This afternoon, I came across a fascinating Tweet thread by the esteemed Eve Keneinan. Eve echoes my own thoughts on the subject of Academia and militant anti-theism. Leftists love to make fun of folks they perceive to be peasants. Farmers, rural folks, working men, they are all stupid hicks and rubes to the hard Left. And Leftists love to make fun of the Christian faith possessed by these folks. Stupid sky wizards and zombie overlords, they’ll say. All the ‘brights’, the so-called smart people are, of course, proper atheists and good Socialists.
Except as Eve points out, they aren’t. Sure, the working man might not have a fancy education, but this doesn’t necessarily imply stupidity. And meanwhile, those truly comfortable with their own knowledge and experience seldom see a need to be insecure about it. It is the midwit, the person who is moderately more intelligent than average, and thus has had years of smoke blown up his ass about his relatively high intelligence, who is most vulnerable to such insecurity. And, in turn, superficially intellectual philosophy thus becomes appealing to them.
It was [midwits] in Vietnam who were most likely to turn traitor. They are the most easily led by the nose class of persons.
Stockdale spent 8 years in the infamous Hoa Lo prison, the “Hanoi Hilton,” and observed many things about the human condition.
One was the varying effects of Vietnamese communist propaganda on various types of men.
Rough, uneducated soldiers were largely immune. A sergeant from Tennessee met every attempt to break his loyalty with one word: “BULLSHIT!”
Stockdale, highly educated (having studied philosophy) was also largely immune. He could show his captors how THEY were misreading Marx …
The men who turned coat were the moderately smart, moderately educated. THESE are the class that are MOST susceptible to propaganda.
Flattery and negging, in turn, are the weapons used to convert the midwit into the service of Marxism. You’re stupid if you believe in the Christian sky wizard, and the ‘invisible hand’ of Capitalism. You’re dumb if you think you have freedom. But you’re smart if you understand Marxian dialectic. You’re smart if you see through to the great wisdom of Socialism. Only the educated and wise, you see, are capable of understanding the nuance. Your own insecurity is a weapon in their hand. Your desire to be perceived as intelligent is soon used against you.
Whereas the “stupid rubes” are largely immune. They point, laugh, and say “you’re full of shit.” It doesn’t matter if you call them stupid. That is something they’ve heard from city-slickers since the dawn of civilization. And you can flatter them all you like, but they are largely immune to that, too. For them, fancy words are about as useful as a windshield wiper on a goat’s ass.
The city boy with a 125 IQ who gets his 4 year degree, on the other hand, is extremely vulnerable. He’s intelligent enough to notice that he’s above the norm, but will likely always feel small in the presence of greater men. Academia can easily mold him into a good Socialist by playing the flattery/negging game. He is invested in his status as better than others, and that is the easiest lever with which to move him.
Of course, the highly intelligent, highly educated folks tend to be relatively immune to this sort of thing. If you are very secure in your intellectual capacity – and this is more a matter of knowing your limitations than anything else – the lever will not move you. Only truth will do. Fooling such a man is extraordinarily difficult. But, it should be noted, that in many ways the country rube is still the harder man to fool. The high intellectual will evaluate and entertain a thing, dissect it, and attempt to understand it before passing judgment on it. The “rube” will simply dismiss it if it fails to produce concrete results. The how and why isn’t of much concern to him.
In many ways, this is very sad. For though folks on Twitter are prone to using the term “midwit” as an insult, it really isn’t one. A man of moderately high intelligence and good education is incredibly useful. They form the ranks of engineers, technicians, programmers, medical specialists, and a number of other critical fields. They just need to get over themselves. Yes, you’re smarter than the average bear. But don’t get in over your head. Just because you were the best basketball player on your middle school team doesn’t mean you’re going to go pro. And don’t let folks falsely flatter you and manipulate you because, deep down, you’re insecure about this.
And lastly, remember one other fact. The folks you might dismiss as uneducated hicks are often a lot more intelligent than they appear to be. What, did you think every guy with a 150+ IQ went to an Ivy League school? Some were happy where they were at. Some preferred to till the soil, or work on old cars, or DJ dingy nightclubs. I’ve got friends of all shapes and sizes. Some of my people are rednecks from the sticks, who do a lot more hunting than they do reading. Others, like my friend Francis over at Liberty’s Torch are men of immense intellectual capacity and education (don’t tell him that, I don’t want his head to explode!). And you know what? I learn a little bit from all of ’em.
