Saturday, November 7, 2015

Antidotes Dept.

     This morning, the esteemed Stacy McCain notes one of the most ominous trends in government-run, government-supervised, government-enforced education:

     You are not a hater and you have no irrational “phobia.” You are a decent law-abiding citizen, and not a violent menace to your fellow citizens. If it weren’t for the incessant lectures from gay activists who insist you are a hateful homophobe, you’d probably never think about the subject. But if you aren’t a hater . . . why not?

     Did you go through a special anti-homophobia training program in school when you were a kid? No, of course not. You were taught to be polite to everyone and respect others. You are not a bully. You’re a nice person.

     So you are a civilized person, and not a violent ruffian, yet you never had any specific lessons about not being a homophobe. Why then do public school teachers seem to think such lessons are necessary?

     The government-run school system makes its decisions solely in support of its own interests, so any analysis of why "public school teachers" do any particular thing should focus on the interests of the teachers, their unions, and the educracy rather than any claimed need among their students. However, there is one other aspect of the matter that deserves attention.

     Americans, despite the widespread distaste for homosexuality, have always been reasonably tolerant of homosexuals as long as they kept their private business to themselves. But what we have today is “in your face” homosexuality, which demands not merely tolerance but approval so complete that it verges on popular endorsement -- and that, most Americans cannot abide.

     As homosexual activists have realized this, they've confronted two choices:

  1. Pull in their horns and return to public propriety; or:
  2. Counterattack.

     They've adopted the latter tack, and have chosen the involuntary commitment of impressionable American youth to twelve years of largely pointless and profitless classroom incarceration at the hands of the State as their best avenue for advance.

     And they’re winning.

     A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state. – Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine


     The above is only one particularly noxious example of the use of the State’s schools to propagandize and bully. There are many others, all of which accord with left-liberal doctrines, because the Left has succeeded in conquering the public education system. When Antonio Gramsci counseled his Marxist buddies to gird their loins for “a long march through the institutions,” this is exactly what he had in mind.

     The institutions the Left has targeted as most important are those that disseminate information to a large audience. The educational institutions might be the most potent, owing to their ability to penalize those who don’t swallow their line, but the news and entertainment media are important as well. Today, essentially all the major news media, and the entirety of the entertainment world, are controlled by left-liberal power brokers. Their audiences are not as malleable as that of the government schools – not quite, anyway – but their vulnerability to a sustained propaganda barrage is greater than most news and entertainment consumers would accept of themselves.

     The critical factors in a counterfactual propaganda campaign are:

  1. Continuity over a long period;
  2. Association with trusted voices and archetypes;
  3. Consistency of vocabulary, framing, and message.

     All of these are mandatory if such a campaign is to succeed. Rupturing any one of them will defeat the campaign. By undermining the continuity requirement, the availability of alternatives to the media enlisted in the campaign surely will defeat it. Therefore, it’s as important to the campaign that dissenters be silenced as it is to maintain the three “asset” attributes enumerated above.

     If you’ve ever wondered why the Left is so incensed about Fox News, the conservative talk-radio circuit, and conservative activism on the World Wide Web, you have the reason. Anyone who begins to doubt the messages emanating from the Left’s bastions, and who recurs to a conservative alternative, will swiftly retreat from the propagandists’ embrace.

     The Left’s conclusion has been that it must acquire even more power: in this case, the power to penalize the conservative alternatives to its disseminative institutions. Note how its attempts to reanimate the Fairness Doctrine and to have the Federal Elections Commission regulate Web-based political activism conform to that dictum. That they’ve failed at this so far does not mean that they’ll never succeed...or that they’ve given up.


     Also this morning, Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit, who has apparently taken the “night shift” there, directs us to this sharply pointed article at The Federalist:

     [T]his isn’t a culture war anymore. A culture war pits traditional values against modern worldviews. Kulturkampf refers to the struggle between nation states to break free from the influence of the Catholic Church in 19th century in an effort to expand liberalism. The tension between secularism and traditionalism is a useful one, but there is no church to break free from here; no ballot initiative targeting transgendered people....

