The good side of formalized evil

At least then it is limited.

I’ve noted several times that it would be better for us if the Left were to codify their rule in precise laws, at least in those areas where they haven’t already done so.  We may not do evil because it is the lesser of two evils, but there is nothing wrong in recognizing which evil is the lesser.  Also, accepting unfairness that we have no power to redress is not itself an evil act.

My proposed “grand bargain” between the races is grossly unfair to whites, and like all forms of socialism, the only thing it will efficiently produce is misery, but it does grant us some legitimacy.  It shifts the frame of racial justice from retribution to distribution, where, because aspirations are finite, they can be satisfied while leaving some room for the other goods of common life.

I’ve said before that it would be a great boon for academic freedom if Leftists would make their speech codes explicit.  No fuzzy talk about being “offensive” or “marginalizing” special groups.  Just a list of words that may not be used and propositions that may not be asserted.  That’s how we Catholics did it when we ran things.  That’s what you do if your goal is to defend an orthodoxy, not wield a general-purpose bullying stick.  The list can be as long as they like with a formal process for additions; perhaps it can even have provisions that some words and ideas are forbidden only to certain classes of people.  We Catholics never did anything so wretchedly iniquitous, but Leftist orthodoxy seems a bit more fragile, so maybe they need more fine-grained restrictions.  But, given the list, no one can be punished for non-proscribed speech or research.  Nulla poena sine lege.  The limits are precise, so we may freely and safely explore everywhere outside, even up to a hair’s breadth of those limits.  This would be the main advantage.  A secondary advantage would be forcing the Left to own up to their own restrictions.  With the current rules about not generating “hostility”, liberals always play the game of saying when challenged that they’re only protecting civility but then in practice taking these vague injunctions as a mandate to penalize dissent.  Any criticism of Leftism is defined to be stirring up hostility toward its clients.

Explicit racial quotas would be much better than forcing every institution to make “diversity” its main goal.  Thing of how much better college would be with any specified demographics but without all the diversity bullshit.  Without explicit quotas, the only way to get an “acceptable” number of non-Asian minorities is to lower objective standards and introduce subjective components in the admissions process, i.e. to add enough noise to drown out the signal.  Of course, we suspect that essays are in fact being used to identify desired minorities with plausible deniability (i.e. to unofficially have quotas), but that is actually the optimistic case.  What if subjective pieces are mostly just introducing randomness?  Wouldn’t it be best to use one’s white slots for the most academically gifted whites, the black slots for the most academically gifted blacks, etc?  This clearly optimizes academic talent given the constraint of racial diversity.

“Hostile work environment” is another case of liberals getting to pose as mere protectors of civility while actually policing political opinions in the private workplace.  We should not let them control the debate like this.  Let’s all acknowledge that government is now in the business of using employers to enforce Leftist orthodoxy on matters of sexuality and race.  If the Republican Party has any use at all, it should set goals to limit how this is done.  I have suggested before a law to the effect that requirements to maintain positive work environments for protected class employees shall not be construed to require employers to compel affirmations of any idea or group from employees.  Silence shall be considered sufficient.  If employers want to persecute their “racist”, “homophobic” employees, so be it, but they are not required to do so.  A second, stronger, law would be to withhold government contracts from businesses that penalizes employees for failing to affirm particular positions on the moral status of sodomy and the like.  An even stronger law could forbid the government from working with companies that penalize their employees for political speech made outside of the work environment and not made in the employer’s name.  Legal guarantees for government employees should certainly be an achievable thing.  The Left will scream bloody murder, but if they want to make it so that teachers, policemen, and firemen can be fired for incorrect thoughts expressed outside of work, they should be forced to defend this.  It should be the center of debate.  Don’t let them play the game of “Of course these people are safe, only a paranoid person would want such a law”, then 5 minutes later, “Of course we can’t allow homophobes into positions of power”.

Step 1:  realize how bad things really are.  Step 2:  proceed from there.

11 Responses

  1. Earlier this semester an administrator sent out a vague warning against “offensive decorations” in faculty offices or on the doors of faculty offices. I suppose he imagined that, in the absence of such a warning, Trump stickers might sprout like mushrooms after a rain. I personally follow a clean door and office policy, but leave others to decorate their doors and offices as they please. I wrote to the administrator asking for an example of an “offensive door” so that I could know what one looked like, and also that one actually existed. There was no answer, of course. This started the line of thinking that led to my recent Orthosphere posts, such as Thugs in the Banyan Groves of Academe.

