Thirty years ago, as the Cold War was ending, the big question for the West was what was going to come next? The great struggle between liberal democracy and communism was over and the clear winner was liberal democracy. The only real question, in terms of politics, was just how quickly the rest of the world embraced what was clearly the only rational politics. The question political theorists will be pondering in the future, is what went horribly wrong with liberal democracy?
There really is no other way to frame things at this point. In 1990, there was a long list of things that no one thought would ever happen in the West. Most of things on that list were things assumed to be common in the Soviet Empire. The police arresting someone for holding the wrong opinion was the symbol of everything that was wrong in the communist system and everything right about liberal democracy. Yet, thirty years on and this is exactly what we see happening all over the West.
This story from Kentucky, of all places, is a good example. Two children and two adults have been arrested for racism. That’s not the specific charge. Instead the state has invented a novel new crime called “harassing communication” which means it is against the law to upset the wrong people with your public utterances. Since there’s not official list of people one must avoid upsetting, the state is free to arrest anyone for their speech on the claim that someone may be upset by it.
At this point, it is tempting to make a comparison to the Stasi or maybe Stalin’s KGB, but that would be a slander against the communists. They were always quite clear about who you could never criticize and what you must never dispute. When Stalin’s boys dragged you from your home, you knew exactly why you were being hauled away by the police. Every man in the gulag knew why he was there. The novelty of liberal democracy is in keeping everyone in the dark about these things.
Another novelty is that in communism, everyone also knew to avoid taking the side of the accused and they knew why to avoid it. That was another thing Westerners would brag about during the Cold War. In America, when someone was bullied by the state, lawyers would volunteer to defend the accused. A common phrase used by Progressive civil and political rights activists back then was “I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.”
It turns out to have been a complete lie. Not only will no one fight to the death to defend speech, the great and the good line up to condemn anyone for speaking out. Where is the ACLU in these cases? Certainly not rushing to defend children against the crime of saying mean things. No, the ACLU is too busy ratting out heretics and blasphemers, who dare question the liberal democratic ideology. In one of life’s great ironies, all of the civil rights groups now work to limit your civil rights.
Notice also how the concept of rights has changed. Thirty years ago, even left-wing political actors accepted the old definition of rights, as limits on the state. Your right to speak out against the government was really a hard limit on the state to police the speech of the citizens. Today, rights are just demands from an increasingly minoritized population for things to which no one can have a right. In this Kentucky case, they demand the community celebrate their mating decisions.
That should be the story here. This family moves to the community and begins making demands on the community. The white mother and her mulatto daughter start harassing the school about the racial complexion of the curriculum. The father demands the teachers change their classrooms to satisfy the demands of his children. This mixed-race family instantly became a cancer on the community, by making an increasingly narrow set of demands in the name of their rights.
This is one of the new realities of liberal democracy. Instead of people fearing the secret police and their many spies, the people fear the civil rights activists and their auxiliary army of novel weirdos. A mixed-race couple of trannies moves into the neighborhood and everyone is gripped with fear. It not only means everyone has to play make-believe with the lunatics, but must live in fear of upsetting them in some way. The agent of terror is the bespoke weirdo and its crazy demands for acceptance.
As an aside, this may explain the popularity of movies and television shows based on Stephen King books. One of his formulas is the nice, quiet small town that is suddenly beset by a demon that exploits the innocence of the locals, often the children. Everything is just right until the monster arrives. Further, the real terror in this formula is that there is no reason behind the demon. It’s just evil for the sake of being evil. That’s what the people in the Kentucky story are experiencing right now.
It is tempting to think that the people will tire of this terrorism by weirdo phenomenon, but the lesson of communism is that people will tolerate pretty much anything in an ideological state. The old rule about people revolting unless they are well fed and entertained turned out to be untrue in the Soviet Empire. The people often lacked the basics and the pleasures of life were highly rationed. Communism was not overthrown by an unhappy people. It just ran out of social capital to burn.
That is the secret sauce of popular government, whether it is some form of communism or some form liberalism. Both rest on the concept of the general will. The ideology of the state and the actions of the state are in the name of the general will. Everything that is done is done in the name of the people, as if fifty percent plus one is a god that must always be pleased. People will revolt against a king or despot. They will revolt against an aristocracy. People will not revolt against themselves.
That really is the paradox of liberal democracy. In the name of the people, the will of the people must be thwarted in the name of minority interests. We saw this with homosexual marriage. The champions swore they were fighting for the people, even when the people kept rejecting these proposals. It is why increasingly narrow minority groups are so popular with the ruling elite. If they can find just one weirdo to champion, they have a license to do as they please.
This fetishization of obscure minorities is leading inevitably to the West being dominated by minorities to the point where there is no majority. America will be non-white in two decades and Europe will be swamped with Africans by mid-century. Not only is there no effort to prevent this, all efforts are made to accelerate it. Paradoxically, the end point of majority rule is minority rule. Mature liberal democracy is a collection of minority groups demanding stuff from the state, like children at a candy store.
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