The hypothesis I’m about to unveil would require more research than I’m willing to do, and might be impossible to address even if I had the diligence required: what if violence among humans remains at a constant level, statistically, but with shifting loci of activity? Hear me out, not because I think this is a worthwhile idea, but because I would like to understand, myself, what I’m talking about.
Let’s see: I’m wondering about violence. Is it a constant of human existence? I mean, in a group of, say, n hundred thousand people, is there always one who’s a mass murderer? No, that’s not it.
In any complex aggregation of complex groups of people… no, wait, let’s define our terms: no, let’s not. Forget that. I can already tell I’m not onto something there.
What if there’s a trade-off between different kinds of violence, and we have to put up with the lunatic mass shootings so that we don’t get the ethnic cleansing massacres, etc, that other countries have? No. That makes no sense either.
There’s no deterministic human constant of violence. There’s no part of human nature that guarantees violence. And, while I don’t believe by a longshot that we’re living in the least violent era ever, or that there has been steady progress toward a more peaceful civilization, I also don’t believe violence is an inevitable outcome of a certain number of people, or a certain number and level of mixture of beliefs or ethnicities sharing a given area of land or amount of resources that derives a quotient of violence.
It does seem evident to me, though, that a large population can only tolerate being lied to by its owning class to a certain degree of illogic, pettiness, popular divisiveness, and implausibility before those lies produce resentment and violence. And when a deeply-held belief, like the moral inferiority of a group within that population, is habitually used throughout a nation’s history to scapegoat that group for problems that are the unadmitted fault of the owning class in a drastically unequal society, some form of violent persecution seems, historically, to be an inevitable outcome.
The US owning class has historically resorted to blaming black people, and those who argue for redistributive solutions to inequality, for white people’s problems. The fact that there are black people who’ve moved into the owning class hasn’t altered that argument, nor the trend of persecuting the people remaining on the wrong end of inequality, regardless of the large number of them who are white or otherwise non-black.
It was that great American himself, Charles Manson, who eventually turned his eponymous family into a murderous doomsday cult, under the belief that the apocalypse would be heralded by a war between black people and white people. Today his doomsday cult has spread all across the nation. And while the current doomsday preppers’ and white nationalists’ second Civil War scenarios differ with Manson on the details, no one can doubt now that the right in 2022 is united under Manson Family values.
Probably the most reasonable Tucker Carlson believer I’ve conversed with this year – and I don’t need to tell you that’s a low bar of rationality – has also espoused these two beliefs: black people’s attitudes and behavior toward the police are the cause of their problems with the police and the justice system; and, the real revolution against the powerful is going to come from the populist movement on the right.
When Tucker and other rightwing entertainers talk about “replacement” or the terrible dangers wokeness poses to the stability of the “traditional” American family, or advocate for more, not less, money and military equipment for police, or claim that teaching Critical Race Theory in schools – a phenomenon they invented out of thin air – causes white people to hate themselves and non-white people to disrespect their betters, they’re proclaiming Manson Family values.
And when regular working people, or small business owners, or large business owners, or lawyers, or doctors, or any of your neighbors badmouth union power, communal ownership, restorative justice, redistributive economics, and a broadening of civil rights, they’re advocating for Manson Family values whether they’re aware of it or not.
That might sound like a stretch. If workers reject unionization and vote for candidates who push so-called “right to work” legislation, how is that supporting Manson Family values? Let’s pose a counter-query: in a society where we’re supposed to be free to congregate, and free to speak our minds to power, how is banning collective bargaining for wages and benefits even legal? How Orwellian is it when banning the right to collectively bargain is called a “right to work?”
That’s analogous to labeling slavery the “right to pick cotton.” Don’t you want the right to live in chains? The Emancipation Proclamation is trying to take away your chains! You’ll have to make choices! You’ll have to buy or rent property, farm it without the motivation of being whipped, pay taxes on the value you create and vote for how those funds are used in the community. You don’t want all that responsibility. And if you do, I’m afraid we’re just going to have to massacre you and destroy your Black Wall Streets and such. You’re asking for a race war.
Or in the case of the original example, a class war. And the class with the money will win. So don’t even try it, Sunshine.
If your conservative uncle argues that abortion is murder, how is that related to Manson Family values? Well, along with his arguments undoubtedly come assumptions about the motivation of abortion advocates, which bleed into his assumptions about why liberals advocate for women’s rights at all, which lead to ideas of the sanctity of the “traditional” American family, which lead to all the ways liberalism is undermining that sanctity, including by destabilizing the structure of the black family, which helps breed bad attitudes toward police, which leads to the necessity of police heavy-handedness and the over-representation of black people in the prison system (and in morgues), which leads inevitably to fears about the coming race war, and why your uncle has purchased a high-capacity magazine assault weapon, and why he has so many institutional-size cans of tuna in his bunker.
MFV. Manson Family Values. Why are they trying to force teachers to teach our children MFV in schools? Why are they preaching MFV on Fox News, Newsmax, and AM talk radio? Why is the GOP trying to make an MFV view of history the law of the land?
Can’t they see how MFV leads to ideologically driven mass murder? The possibility of “the real revolution against the powerful” coming “from the populist movement on the right” is horrifying. It should horrify anyone with a historical memory. It’s horrifying because Manson Family Values lead directly to genocide.
Manson Family Values are destroying this country. Manson Family Values keep our peacetime gun-violence statistics higher than those of any other nation. We have to train ourselves to recognize Manson Family Values. We have to learn to call out Manson Family Values when they’re being hammered from the perfidious pulpits of pundits and politicians. We have to learn to describe it to others so they can recognize and call it out as well.
We have to shame it. We have to reveal it as the embarrassment that it is. We have to drive it back into the incubators where it came from and bury those incubators under the weight of history. It’s time to win history ourselves, not succumb to those who would steal it from us.
Our goal must be to grow workers’ and poor people’s power by shrinking the reach of Manson Family Values.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!