Wednesday, December 10, 2014

No, Harvard Students. You are the Oppressors

I've been taking a class in philosophy at our local flagship state university, the University of Washington. And one of the takeaways was that the two most talkative women in the class seemed to equate politics with protest marches.

I never got to talk to them about this; but I can guess where is comes from. Social Justice 101. And my suspicion was confirmed when Harvard students demanded in an open letter the postponement of finals exams.  Because social justice.
“Like many across the country,” its authors claim, students “are traumatized” and “visibly distressed” — to the extent that there is now a “palpable anguish looming over campus.” The “national crisis” that has been provoked by the cases of Garner and Brown, they argue, has left them with no choice but to “stand for justice rather than sit and prepare for exams.”
This is a joke. It assumes the world-view that the world is composed of oppressors, oppressed, and champions of the oppressed. So Harvard students, in doing the Lord's work of championing the oppressed would be oppressed by having to take their finals on time.

No, Harvard. Because the progressive world view, of oppressors, oppressed, and champions of the oppressed is a lie. It is no less a lie than Marx's world view in 1848 that the world was composed of bourgeois, proletarians, and educated youth.

In fact, in today's world there is no "white privilege." There is only "liberal privilege." The only "micro-aggression" is the aggression that lefties use against their chosen opponents. "Check your privilege" can only apply to liberals. Because conservatives don't got none.

The oppressor/oppressed world view is no less a lie than the Gruberist world view, that there are greedy corporations, working people, and an educated elite that's needed to legislate government programs to protect the people from the robber barons and the racists and sexists.

Here's another world view. There's the unjust liberal ruling class, assisted by its bribed apologists in the universities and the government bureaucracies and the activist groups. Then there are the liberal clients living on government benefits and/or lifetime government jobs. Then there is the ordinary middle class, trying to make a life obeying the law, going to work, following the rules while being harassed by the ruling class and its paid lackeys.

And you, Harvard students, are the bribed apologists and paid lackeys of the ruling class. In case you didn't recognize yourselves. That's why you went to Harvard: to get the connections you need to make a career in the ruling class. Like Jonathan Gruber.

But my favorite world view is simply this: There's a creative class, that transforms the world with surprises, including knowledge, technology, products and services, and social change. There's a responsible class, that tries to live as responsible individuals, serving itself by serving others. And there's a victim class, that experiences itself as subordinate and helpless victims of the tides of power and change. Each of these three classes has its good side and its bad side. The creatives can transform the world with good ideas or bad ideas. The responsible middle class can responsibly develop the ideas of the creatives for good or for evil. The victims can be genuinely suffering from no fault of their own or they could be gaming the system.

People of good will get together and try to tease out the good from the evil, knowing that it's not easy. That's because what I may think of as good another might think of as evil.

But there's one thing that's helpful in deciding who to believe and who to distrust. Anyone that's proposing a new government program ought to be distrusted until they can prove their good faith. Why is that? It's because when you propose a government program, say on curbing the "rape culture" on campus, you are saying that the current system and culture has failed. So government force is needed. And government force means, as we learned in the Eric Garner case, that deadly force may be used. The question is: is this new application of government force worth the death of even one person?

The great thing about social animals is that they have found ways to reduce the use of force. They divide up the world into "us" and "them". For "us" force is not required, only the social cues of shame and guilt, kindness and love. For "them" of course, we have to be on our guard.

What the social justice warriors are doing is expanding the zone of "them" and the application of force. That's weird, because global international capitalism is a system that expands the boundaries of "us" almost to the whole world, and as this cultural revolution has expanded across the world it has reduced the incidence of violent death by about an order of magnitude.

Yet for 150 years the lefties of the world have worked themselves to the bone trying to roll back this beneficial system.

So what do the lefties and the Grubers and the Harvard students really want? They want the thrill of the hunt. They want to be the men with guns, the judges in their robes, the priests at the sacrificial altar. They want to be the guys ordered to eliminate the evil and the hateful from this world. They want power, and power, according to Henry Kissinger, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Of course, anyone with power is automatically an oppressor. Or do social-justice warriors get a papal indulgence on that? Because they are using power on behalf of the oppressed? Or is there some other reason?

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