I Couldn’t Have Put It Better Myself

Kevin Baker of The Smallest Minority has this to say in regards to the possibility of another American Civil War, bolding mine:

Of course, the Anarchists see both sides as delusional and dangerous. They believe that the Free Market is the answer to it all, and that we need to give up this nationalistic fantasy crap and start dealing with objective reality.

As if objective reality would appeal to people who voluntarily share common delusions.

He’s exactly right. The overwhelming majority of the populace simply refuses to deal with the facts – objective reality has no appeal to them. That’s another reason why Rational Evangelism Won’t Work.

Ironically enough, of course, objective reality doesn’t appeal to Baker either.

33 thoughts on “I Couldn’t Have Put It Better Myself”

  1. JTK:One possibility is that this will only happen when the bulk of society slams into a wall or drives over a cliff.

    Unlikely. Solzhenitsyn’s zeks weren’t Americans, but I have no doubt whatsoever that the mind-numbed masses out there will keep on keepin’ on, much like those selfsame zeks kept petitioning their political masters. Examples: The fawning respect that the average conservative has for armed government agents (“LEOs”). The continual worship of that usurpation of a Constitution by every significant political faction out there.

    The average person won’t wake up until he’s spent some time in the camps, and there won’t be any camps. Or rather, there’ll be (is) one big camp from sea to shining sea, with everyone inside telling each other how lucky they are to have Homeland Security up there in the guard towers manning the machineguns. So what if half of ’em point in? At least it isn’t Albania, right?

    I don’t anticipate the bulk of society doing much of anything except casting a disinterested vote every four years.

  2. Reality having its way” is stupid people entering Darwin Award contests. Ideally, they would kill themselves piece-meal with little collatoral damage observes Schneider.

    Mention of the loathesome “Darwin Awards” site sent me there, where I found this hearty little rib-tickler of an anecdote.

    And sure enough, the fool had cralwed under the RV to “work on the brakes” without chocking the wheels, and because he was working on the brakes, he didn’t set the emergency brake either. We ran across the street to see if we could render assistance. We managed to get the RV off of him, after running back across the street to get a big floor jack, but it was too late, he was a goner. Crushed from his collar bones to his pelvis, he died later that day in the hospital. That’s all well and good for a Darwin Candidate, but the truly funny part…”

    I won’t go on to reveal what the “truly funny part” of this horrible story was, since it would only be truly funny to someone who lacked any humanity or pity or common decency – and having visited the Darwin Awards site makes me feel vaguely unclean enough as it is. The worst part is that the story is told by someone who actually was there at the time of the accident, who actually helped pull the crushed body from under the RV, who actually heard the “loud THUD immediately followed by a painful sounding shriek” – and who, apparently stood around having a good laugh about it all later, including the “truly funny” panic-stricken wife of the victim. Ha, ha, ha.

    It’s significant, I think, that the two artists who draw the crude, cruel cartoons on the site mocking the dead choose to work under pseudonyms – it’s also significant that the repellent little creep who runs the site is a biologist, a field of endeavor seemingly dominated these days by repellent little creeps.

    Anyway, Mike, you say that stupid people “are easily manipulated into supporting the schemes of evil men who, in exchange for their support, share a percentage of plunder.” Well, let’s see here. Let’s keep in mind, first and formost, that “evolution” is not a system of marality – the fittest are those who survive, no matter how they do it. Going furthur, we note that the “Darwin Awards” site tells us that those who are too stupid to survive should properly be laughed at and held in contempt, and that their miserable deaths help cleanse the “gene pool”.

    Of course you (speaking in the name of something called “AnCap”) promise stupid people nothing but death, so it’s unclear what could possibly motivate the stupid people in question not to support these evil men. In fact, by the cruel, amoral standards of the Darwin Awards, if stupid people stupidly trusted in freedom and liberty, they would then all be killed (or an inexorable chain of fate that “AnCap allows for” would put an end to them, or something) and therefore the Darwin Awards site would be justified in laughing at them for their stupidity. “This guy was so stupid that he trusted liberty – and liberty fell on him and killed him! Ha, ha, ha!” I mean, they have to be really stupid, these stupid people, since you’ve just outright told them they can expect nothing from freedom except death.

