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Monday, December 07, 2020

Politics is force

In the absence of a viable creative culture, politics expands to fill the void.

L ibertarians always say government is force. But politics is upstream of government; therefore politics is also force. When liberals and conservatives argue about politics, what they're really arguing about is how to force the other side to do what they want.

Now, you might argue with Breitbart that politics is downstream of culture, which would mean that culture, too, is force. Or maybe culture is downstream of politics. Others have argued, with H.L. Mencken, that politicians “commonly deserve hanging, or, at least, long confinement in the hoosegow,” which would mean that the hoosegow is downstream of politics.

Well, being an enlightened 21st century people—so enlightened, in fact, that we have evolved beyond the need for hoosegows or indeed police officers to help fill them—we already tried that. A few years back the mayor of Providence Rhode Island was thrown in prison for kidnapping. It only made him more popular among his fellow Democrats; so much so that the state tried to pass a law making it illegal to run for reelection as mayor of a city that starts with a ‘P’ if you were currently in prison and your name started with a ‘C.’

As I write, the Republicans are hard at work in Georgia scheming to find a way to lose the election. Democrat judges are throwing convicted felons out onto the street and hope to give them the vote. Cities in California are planning to steal property and give it to the homeless, and make minor crimes like rioting, arson, burglary, and theft legal. Yet magically we somehow become more authoritarian.

Both nature and politics abhor a vacuum, so it is no coincidence that while the Yankee-Left Coast alliance erases the police, they use Twitter mobs to force our obedience. Human nature is such that people must force each other to do what they want; if laws are to be abolished, other laws automatically spring up to take their place.

This illustrates the three Iron Laws of Politics:

  1. The amount of force in a society remains constant; it can only change form. (This one has been proposed by others in many different forms.)
  2. The more a society attempts to reduce the use of force, the more the need for force increases.
  3. In the absence of a viable creative culture, politics expands to fill the void.

Now that some virus has given government a free hand to control our personal interactions, we are utterly dependent on the Internet for what little remains of social interaction. All we can do is talk, so the first thing to go is freedom of speech. Even in Britain, where a kid was arrested for calling a horse gay, people are starting to criticize America for its lack of freedom of speech. (Of course they blame Trump, but the point is Brits are still allowed to criticize people, unless of course they're . . . well, let's be nice here and not say it.)

The Laws of Power explain why Google, Twitter, and Facebook are taking over. Until now, The Science has been used merely to make it illegal to buy or sell any food that has any taste. The government subsidizes your healthcare, so if food contains sugar, fat, cholesterol, or trans-fatty acids, it adds to the government's cost so it must be prohibited.

It's no longer just forbidden to criticize any member of a protected group. Now mentioning the existence of groups at all is forbidden. Soon enough, all terms of disapproval like ‘bad’ will be against Twitter Law, and we will become Eloi-like in our angelic purity as well as (thanks to the prohibition on cholesterol) our nutritive value. But for now our society is more like THX-1138 than The Time Machine.

In that dystopia, everything was based on cost. If capturing a criminal threatened to exceed the budgeted cost, the pursuit was abandoned. If saying something risked increasing state expenditures, the speech was blocked. Like us, they also had forced speech: when THX starts having bad thoughts, he is forced to confess his sins to a state-run AI confessional; everyone is programmed to believe in happiness and loyalty. Mind-altering drugs are mandatory: when THX stops taking them he is thrown in prison.

We're only halfway there so far, but we can still rebel. It would be interesting to state that my pronoun is “master” just to watch people's heads explode. Of course I'll have to do it behind a mask.

dec 07 2020, 6:31 am

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