If you get over yourself, then no matter what your IQ level or educational achievements, you might just learn something. And, of equal importance, you might avoid swallowing a load of complete bullshit.
If you use Twitter with any frequency, you are probably already aware of the special sort of stupidity emitted by the Blue Checkmarks, that is people who are verified by Twitter. Since Twitter has a habit of banning Rightists, either directly or through shadowbanning, the number of verified Conservatives is rather smallish. It is non-zero, of course, but it could be said that Twitter wishes there were none. Thus Blue Checkmarks are usually liberals, and a large percentage of them fall into the category of Shitlibs, the special breed of liberals prone to the most idiotic and useless drivel imaginable.
The Blue Checkmarks Strike Again. This appalling level of deceitful filth equates Donald Trump joking about “grabbing ’em by the pussy” with literal sex slavery and mass murder committed by ISIS. This is the mindset of the far Left, any deviation from their narrative is deemed literally Hitler. Or in this case, literally ISIS. As this “genderless male” puts it, it is binary. If you are not with him, you are evil. And as evil, you must be destroyed.
Now, some might say that an out exists. What if the person disagreeing with the narrative is merely stupid? Ah, well Blue Checkmark Twitter has an answer for that, too:
So, stupid and evil are the same. They are both evil. Crass sexual humor is the same as sex slavery and mass murder. Words are literal violence. But violence conducted against Rightists isn’t violence at all. These people play very fast and loose with their language. It is language pollution of the highest order. Words mean whatever these cretins want them to mean. And, of course, what they want words to mean is “kill Righty” or maybe it’s “kill Whitey.” Whatever. In their world, it’s probably both.
Here’s a great example of that:
Of course, the casual reader might say that I’m cherry picking these. And sure, I’ve picked a few whoppers for the amusement of my readers. But you can browse for yourself, and see the idiocy and hateful language spewed by Blue Checkmark Twitter. Many of these people have jobs in entertainment, media, and academia. And most of them despise you. For every Sean Hannity with a Blue Checkmark, you’ll find a dozen of these cretins. And as we saw with Milo Yiannopoulos, Twitter loves to remove the checkmark, or simply ban a Rightist, if they believe they can get away with it.
This Tweet appears to have been removed, but the Blue Checkmark who tweeted it is still around:
If this were during the days of the Obama administration, and a Rightist posted something like that, he would have been booted off the island with a great deal of media fanfare. This goes right under the radar.
But don’t take my word for it. Browse Blue Checkmark Twitter for yourself. You will never find a greater hive of scum and villainy.
So much of political thought boils down to a very ancient question, one that was never satisfactorily resolved: does man possess free will? Does fate exist? And if it exists, can it be altered?
We talk of concepts like the inevitable progression of history, and the primacy of the poll numbers, and changing demographics, as if such things are fate. “The numbers don’t lie,” we say.
But do they? Can they?
There is a quote from the movie Gattaca (an excellent film, by the way), that touches on this.
“No one exceeds their potential, it simply means that we didn’t accurately gauge their potential in the first place.”
Is human potential measurable in any real sense to begin with? Can we quantify it? And if not, why can’t we?
One of the appeals of religion is that it tries to answer this question, where the numbers fail to explain it. Most religions look at the soul as a piece of the divine, as something supernatural, tied to this world, perhaps, through the human form, but not of this world, and thus not bound by its rules. Not measurable. The numbers cannot comment on the divine.
And in that, they create an out. An exit, as it were, from the idea that everything is fate, that everything was meant to happen according to natural laws of the universe. A part of man is not part of this universe, and thus not bound by its rules. And it is precisely this part that can defy fate.
Reading the usual suspects this morning, I came across a good piece by Francis: the Fear Weapon. It resonated with me on many levels, and at least partly because of a recent incident in my own life.
