*Sorry, for the bfp guys. This week is going to be insane, as … well, I’ll explain later but I’m going to be AFK except mornings and evenings for most of the week.*
Yesterday I went downstairs to watch an episode of Columbo.
It wasn’t one of my favorites, since I rather liked the guy you know is going to get killed, and this one had way more lead up to the ‘being killed’ than most episodes.
It was the chess tournament episode, and here’s the thing: the challenger is clearly Russian. He was also a good ol’ boy and you couldn’t help liking him. Even if, like me, you were aware that the people they let out, even “athletes” (which chess players are sort of sideways) were vetted on loyalty to an evil regime. (Not saying all of them adhered to it. Clearly a lot defected, but saying that they had to stealth better than I managed with all my might to stealth in a less evil regime.) And even though this character is not showing as wishing to defect.
But he is almost little-boy endearing in his escaping from his handlers to go eat snails, and he is clearly a good person in coming to the rescue of … well… thinking he’s coming to the rescue of the guy planning to murder him.
And it got me thinking.
People are weird creatures. Very weird. They can believe the most outrageously evil stuff – like that people can somehow be forced to become mere automatons in the service of the state; or that those who’ve worked hard for something should be despoiled; or that a particular race/culture/ethnicity is the repository of all evil in the world; or that a particular gender is not quite human – all while remaining at heart good people.
Were there good Nazis? Almost surely. And I mean good people who were Nazis. And I don’t mean just the ones who had no clue what was going on in the camps. I mean of course NO ONE WHO KNEW THE DETAILS (the details were unforgivable) but any number of people who thought other people were “cleanly” or “Humanely” being put down and who were essentially good people in everything else. They just believed Jews (and gays and gypsies) must be exterminated for “the greater good.” I bet you there were people who believed this who would forego their last morsel of bread to feed a stranger, or take off their coat on a freezing night to give to their neighbor. And I bet you some of them too KNEW Jewish people and wouldn’t approve of THOSE being killed, making a compartment in their minds called “but he’s not like other Jews.”
Were there good communists? Of course there were and are, in the same way there are good Nazis. These are people who think only of the end they desire. “I want everyone to have a good meal” etc. They look at the glossy pictures of celebrities wasting in a night sums that would support a family for a year, and they think “why do they need to do that?” From there to thinking all private property should be abolished, it’s a step. It’s a particularly easy step if your society has long ago foregone teaching real economics or real individual ethics and teaches that all bourgeois virtues come from having bourgeois wealth. (And also teaches that if you’re poor it’s somehow more “authentic” to be thuggish and uncouth.)
Why am I bringing this up? Do I think we shouldn’t condemn the “good” members of these evil cults? Do I think that their good intentions justify their actions? Do I think we should surrender, because some of them are “good”?
No. Quite the opposite. I do think in the “how we got where we are” that some of the older “right wing” – republicans, libertarians, anyone to the right of Lenin – got where we are by doing exactly what I just said. They knew these people. They were good people. They had good intentions. And up through the late eighties it seemed like the march of international communism couldn’t be stopped, which led to…
The entire attitude we see in RINOS today and which makes us howl and rage, and which is “Their hearts are in the right place; maybe they won’t screw up this time; we will just try to slow them down.”
That misguided tolerance has got us where we are. It isn’t just the left’s intent and determined long march through the institutions – though it is that too, particularly mass media and mass communication institutions – it is also the soft certainty that these people are good, we like them, and we don’t want to offend them by speaking up. Because they mean well, really.
The problem of their meaning well is that nowhere have their well-meaning intentions come to fruition. From Asia to Europe, everywhere communism or socialism has touched it has brought misery and poverty. And there’s no point at all talking about societies not being “quite right”
Everywhere a touch of economic freedom has gone, even hampered by the society or the culture, or the fact it was so watered down as to be ridiculous, it has brought prosperity. For a case study compare China and Hong Kong. North and South Korea.
Yes, this post is in a way a companion piece to the civil war in science fiction, and to “being normal.” The civil war in science fiction is a mirror of the civil war in the larger society. (Only we go to battle wearing Spock ears. Deal.) Only I think the sides are more balanced in the larger society. I think the left outstrips the right in science fiction, at least among published authors and those who read NOW. Because everyone else has been run off.
In the larger society, it’s anybody’s guess, though I think if the issues were brought to point, the left has gone so far left that it commands maybe a quarter of the population and a lot of those are impaired in some way. Compare the tea parties to the OWSers, not just in size, but in slice of the population. (And if all you know of tea parties are the media portrayals let me assure you they’re wrong. I attended two in my region when they first started. Not only was it not just old white males, but more than half the people were female and we had a slice of minorities probably larger than the general population in this white bread city. In fact, probably, the larger group was Hispanic (which is to be expected, here.)) And before you bring up the results of the last election: first – unimaginable levels of fraud. I said it, I stick by it, I saw it up close and personal. It might or might not have involved a fifth column in the challenger’s campaign. I think it did, but that’s my opinion. Second – a media which reports nothing. Now, still, most of the population has not heard of Benghazi. Third – the media portrayal of the opposition as the “church lady” circa 1950. And it’s no point at all saying that the republicans shouldn’t have furnished them ammunition. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make sure a group that large and that diverse NEVER slips? The same media who never mentions goofs like Guam tipping over, or the events in Benghazi is quite ready to jump on malapropisms like “real rape” when it comes from the opposition. And for now, at least, the media shapes “normal” for a good part of the population.
