Strategic Intolerance

Reilly Jones (70544.1227@CompuServe.COM)
01 Oct 96 00:02:07 EDT

Eric Watt Forste wrote 9/28/96: <I suppose I prefer to place my personal
emphasis on intolerance of authoritarian violence rather than on intolerance of
servility. It just seems like a more direct approach to me.>

This is not a superficial preference. It is not clear which is more of a direct
approach. Servility-and-authoritarian violence is a coupled dynamic system,
like knower-and-known, interpretation-and-map, intention-and-action.

Since toleration of entropy is ruination, intolerance of it becomes a duty if
the dynamic pursuit of extropy is our chosen purpose. This is a correct value,
or moral certainty. You can fight entropy on many fronts: against the servile
society, against authoritarian violence, or even against our own tendencies
towards slobbery.

Fighting the servile society is like a pre-emptive strike, e.g., Alexander Pope
and Samuel Francis. This helps stave off the worst of the authoritarian
violence if a relational threshold of individuals (I'm thinking of percolation
theory), turns from wave-bobbing towards extropy. Fighting authoritarian
violence often is required late in the game, after an oppressive elite is
entrenched in power, e.g. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov. You can't
wait until no independent powers are left in the world to start the fight,
because the internal fight must have external support. Waiting until America
surrenders its sovereignty to a World State is too late to start fighting
authoritarian violence, there will be no external support.

Many thinkers have noted the coupling of servility and authoritarian violence.
Alexis de Tocqueville noted that "servility will cower to force, and adulation
will follow power." He warned against the servility of a radical
egalitarianism: "What resistance can be offered by customs of so pliant a make
that they have already often yielded? What strength can even public opinion
have retained when no twenty persons are connected by a common tie... and when
every citizen, being equally weak, equally poor, and equally isolated, has only
his personal impotence to oppose to the organized force of the government?"

George Santayana wrote: "In any close society it is more urgent to restrain
others than to be free oneself. Hence the tendency for the central authority to
absorb and supersede such as are local or delegated." Restraining those who
cannot restrain themselves calls forth more and more central authority, whose
elite pursues their own ends, not the general good. Those ends are invariably
the accumulation of power and wealth, the achievement of which encourage the
elite to keep those restrained from developing the facility of restraining

Servility-and-authoritarian violence ratchet up and down together, but the
beginning point for both upward and downward movement is with servility.
Giambattista Vico's axiom is: "Governments must conform to the nature of the
men governed." Governing over the dissolute calls forth the demogogue, the
tyrant. This follows from Vico's additional axioms: "He who cannot govern
himself must let himself be governed by another who can," and preceding Darwin
by 115 years, "The world is always governed by those who are naturally fittest."

Here lies real trouble with governmental minimalism. The only way that minimal
government can work, is when individuals govern themselves. But individuals
cannot govern themselves without learning to obey themselves, that is, to place
their animal desires for vacant freedom under the sovereignty of their rational
mind which understands the nature of the limitations external reality places on

And individuals can never learn to obey themselves - that is, develop
self-control - unless they have learned to obey someone above them. In a
radically egalitarian society, there *is* no one above them, not their bosses,
not their leaders, not their priests, not their parents. They simply do not
need to learn how to obey authority, because authority is not allowed to
maintain itself in conditions of concrete equality. Hence, they cannot govern
themselves, and the state grows and grows by necessity, in direct proportion to
the degree that individuals cannot govern themselves.

Unless there is a policeman inside your head, a policeman must be assigned to
you. In addition, a policeman must be assigned to each policeman, ad infinitum.
Very quickly you run out of individuals to do the policing necessary. We are at
this point now, when 40% of GDP goes to government. For the ideal of minimum
government to work, you must have maximum self-government, and this you can only
have with legitimate hierarchical levels of authority. But governmental
minimalists often hate hierarchical authority because it so obviously hems in
our freedom, our ability to do as we please - a conundrum.

The popular bumper sticker "Question Authority" taken literally is largely
harmless, a banal platitude typical of shallow thinking-in-slogans suitable to
"Generation Duh." But many individuals, steeped in radical egalitarianism, do
not stop at the common sense meaning, they go on to interpret it as if it meant
"Deny Authority." Now we're in trouble. Santayana warned: "Freedom is
legitimate when it does not usurp authority.... The great moral error is not to
admit authority at all."

The historically recent virtual renunciation of authority has had unpleasant
side effects. I can still vaguely remember when a Ph.D. conferred more status
on an individual than a shoe salesman had, and when to be a professional didn't
automatically evoke "hooker," selling their integrity to the highest bidder.
But that was thirty years ago. For the last five years, the operating principle
of the public schools has been that no one will be more educated than the least
educated. My memory of a time of professional integrity and intellectual
distinction has faded considerably, the nihilistic/egalitarian rot has set in so
fast. This dual rot produces, on the one hand, individuals who think 'Who
cares?' about status, respect or anything; and on the other hand, individuals
who care deeply for undifferentiated equality amongst everyone, with the
exception of themselves, who, of course, are more equal than the rest.

Thomas Molnar, in "Authority and its Enemies" (orig. 1976, rev. 1995) again
noted the coupling of servility-and-authoritarian violence, but expanded on its
relation to the legitimacy of authority: "Authority is only mocked and despised
when it is obviously antirational or when it is declining, when the men in power
are themselves no longer convinced of its beneficial presence. Then... they
abdicate and yield authority to men more determined than they are. It is the
immemorial experience of mankind... that the decline of authority leads to the
permissive society, which then ushers in the rule of brute force."

Authority is declining because of a systematic attack on Reason itself. You can
no more squeeze blood out of a turnip, than you can squeeze extropy out of
scientific nihilism, cultural relativism, and historical revisionism. They are
not to be tolerated. Vico refers to these as the barbarism of reflection, and
noted it to be a worse scourge than the barbarism of sense, like the Huns,
Mongols and Vikings. "For the [barbarism of sense] displayed a generous
savagery, against which one could defend oneself or take flight or be on one's
guard; but the [barbarism of reflection], with a base savagery, under soft words
and embraces, plots against the life and fortune of friends and intimates."

Molnar goes on to explain: "Authority does not become irrational by the fact
that *will* is one of its essential components, nor does it become tyrannical by
the fact that it is an articulator and preserver of inequality. If a society,
with its rich articulation, is reduced to an undifferentiated mass, it is not
authority it will face, but the most oppressive despotism. Those who exercise
authority must, therefore, have the courage and the will to lift - and keep -
society above the temptations of the anthill." And those who don't exercise
authority, must be individually intolerant of authoritarian violence. They also
can go a long way towards preventing authoritarian violence from arising, by
being intolerant of servility - of the wave-bobbers - calling them to turn
towards extropy, and setting a living example of the fruits of such a turn.

Reilly Jones | Philosophy of Technology: | The rational, moral and political relations
| between 'How we create' and 'Why we create'