A couple weeks ago or so, I was working late in my home office downstairs. I do a lot of consulting work, and I kind of overburdened myself on contracts this last month. It’s required a lot of long nights to catch up. It was close to midnight. Suddenly the doorbell rang multiple times, and I heard screaming and crashing sounds outside, as persons unknown threw stuff around on my porch.
Not knowing what was going on, I hit the gun safe, which has a quick release, and grabbed my trusty Mossberg, then headed to the front door to see what was going on. I saw three people in the shadows, causing a ruckus, then suddenly running down the street when I flipped the lights on.
Since they were running away I set the shotgun down next to the door and opened it slightly. A bunch of my neighbors were outside chasing the three down the street. They had been walking their dog late at night and saw them causing the ruckus. I never got a good look at the perps, but from what I could tell, they were three black teenagers. I chatted with the neighbors who had chased them off a bit, then closed the door and considered what I was going to do next.
My wife preempted me by posting on our neighborhood’s watch page on Facebook, which is monitored by the local Sheriff’s office. She posted that the teens had caused a ruckus on my front porch, and that this was inadvisable, because I was armed. Certainly, if it was a prank, she said, it was a very stupid one.
Immediately, some folks in the neighborhood got pissed at me. They were offended that I would arm myself, and that I would consider using said arms on some kids who were “just playing some pranks.” One threatened to call the cops on me because, he claimed, brandishing a weapon is a crime. I advised him to go ahead and do so, and in any event, the whole thread had already been read by the local Sheriff’s office anyway, and they certainly didn’t think I had done anything wrong. Our local deputies are very good folks.
Some other folks explained how Castle Doctrine works in Florida, and that it was perfectly legal for me to carry a weapon in my own home in those circumstances. Either way, the man quickly backed off from his statements. But a few other folks messaged me asking if it was really reasonable to arm myself when it was probably just stupid kids doing stupid things.
My answer was: how the hell should I know that’s all it was? All I knew was somebody was screwing around on my front porch in the middle of the night for reasons unknown. Sure, it could be a harmless prank. It could also be something much worse. I had no way to know what it was, or who was doing it, and I’m not taking chances with my family’s life on the line. And I also suggested that if those teenagers were from the neighborhood, maybe my wife’s post put the fear of God in ’em. Maybe it would stop this stupidity before someone got hurt.
Other neighbors explained that this particular prank was actually pretty common. These teenagers would apparently do this every night to somebody in our area. After my wife’s post this completely stopped in its tracks. There hasn’t been a single report on the Neighborhood Watch page of any such activity since then. It was enough to make me wonder if the guy threatening me on the watch page was actually a parent of one of these kids, and that’s why he was so pissed off.
Either way, a healthy dose of fear put a stop to it.
Some people don’t get the message until you put some fear in them. They don’t think you’re serious, or that there’s really anything wrong with what they’re doing, because nobody is there to give them a reality check. Fear is that gut check.
It’s nothing like the craziness Francis talks about in his post, but it’s also a bit of anecdotal evidence in favor of the idea that employing fear can be good and healthy, and in any event, may be the only way to put a stop to certain behavior.
I don’t usually delete my posts, even if I’m in error. And in this case, I’m actually correct, except on one point, which has proven to be of significance. But I have removed a post in which I gave Laci Green a whole lot of shit. There’s a reason for this.
I still hold that during her time as an SJW, she was completely off the rails, and all that I said was true and correct. But, as many may know already, Laci has, of late, abandoned the SJW community. Or, perhaps more charitably, she has been booted from it. And she has a fascinating story to tell about how oppressive and twisted that community can be.
There are times I fear for the future of America, and the entire Western world. Because Marxism, in its Social Justice form, has taken the moral high ground. It is seen (not by us, but by a sufficiently large number of folks) as morally superior. Peace, love, tolerance, equality, fighting poverty and injustice. Who could have an issue with those things, right?
Well, as Laci’s own story demonstrates, the peace-love-tolerance bit is largely a sham. Laci explains:
it’s…fkng sad. i feel proud of sex+. i wish i’d had support and guidance from my allies. instead – shame, guilt, very conditional warmth
Everything is conditional with them. Say the right things, or you are made to feel shame and guilt for things you have never done. There is no tolerance. Quite the opposite, there is rigorous conformity.
