Coalition: The Problems and the Promise
During a recent search on the Internet for Objectivist (and Libertarian) sources, I realized something that is actually quite discouraging: there are vast numbers of sites dedicated to our basic values, but differing on peripheral ones.
Now, you may ask, why do I find this discouraging? After all, the opposing viewpoints (environmentalism, collectivists, whiny anti-individualists, etc), exist in profusion almost too great to be discussed. Why would I actually say that the existence of Objectivist, Libertarian, and generalized "individualistic" websites was a BAD thing?
It's not the many websites' EXISTENCE that bothers me; it's the fact that it is seemingly impossible for any of us to work together (EVEN – OR ESPECIALLY – when we share common values and premises.)
Take, for example, the infamous "schism" within Objectivism itself. Peikoff, Binswanger, et al. 'excommunicate' other dedicated Objectivists (Dr. Kelley, etc.) for what is admittedly a very petty and peripheral reason.
Rand HERSELF stated that the issue of "moral sanction" amounted to little more than a willingness to say "I don't agree with you" to your opponents AND PATIENTLY EXPLAIN WHY, but for the HEINOUS SIN of association with Libertarians, Kelley and others are thrown to the wolves, and castigated as "irrational whim-worshippers".
Now, nobody is going to like what I say here, but it MUST be acknowledged: things of this nature will be the DEATH of our worldview, and everything for which we stand.
I see this same tendency on SOLO's message boards. Any time there is a dispute (most often over a niggling side-point), both sides are immediately ready to score first blood. The issue of "moral sanction" has deteriorated into an ABSURDITY, which will eventually destroy Objectivism – AND ANY OTHER SIMILAR viewpoint, if unchecked.
When we Objectivists go at each other's throats over whether Objectivism and Zen are compatible, or are willing to read "evasion" into any disagreement on any topic, then that says something about us.
Maybe the vaunted commitment to "the Individual", and the "allegiance to one's own reasoned conclusions", doesn't run as deep as we think it does. We need perspective, above all.
Our opposition (the "politically correct" minions of Multiculturalism, environmentalism, Un-thinking Religion, rampant Emotionalism, etc.) draw their strength, and ability for social change SPECIFICALLY from their tendency to form Coalitions and work together on areas of agreement – DESPITE the fact that (for example), Militant Lesbian Vegetarian Feminists have different priorities and end-goals than Blacks who want "reparations for slavery". Examine ANY so-called "liberal" organization (the "Democratic party" in the USA, for example). EVEN within the so-called "diversity" which has become their catchphrase, there are certain core-values, and basic premises upon which they ALL agree (social "unfairness", and the DUTY to rectify it by draconian Governmental actions.) It is THIS ability to "agree to disagree" on areas of dissent, AND to work WITH one another for common goals, which allows them to mold the "mass culture" to their chosen form.
Meanwhile, Objectivists battle other Objectivists, Objectivists battle Libertarians, Anarcho-capitalists battle Anarchists, Atheists battle Deists, resulting in LITERALLY THOUSANDS of groups, organizations, viewpoints, and organizations ALL attempting to work at many of the same basic goals, and managing little more than a FEW successes, submerged in huge amounts of FLAME-wars.
Sorry, folks. It's LONG past time, when we could afford that sort of thing. It's time for all of us to swallow our pride, SET OUR EMOTIONS ASIDE, and do the reasonable thing:
Look around. Ask yourself whether Libertarians, Anarchists, EVEN "religious" people (of the more reasonable variety) could be of assistance to us, or we to them.
REALIZE that there are actually BIGGER differences between a Unitarian-Universalist and a "Fundamentalist Christian", than there are between the Universalist, and Objectivism.
ONLY coalition will save us. If Objectivists ESPECIALLY, continue this idiotic whining about 'sanction", we're ALREADY DEAD. A revolutionary Movement (which is, after all, what we ARE) is of no use at all, if all they do is sit around at meetings BITCHING about how bad things are.
Moreover, Revolutionaries have NOTHING to gain by fighting one another, when they SHOULD be fighting those who they want overthrown.
We may not (for example), agree on every point with Anarchists (the necessity for a State, comes to mind), but we BOTH see glaring problems in the current system.
Which outcome is better?
Coalition with those who are MOSTLY like-minded, or a descent into slavery because we were too proud to 'sanction" them?
Better to WIN against the current System, and then sort out the details later, than to never even TRY.
It's only Rational, after all.
Henry Emrich is a contributor to The Rational Argumentator.
Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.