Of course a vote for Obama can be counted as a vote for Karl Marx. A vote for Bernie Sanders too. And Hillary Clinton. Indirectly.
Mark Dice asks Americans who have been to school – and graduated – whether they will consider voting for Karl Marx himself, now that “he is standing as an Independent”.
Some say they will. Others – more prudent and thoughtful types – explain that they need to find out a bit more about him before they commit themselves.
Bernie Sanders, whether he likes it or not, is a Jew. And as he is a man of the Left, he doesn’t like it.
The Jews – UNIQUELY – are both a nation and a religion. Yet it is not only possible but common for Jews to be one OR the other. Converts to Judaism are obviously of the religion but not of the nation. Many Jews – probably a majority of Western Jews – who are of the nation by birth, are not religious.
Perhaps it would be better to speak of the Jews being “a people” rather than a nation, as a Jew’s legal nationality might be American, or British, or French etcetera.
Bernie Sanders is of the Jewish people. And for two millennia his people were despised, humiliated, robbed, tortured, murdered individually and en masse by the Christian powers – longest and most atrociously by the Catholic Church. (Except in America.)
For a while, between the early 19th century and the mid-to-late twentieth century, many of the educated Jews of Europe and Russia put their hopes for relief from persecution in the new religion of Communism, in which (its theorists claimed) there would be neither Jew nor Gentile, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, neither rich nor poor: for all would be one in the utopia of the Communist state.
But where Communist utopias were established in the twentieth century, Jews found they were not welcome. That should have told them that Communism would not save them. But many Jews who realized that the Lenins and Stalins of the Communist faith could not be relied on to treat them much better than had the Christians, were yet unwilling to give up the utopian Communist dream. Some Jews had realized this early on, so tried forming their own Communist party – the Bund. But as a separate group what could it achieve? A society in which there would be neither regrettably-still-sort-of -Jewish Jew nor absolutely-no-longer-Jewish Jew, neither bond Jew nor free Jew, neither male Jew nor female Jew, neither rich Jew nor poor Jew: for all would be one in the utopia of a Jewish Communist … What? Where?
Other Jews, who could think better, decided to work to regain the ancient Jewish homeland in the Eastern Mediterranean region of the Ottoman Empire, and establish an actual state on real territory. They were the Zionists. In 1948 they achieved their state, their safe haven at last, on real territory that had been part of their ancient homeland.
Those Jews who, despite being unwanted, remained faithful to the Communism imposed on Russia and Eastern Europe, stuck to their abjuration of their Jewishness, the peoplehood as well as the religion. So did – and do – most of the Communists of Jewish descent everywhere in the free world.
As Communists often object to being called Communists since the Leninist-Stalinist utopias of Russia and Eastern Europe collapsed in poverty and criminality, we will call them Leftists for the rest of this article. Bernie Sanders is a Leftist.
Meanwhile, the Jews’ ancient persecutor, the Catholic Church, has selected a leader, Pope Francis, who is also a Leftist. He has found it possible to join the new religion without leaving his old one. He owes this achievement to his fellow Latin American priests, who spun the antithetical dogmas of secular Communism and Triune-God-worshiping Catholicism together in such a whirl of words that they came out of the Synthesizer as one substance, inseparable. And the stuff, the thing, was named “Liberation Theology”.
It is Leftism. The Pope is a Leftist, like Bernie Sanders.
For Leftists, their Leftism trumps all. No appeal to loyalty, history, precedent, reason, logic, decency, or common sense can move them. They want there to be neither black man nor white man, neither civilized nor savage, neither citizen nor illegal alien, neither CEO nor minimum-wage-earner, neither one sex nor any of the others, but all to be one in the global Communist mystic egalitarian low-carbon-emission utopia ruled by themselves.
To acknowledge and strengthen their brotherhood in the Kingdom of Means-Justifying-Ends, Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis shook hands on April 16, 2016.
President George W. Bush was probably the most maligned president of modern times (though fans of President Obama make that claim for him).
Last night Rudi Giuliani, the great former mayor of New York, said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, that President George W. Bush had kept Americans safe after the Muslim mass-murder attack of 9/11, and for that America owes him honor and gratitude. We agree. In practice President Bush did a good job.
Where we did not agree with President George W. Bush himself, was on a matter of theory: his political philosophy of “compassionate conservatism”. (It’s a sentimentality that Governor John Kasich now puts in his shopwindow as he advertises himself for the Republican presidential nomination.)
Compassion is an emotion. Individuals feel it or hold it as a moral value. But the state has no emotion. A government has no heart. Government is for protection – of the nation by means of a strong military defense, and of the individual by the rule of law strictly and indiscriminately applied. Government is not a father or mother or nanny or sugar daddy. In conservative philosophy, it has no duty to provide for the people it protects. It has no means to do so. It is not the nation’s money earner. It ought not to be an agency that forces some people to give it money so that it can hand it to other people. .
But in socialist philosophy, providing for the people’s needs is government’s chief function. Socialist government starts by “redistributing” private wealth: taking money from those who have earned it and giving it to those who have not. The long-term plan is for government (euphemistically, “the people”) to “own the means of production, distribution and exchange”. In plain words, to own everything. A socialist government is in loco parentis. The people are its children whom it must house, feed, educate, medicate, and make all decisions for. It knows what is best for you, and your duty is to obey it. It will give you what it judges you need – or withhold it if you step out of line. If you are disobedient, you will be punished. If you put your personal interests above the government-ordained interests of the collective “All”, you may find yourself provided with no house, no food, no schooling, no doctoring, and – once the grip of a socialist regime has become absolute, as in Russia in the last century – no means by which you can supply these needs for yourself.
Socialists, Communists, Marxists – let’s say Leftists in general – believe that History (a sort of god whose prophet was Karl Marx) is moving humankind in a certain direction it has pre-ordained. Towards a world in which people live without private possessions. Where each is concerned only with the good of All. (Invention, which is essentially an individual enterprise is thus made impossible, so no actual advance is ever made.) Moving towards that utopia is what Leftists mean by “progress“.
That’s why they call themselves “progressives”.
Professor Walter Williams writes at Townhall:
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders seek to claim the “progressive” mantle. Both claim the other is not a true progressive. Clinton teased Sanders as being the “self-proclaimed gatekeeper for progressivism”. Bernie Sanders said that Hillary Clinton can’t be both a moderate and a progressive and that most progressives don’t take millions from Wall Street. But let’s talk about the origins of progressivism. It’s only historical ignorance that could explain black affinity for progressivism.
The Progressive Era is generally seen as the period from 1890 to 1920. President Woodrow Wilson, a leading [Democrat and] progressive, had a deep contempt for the founding principles of our nation. Progress for Wilson was to get “beyond the Declaration of Independence”, because “it is of no consequence to us”. President Wilson implored that “all that progressives ask or desire is permission – in an era when ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word – to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine”.
President Woodrow Wilson was a believer in notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He was so enthralled with D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation movie, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan, that he invited various dignitaries to the White House to view it with him. … When President Wilson introduced racial segregation to the civil service, the NAACP and the National Independent Political League protested. Wilson vigorously defended it, arguing that segregation was in the interest of Negroes. Booker T. Washington wrote during Wilson’s first term, “I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.”
