Jun. 21st, 2012

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
The second scene needed less work than I'd expected.  I changed a bit of dialogue so that two secondary characters' actions made more sense, and made somebody Mention the War where it seemed especially called-for.  I hadn't even suspected that it had come near Langdale when I was writing the early chapters, far less that it would bear directly on the ongoing foul-ups there.  That emerged during the Rising Arc, and the details during the first revision pass.

With this scene I conclude the first chapter, and catch up a bit on my quota.  The three scenes of the second chapter are the rest of my work for this week.
caper_est: The Liberty Bell strikes! (liberty)

A proposed rule for political radicals, drawn from various experiences in Green, libertarian, and left-liberal politics:

If you can't even recruit the people who are getting it hardest in the neck from the existing system, you're not ready to change it.

This doesn't say what is wrong with your strategy. Maybe your policies are at fault, maybe your priorities, maybe your ambitions just vastly outrun your skills at this time. Maybe the system is so badly stacked that it needs some gradualist subversion-from-within before it allows any room for movement at all. The one thing you can't safely blame it on is the stupidity or viciousness of all those naughty disprivileged people who are inexplicably failing to rally behind you. Like turning into a snake, this never works. Actually, 'turning into a snake' is a pretty good functional description of what this tactic does to the doer.

A libertarian whose freedom the most constrained and bossed-at people in the country do not think is freedom, is not working towards liberty.

A Green movement whose sustainability sounds to people on shitty urban Council estates like the straw that will break their back, is not going anywhere sustainable.

An egalitarian whose equality feels like being ordered around in menacing high-priestly gobbledegook to 99% of the population, is not striking the blow against 1%-ocracy that they may, perhaps, suppose. And so forth.

Unfortunately, the people doing worst out of any social injustice really will be wrong about a lot. For one thing, a lot of very serious injusticiars will be working diligently to keep them that way. There is an even more practical side. All other things being equal, somebody who spends all day dodging kicks to the head is not likely to be the clearest thinker on most subjects. They will probably be unusually expert on such subjects as Whether Jackboots Are A Myth, How To Avoid Getting Kicked, Where Kicks Are Likely To Come From, and How To Sustain A Precarious Livelihood In A World Full Of Hard-Driven Jackboots. They may well show uncommon ingenuity in related skills, such as How To Regenerate Some Spoons In Moments Of Precious Leisure Despite The Worst Efforts of Jackbooted Jackasses. But jobs such as Carefully Sifting All Reports To Determine Whether Jackboots Are Ultimately Sent By Good King Richard Or Against His Will By His Evil Advisors may be better executed when possessed of more money, more leisure, and fewer daily kicks to the head. All this is true - as far as it goes.

It is also true that the radical is likely to be wrong about a hell of a lot. But this is unpleasant and potentially undermining to the cause, and it will be far more agreeable to return at once to ranting about the ignorance, bigotry, and ingratitude of the sheeple. This has the additional advantage of ensuring that the radical's favoured reforms will never come so close to reality as to demonstrate their defects. Thus we get libertarians who despise the poor (whilst ironically working in their realio trulio best interests, oww my martyr's crown hurts!);Green activists who pretty much despise the general population (WIWITRTBI, OMMCH!); progressive egalitarians who warn anybody without an appropriately expensive credential to cease their ignorant and objectively harmful challenges to the informed socio-political judgement of the expert 0.01%, such as themselves (WIWITRTBI, OMMCH!) - and generally the whole familiar bed of political narcissi.

I was such a misunderstood narcissus as a teenager.  I was better at spotting and opposing the tendency by the time I got into the Green movement.  Most of my accelerating leftwards progress through libertarianism has been about repeatedly realizing how many miles I had still to go. Radical narcissi are not mostly bad people - at least, I hope for my own sake that they aren't, since I doubt that my fannish slannish soul will ever be wholly cured of the fault - but they are bad for people, and they had better get down of their soapboxes and start talking on the level, if they expect to do their neighbours any good instead.

Full-spectrum egalitarians are not generally that great at rallying the disadvantaged, these days. Greens are noticeably worse. Libertarians are shit at it on burnt toast. As a left-libertarian heavily influenced by eco-politics, this probably makes me the poo of Pluto on scorched cycad starch. As J Random Petty-Bourgeois living in excessively interesting times, this definitely makes me worried.

If you can't even recruit the people who are getting it hardest in the neck from the existing system, you're not ready to change it.

We have got to get less shit at this, and toot sweet.  All thoughts gratefully received.

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