In the news is that the 'brownshirt' Oath Keepers have come to the physical defense of gay marriage scofflaw Kim Davis. I thin this was inevitable, and there's more to come. My friend Miniver is wary of men with guns defending Davis saying:
I am wary of people who want to pick up guns to subvert the workings of liberal democratic institutions
To which I replied:
I am wary of people who feel entitled to legislate morality, which I see as overburdening and over extending the legitimate aegis of democratic institutions. This case perhaps exemplifies the consequences of zero-tolerance. Suddenly people want the entire apparatus of police state powers to crush the lawbreaker. It's religious fervor. So there are consequences.
From the beginning of my following of the gay marriage issue, I have said that this has been overplayed with regard to both sides using government to state their absolutist positions. I have always said that the appropriate course was through the court system, in which advocates for gay marriage were winning every case. I have also always throught that this was a public and social accomodation that required social evolution that could not be enforced by law. When it escalated to state constitutional amendments and at large referenda I saw it get out of hand. I never expected a fundamental change in the definition of marriage to have no coercive impact on canon law. And I don't expect the Kim Davis thing to be the last conflict. I expect it will get worse before it gets better. I am pleased that the escalation in this dimension makes clear the weight and complications of such 'social justice' matters, but I say so with the proviso that the record of these 'brownshirts' in Ferguson is good.
My current bias is that I am convinced that we in America have over politicized every aspect of our public life and that we seek government solutions to matters that should be solved socially. We are losing our ability to be social (as anyone can see that most social media is not so very civilized - aka 'dont read the comments') and yet we are escalating our ability to put people into positions of great political power (or ruin people in such positions) strictly based upon these social criteria.
I hope I understand, and I do respect your position with regard to your affinity for and association with many things 'alternative'. There is nothing so moribund and soul killing as a society of conformists and the energy provided by the destruction of social convention is the spark humanity needs on a constant basis. We all need to be able to clearly peer into the arcane corners of human life without fear or favor. I find you consistently clear-eyed as I try to be as well.
I cannot reconcile social justice political activism with the idea of organic community. As you say, social justice attempt to address the systemic. So it refuses to be local, rather it seeks to be viral. But such action is at odds with diversity itself and cannot be sustained in all real communities at once. California is not Kentucky. What happens in Kentucky is organic to Kentucky, and moreso in Rowan County, currently in flames. What I see here is an attempt to use Leviathan force to make over the law in this county of 23,000 people.
Rowan County will never ever be the Castro. It can't be and it shouldn't be. To force it to be subverts the workings of liberal democratic institutions. So as long as people are using network tools to assemble political will against small hierarchical municipalities, it will be bullying. So it won't surprise me that such situations will result in violence. (insert Machiavellian quote here).
So that's what I said on Facebook.
Social justice political activism is the hipster gentrification of small town politics.
It is entirely fair to say that the Oath Keepers have no more business in Rowan County than they did in Ferguson. Their headman, Stewart Rhodes, is brandishing big sticks but not speaking as softly as he should. There is an area of weirdness in the 'earned valor' arena that is often difficult to differentiate from legitimate concern. My purpose here, however is not to endorse or support the Oath Keepers but to remind people that the bottom line is always force. The actual less force OK uses, the better. They could be the Guardian Angels of these days and they will face the same problem as all such groups, which is a failure to administratively discipline their membership in any way that gives substance to their principles, no matter how right minded. The sworn officers will always win, and those who jump the gun with guns always lose, as it should be.
Hipsters and gentrifiers pretend they have no power. It's a lie.