The Regressive Left and the Path to Totalitarianism: “Cultural Appropriation”

Back in Iran, there is this narrative propagated by the government that “We are under a cultural invasion”. You are told you are not free to wear what you want, or do certain things that you want, because that’s only promoting “the aliens (westerners)” attack our culture. People have been arrested just because they wore a clothing that had an undesired logo.

The exact same thing goes for the “cultural appropriation” concept of the regressive left. Culture is most of the times irrelevant, it belongs to no individual, it is defined by no individual and is always changing. Most notably, it can never come first when the rights of individuals are in question. An individual’s right to wear their desired clothing is always the determining factor in the outcome of this scenario.

The racism and tendency to create a gap between people from the regressive left has become more and more obvious as time passes by, and it is increasingly ironic and dishearteningly totalitarian.

Freedom of Speech Matters

Freedom of speech is essential. Only in the light of this type of freedom we can rationally evaluate evidence, reason about it and progress in all types of knowledge. We were extremely lucky to get such a complicated language in the course of our evolution, and it is the reason we are where we are now. If we wish to progress even better and faster, we need to allow for all ideas to come to the forum of thought and have a say. Only there we can judge them based on evidence and logic.

This is why I tremendously enjoyed Christopher Hitchens’ vigorous  defence of this freedom.

 

Why I am not a Libertarian

If one is asked what is the best way to explain Libertarianism, and that one is familiar with political philosophy, s/he will immediately point out to Robert Nozick’s example of Wilt Chamberlain, the famous 70’s basketball player.

Let’s assume, in a hypothetical example, that we have a society of some kind of distribution of wealth, could be complete equal distribution of wealth, or any other distribution (for the sake of example, let’s take the equal distribution). And, let’s assume that Wilt Chamberlain is a very successful basketball player in that society, which attracts a lot of people. Since people like good basketball players, they are willing to pay a certain amount of money to see him play, and let’s say that they pay him some amount of money directly to see his matches.

I think we all believe that nothing unjust or wrong has happened: People have simply chosen, freely, to give some of their wealth to Chamberlain, and there is nothing wrong with that. But now, Chamberlain is a very wealthy man. Why, in this case, some of us think that it is just to tax him on his rightfully earned money? Was it not the case that our starting point could be “any” distribution of wealth possible, and the people willingly chose to give their money to him, making him wealthy by their free choice?

The above argument and example does indeed seem compelling for Libertarianism. So, why am I not a Libertarian?

Let’s say that our Libertarian society above exists, and Chamberlain becomes “very” rich. Of course, it is only rational for the rich to try and make themselves even richer, and that could be achieved by clever investments. And now that Chamberlain is so rich that he can do a lot of things that normally people cannot do, why not buy a whole industry? Let’s say that he buys the whole food industry, thereby creating a monopoly over it, and affecting the prices.

Of course, we cannot “not” buy food. We, citizens of that society, need to live, therefore we have to pay for whatever prices Chamberlain asks for the food. On the other hand, there are no government regulation on the prices in a Libertarian society, and there is nothing to stop Chamberlain from asking a lot more than we normally pay for food (this is the nature of monopoly).

In the end, we will be giving money that we didn’t want to give, to Chamberlain. And all because he became the authority which Libertarians despised that much in the first place. He gained power equal to that of taxation by the government, even more: Because a democratic government is not self-interested business, by definition it is more or less none-beneficial.

A Libertarian society, hypothetical or practical, will turn out to be self refuting. It will end up breaking the same rules that it was based upon, and that’s why I am not a Libertarian.*

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* I am not by any means a socialist either.

The Doctrine of Perfect Dictatorship: How to Rule with an Iron Fist, or be Doomed Trying

The questions about revolution, of how and why it happens; have been on my mind constantly, on different periods of my life. And of course, recently, with all that has happened everywhere, they have become a much stronger voice in my mind (along with that other voice in the back of my head that keeps saying “You’re hot!” to my housemate, whenever he come out of his room shirtless, which is very often!*).

