Tyranny of the Safe

We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. — George Orwell

Here is a quick but very good piece. Read it, then come back here.

We must not allow ourselves to become a Tyranny of the Safe. You can have intellectual latitude, or you can have intellectual comfort. But you cannot have both. Larry Niven was 110% correct: there are minds which think as well as yours, just differently. Silence the other minds, and you will ultimately find you have silenced yourself. Because any rules you install today, are guaranteed to be abused by your opponents tomorrow. The mob you join in — to metaphorically encircle and burn the homes of the “wrong” people — will encircle and burn your home eventually. Commanded reverence — for an institution, an idea, or a demographic — begets simmering contempt. And the harder you push and punish, the more you use threats and pressure, the more obvious it is that your concepts cannot endure objective criticism.

This is no laughing matter. If we snuff out the Enlightenment, for the sake of protecting ourselves from hard truths, it might be a very costly fight — to right the foundering ship.

In the United States specifically, generations of men and women have sacrificed greatly so that our core liberties are protected. Vast sums of blood and treasure have been expended so that freedom remains the singular telos of the American enterprise. It’s not been a perfectly-steered course. Plenty of mistakes and unfortunate blunders along the way. I suspect we’re witnessing another series of such blunders in our present era — when too many children of comfort and ease, manufacture for themselves the “right” to never be exposed to anything which might upset them emotionally. Tolerance is therefore made to mock itself. Manners and decorum are twisted into one-way cudgels of conformity. A secular church of restricted words and concepts — replete with saints, sinners, a doctrine, an identitarian moral heirarchy, and an Inquisition — is attempting to establish itself in our hearts.

You know my answer to all of that.

Stay irreverent, my friends.

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32 thoughts on “Tyranny of the Safe

  1. In truth, what I had in mind was Hayek’s seminal The Road To Serfdom. Which is as much about the philosophy of civilization, as it is about economics. I am afraid too many Americans don’t grasp what it really means to be civilized. They think it’s about creature comforts and repeating the same general political niceties back and forth to each other. In truth, civilization is in our hearts, as much as in our heads. The civilization that abandons internal fortitude and a correct understanding of what it truly means to be mature . . . won’t stay civilized for long. Even if we retain part or all of our high technology. Gadgetry doesn’t equate to civilization either, as the digital 12th century village torch-and-pitchfork Twitter mobs indicate. I have said in several places: George Orwell’s 1984 was a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual.

  2. I’ve never been able to get through The Road to Serfdom. My bad, my extremely bad, since I’ve always known how important a work it is. German grammar and syntax don’t seem to translate easily to smoothly-flowing English (try Mises’ works too). I need to get back on it, and *will* complete it.

  3. No worries. I never could get through Atlas Shrugged, and I am a right blasphemer among some circles — because I don’t enjoy that book at all, and freely admit it. The world of Atlas Shrugged, is too bleak. I do not enjoy that journey in the least, and after a few hundred pages I always burn out. It’s like eating a box of health cereal without any sugar or milk.

  4. I got through Atlas Shrugged (for a scholarship essay, mind you), and found it mostly a slog. There were a few bits here and there I liked, but it’s not a book I’m keen on rereading for pleasure. (Because, let’s face it, the message far trumped the plot-entertainment, and even if I somewhat agree with the message I still find that boring.)

  5. Atlas Shrugged is mild compared to some of the cyberpunk I’ve been reading lately, and it seems increasingly like theirs are the more accurate predictions.

  6. CT236, Jonah Goldberg’s _Liberal Fascism_ draws heavily on Hayek, in a less-academic form. (And it was recommended to me by a professor who proudly identifies as an old-school Midwest Progressive. The excellence of Goldberg’s research and presentation was probably one of the few things we agreed on.)