President Woodrow Wilson’s predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, was another progressive captivated by the notions of racial inferiority. He opposed voting rights for black Americans, which were guaranteed by the 15th Amendment, on the grounds that the black race was still in its adolescence. …
The Progressive era gave birth to the “separate but equal” doctrine that emerged from the Supreme Court’s notorious 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, a case that symbolized Jim Crow racism. Progressives were also people who attacked free-market economics. Along with muckraking journalists they attacked capitalistic barons. They were advocates of what might be called “scientific racism” that drew from anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, eugenics and medical science. …
Legal scholar Richard Epstein concludes that progressivism sought to grant the state vast new authority to manage all walks of American life while at the same time weakening traditional checks on government power, including private property rights and liberty of contract, two principles that progressives hold in contempt. Epstein notes, “The sad but simple truth is that the Jim Crow resegregation of America depended on a conception of constitutional law that gave property rights short shrift, and showed broad deference to state action under the police power.”
It is clear that today’s progressives have the same constitutional contempt as their predecessors. I hope they do not share the racial vision. Black voters ought to demand, at a minimum, that progressives disavow their ugly racist past.
They should re-label themselves to something other than progressives, maybe compassionate totalitarians.
This is a repeat of an essay by Jillian Becker, first posted on April 29, 2011.
The rise of enthusiasm for Socialism in America, demonstrated by the great numbers of enthusiasts flocking to hear Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, preaching it, prompts us to post the essay again.
It is human nature to be selfish. If we weren’t selfish we wouldn’t survive. If we didn’t eat when we were hungry, warm ourselves when we were cold, seek cures for our illnesses, defend ourselves (and our children and our life-sustaining property), we’d die out pretty damn quick. Or rather, we would never have come into existence as a species at all.
We are most of us capable of sympathy with others, and we often willingly give away a thing we own to another person. Some are altruistic. A few will even give up their lives to save the lives of others. Nevertheless, we are all naturally and necessarily selfish.
Christianity and Communism require human nature to change. As it can’t, Christianity’s commandments to love our enemies and forgive those who do us harm turn many a person of good will and high aspiration into a hypocrite if not a corpse. Communist theorists have never settled the question of whether human nature must change so that the Revolution can take place, or whether the Revolution must take place in order for human nature to change. Of course it will never change, but there’s no stopping the collectivist dolts arguing about it.
Capitalism works well because it is in tune with our nature. Adam Smith called it “the natural order of liberty”. Everyone selfishly desires to provide for his needs. To pay for what he wants from others – services and goods – he has to provide something that others will pay him for. Millions do it, and the result is prosperity. Capitalism is an abstract machine most beautiful to behold in the wonder of its workings. When individuals have the incentive to achieve, acquire, and enjoy something for themselves, they’ll go to great lengths to afford it. They’ll compete with each other to provide what others want, toil to make it the better product, and set the price of it lower. The best is made available at the least cost. Everyone is both a taker and a giver, and everyone benefits. True, not everyone’s effort always succeeds, but nothing stops anyone from trying again.
Of course capitalism isn’t a remedy for every ill and discontent. But a capitalist society offers the best chance to an individual to make the best of his condition – being alive – which presents him with a tough challenge – to stay alive for a few score years, and make those years as good as his energy, cunning, and adaptability to conditions outside of his control (plus his statistically likely share of luck), can help them to be.
In a capitalist society no one has a fixed place, whether below, in the middle, or on top. A person can rise, sink, or stay. A truly capitalist society is necessarily a free society in which no one is prevented, by some ruler or ruling clique, from bettering his lot, striving, succeeding, or failing.
Capitalism is the enemy of that God of whom all the children in the British Empire used to sing at morning prayers in school assemblies before the Second World War:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small;
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them high and lowly,
He ordered their estate.
The children were being taught to be content with everything as it was, trusting that God the ruler up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable had ordained how everyone had his fixed place and should stay in it, and because He had ordained it, it must be perfect. The recognition that such a God was an indefensible authoritarian, a whim-driven cosmic dictator, an unjust and arrogant tyrant, came – perhaps unconsciously – to the choosers of Anglican hymns only after a few of the earth’s dictators had been trounced in a prolonged and terrible blood-letting.
But then Socialists took over from God. They decided what was best for humanity. They established the Welfare State. No rich men in castles, no poor men at gates. The State would provide every citizen with depressing accommodation, dull food, health care if he were judged worthy of being kept alive, indoctrination in schools. Though the Socialist State is a slave society, the citizens are not called slaves but Social Security Recipients, National Health Patients, Students, Workers. The belief of their rulers is that they’ll be content because the State provides them with “everything”; they’ll be grateful for the food however poor, the unit in the tower block however depressing, the bed in the hospital however filthy, the indoctrination however boring. The great thing about it, to the collectivist mind, is they won’t have to strive to keep alive. And no one will have cause to pity or envy anyone else, since no one will have less or worse, or more or better – except of course the rulers up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable who ordain that everyone else has his fixed place. They reserve plenty, choice, comfort, luxury, information, and power to themselves.
The recognition that such a State is counter to the human instinct for freedom – call it “selfishness “ if you will – should have come to every sane adult the world over when the Soviet Empire crashed. The idea of Socialism should have died then. But if it did, it was only for a short time. Like the Christian God, it rose again, and lives now in the White House, an administration indefensibly authoritarian, whim-driven, unjust, and arrogant.
Selfish human nature with its instinct for liberty, its impelling desire to possess what is good for it materially and mentally, is the force that can and must defeat it.
Today we have posted the last essay, number 18, in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World.
Find it in full under Pages in our margin.
Here is part of it:
America the Last Best Hope?
A multitude of enlightened Europeans cultivated reason, and built a culture that was innovative, prosperous, powerful, and humane. Other Europeans wanted to destroy all that, and succeeded. Rebels from and against the prosperous educated classes – philosophers and poets, artists and politicians – taught generations to intoxicate themselves with fantasies of destruction, spoliation, and atrocity that could, and at times did, inspire real events of vast horror, suffering, and death. From each of them Europe seemed to recover for a while. But at the time of this writing, the rebels have triumphed. The dark vision prevails. Europe is rotten. Multitudes of Europeans, seeing nothing in their culture worth preserving and no point in its survival, reluctant even to beget children, are yielding to immigrating hordes of aliens from the Third World who lust for conquest and are governed by laws devised in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula in the Dark Ages.
So must the greatness of Europe be altogether lost? Surely not! Surely in the states of America, united on Enlightenment principles of liberty, reason, tolerance, and participatory government, European civilization will be preserved and enhanced? There where every citizen is free to pursue his own happiness, to hold property securely, to have his say in a government of limited powers, the United States will continue to prosper and advance? America, it is said, is a forward-looking “can do” society – innovative, prosperous, powerful and humane. “The last best hope of earth.” [As President Lincoln said of his country in a message to Congress on 1 December, 1862.]
