Amnesty International was founded in 1961 to protest persecution of prisoners of conscience. It was always biased towards dissidents of the New Left, but was not, in its youth, a rigidly Leftist outfit. But it became the textbook illustration of Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics, and is today fully “converged.”
I was reminded of this last week when I received this e-mail from the Vice President of our campus chapter of Amnesty International.
. . . Please join us in hearing from Dr. Lindo talk to us about both contraception and abortion policy, how Texas has been one of the most aggressive states in enacting policies that have limited access to reproductive health care . . .
A Texas woman frustrated by the inconvenience of procuring an abortion is now, it seems, tantamount to a political prisoner of conscience.
Robert Conquest was British historian of the Soviet Union, and a reactionary in the vein of his friend Kingsley Amis. His Second Law of Politics states:
“Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.”
This has been more recently (and cryptically) expressed,
“Cthulhu swims left, and left, and left.”
“Convergence” is another new word to describe the way in which every organization not explicitly and fanatically opposed to Leftism will eventually be drawn to the center of the Leftist whirlpool, where it will be indistinguishable from every other organization in the Sargasso Sea of progressive “activism”.
Imagine a civic organization called Citizens for a Beautiful Porkville, originally founded to pick-up litter along the highways leading in and out of Porkville, Iowa. Following Conquest’s Second Law, Citizens for a Beautiful Porkville will, sooner or later, expand into other forms of “environmental activism,” will inform the public that litter is part of a larger male problem, and begin to beat its breast over the systemic racism that excludes minorities from the monthly litter pickup along State Highways 12 and 40. And before you know it, Citizens for a Beautiful Porkville (its title ambiguated by the acronym CBP) is renting buses to drive to the Boarder and demonstrate on behalf of “asylum-seekers.”
Leftists see convergence as humanity progressing along “the arc of history.” Rightest see it as the result of infiltration by angry cat ladies and pathetic neckbeards who are fiendishly clever and diabolically tireless. If we equate history with Cthulhu, and “the arc of history” with “Cthulhu swims left,” I think there is much to be said for both views. Pushing a Leftist cause is like pushing a out-of-gas car downhill, but Leftists are also much more committed to pushing Leftism whenever and wherever they can.
I see that the executive committee of Amnesty International began to support access to abortion in 2007, when it became clear to them that a woman who is forced to carry her child to term is really undergoing torture, if you looked at in the right way.
*) Apologies to Flannery O’Connor.