    This is all nonsense anyway, since it is free market capitalism that extends everyone’s lifespan, and most defends the weak from the cruelty of Nature (who is not a free market capitalist). The giant collectivist slaughterhouses of the last century sent the weak and the foolishly trusting to the wall by the millions.

    You really should stop using the pseudo-scientific, amoral cant of evolution when talking about politics – where it is important to use such words as right and wrong, innocent and guilty, words that have no place in the theories of evolutionists and creepy little biologists.

  3. Kennedy clarifies:

    “What I mean is that the fall of the USSR was driven by economic reality not movements. That’s not to say that movements had no role it how things played out, but the USSR didn’t fall because it’s citizens wanted it to.”

    There’s an important truth in this: the USSR and its sattelites had grinding through a state of internal economic collapse for decades when things finally fell apart. But it’s also important to remember that economics is a discipline that concerns what people choose to do no less than politics is. If it’s true (as it is) that individual people’s economic decisions under the conditions of Bolshevism made it so that the Eastern bloc suffered a long, steady, grinding economic collapse (as it did), to the point that people began to be forced by economic realities to decide that they could no longer get along by cooperating with the government, or (if they’re within the government), no longer sustain the institutions of the regime, then that’s just one convoluted way in which a regime can fall because its citizens want it to–or, at least, no longer want to commit the resources needed to sustain it. If John’s account of the fall of Moscow-line Communism is correct, then I think we have to be careful about where it is that we draw the distinction between that explanation and explanations in terms of coordinated political action by movements of people: the difference would not be that in one case people wanted the regime to fall and in the other case it just fell without them wanting it. It would be that in one case, the conditions that made people want the regime to fall were produced by an intentional, coordinated plan; in the other case, the conditions that made people want the regime to fall were unintentional consequences of other things that people wanted and acted to get.

    Fair enough: it would be foolish to deny that unintended consequences are important, or to dismiss the importance of the economic situation that people were acting from when trying to explain the fall of the USSR and its sattelites. But while that may explain part of the context (not all of it–see, for example, North Korea) in which the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc was possible, I don’t know how well it explains how it came to fall apart when and how it did. (Did the economic realities in Poland explain why the Communist regime collapsed in 1989 rather than, say, 1987 or 1993? Do they explain why in Poland and in the Soviet Union, there was a soft crash rather than the worst happening? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that these facts–pretty important for giving an accurate causal account of the fall of Moscow-line Communism–had a lot to do with the widespread strikes, the organization of groups such as Solidarity, the weakened ability (both in terms of resources and in terms of political will) of the regimes to crush dissident movements, the effect in coordination and inspiration that this had for, e.g., turning crowds of ordinary Russians out to resist the attempted coup against Gorbachev, etc. (If it hadn’t been for popular movements, that coup would very likely have gone off without much of a hitch. And what would the collapse of the USSR have looked like then?)

  4. Kennedy’s certainly right that the “crash” of the Soviet Union–for all its many problems–is a reason to take some hope in the possibility of a “soft crash”. (One needn’t imagine very hard to imagine how much worse it could have been–one just need look at the failed coup against Gorbachev.)

    I’m not sure, though, what Kennedy means when he asks us to “Also note that the Soviet Union did not end because it’s citzens woke up.”

    I think this is clearly true in one sense and clearly untrue in another sense. It’s not that the vast bulk of the people in the Soviet Union and its sattelites suddenly got the right pamphlet at the right time and realized, “Hey, this kinda sucks!” and thus fell the regime. An accurate assessment of Soviet cultural history (rather than the view from the pages of Pravda) would indicate that a lot of Soviet subjects were already awake to the nature of the regime for quite a while–some of them from the get-go. But while bare knowledge didn’t change, organization did–the dissident movement flourished across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and, once organized people began to realize the power they had available, people began to “wake up” in the sense of using the resources they now had in place to act on their knowledge. It would, I think, be really odd to marginalize the role played by the dissident movement and mass demonstrations by people inspired by it, in the implosion of, say, the Polish Communist regime, or the failure of the coup in the USSR.

    I don’t know which (if either) of these two claims Kennedy is making here, or whether he’s making both. So I’d be interested to hear more about what he has to say on what citizens “waking up” means and why he takes it not to have been important to the collapse of the Soviet bloc.

  5. Interesting analogy, Mr. Kennedy! And the reason objective reality doesn’t appeal to me? There’s no way I’ve seen to “safely exit the train.”

