No introspection on the Left
Posted by aogWednesday, 02 November 2005 at 22:20 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Brothers Judd is this news story on the rioting in Paris, now in its seventh day. One of the things that lept out at me was this bit:

The current clashes have profited one group however: The far-right, anti-immigration National Front party. Appealing to the same populist fears of ethnic violence, the Front’s leader Jean-Marie Le Pen placed second in the 2002 elections.

Some experts such as Jacqueline Costa Lascoux speculate the Front’s law-and-order platform may go down even better in the next election.

“You’ll notice that the extreme right is saying nothing, is doing nothing right now,” said Costa-Lascoux, who heads the Observatory on Immigration and Integration, an independent body based in Paris. “They don’t have to do anything but wait.”

I think Le Pen’s a nutcase, but one is still left wondering at the obtuseness of people like Costa-Lascoux and others of Le Pen’s political and ideological opponents. Wouldn’t a normal, aware person, when observing that reality is breaking his opponents way so strongly the opponent need to do nothing to benefit from it, at least have the fleeting thought that perhaps there was something to that opponent’s ideology? And perhaps something wrong with one’s own?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Luciferous Thursday, 03 November 2005 at 10:15

Remember, it’s France, where mind is all and “reality” is but a mental construct. Nuts to be sure, but they do have a history of it.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 03 November 2005 at 11:08

I shouldn’t be surprised, because I see this all the time in my own field.

Someone asked recently for more details on my code slinging. Dispensing with false modesty, I’ll state that I am a world class, butt kicking code slinger. One of the reasons is illustrated by this post, which is when on those rare occasions when someone else kicks my butt, my first thought is “how did he do that?” and my second is “I wonder if I should do that too?”. This isn’t something I worked at, it’s simply my natural reaction. I shamelessly steal other programmers’ good ideas to add to my own toolset whenever I see one.

Yet I see so many others who react with fury, despair, fatalism, or incomprehension in the reverse situation. Just like Costa-Lascoux, it doesn’t occur to them to steal my ideas for their own benefit.

Finally, a key point is that (in my experience) it’s not uncommon to find a few gems even in the worst bit-rotted piles of fetid code. So even though Le Pen’s a nutcase, it doesn’t follow that every one of his policies is loony. In fact, if things are breaking his way like this, he must be doing something right, the trick is extracting that without the rest of the garbage.

I’ve long wondered if this is a strength of the American political system. Certainly former President Clinton did best for himself when he plagiarized select Republican policies. Both parties also have a long history of destroying third parties by cherry picking their policy planks. I’ve argued in the past that this is a good reason to support a third party, even if it will never win an election. If you can get a key policy adopted by a major party and implemented, that’s just as good as winning an actual election.

cjm Thursday, 03 November 2005 at 11:47

my motto is: if you can do it easy, do it easy, and nothing is easier than making use of some one else’s good work. any monkey can throw some code up, how are your design skils ?

regarding france, what i think is happening there is that the less extreme right has been suffocated making a space for the really nasty people like le pen. the leftists can’t adopt his more popular policies because their activist base won’t let them. see any parallels with our leftist party here in the u.s. ?

you see the same phenomena with bacteria and viri; kill the milder forms and their more lethal brethren take off…just like Nietchze says :)

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