When I was little, I liked tinkering with mechanisms. Depending on the age, this sometimes meant I took a perfectly good wind-up toy and did things that made it act weirdly. Take the crawling baby doll I opened up and then had some inconvenient pieces left over, and when she crawled again, she’d crawl three steps and lift her leg. Three steps and lift her leg. I was young enough I had no clue why the adults thought this was hilarious, btw.
One thing you learn pretty quickly with mechanisms, at least if you are a little kid taking apart something someone else put together, is to be wary of left over gears. They were doing something before, and it’s highly unlikely that you tinkered with it in such a way that it made it more efficient and special.
Of course, part of the problem in Marxism is its own devoted belief in its own infallibility and scientific qualities.
When the whole point of a political philosophy is the idea that you’re going to reform society in such a way that will make men like unto angels (since all our bad impulses are the result of capitalism and “greed” and “exploitation” once it’s removed we’ll all be perfect. This was used in the 70s as the basis for maintaining that putting people in mental hospitals in the US was the same as putting people in mental hospitals for political opinions in the USSR, since capitalism caused mental illness.) and install utopia, it’s hard to realize some of the stuff you’re tinkering with is there for a reason.
Perhaps this explains the left’s continued illusion that breaking the feedback mechanism solves the problem.
It’s a curious delusion, because the rest of us learn to love and use the feedback in our fields of endeavor.
I was only ever a jackleg repairman, but I learned not to remove the parts of the mechanism that would alert me something was wrong well before the whole thing, say, over pressurized and blew up.
And in writing feedback is just as important. I didn’t actually make much progress in my attempts at professional writing until we got a writers’ group. This is because I had no clue what I was doing. Rejection letters were sometimes encouraging “definitely send us your next one” but “this doesn’t fit our needs” wasn’t exactly helpful in pinpointing the problems.
BTW in the case of writers’ group, learn to exclude/ignore the consistently and always negative ones, too. (If you’re diplomatic, without seeming to be ignoring them.) A feedback system always stuck on “horrible’ is as bad as one stuck on “wonderful.” You have to assume it’s either the other person’s taste or personal animosity. There is reason “the blind leading the blind” is a bad thing.
Feedback is what calls you back to where other people are, when you’re so lost in your interpretation of the world that you don’t see the flaws in it.
It’s what causes you to consider whether your writing is actually understandable to other people; whether your ideas are really working out that wonderfully; whether those extra gears caused the doll not to pause, leg up.
As I said, the left is notorious for trying to get rid of that. Tests when you apply for a job are now supposedly “racist” leading to the rampant credentialism. This allows the left-controlled education system to “certify” people as educated and never have to admit they are failing vast swaths of the population. Instead they use “endemic racism” to explain that. (In fact, they use this kind of thing to explain everything, without looking at what the education establishment might be doing wrong.)
Gone is the feedback mechanism that tells us that schools are failing and failing harder for minorities. Instead the left can posture and preen about their wonderful role in the schools. Of course, the schools are still failing, and now they insist on Bachelors for everyone, in an attempt to teach people things they used to learn by fourth grade. The control mechanism is broken. Piling on more “education” will only bankrupt the country and do nothing.
Then take the push-model of book sales. Long before there was an Amazon, chain bookstores had cozy deals with publishers that sent most indie bookstores (now beloved in effigy by the left) out of business.
And then the left dominated publishing establishment had a brilliant idea. For decades they’d been trying to forecast failure and success, and failings. Books they pushed out the wazzoo (A river in Sundon’tshine) died on the vine when bookstores refused to stock them because the owners had read them. The books they had designated as to be ignored caught someone’s fancy, and suddenly were all over.
This was inefficient. It caused way too much printing that never got distributed, and much last minute rushed reprinting. (Even leaving aside how often people chose to read the WRONG things, something that started to matter more and more in the last two decades.)
So they came up with the push model. It was, from a certain perspective brilliant.
That perspective is the one where the real world doesn’t really exist, so you don’t need to hear from it.
