Tag Archive: strategy: Social Memory Complex

On Changing Our World
Effective activism means understanding the nature of our many problems

A core problem with contemporary leftism as it is often pursued is that it has no sense of the boundaries of its project. Casting it in the most reasonable light, it tends to make the entire world and every person's soul its political mission. After correctly identifying thought systems that lead to undesirable consequences, leftists often try to frame their activism in terms of "abolishing patriarchy" or "ending racism". Because they believe these thought systems are at the root of the problem, it is natural to assume an attitude of attacking them.

Much like wars on victimless crimes, these attacks must be directed at people, since the ideas only exist in the mind. Individual human beings are often rejected in totality rather than merely rejecting their bad ideas. After all, individuals are sovereign within their own minds, and there is little power to force the adoption of values onto another (setting aside the countless problems with using force). The only real non-violent sanction one has against the beliefs of another is ridicule and withdrawal, which the left certainly employs often.

The question the alternative left poses to the mainstream and/or orthodox left is not whether these strategies are just - certainly, the defense of free association is a vital liberal tactic for non-violent social discipline. Sacrificing free association utterly endangers liberalism. Rather, its critique centers around the effectiveness of the tactic. Rather than a universal application of leftist ideology to every aspect of life, a lighter touch is suggested - not to let bad ideas and practices off the hook, but to better inculcate values conducive to sustainable social progress.


Written on Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Tags: activism, philosophy, psychology, social-change, strategy, spirituality

You don't end racism by being an asshole

Chris George fucking hits this one out of the park. In a short blog post, he makes the point I've been trying to make to many of my fellow left libertarians more succinctly and persuasively than I've ever been able. Excerpt:

The language used by "anti-racists" can commonly come off as divisive and inflammatory rather than helpful and informative. And it doesn't appear to be a good strategy for most of the same reasons that referring to Statists as violent idiots doesn't appear to be a good strategy. In fact, this strategy would seem to turn into enemies the only people capable of helping racists out of their prejudice. People have flaws. The goal, as seems obvious to me, should be to help them overcome those flaws, not use them as something to bludgeon everyone over the head with.

And the kicker that should speak to every person genuinely concerned with improving the human condition:

In sum, it's not opposition to racism that I oppose. It's the tendency (often based on little or no evidence) to demonize people who may be racists -- especially when that demonization comes at the expense of the goal you are trying to accomplish -- that I oppose.

Another essay of his arguing against the appeal to morality in advancing libertarianism is also great reading. I must say that it is extremely validating to see people take the problems of our society seriously enough to get off their fucking high horse about it. Given the past debate in the ALLiance over all this, it's nice to see somebody else articulate the case for open-mindedness over politically correct orthodoxy.

Written on Saturday, September 04, 2010
Tags: racism, strategy