16 thoughts on “A Nation Of Racist Dwarfs”

  1. I think the whole debate is a gross violation of Occam’s Razor. Tyrants of either the “left” or “right” often treat anyone not themselves as one amorphous mass instead of a collection of individuals. They may make “fine” divisions among black, white, red, and yellow skins, but that’s about as close as they get to the level of “individual others.”

    Karl Marx was notoriously (and to the modern Left, embarrassingly) racist against blacks and Hispanics. Hitler was, too. The treatment of people as interchangeable, and consequently not as human beings at all, is central to the despot’s character. The window dressing he or she wraps around their despotism is irrelevant, and all of the fierce debate over “right” or “left” misses the point that every despot is ultimately out to work you to death in his or her service. That’s the only thing that matters. We over complicate things to our detriment.

  2. There are no tyrants of the right, because a true believer in right wing political philosophy believes in individual rights. When a government that is otherwise right wing in its policies begins to infringe upon individual rights that government is no longer right wing.

    All tyranny in government comes from the leftist viewpoint that government knows best. When a government thinks it knows best strongly enough it will impose its will in a tyrannical fashion.

  3. You missed a couple of my points, but let me focus on the central one. You mentioned a government which “thinks it knows best” with an implied “for you.” No tyranny is concerned with what’s best for you, or what’s good for you. Tyrants are concerned with themselves, and that amorphous mass of others are just the means of satisfying themselves.

    A tyranny which tells you it knows what’s best for you is (successfully) diverting your attention from the central issue. You’ll argue that they couldn’t know what’s best for you, or you’ll get lost in the details of proving that what they are forcing you to do is not really the best thing. They’ve accomplished their goal, which is to get you to not notice that you are being used to their ends, and that your welfare is not something of which they can conceive, and wouldn’t care about if they could.

  4. There is a ying and yang to dictatorships. Either you have the benevolent dictator that possibly unbeknown to themselves are actually producing a productive climate for society to flourish; while, continually maintaining their own personal selfish ends. The greedy CEO who never has enough of everything but too busy grading wines to even bother abhorring the thought of wasting perfectly good workers on death camps. Or, you have the outright brute who creates their own power space through assault on both a mental and physical level. The things is that since they are the dictator, they can be both if they want to when they want to.

  5. I don’t see the ying/yang of your example Josh. “Dictator”, benevolent* or otherwise, by definition means centralized power, which is also a defining characteristic of leftist political ideology. A dictator simply pursues leftist ideology to the utmost degree.

    *benevolent dictator is another oxymoron.

  6. No tyranny is concerned with what’s best for you, or what’s good for you. Tyrants are concerned with themselves, and that amorphous mass of others are just the means of satisfying themselves.

    We tend to look only at the powerful as tyrannical, but we are all tyrants in the sense that we try to impose our will on others. It takes a conscious effort to respect other peoples individuality. A tyrant simply doesn’t possess that respect. It’s irrelevant whether tyrants are concerned about themselves or you.

  7. I think that the whole concept of Left versus Right deserves euthanasia and a decent burial. As an example of the reason, was there any practical difference between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia as far as the ordinary person was concerned? Note that both societies had their privileged elites; party members and arms manufacturers in Germany, party members and apparatchiks in Russia.

    What really matters is the authoritarianism/libertarian axis. And one more thing; there is not just one axis of freedom versus control. Compare and contrast Bible Belt America and Sweden to illustrate the point.

    Incidentally, it also really doesn’t matter who is exerting the control either. A completely uncontrolled capitalist society would be a nightmare; as someone has said, in a capitalist society without regulation there would be human flesh on sale in the street. So would one where the entire apparatus of government was bought and paid for by megacorporations. Oh wait…

  8. Dude, I have lived my entire life in the Bible Belt.

    You can still go to the strip club any time you like.

    Don’t believe what you read or see on TV.

  9. The English alphabet doesn’t correspond to the sounds of the English language (I don’t remember who conquered who to impose this.) Not only that, but the dictionary follows use, use doesn’t follow the dictionary. So people thinking that the ability to spell or pronounce words reflects intelligence are not quite correct. We are the creators of words.

  10. Dwarfs was actually originally the correct spelling, but JRR Tolkien popularised the spelling dwarves, which he preferred for philological reasons. Hence my nerdish post above. I was conjecturing Rand was familiar with the work of the old Professor.

  11. Martijn:

    To be even more nerdish, Tolkein preferrred the spelling “dwarves” for the ancient and powerful race detailed in the various Eddas and in LOtR; whereas “dwarfs”might be reserved for persons genetically human but of restricted growth.

  12. Meh. Anyone trying to understand politics with the left-right spectrum as his yardstick is as unequipped as a 2-dimensional being trying to wrap its mind around a corkscrew.

  13. Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right.

    This does seem far fetched, if we think of the left-wing/right-wing gamut as a straight line (segment) with liberty at the center and the extremes at either end of the line. Not that, per se, a government like Kim’s couldn’t be thought of as extreme right-wing, but to say that it is suggests that an extreme left-wing government could somehow “flip” to the other end of the line without passing through the middle. It’s non-intuitive to say the least.

    But maybe before we dispense with the terms left and right as meaningless, we could draw a different picture. Imagine a clock face with left-wing at 9 o’clock and right-wing at 3. Now put liberty at 12 and tyranny at 6. This offers us a different interpretation, that the political dichotomy of “left” and “eight” is still useful but not ultimate endpoints in themselves. As those ideas become more and more extreme, they travel around the clock past 9 or past 3 and down toward 6, where in the limit they meet at a point of absolute tyranny, at which point small perterbatations toward the left or right are indeed meaningless.

    The United States and its partners make up in aid for the huge shortfall in North Korea’s food production, but there is not a hint of acknowledgement of this by the authorities, who tell their captive subjects that the bags of grain stenciled with the Stars and Stripes are tribute paid by a frightened America to the Dear Leader.

    Hitches seem to imply that this portrayal of our generosity is false, a propaganda lie told to serve Kim’s interests, but I wonder. Why do we prop up that regime with food aid? Is it out of a sense of compassion? Is it because we consider it our moral duty to enable the ongoing enslavement of millions of North Koreans? Or is it indeed a kind of tribute we pay, out of the fear that if we let the regime collapse it would in its death throes wreck havoc on the south. If so, then this particular piece of propaganda could be more true than false.

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