Rx for Revolution

MatrixBluePillRedPill“We were probably the most conservative-minded revolutionaries who put through a successful revolution.”  Kevin O’Higgins

“If they have real grievances redress them, if possible; or acknowledge the justice of them . . . . If they have not, employ the force of government against them at once. “  George Washington, letter to Henry Lee, 31 October 1786

“I am a monarch of God’s creation, and you reptiles of the earth dare not oppose me.  I render an account of my government to none . . . .”
Napoleon Bonaparte, speech at Breda, 1 May 1810

While the exact precipitants of overt rebellion are perhaps impossible to predict, history does grant us absolute certainty that the next regime will be a fundamentally conservative one.

The revolution of 1789 may have been reasonably foreseen given that country’s horrific long-term economic trends and decades of fiscal mismanagement by the French Crown.  However, before Easter 1916, few would have dared prophecy an end to nearly 800 years of English dominance in a disgruntled and disenfranchised but thoroughly exhausted and demoralised Ireland.  And even today it is more than a little perplexing as to why 1773 in particular should be the occasion for violent resistance to British Crown policies which had been pursued at least since 1696, when William III established the Lords of Trade.  But inevitably each of these momentous events was succeeded by a conservative regime.

The art of successful revolution lies in the reconciliation of the iconoclasm required to dismantle the old regime while simultaneously projecting the familiarity (comfortable or otherwise) required to elicit the confidence of the political nation.  It is, to say the least, a difficult thing to achieve.

During the ten thousand years or so since the adoption of agriculture demanded a fixed ordering of society along more or less arbitrary lines, the specialization of labor has reinforced the naturally uneven distribution of qualities among its members to the point where the presumption of “standing”–the moral right for the individual to meaningful participation in society’s ordering institutions–is not so much questioned as it is ridiculed as inchoate nonsense.

In sedentary societies the economic imperative is conformity, based on the conviction that the fundamental questions of physical necessity have been adequately resolved, and that all that is required is their implementation and further elaboration along the established lines.  Deviance, dissent and variation are no longer viewed as presenting valuable new contributions to society’s repertoire of resources and techniques, but existential dangers.  This is to say, the only value the individual has to offer society is his consent.


Continued at Dystopiadiaries

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17 Comments on "Rx for Revolution"

  1. Rhoid Rager | Oct 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm |

    “Even if we allow ourselves to indulge in the momentary thought that the
    recent incredible dysfunctions on display in the US Congress heralds the
    immanent collapse of American Empire, we should be under no illusion
    that what replaces it will be the dawn of a Utopian society. Even if
    the new order is established only after considerable culling, it can in
    no way base itself on the active political participation of its
    subjects, for the simple reason that the fundamental top-down economic
    paradigm remains unchallenged.”

    Unless, of course, the very notion of complex, centralized ‘order’ is being undermined by diminishing social returns and ecological limits. Hierarchy is a luxury enjoyed by the few at the top only in times of material wealth and poverty of conscience. In my experience, when we lose the former we gain the latter.

    The abolitionist and American transcendentalist Theodore Parker wrote of slavery: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

    • Simon Valentine | Oct 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm |

      i just wonder about one problem

      the pills aren’t big enough yet already too hard to swallow

    • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 23, 2013 at 10:19 am |

      Great point.

      But does not the imperative of objectivity require us to consider the possible benefits (partial and unsatisfactory though we may find them) that are derived from centralized states? And whether we are willing to do without them?

      I am not convinced that our current levels of economic productivity could be maintained without a centralized administration.

      One obvious, though not necessarily inevitable corollary is that the rejection of centralized government requires the murder of tens if not hundreds of millions of people, as their upkeep will be simply unsustainable under a de-centralized government.

      I’m not happy with centralization, either. But the severity and obviousness of this problem demands some serious answer.

      Maybe I’d accept genocide, but I wouldn’t want to go into willy nilly, without consideration.

      • Will you be stepping up and volunteering yourself for this genocide you may be willing to accept?

        • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 23, 2013 at 10:26 am |

          Yes, this entails more than a little hypocrisy. “Destroying Vietnam to save it.”

      • emperorreagan | Oct 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm |

        I don’t think decentralization necessarily leads to genocide. If you follow right-wing american libertarian thinking to its natural conclusions it undoubtedly does, but I don’t think that’s the only way to do things. You could redistribute land, for instance, instead of worshiping the sanctity of private property.

