Aaron Swartz needed killing

Moldbug is back!

Though for some reason he is not as wonderfully long winded as he usually is.

“Civil disobedience” is no more than a way for the overdog to say to the underdog: I am so strong that you cannot enforce your “laws” upon me. I am strong and might makes right – I give you the law, not you me.

Thoreau was an even better example of this than Aaron Swartz.

You’ll note the tone of this manifesto, which is the typical vaunting, bullying tone of the powerful addressing the powerless. Your so-called laws are worthless, it says, because law means nothing without power. It is we who have the power, we who make the real laws.

Then [Aaron Swartz] takes his beliefs seriously, and speaks actual truth to actual power. Well, ya know, power doesn’t like that much.

Thoreau, of course, unlike Aaron Swartz, was never so careless as to speak the actual truth to actual power.

Thoreau seems to have pretty much agreed with the Moldbuggian analysis of the civil war, except, of course, that the armed faith that was to conquer America was supposedly individualist, and while he knew it was a religion, felt it was not a church, and therefore exempted from the first amendment, that his brand of individualism could only be imposed at gunpoint by the state, that his brand of anti statism required a vastly more powerful federal government. Thoreau pretty much agrees with Moldbug that the civil war was a theocratic war to impose the true religion on all by centralized state power, the difference being that Moldbug thinks the religion was statist, oppressive, and untrue, while Thoreau thinks the religion is true, individualist, and anti statist, despite requiring conscription, taxation, warfare, and a vast increase in state power.

Thoreau prefigures the innumerable protests we have recently seen where the Cathedral revolts against itself by demanding more power and money for itself.

Hurray Moldbug!

7 Responses to “Aaron Swartz needed killing”

  1. Yay, Moldbug!

    BTW, Who are the “Students Against a Democratic Society” behind Radish? It’s pretty fracking awesome. And if they can pull that off every week…?!!

  2. Alex J. says:

    So why did Aaron Swartz need killing?

    • jim says:

      As Moldbug observes, civil disobedience is in practice a strategy used by the powerful against the powerless. The man committing civil disobedience says to the weak “You must obey our laws, but you cannot make us obey even our own laws.”

      And as I observed, that started with Thoreau.

      And as Moldbug observed, should one carelessly use civil disobedience against the powerful, one gets instantly squished.

      • Alex J. says:

        That’s a prediction that he would get squished rather than a justification for it. In the event, his actual punishment seemed to be shaping up to be rather mild, a year in jail is nothing worth killing yourself over. And, IIRC, you’re supposed to be willing to do the time to engage in civil disobedience. And, now that I think of it, Swartz was being secretive, when doing it in public is the whole point. (Perhaps a big reveal afterwards.)

        I think Moldbug’s observation applies to some examples, but not to others. Officially, civil disobedience is supposed to say, “The law is unjust, and if you punish me for breaking it, the injustice will be all the more clear.” (This doesn’t work so well if the injustice is, in fact, not clear, or if Power doesn’t give a crap.) A recent example would be the guy who recently set himself on fire in Tunisia. He brought down the government. Whether it’s for the better remains to be seen of course.

        • jim says:

          In the event, his actual punishment seemed to be shaping up to be rather mild, a year in jail is nothing worth killing yourself over

          But not being one of the powerful, when you thought you were, or worse, no longer being one of the powerful, when you used to be, might well incline one to kill oneself.

          Officially, civil disobedience is supposed to say, “The law is unjust, and if you punish me for breaking it, the injustice will be all the more clear.”

          In practice, it is pretty obvious that most practitioners of civil disobedience believe they are above the law, that they usually are above the law, and that in particular Swartz believed he was above the law, and was shocked to find that he was not.

          There might be some sincere practitioners of civil disobedience, but Swartz was not, and the big heroes of the civil disobedience brigade, Ghandi and Thoreau, were not.

  3. […] Aaron Swartz needed killing « Jim’s Blog […]

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