Thursday, 5 August 2010

What is to be done? - mostly negative steps

We live in an era of ideology, and this ideology is becoming totalitarian, all-pervasive, compulsory - even as it loses self-belief and mass support, even as it destroy the conditions for its own existence.

So we have the daily spectacle of seedy, corrupt, time-serving Brezhnev bureaucrats trying to whip themselves into a frenzy of leftist zeal as a prelude to forcing the same upon us.

It is all terribly unconvincing, which is why it has become increasingly nasty and coercive - otherwise nobody would go along with it.

Any-way... the point is not to replace one incoherent, unmotivating totalitarian ideology with another; but to do away with ideology. Politics should be emergent, not primary.

So negative tactics are likely to be the main strategy.

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Is this a workable plan? :-

If you can: pursue and seek the truth, create beauty and be virtuous.

But if you can't, then...

Don't lie or dishonestly mislead, don't support ugliness, don't work hard and well to create situations that are morally wrong: in a nutshell don't *assist* the dark side.

Or, at the very least, don't assist the dark side more than you absolutely have-to or for longer than you absolutely have-to.

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It is remarkable how many people have the right ideas, but - without a gun to their head, nor even any credible threat of sanctions - knock themselves out, give their best efforts, to implement bad new stuff.

Better to do nothing, or as little as possible, than to assist in harm.

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Do not participate, if possible, in procedures and processes of which you disapprove . Participation generates legitimacy.

When you cannot oppose, do as little as possible to support. And do not give of your best, nor even second best - but the least that can be gotten away with.

If you cannot speak out, then remain silent. If you cannot remain silent, say as little as possible.

If embedded in a corrupt situation, a harm-promoting situation, an institution which is making things worse overall; get out if you can. But if you can't, then it is better to do little or nothing, than to do a good job in a bad cause.

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In a modern society, most middle class jobs are about controlling other people ('managers' of one sort or another) - these jobs are nearly always harmful. They are first and inevitably harmful by the resources the jobs themselves consume; but this harm is multiplied - sometimes many-fold - by the further costs these managers inflict on other people whom they control - in terms of imposing wasted time and effort (form-filling, meetings etc.), but also by making other people do wrong things. Any small specific goods achieved are grossly outweighed by the harmful tendency of the job, by the reinforcement of the system of ideology and bureaucracy. On average, and overwhelmingly, a modern manager working hard and efficiently and doing a good job (by managerial criteria) therefore does immensely more harm than an idle, time-wasting, prevaricating manager.

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Politics is mostly about one's own life. Expressing political views and voting are feeble by comparison. One's life *will* have an effect; albeit an effect increasingly diluted by distance from it.

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[For an example of how *not* to behave, the most successful scientists of the past 50 years provide an egregious example. The most successful scientists mostly presided over the creation, operation and prestige of 'the peer review cartel' - i.e. the oligarchy of manager-scientists who preside over the peer review system that determines publication, grants, jobs, promotions and prizes; and which has generated the progressive bureaucritization of science to the point that most science is now *nothing but* the allocation of 'validity' by peer reviewers. Individually, most of these commisars of science express great reservations about the present system; but, individually, they almost all joined in. Their reasons vary from the quasi-altruistic one of 'If I didn't do it, then somebody else worse would' to the careerist 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em'.]