Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Fantasy -- For Now

Jane Hamsher indulges in a frequent fantasy of the left, the idea that their political opponents will lock them up in concentration camps if they gain power. I myself have heard a Democrat seriously express this fear. As outlandish as it sounds, the fear is real to them.

It is projection. Deep down leftists know what they would do if they found themselves with absolute power, and it would not be to play cricket and drink tea. Having been taught by modern philosophy that there are no absolutes and reason is a myth, they really only take force seriously. They cannot believe their opponents would not do what they would do.

I am convinced that America is very, very lucky that Democrats have made it to the White House only twice in the last 40 years with the rise of the irrationalist New Left in their party. These are people who believe that the end justifies the means. The only thing that has stopped them from abusing power so far is they have not been able to get away with it.

They are working at "change" -- Obama's favorite word -- using public education and the universities to change America to a more collectivist and statist culture. Someday they hope to reform America in their image. They still have some work to do softening the character of the American people and moving them away from their Enlightenment heritage of individualism.

Sooner or later, in the midst of a crisis created by intervention in the economy at home or appeasement abroad, the fissures in our culture will widen, the weak places will snap. The left will see that opportunity has finally knocked after all these years, and they will pounce. Their future power grabs will arise from the same premises and psychological phenomena that fuel their odd fantasies today.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I’m not convinced it's just projection. I will buy the notion that leftists would secretly love to create concentration camps. However, I will not buy the notion that their political opponents would not love to create them.

Either political party would love to use the power of the state to enforce their arbitrary controls over people’s behavior. They just differ over what should be controlled. Rightists would love to lock up gays, abortionists, and pornographers. Leftists would love to lock up global warming “deniers” and firearms enthusiasts. (Is it too cynical to suspect that the libertarians would allow the creation of private concentration camps?)

There is no pro-reason alternative in today’s politics, and only a pro-reason alternative would have aims that never require concentration camps.

Americaneocon said...

Hamsher's the worst...

Jason H. Bowden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason H. Bowden said...

"Rightists would love to lock up gays..."

That's retarded. Cheney wants to lock up his own daughter? What are you smoking?

You're exactly right about abortion though. One, Roe v Wade is unconstitutional. States should be making that decision, as they did all the way up until 1973 when liberal activist judges decided the 14th amendment means something it does not mean. Secondly, abortion is a legacy of the progressive eugenics movement-- Margaret Sanger, for example, was a White Supremacist that didn't want the inferior races to breed. There are definitely grounds for imposing restrictions on abortion procedures-- after the fetus is viable, it is no different than murder. If cracking someone's skull open and vacuuming their brains out isn't the arbitrary use of force, I'm not certain what is.

Myrhaf said...

The older I get, the more suspicious I am of moral equivalence thinking. When people try to tell me there are two sides to a story, they are usually evading the evil of one side in order to avoid making moral judgment. You see it in explanations of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and now in the Georgian/Russian conflict. You see it when Obama talks about America's mistakes.

The Republicans are old-fashioned compared to the Democrats. They are a welfare state party now, and fully dedicated to stealing money from the taxpayers, but they do have the elements of totalitarianism you see in the left. The Republicans have not entirely turned away from reason in their arguments, although they are in decline.

You do not see right-wingers trying to shut up any opinions they do not like on university campuses, as you do see on the left. Right-wingers do not scream and disturb the peace at debates or speeches on a campus. Right-wingers do not attempt to create anarchy whenever the G7 meet.

Myrhaf said...

In the second paragraph of my comment above, I meant to write, "but they do NOT have the elements of totalitarianism you see in the left." The typo makes a slight difference of meaning...

mike18xx said...

1. Quote: "...after the fetus is viable, it is no different than murder..."

Rubbish. Get out.

2. We already have "concentration camps" - they are called "schools" and "prisons", for children and adults, respectively.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I'd need a mainframe computer to count how many times I heard the paranoid pot-head lefties say that "their political opponents will lock them up in concentration camps if they gain power" in the 25 years I lived in San Francisco.

mike18xx said...

Oh, and for anyone who thinks I was joking about the schools = prisons jag, you only wish.

Richard said...

I have a problem with the remarks at the blog link provided by mike18xx.

The runaway students who are now supposed to be fitted with GPS anklets or bracelets are under-age. They are not mature enough to make such decisions as truancy using moral objections to the State. Youths of that age who are well read, and may be able to make such judgments, are not likely to be runaways. They will knowingly work through the system in spite of it.