As all groups that are getting suppressed, stigmatized and written off the national discourse, anyone to the right of Lenin has been getting upset. And considering the effect that the economic policies to the left of Lenin (No? Crony capitalism is always an effect of communism. More or less dressing of it is the only difference.) are having on most of our lives and livelihoods, people are getting VERY upset.
I’m hearing more and more “It’s going to come to shooting.” I have a sinking feeling in my water that it might very well come to that. I’d prefer not, though. Look, I have sons. Also, we do not live in a nice world. If our world were really the black-and-white world the liberals believe in, where the USA is the big bad wolf and everyone else is a sweet little lamb who wouldn’t hurt anyone but for fear of the wolf, a civil war might not be a bad idea.
Of course if the world really were like that, we’d be dealing with a species other than human and perhaps communism would work. Who knows? May be worth an SF story.
But the world is not like that, and the US even if it is rapidly flushing generational wealth down the toilet is still much wealthier than most of the world, and is way wealthier than most of the Americas. (This btw is taken by the communists as proof of malfeasance. It’s a religious dogma.)
While we are involved in a civil war – and let’s assume it’s only half as bloody and half as long as our last one – do you think the other nations of the world will sit still? Forget a Chinese invasion (though G-d knows you shouldn’t) or Russia getting involved on one side or another with a view to ruling portions of our country when all is done (and if you dismiss that, you should study the roles of France and England on the past civil war) and just think about the people who hate us and who think (and our media has HELPED this perception) all their woes are our fault, and who think they’re accumulating virgins in heaven – and prestige on Earth – by hitting us with acts of terrorism writ large.
How many cities do you think we’d lose to random acts of revenge?
What I mean is that it might very well come to that. But do you want it? Talk about setting us back generations. Yes, I know you’re furious and I’ve heard the “we have all the guns” boast. It’s not true, okay? Yeah, we have most of them. And sure, we probably could win in days. Except that you forget how many third world armies would gladly fight on the other side, once it got started. And would be promised everything they want if they do.
Oh, sure, they’d probably still lose – but I’m predicting we’d all be wading in blood to our ankles before it’s said and done, and parts of the country would be radioactive for a century.
Again, it might still come to that. And I think the other side wants that – probably more than even the nuts on the “right” – because part of their religion (don’t fool yourself it’s not one) is the belief that history has favorites and that they’re it. They think in the end they win. (They might perhaps want to consult the Norse legends, to figure out which said was believed to win in the end. Never mind.)
But before the shooting starts – in this moment in the heart of the storm – perhaps those of us to the right of Lenin should try something we haven’t tried before. Perhaps we should try speaking out.
Look, I’m as cowardly as the rest of you. I spent more than twenty years, between breaking in and finally losing my mind, listening to digs about “the rich” from people who could buy me and sell me outright; I spend years at parties and meetings listening to Marxist pap and not pointing out how stupid it was; listening to public figures on the right being denigrated as “stupid” when it was obvious they weren’t, etc. And I shut up. Because I wanted to make a living in my chosen profession.
I’m still not half as brave as I’d like to be, though I try to speak out if I’m present. And yes, I know I’ll pay a monetary price. But I don’t go out of my way to look for fights, because I’ll pay a monetary price. And also because, frankly, I know many good people on their side. I don’t want to upset them.
My grandmother used to say “silence is consent.”
Consider that when they say ridiculous stuff in public like “the fat cats never pay” or other bits of Marxist agit prop and we stay quiet, they don’t know that we disagree. And they take what they’re saying for normal and tilt further left, until you get stuff like “We live in an evil patriarchy” (in a society where women are LEGALLY given preference for almost everything and while these same people stay quiet on the societies that whip women for showing ankle.)
Every time we internally go “oh, that stupid slogan again” – every time we stay quiet because we like the people as much as we despise their stupid religion; every time we shut up for the sake of peace or a job, or … We’re allowing “normal” to be moved farther left. And most people want to be normal and fit in. And the truly extreme ones then feel more justified in being extreme.
Every time our silence gives consent, what we’re giving consent to is the inevitability of eventual shooting.
You know those massacres that have happened in every communist paradise? Here the would-be victims are armed. To quote the title of some Baen anthologies There WILL be War.
Unless we stop it now. Unless we’re as brave with our words as we eventually will have to be with our guns, if we stay silent.
I came out of the political closet and fought like h*ll to elect a man who would have been at best as statist as George Bush. (No, he was not my horse in the race, ever.) I did so because I thought it would keep us from the shooting war.
Now, it might be too late. Or it might not. Staying quiet and cleaning your guns might be expedient. But is it the best for everyone? What about the good people on the left? What about the innocents who will be caught in this? What about the rest of the world that will undoubtedly sink if the US as we know it vanishes.
Yes, we’re all ready to take our piece of flag and head to the bunker, to preserve the idea of the US until we can rebuild it.
But wouldn’t it be better not to let it pass from this Earth?
Speak now. Maybe we can hold our peace.