These days, it is ideologically more common than sand to base one’s entire sense of morality on a conception of naturalness.
They so distrust authoritarianism of any sort that they consider it to be unnatural. In their minds, the world is divided up into an authoritarian camp which is presumably unnatural, and themselves, who are natural. The problem is that naturalness isn’t freedom, and doesn’t even produce freedom. Naturalness is slavery to a kind of organic necessity. If I was to live and work among those who are most natural, I would also be the victim of all of their hostility, their expressions of outrage whenever their immediate needs were somehow not entirely gratified, their sense of betrayal when I use language in a way which isn’t automatically accessible to them. This is the state of nature and of being natural: Hobbesian, all against all, with petty vindictiveness thriving. I would characterise my experiences of the Australian school education system as an experience of just this state of nature.
An embrace of the ideology of naturalness, unfortunately, also reinforces traditional gender role expectations, just as it directs one (failing the permitted intervention of any other sort of direction) towards the path of least resistance. All children grow up with the primary image of Mother The Nurturer and must be educated with great enforcement to believe that women can embody an identity which is radically different from their own primary experiences of women.
An appropriate authoritarianism is required within the school system. One sees how useful this acquirement and internalisation of authoritarianism can be, in the movie (posted below), THE HILL. Those who expect always to be seduced into trying something new, who, failing this “authoritative” intervention, will not try anything more daring than they usually do, need to pay close attention to this movie.
The point I drew from this movie is that one cannot be free unless one has within oneself the stuff of the authoritarians, to use against them. Otherwise, one is weak and malleable. Significantly, Trooper Joe Roberts (Sean Connery) understands the need for military discipline, “otherwise there’d be no army.” A career soldier, he has internalized the capacity for strict discipline, including, one presumes, a tolerance for pain. He has also internalized a sense of rationalism concerning social change, a more modernist respect for human lives. His life in the military has already been marked by his opposition to following orders which would merely waste human lives. Now he is in military prison, and the same mindless discipline is being imposed. Sean Connery can tolerate this pain, but another cannot and pays with his life.
The intensity of the military jail compels and honest exposition by each of the squad, of their own characters. There is no place to hide who and what they are. Each is forced to challenge the establishment with what they know about the murder of their associate, or to obviously lie in order to save their own skins.
Sean Connery represents the authoritarianism of the future morality which demands human decency, against the authoritarianism of blind giving of orders, and submission.
His character does not represent mere naturalism, but rather an opposition to the naturalism which would command an individual to save his own skin and not stand up against injustice. That is to say, there is something highly artificial about Sean Connery’s character’s stance. It is so in the best of ways: A purer morality is turned against the old order. Yet, to see the movie is to understand that this takes immense courage which is not the sort of attitude one could have if one’s teachers were always pleasant and had been forced into the role of being seducer of one’s mind.
Authoritarian training produces the opposite result to that which superficial naturalists presume: one has to have been exposed to some rather ambivalent treatment in the past, including some which was unyielding and authoritarian, in order to be able to internalize for one’s own use, the opposite power of being unyielding in rebellion, against one’s authorities. This film reveals this dynamic as belonging to the past.