As everyone knows, the very best way to run a society is to constantly side with particular groups against others. Because everyone holds it true that there is no truth, all that’s really left is relative truth, wherein we (we as in, society’s various warring societies) must attack one another with every object available in order to come out the other side with the greatest share of the finite resources in our world—that our particular truth be triumphant.
I’ve heard it said, of course, that civil liberties are not zero sum.
That’s true, if your civil liberties are things like free speech, or equality, with extremely narrow and far-reaching definitions. A lot of older societies tended toward the Harm Principle as we now understand it, which basically says “do what you want under the law and that it harms no other.”
Put more simply, money is a real problem for civil liberties. As soon as it costs money to drink water or live under a roof or cook food, state power makes an appearance in your daily life—whether to regulate the companies selling you that stuff, or to rather more directly just sell you that stuff. Or, here in Canada, they just take a cut of the money you pay for it so they can give that money to female entrepreneurs, who may or may not be successful—just like anyone else.
So! Since the government inserts itself as the most massive and deadly weapon available, it makes perfect sense to grab hold of it and beat the crap out of everyone else, doesn’t it?
Of course it does! That’s liberty for you. Unfortunately, because we’re a democracy, we have to somehow get other people to agree that we need to use the state to beat the crap out of those people getting in the way of our precious resources. And remember, when I say resources, I mean money. Because everything has a single unit of exchange, everything can be rendered into a dollar value—even time!
So if time is money, every single thing you don’t do that involves getting your hands on those resources (or eliminating the competition) is technically a waste of money! After all, you have to spend that money to make more money.
Of course you can tell all this is true because that is what’s happening. That society has turned into a massive popularity/sympathy contest is mostly because that’s how we’re supposed to behave as human beings, isn’t it?
That is, after all, far easier than actually thinking about things. Because thinking about things is kinda tough, you start to turn toward simpler things. That’s how these “special interest” groups think, and they work like the following:
Populism, detached from its more concrete definitions, is a type of rhetoric that appeals to the lowest common denominator of a given set of people. I’m not totally sure why all the official definitions basically say, “it only works on white males,” or “nationalism,” because it doesn’t really have a specific definition that way; it’s the same way with demagoguery. Taken context free, both words mean to appeal to the common interests of a particular group either in terms of personal gain, or in terms of their prejudices and emotions.
In short, this sort of thing is a way easier way to convince people to let you smack someone over the head with an entire government.
The problem is that when this stuff goes sort of viral, your average person (who, again, is not the best at thinking things out rationally) tends to get a bit carried away. How carried away, you ask?
Yes, that carried away.
See, the problem with giving people the impression that government is something you should use to smack other people around with in a democracy is that the government is other people. Ironically, this can sometimes mean using government agents as objects of oppression in order to indicate how helpless and how in need of protection particular minority groups are. The line of thought goes like this: “Since we elect government, individual government agents have to give us what we want or they’re fair game.” So policemen, soldiers, and whatever else? If they don’t do what you say, they’re dead.
So you get micro-aggressions, and feminism, Black Lives Matter, and other types of preference-based weirdness which appeals to the government to help it out with other people’s resources in the name of “equality.”
Now, this isn’t the equality that we were talking about earlier, where people can do what they like as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. No, this equality is tangible. It’s measurable. You can weigh it, and taste it, and feel it—but only if you went to Women’s Studies, or Anti-Colonialism class in post-secondary. It is only there where you absorb the authority to be able to say with certainty that history progressed in the fashion it did because victim.
You don’t need logic anymore, at that point, because logic just gets in the way. Truth, of course, is completely irrelevant. It’s just a word, after all, and you can’t put more value on one word than any other words. That’s why professors make you write forty-page papers. Length is the only way to demonstrate the appropriate amount of know-how. Why? Because it lets you properly work those muscles that involve not so much saying things and making arguments as not saying things and not making arguments for several pages.
When you work those muscles, along with the muscles you worked in discussion with other students while pretending that you’ve read the relevant coursework, you come up with an authoritative, snarky, and indeed completely incorrect-in-any-other-setting method of making your point. Happily, “correctness” in your new world is more a matter of degrees than anything else.
Just as happily, once those muscles are all toned up, you can enter the real world and start to fight for your chosen special interest group.
Skip a few years, and what do you wind up with?
You get “Islamophobia.” You get the massive amount of left-wing militancy. You get all sorts of what is objectively nonsense, but subjectively is quite convincing. After all, if you only think on the feelings of the bullet, being shot out of a gun, forced to go through something solid and heavy (like someone’s head) and then slamming into a wall sounds incredibly painful and brutal, doesn’t it? It’s a rather extreme form of mistreatment for an innocent bullet.
All I’m doing there is trying to describe a situation where, if you ignore context,things can become very sympathetic. I mean, the poor bullet. All smashed up and forgotten, on the floor, there? Brutal mistreatment.
In this way can specific peoples also be divided from the massive context of history. They can claim mistreatment by a specific group for specific reasons, also absent context, and in the name of that mistreatment, request sanctions.
That is, request that the power of government be smacked over the head of whoever it is they’ve chosen from the last fourteen thousand years of an incredibly violent human history so they can have those resources.
You wind up with high suicide rates among white males and you get articles published by mainstream media that, whatever the source, argue that whites should lose the ability to vote and you get subject to all the mob-rule horrors that usually lead to unfortunate women being burned at the stake.
That is, a witch-hunt.
Especially if, because of all the dominoes falling due to people trying to hit each other overhead with the government, things become somehow increasingly confused and illegitimate, the economy begins to collapse, the currency debases, real-estate prices skyrocket artificially, and things generally get worse.
It’s in those moments that rather well-dressed religious men carrying copies of the Malleus Maleficarium really need a witch to burn.
Historically, when people start to suffer, first they turn on each other. Then they turn on the government.
Today’s story isn’t really geopolitical.
Today’s story is about a black person who decided to kill a bunch of white people because he apparently became convinced that his misfortunes were someone else’s fault. It doesn’t even matter if he was right. What matters is that he had decided that the government was illegitimate, and that matters had to be taken into his own hands.
Now three people in Fresno are dead.
It’s only going to get worse. I can’t think of anything that would mitigate a collapse like this, and looking back into history? Only one thing ever really has.
Usually, it’s a switch to autocratic authoritarianism, which even if it starts well in the manner of Caesar Augustus, rarely ends that way.