Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Power of Eccentricity

Read carefully. That's "eccentricity", not "electricity", though there's "power" in the title. Eccentric, lit. out of the center, denotes a person or entity that does not go with the mainstream flow --someone quirky and whimsical; the connotation of "weird, oddball, abnormal" often comes to mind.

What got me thinking of this today was the news about N. Korea latest provocative military maneuvers, including the testing and attempted testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Trump is desirous of appearing to be tough on N. Korea and is now starting starting to drop more serious threats of taking it on alone, without the aid of China --N. Korea's closest ally-- if need be.

For the record, and as an aside to the main point of this treatise, I am against this U.S. militant stance, as I was against the continuing hostility toward Iran (also championed by Trump) when the Nuclear pact was signed last year and the antagonism toward other formerly communist regimes, including Russia and Cuba. I believe that the Cold War is now finally and unequivocally over; the capitalist West has won the war and collected all the spoils and so beating on such formerly communist regimes (who have now acceded to more capitalist forms of government) is like flogging a dead horse. There's simply nothing strategic to gain from it, now that those countries are no longer seeking to spread communism across the world including the incitement of a proletariat revolution in the U.S.A.

But the topic of this discussion isn't capitalism vs. communism, and how and why capitalism emerged victorious, a topic worthy of discussion in its own right, but how and why some country, namely North Korea, did not capitulate to Western capitalism. They seem to have sat out the surrender conference, either Korea being indifferent to the reigning international trend or the West simply not caring about such a small, inconsequential, third-world country holding out against it.

I have long ago noticed a trend in history and sociology: Even after the bulk of civilization adopts a given practice, there are always some holdouts --reactionary elements in society who choose to resist the trend at, seemingly, their own expense and comfort and contrary to the prima facie rational stance. Such resistors are typically persecuted by the majority, often for many centuries, even as the resistors pick up momentum by the fortification of their faith triggered by the very oppression that is meant to root them out. Ultimately they survive the physical onslaught but lose the ideological one when they cease to exist as a distinct entity, their ideas being adopted in part by the majority.

In early American history Jeffersonian who sought limited federal power, were persecuted by the Adams administration's Libel and Sedition Acts. They won that battle, through the elicitation of popular condemnation of the suppression of journalism and free speech, but the they lost the war when Jefferson and his successors ultimately adopted many of the key positions of the federalists (.e.g the Louisiana purchase, the Bank of the United States, and the protective tariff). The Jeffersonian philosophy of limited federal government persists to this day in the form of libertarianism, but it is a decidedly fringe movement that has no influence on the political thinking and acting of Congress and the President.

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