Mob rule:
Back in the 19th century I am told that Ralph Waldo Emerson went to visit his good friend Henry David Thoreau, who was in jail at the time.  The conversation started out, “What’s an honest man like you doing in jail?”

“What’s an honest man like you doing free?”

There was a law of which Thoreau did not approve so he did not obey it.  That concept was picked up by a man in India named Mahatma Gandhi.  At the time India was under the control of Britain, an arrangement that of course we do not approve of.  But – if memory serves it was a nation of some 360 million.  The entire British establishment there was about 100,000.  That comes out to 3,600 natives to one colonial.  So each bureaucrat provided all the government services for 3,600 people.  If everybody earned the same amount, and assuming a 2,000 hour work year, the cost was about 33 minutes per person per year.  Perhaps more realistically the bureaucrats made 100 times the average, the total amount of tax an average person would have paid to the government was something like six or seven days worth.

Of course the government services were not extensive, but you have to admit that’s pretty cheap for civil peace, military security and the rule of law, even if imperfect law.  A failed state it wasn’t.  But there was a serious flaw.  One person cannot keep 3,600 people in jail.  One person can hardly keep 36 people in jail.  So if 1% of the country were willing to break the law, the government could not jail them and do anything else whatsoever.  It could not survive.  And so Gandhi set it up, the failed state emerged and the Brits were sent packing.  It takes a lot more time and money to run India now.

Gandhi’s strategy we observed and adopted by people looking for change in the US.  Most notably there was the peace movement.  Lots of people got involved and had a serious impact on the war.  Well and good.  I never liked that war.  But in recent years we have had war after war.  Where are the protests?  To my observation there are none.  Those hadn’t been protests against war any more than Gandhi had been working for the best government at the best price.  People were protesting the draft.  With the draft gone, the protests are gone.

But mob rule is still with us.

Rumor has it that a busy social network changed one of its rules recently.  It was always possible to block messages from somebody you didn’t want to hear from.  The change was that the network would no longer notify the person that the block had been placed.  It makes sense to me.  If somebody is harassing me I do not want to give that person useful information, in this case the fact that I no longer know I am being harassed.  But there was an uproar.  The company felt obliged to change back.  So who was roaring up?  It had to be the stalkers themselves.

And that, among other things, is a problem with mob rule.  The movement is easily infiltrated.  The anonymity of a mob may seem attractive to those not quite ready to be martyrs, but it means you just don’t know whom you are joining forces with. 

A man I think very highly of recently pointed out that “Greens,” those whose interest is primarily in protecting the environment, are natural allies of conservatives.  Yet all one hears about is them being at loggerheads.  I think the Greens have been infiltrated and turned against their logical friends and their logical friends do not heed them and probably have been infiltrated as well.

I believe in equal or better rights for women.  What I see worldwide is not encouraging.  Europe does all right I guess, but Europe is a demographic write off.  There are a few other places, largely Anglophone, that do not make me squirm but they are tiny, shrinking or both.  It comes down to America.  So if women’s rights are important, they are important here.  There just is no other place to retreat to.  So the natural allies of the feminists are those who would limit immigration; there just isn’t going to be significant immigration from places where women’s rights are in good shape.  And don’t think for a second that people who move do not carry their value systems with them.  But I cannot think of a single vocal feminist who is publicly visible who makes a point of this. 

I imagine I have offended everybody who has read this far.  So I’ll get to the point.  Who are my natural allies?

Well everybody should be my natural ally.  With no babies nothing you care about will survive.  All right, if you are a Green to the exclusion of all else perhaps the extinction of the human race would seem like a good thing, but at this point if we go down we’re going to take the environment with us.  Maybe your only interest is in mathematics and it doesn’t matter to you whether anybody ever knows what you have done with mathematics.  If that’s the case, let me know.  I’d be fascinated.  I’d rephrase.  I don’t think it’s going to happen. 

I can’t claim the high moral ground by saying I am not anonymous.  I was encouraged to use my own name by Ned Brooks.  I have never regretted the decision for a moment.  So anonymous protests are simply not necessary, and they are terribly vulnerable to being infiltrated.  I trust them not.

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