        It will necessarily lead to lower levels of economic productivity, but then again, so much of American economic “productivity” is tied up in military spending and the facade of the financial markets.

        And besides that, so much of the way we organize things now isn’t particularly efficient – depending on how you measure efficiency. Industrial farming is efficient at monocultures, for instance, producing a single crop with maximum mechanization of the process. Small farms are more productive as far as total agricultural output though – even the USDA, as captured as it is by corporate interests, has said as much in its reports.

        Industrial farms also create a net job loss in the same way Wal-Mart does and typically require far more chemical input as compared to an equivalent area farmed by smaller farmers.

        • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 24, 2013 at 9:06 am |

          Maybe you’re right. It’s just that my faith in mankind’s ability to adapt is zero at this point.

          I hated every job I ever had, so I don’t think jobs in-and-of themselves are an absolute good. Some people get all hung up in that ‘feeling productive’ bullsh*t, without ever questioning whether what they’re doing actually IS productive that I’m beginning to see it as a bit of a red herring.

          • emperorreagan | Oct 24, 2013 at 10:04 am |

            Yeah, the whole feeling productive/working hard line of crap is all bound up in Calvinism – US culture seems to have retained many of the worst aspects of that particular religious strain of thought.

            I’m less concerned about people’s ability to adapt and more concerned at how tightly people cling to power. I worry about how ugly the failure of American empire could get.

  2. kowalityjesus | Oct 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm |

    Physical necessity is SO not spiritual necessity, but the pragmatic reality of the persistent illusion of consciousness in 4D reality is not without some degree of profound clout.

  3. InfvoCuernos | Oct 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm |

    What it really boils down to is what the ruling revolutionaries stand to gain, and how charismatic they are. There is hierarchical bullshit even in revolution. The leadership of any revolution has their eyes on specific prizes-land, money, titles, control-whatever motivator they have, you can just about bet its not what the people throwing themselves in front of the cannons are after. There are always a couple of actual altruists in the lot, but for the most part its about the rich getting richer and if you don’t believe that then just ask George Washington’s slaves how much freedom and liberty they enjoyed after the revolution.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |

      All true, but I think there may be a little more to it than that.

      The machinery of the state is so enormously awkward that quite often inertia is the only thing holding it together. Given the option of more-or-less returning to the status quo or diving headlong into endless bloody chaos, almost 100% of people will opt for the status quo.

      Any concessions to popular concerns turn out to be almost accidental.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Oct 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

    the Roman Republic had at least two strikes
    where the plebs refused to work & left the city
    the patricians had to concede some rights and
    give up some practices in order to get them to come back
    and be downtrodden again

    • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 23, 2013 at 10:11 am |

      Historically, a lot of “concessions” turn out to be back-channel methods of undermining popular power. For instance, relief of the lower orders from certain conditions of military service ended up granting the patricians monopoly control of the use of violence in the state.

      My favorite was Catholic emancipation in Ireland. It was done on the condition of raising the property qualification to vote. Meaning that a neglible handful of wealthy Catholics were allowed to vote, the vast majority remained exactly where they were, and in fact did nothing more than p*ss off the Protestant neighbors.

      “Heads I win, tails you lose.”

      • emperorreagan | Oct 23, 2013 at 10:31 am |

        One can easily read recent American history that way, too:

        For instance: implementation of national labor laws that undermine the need for unions, then subsequent efforts to undermine labor laws.

        Or even that the vets returning from WW2 were offered the “American Dream” complete with subsidized loans for houses and small business, education incentives, etc. Was this genuine reward for “service done to the country” or was it buying off a generation of combat vets who might have come home and been rightly pissed after being used for canon fodder?

        • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 23, 2013 at 10:34 am |

          Yes, the 1947 Taft Hartley thingy is one of my favorite American examples. “Yes, youse all plebs can have labor representation in the workplace–provided its leaders sign loyalty oaths to the oligarchy.”

      • BuzzCoastin | Oct 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

        it’s not the prefect solution
        nothing is
        my prefer method of revolutionary change:
        drop-out and selectively participate

        • Liam_McGonagle | Oct 24, 2013 at 9:07 am |

          That’s pretty much my credo. I don’t think the top-down playbook has a counter to that move.

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