TL;DR my experience taught me that others who are called a *BIGOT!!* may hold the capacity to do good when given a chance (and maybe a hug).
She’s beginning to see through the lies, the accusations of bigotry, of racism-sexism-homophobia. Why? Because she, herself, was called a bigot, merely for deigning to choose a politically incorrect boyfriend.
truth: all the years ive done sex+, i absolutely loathed myself. i felt i was never good enough, always failing to do social justice right.
I’ve spoken at length on this subject before. In fact, in the post title The Weight of the World my words sound like an eerie (and much more verbose – but y’all know how it is with me) echo of what Laci just said. Observe:
Being a supposed ally means nothing to them. It neither alleviates your guilt, nor mitigates the punishments due to you for the supposed crimes of Jones…
Talk to a Leftist, and he will complain that dead people who looked vaguely similar to you perpetrated horrific crimes against humanity (while ignoring similar crimes perpetuated by people who didn’t look much like you). The Trail of Tears was your fault, so was slavery, the Holocaust, colonialism, why Somalia sucks today, and why it sucked 500 years ago, and why an overweight lesbian couldn’t get a taxi cab in Manhattan at 4 in the afternoon on a Friday – whatever. It’s all your fault. Carry the sins, accept the punishment, give up your wealth (there was a hashtag running around social media some time ago called #GiveYourMoneyToWomen), shut up and stay in your lane.
Christ could carry the weight of the world, the plethora of sins committed by mankind. I, however, am unable to do so. I’m just a man, a regular Joe. I work, I pay my taxes (I’d rather not, but it’s not like the IRS gives us a choice in the matter), I have a family, same as any other. I screw up a lot, and the weight of my own responsibilities is, on occasion, rather crushing on its own. I am not Atlas, and SJWs can sit there and try to put the weight of the world on my shoulders, but it’ll never work. It’ll never do any good.
Folks, I don’t know how much of your thinking has been wasted on the matter of social justice and progressivism. A good man might ask himself if, perhaps, he really ought to carry these chains, if you are Jacob Marley to their Ebenezer Scrooge. But the question is moot to begin with. You can’t carry these chains, whether you wanted to or not. They are too big for you. They will destroy you. When you look into the face of an SJW, you are seeing someone who was already destroyed by this weight. Their psyches cracked under the pressure. They are no longer sane, or even themselves. It is almost like they are all possessed.
So the main reason I have deleted the post on Laci Green is simple: she actually managed to prove me wrong about one thing. I’ve often lamented that reaching the other side is impossible. That once someone goes down the path of SocJus and Marxism, they are lost to us.
Laci, whatever her other failings, managed to summon the intellectual courage (perhaps with the help of her boyfriend) to escape that intellectual and emotional prison. And for that, she has my respect.
It makes me wonder how many others are trapped behind the SJWs, questioning and wondering, but too afraid to speak up for themselves, too afraid to disagree or be caught exercising wrongthink.
Is there a possibility that a preference cascade could be lurking behind all of this, one that might sweep away the tides of extreme Leftism? Or was Laci merely a little stronger (and more fortunate) than her fellows?
The question bears more thought. In the meantime, welcome to intellectual freedom, Laci. I do hope you enjoy it.
Kurt makes a good point in this article. First we had the Tea Party, which was polite, principled, and generally full of pleasant people (who even cleaned up after themselves). The bureaucracy didn’t want to listen to them. Called them racists Nazis, and what have you.
So after that, we got the Trumpites. They gave up any pretense of politeness, jettisoned a good many principles, and if they weren’t as unpleasant as their liberal counterparts, they weren’t as nice as the Tea Partiers. The bureaucracy didn’t want to listen to them. Called them racists, Nazis, and what have you.
Does the Left not understand where this trajectory leads?
I mean, as Kurt tells us, it’s not like this sort of rhetoric the Left is spewing is designed to calm matters down:
And now they want to use non-ballot means to make sure the normals’ choice is again ignored.
What do they think comes after Trump? Someone nice?
Marxists frequently refer to non-Marxists as “reactionaries” as if reacting to the tyrannical demands of Marxism is somehow wrong, or unexpected. If you punch someone in the face, expect a reprisal in kind. If you try to take over a country in order to purge your ideological opponents, sooner or later they might try to do the same to you. This sort of tit-for-tat logic is somehow shocking to the Leftist, who typically screams “it’s not fair” when his opponent attempts to do the same thing in response.