    You see, it appears to me that, true to the cycles of history, the train is picking up speed and at some point in the not-too-distant future it’s going to leave the tracks in a pretty horrendous wreck.

    There the analogy loses its strength, though, because if you’ve somehow managed to get off the train, it won’t really matter. The trainwreck is just going to land on top of you anyway. (It’s an odd topology, this little model-train landscape.)

    But, after the train wreck, humanity will pick itself up again and construct a new common delusion or six, and off we’ll go, building a new railroad.

    We’ve done it for centuries, nay, millenia. As of yet, the Anarchist model of embracing objective reality has failed to take hold, or at least survive attack from the commonly deluded.

    I’d say that the common delusion model must have something inherently human in it that objective reality lacks.

  6. As an example of a soft crash I give you the Soviet Union. Consider how much worse the end of the Soviet Union could have been expected to be given it’s history. Also note that the Soviet Union did not end because it’s citzens woke up.

  7. [I]Lopez: He’s exactly right. The overwhelming majority of the populace simply refuses to deal with the facts – objective reality has no appeal to them. That’s another reason why Rational Evangelism Won’t Work.

    Kennedy: Ultimately reality will have it’s way, it can’t be ignored forever.{/I]

    Intelligence is a recessive trait; “Reality having its way” is stupid people entering Darwin Award contests. Ideally, they would kill themselves piece-meal with little collatoral damage (and An-Cap allows for this); unfortunately, stupid people, being numerous, are easily manipulated into supporting the schemes of evil men who, in exchange fior their support, share a percentage of plunder. Governments are, essentially, stupid-people shepherds and breeders.

  8. I’m not sure, though, what Kennedy means when he asks us to “Also note that the Soviet Union did not end because it’s citzens woke up.”

    The SU, per se, “ended” out of the decadence of its rulers, who became, with time, less and less brutal. As brutality is a requirement for dictatorship, the SU ceased being a dictatorship. The Chinese dictatorship still understands this.

  9. Kennedy: the fall of the USSR was driven by economic reality not movements.

    That’s a load of rubbish; ref: North Korea and Cuba.

    *Force* keeps a dictatorship running, not a positive balance of trade.

  10. Rad,

    What I mean is that the fall of the USSR was driven by economic reality not movements. That’s not to say that movements had no role it how things played out, but the USSR didn’t fall because it’s citizens wanted it to.

  11. Ultimately reality will have it’s way, it can’t be ignored forever. One possibility is that this will only happen when the bulk of society slams into a wall or drives over a cliff.

    Back when he still thought there was a point to operating the state my friend Rob Robertson likened the situation to being on a runaway train. He likened government to the controls of the train and thought we needed to use the controls to stop the train.

    I say what’s needed instead is the means for individuals to safely exit the train.

  12. But are the remnants of the USSR forming Anarchist societies, or are they just adopting new collective delusions?

    How would you even know, Baker? Objective reality doesn’t appeal to you.

  13. Oh, I recognize “objective reality,” John. It’s so rare that it stands out like a beacon.

    But I notice you didn’t answer, you redirected with another question. Are there any new Anarchist societies forming in the old Soviet Union, or are there just new and myriad coercive ones? It’s not a trick question.

    (And the Russian Mafia, in my book, qualifies as coercive, not “free market,” just so you know.)

    BTW, I wrote that part specifically for you guys here at No Treason! I figured you’d appreciate it.

  14. Sabotta:…the fittest are those who survive, no matter how they do it.

    Not “fittest” – the “fit”. Evolution isn’t winner-take-all, there’s a lower cutoff and everyone above a given threshold makes it. Survival = “good enough”.

  15. Sabotta, quoting me: Of course you (speaking in the name of something called “AnCap”) promise stupid people nothing but death…”

    …”promise” being your euphemism for some sort of implied coercion. At worst, that’s a lie; at best, a blearly-eyed misinterpretation.

    Here’s a news-flash for everyone: I solemly “promise”, to each and every one of you, that you’re eventually going to die. Stupid people AND wile-e-coyote super-geniuses. Sorry, folx, but them’s the breaks. To make that news go down a little easier, however, I’ll let you in on the fact that I will have nothing to do with it.