And for a while yet it may continue to be so. But the seed of the evil flowers of the culture – Marxism, political sadism, and most potently poisonous of all, the political philosophies of the New Left – have found as fertile soil in America as in Europe.
The mainly bourgeois “anti-bourgeois” terrorist groups that rose with the “sixty-eight” protest movement in America, did evil just as intentionally as their European counterparts. And went in for the same posturing and frivolity. The US was at war in Vietnam, and the anti-draft demonstrations on university campuses gave a serious aspect to the American rebellion, but the war and the draft were pretexts rather reasons for it, as two leaders of the young radicals, Peter Collier and David Horowitz, confessed years later in their book – the best I have found on the subject – Destructive Generation: “The war in Vietnam was a gift of chance that allowed radical leaders to convince others of a need for a social apocalypse and of the necessity for their destructive strategies.”
These authors, long since cured of the romantic radicalism of their youth, look back and “wince” at the “homemade hankerings for Armageddon”. The Sixties, they write, was a time of “monumental idealism”, when “dewy-eyed young people in the throes of a moral passion … sought only to remake the world”. They would do this by destroying “the evil empire of ‘Amerika’” and freeing “the captive peoples of the world”. It was a time, they say, “when innocence quickly became cynical “ and “when a gang of ghetto thugs like the Black Panthers might be anointed as political visionaries”.
The Black Panthers and many of the “dewy-eyed” rebels intended to do what they fully recognized as evil in pursuit of their ideals. For instance, a man known as J. J. – a member of the white middle-class group that became the terrorist organization called Weatherman and later Weather Underground – was notable for “his [drug augmented] high energy, his nonstop, almost demonic chatter, his ability to carry listeners with him by the sheer force of his words rather than their depth”. And J. J.’s idea “was not to create a perfect state operating by the clockwork principles of Marxist law but to promote a chaos that would cripple America and ultimately cast it into a receivership that would be administered by the morally superior Third World. Unafraid to pursue his theme to its logical end, J. J. would add that people shouldn’t expect the revolution to achieve a Kingdom of Freedom ; more likely, it would produce a Dark Ages.” J. J. “[laid] out the ‘White Devil’ theory of world history. ‘We’re against everything that’s “good and decent” in honky America. … We will loot and burn and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother’s nightmares!’”
As in West Germany, France and Italy, the terrorist bombers of America demanded their rights under the law that they broke, mocked, and abominated. “Despite their incessant complaints of police brutality, Sixties radicals lived for the most part in a no-fault system, demanding their constitutional rights at the same time as they were abusing and denouncing the Constitution. They knew they had the option, which many of them ultimately used, of diving back into the System [and their comfy bourgeois lives] when they tired of being extrinsic. (For this reason New Leftism, although discredited in politics, continues to thrive in the ‘academic work’ of former radicals who returned for postgraduate degrees to the universities they had earlier tried to destroy.) It was an example of the cynicism that marked the decade – counting on the fact that America was exactly the sort of flexible and forgiving society they were condemning it for failing to be.”
The evil was done not only to shock their bourgeois parents, as their drugs, promiscuous sex, and bombs were meant to do and did, but for a very much higher good, of course. The very much higher good: “social justice”; “ending oppression” in the forms of “ racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia”, “classism”, “imperialism”, “colonialism”; all of which required the destruction of “the capitalist system”.
Most of them did not, however, describe themselves as Communists. Without reading the works of Marx, or of Marxists, Trotskyites, or New Left political philosophers, they all – in harmony with their European counterparts – looked forward to a political apocalypse; a revolution that they considered themselves to be hastening, that would change everything and replace the earthly Hell of oppression and social injustice with a Heaven of … something yet to be defined.
Collier and Horowitz write of “the decade’s transcendental conviction that there was something apocalyptic lurking behind the veil of the ordinary, and that just a little more pressure was needed to pierce the last remaining membrane – of civility, bourgeois consciousness, corporate liberalism, sexual uptightness, or whatever else prevented us all from breaking through to the other side”. And: “Again it was that hunger to reach the apocalypse just beyond, the essential act that would make them real revolutionaries.” And “the Weatherpeople, like all parvenus, spent considerable time working on a genealogy that would connect them with noble [sic] forbears: Russian narodniki and European anarchists, Cuban fidelistas and Vietnamese guerrillas.”
A work of fiction that impressively conveys the real evil of the 60s rebels is American Pastoral by Philip Roth. A percipient discussion of it and the issues it raised was published in Commentary magazine by Carol Iannone. I summarize the plot and quote her most illuminating comments relevant to my theme:
An only child – cheerful, affectionate, charming as a little girl – of a business man who in his youth had been an athlete and a Marine, and his beauty queen wife, grows up to be “overtaken by the 60s”, sets a bomb in a post office and kills a local doctor. She goes underground and kills three more people in another bombing.
“In his manly way” (Carol Iannone writes) the father “ tries to see where his own responsibility lies for what has happened to his much loved daughter … only to be forced again and again to confront the blazing chaotic irrationality of it all. What he cannot understand … is her hatred of America. ‘How could she “hate” this country when she had no conception of this country? How could a child of his be so blind as to revile the “rotten system” that had given her own family every opportunity to succeed? To revile her “capitalist” parents as though their wealth were the product of anything other than the unstinting industry of three generations …’”
“The 60s, in brief, are not just about the bomber young and their war with ‘Amerika’; in the 60s, ‘the indigenous American berserk’, have entered the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, touching everything and everyone with their ‘mockery of human integrity, every ethical obligation destroyed’.”
It entered the academies, and through them the mind of the nation, until the counter-culture has become The Culture. Collier and Horowitz write: “[N]owhere is the entrenchment of the Sixties mentality more complete or more destructive than in the university. That the Left should now dominate the academy involves a savage irony, of course. It was only after failing in their intent to burn down the university in the Sixties that radicals decided to get on the tenure track in the Seventies. Unimpeded in their long march through these institutions by fair-minded centrists of the sort they themselves now refuse to hire, these Leftists have brought a postmodern Dark Age to higher education – “deconstructing” objective truths to pave the way for chic academic nihilism: creating a curriculum of contempt for American history and culture; and transforming many classrooms into chambers of inquisition and indoctrination.”
The demonic achievements of the rebels were crowned by the election, in 2008, to the presidency of the United States of one of their own: Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a 60s counter-culturist mother and an African father who was both a Communist and a Muslim; and was associated eventually in the son’s mind with “colonial and imperial oppression” of his ancestral land, Kenya, when it was under British rule.
President Obama acceded to the White House with all his ideological baggage intact: the credo of the New Left plus admiration of Islam. And this at a time when Islam was becoming the main enemy of the Western world, practicing terrorism on a large scale, waging open warfare in the Middle East, and launching a migrant invasion of Europe that European governments allowed, encouraged, and all too willingly submitted to. Obama’s policies facilitated the European calamity, and he took steps to help Islamic Iran, which constantly reiterates its intention to destroy America and conquer the non-Muslim world, to become a nuclear power. He has lowered America in the eyes of the world. He and his minions treat the Constitution with contempt.
