Monday, June 5, 2017

- The Cowardice of Playing Schrodinger's Politics

While the 2016 election raged, laying asunder many of the past cross-ideological alliances of the political right, I spent a very long time complaining about National Review.

My complaint was about words, and how NR, a leading voice of the right, should deny the left their desire to redefine the words Racist, Misogynist, Xenophobe, and their other tropes. National Review at the time, would publish about a piece a week aiming their intellectual guns to the right and conceding the left their redefinitions while simultaneously saying ‘We aren’t the real Racist, Misogynist Xenophobes, it’s those guys you want. They’re the ones who dream of camps and ovens! We’re the ‘good ones’, you guys should be looking to burn ‘those witches’”.

Well NR has taken its time about it (better late than never), but they’ve finally gotten to the first half of my complaint and recognized that this is all about redefining words to mean whatever the left wants them to mean. The rest, they’re still getting wrong.

The moral underpinnings of the left’s key name calling charges are still conceded by NR to their real opponents – the people that openly claim they want to destroy everything NR says it’s trying to preserve. The rest is quite literally semantics. They say the left redefines these words to ‘cloak reality’, yet they’re still really only willing to argue over the proper color of the cloak. I guess some people are just a little slower at the whole ‘recognizing reality’ game than others.

I’ll give you an example from my own experience.

The first time I heard John Derbyshire describe himself as a racist was about 3 years before his big blowup at NR, and I'll confess, it was a shocking thing for me… that first time. I had known him a while at that point and I simply didn’t believe it. I instantly knew that whatever he meant by that word, it couldn’t possibly be what I, with my unreconstructed leftist programming of the time, thought he meant. But rather than simply fetching some lumber, some rope, and a few gallons of kerosene, I instead decided that there must be something missing from my own understanding, and set about to rectify it.

Eventually it became clear that what he meant when he said that word was not that he wanted to kill or harm black people, or that he was filled with hate for them. The man has no hate in him that I’ve ever been able to find. What he meant was that he did in fact recognize a number of systemic differences between white people and black people, and that by his own definition, that made him closer to a ‘racist’ than an ‘ant-racist.’

I’ve always thought it’s my responsibility to understand what someone means to say to me, rather than it being their responsibility to say it in a way I instantly recognize. And thanks to this believe, instead of me changing my mind about the character of a man I liked and respected, I changed my mind about what he meant when he said the word at issue. Eventually I came to like his much more objective definition better. It's objectivity gives it permanence. It anchors it in the real. There is the truth, then there is our opinions about the truth, and then there is our feelings about the opinions. With his definition I always knew what to expect.

In the reality that NR says the left is trying to cloak, we used to call this ‘learning’. If all 'racist' means is to notice a systemic ‘lack of equality by design’, then yes, John probably was a racist. We’re all different after all, and only someone completely detached from reality couldn’t notice that. But in order to properly see what he meant when he used the word, I needed to detach the objective meaning of the word from my own emotional context for it. I had to let this highly volatile word stand alone in it’s own right and ignore whatever negative feelings it may conjure for me.

Well the left has done the same, except while I threw out the emotional context and kept the objective definition, they threw away the objectivity and kept only the emotional context. Now, to them, Racist means, whatever the hell they want it to mean. So long as their emotions are affected, then whatever you’re saying or doing, or for that matter, whatever they say you’re saying and doing, or that they say you're not saying and not doing, can be evidence of your racism.

NR would rather split the baby. They want to find some middle ground between the subjective emotional context and the objective and observably verifiable reality of the debate about words. For them it’s a kind of Schrodinger’s politics. The alt-attitudes of the new right exists in a box unobserved, being both present and wrong, and not-present and right, until they do the observing. They want to deny the left it’s definition, but still keep enough of the moral repugnancy attached to it to empower them to fire their guns to the right as well if need be.

More and more I’m convinced that this is just cowardice. But reality is catching up on them. The ‘science!’ of the debate is closing in on identifying real differences between the races and sexes and in the process, tearing out the foundations of the moral arguments of the left that NR has gone to so much trouble to defend. It isn’t ‘right’ to treat women like awful men, when they could just as easily be treated differently as spectacular women. It isn’t ‘right’ to pretend there are no differences in intelligence and behavior between black and white. To do so only leads to unfairness to all involved. We on the alt side of things all know this. NR still is stuck on words.

I don’t want to sound as apocalyptic as Vox Day does when this sort of comes up on his blog, but in the end they’ll have to choose. There is no middle ground between objective reality and subjective delusion. While there are lots of ways to be half right, there is no way to be half way wrong, and the SJW's will never let them keep one foot in each world. And since the left has abandoned all of reality in their will to power assault on the dictionary, NR is still technically coming down on their side. Like Vox is always saying, they’re going to come around though. And I suspect it will happen the micro-second after 50.1% of their usual donors do the same. Or maybe all of this is because they can tell that any day now, the mob of their co-defenders of righteous condemnation are about to show up on the corner of 32nd and Lex with their torches and pitchforks aimed at them.

When that happens, I don't think the proud boys will be there to walk Rich Lowry to his car.

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