Two of the most contemptible arguments right now, easily in the top 3, are the arguments in favor of the lockdown and the arguments in favor of gun control. On one hand, anyone in favor of the lockdown restrictions as they are in the Northeast is still looking at the damage being done to small businesses, domestic/child abuse victims, cancer patients and the like, to say nothing of drug abuse, suicide and how many people were sent into poverty over this and insisting that it will all be worth it in the end, once we get that magic vaccine…and once the vaccine is universally available, and then once the new vaccine is proven more than 90% effective, then, one imagines, when the vaccine is taken by 95% of the population. Only then will the lockdowns be able to end.
If you think I’m joking, the goalposts have jet engines on them that were just installed in April. Those things tend to last a while. Put nothing past the people under the sway of this “heroic” argument.
In this way, they are much like Critical Theorists and BLM activists (assuming there’s a difference at this point) who insist that on the other side of the violence and Cancel Culture is a better world. As though the parts of the “new world” and the sum of those parts can be complete opposites and the math will still check out because to say otherwise just proves math is racist. It is interesting how advocates of all three positions have the same distinctive argumentation style: the unassailable premise and moral disengagement
There is very little that needs to be said about the lockdown argument at this point. Your ideology has made you into a strident ideologue or a sociopath. Failing that, perhaps you are able to afford the long-term lockdown. Either way, there is no moral grounds for keeping things remotely as they are.
As far as the unassailable premise is concerned, there isn’t much data to say “a surge is coming” or that the damage will be worse than what has already been caused outside of COVID. It’s either arrogance or something about wanting to hurt Trump’s chances that keep people in support of lockdown. At this stage however, the pro-lockdown argument has been oddly quiet and the people who want to open up and are being vocal about it seems to have grown very little in the last two months.
So either the pro-lockdown argument was insincere or it is terrified of how very wrong it is and what it’s “good intentions” caused. Either way, “I told you so” does not remotely begin to say it.
BLM I am somewhat willing to give the benefit of the doubt here because I’m not sure how many black people actually see the riots as tactically useful to the cause. What has come out of the movement lately reeks of the standard white progressive garbage of burning down a better world and insisting that the people who have proven themselves only capable of destruction and cancellation are also capable of healing and building a better system than the one they’re burning down.
This isn’t to say there aren’t non-white people pulling this crap off, one only need to look at the stuff that happened in Pittsburgh for evidence of that. But the Mao-style struggle sessions at coffee shops and restaruants, where hordes of zombies surround one patron and start yelling at them for minutes on end tend to lack a considerable amount of melanin.
Where one might become incredulous is when they look at how the riots were portrayed as they follow the same initial arc as the lockdown argument. In the beginning, there was a common thread about how the violence was just a form of expression and if people wanted them to stop, then police killings would have to stop. Now, especially as it begins to affect the polls, we are seeing think-pieces come out saying things like “Stop the riots, it could get Trump re-elected”. Effectively, it’s not that the riots aren’t good, but they might get Trump re-elected, so stop with the riots for now, and go back to them in December.
And in this, we see the combination of moral disengagement and the unassailable premise, break, destroy, harass, assault and even in some cases nearly kill the other people, but know that you are justified in doing so because something, something “equality”. And, as Robin DiAngleo points out in “White Fragility”, the canonical text of this iteration of the movement, any form of resistance by those who disagree is a surefire sign that you are right and are morally superior. I know in most circles that’s called a “Kafkatrap”, but for you, in this very convenient instance, things are different.
It’s strange how being “morally superior” opens one to the right to commit morally evil acts. Again, the parts and their sum appear to be opposites.
Now, while the activists for lockdown, and at this point, it must be said, some Marxist view of equality as well are among the new school of charlatan, they do not hold a candle to the gun control argument. Gun Control has for at least 20 years, insisted that their bad deeds are seeped in good intentions and their practical and philosophical insistence on retreat and surrender evil elements are irrelevant in light of how very much it cares and how very hard it tries to create a better world. But Gun Control has suffered a few setbacks thanks to, for the most part, the BLM movement.
To start, Gun Control is the philosophy of retreat and abdication of one’s own safety. Up until recently, it was not uncommon to hear that private citizens don’t need guns because “the police will protect them”. If nothing else, conservatives and libertarians can thank the BLM activists for creating that conundrum and setting the Gun Control argument back a few years. The fact that police training is actually on par with what is on offer to civilians, and civilians are taught de-escalation whereas police generally are not, has made another favorite myth of Gun Control even less tenable; that where the criminal is this unstoppable force of nature and anyone shooting back will only make things worse, most commonly expressed through saying someone in an abusive situation is more likely to be shot by her abuser than kill him. Speaking from experience, it is not hard to hide a weapon from an abuser and be the only one with access to it. The argument is not airtight.
Gun Control’s failings are never its fault either. Just recently we had Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden say that two officers being shot by an activist in California was proof we needed California’s gun control laws on a national scale. The gun-free zone doesn’t create soft-targets, the gun laws in which those gun-free zones exist create soft-targets. Chicago’s crime rate isn’t the fault of IL’s tight gun laws or the fact that banning something inevitably creates a black market for it, or that gangs have connections that can supersede the law, it’s because Indiana has weaker gun laws and on and on into infinity.
What could the source of these commonalities be? Personally, the problem is at least two fold. The first is the unqualified and undeserved belief that they are in morally, tactically and in all senses absolutely in the right. They have accepted the flaws and failings and disastrous results that befall other people and use them as proof that their solution would make things better. They are unable to reconcile for instance, how destroying small businesses (in the case of the riots or the lockdown) is detrimental to the cause. How convenient then, that they had no obligation to do so in the first place.
The second is like the first; the belief that those disagree with them as a whole, are dehumanizing and are therefore worthy of whatever befalls them, usually by the hand of the one who has declared them worthy of misfortune. This is the flaw of Critical Theory in particular. There is no individual, there is the group and nothing else. Any resistance to the claims of the lockdown, gun control or BLM is based solely, entirely and completely in some grievous (and most conveniently, subconscious or implict) moral failing unknown or unacknowledged by the Critical Theorist’s hapless victim, be it wanting Grandma, children or black people respectively to die, “those people”, as in the group, are the evil ones. Sure, one can say that self-defense is a thing, or that small businesses, cancer patients, abuse victims an the like are being harmed in the short and long term, or that riots do more harm than good, but adherents of the aforementioned movements know that their opponents (victims), deep down, in that wonderful space of the subconscious upon which all things can be projected, know they are evil and need only be endlessly beaten or gaslit to come to a knowledge of that “fact”.