In the universities the counter-culture has become the orthodoxy. A majority of instructors indoctrinate students rather than educate them, teaching them what to think rather than how to think. Some Leftist representatives in Congress have passed a resolution to curb free speech. And the spirit of free enterprise, which made America rich and mighty, has been all but crushed by tyrannical regulation. Wealth has been taken from those who have earned it and given to those who have not. In short, the New Left has triumphed – though without attaining its heaven on earth.
Can the harm it has done be undone? At present the dark stream of unreason flows strongly. The resistance to it should be the vigorous self-interest inherent in human nature, the desire in most of us to succeed; and the lure of science, technology, all they give us for the betterment of our lives. Only as long as free personal endeavor and innovation continue to characterize America, will there be hope – if not the last, certainly the best – for our splendid civilization to survive in this, our only world.
In my book L: A Novel History, revolution sweeps Louis Zander, a charismatic philosopher of art and politics known as L, into power as a Marxist dictator of England.
It is available in hardback, paperback and kindle editions here.
These are quotations from L: A Novel History illustrating themes of the book which, though set in a fictitious England in the 1980s, are applicable to the United States under President Obama.
1. Analogies to The Occupy Wall Street Movement:
There was no use in protest marches and demonstrations now. For now there was real deprivation, real tyranny, real hunger. And that was precisely what L had promised them. They were no longer rich in many poor things, as once protestors had so angrily complained to governments and authorities. Now they were poor in all things. It was those who had freedom and decried it, pretending they were oppressed; those who had material plenty and despised it, pretending they were poor; those who thus secreted a worm in their own hearts, and so at the heart of civilization – envy: the amazing unforeseen and unforeseeable envy, by the free and comfortable, of the unfree and wretched of the earth: it was these self-deceiving, would-be lovers of mankind … the affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected … who were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.
2. Dependency on the state:
The people had become unaccustomed to self-reliance. They did not after all want a government that would leave them to do the best they could for themselves, and only remove obstacles and restrictions. They wanted a government with paternal responsibilities: to house the citizens, educate them, inoculate them against diseases, cure them when they were ill, keep them warm, tell them to fasten their safety-harnesses in their cars, warn them against smoking tobacco, “counsel” them when they quarreled with their spouses or beat their children or drank too much … and even spend as much of their money as possible on what government considered good for them rather than let them spend it themselves! If the educated and well-off did not need all this for themselves, they believed that “the vast majority of the people of this country” did need it. … The tragedy of Britain was that a self-reliant, self-disciplined, industrious people who had valued freedom, justice, goodwill, commonsense, and had grown strong and prospered because they had the character to embrace those values, had been turned into dependants, dissatisfied and envious, demanding that the state provide what they were no longer willing to provide for themselves.
L wrote: “I look towards a time when none shall have peace, when all feel insecure, and can look only to the Party, manifestly whimsical, for any reward and any punishment, without any reason to expect justice. For there and there only authority will reside, and it will be total and incomprehensible. No aspect of their lives will be too big or too small for the Party to deal with. It will reach into the heart and mind of every man, and his person, his life, will belong not to him but to the Party. The Party will hold the monopoly of life and death. Whatever anyone has will be dispensed to him by the Party, whether it is a material thing, like food and drink, or dignity, self-respect, his mate, the company of his own children. And there will be no escape. For the power of the Party must be planetary. That is why there can be no refuge for individualism; why anyone who expresses thoughts the Party has not allowed him, or who even thinks them to himself, must be stopped.”
L wrote: “You and I know perfectly well that a redistribution of wealth does not make everybody wealthy. In fact, it makes everybody poor.”
4. Social justice:
Increasingly it was the case that the victims of crime were less the object of concern than were the criminals who were excused on the grounds that they were the “real victims” of something called “social injustice”. Tax-payers’ money was spent lavishly on providing them with “therapy”, shelter, comfort, and rehabilitation.
5. Central planning:
The oligarchs occupied themselves with the laborious business of trying “to plan society”. Laws, rules and regulations proliferated, all emanating from the Council of Ministers. Local government was “suspended” when the Council took its “emergency powers”. Administrators were appointed in their stead: Party officials with unlimited powers over persons and property in their districts.
“It is in our interest to boost inflation … the unions which have power in the state-monopolized vital services – electricity and gas, mining, transport, shipping, the health service – must use it to keep public expenditure high. Easy enough, since members are unlikely to object to using their collective power to get wages as high as the union can squeeze out of the government for them … The more public money paid out to failing industries the better for us … High unemployment is in our long-term interest, but it is not to our short-term advantage. … Workers are less likely to strike, bring private firms to bankruptcy and generally disrupt the economy if they have real reason to fear the loss of jobs through employment reduction or closure of a business. … There is also the extreme danger that they will start selling their services privately for payment they do not declare – in other words the free ‘black’ economy might gain in strength, and far too many rediscover the personal advantages of self-employment.”
L knew that continuous inflation of the value of money was inimical not only to prosperity, but to security and hopes for the future. He knew that the most responsible, the most self-reliant, the most thrifty, would be the most cheated, because to save money was to lose money. He knew that as money bought less, demands for higher wages would be made more frequently and more exorbitantly; and that those demands could only be met by the printing of ever more paper money, worth ever less and less. And as the Conservative government tried to bring down inflation, tried to make the country live within its means, produce more to earn more real money, L’s legions howled against their efforts. .L-ite economists urged that the government print more money. Their recommendations were given wide and persistent publicity by the BBC, independent television and radio, and most – though not quite all – of the national daily newspapers.
7. The politics of envy:
Private ownership of land could be ended forever; private education could be made illegal; private medicine entirely abolished; all the known needs of the underprivileged supplied in perfect measure, the poor made collectively rich, and – best of all – the rich made poor.
8. Freedom as a burden:
The Left feared: “The Conservatives will impose freedom on everybody, even those least able to bear it.”
9. Judging according to empathy rather than evidence:
What judges were expected to do was “manifest heart”. The important thing in what had once been called a criminal case was to “arrive at an understanding of the quality of the man” they were judging.
10. Back to the simple life:
[The citizen’s] experience of the revolution was of the decay of everything. He was poor. He was cold. Quite soon he was worse fed that he had ever imagined would be possible in England. Soon the scope of his activities became severely curtailed, and life became monotonous in its misery, unless it was suddenly made appalling and agonizing for this or that individual.
L wrote that they must feel not just cold and hunger, but terror, loneliness, despair. Only then will they understand that the Party is their savior, and that it alone can redeem them from their most terrible spiritual torment – isolation. They will give up their little selfish desires, the pathetic shallow satisfactions they have been deceived into imagining are their real needs. They will begin to understand their role in history. They will thank the power that whips them with tears in their eyes, the mastering Party, giver of bread and purposes.
11. Making the country ungovernable – on the lines of the Cloward-Piven strategy:
The assault on the “commanding heights of power” was to be done by the disruption of civil order, the stirring up of violence in the streets, to the point of serious insurrection and even civil war if possible. Hence the importance of the emotional issue of race. The idea was that liberal democratic government was to be seen not to work. Then an extreme left-dominated Party would take extraordinary powers to restore order.
