Emergency and hubris

An inclination to see emergencies — emergencies being states of affairs demanding extraordinary means to address an immediate dire threat of some kind — can often seem more motivated by a strong inclination to use extraordinary means than in the circumstances claimed to demand them.

And it is not uncommon to see this inclination to exercise extraordinary means appearing alongside a hubristic frame of mind: I/We, unlike those others, see clearly what those others cannot and will not see, because, unlike them, I/we possess special virtues they lack. I/We are [smarter/braver/profounder/greater/kinder/fairer/more rigorous/industrious/prophetic/etc.] than those [sheeple/unwoke/blue-pilled/liberals/pinkos/privileged/bourgeois/Establishment-flunkies/fascists/racists/sexists/cisists/etc.]”

The concern, obviously, is that the response to the emergency will position the emergency-monger in a position where justification and deliberation (behaviors normal among equals) are replaced by pure exercise of authority, where power is knowledge and knowledge is power and it all runs together into a privilege to judge and dictate to everyone what is true and right, on the basis one’s own personal criteria and justifications, despite objections to those who believe in different criteria and justifications for determining what is true and right. From this vantage point, anyone despicable enough to doubt what is plainly true and right (to those virtuous enough to know it) cannot be reasoned with and have forfeited their right to the niceties of reason, such as being allowed to present their case. To use the idioms of the George W. Bush era, if they won’t “support the troops” by keeping their Politically Incorrect doubts to themselves they must be deplatformed for the sake of considerations far more important than civil rights and due process. “The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact,” they #dittoed. Wherever folks all have the same borgy thing to repeat/repost/retweet/#rehash at each other, I get the creeps.

Complicating this suspicion of emergencies is the fact that emergencies requiring quick, procedure-free response do happen. This is where it is terribly important to look at the character of the person seizing power on the basis of emergency. Do they demonstrate a taste for pluralism, or do they seem preoccupied with their own special powers and the privileges these powers justify? If you are a true prophet who sees the future, or you have a special talent for discerning what is most moral, just or kind that permits you to see with clarity others lack who should sacrifice what rights to whom to restore the scales of justice, or your intuition provides you with special insights into discerning what is really real or truly true, or you possess extraordinary courage to look directly into possibilities that terrify smaller souls, or if you are a member of a vanguard who has history on its side — I’m sorry but all these beliefs strike me as varieties of microomniscience and symptoms of apotheoitis.

It is depressingly difficult to figure out exactly how much we are God, because the answer is neither 0% nor 100%, but an uneasy point between. I look for that unease in my political allies.

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Just as one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, one person’s suppression or silencing is another’s deplatforming.

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I know folks who were on the wrong side of 9/11 and now admit it, but are now making up for it by fighting on the right side of justice by deplatforming people who do not care about equality among all categories of person.

Infinite sigh.

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“But, Stephen… aren’t you claiming to have privileged insights into what is really going on?” — Oh, I do believe my efforts to understand what is going on have produced some valid truths, but I have caught myself being wrong too many times to want to impose the implications of my convictions on anyone else. I will argue them with anyone willing to engage them, which, by the way, is not the same as swimming into a logical conspiracy-theory vortex with them. Usually, such vortices are comforting Dervish dances for those who find an overpowering logical suction a suitable substitute for the up-down of gravity and magnetic North in the midst of pluralistic relativity. But to put it bluntly, such folk are entirely wrong to think they lack magnetic attraction to North… On the contrary, they are locked in and frozen in their negative current.

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