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Frank Herbert’s Secular Prophecy


When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles

Frank Herbert, Children of Dune

Last Tuesday I arrived at an inflection point in my view about the prospects of a negotiated solution to our national divisions.  It was one of those shocking moments that slashes through the haze and brings startling clarity. 

Law professor Ilya Shapiro was invited to speak at the U.C. Hastings Law School.  The event had to be cancelled because every time Shapiro attempted to speak, fascist students banged the table and shouted him down.  After enduring these Brownshirt tactics for an hour with no help from the university, Shapiro gave up and left.  The fascists won.  Read further here.

UC Hastings Dean Morris Ratner was present and did not lift a finger to stop the fascists.  More shocking still – and this is the moment that brought clarity – UC Hastings Professor Rory Little actually encouraged the fascists.  He is reported to have banged the table as they shouted and was caught on video saying, “I’m all for the protest here.”  When a student asked him to repeat that, he doubled down and said, “I’m all for it.”

I went to law school in the 1980s.  In those days the progressive rot was advancing, but it had not advanced to the point where progressives could risk letting their “liberal” cover slip and expose their true totalitarian colors.  Those days are over.  Progressives like Professor Little appear to believe they no longer need to pretend to be liberal, that encouraging fascist tactics is perfectly OK so long as the right people are being silenced. 

It is now clear to me that we have come to the second clause of Herbert’s prophesy.  Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are among the most cherished freedoms enjoyed by the citizens of liberal democracies.  But at this point in their long march though our institutions, progressives see no need for upholding the pretense of respecting either.  Two years ago progressives shut down the churches.  Everyone seemed to understand at first, but when they opened up casinos while continuing to shutter churches, people began to wonder what was going on.  That case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Justice Roberts agreed with the other progressives that it was perfectly legal to shutter Calvary Chapel while letting Caeser’s Palace operate.  Now we have Brownshirts shutting down pure speech while being cheered by a state-paid law professor.  Your tax dollars at work.

How did we get here?  Critical theory is the central animating principle of progressivism, and critical theory boils down to one fundamental insight:  There is no such thing as right or wrong, and in a universe where transcendent moral principles do not exist, there is only power and those who wield it and those who submit to it.  Critical theory is applied Nietzschean philosophy.  And since Nietzsche took as the starting point of his philosophy the assumption that God is dead, critical theory is also applied metaphysical materialism. 

A materialist does not believe that freedom of speech is an abstract good (i.e., good in all circumstances no matter who benefits).  Following Nietzsche “beyond good and evil,” progressives assign new meaning to old terms.  Something is “good” when it is useful for advancing the interests of progressives.  Something is “evil” when it tends to thwart their goals.  It follows that progressives can be champions of freedom of speech one day and engage in Brownshirt tactics the next.  The thugs at UC Hastings see no contradiction between supporting freedom of speech for critical race theorists and shouting down a conservative speaker.  Both are “good,” in the Nietzschean sense of that word, because both advance the interests of progressives.

Which brings us back to the inflection point in my view about the prospects of a negotiated solution to our national divisions that I mentioned at the beginning.  Progressives have come to the place where they acknowledge no abstract check on their power.  Indeed, the Brownshirts who ran roughshod over Ilya Shapiro’s freedom of speech doubtless believe they did God’s work and are probably still basking in the warm glow of their limitless self-regard and perceived virtue.  We are not writing on a blank slate.  We know from recent experience that for fascists like the UC Hastings students, it is a very short trip from stamping out people’s right to speak to stamping out people’s right to life.

Professor Little taught his students that might makes right, that if they can silence their opponent then by all means do so.  Shouting an opponent down is one way to silence him.  Putting him in a camp or killing him are other, more effective, methods.  This episode reminds me of Whittaker Chamber’s review of one of Ayn Rand’s books.  He wrote that from almost any page of the book “a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To a gas chamber — go!’”  I perceive a similar undercurrent in the shouts of the students.  And here is the rub.  Those students and their fellows who are being taught these lessons by Little and others like him (who overwhelmingly dominate the heights of our universities) will be running the government in a few years. 

As I said, my views have changed. I used to think we had a chance to resolve our differences without violence.  Now, I am all but certain that sooner or later (and probably sooner), the progressives are going to begin visiting violence on those of us who resist, who, for example, refuse to affirm that a man can become a woman.  And we need to get ready for that.

