Sunday, August 28, 2016

'Radical', 'Extremist', 'Subversive', 'Heretical', and etc. are all Relative Fetishes of Changing Politics

Hillary Clinton and PC commissars may negatively label the Alt Right as 'extremist' and 'hateful'; and the Alt Right might counter by labeling itself 'radical', 'heretical', or 'dissident', but all such tags are relative to the conditions of power.

When communists were out of power, they were heretical, rebellious, dissenting, subversive, and radical. The 'reactionary' or 'bourgeois' powers-that-be denounced them as 'extremist', 'hateful', or 'destructive'.
But when the communists took power, they were the New Establishment and the New Normal. And those who had once held the power were denounced as 'extreme', 'hateful', and etc. And leftist rebellious voices against Establishment Communism were denounced as 'adventurist'.

So, the ultimate worth of any vision, ideology, or set of values is not the labels tagged onto itself or by its enemies. Arguably, ALL systems and ideologies are 'radical' relative to the conditions of power. What goes by the name of 'moderate liberal democracy' would be considered 'radical' and 'extreme' in Islamic Iran or Saudi Arabia, or in totalitarian North Korea. A communist would be a radical in a capitalist system, and vice versa. Capitalists are dime-a-dozen in America, but they would have been hounded as 'extreme', 'dangerous', and 'subversive' in Stalinist or Maoist China.

Atheists are commonplace in Western Europe and may constitute the majority of the population. But an atheist would have been seen as 'extreme' in the past when virtually all Europeans were Christian and regularly attended Church services.

There was a time when 'gay marriage' would have considered as 'extreme' and crazy, indeed even by the biggest Liberals. Today, majority of Americans are resigned to accepting it, and there are even people who feel that 'marriage for homos' is the greatest moral crusade of our age.
So, 'gay marriage', once a radical idea, is the New Normal. If anything, it is people who remain resolute in denouncing 'gay marriage' who are reviled as 'extreme'.

So, what is 'extreme'? What is 'radical'? It is relative to who has the power, who controls the Narrative, and who controls the taboos and relics.

Some in the Alt Right define the 'movement' as 'radical'. It may well be that in the current political climate. But if radicalism defines the Alt Right, what happens if reality were to conform to Alt-Rightism?
Let's play a little mind game. Suppose Alt Right wins and gets everything it wants. It gets to define the Official Normal, and most people are instilled with Alt Right ideas and values from cradle. Could the Alt Right still claim to be 'radical'(or even Alt)? If the essence of the Alt Right is 'radicalism', it would lose its raison d'etre the moment it gains preeminence. If it were then to cling to the 'radical' label, it would akin to communists waving the revolutionary banner even after its power has been firmly entrenched as the New Normal.

Consider. Galileo's ideas about astronomy were once 'extreme', 'heretical' and 'blasphemous'. Ultimately however, they came to be accepted as true, and even most uneducated people know that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Now, were Galileo's ideas valuable because they were 'radical' in their time or because they were true and correct? If 'radicalism' is the highest essence of value, then Galileo's views would have been rendered worthless the instant the Establishment accepted them as canonical.
But if the essence of value is truth, it doesn't matter if his views were deemed 'extremist' or 'official'. Whether only 1% or nearly 99% of the world agreed with him, he would have been right simply because he was right. If Galileo's core ambition was to be 'radical', 'contrarian', and 'heretical'(for all eternity), he should have come up with a theory that could never be accepted by most of humanity. Maybe a theory says the sun is a tiger that plays polka music while the planets, which are actually jelly beans, waltz in space for kielbasa on sale. Now, every generation would find such an idea 'radical', 'outlandish', and 'ludicrous'.

The paradox of people who are labeled(or self-labeled) as 'radical' is that their mission is to prove that their views are actually normal and true. Galileo wasn't trying to be 'radical'. He was just being honest, courageous, and truthful. He strove to demonstrate that his views, though denounced as 'extreme', weren't such at all.

Someone may be targeted as a 'radical'(in the negative sense) because the powers-that-be and/or the great majority see his visions and values as crazy, 'extreme', or 'unacceptable'.
Someone may designate himself as 'radical'(in the positive sense) because he believes himself to be honest, courageous, and principled in saying it like it is even if condemned as outcast by the powerful and/or the unwashed masses.
However, in either case(and this is very crucial), he would be trying to show that his views are not 'extreme' or 'radical' and instead should be accepted as the New Normal or, better yet, the True Normal.

The boy in the story of the EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES was not trying to be 'radical'. He was just being honest. If his words sounded 'radical'(or like a crude gaffe), the fault wasn't with him but with the system that wove a web of lies around the emperor and his flunkies. (One wonders if the weavers in the story were serving or trolling the Cult of the Emperor.)

So, the Alt Right needs to be wary of labels. Because it finds itself in the 'radical', 'extreme', or 'heretical' position for the time being, it may fall into fallacy that its core agenda is to 'make trouble', 'outrage the establishment', pull the fire alarm, and etc. What the Alt Right has to do is ask itself, "Does its vision and values have worth even if were to take power as the New Normal?" Will its 'New Normal' be just a new fad or fashion, or will it really be the True Normal with Eternal value?

Indeed, even the notion of 'alt' is relative. Alt Right currently offers an alternative because the American Political Narrative has been, for too long, dominated by Democrats and Republicans. But if Alt Right voices become prominent, they will no longer be 'alternative'. If such time were to come, will 'Alt Right' have value other than as a dissident voice? It's always easier to attack and ridicule those in the game than to play the game.

If Alt Right is to have a lasting impact, it must ask itself what its vision and values are apart from its relative position to the conditions of power.

In a world that insists 2 + 2 = 5, both assertions that 2 + 2 = 4 and 2 + 2 = 6 may be condemned(or praised) as 'heretical', 'extreme', and 'radical' for deviating from the official orthodoxy. Inasmuch as both assertions rebel against the dogma, they may have 'radical' value. But once the power that insists 2 + 2 = 5 is removed, 2 + 2 = 4 would continue to have value whereas 2 + 2 = 6 would no longer have value.
The 6'ers may have had radical value in resisting the oppression of the 5'ers, but in the end, their formula was just as wrong as that of the 5'ers. Once the 6'ers lost their radical chic, they only had the wrong answer to offer. In contrast, even after the 4'ers are no longer deemed 'extreme', 'heretical', or 'radical', their answer still has value(indeed eternal value) because they are correct.

In a repressive system, ALL voices that resist and challenge the Power may have 'radical' value, but once the oppression is vanquished, the only lasting vision and values are one with the truth. Truth, in the end, is neither official or radical. 2 + 2 = 4 regardless of whether it is asserted by officialdom or radicaldom. In contrast, 2 + 2 = 5 and 2 + 2 = 6 are wrong regardless of their adoption by officialdom or radicalism.

The 'radical' is a mere fetish relative to the conditions of power. Truth, on the other hand, is the real flesh.

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