Because the managers of the big corporate bookstores ALSO didn’t read, they took instruction beautifully. So the publishers could say “you’ll take 100 of x and 2 of y” and they DID.
For a little while it worked beautifully, in the sense that there were no surprise bestsellers, (and publishing houses hated those. I know someone who unexpectedly sold out her print run in a week. The publishing house took the book out of print. No, seriously.) and the books that got seen and talked about were picked by the publisher. (BTW this wasn’t even always or primarily political. Sure, that existed too sometimes, but mostly it was the crazy fads that publishing convinced itself of. For instance, sometime in the mid two thousands they convinced themselves no one wanted historical mysteries — they weren’t selling, true, probably because they were on NO shelves — but everyone wanted “chick-lit mysteries” that had covers with lots of shoes and dresses and whose plots were “Sex in the City with murder.” I remember trying to find something to read, giving up and going to the used bookstore (then a hundred miles away in Denver) for my mystery fix.)
Of course, they sold less. In fact, as time went on and people got out of the habit of going to the bookstore, because there was never anything they could find to read. I mean, I remember being chased from Science Fiction to Mystery to finally history, to at last the sort of “utility” book you find in the discount bins you know “a chart of history” type of thing just to find something to buy on our bookstore night.
Then we gave up.
Eventually the broken feedback mechanism gave us the demise of Borders — and B & N is not feeling so good itself — and a yawning, desperate chasm in customers’ need for books that meant the way was wide open for Indie and Amazon. Even the early badly proofed indie books were like a breath of fresh air because for the first time I could read outside the trends being pushed.
But when you’re a peddler of Utopia, you can’t admit you’re wrong or that your methods are crazy. After all, your cult of Marx (a college-professor friend recently shocked his students by pointing out Marx is a 19th century western idea — born of the mechanical age and the idea you can make everything just so — and that imposing this interpretation on non-Western systems is colonialist) promises eventual paradise and world domination. You can’t be wrong. It would mean your whole life has been in vain, and everything you’ve been taught is a lie.
The system might have moved the downtrodden from those “exploited” by the industrial revolution, to “minorities” “third world people” and people with interesting colorations — mostly because the “exploited” workers kept rising up in the world and spitting in the eye of Marx, the ungrateful bastages — but it’s totally still true and the way of the future. Even if it requires conceptualizing a future where no one works and everything is free, since they’ve now tossed the “workers” out of their ideal society. (Again, ungrateful bastages who don’t know how “good” the intellectuals are for them.) But it is totally the future!
So all those people who say that it’s still spinach and to hell with it? They’re just trying to destroy the train of happiness leading to the station of utopia.
Which means they must be silenced. If they’re just silenced, then the system will work fine, and everyone will be happy and joyful.
So the latest attack is on free speech. Because free speech can be hurty and say things the left doesn’t want to hear. Bad bad free speech must be stopped.
They already have laws against “hate speech” or “harassment, which according to a comment here is “saying something I don’t like more than once.”” in most of the world.
The US is holding fast in our unreasonable devotion to the first amendment which irks the left as much as our devotion to the second. Don’t we understand that bad speech hurts people? And leads to bad think?
In any institution they control, from companies code of conduct to deplatforming people on twitter, to Google strangling hits to dissenting blogs, etc, they are already silencing that nasty, evil feedback.
Because if only they don’t hear the whistles of rising steam, the engine will never explode.
Cotton stuffed in their ears, they keep feeding more coal to the engine of public opinion and stopping up the steam vents.
The end of this is what happened to Ceausescu and his repulsive wife: “Beloved leader of the morning, pile of cooling, bullet riddled meat in the afternoon.”
But they don’t see it. They’re convinced if they just stop the feedback, the machine will work fine.
And they’re going to take all of us into the explosion. Mind you, in the end we win, they lose, but it’s going to get very rough there for a while.
Unfortunately when dealing with true believers, there’s nothing you can do but let them utterly prove their system wrong, before sane people can build again.