No, I don’t care if you are counted or not. This is not about voting, or the more open forms of citizenship – it’s just about not shutting up.
My parents, of course, would have it that it’s not that difficult for me to not shut up. It’s sort of what comes naturally. I used to go on continuously, about something or another, even if another was something I read. I’m better now.
But the truth is that for over ten years, I wasn’t talking. Or at least I wasn’t saying anything about anything that was important to me.
We’ve talked about it before, and to long time readers of the blog, it’s certainly no news that for years I kept my mouth shut for fear that if my political opinions leaked to the ears of my New York publishers, my career would be most sincerely dead.
It would be fatuous to assume I was wrong, too. In multiple conversations with various editors, I both heard libertarians referred to as evil people (not just wrong, but evil) and got told about authors who were not bought because “I think his politics were more suited to Baen. Just a feeling.” (Yes, that is a direct quote from an editor I worked with.)
At the same time, I was several times encouraged to amp up the social message. That I couldn’t do. In at least three cases I balked it, and yep, I paid for it with my career every time. But to do it, I’d need to actively support evil. And that I could not do.
It took me longer to realize I was passively supporting evil. That by staying quiet, by not making waves, I not only allowed people to presume things about me that weren’t true (I don’t know how many of them did. Clearly not enough to make me a protected darling.) But the public in general would assume it. And that was bad enough because it enforced a totalitarian presumption of uniformity of opinion. The famous “All good people think this way.”
This article is about the Eich affair. Or at least the Eich affair was the precipitating incident for the article from the Federalist site. For those of you not acquainted with it, (You so very lucky bastages) this is where the CEO of Mozilla got hounded from his job not because he publically expressed opinions about gay unions but because he privately gave money to prop 8 years ago. (That it was leaked at all, is something else and one that sickens me.)
The article quotes extensively from Vaclav Havel on the “post totalitarian” state — the state we live in.
To explain how dissent works, Havel introduced the manager of a hypothetical fruit-and-vegetable shop who places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” He’s not actually enthusiastic about the sign’s message. It’s just one of the things that people in a post-totalitarian system do even if they “never think about” what it means. He does it because everyone does it. It’s what you do to get along in life and live “in harmony with society.” (For our purposes, you can imagine that slogan is a red equal sign that you put up on your Facebook page.)
The subtext of the grocer’s sign is “I do what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me.” It protects him from supervisors above and informants below.
Havel is skeptical of ideology. He says that dictatorships can just use raw power, but “the more complex the mechanisms of power become, the larger and more stratified the society they embrace, and the longer they have operated historically … the greater the importance attached to the ideological excuse.” We don’t have a dictatorship, obviously, but we do have complex mechanisms of power and larger and more stratified society.
In any case, individuals need not believe the lies of an ideology so much as behave as though they do, or at least tolerate them in silence or get along with those who work with them. “For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system,” Havel says.
As most of you know, I’m a supporter of gay marriage. The reasons for it are complex, but mostly it boils down to the idea that if they can marry we won. We co-opt them into the bourgeoisie.
This doesn’t mean I’m at all divided in l’affaire Eich. What happened was repugnant and sickening. It was a discovery of someone’s private opinion and a hounding him for thought crime. (I will add that my gay friends are just as sickened. Of course, they are libertarians. And some of them are anti-gay-marriage for the same reason people here have mentioned: fear of having the ceremonies forced on the churches.)
I’ve heard a lot of stuff about how this means that gays should go back in the closet or other nonsense – but that will solve nothing.
You see, the issue is not gays. The issue is also not income inequality. The issue is not “War on women.” All of these are wedges the militant Marxists use to divide society and make causes both ubiquitous and repulsive to the rest of us. They both engage minorities to their side with “see, we protect you” and disgust the rest of us with the endless hounding of anyone opposed AND THEN they take the backlash and use it to tell minorities “you need us. They hate you.”
That this is bullshit doesn’t stop it from being remarkably effective. If it weren’t, the crazy gambit of “binders full of women” would not have worked, particularly as no one can precisely say what in hell that was supposed to mean or why it was supposed to be offensive.
And btw, as a fifty one year old woman, whose hormonal treatment is a form of the birth control pill (and it will tell you something about my system that I’m probably more likely to conceive while on it – though fortunately at my age that’s also not likely. Fortunately not because I wouldn’t welcome another child, but because I shudder at what my system would do to a pregnancy) I’m getting SO tired of everyone acting like, you know, if the pharmacy mentions what they’re giving me, the mobs of anti-birth control people will kill me, right there in the grocery store.
This b*llsh*t never happened before the stupid election campaign gambit about how Republicans wanted to ban contraceptives (a complete and bald faced lie.) BUT now my doctor and my pharmacist both whisper about that prescription and play idiotic games with my husband, who is signed in for ALL my privacy stuff. (As is older son, in case husband isn’t home and I crash into a semi.) We get the “Do you know what she’s taking? Can you tell us the name?” (No, he can’t. It’s a strange name, because it’s a form of pill only used for this type of issues.) So he has to call me at home and ask the name, and I have to find the old package, all so he can pick it up. He’s in all my disclosure forms. We’ve been married for thirty years. But the Marxists have this myth that hey, someone is going to pound me if they know I’m taking the pill.
In the same way the Marxist myths about gayness make me want to hit something. Or someone. For instance, there is the ubiquitous “gay bashing” which mostly happens in movies and tv shows. Oh, sure, gay guys can get beaten. If they go to a highly ethnic area in big cities. BUT that is never how shows, movies, books, or TV portrays it. Because that’s not part of the Marxist narrative.
And for the record I get pretty d*mn tired of the stupid equal sign, because it’s used INSTEAD of thought. If you’re going to support gay marriage, you should do it with open eyes, aware of the difficulties, aware of the issues it’s going to cause, including the fact some people will be shocked that legalization doesn’t mean mommy and dad now have to APPROVE. (Which a friend of mine says is why most gays want gay marriage.)
