Mediocrity: The race to the bottom

Sam Gerrans
Sam Gerrans is an English writer, translator, support counselor and activist. He also has professional backgrounds in media, strategic communications and technology. He is driven by commitment to ultimate meaning, and focused on authentic approaches to revelation and realpolitik. He is the founder of Quranite.com – where the Qur’an is explored on the basis of reason rather than tradition – and offers both individual language training and personal support and counseling online at SkypeTalking.com.
A pupil runs with the ball as he takes part in rugby practice on the playing fields of Rugby School in central England. © Neil Hall
Mediocrity loves company, and the way it leverages the weak-minded is through highly selective compassion. But so long as you have no memory, no power of reason and no experience of life, this selective compassion sounds, well, compassionate.

I have a new favorite word: mediocracy. It means ‘rule by mediocre people’. I like it because it describes one facet of what I call Total Insanity – or that system under which we are, for now, living.

Under a mediocracy there are no objective standards. There are just feelings. It can – and will – use them to justify everything from opening the floodgates to an invasion of Europe, to feeling the pain of a 52-year-old father of seven who abandoned his family so he could live authentically as a six-year-old girl.

By waving the flag of selective compassion, mediocracy is forever misty-eyed at some new reason to undermine real culture, decency, manliness, and discipline.

However, what it hates more than anything is achievement. It talks about achievement, but only in a bland, touchy-feeling sort of way. In reality, its achievements are merely expressions of new ways to facilitate being weak and deluded; or roundabout ways of expressing such things in terms of ‘compassion’.

New no-tackle rugby

When you understand the agenda, it all gets quite dull after a while. But I was amused to see where the guns of compassion have now fixed their sights: school rugby.

The problem with rugby – at least within the context of schools – according to the self-appointed gurus of gush, apparently, is tackling.

In a Guardian piece about a letter – one breathlessly entitled UK health experts call for ban on tackling in school rugby – we are told: “The letter is the first stage of a campaign that will include a petition on the change.org website which, if it receives 100,000 signatures, will trigger the consideration of a debate by MPs on the issue.”

Now the gush police love online petitions. You can get 100,000 people to sign practically anything if you make it sound worthy enough. So long as it doesn’t require any effort or financial input on the part of those whose buttons you are pressing, they will press yours in return to give you the votes you need.

The driver for this new round of tosh is the fact that ‘more than 70 doctors and health experts have called for a ban on tackling in school rugby games.’

Most people who read the article will just scan the list of names featuring the title Doctor and think it must be a good cause. But, in reality, the document has two core signatures: those of two professors in areas which sound more related to social engineering than to anything physical (Sport and Masculinities – whatever that is – and Public Health Research and Policy).

The remaining signatures are ‘supporting’, of which two are actual practicing doctors (i.e. people who receive patients).

The rest are academics in such hard-hitting disciplines as Institute of Human Identity (Dr. Charles Silverstein) and Health Inequalities Group (Robin Ireland). The closest most of these people will have come to a sporting injury will be a paper cut from picking up a dissertation from the wrong angle.

This, clearly, has nothing to do with rugby and everything to do with imposing yet more unreality on the human tribe.

I was not a rugby player myself; I preferred soccer and athletics at school. But I have played rugby, and I am bright enough to understand one of its key features: it is meant to hurt. That’s why boys play it.

Getting punched and kicked when you’re nine is no great tragedy. Living in a hermetically sealed, bubble-wrapped environment without punches and slaps and kicks until you are twenty-something, and having no chance to test yourself, to build up stamina, courage, strength and will: that is a tragedy.

By the time these social engineers finish with school rugby, there will be no goal posts; you’ll just pass the ball around in a big circle making sure everyone gets a turn – being particularly careful to see that people in wheelchairs get two turns. You’ll score a try by explaining how much you feel you deserve one. But it won’t be a try for your side. The points will be shared among the players on the basis of who is most deserving. And when it’s over everyone will get a medal.

University crybabies

A similar tendency is insinuating itself into the universities – but less by the hand of the professors, and more by that of the students themselves.

When I was at university, the process of insulation against reality was in its infancy. My degree was in Russian; it, therefore, had a considerable history component – one in which the Russian Revolution and the resultant Soviet Union featured prominently.

I made an independent trip to Russia in my first year where I learned – by speaking with Russians – what every Russian over 30 knows: that there was very little Russian about the Russian Revolution.

They all knew what Putin declared publically: that the overwhelming majority of the Bolshevik leadership was Jewish. Yet, back in the UK, no one was allowed to mention this fact. Papers were marked down; I was taken into corners and talked to; I watched less able students who kept within the lines of what was acceptable rewarded for their compliance.

I was still under the illusion that we were at university to learn things that were true, and that a study of history should include all the salient facts. Was anyone ever so young?

The intellectual underpinning – if you can call it that – for this self-imposed myopia, was the idea that the wrong people would be ‘offended or ‘outraged’, ergo: facts don’t matter – or can be ignored or wished away.

Fast forward twenty years. It’s a whole different ball game in what passes for higher education. Forget about what’s verboten in Russian history – that’s nothing. Now not only can you not say anything worth saying in essays, you can’t even say it to another student in case they are – yes, you guessed it – offended or outraged.

In an excellent article in the Telegraph, Ruth Sherlock outlines the new atmosphere of fear in which professors have to operate, one in which they are asked not to use certain material for fear among students that some may be ‘traumatized’.

She writes: ‘Across the United States, lecturers have received similar messages from students demanding that modules of academic study – ranging from legal topics to well-known works of literature – be scrubbed from exams, and sometimes from the syllabus altogether.

Far from the bra-burning, devil-may-care attitudes at universities in the ‘60s and ‘70s, today’s generation of American students increasingly appears to yearn for a campus ruled by dogmatic political correctness, in which faculty members assume the role of parents more than purveyors of academic rigor.

The lexicon of college has changed: students now speak about “micro-aggressions”, “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.”

The notion of the “safe space” first emerged to describe a place of refuge for people exposed to racial prejudice or sexism. But the phrase has changed meaning to the point where now it often implies protection from “exposure to ideas that make one uncomfortable,” according to Nadine Strossen, a prominent law professor and former head of the American Civil Liberties Union.

This hesitancy to engage in the dialogue of debate – and, in its most extreme form, the sense that hearing opposing opinions can cause damage to the psyche – has seeped from the campus to the classroom.’

Students walk through a campus of Kings College in London. © Olivia Harris

The next generation

University professors created much of this problem – as we see them doing with rugby now. But they have created a monster – one they don’t always like and, increasingly, cannot control.

Meanwhile, borderline academics like Germaine Greer and that missionary of moral relativism Peter Tatchell have been out-offended and out-outraged by the grandchildren of the people they helped corrupt.

We are now pandering to a generation of cultural Marxists – iPhone-touting Maoists – indoctrinated snitches on a perpetual witch-hunt for anyone who does not conform with their feelings about an ideology they have been fed but which they do not understand. They are the Spies from Orwell’s 1984. But then they probably wouldn’t read 1984 because it might trigger difficult feelings, or because it is ‘elitist’ or written by a white male.

While spouting the politics of compassion, this generation of hysterical, reality-deficient weaklings is bubble-wrapped in fluffy non-specific theory. It worships consensus, and expresses rebellion through increased conformity and political orthodoxy.

There isn’t much wrong with these little fools that an economic collapse, social breakdown and Mad Max scenario wouldn’t fix – and once such people begin to dictate policy in large numbers, that is what is coming.

Of course, very few of them would survive. But the ones that did would know how to handle a rugby tackle.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.