Tuesday, June 9, 2020


     The Nassim Nicholas Taleb piece our esteemed Linda Fox linked yesterday tells not one but two stories: first, the profit-and-loss driven reaction of commercial concerns to the existence of an intolerant minority; second, the conflict-aversion based response of private citizens and communities to such a minority. The accommodations a liberal order (original meaning) such as ours typically grants to noisy minorities are a reflection of values we don’t usually haul into the light for a close inspection.

     But in the word accommodation itself lies a considerable amount of illumination:

     accommodation Sociology: a process of mutual adaptation between persons or groups, usually achieved by eliminating or reducing hostility, as by compromise or arbitration.

     Read that definition carefully, Gentle Reader. Find the critical terms. Then ask yourself the critical questions:

  • If the adaptation is mutual, then what – qualitatively speaking – is the minority agreeing to change?
  • Where are the borders of the gray zone between accommodation and appeasement?

     Some historically important minorities have dragged the surrounding societies all the way through that gray zone – indeed, all the way to the conquest of nations and continents. In this lies one of the most important of the lessons we ought to have learned from Western Civilization’s earlier troubles with noisy minorities.

     I’ve said it before:

A militant minority with a coherent, well focused agenda can overwhelm a far larger but passive majority.

     When such a minority is guided by strategists with a sound understanding of the sociodynamics of the target society, the odds are heavily in its favor. This is the case with the Leftist radicals currently exploiting the “protests” over the death of George Floyd. The guiding lights of that movement, past and present, grasp the tenor of American society more deeply than do most of us who constitute its sinews and bones. But then, so does Mark Steyn:

     If it were just terrorists bombing buildings and public transit, it would be easier; even the feeblest Eurowimp jurisdiction is obliged to act when the street is piled with corpses. But there's an old technique well understood by the smarter bullies. If you want to break a man, don't attack him head on, don't brutalize him; pain and torture can awaken a stubborn resistance in all but the weakest. But just make him slightly uncomfortable, disrupt his life at the margin, and he'll look for the easiest path to re-normalization. There are fellows rampaging through the streets because of some cartoons? Why, surely the most painless solution would be if we all agreed not to publish such cartoons.

     Steyn refers in the above to the Muslim-powered riots and violence that followed the Jyllands-Posten publication of a few cartoons of Muhammad, some years ago. If memory serves, those riots resulted in nine deaths and several billion dollars of property damage. Now, on a continental scale nine deaths might not sound like much; a few billion dollars doesn’t make much of a dent in a multi-trillion-dollar continental economy. But Europe’s masters sensed the threat that loomed behind those incidents. More urgently yet, they sensed the intense desire of common Europeans, habituated to stability and comfort, to make it go away. And so, by arrangements both well trumpeted and utterly sotto voce, they contrived to appease the Old World’s Muslim minority: the exemplar of a militant minority with a focused agenda.

     Tragically, our Establishment sees the Left’s agitations and riots as a tool it can put to its own uses. In concert with other recent events, including the panic-powered “lockdowns” over the Wuhan virus, our political elite hopes to habituate us to the pattern of appeasement: the gradual concession to its demands, whether one by one, or by degrees to all. For the elite believes that it can control the militant Leftist minority: i.e., keep its agitations and violence from evoking (or erupting into) a full-scale civil war. Whether or not that belief is well founded, it’s displayed in the current responses to the riots from everyone in the hierarchy of power except President Trump.

     However, if history has a lesson for those who would “quell” unrest through appeasement, it is this:

Appeasement weakens the appeaser and emboldens the appeased.

     Thus, the Left has come ever more to believe that it can triumph, ultimately displacing the existing Establishment from the corridors of power and taking those levers into its own hands.

     Whose belief is nearer to the truth will determine the course of the near-term future.

     As my Gentle Readers have probably noticed, I’ve been less regular about posting here in recent days. There are reasons – a delightful Newfoundland puppy whom the C.S.O. has named Joy being foremost among them – that will probably dissipate in time. For the present, I am pleased that Linda, the Colonel, and Historian have “advanced into the gap” with excellent emissions of their own. Please favor them with the applause they plainly deserve.

     (Yes, yes, there will be pictures, just as soon as I finish the puppy laundry and comb the poop out of Joy’s coat. Be patient.)



Folding Steyn's thought, HT to you, into my next "Random Thoughts" post. Thank you for that excellent post.

Glenda T Goode said...

While in the past the assumption that the average American would simply shrink from the forefront and avoid the conflict is probably true, we are in a new dynamic these days. Our population of middle aged adults has had a paradigm shift compared to the boomers of the 60's and 70's.

We have millions of Americans, both male and female, who have been in the service at some time or another. They were young adults when the towers fell and they saw first hand the reality that zealots can hurt us significantly and they cannot be ignored or at least, ignore them at your peril. They saw brutal treatment of Americans in the middle east and Asia and how Islamic terrorism has spread throughout the European continent and how violence has disrupted decent people's lives.

At some point, there will be a movement of these citizens who are getting fed up with the antisocial activities of the likes of Antifa or BLM. You have seen a few videos of these resolute Americans standing up to Antifa and sent them packing. These Americans are sick of seeing the destruction and criminal actions of these opportunist looters and the Soros funded Antifa.

They recognize that the nation that they believe in and live in is under attack. These are pro-second amendment Americans who understand why we should be armed and prepared to defend hearth and home. It is their quiet resolve and desire to preserve the communities they live in that will give them the strength to stand up to these forces of destruction and if things go as I expect we will see a Trump re-election in November.



"I expect we will see a Trump re-election in November."

From your keyboard to Hashem's inbox.