Now, I thought about writing this post a lot. It took forever to write it, since my analogy seemed confusing to even me: Too many variables. As a matter of fact, I wrote a post almost a month ago, and then tore it (in a digital sense), and started writing this just on 12th of December.

Since I believe revolution is a product of a lot of things, I decided to act like I am writing a recipe for a not so much tasty food. Actually, this would taste like blood, and smells like death.

Ingredients:

  • One weak minded dictator,
  • Ideological dictatorship,
  • One none-democratic system of governance,
  • One military force not under complete control of the dictator,
  • One economic crisis (Preferably with unemployment),
  • Cities, with the ability of generating crowds of people,

Now, the above “ingredients” seem trivial, and they are. Of course whoever reads history knows that for example Tsar Nicholas II, Louis XVI, Shah of Iran, Mubarak, etc. were weak dictators; nor anybody doubts this as a fact that most revolutions happened while there was an economic crisis going on.

The ingredients are important, as later on we will try to develop an explanation for why they end up in a blood bath. But first we need to try and define what is a revolution? If the political regime of a country is overthrown by masses (big crowds) of people, and a completely new regime has taken its place, a revolution has happened. In here we see that a revolution differs from a coup d’état, which is when a regime is overthrown without the masses of people having anything to do with it.

Now we come to the important question: How do revolutions happen?

I believe it to be a game of power between people and the dictator, that unfortunately is in a form of a very bloody vicious circle. The dictatorship in a normal mode is in a sense in “equilibrium”. That is, people know there is dictatorship, and feel it both in bureaucratic system of governance and specially the ideological dictatorship (dictator’s belief is law, and others cannot object). But at the time there are equal forces on each side: A military force that backs the dictator, and a secret police force that can handle the opposition (as individuals).

Then something happens that break the equilibrium: Most likely an economical crisis of the recession sort, with unemployment. There would be a certain percentage of dissatisfied crowd of people, that becomes the core of the bigger revolutionary mass. It is a crowds tendency to grow, and this growth will continue much more rapidly with the incentive of the existence of such core. That unemployed crowd is like a Catalysis for this process, and as the recession continues, this core becomes more and more persistent.

A weak dictator at this point will use brute force and violence to silence people. But this answer will only add to the peoples incentive to gather more, to organise strikes, and to chose more violent methods of their own. Also, people individually are different from each other, but as a part of a crowd, their opposition with the ideological dictatorship becomes their slogan, and under that slogan they will gather, and chose leaders.

The process will go on, as a brutal game of life and death, with the dictator using more force, and people gathering in bigger masses and becoming more hysteric. This continues, until the military forces start joining the people, which triggers the final stage of the battle, that usually ends up with the execution of the dictator, if he (or maybe she) is caught of course.

The results of such analogy are as follows:

  1. I’m afraid that revolutions are somehow inevitable. Such combination will most likely end in a bloody battle, and the more unfortunate thing is, after the revolution things will most likely be much worse: Look at Iran, Russia, France. The exception is Romania and other USSR “satellite” countries. Also the results of recent Middle Eastern revolutions are to be seen.
  2. If a dictator wants to stop a revolution from happening, there are two ways: One is, in the beginning he (or she) should come down from power, or at least avoid using brute force. This seems unlikely since as said our dictator is a weak minded one, and using brute force is what they may not be able to avoid.
    The other way is quite the reverse: Make your dictatorship a complete totalitarianism. Shut down every social media, every communication that the people (masses) can have, in order to stop them from gathering. This is hard and frankly impossible without a huge bureaucratic system of governance. But if the dictator can make it happen (like Stalin or Hitler did), no revolution can ever begin.
    So, overall, the dictatorship should either be as soft as a democracy, or as hard as the totalitarianism to survive a revolution.

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* He is hot, and straight!