I LOATHE the equal sign, the same way I loathe stupid pat sayings like “Female shouldn’t be a pre-existing condition.” I loathe them because they mean nothing, really once you dig into them. They’re just a quack noise that says “I’m going with the opinion I perceive the cool kids to have.”
It’s the same reason I despise the intrusion of feminist issues into historical fiction. Hang it all, not everyone in the Victorian era was a suffragette or discontented with her lot. If they were, it would have changed much earlier. (In fact in women oppressing regimes, as in most of the third world, women are usually the enforcers of status quo.)
Making your main character a feminist is just a “look at me, look at me, look how enlightened I am.”
You can always tell in which direction the herd thinks it is moving, because people say things like “Grandma was a housewife with five kids, but now I can be a lesbian.” You never hear “Grandma was a lesbian, who had this one kid before joining a commune, but now I’m a housewife with five kids and perfectly happy.” I bet you there are as many of one as of the other (yes, there were communes in the early twentieth. And some of them were really odd sexually.) BUT you don’t hear it worn as a badge. People with that history might joke about it with friends, but they don’t blazon it forth as a “look at me, I fit. I’m moving in the right direction.”
All of this is herd behavior. Naturally humans want to fit in. (Well, some of us have given it up, right?) Outliers are punished, as they are in any social species. This is instinctive.
Except that Marxists or, as in the article quoted above, the “post totalitarian state” exploits that instinct. They want you to at the very least pretend to belong. Because every time you pretend, you lend credence to their lies. When you shut up, it allows them to say that all good/smart/bright/minority/purple/dinosaur people agree with them. And those in the crowd who disagree look and see what seems to be a united front and assume they MUST be wrong. After all, all these people agree…
That more than the threat of force makes cowards of strong and opinionated people. And that – that must not be allowed to continue.
It must not be allowed to continue because we know from history that even a majority of the good/smart/minority/cool people can be disastrously wrong. In fact, the history of manking is a stumbling from idea to idea, forever approximating truth, but never actually getting it.
There was a time when it was believed – to quote Pratchett – that a good stink was the only protection against illness. (Yes, I know not everywhere and not absolutely, but this is a metaphor for a type of wrong headed thinking, and I can’t think of another one just now. Don’t kill me.) This was, of course, wrong since sanitation, soap and regular baths have resulted in amazing decreases in mortality.
However, if people had said “everyone agrees, the debate is closed” and hounded out of debate anyone who disagreed, those weirdos who were into washing and soap and stuff, would never have got a chance.
It takes unmitigated hubris to believe that after centuries and centuries our time NOW has it absolutely right – that the best way to run a society is the way our progressives believe it should be run, and that therefore anyone who disagrees can not be motivated by pure reasoning or logic, or even a desire to protect someone.
The reason for that unmitigated hubris is mass media, and the uniform leftist grip on it. Insensibly, over the decades of the twentieth century, mass media and mass entertainment, and even books, moved more and more left – because the left captured gate keeper positions and they DO discriminate according to opinion. In their book you can only disagree if you’re evil, and would you hire/publish/produce an evil person – and no one dared speak, so everyone thought that was the way to be.
Now they see their goal – which is seizing society and making the herd obey them, NOT in case you were wondering women’s rights or gay rights, or purple unicorn rights, those are just the excuse they use – within reach, and they intend to seize it. Which is why they’re expanding their mau-mauing, scolding and general fit throwing. Hence Eich, the madness in SF, the madness in the gaming community and the general unpleasantness in society.
Which brings us back to “Stand up and be heard.” The counted doesn’t matter. One of us is enough to let a hundred people in the shadows know “yes, I’m not alone.” Imagine how much it would be if all of us came out of the shadows.
Yes, they’ll attack you. This is how I earned my world’s worst person trophy (half shares with Kate.) BUT that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because even as they attack you, they’re calling attention to the fact you exist.
Stand up. I’m here to tell you it feels better than lying down and being assumed to be part of the herd.
I know many of you have jobs and obligations that don’t allow you to stand up. I was there. But I commented on line under a thinly veiled identity. I was still speaking up. Not as powerfully as I am now, but speaking.
Don’t let them assume they’re dealing with a herd. We’re a pack. Don’t let them corral you. Talk back. Don’t apologize.
This is why I said yesterday that I think people should talk even if I disagree with them. People should talk, in particular, if they’re going against consensus. PUSH BACK.
In a way you’re saving them from themselves. They’re pushing for various idiotic things, because they think they’ve won.
But more importantly, you’re saving yourself and your children from living in a society where you have to go along to get along, and where you’re not allowed your own thoughts. Where even someone like me, who supports gay marriage, can be pilloried for saying “The equal sign is a stupid thing because gay marriage would never be “equal” as such. Also, it was promoted – true – by a communist front group.” And “If we gave the Marxists everything they want tomorrow, they’d just come back with more outrageous demands, because the end goal is to have the herd obey. In unison. And without back talk.”
Don’t give it to them. Listen to me.
If you can at all, in the measure you can, in small ways and big, stand up, talk back, argue. There is no consensus that is perfectly resolved in anything. Our society is not the end all and be all of history. There is no end of History, no perfect society. Marx was a weird man who smelled, a little hairy inkstained wretch who lived on the kindness of others. His perfect vision was more German mysticism than any science known to man.
We’re not standing athwart history saying “Stop.” History doesn’t run in any one direction. We’re standing in front the sniveling Marxists saying “Very funny. Now stop whining and listen to what I think. I have a rolled up newspaper, and it’s time you grew up.”
Stand up. Time to lie down and enough, once you’re in the grave.