  7. There is no comfort without pain – usually in advance. THIS is what TV SHOULD be doing – educating the ignorant about HOW they wound up in the richest, most vibrant society around. Instead, we have the Kardashians, softporn soaps, sensationalist crap and NO useful info on finance traps, debt, FED, etc. We need someone who will write and produce TV that educates without necessarily being preachy, teaches without being pedantic.
    [Sophie]: You just offended me! Where was my trigger warning? How dare you!
    [Angie]: My dear, why would I deprive you of what you NEED to grow as a human? Without pain, there is no gain; without challenging you, how will you learn?
    [Sophie]: But you hurt me! You hurt my feelings!
    [Angie]: Feel the burn, Sophie? That’s your ignorance leaving your mind, the way pain is weakness leaving your body. And I can’t keep you in a cocoon forever, safe from big, mean ideas that make you THINK! Do you really want that? Do you think anyone can give it to you?
    [Sophie]: IT’S NOT FAIR!
    [Angie]: NEITHER IS LIFE! And you can’t stay fourteen forever, so live with it – or don’t. It’s not much of a choice, in my view, but it’s the one you have. And the sooner you choose, the better – either leave or start helping solve the problems ignorance has created.
    And so on ……

  8. “You can have intellectual latitude, or you can have intellectual comfort. But you cannot have both.”

    Which is why it is best to privilege good stories over political messages.

    “There is no comfort without pain – usually in advance. THIS is what TV SHOULD be doing – educating the ignorant about HOW they wound up in the richest, most vibrant society around.”

    How much would you agree with the statement “It is more important to tell a good story than put forth the correct political message?”

  9. Did you notice the part about “without necessarily being preachy, teaches without being pedantic”?

    MY skills in dialogue may not be up to snuff – which might explain why Brad is published and I am not (in fiction). BOTH story and message can be important – and it’s fully possible to just SHOW the story (in TV) without comment, and let the audience draw its own conclusions. Let them decide on their own what the story and message are; I’m just pointing out how banal and formulaic and mindlessly libertine modern TV is. YMMV

  10. That is a wonderful article you linked, Brad. Fantastic explanations with lots of external citation. Great ammo to use against proglodytes.

  11. Am I the only one reminded of the “Humaniods from Wing IV”? That writing is the first to cause me to have a visceral, physical reaction to total control…

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  13. As I have said before and will keep repeating until it becomes a meme: In my lifetime SF has gone from Dangerous Visions to safe spaces.

  14. Honestly, Brad. . . I suspect that “safety” is about to get a hard-reset to a more traditional meaning of the word.

    We’ve had **10** cops shot in the last two weeks. It appears the 6 cops in the Freddy Gray case are going to get thrown under the bus (I’m sorry, but there’s no way a city that BURNED is going to be able to have a fair trial for 6 cops indicted primarily as a way to mollify the raging mobs. . )

    I suspect, fairly soon, that cops everywhere are going to be on de-facto strike. And the criminals will take note.

    And at that point, “safe” will be forced back to its’ traditional bounds. . .

  15. That article is extremely chilling, Mr. Torgersen. Educational and informative and scare the living kumquats out of me. Even more chilling were some of the linked articles and cases; in particular one that took place in 2007-2008 at Indiana U – Purdue U Indianapolis, where a student-employee was accused of and found guilty of racism by the university’s diversity office (AAO, forget the meaning of the acronym). His crime? Reading a book in a break room, about a street fight in 1920 in which Catholic Irish students at Notre Dame fought back against KKK thugs.

    Apparently a person just reading about the KKK , in a situation where the KKK were justly reviled – made somone else in the room feel unsafe so they cried ‘Racism!’ and it took nearly a year, the local ACLU, FIRE and media attention to get the situation corrected.

    https://www.thefire.org/cases/indiana-university-purdue-university-indianapolis-student-employee-found-guilty-of-racial-harassment-for-reading-a-book/

    Tell me again, Oh Left, how you’re helping universities be places where thought and learning are encouraged?

  16. It’s common for a society to be a victim of its own success, changing its environment sufficiently that the traits needed to do the work and endure the hardships needed to found the society, are no longer in demand. Those traits are difficult to develop and often require some form of pain; poverty, nature and external threat being most common. Without the pain, people eventually no longer see the reasons such ways were needed.