This is all going down a road I really don’t want to go down, personally. But looking at it from a basic Game Theory perspective, if you keep hitting Betray reflexively, right or wrong, sooner or later, the other guy is going to behave likewise.
Right now would be a very good time for the Left to back off. Escalation is going to go nowhere good. What came after the Tea Party? Trump. Now imagine what comes after Trump…
So unless you’ve been living under a rock today, you’ve probably heard of the woman who disrupted the play in which a mock Trump is assassinated on stage. There’s been a lot of division on the Right on how to properly respond to this. Kurt Schlicter dismisses it as rather trivial here. Robert Kroese had a different take, which you can read here. My own position was somewhere in between. I thought the whole thing was rather stupid, as the tactic will have no measurable effect. The play won’t be cancelled, nor will it paint Rightists in any better light. It won’t end media corruption or spin. It is, in fact, a rather empty gesture. But, on the other hand, I have no particular desire to expend my effort to put a stop to it either. As far as I’m concerned, there is considerable schadenfreude in the whole affair. Leftists don’t bother stopping their SJWs and Antifa thugs (indeed, they rile them up for greater atrocity), why should I waste my time chasing down Right-wing stupidity? Now Leftists have some idea of the lunacy Rightists deal with on a daily basis. Welcome to the club.
As it so happens, the best position on this mess comes from Iowahawk. He proposes a solution to anti-speech lunacy that handles the tit-for-tat problem rather neatly. See, the problem for me is not that I agree with the woman interrupting somebody’s play, but rather that the other side would be laughing if a Lefty jumped on stage and grabbed the mic at a Right-wing event. Why should I keep faith if I already know the other side is going to betray? Some folks will say “stick to your principles”, which is a nice-sounding argument. But how do you avoid the Game Theory problem that entails?
Now this might actually work. Though, as some others have pointed out, it won’t do any good if their side tries to get around it via legal wrangling. Honestly, that’s above my pay grade anyway. But all this got me to thinking. Most folks arguing that we needed to do something about the interrupter were doing so based on the notion that we need to occupy the moral high ground, and we can’t do that if we tacitly support raving lunatics. Sounds reasonable.
But here’s the monkey in the wrench. We don’t occupy the moral high ground. We haven’t occupied it since at least the Reagan years, and probably long before that. Why is that? If you’ve been following my series on Marxism and Morality, you may have an inkling of where I’m going with this.
Marxism possesses the moral high ground, at this point in time.
It’s true. They have it. And not recognizing that they occupy it is half of how we got to this juncture in the first place. Let me be clear. I’m not saying Marxists are right. They are most certainly, terribly, wrong. It’s a travesty that an ideology full of lies, which has massacred millions has been ceded the moral high ground. But it’s also true that they hold it, no matter how much we might protest the wrongness of it.
Why do they occupy it? Because we let them have it. We granted them the courage of their convictions. We treated Marxism as a “good theory” that just doesn’t work in practice. We suggested that our enemies (and yes, they are our enemies) were as moral and honest as we were, they were just merely mistaken about the means, that’s all.
Meanwhile, they call us Nazis, fascists, racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, whatever. They never granted us the same conviction we granted them.
So one side was saying: “these people are good people.” And the other side was saying: “these people are the scum of the Earth.” Their side was hitting Betray on endless repeat. Our side Kept Faith on the same endless repeat. They tallied the high score again and again, and we kept losing. Nobody sides with the loser.
And so, after decades of this sort of thing, they are acknowledged as good, moral people who are either correct (if you’re a Leftist) or good, moral people who are merely incorrect (if you’re a Rightist). Meanwhile, we’re accounted as Hitlers by a solid percentage of the population.
Also, we ceded Academia, Media, and Entertainment to them. And they have been using it to browbeat us, and tell everyone how we want old people to die, how we want sick people to die, how we want people to starve, how we hate minorities, etc… And if we ever defended ourselves, it was a losing battle. “Oh, look at how defensive he’s getting, it MUST be true!” The fact is, Marxism was designed to be rhetorically appealing at a superficial level.
