Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

All identity politics, all the time.  §

Here is why the Democratic Party and the Republican party are fundamentally similar in nature. Here is why radical feminists and vegan activists are not really all that different under the surface from Cruzian arch-conservatives.

Both parties and each of these identities share one fundamental impulse: that of denying (whether implicitly or explicitly) the existence or utility of society, human sociability, and collaborative collectivism as such. The Right and Right thinkers find society to be so much ideology and a communist plot; the Left and Left thinkers are busy proclaiming it to be nothing more than the secret means by which a conspiracy of white males has domesticated and enslaved everyone else.

Neither side, and none of their figures, find any use for it at all in their accounts of utopia (which covertly involve either the complete moral transformation or elimination of all individuals that are different from themselves, thus betraying a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and the human condition), denying our biological heritage as a species and the one thing that separates us from animals—culture. The capacity to act in deeply and complexly collective ways despite individual variation.

Both want to do away with the inherent tension society and replace it with identical individuals considered only individually. Both are also hypocritical, declaring the utter moral primacy of their or their side’s own selves, while at the same time seeking to domesticate the parts of any extant selves, within or without, that scare them most (thus the tell—the fact that they do actually appreciate the ordered and productive benefits of society, but merely wish to be free of tension themselves).

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I won’t be a part of this, left or right.

— § —

Anyone like myself—who believes that the state ought to (indeed, must) have a collective interest in the establishment and enforcement of norms that are of collective benefit and apply equally to everyone despite tensions (this is, in fact, the rub, though few can even see this any longer, so far down the ideological hole have all gone), simply in order to preserve order, and thus to enable the kinds of mutual intelligibility and interface that mean that we are not merely just slightly larger ants but in fact a species that can save itself from global warming and nuclear war, is called—these days—an authoritarian.

But human individuals do not possess ESP (sorry, not a new agers, you will never convince me, it is bullshit), and thus the necessary precondition for our saving ourselves as a species and coming up with a generally good life in the aggregate and mean is what amounts to APIs—external interface policy—for individuals. And as any good programmer knows, APIs are only useful so long as policy is rigidly and formally documented and then continuously enforced (i.e. the actual behavior must bear fidelity to the specification).

In short—humans can only thrive under conditions of difference (enabling a division of labor) that is managed to the extent necessary to enable collective and predictable action as a species, with species-level aggregate skill, knowledge, and wisdom.

And that is why on the various political tests, I score extremely high scores of leftism, but am exactly in the middle on authoritarianism (N.B. no American politicians are in the middle these days; all are off toward libertarianism). Because there must be some basic measure of order without the elimination of difference. If there is not order, there is chaos. If there is not difference, the social loses its efficacy.

That’s not to say that a little chaos isn’t bad—it’s fun to be spontaneous, and makes for the spice and the “opening up” of life—but in fact our problems as a species (and, frankly, as individuals) are large enough that it cannot be all chaos all the time, and certainly not at the level of social structure. And a vast multiplicity of standards for a vast multiplicity of identities (the left position) or a single set of standards that amount effectively to “individuality in the face of any impulse toward collectivity and impositions upon individuality otherwise” simply do not fit the bill.

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I’m a card-carrier once again. And that’s the end of that.