Can Passivism (P) work?
P is a very clever strategy, but there is a paradox contained within it. For P to succeed as a strategy the necessary conditions of its success require practicing -P.
In short, P is a kind of practical self-contradiction. How so? P requires organisational and personal discipline. It requires an organisation to have control over a very large part of the country’s political players (High, Middle and Low). It requires both organisational and personal discipline to not react to provocations. It also requires incredible patience.
The problem is that to build an organisation – a machine – it requires activity, charismatic leadership, energy and forward momentum. In short, for P to even begin to be practiced it requires practicing -P. If this is very Zen, then that is not surprising as the Master makes a clear reference to Zen. Zen is paradoxical. I desire to end all desire; I strive to end all striving; I will pass the gateless gate.
The Grand Master:
It is Zen to the bone, bitches. The First Step is the most difficult of the Three Steps. To be frank, it’s quite possible that your Reaction will never make it past this step. It’s more than possible. It’s almost certain. But waste your time on the First Step – and what have you wasted?
Confucius said: to set the world in order, first set yourself in order. Nigga wasn’t kidding, either. He may well have been reading Eugen Herrigel, who taught us that to release the arrow, one must first not-release the arrow. Fact: not even UR is as reactionary as Zen.
Why do men fight? Because it is FUN. Politics is premised on the promise of rewards: pay, perks, prestige and power. P necessarily requires that you not seek reward. But for this to work, one must first strive for rewards.
This is the same for an organisational as well. To recruit, you must offer benefits of some kind. In politics, those benefits are protection but mostly pay, perks, prestige and power.
P is Zen. It is a Sage like discipline because it requires letting go of attachment to normal, democratic politics.
How P is supposed to work can be understood through the following analogy.
Democratic politics is a tug of war game between left and right, but the game is rigged in favor of the left.
The left win only if the right are holding the other end of the rope.
If right let’s go of the rope, then the left will become unbalanced and then they will fall.
The political tug of war game, however, involves many people with different interests and if one, two or even many people give up the game, the game can still be played.
In fact, it is possible and probable that it would be the “good” people who give up the rope (“good” as in honest and honorable), only to be replaced by those who even more self-seeking and corrupt.
Unless everyone let’s go of the rope at the same time, the strategy will not succeed because one or two missing people can always be replaced.
To be successful, you need, again, a machine and a leader. A leader not in the guise of a Sage, but a soldier.
The Sage stands in stark contrast to a different kind of archtype: the king, conqueror, leader. The prime examples are, of course, Alexander, Caesar and Muhammad: men with a machine made of other men.
The dynamics of P is similar to a situation that General Grant once faced. He knew that assaulting a certain position was not a good idea. Yet, his men really wanted to fight. Grant allowed the men to fight, knowing they would not succeed. And sure enough they did not. Yet, afterwards, Grant had respect among the men for letting them try. This then allowed Grant to pursue the course of action he wanted to take. A similar situation happened to Caesar towards the end of the Civil War. Caesar did not give the order to attack, yet his men (mostly all veterans) were eager to fight, win and enjoy the spoils and then go home. The men pressured a young hornblower to signal for an attack and under this pressure he did so. Caesar tried to stop the charge, but the men ignored him. In the end, Caesar went along with his men.
In game theory terms, it is the trade-off between cooperation and defection. Someone and some sub-group could defect by “charging” in the expectation of “glory” and more “booty.”
In a “democracy” like America having this kind of machine discipline will prove very difficult.
Also, while Christians may have the Sage-like discipline to practice P, they do not have the temperament to practice the conditions to bring about a successful P.
Giving the Christian his due, we can say that it is easier to make sacrifices in this life, because there is a world beyond.
This, godless generation, wants it and wants it now.
In response to this problem, the solution is simple, yet – again – the ugly paradox emerges. A successful machine requires uniformity, regimentation, discipline and a “cult like” devotion to a leader, ideas and an identity. Yet, it is these things, in a democratic context, that produce the very evil that you are striving to defeat!
The further tragedy is that the means used to create the machine take on a life of their own. The virtues required to build the machine and win power become vices when power is finally achieved. This is expressed in the maxim that those who gain power are not best suited to use power.
Augustus is one counter-example and perhaps George Washington, but it is very rare.
This does not mean that P cannot work. It just makes it somewhat more clearer how hard it will be.