Wednesday, January 30, 2019

From Bleeding Heart to Mailed Fist

This was sent to me - a catalogue of the possible explanations for why it is so consistently true that the bleeding heart turns into the mailed fist.  I think all of the explanations have some traction, but have at it.  Which do you like and why? 

A reminder that we don't grade on a curve here.  You have to bring a good game.


David Foster said...

reminds me of Leonard Cohen's form, Kerensky:,%20Leonard%20-%20Flowers%20For%20Hitler.pdf

Christopher B said...

Though he definitely is thinking in terms of Marxism, this is basically the arc of every revolution patterned on the French Enlightenment. Which is basically all of them, save the English and American. Start off 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity', end up Reign of Terror.

Even the Marxists finally figured out you weren't going to get the peasents to revolt. They are too busy staying alive. You have to find the MC/UMC that wish they were the ones In Charge, and then give them the framework to win over the proles with claims things will be different when the Right People are running things.

Texan99 said...

(1) Brutal outsiders sense the weakness and take over: the author is slightly skeptical, because it's the kindly reformers who so often become brutal. But not always, and this is a good explanation for the behavior of the general public who vote for this kind of thing from kindhearted principles.

(2) It takes brutality to enforce all the kindness: one of the smartest and kindest people I ever knew casually explained things this way to me decades ago: communism always requires totalitarianism, because people won't willingly share all their stuff. You're trying to implement a system that no one will go along with voluntarily. We know this because, if they would, you wouldn't have to impose it on them. We'd already have it.

(3) The author's rebuttal makes complete sense to me.

(4) The main goal was a free rein to exercise brutality from the beginning: too simple. Of course it's occasionally true, but it can't explain this much wide support, and requires postulating too much hidden evil in anyone we disagree with.

(5) The real point is envy and the desire to make rich people suffer: too true for comfort.

(6) Collectivism always fails and needs brutality to perpetuate itself: the most accurate so far.

Many of these are close to my own bugbear, which is the evils of trying to make other people pay for the policies that we need to feel good about our own generosity. Solzhenitsyn says the line between good evil doesn't divide societies or creeds, it runs through the center of every human heart. We're all strongly tempted to find ways to feel good about ourselves without making any painful choices or taking on any painful personal burdens. Systems that encourage this failing have a built-in disaster; among other things, they lead to widespread famine. We're also strongly tempted to be selfishly cruel and tell everyone else to take care of their problems without bothering us. Systems that let us ignore the downside of this temptation also have a built-in disaster: individual lives become brutal and sterile, social bonds break down, and necessary information on-the-spot cooperation decays. Unhappy people behave even more badly than oblivious ones. I think free markets have a mechanism for dealing with the latter danger, which is that they tend to place all the burdens (social, spiritual, and material) on the same people who make the choices. Collectivism lacks a corrective mechanism for its own inherent danger. It positively encourages people to think someone else will always pick up the check, and to think that anyone who opposes us must be guilty of cruelty to the poor, and to think that the consequences we suffer are always caused by someone else.

james said...

My comments were too long. Here

Roy Lofquist said...

This is a perennial, an old chestnut. Goes back to "In the beginning...". I think Antonin Scalia got to the root:

"In a 2013 interview with Jennifer Senior for New York magazine, Scalia was asked whether his beliefs extended to the Devil, and he stated, "Of course! Yeah, he's a real person. Hey, c'mon, that's standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that". When asked whether he had seen recent evidence of the Devil, Scalia replied: "You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He's making pigs run off cliffs, he's possessing people and whatnot ... What he's doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He's much more successful that way".

Good people see "reason" as a divine gift, the means to a pleasing social order. Evil people see "reason" as a human foible to exploit.

My advice? Keep your powder dry.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

T99 "We're all strongly tempted to find ways to feel good about ourselves without making any painful choices or taking on any painful personal burdens. Systems that encourage this failing have a built-in disaster;" Good analysis.