Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

The most that the Left can hope for 7

… and its weird idea of what constitutes liberty.

Yes, of course, the Left hopes to be in power, everywhere and over all of us. It is a vast ambition, to organize the entire human “community” – or organize the entire human race into a “community”, locked under its power.

But why? Surely it has a vision it considers beautiful?

We sometimes go looking for explanations of why the Left opposes individual freedom, free speech, free market prosperity, private property, the US Constitution, objective impartial justice, racial color-blindness, the nation-state and its military defense capability, the family, the rules of the English language, historical monuments and records, civility, and  – coming at last to a word that could be the title of the whole list – happiness.

And from time to time we find an article that gives us a glimpse of  – not a rational argument as to why – but an exposition of what the Left wants which, discussing some of its hates and dreads, clarifies some of its wishes, even though it still leaves the question why unanswered.

Here’s one such article. The Leftist author, reviewing the work of fellow Leftists, is convinced that Marxism is gaining popularity. He  thinks that the financial crash of 2008 brought about “the intellectual rehabilitation of Marx”.

Outside academic precincts, his ideas have been slowly, if not wholly, exfoliated of their association with dictatorship and state-sponsored terror.

Have they indeed? If so they need to be foliated in those associations again as quickly as possible!

What makes him think so?

Recent, if only partial, exonerations have been issued by the Economist and the New York Times …

No surprise there.

And a host of new “journals and websites [that] share certain characteristics. They express a loathing of the war on terror, and disaffection with the precariousness and austerity of millennial life. The London riots in 2010 and the student protests as well as the Occupy protests in 2011-12 were formative moments of dissent that produced new political imaginaries [sic]. Academics, writers, bloggers and journalist-activists began to describe post-capitalist futures …

Above all, these “little magazines” reflected a growing sense of political possibility, a belief that the future wasn’t locked in the image of oligarchic power, but looked simultaneously darker (inequality and ecological collapse) and more hopeful (a recrudescent left). …  [T]he left began to crawl out from the sumps of melancholia.

We derive a certain amount of Schadenfreude from thinking of the Left as in “the sumps of melancholia”.

How does its new hopefulness express itself?

The blurb advertising the article reads: “Bhaskar Sunkara, founder of Jacobin, offers a manifesto for socialism that is thrillingly non-utopian.”

“Thrillingly non-utopian”? So a vision not of an ideally beautiful human world, yet “thrilling”?

An irresistible temptation to read on!

The article, titled The rise of millennial socialism, is by Gavin Jacobson (commissioning editor for the Leftist New Statesman).

He writes at the NewStatesmanAmerica:

Across the world, young activists are turning to old ideas. Why? …

[Bhaskar] Sunkara’s vision is thrillingly non-utopian. When describing the ultimate goal of socialism, he alludes to one of its most brilliant, if saturnine, definitions: “converting hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness”.

Now that’s blunt! Not to be happy is the aim. Achieving “ordinary unhappiness” is the height of the socialist aspiration.

And the prospect is thrilling?

The author expatiates further:

The phrase was originally conceived by Freud, but was adapted by the political theorist Corey Robin in 2013. And while you wouldn’t put it on the side of a campaign bus, it gets to the heart of what a socialist economy might look like: helping people overcome, in Robin’s words, the “immense, and incredibly shitty, hassle of everyday life”.

There are more provocative theorists than Sunkara on the American millennial left, and more engaging historians, too. But few of them present the arguments against capitalism and for socialism better than he does. He writes with clarity and light-heartedness – something writers on the left hardly ever do well – and has shrewdly repurposed buzzwords from the liberal centre to make the case for the radical left. The usual socialist argot of justice, equality, class war, dialectics, revolution, the 99 per cent, and so on, is either absent or pared down. Instead, Sunkara emphasises how socialism enables greater choice, leaves markets intact, is about participation and democracy, is created through reform, and is ultimately about freedom – safe-words for the politically curious. In style and endeavour, then, if not in politics, Sunkara might be the heir to Michael Harrington, the founder of the Democratic Socialists of America in 1982, who did so much to promote socialism in the US. …

So this socialism “leaves markets intact”, “is created through reform” (ie. not through revolution – nothing new there, that brand of Leftism used to be called Fabianism) and is “ultimately about freedom”?

At which point we need Sunkara’s definition of freedom. It is not provided.

