American big business believes something that we Christians believe. It believes that what goes on in our hearts and minds will finally affect our behavior.
Therefore big business, like the church, is out to change what goes on in our hearts and minds. The Human Resources departments of big business think it is time for them to dispense systematic ethics which can only be based on an entire view of Reality. They want to tell you what is absolutely right and wrong and in that sense, set themselves up as authorities about the true meaning and purpose of human life. Big HR expects its employees to live within its tradition not only on the job, but twenty-four seven. If you publicly oppose or violate the company’s view of what is good, even off the job, you can and will be asked to leave. This is becoming a war on freedom of conscience. It is finally a war on being human. As usual it is all based on the dead modern notion that reason and its derivative understanding of justice, and even righteousness, is universal. Increasingly, truly natural and delightfully ornery employees are proving this is not true. The postmodern tide is with them.
In principle, you do not have freedom of thought and speech as a contemporary employee as long as the corporation is looking for signs of what you really believe. If you join a church, and then violate its principles, its doctrine, you may be excommunicated. If businesses are going to behave like churches, who may excommunicate employees at will for public violations of its world-view, its moral grammar, its public ethics, then the workers must push back by demanding the freedom to create competing business organizations which also have explicitly competing forms of life, a whole different moral identity, a whole different world view. In other words, if it is true that what we really believe, in our minds and hearts, will eventually determine our behavior, and our employers therefore have a vested interest in what we really believe, then the government must level the playing field by making it legal to invest a business with any tradition which the owners wish to promote. If there is no such thing as a tradition-neutral business culture, then we need a truly free market of business cultures. This, in turn, requires that we deny the government its genuinely evil doctrine that businesses are public accommodations which cannot be allowed free association and free speech; which must abide by the regulator’s view of Reality. We must smash this naïve modern notion with the postmodern sledge hammer called “relativism.” Big HR is embarrassingly ignorant and stupid. It is rooted in pure prejudice, unexamined modern reflexes, advocacy sociology, not universal reason.
The complete absence of philosophical sophistication in HR departments from coast to coast make them easy targets for postmodern deconstruction; for a growing rebellion against their authoritarian naiveté. The completely uneducated mavens of corporate correctness are in for a rude awakening. With more and more regularity they will find their silly attempt to regulate the beliefs of the workers is getting completely dismantled. We cannot take them seriously. Big HR’s push to influence the beliefs, not just the behavior, of employees, is a form of pride which is leading to its fall. It is falling into the jaws of the Knowledge Worker Revolution. The Knowledge Worker Revolution is part and parcel of what I call “neopopulism” as the rise of culturally and politically aggressive Christianity. I will be writing more about it.
Ironically, as a Christian, I harbor sincere beliefs in my mind and heart which lead to exactly the kind of behavior Big HR is looking for. No matter how much I disagree with Islam, the gay lifestyle, the narcissistic nonsense of immature employees who invent and then demand attention for their manufactured differences, I believe in loving and respecting them. I believe in being patient with them. I believe in treating every female like a lady, promoting her dignity, and respecting the competence of her work. I have been told that I am “fun” to work with by people with whom I have deep-seated disagreements about the nature and destiny of man. If I was fired for what I believe the people I work with would protest. They see no danger or offense in it. They would be powerful witnesses in a civil law suit. They know I love them. And yet what I believe is not acceptable, on average, to Big HR. In the end, one suspects that Big HR thinks of my Christian love as being patronizing, full of “micro-inequities.” Though Christianity is the most powerful factory of love in the world, this love is unacceptable. Well, then, where is an actual example of a viable substitute? Big HR is so unsophisticated it believes that ideology, sociological theory, and training are the substitute. What it actually demands is that the average employee simply pretend to respect its nonsense. When they stop pretending, as we move forward into the postmodern age, it is going to be a very painful period for Big HR. Radical relativism is the wolf at the door of Big HR. Big HR has no clue how to deal with it.
HR departments would become notoriously successful at constructing working environments that people love by promoting the Christian faith. The greatest irony, the phoniest dimension of big HR, is that it is our Christian tradition, which, above all others, makes a well-oiled but diverse work force possible. But Big HR is pretending to be a relativist, a believer in diversity. It does so by insisting that we must all believe exactly the same things about diversity. The whole program is a logical illusion. It cannot recommend Christian love and sustain this illusion; it cannot recommend the heartfelt condition which leads to the most productive behaviors. Big HR is so childlike in its thinking that it imagines that Christianity’s critique of homosexuality, or Islam, or immaturity for that matter, is somehow incompatible with patience, respect, and profound concern for others. Our entire society, represented by Big HR, has completely lost any understanding of the doctrines and the moral mechanics of orthodox Christianity, which are the foundation of civility. The massive loss of civility in American culture is based on imagining that we can substitute ideology for the western tradition which actually created civilization. Fools are in charge. They are destroying civilization. The behaviors required by Big HR are no longer a matter of the heart while it insists that it must be a matter of the heart. Good behavior has degenerated into legalism — government and corporate law. The irony is razor sharp. It is only the good behavior of the traditional, religious employees which is heartfelt.