     Yet, progressives are so wrapped up in the notion that social change can only be achieved through politics and regulation, that when they do lose a vote, they act like the social order is crumbling and the nation is careening towards a theocratic nightmare.

     I quibble with only one element of that snippet: that “progressives” actually believe that “social change can only be achieved through politics and regulation.” That attitude might prevail among some “progressives,” but the Left’s strategists and vanguard activists are more aware of the facts: they understand that achieving uniformity of practice requires political enforcement. Nothing else has the slightest chance of attaining the end they seek: a social state in which no one dares to dissent from their dogmas.

     Therefore, the State, which owns the dominant means of public coercion and constraint, is the Left’s weapon of choice. The danger here is twofold. We see the Left striving to wield State power for its purposes, we’ve suffered from its successes, and we fear that it might succeed further. That’s rational and important. But it’s equally important that we in the Right not embrace the State weapon as our weapon of choice.

     Do not look to an entity that can grow only by destroying liberty as a source of freedom. – “John Galt,” Dreams Come Due: Government and Economics as if Freedom Mattered.


     The antidote to oppressive power, the tool that corrupts, is never to seize power for oneself. It’s to negate the instruments of power – to embrace freedom. J.R.R. Tolkien understood this:

     “The Men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit; but they may be beaten down. Valour first needs strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory!”

     “Alas, no,” said Elrond. “We cannot use the Ruling Ring. That we now know too well. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil. Its strength, Boromir, is too great for anyone to wield at will, save only those who have a great power of their own. But for them it holds an even deadlier peril. The very desire of it corrupts the heart. Consider Saruman. If any of the Wise should with this Ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, using his own arts, he would then set himself on Sauron’s throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear. And that is another reason why the Ring should be destroyed; as long as it is in the world it will be a danger even to the Wise. For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so. I fear to take the Ring to hide it. I will not take the Ring to use it.”

     Our gravest temptation, and my deepest fear, is that American conservatives, seeing the immense successes the Left has achieved by wielding power, should eschew freedom and adopt the State as their preferred tool. British Conservatives of the early Industrial Revolution chose that path. American conservatives are similarly endangered. Remember that the “Fairness Doctrine” was an artifact of the Nixon Administration, and reflect.

The antidote to power is not power, but the embrace of freedom.

     Wherever voluntary alternatives to statist institutions and practices exist, they must be adopted and championed. Nor may we petition the State for “protection,” for that would inaugurate a patron / client relation in which the State would hold the whip hand.

     Does the State control the classroom? Homeschool your children.
     Does the State control the airwaves? Use the Internet and samizdat media.
     Does the State regulate businesses? Operate private, member-only clubs, after the fashion of the Dallas Buyers Club.

     Remember what you’ve resolved to fight – and to fight for.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does the State regulate businesses? Operate private, member-only clubs, after the fashion of the Dallas Buyers Club.

"Dr. Vass, who has had his American medical license revoked, ... prescribes ddC and the protein peptide T, which are not approved in the US. Three months later, Woodroof finds his health much improved. It occurs to him that he could make money by importing the drugs and selling them to other HIV-positive patients. Since the drugs are not illegal, he is able to get them over the border by masquerading as a priest and swearing that they are for personal use.

Woodroof begins selling the drugs on the street. He comes back into contact with Rayon, with whom he reluctantly sets up business since she can bring many more clients. The pair establish the "Dallas Buyers Club", charging $400 per month for membership, and it becomes extremely popular. ...

Richard Barkley of the FDA confiscates the interferon and threatens to have Woodroof arrested. ...

Barkley gets a police permit to raid the Buyers Club, but can do nothing but give Woodroof a fine. In 1987, the FDA changes its regulations such that any unapproved drug is also illegal. ...

and in 1987 he (Woodroof) files a lawsuit against the FDA. He seeks the legal right to take the protein, which has been confirmed as non-toxic but is still not approved.

The judge is compassionate toward him and admonishes the FDA, but lacks the legal tools to do anything. As the film ends, on-screen text reveals that the FDA later allowed Woodroof to take peptide T for personal use"

Howard Nelson said...

Greed corrupts. Power enables.
Greed x Power = Cruelty