Is there a sick person? Just give him care! If you don’t, you must want him to die! It’s such a simplistic, easy-to-meme narrative, that it’s difficult to break. Of course, if you know the facts, you quickly realize that government care is more expensive, stifles advancement, and creates a system where care is rationed anyway, it is merely a bureaucrat doing the rationing. But the second you start to spout these facts, the audience yawns. “Don’t kill granny” is a much more compact message for people with short attention spans, which describes all too many people these days.
The Right needs to be thinking about similar levels of memetic compression. Yes, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises are great citations when discussing economic theory, but to the layman, you need something more concrete. Trump won the nomination (and the Presidency) in large part because he, or at least someone in his campaign, understood this. I’m going to bring jobs back. Let’s Make America Great Again. Love or hate the man, he knew how to compress his narrative. Rightists need to do a lot more of this. When one of them says “Republicans want to push granny off a cliff” the response should be “Democrats want to outsource your job to China.”
But you rarely see Republicans do this anymore, because they are too principled to use rhetoric this way. Jeb would rant about love and compassion, and nobody cared. Everybody yawned. These are the same people who get pissed if their phone takes 3 seconds to download Candy Crush. They aren’t going to tune in for all the nuance and dialectic. But we usually avoid using rhetoric this way because it’s unprincipled.
No, no, it’s only unprincipled if the rhetoric is a lie.And besides, if the enemy is beating you to death with a weapon, it behooves you to get one of your own.
It’s like a solid percentage of my fellow Rightists never understood basic Game Theory. Stop keeping faith, damnit! These people will never like you!
All that being said, I get where Robert Kroese and some others are coming from too. The fact of the matter is, in the main, our side is correct. And even if we were wrong we do genuinely believe what we’re saying. We believe the free market is better for people. We believe in freedom of speech. We believe that the best government is generally small, and distant from the lives of the citizenry. We aren’t using them as cynical cover for some kind of supremacist Nazi-like agenda. They, on the other hand, may very well be using their concern trolling for a globalist Communism-like agenda. Certainly, a good many are. Principled Leftists do exist (see: Dave Rubin, Camille Paglia), but they are becoming increasingly rare and are, in any event, drowned out by the Marxists, who have more or less hijacked the Leftist narrative at this point.
An interesting test I periodically conduct on Twitter is to find admitted and avowed Marxists, and ask them a question. I ask if we could split America today, and give half to them, and half to Rightists, they could have their Communist utopia, today, right now. I even suggest that they could be granted the more valuable half. The better real estate, natural resources, whatever. Would that satisfy them, I ask. They get what they want immediately, we get what we want (which is mainly to be free of them).
I’ve never had one agree with me that this is a good idea. Not one. They always spin it like “we’re doing it for you too” or “we couldn’t let you be unfree and oppressed by Capitalism.” The Hell you say. If Capitalism is oppressing me, screw it. Sign me up for that. Every once in a while, a Marxist will admit the truth: “we hate you, and we want your ideology to be made extinct.” I don’t care if Communists exist somewhere on this planet. I only care if they have power over me and mine. They can go be Commies all they like, so long as it’s not in my life. The same courtesy is, once again, not reciprocated. We must be destroyed.
Which goes right back to where we started on all this. Do we owe it to the other side to police our own crazies? No. We don’t owe them anything. If they want to agitate for our side’s leaders to be assassinated, I say we owe them nothing. But should we do it anyway, for some other reason? Maybe. Certainly the optics on this are bad, and the woman who did it accomplished nothing. So from a tactical level, yeah, this is no good. And as Iowahawk pointed out, maybe there’s another way we can solve the problem, while still avoiding punching the “Keep Faith” button for the umpteenth time. I’m open to all that.
But what I’m not open to is hitting “Keep Faith” again, or pretending we occupy the moral high ground. We don’t. And if we’re going to win this thing, we’re going to need to topple them from that ill-gained position. The positive side is, the more they burn cities down, shoot people, and generally act like assholes, the weaker their hold on that position becomes, even with media interference running on their behalf 24/7. They are starting to lose their grip on it, finally.
