Speaking Truth to Power

I’m so old I remember when it was fashionable for those on the left to favor non-violent protest. Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Vaclav Havel, and Desmond Tutu were honored by the Left as heroic figures because they engaged in speaking truth to power rather than violent revolution.

Fashions change.

These days, it may seem the Left has taken Noam Chomsky’s analysis to heart—power knows the truth already and is busy concealing it—but I don’t believe that’s what’s motivating them. Given the Left’s move from liberalism to marxism, their worldview is no longer centered on truth. Instead, it is all about power. Truth has become, if not irrelevant, their enemy.

The Left is now speaking shouting power at truth.

The Left fails to understand is that there is nothing more powerful than Truth in the long run. They have chosen poorly.

The Important Question For The 2020 Elections

Sarah Hoyt has a post up about The Nature of Humans. In the course of her discussion about the differences between how the Left and the Right view human nature, she frames the principal issue of the coming election.

Because government is essentially force, it’s very important to keep it out of the hands of those who believe humans are infinitely perfectible if ONLY government takes over every aspect of life, including how many squares of toilet paper you’re allowed to use for what purpose.

Read the whole thing.

Cultural Appropriation

I’d like to suggest that people who find my culture offensive should stop appropriating the things we have created.

I’m an engineer. In my culture we rely on certain facts of nature (as we understand them) being actually true. For example, engineers believe, based on the evidence, that 2+2=4, and we rely on the mathematical principles behind that fact in order to design and build things that people can use.

It’s come to my attention that there’s a bunch of wokies trying to sell the idea that 2+2=4 is not a universal truth but some sort of tool used to oppress minorities. (Note: Engineers are a very tiny minority group within humanity.) While I believe that the wokies are foolishly wrong in their worldview, they have the right to be wrong. However, I also believe that, given their worldview, they are acting immorally (if Morality is connected to Truth) when they appropriate my culture’s concepts and artifacts for their own purposes.

For example, if 2+2 can equal 5, then 12 percent can equal 22 percent. I picked those numbers because, to the extent that most of wokies pay income taxes, they are probably in the under $40k bracket. If they were withheld at the next higher marginal rate of 22 percent instead of the lower rate, they would have no grounds for complaint by their own logic. But most would surely complain.

Also, most, if not all, of the wokies I’ve encountered, seem to have cell phones, and cell phones use microprocessors which rely on the mathematically logic behind the truth of 2+2=4 in order to operate. Is it moral for them to be appropriating that artifact from my culture?

Well, that depends on how “moral” is defined. Morality is a body of standards or principles derived a particular definition of what is Good. If the definition of Good is connected with Truth, then what is moral may be quite different the if the definition is connected with Power. The wokies’ worldview is marxist and rooted in Power. For them, life is as O’Brien explained to Winston Smith: “The object of power is power.” Truth can be arbitrary for them.

IIRC, O’Brien was also a proponent of 2+2 being 5 or 3 or whatever it needed to be.

I don’t think that I would like to live in a world in which most of the power was in the hands of the wokies. Therefore, I propose this strategy—Don’t let the wokie win.

Past Their Sell By Date

Sarah Hoyt has a thoughtful piece over at PJ Media explaining why she expects the current playacting at revolution by the Left to fail. She argues the false premises of the marxist philosophical worldview of the Left has so distorted their perceptions of Reality that they can’t understand why their efforts to bring about Utopia keep failing. In frustration the Left is throwing a tantrum because things aren’t “fair.”

They expect that the “99 Percent” will rise up in solidarity with them to overthrow the “1 Percent” of capitalist oppressors. However, it’s the Left that won the slow revolutionary march through the institutions over the past fifty years. It’s Leftists who now make up most of the “1 Percent.”

Real revolutions, not the left’s pretend theater, are not “and the people rose up.” That’s usually the last stage. Real revolutions are caused by living conditions/ways of making a living changing so dramatically that ideology must follow.

Communism and socialism were – though heads-on-pants insane – well suited to the mentality of mass production and mass movements.

