Thursday, February 2, 2017

No, Liberals, It is not 1848, or 1963. There is No Call for Riots

I was out in liberal North Seattle, minding my own business yesterday, just minutes before the UC Berkeley riots against free speech, when I passed this little item of free speech.

Isn't it precious! Isn't this the ultimate virtue signal? You can see that it covers the whole liberal waterfront, from support of black racism to climate alarmism. But hey, that's OK. Everyone is a hypocrite, and everyone is confident in their own virtue and goodness. I can live with rich liberals in the tony part of town.

I would take issue with the notion "Science is real." That is unscientific. I've looked into this a bit and have become a complete Kantian. All we know are sense impressions; we cannot know things-in-themselves. Which means that science is just the latest human attempt to get a handle on how the world works given that we don't know things-in-themselves, the reality hiding behind our sense impressions. Is science real? Maybe, but stay tuned for the next exciting science revolution that turns our view of the world upside down.

But then I got home and the Berkeley riots against the free-speech rights of Brit Milo Yiannopoulos, his ability to speak on the UC Berkeley campus, were in full swing.

Thanks liberals. Now we know who you really are. You are the People of the Lie. Here is an example, from the statement of Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin. He begins:
Destruction and violence are contrary to progressive values and have no place in our community.
Sorry, old chap, but that is a bald-faced lie. The whole point of the progressive movement is that force, through politics and government, is needed to bend the arc of history towards justice.

The basic Truth that good little girls are taught in college today is that politics is a march to City Hall. I know this because I heard it direct from a good little girl in a University of Washington class on David Hume.

The whole point of a march to City Hall, or a so-called "peaceful protest," is the threat of violence. That is why they used to call the "peaceful protest" a "demonstration." You Latin scholars will know that demonstration means a show, as in show of force. It says, in no uncertain terms, that we are angry, we are many, and if we get really angry, why we will advance from a show to force to actual force. Otherwise what is the point?

As was demonstrated last night, February 1, 2017, on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.

The basic faith of the left is that things are so bad that only revolution will resolve it.

You could have argued that revolution was needed in 1848 when rich kids Marx and Engels issued their Manifesto. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and it looked like it was immiserating the workers and that the capitalists didn't care. In fact, the political system took note of the plight of the workers and gave them the vote and legislated various protections for workers. Meanwhile the capitalists through successive innovation revolutions enacted the Great Enrichment that gave prosperity to the poor unlike anything ever dreamed of.

Sorry liberals, it isn't 1848 any more. Although you could argue that liberal legislation has made things worse for workers, by advertising with the welfare state that life is safer and more secure than it really is. Ask the white working class that dying of despair about that.

You could have argued that revolution was needed in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. lead his iconic March on Washington and gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Only the very next year the Congress passed the Civil Rights Acts enforcing full civil rights for African Americans.

Sorry liberals, it isn't 1963 any more. Although you could argue that liberal race politics has made things worse for blacks, by enslaving them on a liberal plantation in inner cities with gangs and anesthetizing welfare and Affirmative Action benefits. Ask Black Lives Matter about that.

You could, if you could hold back the snigger, argue that revolution was needed before women could get a no-fault divorce in the 1960s, and before they could get an abortion in the 1970s, and before they were able to participate in free sex courtesy of The Pill, and when women were expected to be wives and mothers and not have careers. But I don't judge this to be on the same level as the grievances of 1848-era workers and 1963-era blacks. These are not the concerns of marginalized women but well-born women of the middle class.

You could, if you really tried, argue that revolution was needed before gays could "come out" and get "married." But again, these are the concerns of well-born men and women that can afford to get creative with sex. This is not the grinding poverty of the masses that argues for "peaceful protests" and shows of force.

Meanwhile, the concerns of ordinary men and women -- for decent jobs, for decent homes and neighborhoods, for a decent education for their children  -- have been ignored and sneered at. And this is a growing and monstrous injustice.

The ordinary men and women do not choose to go into the streets with a show of force. They just want to elect representatives that will honestly represent their needs, and a president that understands and respects their problems.

Hello President Trump and the Republican Congress.

To understand the modern left I turn to Shakespeare -- who else? -- and his Wars of the Roses plays.

Huh? You will say. Just read on.

Let us just take Henry IV Part One. Part of the play, of course is the high jinks of Prince Hal and his pal Falstaff. But the guts of the play is about the rebellion of the rich kid, Harry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, and other well-born rebels. They are pissed off that they are not getting enough respect from King Henry, the chap they helped put on the throne of England. And he insists that they send to the King the prisoners they captured! So they form a head of rebellion against the King. That will show him.

Fast forward to the late 20th century and the revolutionary trilogy Empire-Multitude-Commonwealth where Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri realize that the old idea of the mass-producing "masses" is a bit old hat. They need revolution on behalf of a new "multitude."
They ache after a life "in common" in a multitude that creates a social product in creative "performance" rather than mechanical mass production.
Yes, well. Don't we all. Especially the principals in La La Land. But the modern leftie isn't content with a hope for creative accomplishment. They want more.
 Like Marx and Marcuse, their worldview reduces to a lust for the moment of Kairos, the "moment when a decision of action is made ... a radical insurrectionary demand" in the streets.
Well, of course. That is what all rich kids have lusted after, from the days of the endless border wars of the hunter-gatherers down Harry Hotspur to yesterday's AntiFa rioters in Berkeley, California. Yeah! Let's take our "radical insurrectionary demand" to the streets!

The basic lie of the left is that the capitalists and the middle class and the religious believers are cruel overlords that cannot be persuaded by anything less than force. But I would argue that the history of the last 200 years, when the middle class emerged as a world-historical movement, belies the faith of the left, that only radical insurrectionary force will bend the arc of history towards justice.

It is just not true that only force will persuade the middle class. And the reason is that the middle class, from the capitalists down to the religious believers are not that interested in power. You have a problem? Come into this conference room and give us the details. Maybe we can work something out.

Why would this be true? Because in the modern era, unlike all previous eras, everything is bought and sold on the market. No longer is wealth a question of land and the food that grows on it. Wealth now issues out of the mind of man, his ability to perform services for others and exchange his labor and his innovations for money. In such a world the need for force shrinks radically. Because it is almost always cheaper to negotiate and compromise on the differences between man and man rather than fight it out on the streets.

So what is the left all worked up about? I will tell you.

Much of what the left has achieved over the last century and more has been achieved with force: not always direct military force, but the force of political will rather than compromise and good will. So the left is terrified that any political change will bring all their "gains" into question.

They are right to fear that. They should have thought about that before they put their faith in politics and in force. Live by the sword of politics, die by the sword of politics.

But really they should not worry too much. That is because, here in America, the great middle class of racists, sexists, homophobes, and deplorables is just not that interested in power.

1 comment:

  1. Great entry. I would submit that the "great middle class" you describe had best become interested in power. You can certainly bet that upon the Left's resurgence to power, something as inevitable as night following day, that they will rush to make up for lost time, or lost gains, or both. And, it may be far more than "taking it to the streets" that they have in mind.