Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Grand And Evil Experiment Part 2: Tolerating The Intolerable

From the most excellent Crusader Rabbit:

AT first glance the connection between Sony last week pulling the comedy The Interview from our screens and the murders in Martin Place is not obvious. Yet both are explained by tolerating the intolerant, a deadly virus that has long infected the West....

This man [the Martin Place killer] was known for his anti-West hatred. He told us about it. He was on our radar. He was known to our security services, federal police and NSW police. On November 17, less than a month before he took 17 innocent people hostage, he posted online his hatred of the West, he wrote about his allegiance to ¬Islamic State. Still, we allowed Monis to roam free among us.

Tony Abbott is right to call Islamic State a death cult, but the question must be asked: is the West’s tolerance of the intolerant a death wish? And when many on the Left blindly refuse to identify terrorism, isn’t that furthering the death wish?

Clearly, the virus of collectivism isn’t confined to these shores.

It seems as if every imaginable group is being collectivized. No conceivable group is allowed internal heterogeneity; no individual is permitted to have individual characteristics. Worse yet, the collectivism virus is being interbred with another evil creature, to produce a still larger and more fearsome threat. The other monstrosity was developed from one of the least well understood of the West’s catalogue of virtues: tolerance.

Tolerance is so badly misunderstood today that even the brightest among us have difficulty separating out the kernel of validity from the chaff that’s obscured it. It’s not about accepting any and every sort of deviance from the norm. It certainly doesn’t mean reading news about murders committed by Muslim terrorists or black thugs and saying, “Well, their ways are their own, and we have to tolerate them.”

True tolerance is inseparably bound to the enforcement of a tolerable social order: i.e., to the universal and absolute intolerance of violence and unredressed injustice. Only within such a framework can true tolerance be practiced.

The prevalent incomprehension of tolerance is intertwined with the prevalent incomprehension of peace. In this regard I cherish a famous, highly penetrating statement from fantasy author Jo Walton:

“Peace means something different from ‘not fighting’. Those aren’t peace advocates, they’re ‘stop fighting’ advocates. Peace is an active and complex thing and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it.”

You cannot have true peace without the “active and complex thing” we call justice. Perhaps Ann Barnhardt has put it best:

PEACE IS THE PERFECT APPLICATION OF GOD’S JUSTICE. Think about it. If “peace” is defined as merely the absence of war, or as “superficial societal quietude”, then North Korea is a bastion of peace.

(This is one of the rare times when you shouldn’t read the whole thing, as Miss Barnhardt, who is a valuable voice on many subjects, makes some idiotic statements that undermine her gemlike definition of peace. Well, no one is perfect.)

Reflect, if you will, on the impossibility of peace and tolerance in an order where there is no justice.

You might be asking yourself how the above segments bear on collectivism. Well, it’s very early in the morning, so perhaps I can be excused for a longer than usual circumnavigation of my subject.

Collectivism denies individuals their individual identities and characteristics. This is as true of collectivist rhetoric as it is of any collectivist ideology. When we speak of “Negroes,” or “Muslims,” or “the police,” we implicitly occlude the individual characteristics and behaviors of those whom we have subsumed under the label. We cannot speak of a group without doing so, at least transiently. And quite obviously, we cannot discuss group beliefs, opinions, or behavior without suppressing individual deviations from whatever norm we’ve attributed to the group.

Consider the two recent incidents being used to fan the flames of racialist hatred: Officer Darren Wilson’s self-defense shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the fatal outcome of the arrest of Eric Garner in New York. When we abstain from speaking of “Negroes” and “the police” as groups, is it not clear that:

  • Not all police are paragons of justice;
  • Not all police are demons of oppression or racism;
  • Not all Negroes are good and virtuous citizens;
  • Not all Negroes are thugs or drug-addled deviants.

I should certainly hope so. While police nationwide have a fairly good, well earned reputation for upholding the law without abusing the public, there have been, and will continue to be, police responsible for conduct of another sort. While the overwhelming majority of American Negroes are law-abiding citizens, there is a percentage that deliberately lives outside the law.