    Traditionally, societies have guarded against this through use of trials that one must pass to access power and privilege. The military has trials. So do practicing Jews, Muslims and LDS. You can even see them in Scouting. However, these describe a narrow and overlapping section of society. Trials provide a useful tool for communicating the value of values, but only for those who adopt them.

    The other issue is how, in a free society, do those who keep keep the values required for a safe society, protect themselves from those who have been kept so safe, they can see only the disadvantages to those attitudes. Frankly, my side is no good at this. I suspect mockery is the best tool.

  17. The lower a people’s overall quotient of suffering, the more greatly whatever suffering remains will be objected to. When nothing else is wrong, a splinter in your fingertip can ruin your day; when you already have a broken leg, that splinter goes completely unnoticed.

    It’s also interesting to observe the varying reactions of those who have endured suffering, either personally or vicariously. Some vow never to let it happen again to anyone, and work towards preventing it altogether; some resign themselves to its statistical inevitability, but vow to alleviate it as best they can in those currently enduring it; and some vow to work towards making sure those who once inflicted that suffering now endure it themselves. All are characterized as “seeking justice” by their advocates, but the problem is that it makes it very easy to characterize those who merely disagree over the efficacy of proposed means as people secretly against the end altogether.

  18. Sorry Andrew. Mockery won’t work. SJW’s (who are the parasitical termites of successful societies) are immune to it. My guess is that some form of force is necessary. Otherwise, the civilization collapses, as all have prior to today, and as Western Civilization is in the process of doing.

  19. In my experience, successful mockery turns people without strong cores into either gibbering loons or mouth foaming dogs. Neither are attractive, and making a movement expensive and unattractive in social costs is a good way to limit it. If you want to argue that only my side is vulnerable to such attack, I think we should reconsider our evaluations of strength and resiliency.

    As for use of force, if it comes down to people chanting slogans and those using bullet based censorship, I can tell which one went outside the lines. Most of the power SJWs have is derived from the consent of others. “Sanction of the victim” is a bit cliche, but holds true. The appropriate response is to mock them. When force of government is misused, appeal to our means of redress.

    I’m not saying that intolerable acts will never come to pass, only that there is an order in which to use the four boxes. Soap, Ballot, Jury, Ammo. Please use in order. I see us as being in the Soap to Jury phase.

  20. Vox Day and buddies are mocking John Scalzi mercilessly on Amazon. Even if you think Day is an extreme curiousity, he always punches back hard against the SJB’s.

  21. What you should do is organise a slate of Thinkers that are being unjustifiably ignored. Then impose this Slate to make sure only it is ever heard. Obviously, there is a problem that you are then doing the thought control. Easy! Just throw into the Slate a few token examples of what you assume your opponents would like. Job done. I can’t think of anything that would go wrong.

    Aren’t you glad you have masterful strategists like Vox Day who swing the votes of the moderate majority by their well-reasoned arguments. Those pesky SJWs always get a pasting when you bring him into the fight.

    And if you even such a clearly rational chap like TD can’t swing people against the evil lies of the SJWs, then all of those here who are calling for violent overthrow of the State are right. This is the only way that Brads above call for the Puppies to be taken seriously will be achieved. if Vox’s obvious wit fails: the point of a gun is the only thing that will persuade. Those arrogant SJWs daring to stifle your speech by ignoring you or refusing to find you funny. Those SJWs who snark at you on Twitter and don’t allow you to say what you like on their websites or even vote against you in awards. They will see things differently when you are aiming an SLR at them.

    You can get the SJWs to reject gun control while you are about it. Except you will need some gun control at that point. I mean a few SJWs might object to you enforcing your viewpoints with violence. I mean, heck, a few of those saps they have brainwashed might have a big problem with you imposing your idea of speech through the force of arms. Those malcontents must be denied weapons. Oh, and thiose token other voices you chuck into your Slate will be unlikely to go along with this new order.They might object. They go.

    Obviously, a lot of conservatives bristle at the idea of people telling other people what to do or say or think at the point of a gun. Some of those conservatives have guns too and will be prepared to use them even in the defence of something so vile as an SJW. They will have to be dealt with too. But to get the True freedom of speech you require where filthy liberals don’t argue back, it is the only way.

