Escalation Outside the System

by jefftkjefftk1 min read8th Sep 202011 comments


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Transcript of a discussion on a friend's wall on the merits of responding "guillotines" to union text-bankers when asked what the country needs more of:

Me: When you respond "guillotines" what do you expect the campaign volunteer reading the response to think you're advocating for?

Them: Murder.

Me: Whose murder do you expect them to think you are advocating for?

Them: The richest people in the US.

Me: 0.1%, 1%, 5%?

Them: I think billionaires is a good cutoff. There are 540 in the US. So, the richest 0.000164%.

Me: Is executing them your first choice? Or would you prefer to see non-violent redistribution?

Is your objection that having this much money is immoral when others need it so much more, that you can't be this rich without having committed serious crimes, or something else?

Them: I'd certainly prefer a non-violent solution. Redistribution sounds lovely.

My objection is that we do not have anything remotely resembling a democracy. And I think that having that much money is actually immoral, while 21% of the children in the US are below the poverty line. Putting them together, I think it's a fine solution to kill them off until they can figure out how to release their chokehold on our government.

And it seems to me, solutions within the system have been adequately tried.

(I do think that keeping millions—let alone billions—for yourself is immoral when the money could do so much more, but that is the extent of my agreement.)

I see this perspective often in leftist spaces: the system has failed its most vulnerable, it cannot be fixed, we must escalate violently to transcend the system and find new solutions outside.

There have been many successful leftist revolutions, at least if you define success as gaining power. (And that gap is one reason why I wouldn't support violent revolution regardless.) What I don't understand is how leftists could look at the current political climate in the US and think that violent revolution would work out well for them?

It's not clear that Trump will leave office if he loses in November:

Crowd: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

Trump: Now if you really want to drive them crazy you say "twelve more years"

Crowd: [cheers]

Crowd: "Twelve more years! Twelve more years! Twelve more years!"

Trump at the Republican National Convention, 2020-08-24

Then consider that the military and gun owners tend conservative. While I understand why leftists would be unhappy with the status quo, violent escalation clearly plays into the narratives and strategy of the right.

(I wonder whether this is similar to what happened with ironic support for Nazism blending into actual support for Nazism? You go from commiserating about rent, to posting jokey memes referencing mass killing of landlords under Mao, to citing it unironically as the solution to the housing crisis?)

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