So in the end, if you’re considering emulating this woman: don’t. It won’t work. And it’s possible it may be counterproductive. But definitely be considering ways in which we can make a difference in this war (and it is a war, don’t think of it any different, even if it’s mostly a cold war right now), and stop assuming that your enemies have your best interest at heart. They don’t and never did. Don’t Keep Faith with them.
So in Part 1 of the On Marxism and Morality series, we discussed how Karl Marx used the word slavery as a sort of sleight of hand to imply that any free man who sold his labor was, in fact, a slave. In truth, slavery is a condition wherein you are fundamentally denied choice. The worker can walk away. The worker can go work for someone else. Indeed, the worker can change careers, or obtain capital himself. Many choices exist for him. The slave has none.
But as Francis pointed out, Marx was aware of this objection.
Marx was aware of the objections to his thesis on freedom grounds, so he did what any determined totalitarian would do: he redefined freedom. Freedom, according to Marx, is an absence of tension and conflict, which he maintained can only be achieved when the means of production have been put under control of the workers. A nice little circularity, eh?
Indeed it is. Let us turn to Marxists.org (I don’t want to give them traffic, but feel free to navigate there if you wish) for a suitably Marxian definition of freedom:
Freedom is the right and capacity of people to determine their own actions, in a community which is able to provide for the full development of human potentiality. Freedom may be enjoyed by individuals but only in and through the community.
Notice the qualifier at the end of their definition. In the Marxist world, freedom only exists through the community. This is fundamentally opposed to the Rightist notion of freedom as a natural state. The lone hunter-gatherer is free, in that he can do as he wishes. No one is applying force on him, save the laws of nature, which can neither be altered nor appealed to. The man becomes unfree when force or threat of force is used to compel him to do something.
If I hold a gun to your head and tell you to give me your wallet, that is a momentary state of servitude. It is a violation of freedom.
In the Marxian world, this is not quite accurate, because the community supersedes the individual. A man is a slave unless he is a part of a specific type of (read: Marxist) community. Let’s go further:
Only in community [has each] individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible. In the previous substitutes for the community, in the State, etc. personal freedom has existed only for the individuals who developed within the relationships of the ruling class, and only insofar as they were individuals of this class.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
The German Ideology
This is actually very revealing. Freedom in the Marxist world speaks of human development. It is freedom from nature, not freedom from fellow man. As I’ve said before, this is a fundamental conflict with various forms of Rightism, which regard man as being free by nature, and only later being tied to bondage. In the Marxist world, man is born a slave unless he is a Marxist, living in a Marxist community. Convenient, isn’t it?
One exception is made: Marxists regard the ruling class as free, but only because it oppresses others. This is a contradiction. How could both Marxists and Oppressors be free, but non-Marxists who don’t oppress anyone categorically be slaves?
Let’s return to the concept Francis spoke of:
Positive Freedom and Negative Freedom:
Negative freedom means the lack of forces which prevent an individual from doing whatever they want; Positive freedom is the capacity of a person to determine the best course of action and the existence of opportunities for them to realise their full potential.
The overwhelmingly dominant tendency in the history of bourgeois society has been to open up negative freedom, by removing feudal and other reactionary constraints on freedom of action. Free trade and wage-labour are the most characteristic bourgeois freedoms which have resulted from this history: free trade being the freedom of a capitalist to make a profit without restriction, and wage-labour being the freedom of a worker from any means of livelihood other than being able to sell their labour power to the highest bidder. Thus this negative bourgeois freedom is a kind of freedom which is real only for those who own the means of production.
Positive freedom has been built up almost exclusively as a result of the struggle of the working class: initially the legislation limiting hours of work, child labour and so on, later the creation of free compulsory education, public health systems, right to form trade unions, and so forth, freedoms which explicitly limit the freedom of the capitalists to exploit workers, but give worker the opportunity to develop as human beings.