    Joyous is the New Dawn.

    Good to see that the US military allows its service people to maintain blogs where the violent overthrow of the US Constitution is tolerated. But I suppose it would be a Christian act of Treason done in the name of what the US public would really want if it was explained to them at the point of a gun.

  22. Oh. And in the past you chaps have decided that people who mock you with your voice really mean what you are saying. No. I do not mean this. I am joking. Given you think Vox Day is the soul of wit, I do feel I have to explain this.

    That said. Really? Calling for the violent overthrow of the US on a serving army chap’s website? If Brad had an Arabic surname and worshiped an angry and vengeful God under a different name, doors would be being kicked in right now.

  23. And while I am not the kind of chap who goes running to teacher there are those that do that snitch rather than debate. Can I suggest removing my posts and two of the nearest three in time? The one praising Vox Dat is horribly wrong but fine. I have no idea about the US, but in the UK the MOD would not be happy with posts suggesting violent action against the State on the blog of a serving non-commissioned officer. I disagree with Brad but he doesn’t deserve that kind of shiit.

  24. Maximillian demonstrates the First Law of SJW’s, repeatedly: “SJW’s always lie.” Tiresome, max, just tiresome.

  25. Calling for the violent overthrow of the US on a serving army chap’s website? If Brad had an Arabic surname and worshiped an angry and vengeful God under a different name, doors would be being kicked in right now.

    Brad has not and does not call for “the violent overthrow of the U.S.” on his or any other website.

  26. I never suggested that Brad did. In fact he called for more tolerance. But, commentators then said ‘Mockery won’t work. SJW’s (who are the parasitical termites of successful societies) are immune to it. My guess is that some form of force is necessary’

    Also, a somewhat more coded (but not that much) ‘Soap, Ballot, Jury, Ammo. Please use in order. I see us as being in the Soap to Jury phase.’ So no use of weapons yet, but it might become necessary soon. Why, because those damned SJW’s are continuing to argue and their devilish tricks seem to be actually persuading people.

    Imagine these statements on a blog affiliated to the Islamic equivalent of Vox Day, with a serving Muslim member of the US armed forces (even if that person didn’t make those statements). If it is OK for Christians to say this kind of stuff then leave the posts up. I just got worried it might get Brad in trouble with the military. And no amount of bickering over Sci-fi is worth that (even if you try and game the system to drive out my voice).

    I hold the views of Vox Day pretty much anyone sensible does if they have actually gone to the trouble of reading his blog. Having read this blog, Brad I consider to be misguided and wrong, but not a bad person as such, and I even agree with the occasional point he makes. He knows the rules of what he can do in social media. And I believe personally he should be able to express any political or religious view he likes and to provide a platform for others, but the violence bit worried me. The UK army wouldn’t look kindly on this. My first post was trolling. Drunken trolling at that. My third post was genuine concern.

    Oh, and I don’t consider myself as a SJW (unless that is code for anyone who disagrees with extreme conservatives in which case, fine I will take it.)

  27. And I am posting here under my own name because I believe the Sads wanted to oppose people like Requires Hate, just went the wrong way about it and rather than saying ‘Whoops. That misfired. My bad. Sorry.’ doubled down for stubborn but entirely human reasons.

  28. It was I who said “Mockery won’t work. SJW’s (who are the parasitical termites of successful societies) are immune to it. My guess is that some form of force is necessary.” I’m happy now to expend upon the thought, since force or threat of force is used every single day by SJW’s to impose their will on others. From so-called “speech codes” (at universities everywhere), to demands that global warming dissenters be criminally prosecuted (recent headlines), to CEO’s and scientists being hounded out of their jobs (James Watson, Brendan Eich, Tim Hunt, et al.), to lawsuits designed to stifle speech (e.g. Mann v. Steyn), to destroying businesses who refuse to kowtow to favored groups (florists, bakers, pizza joints), to SWATting…all are forms of force, either explicit or threatened. SJW’s do not “suggest” and they do not “request”; they “require”. Thus the probability that some form of countervailing force will be necessary to resist and defeat them.

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