sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Political Polemic

If it sounds like I'm on a bit of a rant, I am.

Freedom is dangerous. If you don't believe me, ask the mandarins at Facebook or Twitter. Your unregulated actions may cause harm to yourself and others. A generally unenlightened public is voting for politicians who promise ever-increasing protections against harm, to regulate guns, food, and speech. The rules on what one may and may not say change regularly as norms of political correctness ebb and flow. Naturally those norms also change from tribe to tribe as the progressive left works to isolate people in their own balkanized culture. Thus what a black/negro/African person may say about black people to others has different limits than what a Hispanic or Asian person may say about the same black people, to others. Social appropriation holds that a white person shouldn't drive-through a Taco Bell and order food because they are somehow demeaning Mexicans by their actions. Non-Italians who choose to eat pizzas are not condemned in the same way nor are Asians who stop somewhere for a hamburger. The social finger of condemnation is very fickle and unpredictable.
The US long ago chose freedom over safety; as Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” 
He should have been more specific — small liberties have been given up one by one, so that now most citizens could be prosecuted for some violation. The lack of enforcement of laws and regulations on the wealthiest and high-level machine politicians leads to cynicism and acceptance of lawlessness at the highest levels of government, while at the same time everyday life is more and more micromanaged by busybodies who want to control how others live.


The French Revolution had its governing Committee of Public Safety. Notice the language — no longer focused on protecting the citizens from hostile external powers, but policing safety — that is, finding enemies both internal and external. These ideologues came to a bad end as the revolutionaries were, one by one, found to be “problematic” and executed in service of the higher goal of perfecting and protecting the new State. The modern and humane guillotine made quick work of disposing of anyone who got in the way of Progress. 

The Mob, the sans-culottes who could reliably rounded up on the streets of Paris to put muscle behind the Reign of Terror, were the power base of the factional leaders in the struggle to control the day-zero government which would overthrow all vested interests and rethink all customs. Today’s equivalent is the Twitter mob, ready to condemn, disemploy and socially disembowel anyone accused of harming a member of an oppressed class. But it is far easier in social media than it used to be in the physical world to destroy reputations and end careers. And the gusto with which the Twitter mob sentences its targets to punishments is related to the selective empathy employed — instead of recognizing each human being as an individual with goals and emotions that can be understood, targets are dehumanized and abstracted. 

The killing fields of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge government are arguably the most horrific example of a real-world pogrom in recent history. The daughter of Cambodian genocide survivor, discussing the deaths of any who disagreed with the communists, was recently censored by Facebook.