The same could be said for any group one cares to qualify, regardless of the defining characteristic. As I wrote some time ago:

[R]eality is filled with rough surfaces and jagged protrusions. Among the most distressing of these is the simple fact that collectivities, no matter how defined, exist mainly in one's mind. Internally, they can display upsetting variations and divergences...and they usually do.

How, then, shall we discuss the attainment of tolerance and peace, or the acceptability of various groups?

The late, great Clarence Carson, in his masterwork The American Tradition, wrote forcefully about the consequences of collectivism in law and public attitudes:

    [I]n many instances law enforcement officers have looked the other way while unions employed coercion and violence. Politicians have practiced a policy of divide and conquer on the American people. The Democratic Party has been most adept at this, though the Republicans have often attempted to compete. They have forged a party out of numerous minority groups, making promises and presumably providing favors for them. Many of these groups have become vested interests, legally and extra-legally.
    Since the above was written, the disorders have intensified and spread. Most recently, they have been extended to colleges, courtrooms, and in the streets surrounding political conventions. The pattern is repeating itself. The birds are coming home to roost. If the restraints are removed from group behavior by the grant of special privilege, if groups are empowered by law, if direct action is advanced because the end is “good,” if the means for the civilizing of groups are abandoned, compulsion and authoritarianism must be used to preserve order.

[From the 1970 edition.]

Clearly, the justice that makes peace possible and tolerance practicable requires that we refuse to tolerate the intolerable: i.e., that which contravenes justice. As I wrote in the previous piece, that is wholly incompatible with collectivism...and therefore wholly incompatible with any and every program emanating from the political Left.

How, you may ask, is this to be done?

As urgent as the subject is, I must set it aside for Friday at the earliest, for I’ve spotted a star in the East:

Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader. May the joy of Christ’s Nativity be yours throughout the Christmas season and the coming year.


Anonymous said...

May God bless you and yours brother Fran. I am reminded of something that I was told years ago, a bit of exercise for the mind... consider the difference between "peacemaker" and "peacekeeper"... it is... significant.  And it is late - or early - in so many ways... so Grandpa will share some Greg Lake with you, from a younger time and a different life...
I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish, pain, and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
Hallelujah... Noel... be it heaven or hell
The Christmas you get you deserve...
stormfriend sends

KG said...

Happy Christmas to you, Francis, and may 2015 bring you and yours peace, justice and good health.
Thanks for all you've written this year, for being a guiding light for me, at least.

pdxr13 said...

Generalizations enable us to simplify problems and rapidly come to solutions to those problems. You will get some scraped knuckles from fast-thinking like this, but you will also learn when and where speed is more important than subtlety. A perfect example of this is the wearing of uniforms by military or football teams so ID is quick and positive.

Buying an expensive handgun us not a thing for haste. No one will say "just get any old thing in 9mm or .38sp+p and it will work", at least no one you should associate with. No returns, and selling barely-used will cost a hunnert bucks at least. Make sure a G17 makes you happy, or a vintage all-metal 92S feels good, (or is a .44 super blackhawk The Thing?) and good-for-you holsters exist, then get it. Use cash, so you know that you really spent money, not just another casual conveniencecard charge at the end of the month (the seller will also be happy because they get all of the money, not 96.7% of the charge).

Generalizations regarding people, grouping them by their jobs or their families are not unfair when based on truth and facts. Everyone already knows them, in general. Stereotypes exist because they are, for the most part, generally-truthy. Individuals can and do break stereotypes all the time, and when that turns out well that's great, but it doesn't change the fact that 70% of the people like them conform to what everyone expects then observes for confirmation daily.

Women are not generally stronger than men, for example. That is an oft-confirmed truth that I frequently take advantage of to meet interesting ladies. Doors are not all powered nor are packages self-lifting. I chuckle a little when Safeway Corporate issues rules requiring a checker to ask if I need help out with the gallon of milk that I carried in one hand across the store, with my bicycle helmet in the other. Uhhh, help how? It is a truth that should be not discussed in general company. Uh-oh, here it comes...the speech enforcement team of homeland security with a pocket warrant for hatespeach and crimethink with historical privilege enhancements to the sentence.

Merry Christmas from Portlandia, where a Street Use Fee is actually a City Income Tax.