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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fetishising failure and hating success - power relations means never having to say you're wrong

A: Poynter chimes in

CNN's Jim Acosta's actions to Trump don't represent the best of journalism | Poynter

B: I’m calling stuff like this out every time you post it, because I want to highlight to you that you inevitably take the side of the powers that be and leave them uncriticised or make the infractions of the powerless or less powerful bigger than it is. As if they are on the same level, which they are not.

Example - you post about a suspected kidnapping of a Muslim woman by her family at an airport. You don’t criticize the family/society but immediately try to score points against liberals/leftists by saying we aren’t protesting it enough.

I don’t know if you realise it, but when your primary aim to score points against activists/liberals and criticise them and you do so without addressing the oppression, the real winners are the oppressors. Congrats, you are their best spokesperson now.

C: Always entertaining to read your triggered responses to A's FB posts. Just to clarify, did you just twist some unrelated post to call him a spokesman for kidnappers of Muslim women? Cause that's what it looks like.

B: I am talking to A, not you.

Me: the taliban did nothing wrong. They are powerless compared to the USA. We must always side with the oppressed

A: I think I understand how you think now and I suppose our differences are a reflection of the different ways we see the world.

You see me as taking the side of someone or some group that is more powerful and oppresses another group.

I don't see society as comprising fixed groups that have power and that don't, because I think that oppression hierarchy is nonsensical. To me, oppression is when the truth is twisted in service of an agenda. And Trump does that precisely because the "social justice" set have done that for so long and paved the way for him to do so. There's no objective truth, only power and feelings, and that's what Trump harnesses in his tribe.

B: i don’t agree with your comment on oppression but let’s move past that.

I don’t have a problem with you pointing out when truth is twisted or misreported or something.

But when you post only when you think one side (hint: not the oppressors) is twisting the truth, and there is no nuance or more than on one dimension to your commentary. For eg, “the White House is awful in how it treats the press but Acosta isn’t a hero either”. It is fair comment, I won’t agree with you on the substance but I can agree it is a fair comment.

When you post “Jim Acosta is no hero because he didn’t subscribe to the very highest standard of journalism”, the implication is that he deserved what he got. So guess who you are empowering then?

A: I didn't think it was necessary to point out that Trump twists the truth because everyone knows it. I'm pointing out that everyone acts as though he's the only one doing it, when nobody else has clean hands.

D: the rest of us who ain't partisan noted the presence of this para critical of the White House grounds of decision in your link as we ain't selectively blind.

"That said, The White House accusation that Acosta manhandled the intern trying to retrieve the microphone is nonsense. It makes us wonder if the White House was looking for an opportunity to pick a fight."

E: It may or not represent the best of governance, just as the journalist's actions may or may not represent the best of journalism. A wrong is a wrong, and calling out one wrong does not mean endorsing the wrong that wasn't called out.

F: succinctly put

B's comments are very revealing.

Basically the liberal modus operandi is to find the supposedly powerless and blindly take their side.

When did a concern for protecting the weak turn into fetishising weakness and hating success?

In the liberal view, morality is just power relations rather than being based on more transcendental principles.

As Murakami puts it, "Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg. Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg".

A very explicit example of this is the headline condemnation of the John Roberts court as protecting the powerful - the legal merits of its decisions seem secondary to its ostensible effects and their implications for power relations.

This view of the world through the lens of power relations helps to explain why leftists have turned against Israel - Palestinians are seen as the marginalised ones and must be supported, whereas previously the Holocaust and Arab attacks meant Israel was the victim.

This is an inversion of Thrasymachus's conceptual of justice as might makes right - into might makes wrong. The former at least has some form of logic to it (e.g. the strong have succeeded and deserve to define justice, or perhaps that what the strong do helps them succeed so we should learn from them, or their principles have been vindicated by their success in a form of the Mandate of Heaven).

Liberal logic seems to be that no one can succeed without having had some unfair advantage.

Yet this logic only works if everyone is identical - which they are not. And even if they are, random chance means some people will succeed and others fail.

On a practical level, loving failure and weakness and hating success and strength means you're encouraging people to fail, and discouraging them from succeeding. Which besides being unhealthy for personal development is also not sustainable for a flourishing society.

It also views success as a zero sum game (if one group is ahead, others must be behind) and pits everyone against each other, ergo the poison of identity politics.
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