They’re fish out of water in the 21st century. Which is why every move they make turns against them. Their heads are full of a society that no longer exists.

I’m not saying they’re not a danger, particularly in the areas – geographic and social – they control. What I’m saying is that they’re losing that control.

Read the whole thing.

In effect, proles who thought they had been guaranteed a spot in the Outer Party and had a shot at making it into the Inner Party are raging because their Fill-in-the-Blank Studies did not qualify them for anything other than struggling to service a significant debt on a barista’s wages. One part of the left is revolting against another.

This has happened before. During the middle years of the last century, the international socialist fought the national socialists in Europe. Sarah Hoyt argues that we’re now seeing the death rattle of the Left’s revolution rather than its birth pains. I hope she’s right.

Past Performance Is No Guarantee Of Future Results …

… but given the world’s experience with every other marxist revolution, we might want to be careful about what changes we make in American society and how we make them.No Cambodians, Zimbabweans, or Venezuelans were available for comment as this post was written. However, several Czechs and Poles noted their experience was that making political systems more like our has reduced oppression in their countries.

Readjusting the Overton Window

The Overton Window is the range of ideas which are considered acceptable for public consideration and debate. It moves around as the climate of public opinion changes.

President Trump’s speech at Mt. Rushmore was an attempt to move the window upward to include a more respectful view of the Enlightenment principles generally held by the Founding Fathers and away from the Postmodern Neo-marxist worldview underpinning much of the turbulence in America these days. I hope he was successful. I’m not sure that he was. Oh, he did a fine job of rallying the people who already agree with him, but he was preaching to the choir.

Let me extend that metaphor a bit. I’m not sure how effective he was as an evangelist, one who brings good news to the unconverted. There are a large number of Americans who have come to believe the marxist fallacy that everything can be defined as a power struggle among various identity groups, and that someone else’s is the result of privilege and oppression. They want what they see as their turn controlling the levers of power, and many of them are willing to tear down the current system in order to change things.

What many of them don’t understand is the difference between the ideals of the American Revolution and so many others—the people have granted power to the government so it may serve them not rule over them. Those who wish to be change things so that they can become part a new ruling class need to look at the history of those other revolutions. Only a few of the revolutionaries become part of the nomenklatura, and even fewer make it into the Inner Party. The rest become the proles in a failing society.

The good news these folks need to hear is that the American Revolution produced a melting pot society where everyone’s positive contribution has a chance to prosper. It’s not a perfect society, but it’s the best humanity has come up with to date. Events such as the Minneapolis riots or the failure of Antifastan in Seattle are hitting some with a dose of Reality that may show them the folly of their worldview.

It will be interesting to see how they react.

Meanwhile, I hope President’s speech successfully framed some of the questions to be considered by the public between now and the Third of November.

Moi, Je Suis Marxiste—Tendance Groucho

Roger Kimball has a review of the French philosopher Raymond Aron’s critique of Marxism, The Opium of the Intellectuals at PJ Media. It’s worth reading, especially considering the Marxist leanings of the OWSers.

In his foreword to The Opium of the Intellectuals, Aron noted that he directed his argument “not so much against the Communists as against the communisants,” against those fellow travelers for whom the West is always wrong and who believe that people can “be divided into two camps, one the incarnation of good and the other of evil.”

The primary target of Aron’s polemic was fanaticism. But he also recognized that the defeat of fanaticism often leads to a contrary spiritual sickness, indifference. Both are expressions of the ultimate enemy, nihilism. Skepticism, Aron wrote, is useful or harmful depending on which is more to be feared at the moment: fanaticism or apathy. The intervening faculty that orients us appropriately is practical wisdom, prudence, “the god” (Aron quotes Burke) “of this lower world.”

Aron’s indictment of intellectual intoxication is not the same thing as an indictment of intellectuals. He was not anti-intellectual or contemptuous of ideas. This was not simply because he was an intellectual himself. He clearly discerned the immense power, for good or ill, that ideas can have. “Intellectuals suffer from their inability to alter the course of events,” he noted. “But they underestimate their influence. In a long term sense, politicians are the disciples of scholars or writers.”