Friday, July 01, 2005

Here's an interesting thread in which I manage to annoy the great author Charles Stross, whom I've lauded here on several occasions, with my incessant proselytizing of the freedom-first doctrine with some facts regarding tyranny, oppression, war, and the UN. Some interesting perspectives from both sides posted there. I probably won't be posting there any more. Did I change, or even slightly open, any minds? I doubt it. Nor did I learn anything new about antiwar arguments. Oh well, persuasion is never easy; life goes on.

Something else occured to me this morning, thinking about the WW II opposition by American leftists that ended with the abrogation of the Hitler-Stalin pact, and the 70-year struggle against Communism: Fascist leftism is transnational in a way that fascist rightism is not, simply by their natures. They're both equally evil, but the leftist version is a bit more pernicious because fascist rightism is generally nationalistic, and thus by definition stops at the border, while leftists can aid and comfort each other globally. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why Communism was relatively far more diffcult and costly to defeat.

UPDATE: Well, now I'm very disappointed in Stross. He posted an update, amusingly and ironically claiming I'm not interested in debate while saying he's going to ban me and delete my posts if I don't agree to conditions that appear to essentially boil down to "no more posting facts supporting opinions I don't agree with." Then he claims I "refuse to engage with the fundamental reasons for our dissent." Hmmm. Reading back through my posts, it looks more like engaging the flaws in his fundamental reasons for their dissent is exactly what he finds annoying.

Sigh. He's still a great author; I suppose it was too much to hope for that he would be a reasonable person who could hold a rational, fact-based debate as well. (In Charlie's defense, not many people can these days.) Oh well, we're all just human I guess.

UPDATE 2: Armed Liberal at Winds of Change, in a surprisingly apropos piece, notes a similar phenomenon regarding Brian Leiter.

It's virtually impossible to have dialog, in the traditional sense, with many members of either group, because once you point out that you don't accept the basic premises their worldview is crafted from, you're simply not worth talking to. It's a colloquial version of the Stalinist "if you don't support us, you must be crazy" model. Lately, I'm seeing them coalesce more and more into the Opposition to Bush.

As Glenn would say, indeed.


Anonymous Annoying Old Guy said...

What I found interesting in the thread was the belief in the past omnipotence of the USA, which apparently used to be able to install governments at will all around the world. And of course, the corollary that non-Westerns are mindless pawns who operate only at the beck and call of Westerners.

5:23 PM  
Blogger TallDave said...

Thnks for stopping by.

Yes, reductio ad Americanum often seems to be the sine qua non of the European intellectual if not the raison d'etre. I don't know if it's just an inferiority complex or what. It certainly makes debate problematic.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Eric Blair said...

Oh, Stross is a jerk. It just doesn't fail. Everytime one of these authors puts up a website one ends up finding out more than you wanted to know, and generally it turns out they're rather replellent.

Well, at least I now don't feel the need to continue to read his books. (I actually did read Singularity Sky).

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Dick Eagleson said...

I can't say that it's pleasant to find out an author you admire holds completely worthless political ideas, but it's something an American gets used to, especially with respect to Europeans.

Charles Stross differs in no important way, in this respect, from, for example, Richard Dawkins, the justly-reknowned author of "The Blind Watchmaker" and other equally worthy books about biological evolution.

Even in America, one can wonder how Noam Chomsky's obvious innovative brilliance - at least with respect to mathematical linguistics - can be reconciled with his peculiar enthusiasm for the musty trove of antique anarcho-syndicalism which informs his jejune, and utterly derivative, politics.

The answer, in all cases, seems to be infection of the brain with a virulently resistant strain of the socialism meme at a tender age. As the late Robert Heinlein, among others, has observed, "It's hard to reason a man out of something he wasn't reasoned into in the first place."

7:48 PM  

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