In this post, I address Scott’s anti reactionary FAQ on terrors and mass murders. In other posts I will address economic growth, sex, freedom, art, and other issues. The anti reactionary FAQ is big, and has a lot of points, most of which I will deal with in separate posts.
Reactionaries say that democracy leads to the left singularity, which at best results in great suffering, and usually in mass murder.
Scott in his anti reactionary FAQ refutes this by a pile of supposed reactionary mass murders, notable among them the horrible reactionary mass murderer Zhang Xianzhong, better known to reactionaries as the horrible radical leftist mass murderer Chang Hsien-chong, the man who distributed the wealth of the landlords to the poor, then ate the landlords for oppressing the poor, then exterminated the intellectuals for infecting the poor with insufficiently progressive ideas, then flayed the poor alive for being insufficiently grateful for having the wealth of their oppressors redistributed to them.
Of all those who write in English, the historian Donnithorde was in the best position to know the truth about Chang Hsien-chong, and he tells us that the radical leftist Chang Hsien-chong reduced the population of Szechwan from three million to seven thousand, largely by torturing people to death.
The Ming dynasty was under attack by left wing revolutionaries. The most extreme, and most religious, of the leftists rose to the top, being holier than any of the others. Inevitably he found that not only were the elite not left enough, but the masses were not left enough. And soon after that, his own lieutenants were not left enough either.
This seems to be the closest approach to the left singularity ever.
Earlier I wrote
The left singularity is the same each time in its approach to infinite leftism, but differs chaotically and surprisingly each time in its ending short of infinite leftism
If it did not end, the final outcome, infinite leftism in finite time, would be that everyone is tortured to death for insufficient leftism, except the last torturer, who then commits suicide to punish himself for failure to inflict infinitely severe torments, but this does not happen in practice, because always at some point short of infinite leftism, something, or someone, goes boom – though not necessarily very far short of infinite leftism.
Which is a close approximation to the career of Chang Hsien-chong. Things did not go boom until rather late in the process.
Wikipedia gives a more progressive account, but the whitewash seems to be based on nothing but wishful thinking, on progressive unwillingness to believe ill of progressives. They cite Donnithorde to tell us that the seven kill stele is a myth, but neglect to cite Donnithorde that the words were Chang’s, irrespective of whether he carved them on a stele.
Heaven brings forth innumerable things to nurture man.
Man has nothing good with which to recompense Heaven
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
To update his words to the twenty first century just substitute earth for heaven:
Earth brings forth innumerable things to nurture man.
Man has nothing good with which to recompense Earth
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
10:10 no pressure.
The progressive rationale is that it was not
Chang Hsien-chong Zhang Xianzhong that killed all these people, but something or someone else, that no one noticed at the time.
Hang on. China in the seventeenth century was a literate and bureaucratic society. We have a pile of census records showing the near total depopulation of Szechwan. If someone or something killed everyone in Szechwan, it would have been noticed. There is overwhelming historical evidence that Chang Hsien-chong did it, or rather that the population of Szechwan did it to each other under his leadership and under the influence of his ideas. There is precisely zero evidence of anyone or anything else doing it.
So the progressive position on
Chang Hsien-chong Zhang Xianzhong is similar to their position on Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung. Supposedly he is a reactionary, and anyway the CIA made him do it. If reactionaries want a monarch, was not Kim il Sung a monarch?
Well actually, no, Kim Il Sung was not a monarch. He was a demotic radical, and should his descendents become monarchs, which may well happen, then North Korea will be fine. But since they are demotic radicals, North Korea is a hell hole, though not as bad a hell hole as was Szechwan province under Chang Hsien-chong.
Supposedly, if Zhang Xianzhong did it, he was a reactionary and monarch (Scott’s position), and if he was a radical leftist, he supposedly did not do it (Wikipedia position).
This post cheerfully stolen from Konkvistador