12. “We all belong to the government” – as per the 2012 Democratic National Convention:
“Everyone will have the pleasure of knowing that he is being used. That what he does is what he must do. That therefore he is necessary, and has purpose. He will belong to the state and the state to him. He will be attached to the state as a babe to its mother’s breast.”
“The state must put them in houses, bring them to school, tempt them with pensions, lure them with kindness. When all have been received inside the shelter of the state, then they will be redeemable. What a harvest will then be promised of men and women for the new age, the third millennium and beyond. But the process of redemption will not be as easy as the gathering-in. They have yet to learn that beyond their material needs there are others, which they have first to discover and then to understand and then to satisfy before they are fit for the absolute community of the human spirit wherein no individual shall have an existence outside of the community, and each will joyfully give up his life at any moment for the preservation of the Greater Life of Universal Man.”
L: A Novel History may turn out to be prophetic if the new leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, comes to power.
Jillian Becker November 29, 2015
“Less than a year to go to the election of a new president.”
“Only 14 months more of this disastrous presidency.”
And then …?
Obama’s malign effect on the nation will be ended and undone?
Not if Obama can do anything to prevent it – and he can, and he will, and he’s doing it.
Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:
After making America poorer, weaker, less free, more race-obsessed and balkanized throughout his tumultuous presidency, Barack Obama is gearing up to use his two tax-exempt nonprofits to continue attacking what remains of the republic’s civil society after he leaves office in 14 months.
Obama’s presidency “has been pockmarked by rioting, looting and protests”, as he “encouraged the nonstop civil unrest exhausting the nation”, writes the Hoover Institution’s Paul Sperry. Obama and his “army of social justice bullies” are going to make things worse before he leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017.
Our indefatigable Community Organizer-in-Chief is planning to use Organizing for Action (OfA) and the Barack Obama Foundation to continue punishing America for its imaginary sins and to promote manufactured controversies long after he leaves the White House.
Chicago-based OfA has trained “more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who, in turn, are training more than 2 million youths in [Saul] Alinsky street tactics,” according to Sperry. This “army of social justice bullies” will carry on Obama’s campaign to fundamentally transform America.
OfA is a less violent version of Mussolini’s black shirts and Hitler’s brown shirts, or of the government-supported goon squads that Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Cuba’s Castro brothers use to harass and intimidate their domestic opponents. OfA units brought muscle to the 2011-12 fight in Wisconsin over that state’s out-of-control government labor unions. OfA has bludgeoned Democrats that Obama deemed insufficiently left-wing, especially red-state congressional Democrats who had been wavering on the issue of Obamacare. …
Will the OfA be less violent than its forerunners? It would be a mistake to assume or expect that to be the case.
OfA, however, is only part of the picture.
Obama’s presidential foundation … may end up eclipsing OfA as a locus of destructive, nihilistic, antisocial activism in the post-Obama era. Obama intends to use his foundation, based at the planned Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side, to continue wreaking havoc in America and around the globe.
A “scaled down” version of OfA will reportedly reside at the Barack Obama Foundation whose website states ominously, “As President Obama has said, the change we seek will take longer than one presidency. Obama’s historic candidacy was never simply about winning an office; it was about building a movement to tackle challenges that would define a generation. This work will live on in the Obama Foundation, which will inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.”
But at least until the foundation is fully operational, Organizing for Action will remain Obama’s primary nonprofit vehicle for subjecting the American people to the community organizer-style terrorism that got him where he is today.
Sperry notes that OfA holds “organizing summits” on college campuses and uses social media to “mobilize flash mobs against ‘biased cops’, ‘climate-change deniers’, ‘Wall Street predators’ and ‘gun extremists’.” It organizes rallies against conservative opponents of same-sex marriage, expanded LGBT rights, abortion, and amnesty for illegal aliens.
During the nationwide battle over Obamacare, OfA sent out a mass email attacking the good faith of opponents. Those who questioned the wisdom of Obamacare weren’t Americans who sincerely disagreed with the president, but “Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders”. …
OfA was created because the White House could not lawfully use the 13 million e-mail addresses that the campaign compiled in 2008. The Democratic National Committee set up the allegedly grassroots movement as an in-house project to continue to proselytize on Obama’s behalf between elections. It was previously called Organizing for America but that name was jettisoned, probably because it sounded too pro-American.
Organizing for Action is a 501c4 nonprofit “social welfare” organization formed in January 2013. … At the end of 2013 it reported $26 million in total revenue, 197 employees, and 27,282 volunteers.
OfA … runs something it calls the Community Organizing Institute which conducts “documentary film screenings, panel discussions and receptions with distinguished guests”.
Obama has also used taxpayer money to train “hundreds of thousands of junior agitators through AmeriCorps, a Clinton youth program he’s dramatically expanded”, Sperry writes, “and through My Brother’s Keeper, the ‘racial justice’ initiative he launched in the wake of the 2012 death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin”.
Obama openly supports the violent Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements, which are “coordinating activities with nonprofit ACORN clones, who are being secretly bankrolled through Justice Department subprime settlement funds extracted from banks”. …
Obama is leaving behind a generation of militant jerks — collectively known as his “family” — to continue to proliferate protests and militate against everything and nothing. These irritating, self-absorbed, belligerent brats will “hands-up, don’t shoot” themselves into every cobwebbed corner of society, and the liberal media will give them the national bullhorn to amplify their hatred every time.
Today we have posted essay number 16, The Orgiasts (One), in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World (Part 3). (Find it under Pages in our margin.)
Here is part of it.
The Orgiasts (One)
Peter Weibel (1944- ): Riot as Art
Otto Mühl (1925-2013): Crime as Art
When the tumult and the shouting of the “sixty-eighters” died down in Western Europe, and the terrorists were dealt with by the law courts, and the shallow ideas of the New Left had crystallized into an orthodoxy as “political correctness”, the shocking of the bourgeois – the chief impetus of the movement – was carried on for years in “Action Art”.
In Austria, which claimed to be its home, the political dimension of Action Art (Aktionismus) was inspired by the satirical “happenings” which anarchist groups performed as part of the sixty-eight fun-revolutionary protests.
Though at first the movement was just as dedicated to the defiance and denigration of the civil authorities as the student protests, Austrian Aktionismus actually came to be sponsored for a time by the state. By the late 1970s, exhibitions of Action Art were funded by the government, and even opened ceremoniously by ministers of culture. The artists were celebrities: acclaimed by the media, honored in the universities, given awards and generous grants. Many Austrians were proud of them.
But at the start, when the artists first performed their obscene acts, and painfully assaulted their audiences, they were arrested. Even then they were not held for long. There was an outcry from the progressive intelligentsia: “This is ART. Couldn’t the official barbarians understand that?” The official barbarians hung their heads in shame. This was an age when almost anything was allowed to ART. Criminal violence it may be, but it may not count as crime when it was ART.