We are taken back to the familiar politics of the New Left:

Again, this draws on the work of Ralph Miliband, who argued in 1985 that “the exploitation, discrimination and oppression to which women, blacks and gays are subjected is also crucially shaped by the fact that they are workers located at a particular point of the production process and the social structure”.

The Left has not noticed that Europe is governed mostly by women and the men who are allowed to share the seats of power with them have “Feminist” hung round their necks. They have not noticed affirmative action; are unaware that Blacks are admitted to universities on lower academic grades than Whites and Asians. Or that we are forced every day of our lives now to be aware of homosexuality as if it were one of the most important issues in all our lives.

The New Left replaced (to use its own jargon) the Marxist “class analysis” with “race analysis” and – more recently – “gender analysis”.

But we discover here that “class analysis” has not been superseded, only enlarged to take in race and gender:

Prioritising politics over policies is why Sunkara favours Sanders over Elizabeth Warren, who has a plan for everything – “I have a plan for that!” has become her unofficial campaign slogan – but not an alternative politics. It isn’t enough to win the policy argument, nor is it enough to win elections. Today’s socialists speak of the need to win power – not for its own sake, but as the handmaiden of liberty – and that requires a mass movement based on class struggle.

So in that discussion, the Left wants power “not for its own sake” but because it will deliver liberty to women, blacks and gays who are at present – so it analyses – unfree.

No intention there of defining liberty. The author admits that in discussing Sunkara’s view he has told us who must be freed, but not what their freedom will consist of:

If Sunkara asks “Freedom for whom?” Aaron Bastani wants to know “who will benefit?” Specifically, who will benefit from what he calls the “Third Disruption”, when abundance and “extreme supply” in labour, energy, resources, health, and sustenance lead to a post-scarcity world? Just like information, these things “want to be free”, posing grave dangers for an economic system built and sustained by profit.

What? So the present system – capitalism – is  leading to all that “extreme supply”? To a post-scarcity world? Wonderful! Great! Odd that he expects even more of capitalism than we do ourselves. But then he seems to be saying that because there will be so much in the way of “labour” (does he means robots?), “energy” (from what?), “resources” (such as?), “health” (medical care, he presumably means), and “sustenance” (food”?) that they should be free to everybody, like the sands of the desert, the water of the ocean, the air we breathe. He or the writer he quotes expresses it badly,  saying that “these things ‘want to be free'” rather than that people want to have them without having to pay for them.

This desire on the part of these things to be had freely – or let’s be kind and say it the way it makes sense: the fact that there will be so much of these things that they will be freely obtainable by everyone without it costing them anything, will “pose grave dangers” for the capitalist free market system. He is implying that no one will be able to make money out of enterprises that employ people; or by selling coal, gas, oil, wind-power etc.; or by being doctors; or by growing or retailing food.

That is indeed a utopian vision! And that is what Bastani thinks of as liberty. You are free from having to work to earn money, because you do not have to pay for anything. Everything you need is “free”. So that’s what freedom means. In such a world, such a paradise, women, blacks and gays will no longer be “workers located at a particular point of the production process and the social structure”. They will be free when all things are free to them.

Ah, but in that case, women, blacks and gays must face a most disheartening truth – that they will never be free.

Women, blacks, gays – sorry, but there will never be a post-scarcity world.

But now confusion arises in the article. It seems that capitalism and the free market are not creating a post-scarcity world! We thought that view of our present system was too strange  coming from a Leftist.  No, no – he knows that capitalism is failing. Mark off the constantly repeated failures and disasters:

Bastani’s message is that climate change, resource scarcity, surplus populations, and technical unemployment, are syndromes of a dying socio-economic order.

So what will produce the post-scarcity world where everything and therefore everyone is free?

[T]echnological advances in robotics and AI, as well as renewable energies, gene editing, synthetic meats, cellular agricultures, and (eventually) asteroid mining, provide opportunities to achieve FALC [fully automated luxury communism]. This is when, under a realm of plenty, “labour and leisure blend into one another”, and where work is no longer a means of survival, but a “route to self-development… more akin to play”. …

Actually, Gavin Jacobson thinks Bastani may be a little too optimistic …

Bastani’s book isn’t a complete riposte, and load-bearing statements such as, “once the technical barriers are surmounted”, suggest his arguments require more faith from the readers than he might think. Nor does he contend with the fact that capitalism has so tightly bound our collective sense of meaning to work, that post-scarce societies might become more like JG Ballard’s dystopian leisure world in his novel Cocaine Nights than luxury communism.

