Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Folly of the Activism Culture

We all know what went down at Middlebury College, when foolish students shouted down and assaulted a mainstream libertarian scholar, Charles Murray.

But the vile left-wing thug culture is all around us.

Here is climate activist Peter Gleick, identity thief, according to Wattsupwiththat.com.
Peter Gleick impersonated a member of the Heartland Board of Directors to steal documents, then spiced up the swag with a forgery when he discovered it didn’t contain anything incriminating, all while serving as chair of the American Geophysical Union Taskforce on Scientific Ethics.
What is Gleick up to this week? He is sending out the following message:
I’m Marching to Fight the Alarming War on Science. Join Me
"Marching?" "Fight?" "War?" What planet is this guy living on?

What we have here is the delusional "activism culture" of the left, that started with the Communist Manifesto in 1848. The idea back then was that the proletarians working in the factories of the industrial revolution were condemned to "immiseration" and exploitation unless well-born activists represented them and fought in the streets for their rights.

The idea now is that the climate is going to spiral out of control unless well-born activists fight in the streets to save science from the deniers.

The lefties were wrong then, because the bourgeoisie heard the cries of the workers and did something about it; they gave the workers the vote.

And the lefties are wrong now. The question of climate change is not a question to be fought out by marching and fighting in the streets. It is a question to be worked out in the normal peaceful progressions of politics and elections.

Because that is the whole point of elections and legislatures and courts and political speech. It is that everyone agrees not to go to the streets, but instead resolve and compromise their differences in peaceful debate and in the corridors of power.

But the left has absolutely no intention of allowing anyone else to have a vote, on climate change or on the welfare state, or race or gender or anything else. That is the point of the left's pejoratives: racist, sexist, homophobe. That is the point of shouting down conservative speakers on campus. That is the point of marching to fight the war on science.

The funny thing is that the great lesson of the last two hundred years, the Great Enrichment, is that force is usually not necessary to get useful things done. All the great economic disruptions of the last two hundred years did not need central control and top-down direction to mitigate their effects. People just went to work and worked it out with each other and got past it.

So it is a great irony that, just as humans entered an astonishing period where they found that they could negotiate pretty well everything using market exchange instead of defending their patch of land to the last border warrior, we have the growth of a secular religion that makes politics its god: what we now call leftism, or what I call the "activism culture," and this culture proposes that only by marching and protesting and "marching" and "fighting" can we bend the arc of history towards justice.

I understand why we have the activism culture. The development of the universal exchange economy is a wonder for ordinary men and women, allowing them to wive and thrive without having to enserf themselves to a great lord or a local political big-wig.

This development has not been good for people with an appetite for political power. What? No need for high politics? Just let the market take care of it? Even at the level of religion: just let the religious sects compete in the religion market? You must be kidding! There has to be a need for the modern equivalent of the well-born Prince Hals and Harry Percys to duke it out on the battlefields of intersectionality and science and climate change!

Are we condemned to an escalation of this present enthusiasm for activism? Or will the activism of the 2000s go the way of the activism wave of the 1960s?

You may remember what happened after the riots and demos of the Sixties. What happened is that ordinary people absolutely hated it, and they voted again and again for candidates that promised to put an end to it.

And it seemed, when Bill Clinton ran for president and excoriated Sister Souljah, that the whole thing had been put behind us.

Unfortunately we have a new generation of lefties that did not experience the long humiliation of Nixon followed by Reagan. Hopefully they are in for a couple of decades of Trump followed by ├╝ber-Trump that will teach their generation a lesson.

But you never know.

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