A prejudicial sympathy for the runaway is inappropriate. I would support such a GPS system if it received parental approval, but I would prefer it was a private rather than state program. However, if the runaway makes a reasonable case that he is not safe at home, his home life should be examined by Children's Aid (or some such group). Of course, no such evaluation is easy, especially given the prejudices of such aid workers.

More generally, America is not yet a police state, and the public education system cannot be considered an arm of such a state. Yes, the public education is founded on coercive truancy laws. Nonetheless, America is still free enough that such institutions and laws are best opposed by reasoned argument, through such methods as this blog, letters to the editor & public office holders, academic essays and presentations.

mike18xx said...

> the public education system cannot be considered an arm of such a state....

Oh, please. Sit in on a 3rd Grade Civics class, and listen to the lies. The first mission of government ("public" is a euphemism) schooling is to edjumacate the Chill Dren in the Ambiguous Collective logical-fallacy. Their second mission is to provide a handy excuse for continually jacking taxes out of sight while simultaneously providing an opportunity cost to any private-sector competitor in the education market.

> America is still free enough that such institutions and laws are best
> opposed by reasoned argument, through such methods as this blog,
> letters to the editor & public office holders, academic essays and presentations.

At what point along the great downward slide will it dawn on you that that shit isn't going to work? "Ideas" have reached market-saturation; the percentages aren't going to improve.

Richard said...

I repeat, with added emphasis:
"America is not yet a police state, and the public education system cannot be considered an arm of such a state."

I am fully aware of the indoctrination and taxation involved in public education. That does not change the point I was making.

Furthermore, the dissemination of proper ideas by ARI is already having an impact.

mike18xx said...

Furthermore, the dissemination of proper ideas by ARI is already having an impact.

On what? By what measure of success?

The results of each election?

-- That's really the only thing that counts if one cedes that blabber is the only legitimate response to state predation.

Richard said...

Yes the intellectual nature of the American elections has declined to a level beneath that of an early 1900s dockworkers' union election.

However, TAFOL has been able to present amicus briefs to Federal Supreme Court. The case I have in mind is the one of a town evicting home owners, to enable large retail outlets to build on the land. The Town Council argued that the increased tax revenue would help the community.

One million copies of Atlas Shrugged have been given to schools and are being incorporated into students' class work. Those books will be reused each year, so the number of students they reach is far more than one million. They will eventually affect election results.

In American universities there are some 30 positions occupied by Objectivist professors. Their impact on students will be substantial!

Yaron Brook and other ARI representatives now appear on television on nearly a weekly basis.

ARI press releases are appearing in various newspapers across America

Even the New York Times is printing letters to the editor that are clearly Objectivist positions, and occasionally even retain the writers' references to Rand.

A Google search for "Ayn Rand" produces 3.4 million links. "Immanuel Kant" produces 2.7 million.

The Van Damme Academy graduates objective minds every year.

There are more and more Objectivist blogs appearing, and they get a lot of hits!

Considering the anti-reason, anti-capitalist culture, the growth of ARI's impact is amazing. The ARI was nearly unheard of ten years ago, now they have a budget from donations that is in the millions of dollars, and it is still growing.

Your pessimism is understood, but learn more and speak more, without rancor, and you can contribute to a more rational world.

mike18xx said...

Richard?

Ayn Rand's work was once popular enough societally that it was made into a film starring Gary Cooper -- back in the days when movies stayed in the theater for several months, and there were only a couple playing at any given time. Rand was interviewed on television, back when there were only three stations, and in magazines, back when there weren't very many.

A Google search for "Ayn Rand" produces 3.4 million links. "Immanuel Kant" produces 2.7 million.

...and this translates into a logical argument that Rand's ideas are more influential, how? There's a thousand looters with Google hits for every one of her.

One million copies of Atlas Shrugged have been given to schools and are being incorporated into students' class work. Those books will be reused each year, so the number of students they reach is far more than one million. They will eventually affect election results.

Well halle-fuckin'-lujah! They'll be votists! Loyal chad-punching Eloi signing on to the outcome of each election every single time!

==//==

Pessimism? Oh, it's not that at all. It's derision. You see, I've been around long enough to see these dreams inevitably, predictably, shattered before, because the state operates on *force*, not talk.

Richard said...

Well mike18xx its the facts & arguments you choose to ignore, that argue more strongly against you, than the facts & arguments you choose to oppose.

Your link is telling; no doubt a para-military group in Oklahoma would welcome you, but remember their meetings are BYOG & ammo. After all, it all comes down to force, right?