… though not too unrealistic:

But in outlining the benefits of decarbonised economies, worker-owned businesses, people’s banks, planet taxes and universal basic services, Bastani is starting to put flesh on the spectre that might one day haunt Europe again.

Note the vocabulary: :”decarbonised economies” (think Green New Deal); “worker-owned businesses” (for the danger of which see our post Darkness descends on South Africa); “people’s banks” (loans without limit without interest, without repayment?) “planet taxes” (taxes paid to a world government?); “universal basic services” (everything free).

However, the author says, just hoping for such a utopian “post-scarcity” world has the power of dynamite. To hope is in itself progressive:

Both his [Bustani’s] and Sunkara’s books represent … “the dynamite of hope that blasts the dead load of ossified systems, institutions, customs, intellectual habits, and closed doctrines. The Left unites those dispersed and often hidden atoms whose movement is, in the last analysis, what we call progress”.

Progress towards “fully automated luxury communism”.

“Luxury communism” is the name of the new Marxist utopian vision.

It may be less believable, but it’s certainly less depressing than “ordinary unhappiness”.

Posted under communism, Feminism, Leftism, Marxism, Socialism, world government by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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L: A Novel History 4

Posted under Britain, Collectivism, communism, Leftism, Marxism, revolution, tyranny, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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Britain debauched and infected by Europe 16

The British government is failing to accomplish Brexit – the country’s exit from the European Union, for which a majority of Britons voted in a referendum.

Why? Because the government and the Civil Service consist of people who want Britain to remain in the EU. They know the EU is undemocratic, deeply corrupt, and intent on Islamizing its member states, but that’s what they like about it.

The voters who put in the Tory [Conservative] government are angry. So angry, that when they were asked in a recent poll, “would you vote Tory or for the Brexit Party in the potential Euros (European Parliament elections]?”, 92 % said they would vote for the Brexit Party.

James Delingpole writes at Breitbart:

92 percent is a significant majority of Conservative voters who will be seeking to punish their own party in the likely Euro elections by voting for one of their more strongly Eurosceptic rivals — either Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party (the only other option offered in this ad hoc poll) or UKIP [the United Kingdom Independence Party].

The Conservatives are going to get creamed if and when the next Euro elections happen, of that there’s no question. Their natural constituency won’t easily forgive the party for betraying Brexit in the way that [Prime Minister] Theresa May and her Cabinet of Remainers have done.

But the bigger question is: what will happen when Conservative voters’ loyalties are tested in a general election?

It’s a very important question because on the answer depends the fate of Britain. …

Is there a terrifying possibility that the Labour Party, led by the Communist Islamophiliac Jeremy Corbyn, could be voted into power?

Delingpole fears the answer may be yes:

In normal times, there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that a terrorist-supporting, anti-Semitic, hard-left loon like Jeremy Corbyn would ever get voted into power by the generally sensible British electorate.

But these are not normal times. Various clever rich people have already made sure to move their assets offshore in preparation for the massive confiscatory spree and capital controls which will instantly follow the election of Corbyn’s socialist regime.

I used to think they were just being paranoid. Now I’m starting to worry they may have been prescient.

The now-far-left Labour Party might win not because the British want what it’s threatening them with, but … what? Because the Conservatives are threatening them with much the same thing?

There is no general appetite for our broadly free market democracy to be replaced by Venezuela-style collectivism. But collectivism, nonetheless, is what Britain may get because of what political analyst Matthew Goodwin correctly identifies as the “perfect storm” threatening the Conservative party with its greatest existential crisis in living memory:

Today, the dark clouds that are swirling above Britain’s most successful party are visible to all; the government’s disastrous handling of Brexit; a Cabinet that is deeply split; a parliamentary party that has fractured; a Conservative electorate and membership that are at logger-heads with their leaders; a rebooted and well-funded populist Right under a re-energised Nigel Farage; and a fundamentally damaged Conservative brand. At no other point in Britain’s post-war period has the Conservative Party looked so vulnerable.

You may say the Conservatives have brought this disaster on themselves. And you’d be absolutely right. To my mind this goes far beyond Brexit — which merely brought matters to a head.

