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Western society has been moving gradually further to the left for the past several hundred years at least. ”, society will call you a bold revolutionary iconoclast and give you a professorship.
It went from divine right of kings to constutitional monarchy to libertarian democracy to federal democracy to New Deal democracy through the civil rights movement to social democracy to ??? If you catch up to society as it’s pushing leftward and say “Hey guys, I think we should go leftward even faster! If you start suggesting maybe it should switch directions and move the direction opposite the one the engine is pointed, then you might have a bad time. Mention that you think we should undo something that’s been done over the past century or two. Go back to sterilizing the disabled and feeble-minded.
But a system of repression that doesn’t involve obvious state violence is little different in effect than one that does.
It’s simply more efficient and harder to overthrow.
Reaction isn’t a conspiracy theory; it’s not suggesting there’s a secret campaign for organized repression.
To steal an example from the other side of the aisle, it’s positing something more like patriarchy.
But if you do read it and accuse me of holding these ideas myself and get really angry, then you fail at reading comprehension forever.
We’ll make a lengthy digression into social justice issues, showing how some traditional societies were actually more enlightened than our own in this area.
The great thing about western liberal democracy is that it has a free marketplace of ideas. Noam Chomsky made a career of criticizing our society and became rich and famous and got a cushy professorship. If you “criticize” society by telling it to keep doing exactly what it’s doing only much much more so, society recognizes you as an ally and rewards you for being a “bold iconoclast” or “having brave and revolutionary new ideas” or whatever.
So our advantage is that we admit our society’s imperfections, reward those who point them out, and so keep inching closer and closer to this ideal of perfect government. Suppose you went back to Stalinist Russia and you said “You know, people just don’t respect Comrade Stalin enough. It’s only when you tell them something they actually don’t want to hear that you get in trouble.
Trying to sum up their ideas seems like a good way to first of all get a reference point for what their ideas are, and second of all to make it clearer why I think they deserve a rebuttal.
We’ll start with the meta-level question of how confident we should be that our society is better than its predecessors in important ways.