts. They're not nuanced. They don't (and can't) take into account everything that needs to be taken into account. That's why the left hemisphere is ultimately meant to serve the right hemisphere. It brings information to the right hemisphere, which then mulls it over and presents it back to the left hemisphere for further consideration and processing. The process takes time ("sleep on it" is how our ancestors phrase this process).
  4. Even though the two hemispheres work best when they work together, with the right hemisphere playing the master role, the left hemisphere has usurped the master role. Modern culture is a left-hemispheric culture and it's creating all sorts of problems.

The Massai are real-life victims of the unbridled left hemisphere.

Left hemispheric elites have come up with little ideals (the mythical African plain), medium ideals (African nations without colonialism), and big ideals (saving the planet). Those are the starting points: the "logocentric ideals," the philosophy professors would call them.

All rationality flows from these logocentric ideals, giving rise to what Russell Kirk called "defecated rationality": the reasoning process flowing from ideals that are detached from history, tradition, and custom. Such ideals are what led the French Revolutionaries to invent the guillotine.

The ideals come together, often with a big measure of government corruption and corporate greed, to concoct a plan that is so ludicrous on its face, that only a person blinded by the rational centric machinations of his left hemisphere can't see it.

And that's what we have here.

The people who are, by their very lifestyles, among the most responsible ecological citizens in the world are vilified and persecuted for being ecologically irresponsible.

And like all ludicrous conclusions, they aren't held as an "opinion." They are held as self-evident truths. So self-evident, in fact, that anyone who defies the conclusions is morally deficient in some manner.

And so it is with the Massai.

They stand in the way of progress. They stand in the way of saving the planet.

They must be eliminated.