The rot set in a long, long time ago when the Conservatives decided that they no longer wanted to be conservative. …

This tectonic shift has been building for some time, driven on the one hand by the forces of Fabianism and cultural Marxism, on the other by the Conservatives’ surrender of their core philosophies in favour of “pragmatism” (i.e. drifting leftward to shake off the “nasty” tag, which of course they’ll never lose because the people who dictate the terms are their even more left-wing opponents).

For a forensic analysis of what has gone wrong, I recommend this must-read essay by David Eyles at Country Squire titled Post-Brexit Tory Doom::

The result of the Conservatives having abandoned conservatism is the unintentional creation of a philosophical void. It has meant that the Conservatives, upon taking office, have found themselves unable to forge political direction for the country. Indeed, David Cameron almost prided himself upon this by describing himself as “pragmatic” – in other words he blew with whatever wind direction was prevailing at the time. Into this void has stepped the Civil Service, which instead of being politically neutral as it always used to be, is now heavily politicised towards the Left. In addition, the rest of the élites which oversee so much of our public life have ensured that the Westminster Conservative Party have been softened up socially and culturally over dinner party tables. The Civil Service has thus successfully guided the Conservative government into territory that is now firmly occupied by the Leftist Clerisy.

As in the US, the administrative state is a swamp in which reptiles of the Left work to transform the nation into something nearer to their Socialist ideal.

No doubt the forces of Fabianism and cultural Marxism have contributed to the turning of the Conservative Party into a party of the Left. No doubt the treason of the civil servants has worked to make the change. But what must have done more harm than anything else to the nation as a whole, wrecking its ability to govern itself is – the EU.

Britain’s membership of the EU has been one of the worst mistakes in the islands’ history. Perhaps the very worst. It was like an abusive marriage. Europe debauched Britain not by violence, not be rapine and plunder, but by psychological corruption. The British got into bad company and were led astray. Britain has caught the morbid sickness of Europe.

The British were never Europeans. They are greatly different from the continentals. Their kind live in North America and Australia. Regardless of what the maps contend, psychologically speaking the Atlantic Ocean is much narrower than the English Channel.  

The European states – at least those in the south –  never could govern themselves well. Could never get the hang of it. Their elected governments changed so often, the representatives who had far to come to the capital cities where the parliaments sat, barely had time to get unpacked before they were on their way home again. Unless they fell under tyrannous dictators.

The British had a talent for governing (even though they messed up with the American colonies).

And the British used to have contempt – healthy or inexcusably racist according to your point of view – for Europeans. They called them by abusive names: Frogs, Krauts, Spics, Wops … “Wogs”, originally a rude word for Africans, came to be applied to all foreigners generally. The expression “Wogs begin at Calais” was a common refrain. When Britain joined the European Union, many lamented, “Now Wogs begin at Land’s End” (the westernmost point of England).

The British became, or tried to become, Europeans. They caught the lethal European sickness. Can they recover? If Brexit is finally accomplished, will the nation start to heal?

We share James Delingpole’s worry that it might not.

Transclassing into the new social order 2

Marx and Engels despised the Lumpenproletariat, “the social scum” they said it consisted of, “that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society”. It formed no part of the “revolutionary class” they wrote. That was the proletariat, the class of the workers. At best, they averred, the Lumpenproletariat “may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution”.

But the Left lost its faith in the proletariat after the Second World War. Communist theorists glumly concluded that the workers of the world were not, after all, going to unite, lose their chains and win the world, as Marx had encouraged them to do. In Europe – most particularly in Germany – they were doing far too well in the capitalist system to want to change it.

So the New Left was born. Not in the Communist Second World, the Soviet Union and its empire. But in the First World, the Free West. The newness of the New Left lay in its shift of expectation from the workers to the Lumpenproletariat. The social scum became the new “revolutionary class”, would take over the historic role, the sacred task, and enact the earthly apocalypse. After which human beings, their nature transformed and standardized, would live in blissful equality ever after, everywhere on earth.

