History and Political Tactics for Our Time

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Conservatives need to learn from history. In particular, for the situation in 2020 they need to study the Civil Rights Movement and Hitler's Rise to Power.

The Civil Rights Movement

What gets all the attention in the Civil Rights Movement is Martin Luther King and demonstrations and marches on Washington and speeches and KKK shootings and other dramatic events. What actually changed things was lawsuits and legislation, boring but powerful. Blacks couldn't vote, and so the elected officials discriminated against them. That was the basic problem. And it was a legal problem. The law said that blacks were allowed to vote and elected officials weren't supposed to discriminate against them. That's what the Constitution said, as amended in the 1860's. This was even true under Plessy v. Ferguson, long before Brown v. Board of Education. The court's holding in Plessy v. Ferguson was "separate but equal", remember. The government could separate blacks and whites in streetcars, trains, and schools, but it had to treat them equally. It didn't. The real objection to Jim Crow was that it wasn't separate but equal, it was separate and the blacks got worse treatment. They had to sit in the back of the bus, not the front. The black schools had far less funding. The black universities didn't have the same degree programs as the white universities. White voters didn't have to pass the same literacy tests as black voters. It was all illegal, even under existing court precedents.

  If we'd really had the rule of law, the problem would have been solved. But the rule of law requires lawsuits.  Somebody had to bring suit to get the governments to change their illegal practices. That took organization, initiative, and money.  It happened eventually, and it worked. 

Conservatives are in a similar position. They do not have nuch influence in the Establishment, just as blacks did not have much influence in the Southern Establishment (though blacks had the entire sympathy of the northern Establishment). But conservatives don't bring nearly as many lawsuits as they should. They are not well organized, and not well-funded.

HItler's Rise to Power

    I've written on the Reichstag Fire at Unz Review.  What I didn't write about there was how it appears that Antifa and Black Lives Matter are imitating Nazi strategy and tactics. Keep in mind that real, old-fashioned, marxists think about history a lot, and try to think scientifically. They think like I'm thinking in this essay. Oddly enough, conservatives are very bad at learning from History. American conservatives don't even think about History; we're more like Nietzsche's Cows in The Use and Abuse of History. By instinct we are conservative, but we have neither theory nor experience, neither deduction nor induction. Old-fashioned Marxists aren't like that. The Woke are, because they are a different sort of marxist, and really need their own term. They don't think about class struggle exactly; they don't care about economics really; they hate science and rigorous thinking; they are warm  emotion (occasionally hot, but usually tepid), feminine,  social-minded, not economic;  tribal. Old marxists are masculine, scientific in aspiration, despising culture and focussing on the economy, universal, rigorous in aspiration, cold-blooded and cool, despising emotion.  But Antifa and BLM are not the Woke, if we are to be precise. They are the Spartacists, the Trots, the  Communist Party USA, the Maoists.  I will use "Antifa" as shorthand for this group. 

Antifa is imitating the Nazis of 1930. Oddly enough, they see that they are the Nazis of our day, and the Trumpites are the Communists. The Nazis and Communists were both despised and feared by the Establishment in 1930. They both represented the working man, in opposition to the Establishment. The Establishment in Germany, though, was conservative, pro-military, and nationalist, the opposite of the 2020 Establishment in America. That meant that the Establishment, though appalled by both, much preferred the Nazis to the Communists. It also meant that the Establishment was blind to the threat of Nazi takeover (though recognizing the minor danger of Nazi street thuggery), and paranoid about the threat of Communist takeover.

 The Communists never had  a chance in Germany. They were strong there, the strongest Communist Party in Europe except for the Soviet Union's, but not strong enough. Their attempts to take over Bavaria and other locales failed miserably. The army was on guard against them, and so were every one of the other political parties, including, especially, the socialists, the Social Democrats, who were their bitterest enemies. The Social Democrats knew they'd be the first to be shot after the Revolution, and they competed for the same voters, which was perhaps an even greater reason for hostility.  
   The Nazis did have a chance. They could operate under the radar. Intelligent people did not take them seriously, except as a crime problem. The Establishment was anti-semitic, but only mildly, in the same way that the American Establishment of 2020 is anti-Christian, but only mildly. The German Establishment included many Jews, but it didn't embrace them, it didn't   marry them, and  it talked about them behind their backs.  It had to admit they were very clever and often very patriotic and cultured and German and rich, but they were always a bit embarassing to have around.  And they took university positions and jobs away from "our" people,  much as Asians do in America today.  The Establishment was horrified at the crude anti-semitism of the Nazis, which was more Polish, or even Russian, or French, than German.  They didn't really want Jews at their weekend parties, but they'd much prefer a cultured Jew to the average Nazi. 

Both the Communists and the Nazis had organized clubs of young men who liked to beat up people and break windows. For the Nazis, these were the Brownshirts. These clubs fought each other. They set up headquarters in each others' neighborhood as provocations. They disrupted each others' speeches. They killed each other sometimes. They were gangs.

The Establishment, though, feared the Communists much more than the Nazis. The courts were Establishment territory, and the courts came down harder on Communists than Nazis. Nazi violence was illegal, but it wasn't all bad: usually they fought Communists, and that was a good thing. The Party let them fight Jews some, but kept that restrained; the Establishment didn't like it when Brownshirts beat up Jews. Beating up Jews was a bad political tactic; it was fun for the Brownshirts, and the Jews didn't have organized bands to fight back like the Reds, and the Nazi leadership liked to see Jews beat up, but it was consumption for them, not investment; it hurt their cause rather than helping it. Beating up Communists, on the other hand, was both consumption and investment; it made the Nazis useful to the Establishment.

Now think of 2020. The Establishment is scared to death of right-wing-extremists, white supremacists, Q-anon, the alt-right, Trumpites, gun nuts. It fears a violent revolution, an imminent one, tomorrow maybe. The Establishment is not scared of left-wing extremists. It doesn't like to see poor people's neighborhood getting burned down, but it doesn't care all that much, so long as downtown shopping and office space doesn't get too wrecked. So Antifa tries to avoid attacking corporate targets like banks, even though that's what its members would really like to go after. And Antifa tries to provoke battle with Trumpites. It hopes the Trumpites will form gangs too. The Establishment will then crack down on the Trumpites, and it will look with favor on Antifa, as useful tools with which to fight the Trumpite gangs. This didn't work, though. The Trumpites love guns, but they don't like to actually shoot people. They like to collect guns more than they like to shoot them. That's why the typical gun nut owns 12 medium-quality guns instead of 1 high-quality gun. If it was shooting he loved, he'd spend all his money on one gun and shoot it all the time. But he's a gadget collector, not a sniper.

The Russian Revolution

Concluding Remarks

Note the importance of Patience. Lenin was patient. Hitler was patient. Thurgood Marshall was patient. Mao was patient. The French Revolutionaries were all impatient. Closely related to Patience is the idea of Looking Ahead and Reasoning Back, also called Forward Induction. There are two parts to this. One is having a step-by-step plan. Another is having contingency plans, especially for GOOD contingencies. You need to wait for the right moment, and then strike. This looks like Luck, but if you know that some time in the next 30 years X will happen with certainty, and then X happens in year 17, it's wrong to say that X was a lucky break. Moreover, if you hadn't been prepared for X, it would have been useless for you.