Blog: When Society Breaks

When Society Breaks
When Society Breaks
Date: 2019-Aug-13 22:44:16 EST

A few thoughts on the reply.

It would be a great disaster if society were to fall. One notion of falling is when most reasonable people lose the vestedness and trust in their society, sufficient to withdraw from its institutions and use broadly use violence to protect their individual norms and interest. There are times this may happen, and if it does, we would be compelled to drop our civilised ways to do so, but the longer that state persist, the longer we lose the habits and self-restraint compatible with civilised lands.

If we ever find ourselves in that situation, I hold that it is obligatory to use a minimum of uncivilised action needed to survive, and to strive towards quickly reconstructing the norms and institutions of society. It should not be a time for revenge.

In the meantime, we should strive not to disrupt that trust, even given possibly-reasonable worries that we're moving in that direction. And even given that any society, including ours, will have serious flaws amounting to deep injustice. The injustices of society falling apart are far greater. We should commit to using those institutions (police, laws) when we can against threats to civilisation, above all but the most dire of injustices our civilisation might commit; there may be red lines (internal litaral genocide, revisionism, damage to free speech) but they should be few in number and their converse should be offered full-throated support rather than be surprises.

The problem with condoning Antifa's violence is that it damages this trust with deeply insufficient motivation, and its fantasies of fighting fascism are deluded. It breaks trust, induces legitimate fear and response from its opponents, and does far to little to distance itself from thuggery on its side (e.g. somehow endorsing the Chavez-Maduro side in Venezuela's current misery). Antifa also stands against a cornerstone of our society - free speech, out of fears that some speech either is or leads to violence. Regardless of these fears, free speech is a cornerstone, and is actually one of the few things that should legitimately be a red line - something we'd rip our society down to restore if it were damaged enough.

For these reasons, we should reject antifa as strongly as the violent movements it opposes, for most of the same reasons.