13 August 2017

Hate leads to a whole bunch of things

One really unfortunate consequence of the way the Enlightenment happened is a whole bunch of creationist worldview hangovers.  If you, and everyone around you, just supposes that of course everything was created by a perfect divine being, you go all essentialist about types.  This is not a factually well-supported position, but the conceptual hangover goes on and on.  (In part because it's easy; in part because it tends to advantage the people making publication decisions.)

There's a similar problem with expectations arising from patriarchal white supremacy, where a whole bunch of fundamentally economic decisions ("I get to steal that") are justified by reference to a white guy's feelings.  This tends to make everybody being oppressed by the system insist their feelings are important out of an entirely reasonable desire to stop being oppressed.  That leads to a bunch of people going "hate doesn't excuse violence" and "hate leads to hate" and much other moral reasoning that's actively unhelpful.

Hate exists on a personal scale.  On a public scale, it doesn't have meaning.  (Same with moral reasoning; it's like trying to dig a house foundation with a teaspoon, the tool is on an inappropriate scale.)

So, really, if the policy problem is white supremacists or nazis or something distinguishable from those only under a microscope, hate (or not) doesn't matter. (Same with love.  Personal feelings don't scale to policy problems.)

First off, if you strip off the loud, loud feelings being used as deceptive camouflage, the nazis and the supremacists come down to "the story I tell myself about who I am and my place in society gives me much more status than I materially possess.  I think my disappointment is a good reason to hurt people until my status matches what I think it should be."  Which is bad enough; that's fundamentally an assertion that civilization is important, not in terms of what it does (general expansion of accessible choice through an increase in capability brought on by stable currency, wide trading relationships, fine divisions of labour, the rule of law, and broadening political enfranchisement) but in terms of how it makes nazis feel.  There's a lot of rationalization about this out there, but that's what it is.  Then  you can notice the "status" being used is not the status of skill or accomplishment; it's basic primate band status arising from being able to hit who you want and fuck who you want.  That's a level of social organization inconsistent with having roads or towns.  You certainly don't get a civilization using that as an organizing principle.

Massive insecurity management failure.  "I told myself a story and it isn't factual so I'm going to hurt people until it becomes factual" has several material problems.  First off, if you're not dealing with facts, your ability to win a large fight is doubtful.  Secondly, if the thing about the story that isn't factual is your own particular competence, you're not oppressed, you're inept.  Fixing inept requires you to work hard.   (Which is necessary but not sufficient.)  Thirdly, oppressive social hierarchies come into being as a means of apportioning the loot.  (That is, the kind of social hierarchy that has people getting really mad that someone who, to them, has no right to say anything because of their position in the hierarchy being lower expresses an opinion; you can see this all over politics in people having the vapours when non-whites or women say things.  Where you are in the hierarchy is supposed to determine the kind of loot you get.)  Once you're fighting over the basic right of the hierarchy to exist, absent loot, the associated economic system is collapsing and the social system -- as is always the case with social systems -- is trying to perpetuate itself at the cost of steadily increasing extremism.

So what we're seeing is a bunch of people who prefer a general collapse of civilization to admitting that they're not good for much.  (Various people get to nazi nihilism via moral routes but you really don't need to; there's an entirely material observation that, yeah, this does come down to "my feelings are hurt, let's destroy everything".)  From there, you get the cargo-cult "if we impose the hierarchy strongly, our portion of loot will show up as it used to do" without bothering to notice that the main, essential, inescapable thing about loot is that you can only steal it once.

Does it matter if you hate them?  Personally, to you, it probably does.  There's millennia of advice out there about that and I haven't got anything to add to it.

Policy needs to be pro-civilization -- that general expansion of realized choice -- because policy only exists when you've got a civilization.  (The word does arise from "polis", "city", if you wander back through a sufficient depth of time.)  A position that civilization itself is bad and that it is the faults brought by civilization which must be corrected by killing people until no fault can be found isn't inside any civilization; it's not part of the settled peace.  A nazi arguing for free speech and open debate is saying "let me win"; they haven't got an alternative civilization to argue for, they're still pushing for the death of all[1] because the death of all is better than admitting they can't cope with not being special.[2]

The appropriate policy response?  Somewhere between "SARS outbreak" and "voluntary zombie plague".  (Diseases don't have volition, so the analogy is weak.)  Certainly, policy should arise from a position that believes what the nazis say about their intentions.

As an individual, whether you're going to be killed for being a race-traitor, untermenschen, or refusing to volunteer for sex, punching is a mild response.


[1] civilization stops working, everybody dies.  And there's no more waste places to flee to, not in this time and with this population.

[2] "the accusations of what they themselves do" rule holds up very well here.[3]

[3] there's a fascinating lens to look at the Great Patriotic War through in this; the Soviet Union may well have been a civilization, as Nazi Germany was not.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Well put

mark said...

Every social subgroup that I know of defines the start of civilizational decline as the moment they stopped getting preferential treatment. The reactionaries (from the USA in this example) can therefore be stratified by asking them what straw broke the camel's back.
- Affirmative action
- Civil rights
- Women's suffrage
- Emancipation of slaves
- Ending the divine right of kings, etc

A good general rule of thumb is to then beat them with a stick proportional in length to the distance in time from their "golden age".