In the summer of 1968, a group of Austrian Actionists toured Germany – Munich, Essen, Cologne – with a repertoire of performances in support of the student rebellion. They appeared in sports-halls and amphitheaters “before audiences of 2,000 and more”. They built a water cannon “with extra strong pressure” to turn on to the audience. One of them, Peter Weibel, explained to me (some years later):”The idea of the gathering was rebelling for Vietnam, and the audience had come to demonstrate that they were in solidarity with the Vietnamese who were suffering from American aggression. We believed that solidarity only counts if you are suffering too. But there the audience was, just sitting and not suffering at all. They were there to protest for Vietnam, but they were eating, drinking, doing nothing but waiting to be entertained, exhibiting the typical schizophrenic condition of this society. So we turned water on them.”
The audience did not accept the assault passively, not even for the sake of Art or Vietnam. They threw bottles back at the artists, and then the artists whipped them.
“But first I hurt myself. I worked with fire. Before turning the water on them or whipping them I burnt my own arm. I put chemicals on my skin and set fire to it. This was to show that I earned the right to make them suffer by suffering myself. It was saying to them, ‘Look, I’m in pain so I have the right to be taken seriously.’ In Cologne I had to go to hospital afterwards, and there they didn’t believe me that this was an art action. They called the police and the police thought I had been experimenting with explosives. But my intention was to make rituals. No masochism was intended. While I was burning I was smiling all the time, to say, ‘Look, you can trust me, I won’t lose my nerve.’ ”
He had to work hard on his whipping technique because, he said, “I used a very long whip and I couldn’t make it move fast enough at first, and people in the audience used to catch hold of it and pull me towards them, or jerk it out of my hands, until I learnt how to do it properly so that I cut their faces before they could do anything. The end was always a riot. The police came to stop it, we were arrested, and then we were fined. But that was part of the Action. ‘WAR, ART, RIOT’ the show was called. It was a campaign. Like a military campaign, only with Art.”
In that same momentous summer, one of the founders of the Action Art movement, Otto Mühl, along with other Actionists, put on a performance in the auditorium of the University of Vienna titled ART AND REVOLUTION. They announced that it was for the victims of the Vietnam war. Mühl described it to me as “pissing, shitting, beating, and masturbating while singing hymns”. He and the other artists were arrested and imprisoned.
By the later 1970s, Mühl had stopped giving public performances, preferring to concentrate on “self-expression psychoanalysis and therapy through sexual activity and all other natural functions”. His theories on psychotherapy, he said, were “derived from those of Wilhelm Reich – and also of course from Sigmund Freud, our Viennese Urvater of psychoanalysis.”
Otto Mühl had founded two communes: one in Vienna, and one on a farm, Friedrichshof, in the Burgenland near the border with Hungary (which was then, and for another two decades, under an oppressive Communist regime obedient to the Kremlin). He named the country commune “The European Center of the Action-Analysis (AA) Organization of Conscious Life-Praxis”. Followers of his movement formed “branches” in Berlin, Hamburg, Kiel, Bremen, Oslo, Geneva, and Paris. At the start of his campaign Mühl visualized a “world commune organization, a global society made up of communes”, all of them following the pattern set at Friedrichshof, for the better health and happiness of mankind. In 1976, membership of his organization peaked at a little over 500.
Central to Mühl’s “praxis” was Selbstdarstellung, or “SD”, meaning self-expression, carried out in groups under a Self-Expression Leader whose aim was “to exorcise the small-family person” – der Kleinfamilienmensch – from the communard-patient. The process, Mühl maintained, was “Action Analytical Art”. His Selbstdarsteller had to become a performance artist. Before an audience of fellow communard-patients, he/she “wanders through childhood and corrects the damage that was done” to him/her. “The audience will be deeply moved when the patient recreates the scenes of his childhood damage, lets himself fall into a birth-experience and demonstrates the meaning of health as a new-born baby. From the re-enacted birth-experience – often accompanied by an enactment of ‘the killing of Mummy and Daddy’ – the final self emerges in the Selbstdarstellung, which is also called ‘dissolving the genital armoring’.” Beyond that, he’d explain, “lies not only cure but true liberation”; that is to say, an ability to experience “psychophysical orgasm” by which the patient/artist is liberated to enjoy “full sexual and social freedom”. The person has “found his/her identity in orgasm”.
What actually happened in the performance ending with a rebirth? What was Otto Mühl’s work as an artist-therapist? Simply sexual activity in public. “Free sexuality is an integral part of commune-society. The exclusive two-person relationship is a sickness of the small-family person” Mühl told me. (He also, in an unguarded moment, confided to me that he was “surprised to find that many of the male patient-artists developed impotence in the course of the treatment”.)
Although the achievement of personal liberation from authority was one of the chief aims of the therapy, the commune had strict rules. Both men and women, for instance, had to have their heads shorn of all hair and to dress in uniform trousers with a flap in front “to facilitate work” – namely, copulation-masturbation-therapy. The enterprise was dedicated to the defiance and destruction of “authoritarianism”, and the method was regulated in a sternly authoritarian manner.
It was a life-style of enforced asceticism, combined with extreme libertinism. All bodily functions were on display; the bathrooms and toilets had no doors. No member was allowed privacy, or money, or any personal property. “The commune rejects commercial and profit thinking.” On joining, a member made over all his property and wealth to the organization, including real estate and income from any source, even student grants. Members were discouraged from making contact with their “small family” (more commonly called, in English, the “nuclear family”) or anyone in the outside world, because “society predetermines their emotional misery, as if the world were ruled by an evil spirit”.
The communal life itself, according to Mühl, was “an art form”. So was every performance of “direct art actions”, which consisted of persons – often, if not always, drugged – performing sexual activities before the rest of the assembled group, “with objects, animals, excreta” and fellow communards of either sex and every imaginable erotic desire. Photographs of the actions were taken, collected, edited, and published in professionally printed and bound volumes.
Children were admitted to the Mühl communes with their mothers. Some were born in them. “Children”, Mühl said, “grow up in the commune without sexual repression, so they will be healthy and socially well adjusted. The sexual activity of the parent is not concealed because nobody is made to feel that it’s forbidden.”
But adjusted to what society? …
The practice of any conventional form of art was discouraged (though Mühl himself painted in a private studio standing apart from the main buildings of the commune). “It is enough that the commune life is itself an art-form,” he said.
And so, in his theory, was death: “killing people is an element of art to come.”
“to make art – you do not need a piano – detergent and jam and urine will do – art may slip into every material and out of every hole – everybody can do art if he can find the pepper – boycott the pigs controlling the mass media – do not buy newspapers or tv-sets or cinema tickets – blast the opera houses – from now on all there is will be presented directly, coitus, torture, medical operations, destruction of people and animals and other objects is the only theater worth seeing – the rest is nonsense! – the inner life will be reduced to bodily acts – religious and political pigs can only be stopped by brutal use of all means – pornography [contrary to other statements] is a suitable means for curing society of genital-panic – the elements of art to me are eating, drinking, shitting and pissing, fucking and killing people. – these are the hot irons of our times – murder as art.” …
Monica Showalter, writing at Investor’s Business Daily on the rival but similar socialist programs of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, gives this picture of a country where the policies both of them favor have been put into practice:
Amid all the free stuff, bankruptcy and shortages have come, the miserable process of “running out of other people’s money” as Lady Thatcher put it.
