In no particular order:
I. It’s the claim to absolute truth and the unwillingness to brook other points of view on that basis that creates most of the divisiveness and conflict in the world. You can’t have deviants who won’t toe the line without a line to toe; acting like you have all the answers when you clearly have no idea what the question is is bound inevitably to inspire doubt and the propensity to contradict you in others. We blame other people because we have an attitude problem and then act surprised because they don’t just roll over and take it.
II. The problem with authoritarians who covet privilege is that they can’t or more correctly won’t tell the difference between freedom and license – freedom being the right to do whatever you like as long as you respect the equal rights of others, and license being the power to do whatever the fuck you feel like regardless of the consequences for anyone else. Those who wish to preserve freedom for everyone and stand in front of it as something to defend for everyone understand that the freedom of each is limited by the freedom of all, whereas those who understand freedom to mean the power to exercise privilege admit no limits on their behaviour, and use freedom as an excuse to hide behind for themselves and everyone else like them who shares the various forms of privilege they covet. Just as they confuse freedom and privilege, so too do they also confuse criticism and attack, so they can play the victim whenever anyone tries to hold them to account for the consequences of their abusive and violent behaviour — of which
Drumpf Trump as a proponent of hate speech and defender of privilege is a shining example.
III. Any old supply-hungry, manipulative sociopath can be on the side of the majority. They typically are. At the same time they can never be on the side of history, because history doesn’t work like that. That’s why anything concerned with the side of the majority rather than the side of history is bound to fail, and elections always do (fail to deliver).
IV. The right wing by definition has never been liberal, which is a left wing concept. The right is consistently unable to tell the difference between doing what you want as long as you respect the equal right of others (freedom) with doing what you want regardless of the consequences for anyone else (license). Typically it invokes license in the name of the freedom to exploit other people and the earth at will, then conflates criticism and attack whenever anyone tries to hold them to account and crying ‘pc gone mad.’ In reality those who tend to manifest this kind of carry on are the actual thought police, since they operate on the basis of a binary logic unable to brook criticism without falling down completely. To the extent that that that’s the case they’re also anti-intellectual, since they tend as a matter of course to identify any expression of intelligence not favouring ther preconceived prejudices as support for the enemy, and learn nothing when they don’t perceive it to be in their direct self-interest to do so.
V. Here’s my theory: elections are full of far right nuts because people gullible enough to vote for them are gullible enough to imagine that voting is going to solve all their problems. Voters who tend to the left donkey vote more because they realise the major problems associated with governments are not the group in charge at any given moment or how nice or nasty they happen to be on a personal level, but the fact that representative democracy as such (1) is mostly contests between two different factions of the one pro-big business party, and (2) necessarily puts class privilege ahead of all else because the state as we know it was made by and for the propertied few in the first place. Now, if we had a left wing party that, instead of becoming everything they claimed to oppose in the name of cleaning up politics, could somehow channel that energy in a positive direction, beyond the donkey vote.
VI. This seems to assume that everything else associated with representative democracy is fine and that voter behaviour is a matter of the right policy. Makes sense that these are the kinds of opinions that make it into the mainstream media. I think the problem is more that if anyone examines the reasons why people are disillusioned with politics, then they have to admit that representative democracy was a ruse to begin with (being of, by and for propertied white males, everyone else being subject to class-based autocracy) and that its capture by corporate interests make the ruse harder and harder to disguise. The more people wake up to to the ruse the less they become interested in voting, realising that as soon as a party becomes capable of taking power they will become subject to the pressures associated with the institution itself, not least of which being the undue influence of big business – much less to say a magnet for ever careerist and opportunist in sight, which if I’m not mistaken is more or less what happened to the ALP. Minor right wing parties attract more voters because if you’re still prepared to buy the idea that capitalist democracy is going to solve your problems you’re probably going to buy the idea that Pauline Hanson will too. In that respect the left snatches defeat from the jaws of victory by continuing to maintain an electoral focus as far as I can tell.
VII. I wonder if the butterfly effect applies to groupthink, like you dabble in a little naughty sanctimony now, and you know in your heart of hearts it’s wrong, but it feels so good and no one who matters is going to mind, but since everyone is doing it the cumulative effects add up to, I don’t know, Trump.
VIII. In general we have one of two choices, we can do what’s right regardless of what we’re told, or we can do what we’re told regardless of what’s right. Sometimes we do one, sometimes we do the other — usually to gain the approval of everyone else who can’t think for themselves. What’s interesting about that I think is that those of us who do do what we’re told regardless of what’s right tend to shift the blame for the consequences of doing ill onto those of us who do do what’s right regardless of what we’re told, being as doing right regardless of what you’re told will also include doubting, calling into question, contradicting, challenging, exposing and fighting the doing of wrong. So inevitably the doing of wrong while following orders must also include blaming the harmful and destructive consequences of our actions in the process of doing what we’re told on those who defy orders for the sake of doing right, or who otherwise represent or embody the right in opposition to the power structures from whence we are ordered to do as we are told. There may not be honour amongst those of us who do what we’re told regardless of what’s right, amongst those of us who steal from the common good through mindless and slavish obedience, but there is a sense of solidarity, a sense of common interests. To attack someone else who does what they’re told is to weaken the culture of servility and deference to power and to strengthen the power of those who question what they’re told and refuse to do what they’re told to do in the name of doing what’s right — who recognise, in other words, boundaries between their own conscience and the cookie cutter morality provided to them by people whose primary concern is the maintenance of their own power. So really, choosing to do what we’re told regardless of what’s right involves as a matter of definition giving up the inherent reward of doing right for the external approval of everyone else who can’t think for themselves either, and blaming the consequences of our actions as people who follow orders to the letter regardless of their nature or consequences on those affected by them on those who must wear them. This also means of course that if you do choose to do what’s right regardless of what you’re told, eventually you’re going to find yourself accused of being responsible for something actually caused by someone who can’t think for themselves and has no sense of identity or self-worth outside of the opinions and approval of everyone else with the same problem.
VI. If you think about it, those of us who only understand one point of view project our own bad selves onto what we don’t understand because in only understanding one point of view we interpret everything in terms of how we react, not how someone else might – and especially not how anyone who can deal with more than one point of view might. Seems to be one of those things that only ever becomes more true.
To be continued…