    I honestly can’t decide whether the vagueness comes from refusal to face the reality of enforcing an orthodoxy, or if it is an intentional means to make potential thought-criminals over-regulate themselves. If I had a farm and threatened to shoot anyone who set foot on it, but also refused to say with any exactness where the boundaries of that farm lay, I believe I would control more land rather than less. One will never “skate close to the edge” if the “edge” is invisible.

  2. A Leftist version of the Council of Trent seems undoable given that liberalism’s big lie is that it sits at the center of neutrality. Abandon that keystone falsehood and all that cheap concrete dressed to look like marble comes crumbling down.

  3. @Bonald – I guess you don’t agree with my own understanding of the Left (ie the New Left of the past 50 years) – which is that they are oppositional, their ideal being permanent revolution, and have no utopian destination except (for the demonic elite conspirators, at the top of the pyramid) the ever-more-complete destruction of Good. From my perspective your grand bargain idea is extremely foolish.

  4. Charlton has a point, I think. Zippy’s written a fair amount on the sociopathic nature of liberal authority, and one of his points is that it pretends not to be authority. It is to be expected that the bulk of their rules would pretend not to be rules for similar reasons.

  5. I agree. The ultimate aim is to undo creation and return to the primordial tohu va bohu. Their motto might be “Return to ‘the Waters'”.

  6. Remember, the grand bargain is not between liberals and conservatives; it is between whites and non-whites (i.e. not with liberals, but with their clients). The key to any such bargain is that both sides must be secure in what they are given. To exchange a structural power for a promise is to invite betrayal. The grand bargain has the advantage of automatically tying racial transfer payments to segregation. Whites can be forbidden from living in black neighborhoods or forcibly relocated; they have no power and will be able to generate no sympathy. I doubt we have the political will to forcibly relocate blacks out of white neighborhoods, but if they choose to stay, they will incur the exorbitant white neighborhood tax and forgo the transfer payments to black neighborhoods.

  7. The power of the left rests entirely within the lack of formalism–an imposition of some order. That is why they’d never agree to it.

  8. Indeed, and it would serve our purposes to make them admit it.

    I mean, what I’m asking for is exquisitely modest, don’t you think? I can’t imagine that even a standard Republican would feel too frightened agreeing to it. Of course the liberals would never accept it, but it will be damned hard for them to give a reason why they won’t agree with it, and it will be damned hard for the media to find a way of spinning this as straight white men being mean. We let them outlaw any speech that they want; they just have to tell us exactly what is outlawed. I mean, if hate speech is really such an awful thing, wouldn’t one want to have exact laws against that exact thing? College administrators are always saying they want to “balance” academic freedom and “safety” from hate-thoughts, yet mine is the only suggestion for doing just that (to the extent that it can be done). Really, how can they object?

  9. @Bonald – “it would serve our purposes to make them admit it.”

    Good luck with that. I have been involved in several PC persecutions, either happening to me or to colleagues or friends (this was mostly a consequence of working in evolutionary psychology and intelligence research, and editing a dissenting bioscience journal; plus my personality type – medium-high on the Eysenckian Psychoticism trait) .

    You can be in a person to person, even face to face real-time communication with the PC commissars or minions, and they will never admit their lack of formalism or precision.

    They will oscillate between assertions, retreating to make a statement, then retreating from that back to where they were – but they will never acknowledge that they are doing so.

    This is done with a clear conscience, indeed often with zeal, because they know that they are in the right, and what is said against them is either trivial quibbles or motivated by evil; so they do not feel obliged to be consistent or even fair.

    Plus, most of them lack either the inteligence or the ability to stick to a point, so argument with them is like trying a grab a greased eel while wearing shiny mittens.

    As I have often said – argument with the New Left isn’t just a waste of time but actually counter-productive – they want it, they use it.

    Of course you can’t *win* against them, because they hold all the cards – but the best strategy is simply a Blank Statement that you will, or will not, do X – and just repeating it.

    Never defending, never arguing beyond stuff like ‘this is what I do, this is what is going to happen, this is my belief and conviction, I am a Christian – therefore…”

    The other major monotheism has this exactly right – I have never heard them argue. They simply make it clear that they will do Z and they will not do X – and *everybody knows* they will keep on-and-on doing Z and refusing to do X.

    To make them do otherwise; requires continual and sustained coercion, effort, resources and will-power – and sooner or later this combination is not forthcoming – and they win.

    In this respect, they are worthy of respect – and emulation.

  10. I think Bruce is correct. There is seldom much to be gained by explaining why you will or will not do something, or why you ought to be allowed to do or abstain from doing. Either they have the will and the power to compel behavior, or they don’t. Negotiation isn’t going to change that.

  11. […] Perennially cheerful Bonald looks on The good side of formalized evil. […]

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