Standing in line for basic goods as Cubans do occupies the lives of millions of Venezuelans.
Some are clubbed to death as goods are fought over.
Young people prefer drug-dealing to college, given the absent opportunities for advancement.
Prisoners eat cat meat.
Corruption is rampant and central planning mismanagement ensures that food rots on the docks.
Hospitals are crumbling from shortages, with vital cancer and hemophilia medication unavailable. Maternity wards are overrun by filthy opossums — killing dozens of newborns as they spread disease.
With the focus on putting dissidents in prison, crime has overrun the country — with even a Miss Venezuela slain.
Family tombs are broken into and robbed of bones.
The scale of the horror, from birth to death in what Chavez called a socialist “sea of happiness” is unspeakable, and thousands of educated Venezuelans are fleeing.
If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. – Ayn Rand
The political philosophy of the New Left is weak, shallow, and in its expression by some of its gurus, patently absurd. But it has won the West. It has won the academies of the pan-European word, and through them generations grow up steeped in the creed.
What is the creed, and why has it won?
It has won because it echoes a Christian teaching, to which some 8,000 generations (reckoning 4 generations per century) of Europeans have been subjected.
It is the notion that to be a good person you must pity other people and make sacrifices for them. Only if you do that, are you worthy and virtuous.
It has been drummed into every Christian from his earliest years, so even if he rebels against his religion, his class, his culture, his race, his nation, he clings to that idea as to the moral kingpin of his universe. Take it away, and the center will not hold.
The New Left was a rebellion by affluent, middle-class adolescents (some of them well advanced in middle age) against their class, culture, race, and nation, starting about twenty years after the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).
The old Left, a secular version of Christianity, won the support of middle-class intellectuals by directing pity on to the working-class. The intellectuals would, at whatever cost to themselves, lead the oppressed and exploited workers in revolution. In Russia to start with, they did just that before the end of the First World War.
By the late 1960s, the old Left, in the person of dictators and their henchmen, was actively oppressing millions, including the populations of the Eastern European countries and a part of Germany.
So the old Left lost its appeal partly because the Leftist regimes could not easily be held up as models of paradise on earth. In addition, the working-class in the West had generally become prosperous enough to be content with its lot.
The New Left found new victims to feel sorry for. It found them first abroad, in the Third World, which was not prosperous. It declared the people of Third World countries to be exploited and oppressed by European colonialism and imperialism, even if their countries were no longer colonies or parts of empires. Its concern extended to Third World descendants who lived in the First World.
Then it declared that in the First World, women were victims of male-dominated societies. Many women volunteered for the role.
Next, homosexuals were declared, and many declared themselves, victims of heterosexual-dominated First World societies.
The main thing was, New Left intellectuals found new groups to pity, and so new sources for pride in a feeling of self-worth.
After 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War – of which the West was the immediate winner – the old Left was held by Western intellectuals (whom Thomas Sowell calls “the self-annointed”) to have been the wrong Left. The New Left, they maintain, is the politically correct Left.
The strange thing about the (new or old) Left’s remedy for human suffering is this: While only the individual can feel pain and suffer distress; while no masses, no group, no class, no race as such can suffer or feel anything at all; yet the Plan of the Left to remedy suffering is always one that sacrifices individuals for the sake of the group. It is always a Plan that is implemented regardless of individual suffering. So important is the Plan itself, that any number of individuals may be persecuted, silenced, tortured, enslaved, killed for it.
There is no collective remedy for human suffering. The only prescription that works is individual freedom; leaving people alone to serve their own purposes in the manner they choose for themselves. (Nothing need prevent an individual from aiding other individuals if that’s what he wants to do.)
John Schindler, who calls himself “a traditional leftist”, writes about why he believes the New Left has won in an article titled Who Really Won the Cold War?, in The Federalist. I quote it in full.
While he makes some points I do not agree with (chiefly the idea he takes for granted that Leftism ideally serves the cause of “human freedom”), he makes many more that bear out what I have said about the old Left and the New Left, and how and why the New Left has won the Cold War. I found this surprising. But it explains why an essay by a “traditional leftist” appears in The Federalist.
He starts with a figure from the old Left who has just recently risen to prominence:
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party has sent shockwaves far beyond Britain. There has been disbelief that the United Kingdom’s storied left-wing party opted to be led by a man so obviously contemptuous of his own society. In the wake of their recent electoral debacle under the uninspiring Ed Miliband, Labour has chosen as its leader an activist who resembles a walking leftist cliché. Corbyn’s radicalism is not in doubt. Aside from his embrace of socialist-throwback platitudes that linger on his party’s left flank on the full range of domestic issues, in adamant rejection of Blairism, Corbyn’s foreign-policy views merit attention. Openly hostile to NATO and Britain’s longstanding “special relationship” with the United States, Corbyn adds overt sympathy for numerous authoritarian regimes.
He blames the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not the Kremlin, for the Ukraine crisis and has endorsed Russia Today, Putin’s TV propaganda network. Corbyn opposes essentially all overseas military operations by Britain and wants to parley with Bashar al-Assad, four years into Syria’s fratricide, while viewing Tehran as a partner for Middle East peace.
That said, leftist infatuation with foreign dictators is hardly new. For decades a crush on “progressive” despots safely far away from their own free country has been a staple of the Western far-Left diet. Corbyn is simply a paid-up member of his ideological tribe.
Yet Corbyn surpasses his predecessors in his fervent embrace of the social-justice message at home as well as abroad. He exudes hostility towards the Britain that made the historic Labour Party. This, after all, is a man who celebrates Hamas, Hezbollah, and related Islamist extremists as freedom-fighters, while explaining the death of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy”.
Unsurprisingly, Corbyn enthusiastically espouses multiculturalism and says Britain should “celebrate” record numbers of immigrants entering the country — a position not popular with many voters, who see the European Union being overwhelmed by waves of migrants from Asia and Africa. Between his crush on the West’s enemies and his desire to change his country’s population, Corbyn wants to abolish Britain, not reform it.
Yet we should not regard Corbyn as a particular outlier. In truth, his cocktail of trendy “progressive” opinions, which rejects virtually everything about their own society, is commonly found among postmodern Western leftists. The only difference is that Corbyn makes no effort to mask his views. Many of his fellow travelers obscure their take, which would be considered extreme by most voters, behind moderate-sounding language.
Unlike Barack Obama, who once assured us that he did not see a Red America or a Blue America, rather a United States of America — then proceeded to govern through two terms as a highly partisan liberal Democrat — Corbyn states openly that there is only one “real” Britain, and it is deep red (which in Britain, as most of Europe, means left-wing).
Corbynism is no sudden or shocking development, but the natural culmination of 50 years of left-wing views that have shifted from a desire to reform Western democracies to an unconcealed wish to kill them, or at least change them so fundamentally that they bear little resemblance to themselves.