Pav @ 11
I looked to those who leaned up against the walls of the clinic and who eyed us with horrible anger and rage. It was the Devil.
I have seen that sort of thing. Blind rage directed at grandmothers and quiet people trying to defend the lives of babies. It's a classic work of the devil.
So, did Trump do us all a favor, or has he stirred the Devil to great heights of rage–and, with him, his minions?
It's a good question and maybe the answer is something in-between. He did us a favor. But he didn't have a coalition so he was engaging a war he couldn't win. He inflicted some wounds on the Devil, but as every exorcist knows, you have to fight to win and drive him out. Otherwise you'll get an even more fierce and evil reaction, of the kind we've seen after Trump.
How will all of this end? Only God knows. But let us continue to pray.
Good words - yes, we really need to do that. Silver Asiatic
ChuckDarwin: You’re right, I’ve got nothing. Well not exactly nothing. I’ve got enough common sense not to go all Armageddon over a childish temper tantrum by a few entitled law students and professors…. I'm afraid you have very little 'common sense.' Had you had more common sense, you would be aware that what Barry is describing has been going on for years. [Click onto Barry's link, for example] Think back to three years ago and the Antifa reaction--the most 'fascist' of reactions imaginable, to a conservative speaking on the campus of UC Berkeley. And the mayor did nothing. And so the police did nothing. And the Democrat politicians said nothing. And, hatred won the day. It's time to wake up. But perhaps it's too late. PaV
Perhaps Donald Trump's greatest success--and maybe his greatest failure, is that he brought the progressives out from hiding. In their rage, they forgot to hide their true selves. This may be why, Barry, you've reached this inflection point. Many, many years ago, I went to a pro-life rally at an abortion clinic. As we marched around the abortion clinic in a circle (allowed in those days), praying the Rosary, I looked to those who leaned up against the walls of the clinic and who eyed us with horrible anger and rage. It was the Devil. I realized then and there that such "protests" would not solve the problem. Trump has brought this same rage out in the open and made clear who these people are and what true values they have: domination. We now see the Devil, and hear his voice, in such shameful displays of intolerance. Yes, the Jacobins are very near. So, did Trump do us all a favor, or has he stirred the Devil to great heights of rage--and, with him, his minions? How will all of this end? Only God knows. But let us continue to pray. PaV
You're right, I've got nothing. Well not exactly nothing. I've got enough common sense not to go all Armageddon over a childish temper tantrum by a few entitled law students and professors.... chuckdarwin
Chuck, When you've got nothing, mocking and scoffing is your only recourse. OK, you've got nothing. Barry Arrington
Whittaker Chambers is proof that boys raised by gay fathers will turn into communists. Then they read one of Ayn Rand's dismal sagas and turn into neo-cons. Even managed to work Nietzsche into the narrative--how proto-Nazi. This OP reminds me of a song lyric by The Who: "This is no social crisis, just another tricky day,,,,,,,," chuckdarwin
When I am weaker than you
The problem for “I” is that there are thousands of “I”s. I’m not saying that this won’t lead to mass chaos but that as night follows day, the Montagnards will kill the Girondists. Ratner and his kind will surely go and only be kept till they are no longer needed. The irony is that lawyers are only needed in a free society or one where a sub group has rights. jerry
The government response to rising fuel prices is ... to increase shortages and price increases. This would be counterintuitive unless you were now certain you could collapse the economy before the midterm elections. They seem to have a high level of confidence. Blastus
KF, Yes, portents and signs have been around for a while. But what was utterly shocking about this last event was the fact that a law professor joined a fascist stamping out of speech. There was a time not so long ago when such would have been unthinkable. Barry Arrington
I believe a person's rights end where another begins. The left, or whatever you wish to call them, believes their rights have no end as long as it is considered proper rights that regularly change to something meaningless. They believe government force is required to crush individualism in order to create a collectivist society that never actually appears. One cannot support individual rights and collectivism. The two cannot coexist. Individual rights being respected by government leads to great potential. Collectivism leads to starvation. BobRyan
BA, a 4th gen low kinetic civil war has been in progress in the US since about 2016/17, similar to the run up to 1861, eg bleeding Kansas. That is part of Putin's calculus and Xi is also drawing up the same bottomline. The manifestly tainted politics, media, courts and elections -- don't people know where the sort of ballot measures being pushed predictably lead? -- lead on to fatal disaffection if the trend is not stopped and I am not confident it will be stopped short of the cliff edge collapsing underfoot. KF kairosfocus
If there were a civil war, the results would be bloodshed, societal collapse and a loss of freedom. Pinochet saved Chile from communism at great cost but only for two generations - Chile has just now elected communists to power. Franco saved Spain from the Bolsheviks only to become a tyrant for decades - and Spain is now a leftist backwater. And, in a civil war, who is to say that China or Russia might not take control of a critically weakened United States. Progressives already control the financial system, the military, the media and the education system. Barry, your realizations come too late and are shared by too few. Blastus
I entirely agree that shouting down Professor Shapiro was the antithesis of support for freedom of speech and I am appalled that the university authorities not only did nothing to prevent it but apparently endorsed such behavior. I think there are - thus far - minorities on both sides of the political divide who are almost salivating at the prospect of civil war. I suspect that most of them have never experienced real war and you wouldn't see them for dust if the bullets really started flying. Seversky

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