Thursday, June 25, 2009

When Is Totalitarian Dictatorship A Moral Obligation?

In a plague situation, certain people have their movements drastically curtailed. They are put under house arrest without ever committing or even being charged with a crime. Other people are prevented from associating with them or even touching them, again at the risk of arbitrary detention. Their belongings are oftentimes seized, confiscated and/or destroyed.

Does that sound like a totalitarian dictatorship to you? It should because that's exactly what it is. Totalitarian dictatorship is exactly what's required in order to defeat a plague. I know that idiots of the modern age put a quasi-religious faith in pharmaceutics and medical procedures. But that's all a bunch of crap that doesn't work, as the ever increasing rates of multiply-resistant strepp shows. What's required, what actually works, is good old quarantine and ultra-hygiene.

So are there any morally legitimate uses for totalitarian dictatorship? Are there any situations where totalitarian dictatorship is morally required? You bet your arse there are. Plague control! Totalitarian dictatorship is not some bugabear of evil. It's a form of political organization whose legitimate sphere of application is very limited, that's all. In fact, the equation totalitarianism == evil is the kind of absolutist binary mindless "thinking" which really ought to repel and disgust every thinking person.

I'm not even going to address the notion that plagues should go unchecked if checking them requires totalitarian dictatorship. That is utterly fucking stupid and anyone who buys into it is automatically a worthless excuse for a person. No, I'm not going to waste my time on that because there's a much more fun topic: AIDS.

You see, if plague control is a legitimate use-case for totalitarian authoritarianism then the HIV / AIDS plague is one that ought to have been checked by a good dose of Stalinism. And it's not like it would have been that difficult. Just tattoo a little HIV+ on the inner thigh of every person who tests HIV positive two or three times in a row. Do this aggressively enough and within a fortnight, the HIV plague would have been stopped dead.

Cheap and effective! But nooo, it's far "better" for people to be "free" to die long linguering deaths and for pharmaceutical companies to research deadly medicines for two+ decades before making the slightest dent in the situation. Yeah man, (in a braveheart voice) freeeeeeedom. Pardon me while I vomit.

The harsh truth which some ideological numbskulls really need to have pounded in their heads is this: Security, Prosperity and Family are separate from freedom and are more important towards happiness than freedom. That's just one of those facts which I as an anarcho-communist learned from social conservatives.


Anonymous said...

Hello, Richard.

I've been a bit amused by your venomous rants against humanity and all, but I initially encountered your name on the wiki, from which you were banned three years, four months, and seventeen days ago.

On that wiki, you had developed one concept for a secure and integrated Operating System that you called Blue Abyss, with significant components including an Object Browser, an ill-defined Communities application, a Universal Catalog, and a programming language (Smalltalk).

You then described a (ludicrous) timetable for implementation on the page entitled FirstInitiative.

I am curious as to what has happened with that project after you were kicked from the community for unabashedly being sadistically demeaning towards others in the community.

For something you were passionate about, I'm surprised to see so little about it here and elsewhere on the net. Did you abandon the project?

I'm curious. It looked interesting. I was somewhat inspired by your ideas on object browsers and operating systems design principles in the development of a programming language (and attendant abstract machine), though I've taken a very different direction in design than your Blue Abyss was taking (document browser instead of object browser - cf. DocumentDefinitions and DeclarativeGui; distributed programming language instead of communities; object capabilities and DRM-based distribution constraints instead of links-as-caps; distributed dataflow programming instead of universal catalog; etc.)

I cannot find your e-mail anywhere so I'm taking the dubious route of contacting you through comments. Feel free to rant about it, if you wish.

A discussion held in comments on Totalitarian Dictatorship will probably be lost. I ask that you create a new topic for any response, and perhaps excise and move this comment (or quote it into the topic).

Warm Regards ye most intelligent of humanity-hating trolls,

David Barbour

John Vance said...

From what I understand, the Cuban response to AIDS was pretty effective, and quite restrained for a society that is by default totalitarian.

I'm glad you're still posting. I'd like to know where you're active these days.

Richard Kulisz said...

You're right that it was both restrained and very effective. Until even Cuba's system was overwhelmed. Possibly because of increased tourism. I wonder what the current state of the epidemic & quarantine are over there.

These days I'm active nowhere and that isn't likely to change anytime soon. Now that I know why people are dumb, I've written off the whole category of open communities.

tigerthink said...

I approve of this post.

Alrenous said...

"Does that sound like a totalitarian dictatorship to you?"


"Totalitarian dictatorship is exactly what's required in order to defeat a plague."

And you berate others for lack of imagination?

A highly likely stable property unit is the city. If you're plagued and outside my city, I prevent you from entering, just as I would my house. Perfectly normal.

If you're inside my city, you signed a contract stating that you agree with certain measures in the event of a plague - because if you didn't sign it, I didn't let you in my city.

In a very real sense, my security force is carrying out the wishes of the citizen when they confine them to their house. They wanted in my city more than they wanted to wander free during a plague, and so one privilege was exchanged for another. Indeed, without such rights, the city would soon cease to exist.

HIV is a more interesting edge case, as is the emancipation of dependents, though ultimately only slightly troublesome.

Richard Kulisz said...

Blah blah blah, but then again you have no problem with literal slavery so no wonder you're in love with totalitarian dictatorship. I'm sure you also view slavery as an "only slightly more troublesome" issue requiring "imagination". UGH!