Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Secret of Left's Success: Speaking Power to Truth

Kevin Williamson's The End is Near reminded me once again of how the illiberal left is at an advantage, since for them politics reduces to power, and it's always easier to make people do things than to persuade them to do things.

I think this explains why left wing talk radio is such a failure. Who wants to be persuaded that he is incapable of making his own decisions? This is analogous to reasoning with someone to abandon his reason. Why not just skip the middleman -- logic, argument, and evidence -- and go straight to the power?

The purpose of political talk is to inform, to inquire, to question, to explain, etc. But leftism needs none of these things. Rather, it needs only power, so all the talk is just so much babbling as a prelude to the real issue: I get to tell you what to do.

We routinely tell three year-olds to use your words! Try that on an angry and entitled three year old in an adult body. With a loaded bazooka.

Thus, the state didn't need to convince anyone that socialized medicine is a good idea. Rather, it just went ahead and enacted it. "You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it" -- which is just an extension of "you have to elect Obama to find out what's in him." Or "Please authorize my use of force, even though I need no such authorization. Rather, I just need someone else to blame for f*cking this up."

"The necessity of large-scale cooperation is what allows nonpolitical processes -- human action -- to learn and evolve. Coercion is the negation of cooperation, and the power to coerce is what keeps politics from learning" (Williamson, emphasis mine).

Take Keynesian economics, for example. Doesn't work, obviously. But it doesn't matter. The state doesn't need to convince anyone that it works. Rather, it only needs to hold a gun to your head and say, "it works, right?"

"Perhaps that seems too strong for you? If so, try the following experiment: Stop paying your taxes, or refuse to send your child to the local government school or government-approved alternative," or "feed the poor in Philadelphia without government permission," etc., "and then see how long it takes for the government to dispatch to your home a team of men with guns to enforce your compliance, seize your property, or put you into a cage."

It reaches into everyone and everybody -- for example, my racket, clinical psychology. Try helping a sexually confused adolescent struggling with homosexual urges. Again, the state didn't need to argue the case; like most everyone else, it has no idea what causes homosexuality. Rather, it will simply strip you of your livelihood if you should dare to get between the state and a potential lifetime Democrat.

"Political power cannot be reasoned with," and after all the intellectual posturing is over, "the philosophy is the same as that of the raptor in Ted Hughes's 'Hawk Roosting,' who proclaims: My manners are tearing off heads.... No arguments assert my right" (ibid.).

Or, in the words of the world's greatest orator, "I won."

Leftists who claim to cherish liberty are not even phonies: "The IRS" -- i.e., the teeth of the state raptor -- "has three times as many employees as the FBI, a much larger budget, and investigative powers" that dwarf any other agency.

"Imagine being asked to submit an annual statement to the Pentagon or CIA detailing your employment situation, living conditions, marital status, banking information, major financial transactions, net worth, travel records, etc."

You don't argue with the raptor, you just feed it: "Failure to pay taxes is routinely punished with sentences much more severe than those given for serious violent crimes such as armed robbery -- which is ironic, given the extent to which taxation itself resembles armed robbery: a man with a gun demanding money" (ibid).

Conservative classical liberals want less of all this state power, so as to have more genuine power over ourselves, i.e., self-rule. But in order to make the case, we are reduced to using the power of speech.

Yes, the truth sets us free. Which the IRS knows full well, hence its attempt to tear off the head of the Tea Party. It's what raptors do.


mushroom said...

I would expand it to Statists in general. There are a lot of "social conservatives" just as quick to use the guns of government to force us to do what they think is right. That I agree with their morals does not mean I agree with their methods.

I trust conservatives farther -- because they will generally leave my guns alone, but I'm still uneasy with it.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

I can't determine if Open Trench is the result of an experimental satire generator, or not. Anyone got a Turing test available?

Ephrem Antony Gray said...


The disagreement is always about what is fixed and what is in flux about reality.

Some say that all is in flux, but this is not truly possible. What they are in fact saying is that everything outside of them is in flux; similar to how most forms of deconstruction are simply tools of power and not of truth. They can be used against deconstruction itself and against all of the pieties which they are deployed to defend.

The contention here is that Truth in the proper sense - an oblique reference to the Word himself and his agency in existence - is what is fixed and all else is in flux.

It would then follow that, despite appearances to the contrary, one should always side with this truth and its offshoots since these are the only things which have permanence, stability and life in them.

To latch one's self to a form of temporal power in order to gain a temporary upper hand is to be forced to abandon true stability and true power; but since this power is not being directed by one's self, it is easy to feel like one is not free and that to step outside of it is to exercise volition and actually make a difference using one's will.

However, this is an illusion. To abandon this truth and its power (once called, the Tao Teh Ching) is to come under the sway of other powers instead.

If you are already a god, then make your way with caution. Otherwise, it would be appropriate to begin your last rites.

mushroom said...

OT knows better. He just likes to be a contrarian. I wonder if we could make passing the Turing test a requirement for voting?

It's not a literacy test. Just prove you're not a bot, a drone, or a droid.

So long as they are gainfully employed in the private sector, I might be OK with droids voting.

Cousin Dupree said...

I've never encountered a moonbat quite like Open Trench. Which is why I extend the extraordinary courtesy of waiting 24 hours before deleting his comments.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Mushroom, we don't serve their kind here.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Leftists work hard to activate Murphy's Law in every area of our lives.
IOW's they aggresively seek to enforce a "fix" to everything that's not yet broken.

ge said...

OT i always thought may look like

Open Trench said...


I liked your well thought out rebuttal about truth; I may have to rethink my relationship to truth.

I thought life was 0's game; we are given some powers and sent out to mix it up. 0 likes it that way, or so my thinking went. Truth? We can't handle the truth. If we knew truth, then game over.

But now, I'm not so sure....