I Am Sorry for Not Doing My Fullest to Back Sanders
This was part my anarchists’ skepticism of Establishment politics at play, part good old fashioned political realism. If Sanders had prevailed, he’d be a failed president. He’s significantly to the Left of any conceivable Congress, even a Congress comprised of Democratic majorities in both houses. And odds disfavored the latter (though the coattails effect meant it was possible).
But a failed Sanders presidency (leading to one or two terms of garden-variety GOP administrations) is vastly preferable to what we have now.
I Am Sorry for Not Taking the “Trump Will Win” Minority Seriously
The moment Hillary picked Tim Kaine as her running mate, I should have realized it was all over for her. She’s a corporate democrat who is ill-suited to prevail in a world that has suddenly changed. Indeed, I realized the latter at the time, but I failed to fully make the connection between that fact and what the Trump Will Win contrarians were predicting.
I am Sorry for Ever Backing Any Form of Gun Control
This is something I’ve typically been extremely skeptical about, but there have been a few exceptions to this general rule. One of them was this year, when I first signed and then voted for Initiative 1491. What the hell was I thinking? In a year when Donald J. Trump was on the ballot, nonetheless? And confounding the conventional wisdom and opinion polls by persistently doing better than expected? In an election where his opponent was exhibiting signs of being unelectable? What was in my cranium, anyhow, wallpaper paste?
Yes, yes: it’s for the theoretically meritorious purpose of getting court orders to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous or threatening people. That’s a worthy motive (again, in theory). The problem is, with a fascist government (which does not yet exist at the state level but which in a few years might), courts will rubber-stamp any request using any of the available pretexts.
It may in an abstract theoretical sense be best for there to be less, not more, guns in society in a society not in danger of going fascist. However that is not the sort of society we presently live in. It will probably be that this will inevitably condemn society to a higher rate of gun violence and accidental gun deaths. The latter is a price well worth paying for maximizing our chances of defeating fascism and preserving freedom.
The nature of our world is intrinsically dangerous. The pursuit of absolute safety in such a world is a fools’ errand.
I Must Reflect on My Having, to My Shame, a Gramophone Mind
George Orwell wrote one if his typically insightful essays about his difficult in getting Nineteen Eighty-Four published during the World War II years, due to the novel’s anti-Stalinist theme:
It is important to realise that the current Russomania is only a symptom of the general weakening of the western liberal tradition. Had the MOI chipped in and definitely vetoed the publication of this book, the bulk of the English intelligentsia would have seen nothing disquieting in this. Uncritical loyalty to the USSR happens to be the current orthodoxy, and where the supposed interests of the USSR are involved they are willing to tolerate not only censorship but the deliberate falsification of history. To name one instance. At the death of John Reed, the author of Ten Days that Shook the World — first-hand account of the early days of the Russian Revolution — the copyright of the book passed into the hands of the British Communist Party, to whom I believe Reed had bequeathed it. Some years later the British Communists, having destroyed the original edition of the book as completely as they could, issued a garbled version from which they had eliminated mentions of Trotsky and also omitted the introduction written by Lenin. If a radical intelligentsia had still existed in Britain, this act of forgery would have been exposed and denounced in every literary paper in the country. As it was there was little or no protest. To many English intellectuals it seemed quite a natural thing to do. And this tolerance or [sic = of?] plain dishonesty means much more than that admiration for Russia happens to be fashionable at this moment. Quite possibly that particular fashion will not last. For all I know, by the time this book is published my view of the Soviet régime may be the generally-accepted one. But what use would that be in itself? To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment. [emphasis added]
I have always regarded not having such a thing as something to strive for. Yet here I am, having failed miserably on at least two and perhaps three significant cases at a pivotal moment in world history.
I must redouble my struggle against this form of conformity.
OK, reflection done and mea culpas issued. Lessons learned. We have an incipient fascist revolution to defeat and an antifascist revolution to win. Endless hand-wringing and brow-beating is counterproductive.
No doubt almost all of us have things that we would have done differently over the past year or so, if only we knew what was truly at stake.