Wednesday, December 23, 2009
All through the Bush years, Incrementalism was touted on the so-called Progressive Internets as the Only Appropriate Response to Bushevik Radicalism. The very fact that the Busheviks were Radical and (counter)Revolutionary, especially in their foreign policies and their overthrow of the remnants of Constitutional law and so forth, was frequently denied or obscured by prominent Lefty bloggers ... so as not to stir up the masses too much about what was going on. Or one supposes the rationale behind the Incrementalist fervor during the Bush years was simple self-protection.
After all, the Stasi was watching, and at any time, so the thinking went, the round ups could begin, starting with anyone and everyone spouting off against the Regime and calling for Revolution Now! There was one incident over at [Greenwald's] that highlighted what THAT was about when [a frequent commenter] freaked over something I said: "Who should be first against the wall when the Revolution comes?"
O. M. G. You'd think the "Marxist Cell" that is the Greenwaldian patch of the Internets had been discovered. I'd used the quote before (it's from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, c. 1972, and it has a long history in geeky comic lit. The quote from Hitchhiker's Guide runs as follows:
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes," with a footnote to the effect that the editors would welcome applications from anyone interested in taking over the post of robotics correspondent.
Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that had the good fortune to fall through a time warp from a thousand years in the future defined the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."
And this has been making the rounds for decades. Yet both times I used the quote/idea in postings on the internets the proprietors and/or their agents ... have gone ape shit in fear that someone would break down their door at midnight and drag them and their family away to the Konzentrationslager forthwith.
For advocating "Revolution."
Honestly. The mind boggles.
When I explained it as patiently as I could to [this frequent commenter] (who claimed to be familiar with Hitchhiker's Guide...), she still didn't get it and was convinced that certain key-words (Revolution, anyone?) would trigger NSA surveillance and shut-down of websites... What was really curious about it to me was that none of these lawyer-types... was willing to risk that kind of trouble or oppose the imposition of the National Surveillance State despite their big shows of chest-beating and knuckledragging for blogospheric consumption. When I pointed out that the NSA surveillers were probably laughing their heads off at the stupidity of this exchange and noting well the utter failure of the lawyer-types to stand by the Freedoms they claim are so Important. No, instead, they eagerly serve the State Security and Surveillance Aparat. Ohhhh. Might be a clue there. Well.
Nearly all the prominent so-called Progressive bloggers advocate Incrementalism as the only appropriate way to make and hold lasting political or any other change. You do it step-by-baby-step, slowly, bit-by-bit, over however long it takes, and you do not engage in or advocate sudden upheaval revolt or revolution of any kind. It's essentially a moral imperative.
Well. That is until there's Democratic control of Government.
All of a sudden, we have a thoroughgoing incrementalist regime in office, acting incrementally to mitigate the worst abuses of the Bushevik Regime just past, and Internet Progressives are not just dissatisfied, they're openly calling for Revolt -- if not outright Revolution....
My goodness. How did that happen?
Such a sudden transformation. Well, certain things are clear: they were literally terrified of crossing unstated boundaries in The Debate during the Bush years. They are fearless now. Apparently they believed there was a Real Threat from the Busheviks to round them all up -- if they said or did anything the State Security Aparat found the least bit threatening to the Program. So they worked overtime not to threaten in any way the Powers That Be, so as to -- one supposes -- preserve their Freedom of Expression. Without, obviously, understanding that their self-censorship put the lie to the whole "Freedom" enterprise.
Now that they believe there is no perceived threat from the State, under the Incrementalist and Mitigationist regime of Obama, they're free to say and advocate whatever they want, including Revolt and Revolution. And so they do. ...
So all you would-be Revolutionaries out there, strike when the Iron is Hot, bring down the oppressor when the State is weak and Incrementalism reigns on high.
Nevertheless, the current state of Blogospheric hoo-hah does clarify just how deeply interwoven Libertarianism and Libertarians are in the whole so-called Progressive blog matrix. As I say, they are everywhere, asserting wildly and making furious demands, threatening and calling for revolt, resistance, and on the margins Revolution...
Of course what's happening in the Real World is that the Obama regime is pushing that rock up the hill, step-by-baby-step, just as the the progressives on the net said had to be done for any lasting change to occur, and as flawed and faulty as the whole process is, it is oddly working. Mitigations are occurring. Very gradual Change is taking place. International relations are improving.
And so-called Progressives in the Blogosphere hate it. If they don't, they're obviously paid operatives of the Devil, Rahm Emanuel.
[Note: I edited out some references to named individuals and to the then current debate over "HCR," now known as "ACA," something that raises as many hackles now as it did then.
Further, I was quite ill when I wrote the original post, though I didn't really know what was wrong (I had pneumonia). I wouldn't find out for another month or so.
My intent in reposting these excerpts from 2009 is to make clear that NSA surveillance was very much on the minds of bloggers that long ago and to point out that there were active efforts to suppress "revolutionary" discussion on so-called progressive blogs during the Bushevik regime so as to avoid tripping NSA surveillance triggers.
Finally, it was my observation -- which may or may not have been correct -- that the then-new Obama administration -- was actually engaged in the "incrementalism" so-called progressive bloggers said was necessary instead of revolution, and yet Blogtopia (h/t Skippy) hated it. Once Obama got into office, the calls for revolt and revolution were practically nonstop. I'm reminded of this sort of thing now that there is an apparent effort to avoid a military reaction to the Syrian Crisis -- or perhaps not. The whole situation is highly dissonant and chaotic much as we've seen before in other circumstances, and yet whatever emerges as a resolution is likely to be further incremental steps toward whatever it is the Obama administration has wanted all along (ie: neo-liberal triumph) with regard to Syria.]