We see here that what a Rightist would define as freedom is actually acknowledged in Marxism as “negative freedom.” Marxists admit that “bourgeois society” has opened up negative freedom. But immediately this goes right off the rails. Marxism.org tells us that workers don’t really have this freedom because they don’t have capital, and thus must sell their labor. In this, they treat “labor” as a monolithic block. In reality, labor can be many kinds of things. You could be a plumber, or a writer, or a programmer, or an actor. You could work for a company, or you could be a contractor and work for yourself. Labor is not monolithic. Labor cannot be dismissed as non-free by itself. Only if someone is forcing you to do specific labor can it be called unfree. A slavemaster holds a whip and tells his slave to pick cotton. Slavery. A laborer agrees to work for $10/hour picking cotton. Not slavery. And in any case, the worker may obtain capital if he is unsatisfied with his role.
But then Marxism posits a ‘superior’ form of “positive” freedom, which is, in fact, nothing of the kind. And then Marxists try to explain that there is some kind of tension between all these forces, and only when it goes away and everything is cleared away for you (note: by someone else) are you “free” in any real sense.
It’s a bunch of rhetoric about “realizing their full potential.” This word is left undefined. When an artist gets government money to do some sort of modern art project, Marxists eat it up. We’re letting the artist be an artist, they say. He can realize his full potential, they claim. Except there’s a catch. If everyone realized this potential, who would clean toilets and pick up garbage? We’d have an awful lot of bad art, for what incentive is there to improve if you’re going to get the money anyway? And we’d have an awful lot of garbage and dirty toilets, because nobody “realizes their full potential” scrubbing fecal matter. But if nobody scrubs the crap, you get a dysfunctional (and smelly) society.
This is not a new concept. We can go back to the Greeks, and read Aristophanes, and see this central fallacy of Marxism laid bare for us:
“Praxagora: I want all to have a share of everything and all property to be in common; there will no longer be either rich or poor; I shall begin by making land, money, everything that is private property, common to all.
Blepyrus: But who will till the soil?
Praxagora: The slaves.”
Yes. 2,500 years ago, the Greeks understood the central points of Marxism well enough. And it is clear such foolishness was satirized rather heavily. Marxism needs slaves, real ones, not laborers cast as slaves because of political needs. And the people “realizing their full potential”? They will be the Party members, the new political aristocracy, whose coin will be popularity and political power instead of bank balances. They will realize their potential. You won’t.
Fact is, a human’s potential is unknowable by any but God anyway. Even a man himself does not know if there was more he could have done, or better choices he could have made in life. Whatever his pure theoretical potential, he will always fall short of it. Consider also that a man today, possessing machines to serve him, can do far more than a man thousand years ago. We can make more and better goods, grow more food, prevent more disease. Our potential is not some static number that you magically hit and suddenly you’re “free”. It is always changing, never certain, and not fully quantifiable.
Either Marx was aware of this, and didn’t care, or he was too dense to get it. But either way, the Marxist definition of freedom is bullshit. It is, in fact, even less true than the notion that labor is slavery. For at least labor can sometimes look rather similar to slavery in some superficial manner. “Positive freedom” and negative freedom have absolutely nothing in common. Positive freedom is pure bologna, because it’s not freedom at all. As Aristophanes explained for us, it actually implies that at least someone will have to be enslaved.
Francis posted this Mark Steyn video this morning, and I believe it is a must-watch, so I am reposting here. What’s fascinating is that it was recorded only hours before the attack yesterday. As always, Mark Steyn is something of a prophet.
Reports on my Twitter feed are indicating that witnesses claimed the gunman asked “where are the Republicans” before going on his shooting rampage. So while unconfirmed, given the target and that possibility, this is likely a politically motivated attack.
Yesterday, I got into a long-winded war on Facebook with a number of former friends who decided to take issue with a post in which I told people I was no longer going to censor my politics in public. One of the fascinating things, as it relates to this news, is that one Lefty made the claim that I was “exaggerating oppression.” I.e. he felt that there was no anti-right wing bias, and that I was making it all up. He claimed that the Kent State shooting was proof that it was more dangerous to be a Leftist, than a Rightist.
And then he dared me to come up with a single Right-winger shot for his politics by a Leftist.
I'm a DJ, developer, amateur historian, would-be pundit, and general pain in the ass. I still cannot decide on the wisdom of the Oxford Comma. These are my observations on a civilization in decline, a political system on the verge of collapse, and a people asleep at the wheel as the car turns toward the jersey barrier.