Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Uses Of Contradiction

     Over at Dystopic / Thales’s place, one of his frequent commenters made an interesting statement with which I was minded to agree:

     I saw an article a day or two ago (might have been linked on Instapundit) that stated the DNC had made a new rule: all committees had to have equal gender representation. I found this HILARIOUS. Consider the following violations to current Progressive/Neo-Maoist/Social Marxist theology caused by this new rule:
  1. Gender is apparently a ‘social construct.’ If that’s the case, how can you use gender to decide whether or not someone can serve on a committee? This is clearly sexist.
  2. What about people who don’t identify with either gender? Are people who self identify as a handkerchief, a frisbee or a cosmic fart by definition expelled from DNC committees? This is multiphobic.
  3. Currently, the SJW/Social Marxist/Progressive ‘canon’ identifies 76 distinct genders, each with their own invented pronoun. If gender representation on every committee must be equal, does this mean no committee can be formed with less than 76 members or a multiple thereof?

     Ladies and Gents: It is critically imperative that we, as humans, make every effort to upset, outrage, insult, defame, infuriate and shame SJWs/Neo-Maoists/etc at every turn in order to drive them into a rabid frenzy. Get them upset enough and they will all eventually have a stroke and expire. And the world will become a better place thereby.

     Ludicrous? Laughable? Why, yes...but then the following passage popped out of memory and into vivid conscious relief:

     ‘Do you remember,’ [O’Brien] went on, ‘writing in your diary, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four”?’
     ‘Yes,’ said Winston.
     O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
     ‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’
     ‘And if the Party says that it is not four but five — then how many?’
     The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston’s body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O’Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.
     ‘How many fingers, Winston?’
     The needle went up to sixty.
     ‘How many fingers, Winston?’
     ‘Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!’
     The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy, stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably four.
     ‘How many fingers, Winston?’
     ‘Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!’
     ‘How many fingers, Winston?’
     ‘Five! Five! Five!’
     ‘No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are four. How many fingers, please?’
     ‘Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!’

     Ponder that for just a moment.

     You know about the protests of this or that individual or institution for disputing some element of the Left’s counterfactual, self-contradicting dogma. You know about the deplatforming. You know about the hate-campaigns and the threatened boycotts. You know about the death threats and the covert attacks on property. You know about the violence in the streets. And you might think that those things are “stand-alones,” with no greater relevance to the contemporary American sociopolitical dynamic.

     But you might be wrong about that.

     How many times has Glenn Reynolds used that line about how “1984 was supposed to be a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual” -- ? It was darkly funny at one point. I’ve begun to wonder whether we should constrain our laughter and look a frame or two deeper into the Left’s stack.

     What if they are using 1984 as an instruction manual – more specifically, a how-to guide for compelling conformity to “what the Party says?”

     We know one thing with certainty: The Left seeks absolute and unbounded power over all persons and things. That is inherently incompatible with permitting dissent. Therefore, it works to suppress dissent from its proclamations.

     Its method is O’Brien’s method. All it lacks is the power to strap its targets into actual torture devices.

     O’Brien wasn’t genuinely concerned with how many fingers he was holding up. He was using Winston’s own definition of freedom to break Winston to the Party’s First Great Commandment:

You shall believe what the Party tells you. You shall not merely parrot it. You shall believe it with your whole heart, and your whole soul, and your whole mind.

     O’Brien was enforcing doublethink upon Winston with the most direct method at hand: suffering. For O’Brien, like anyone determined to rule without limit, understood power:

     ‘The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.’ He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: ‘How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’
     Winston thought. ‘By making him suffer,’ he said.
     ‘Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever.’

     Never imagine that such a vision could not appeal to anyone. The Nazis and Communists who inspired 1984 and Orwell’s completion of its nightmare vision would have found it perfectly palatable.

     Always, always, always reason from tactics to strategy to objectives to motives. Never assume that your enemy’s motives “must” be higher, better, more wholesome than his tactics and strategy imply. And with that, it’s time I got back to Experienced.

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