Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. – a misquote of Eric Hoffer
Up to now, America has not been a good milieu for the rise of a mass movement. What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation. – What Hoffer actually wrote
It’s hard to see the difference. Indeed, if I were Hoffer – I’m not, for those without a program – I’d prefer the misquote. It’s neater and punchier. But the import is the same in each case. Lay it alongside Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics:
Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
There’s a striking similarity, though one is about causes, which might seem apolitical, and the other is about political orientation. It’s worth reflecting on the parallels. Sufficient thought leads one, like Prufrock’s half-deserted streets, to an overwhelming question:
Let that one simmer for a moment while I put up another pot of coffee.
I’ve mentioned this a dozen times before, but: a student can break into another student’s locker and find pot and turn that in to the cops. And the kid caught with the pot can be prosecuted.
But if a cop tells the student, “Why don’t you break into the locker for me and take a look?,” the student becomes in that moment an agent of the state and subject to all the rules that any agent of the state is bound by. That is, the student is a deputized law enforcement officer for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. If he breaks into the other student’s locker, he has violated that kid’s civil rights, and nothing he found there can be introduced at trial against the kid whose rights were violated.
This is exactly correct. It’s as much a violation of an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights as if the cop were to do the breaking and entering himself. The wrongness of it has been an important motif in many police-procedural dramas. Compactly put, the State cannot sanitize an unconstitutional action by delegating it to a private-sector agent.
Yet, in the matter of suppressing information and opinions it doesn’t like, the Usurper Regime has openly delegated the task to major private-sector organizations. We all know the big names. We call them, collectively, Big Tech. But there are other names to be noted as well.
Various organizations and institutions that have long been thought of as “conservative” in orientation have collaborated with the Usurpers in suppressing important news and opinion. The method of suppression has often been as simple as not reporting on the story. Sometimes more elaborate measures are employed: burial in irrelevancies, attacks on the messenger or his motives, tu quoque nonsense, and so forth. The result is the same: something Americans really ought to know about is either never mentioned in the “organs of information” on which they rely, or is relegated to page A36, the bottom right corner.
What would move a “conservative” organization to participate in this symphony of suppression? Given the grotesquely social-fascist nature of government in our time – verily, all the way back to the Wilson Administration – what possible interest could conservatives have in doing such things?
The answer is simple: They’ve decided what they want to conserve. And no, it isn’t individual freedom or Constitutional governance. It’s their corner in the status quo, with the associated revenues, prestige, and perquisites.
Remember this one:
That came from Bill Kristol, a supposedly conservative opinion-monger and one of the Marquee members of the “We Hate Trump” club. There are quite a lot of members in that club, nearly all of them self-described “conservatives.” What do you suppose they are determined to conserve, and why?
Give it some thought.
As long as I’m quoting Eric Hoffer, let me add another tidbit:
A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business…The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice the utmost humility, is boundless.
This is the bureaucrat in a nutshell. For what else does it mean for a man to arrogate unto himself the “authority” to dictate how others must live and work? Add to this the facelessness of the “faceless bureaucrat:” he’s unidentifiable and unapproachable by design. Oftentimes even his colleagues don’t know who he is or what he does. As for the private citizens he dictates to, forget it; he might as well be a Martian.
Who would aspire to such a position? What would his priorities be?
Now think about the public “public man:” the politician, whether in office or aspiring, whose name and face are well known, who orates for the papers and struts for the cameras. He often postures as if he possesses “all the answers.” He demands every accommodation and bridles at every rebuff. Note how such an individual treats the possibility that he could lose public notice. What do you suppose his priorities must be?
We have an interesting example before us in Texas politics: the odious Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke:
O’Rourke, who has long pushed for stricter gun laws, said that 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary on May 24 after a teenage gunman “legally purchased” an AR-15 rifle, adding that the weapon was originally designed for use in combat….
Seconds later, O’Rourke turned to snap at a person reportedly standing among a small group of Abbott supporters who had laughed as he spoke.
“It may be funny to you, motherf****r, but it’s not funny to me,” he told the person, eliciting cheers from the crowd.
Oh my. Someone actually dared to laugh at this ball-less wonder who thinks himself fit to rule others. What cheek! If there’s anything a “public man” cannot abide, it’s to be belittled, especially in public. It’s like enduring a public orchidectomy.
(I wish the laughing citizen whom O’Rourke called a motherfucker had turned and said menacingly “What did you call me?” The pissant would probably have wet his pants. I’d like to think I’d have done so. Sadly, I reside in the Northeast, am no longer able to use mass transit for health reasons, and so am precluded from such applications of pro-social lese majeste. But I can still dream.)
I regard the point as having been established. Now apply it to the “second echelon:” the people who make their livings by commenting on the sayings and doings of “public men.” Is it at all reasonable to suppose that their priorities would be substantially different?
The “conservative” organizations that have collaborated in the suppression of information and opinion that would be of interest to many millions of Americans are conservative in only one way: they seek to conserve their niches in journalism and commentary. This militates toward conserving the status quo, for any material change in The Way Things Are could overturn their rice bowls. They might have to get actual jobs. That’s an unpleasant prospect for one who’s made his living by bloviating.
The status quo might strike you and me as a horror we can barely endure. We might be lamenting the Cheyne-Stokes breathing of the greatest country in history. We might be desperate for a hope of change for the better…of a return to the Land of the Free that was. But I’d lay a pretty penny that even for us, there are some features of the status quo we’d prefer to preserve. We might even agree on some of them.
How much stronger must the “conservatives’” intent be to preserve that which, by criticizing it in the press, the airwaves, and the pixels of the Web, provides them with their daily bread?