  16. You really should stop using the pseudo-scientific, amoral cant of evolution when talking about politics…

    Just to be clear, do you believe that the theory of evolution is pseudo-scientific in general, or only when talking about politics?

  17. Lopez: Evolution isn’t winner-take-all, there’s a lower cutoff and everyone above a given threshold makes it.

    Kidz, here’s how government works: It promises, “Support me, and I’ll steal the property of those above the cutoff and give you some of the loot (a “safety net”) so you’re elevated above the cutoff. Please breed like bunnies to perpetuate my voting base.”

    Governments are in the business of breeding stupid, avoracious people. Yet, obviously, the stupidity-ratio cannot increase forever; ultimately, there will be a reckoning of one sort or another, be it millions of willing morons ready to die for 47 virgins in the afterlife, or starvation following the collapse of “safety-net” Ponzi schemes.

  18. “Governments are in the business of breeding stupid, avoracious people.”

    Not so, Mike. Democratic-style governments are in the business of encouraging the breeding of stupid, avaricious people. Oppressive dictatorships are happy to rule by terror and internal strife through favoritism of small groups. They really don’t give a good goddam about the makeup of the population one way or the other. Stupid people are preferable, but the people are going to do what they’re told to do, and the ones that are just too bright will get “re-educated” with a bullet behind the ear.

    Given the choice between the two (and those are pretty much the only available choices, since no one’s been able to figure out how to establish a free Anarcho-Capitalist society that won’t be immediately overrun by a coercive one) I choose the Democratic-style government. At least that way I have a chance to affect how my government will fuck me during the period before the train eventually comes off the rails.

    But that’s just me.

  19. At least that way I have a chance to affect how my government will fuck me during the period before the train eventually comes off the rails.

    Kevin, have you actually run the numbers for the 2000 presidential election, with you voting Republican/Democrat/Libertarian and also not voting? If so, I’d really like to know exactly how much of an effect your vote applied in any of those four ways would have had on the outcome.

  20. I don’t know what the secret “breeding” designs of our would-be rulers are. But whatever they are, governments cannot succeed in breeding stupid, avaricious people: stupidity and avarice are not bred in humans. They are learned and chosen. If you think there’s too much of them going around (and I suppose any amount of them going around would be too much), then you would do best to address them as fellow rational beings and deal with them as people who can (and ought to) live up to something better.

    The notion that some people are simply born to be slavish (and should be treated accordingly?) is an Aristotelian idea. But it’s the sort of Aristotelian idea that would-be libertarians would be better off rejecting.

  21. Villager asks: “New here… can someone offer a definition of Objective Reality?”

    Nope. But I can point it out to you: open your eyes and look around a bit. It’s that stuff in front of your face.

    “Of an Anarchist society?”

    An anarchist society is a society without rulers. For all his many faults, the left-anarchist P.A. Kropotkin put it best when he explained “Anarchism” as:

    the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions.

  22. “Kevin, have you actually run the numbers for the 2000 presidential election, with you voting Republican/Democrat/Libertarian and also not voting? If so, I’d really like to know exactly how much of an effect your vote applied in any of those four ways would have had on the outcome.”

    Ah, but John, it’s not just me, and you know that! It’s the millions of others along with me who voluntarily share the common delusion! (Can’t have a “common delusion” without lots of others now, can we?) The point is, “whose delusion is shared by the most people?” That’s what voting measures.

    The “Objective Reality” caucus gets no votes. You just get to sit and bitch and watch while other people take your money at gunpoint and then spend it without any of your input at all.

    Your only choices are yeild, be imprisoned, or die. Great choice, there. We collectively deluded get to think we can influence how it’s spent, at least. :-)

  23. Ah, but John, it’s not just me, and you know that! It’s the millions of others along with me…

    Would those “millions” have won/lost if not for you?

    The point is, “whose delusion is shared by the most people?” That’s what voting measures.

    I’m not interested in deluding people, or being deluded.

    The “Objective Reality” caucus gets no votes.

    Nor does it need any. Ref: “Brick Wall”, upthread.

    You just get to sit and bitch and watch while other people take your money at gunpoint and then spend it without any of your input at all.

    Okay, so you spend man-months to get 1/20000000th of an input. Who’s better off?

    Your only choices are yeild, be imprisoned, or die.

    I’m not dead yet, and I’m looking for a way out. You could be, too.

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