Marx and Engels’s Lumpenproletariat consisted of “beggars, tricksters, entertainers, buskers, criminals and prostitutes”. With the change, tricksters, entertainers, and buskers have had their membership in the new revolutionary class quietly canceled. Vagabonds and criminals remain. And new members have been added: Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”, the denizens of the poor Third World;  Herbert Marcuse’s “outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and colors, the unemployed and unemployable”. Blacks, who had not been classed by Marx as proletarian revolutionary material, are prime members. (Marx despised Blacks, though they were mostly workers; and he and Engels both opined that Slavs – a category that includes Russians, mark you, comrades! – should be annihilated. See for instance here and here.) All “persons of color” are included. Also the sexually abnormal. And women – all women, whether they like it or not. And, very recently, in dramatic opposition to original Marxism, people who are “unwilling to work”.

In Marxist terms, what the Democratic Party has become is a party of “scum”. What can be expected in the way of probity and competence from human scum? Not much. But it’s okay, the scum is not expected to rule. The rulers are still, and are expected to be White men.

And this new, vastly expanded revolutionary class is no longer to be thought of as a Lumpenproletariat, its  members as human scum. By virtue of their “oppression” they are the chosen, the best. Their oppressors are the White race. White men. A category that includes the theorists of the New Left themselves, the very makers of the new social order.

So the White men still in leadership positions on the ever-more-communist Left in America are performing public rituals of self-abasement. (Entertainers of a sort – re-admitted to the chosen class?)

Both the leading choices of the Democratic Party to date for the 2020 presidential election are White men.

One of them is a Marxist, a man of the Old Left, Bernie Sanders. The other, former Vice-President Joe Biden, though he has not yet declared his candidacy, is on tour with apologies for being a White man with a “White culture”.

What will he do about it?

Dominate from below?

Posted under communism, Leftism, Marxism, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 1, 2019

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A monocultural thing 7

Are we all characterized chiefly and most importantly by our race?

The Left insists that we are. 

They who constitute the Left – the Marxists, socialists, feminists, anti-racists, structuralists, poststructuralists, deconstructionists, postmodernists, historicists, cultural studies professors, semioticians, postcolonial heterologists, critical theorists, multiculturalists, cultural relativists, environmental warmists, diversity evangelists, and a posse of newly elected Congressional Democrats – also insist that the white race has done more harm than any other, and the only proper and decent posture for whites is one of abject self-abasement. 

All other races or tribes or ethnic groups (except maybe the Jews) are equally redeemed from all censure by the suffering that the white race has inflicted on them. This doctrine is called “intersectionality”.  Persons of abnormal sexual proclivity are included among the categories of victims redeemed by their suffering at the hands of white patriarchs, supremacists, colonialist and imperialists. White women if they sincerely believe in intersectionality (and are not Jewish) can apply for a pass.  

“Relativists” (those who believe there are no moral principles or modes of thought shared by all human beings) hold that “cultural diversity will return to regain its place as the natural condition of humanity. It is this hope that nurtures the multicultural political movement of today”.

We quote from The Killing of History, an excellent book by the Australian historian, Keith Windschuttle.*

He goes on to demolish that romantic expectation. It will not happen, he explains, because it cannot happen, for the same reasons it never has happened.     

[T]he  historical record does not support the thesis. For the past ten thousand years at least, indigenous cultures on every continent have been subject to a process of change that has varied from merger and absorption into other cultures to complete obliteration by a conquering power. Every culture that exists today has been subject to either violent or peaceful amalgamation and absorption of earlier smaller communities … [W]hether we like it or not, we are all the inheritors  of cultures that have been forged out of  a long process of suppression and absorption of the cultures that arose before them.

And he points out that if the relativists’  and multiculturalists’ dream could be realized, it would not be a good thing according to their own valuation:

A revival of cultural exclusiveness [whether territorially or within a multicultural society] would mean a return to differentiating between human beings on the basis of genealogical blood line, in other words, on racial grounds. … It is a great irony that the cultural relativist  and multicultural movements gain most of their support from those people of European descent who want to avoid derogatory attitudes towards the people and cultures of other races. …

His contention, which he amply proves, is that all cultures are not equal, and that just one culture has provided all humankind with the only “genuinely valid style of knowledge … the Western scientific tradition”.

Western science has trumped all other cognitive styles.

[It has] proven , historically, so overwhelmingly powerful – technologically, economically, militarily and administratively – that all societies have had to make their peace with it and adopt it.

Science is not just a Western mode of thought neither more nor less valid than the modes of thought of any another cultural tradition, it alone “works, and none of the others do with remotely the same effectiveness”.