The Old Left, for all its sometimes horrific flaws, sought socioeconomic change to benefit average citizens, not all-out social revolution. They, in their own way, were very much a product of Western culture. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which split the Left worldwide into communist and social democratic groupings, the latter worked within the socioeconomic system, embracing democracy while seeking minimal deep changes to society itself.
Even the communists were hardly social revolutionaries in practice. In the initial euphoria of the revolution there was experimentation. The Soviet Union became the first society ever to allow abortion and easy divorce. In Hungary, during the short-lived red revolution at the end of World War I, Bolsheviks embraced social radicalism and introduced sex education to undermine the traditional family.
However, once firmly in power, the Soviets dropped any pretense of social revolution to mirror the politico-economic one. While religion was persecuted and mild feminism got lip service, Stalin banned abortion and the party frowned upon sexual immorality. After all, the revolution needed soldiers and workers, and who but communist women could make those?
Although the abortion ban was dropped after Stalin, Soviet social practices remained highly “heteronormative,” with homosexuality being criminal while men and women were strongly encouraged to marry and be fruitful. In its most extreme form, Nicolae Ceaușescu nearly banned abortion and contraceptives altogether in his effort to build his highly fecund socialist Romania.
Many were the Western progressives who visited the East Bloc during the Cold War, having been fed propaganda about the wondrous “new society”, only to discover that communism was actually behind the West in matters of family, sex, and gender.
While the Soviets and their clients remained mired in traditional social models, the West moved on — or forward, depending on your viewpoint. The great social revolution of the 1960s, which passed the East Bloc by because communism had insulated the countries, brought forth a New Left in the West that was interested in matters of sex, gender, and race rather than who owns the means of production.
Their “long march through the institutions” after a half-century must be judged wholly successful. While the Right has won the battle for economics across the West — calls for public ownership now seem quaint rather than threatening to capitalists — the New Left has triumphed on the social front in every arena.
In the United States, which was more resistant to the New Left agenda than many Western countries, the Obama years have witnessed the victory of social justice on all major matters of race, gender, and sexuality. Thanks to activists, politicians, and courts, Americans today are living in a very different social and sexual world than their parents and grandparents.
More than a few communists saw all this coming. Beginning in the 1970s, East Bloc secret police began to notice the impact of the New Left on their Old Left countries. Cries for radical individualism from dissidents under Western influence troubled the communists, who didn’t know what to do about this trend, which they dismissed as a bourgeois affectation.
By the 1980s, the more perceptive East Bloc security services were denouncing this Western poison, which took the form of radical feminism, sexual freedom, environmental activism, and gay rights. To traditional communists, who barely understood this new ideology, it was a scary Western import, according to the secret police. Some in Eastern Europe termed this decadence “anarcho-liberalism”, and they considered it a disease of an affluent late capitalist society burdened with excessive consumerism and leisure time.
In the end, of course, the communists lost. Lots of average people in the East Bloc wanted the freedom to own cool shoes, while some pined for the social-sexual liberties that the West offered. In many ways, the revolutions of 1989 to 1991 that changed the map and politics of Europe and beyond can be viewed with a quarter-century of hindsight as the defeat of the Old Left in the East by the New Left in the West.
We are living still with the consequences of this seismic political shift. With the sudden disappearance of the communist threat, the Right lost interest in socioeconomic fairness, a Cold War necessity to keep reds at bay on the home-front, while oddly so did the Left.
The obsessive interest of the New Left in social justice has come at the expense of economic concerns, with the result that on a wide range of topics their positions, barring lip service, differ hardly at all from the Right. Few on the Left question our basic economic arrangements; tearing down our social foundations has been their core program.
Barack Obama is the most left-wing president ever on social justice, yet he is a darling of Wall Street. Hillary Clinton, despite her belated interest in social issues, is deeply enmeshed in high finance and will never challenge it. Thus Bernie Sanders, who is an amalgam of Old and New Left, is treated like an atavism by mainstream liberals when he opens the economics can of worms.
It’s all enough to make the few traditional leftists among us want to pull their hair out. The broad alliance of cultural Left and corporate Right, which questions none of our economics, has triumphed in our politics — or at least had until Donald Trump came along to question “settled” issues such as mass, often illegal, immigration. The cultural Left favors this because it gradually dissolves the traditional culture, which they despise, while the corporate Right favors it for the cheap labor. Postmodern capitalism is at least as revolutionary a force as anything cooked up by any Marxist, as well as something any Social Justice Warrior can live with.
For more than a generation we have sorely lacked mainstream contributions from social democrats who seek to make our society better, not destroy it. There ought to be no illusions about what the cultural Left seeks: a full revolution of our society and its history, which they see as benighted by irredeemable racism, sexism, and Old Think. Their opponents are objectively evil and on the“wrong side of history,” as Obama himself has assured us, and they must disappear. “Error has no rights,” the mid-nineteenth-century Vatican formulation, has oddly been adapted by our postmodern Left.
As communists once predicted the state itself would wither away, resulting in complete human freedom and progress, the New Left expects that all traditional societal arrangements will wither away, thereby allowing full human freedom and progress. One offered discipline and order and sometimes gulags; the other offers sexual liberty, anti-racism, and iPhones.
Both these beliefs are illusions, and dangerous ones, rooted in a Marxist sense of “knowing” where history is going. The working class was once revered by leftists as uniquely virtuous, while for the New Left that vanguard role is played by minorities sexual and racial, who are allegedly untainted by the dominant group. The essential willingness to ignore inconvenient truths remains the same.
Let us give the Old Left, particularly its social democratic guise, credit that they did not seek the extirpation of our whole society and culture, but instead its transformation. What the New Left today fights for is far more revolutionary and utopian. A Europe that seeks a future where actual Europeans are a dying remnant, replaced by more vigorous immigrants, is but one manifestation of this worldview.
Leftists once heartily sang the “Internationale,” which promised “This is the final struggle” (C’est la lutte finale). Communists were quite wrong about that. History has moved on and left them behind everywhere but Cuba, North Korea, and Western universities. Yet their social-justice descendants believe the same thing, with a different favored fantasy class.
They will be proved wrong, too. The Corbyn vision has no future to offer most Britons. It would be incomprehensible to generations of Labour patriots who fought for Britain, her values, and her allies. The only question is how much damage to what is left of the West will be inflicted before the New Left is vanquished, too.
I wish I could share his optimism that the New Left will be vanquished (in the foreseeable future).
And what I miss in the essay is any reference to the human misery that “traditional leftism” of the redder kind has caused wherever it has had power to cause it. Of course, his focus is on the British Left, which was never – until now? – as red as all that.
I dislike his implication that collectivism (aka Leftism) of his favored – or any – kind is a valid recipe for improving what Leftists have called “the human condition”.
But I applaud his recognition that the New Left “seeks the extirpation of our whole society and culture”, and that he deplores that terrible aim.
If only he could also see that it is logically, even necessarily, derived from the old socialist collectivist thinking to which he remains faithful!
Jillian Becker September 18, 2015