Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Contra-deBoer: Pacifist

I'm continuing with an analysis of Fredrik deBoer's left manifesto for 2016 (start here). My fifth piece was "Anti-nationalist". Now we look at his "Pacifist."

"Violence," writes deBoer, "is a tool of establishment power", and leftists must admit that left movements can never match "reactionary power's capacity to inflict violence." So the left must grasp that "left machismo and revolutionary fantasies" have in fact diverted leftist energy.
[The left movement] would insist that narratives of righteous violence are the tools of imperialism and militarism. It would acknowledge that traditional powers like the United States have waged a ceaseless campaign of violence against less powerful nations.
The left would proscribe the use of violence.
It would pursue a world of diplomacy, non-aggression between disparate peoples, and resistance to coercion through threat or violence between different places and groups. It would understand that we cannot build a just society or a just world through the tool of violence, which is the tool through which injustice has been committed and maintained.
The center of the left's self-consciousness is that it believes itself as a political and moral movement for Peace and Justice. To make this faith work, it has to hide from the fact that its program of Politics is Violence.

The left is not blind to the violence of its opponents. Establishments maintain themselves in power with violence. The United States uses violence against less powerful nations. The left sees reality there: the established powers are not about to give up the reins of power without a fight. Government is force; politics is violence. The establishment's power and the United States' foreign policy is proof of that.

But somehow, the future political world of the left will not use violence, instead using diplomacy, non-aggression. I just do not understand how that is going to happen. In the first place, I look at the way the left conducts itself where it does not have political power. It uses the show of force, the "peaceful protest," and the "march," in which protesters, organized with quasi-military discipline, wave banners and placards with their non-negotiable "demands." Sorry, Mr. deBoer. Politics is violence, or at least the threat of violence. The whole point of the peaceful protest is to say that, right now, we are marching peacefully, but we will not be marching peacefully forever.

In the second place, I look at the way the left conducts itself where it does have political power. It uses intimidation and coercion to get its way. In the university, where leftist people have the power to intimidate and coerce, they force students to attend political indoctrination sessions. They suspend the presumption of innocence for accusations of sexual harassment. They humiliate and silence people with the cry of "racist" or "hate speech." President Obama, who promised "fundamental transformation" of America after his election makes no bones about unilateral executive action and regularly accuses his political opponents of incivility.

Moreover, deBoer makes clear that the initial implementation of his moral social system will occur using the power of the state. He writes under "Anti-nationalist" that "the short term the state is a necessary structure for establishing economic and social justice." Exactly my point. Government is force. Politics is violence. First of all, the left movement will use the coercive power of the state to implement its agenda, and then will relax the power of the state in a process of elimination. Let the record show that the usual record of leftist governments is that they progressively amp up the coercion because their economic policies result in the demolition of the economy and they desperately resort to force in a futile effort to head off economic disaster.

The fundamental contradiction of left politics is that it is attempting to combine politics and religion. "Peace" is a proper and useful religious symbol. It promises that after the struggle and heartache of life we will achieve the "peace that passeth all understanding" in Heaven. In the tremendous wisdom of the United States founding and its separation of church and state it is understood that "Peace" is the job of religion, and violence is the job of government. It must be so, because humans are both cooperative and competitive beings. Sometimes they work together, sometimes they compete with each other.

Of course there is a way to maximize peace on earth. It is the moral social system of free trading and free labor. It is the notion that before you get an income you have to serve your fellow humans by finding and doing useful work that provides products and services that other people want. It communicates wants and needs through a chaotic emergent process we call the price system although it isn't a system at all. It rewards people that concentrate on other peoples' needs before their own, and it rewards people that create and sustain a reputation for trustworthiness. We know that this is a peaceful process, because of the science in Steven Pinker's Better Angels of Our Nature. In the collective world of the hunter-gatherer, the death rate from violence was 500 per 100,000 per year. In the patron/client world of the feudal system the death rate from violence came down to 50 per 100,000 per year. In the free-exchange world of the global capitalist trade and manufacture the death rate from violence has come down to 5 per 100,000 per year.

But that is the one thing that the left, since Marx at the latest, protests against: free and fair exchange beyond the tutelage of the great and the good. And so there is no peace. That is because people on the left all believe  in the primacy of politics, and politics is violence.

Next up: "Liberal."

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