The asserting of the “absolutism and non-relativism of Western scientific method …  is quite separate from any question about the ranking of the inhabitants of Western societies. It has nothing whatever to do with a racist, or any other, glorification of one segment of humanity over another”.

Although the scientific style of knowledge “emerged in one social context” – the West – “it is clearly accessible to all humanity”.  

Far from being bound by Western culture, Western science belongs to the whole of humanity.   

And Western technology, the daughter of Western science, will belong to the whole of humanity if only the whole of humanity can manage to buy it, which it is passionately eager to do. Computers, the internet, the cell phone –  above all, the cell phone! – you can see – look about you wherever you are … these are the joys of humankind’s desiring. All humankind. Regardless of all the cultural relativism in all the ethnic studies departments of all the academies in all the world.  

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*The Killing of History  by Keith Windschuttle, The Free Press, New York, 1996. Our quotations come from pages 278-281.

The vast left-wing conspiracy – almost victorious, but … 24

The vast left-wing conspiracy, begun in the last century, has come very close to succeeding.

Conceived by academics and implemented by politicians, it came so near to total victory between 2008 and 2016, that the sudden set-back of a strong, populist, nationalist, patriotic, competent, billionaire businessman rising to the most powerful position in the world as President of the United States in 2017 was very irritating to the conspirators. Very irritating. To say the least. They would happily mow him down, throw him over a cliff, blast him to smithereens if only they could!

In America, the first big stride to implement the plan was Ted Kennedy’s 1965 Immigration Act. Also known as the Hart-Celler Act. It has brought in millions from the Third World, and continues to do so.

The democratic system allows the rest of the plan to happen. It allowed the election of one of their own to the presidency. It allows heavy concentrations of Third World immigrants voting their candidates into city, state and national government.

That part of the plan, the infiltrating of government by anti-American representatives, is proceeding nicely right now, despite the wrong man being president.

90 Muslim-American candidates ran for state or national office in 2018 and 55 won. Their plan is for many more to enter government until they dominate it.

From Creeping Sharia:

Democratic Rep. André Carson says he envisions that there will be “about 30, 35 Muslims in Congress” and possibly a Muslim president or vice president by 2030.

The Indiana congressman’s remarks came Thursday evening during a Community Congressional Reception hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

He crowed with delight that two Muslim women, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib had been elected to Congress.

“But I won’t rest until 2020 we have five more members of Congress; 2022 and 24, we have 10 more Muslims in Congress. In 2030 we may have about 30, 35 Muslims in Congress.

“Then we’re talking about Madame Chair Rashida. We’re talking about Madame Chair Ilhan. Hell, we could be saying Speaker of the House Ilhan, Speaker of the House Rashida, Senator Rashida, Governor Ilhan, President Fatima, Vice President Aziza. Inshallah.”

Carson ended his speech by saying that all Muslims in America have “a directive to represent Islam …”

To make America Islamic. To make it like – for instance – Somalia.

Ilhan Omar’s loyalty is to Islam, and to Somalia, where she was born. Not to America, which gave her refuge and citizenship when, with her family, she fled civil war in her native land.

David Steinberg writes at PJ Media:

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) became the first Somali-American legislator in United States’ history when Minnesota’s House District 60B elected her on November 8, 2016. The distinction won Omar immediate fame and influence in Somalia, which was entering the final stretch of a critical presidential election of its own. …

Omar’s documented actions in the weeks that followed would almost certainly prevent any applicant with such a background from obtaining or keeping a U.S. security clearance.

Ilhan Omar is now a U.S. congresswoman, however. Elected federal officials are exempted from the arduous security clearance process; they hold de facto clearances once sworn in to office. Further, Omar will likely be privy to a significant amount of classified national security information this term. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has granted Omar’s request for a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The common hyperbole for describing government corruption — “rampant,” or “endemic” — does not help adequately illustrate Somalia’s recent administrations. “As bad as it gets” does the job, literally: Transparency International, the massive NGO dedicated to exposing public-sector corruption, has placed Somalia dead-last among all nations on Earth in its annual “Corruption Perceptions Index” — for 11 consecutive years. Somalia has occasionally managed to tie, though never outrank, North Korea.

Any significant involvement by a U.S. citizen in Somalia’s election process would likely raise eyebrows at America’s intelligence agencies.