The HR Department teaches us to eschew “micro-inequities.” But of course this is based on a completely suppressed and completely controversial account of what a significant inequity is. People, thank God, are delightfully ethnic and traditional. They have ethnic and traditional preferences. Big HR has its own grammar. Normal, ethnic people have theirs. Big HR wants us to police our own thoughts. It encourages employees to be hyper-sensitive as a test of whether or not we are doing so. Fortunately, almost every one simply ignores the HR department’s foray into theoretical sociology — its hope that we will be impressed by fancy theories and fancy words like “micro-inequity.” Rafael is not offended when I ask him if he would rather just go to Taco Bell. He laughs, unlike the HR department. He does not have to remind me that he is American born and bred. I already know that. No one seems to take themselves as seriously as the HR department. One wonders if all of the training is really about the HR department itself; its demand for the respect of naturally skeptical and apathetic human beings.
The HR Department shows us pictures of a young man who looks ridiculous. He has made himself up. The HR professional, wide-eyed, expects us to be thrilled, as she is, by the revelation that he is a NASA scientist. She just knows we could not imagine this. We are full of micro-inequities — unconscious prejudice of which we must be made aware. But how much is she aware of her own prejudice — the relativity of her own point of view, her ideology, her view of Reality? Has the company sent an adult to educate us or a child?
Of course, she knows absolutely nothing about us. She has implicitly stereotyped us. She is a hypocrite. She is breaking her own rules. It is herself she knows and does not know.
Our reaction to the young man is not any doubt that he may be capable of higher mathematics. We just happen to think he is a narcissist, looking for attention. Apparently not even a job at NASA is attention getting enough. We see immaturity whether our HR maven likes it or not. We judge him according to our traditional moral psychology. Our HR maven is just hawking a competing tradition, a competing moral psychology. She seems to believe that we should not see any moral weakness where there is any strength at all. Was Adolf Hitler the victim of micro-inequities in the unexamined hearts and minds of orthodox German Jews and Lutherans? Perhaps this is what made him a monster.
It is herself, not us, whom she knows (and does not know) when she delights in pointing out that the black woman in the next picture is a brain surgeon. She is the one who just does not get it, who is strikingly unaware of herself. She is, herself, lagging behind; the perfect example of the ugly American promoting what she (not we) thinks are exceptions, not rules, precisely in order to prove what she cannot prove — that we are full of prejudice and must be cleansed by modern organizational theory and her expertise.
Finally she lowers the boom, making it absolutely explicit that we are supposed to give up our tradition, our religion, our much more sophisticated and considered philosophy, for the patently superficial ideology of Big HR. We must accept the intrinsic goodness, the intrinsic rightness of gay people as gay; not just as human beings, but as gay creatures. We must stop believing that the most important thing about them is their humanity because then we will want to save it, and that will require some sense of failure. This is a macro-inequity. We must understand that the most important thing about gay people is their gayness, not their humanity. Forget universal humanity. That does not exist. There is only universal ideology, universal reason. That is the standard. (But how could we know this, without human nature making the claim?)
We must change our hearts and minds. For as long as we respect and love the homosexual’s tragic humanity, we will not love the gayness in and of itself. And this is an attack on diversity. We must embrace what our tradition tells us is sin. Homosexuality is good precisely because it results in diversity, as an end in itself. Loving and applying a concept of humanity is hateful. This always leads to morality. In order to achieve real diversity, every concept of humanity, of human nature, must be eliminated. There is no such thing as human nature. If there is, then the history of human beings is as tragic as Christianity says it is.
Our HR expert is an expert, after all, on the nature of Reality; she is privy to the true nature and destiny of man. She is a sociology major. She pronounces P1 as if she were Descartes, starting with an indubitable truth.
(P1) It is irrational and prejudiced to believe that homosexuality is sinful.
She is so uneducated, so lacking in reason, so philosophically unsophisticated, so unfriendly to us and our tradition, so prejudiced, so incapable of hyperbolic doubt, so bereft of intellect (for which we are not supposed to judge her) that P2 never occurs to her:(P2) It is irrational and prejudiced to believe that all belief that homosexuality is sinful is irrational and prejudiced.
And, of course, P3 never occurs to her.
(P3) All human thought and action is tradition-bound, and relative in that sense, including that of Big HR.
She is the one who failed the sophomore seminar in philosophy, not the Christian. It is always the naïve secularists who get Ds in philosophy. Christians very often get As. We understand much better than she does the complexity, the difficulty of the questions. We must not look at her too long. The disagreement in our demeanor, the pathetic image reflected back to her in our eyes, is ugly aggression. We are not supposed to question Big HR. Its goodness, its decency, is axiomatic. But it is failing. It is failing to produce a working environment for knowledge workers which is actually inspiring in its humanity and productivity. More on this next time.
A key cornerstone of a postmodern, anti-rationalist knowledge worker revolution is the deconstruction of the very unsophisticated ideology of Big HR in our time, and the establishment of a truly free market of business culture. As soon as competing business cultures are available, the drain on the resources of Big Business, as a flight from the failures of Big HR, will begin. The most successful competing business culture will be Christian. It is the only business culture which can optimize diversity and association in the workplace in an authentic, hard-headed, completely honest way. It is the only business culture in which adults can be adults who disagree peacefully and productively about very important principles, dismissing hyper-sensitivity as, yes, a moral flaw. We crave freedom from ideology posing as science which has never been, and never will be, a source of authentic, heartfelt respect and love.