On December 20, 2016, just a few weeks after her election to Minnesota’s state legislature, Ilhan Omar was in Mogadishu with then-President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud … He reportedly invited her to appear with him prior to the election taking place. …

Back in Minneapolis from Mogadishu, Ilhan Omar [was one of two] keynote speakers at a February 27 community celebration of “Farmaajo’s” [Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s] election [to the presidency of Somalia]. “One of the most fraudulent political events in Somalia’s history” was grounds for a party.

Standing behind a podium bearing Farmaajo’s image, and wearing a lapel button of the same, Ilhan exuberantly praised him and the newly formed Somali government in a brief speech marked by religious anecdotes and imagery. …

Nancy Pelosi placed Omar on Foreign Affairs, so she will soon be in the middle of vital national security legislation regarding the Middle East.

The vast left-wing conspiracy is easy about Muslims in government. They have a common goal – to change America. So why should the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, hesitate to put a Muslim Somalian woman, more loyal to Islam and Somalia than she will ever be to the United States, on to the US Foreign Affairs Committee?

Change America? Into what, you ask?

Into something more like China? North Korea? Venezuela?

No, no!

Then into something more like … Somalia?

Not that either.

It seems there will come a time when the partnership has succeeded in destroying America as it is, making it ungovernable under the present system, then establishing one-party rule, opening the borders of the state, expropriating private assets, turning the UN into the HQ of world government … yes, AND forcing all women to cover themselves with hijabs or burkhas in public, having sharia enforced by the law courts …

What? No!

There will come a time, we were saying, when the partnership between the vast left-wing conspiracy and Islam will become strained.

The conspirators may feel that they have allowed Islam to become too powerful. They may begin to feel that Islam is a rival rather than a partner.

Won’t it be exciting to see what happens then? To see who will win?

Which of the two (this being the only choice) would you want to be the winner?

Oh, brave new world to have that conflict in it!

The Party of Death 9

The Democratic Party has become officially and doctrinally authoritarian and cruel.

Another word for it is fascist.

Karin McQuillan, writing at American Greatness, explains why “fascist” is the right word to use for what the Democrats have become. We quote her article almost in full:

The Democrats have no shame.


Liberals watch their politicians, celebrities, and media leaders attack individuals, even children, and our precious civil liberties. Instead of recoiling, they immediately parrot the vicious talking point of the day. The few exceptions of public protest, the exemplary Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, and last week, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), makes the ominous acquiescence of other Democrats all the more noticeable.


The mobbing of the Covington boys, and the feeble excuse-apologies—and continued attacks—that followed, join what is now a long series of hate-filled words and acts by leftists that cause regular Democrats no shame, no dark night of the soul, no revulsion towards what they are becoming as people and as a party.


Everything America has ever stood for must go. Being colorblind is attacked as racist. Equality before the law is attacked as sexist. The list of Democrat doublespeak becomes a tedious rant, and what’s the point? Democrats are not listening and if forced to listen, plug their ears and scream at the top of the lungs that it is Trump, Trump, Trump who is ruining everything.

Meanwhile, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom to bear arms, freedom to organize politically (for conservatives), the right to life for a baby about to be born — have all been redefined as violence against blacks, women or gays. A religious teenager standing still in a MAGA hat is an attempt to “erase” minorities that justifies violence to wipe the smile off his face.


#TheResistance is an attack on the right of Republicans to win a perfectly normal, hard fought, fairly won, national election. Democrats are resisting American democracy itself—and their previously normal voters cheer.


Americans never accepted attacking children, mobbing anyone, making political opposition a thought crime — now Democrats do.


The attempt to defame and destroy youngsters should trigger revulsion across the political spectrum. Instead, we heard a chorus of lame excuses that the original Covington video clip could well have been the boys mobbing an Indian. Reality check: even the short clip did not show a boy disrespecting an Indian, let alone mobbing an Indian. The short clip was a video of a boy smiling at an Indian. That’s it. The long clip showed black adults and an Indian being aggressive and disrespectful to a group of youngsters, followed by the Indian trying to frame the kids in a lying, hostile interview with the national media.


Democratic professional journalists tried to ruin that child’s life. A hysterical Twitter mob wanted to dismember and kill him. His real crime was going to a right to life rally and wearing a MAGA hat. They tell us so. I keep thinking of Mao’s Red Guards, who would stuff a neighbor in a sack for thought crimes and beat her to death.


We have black shirts, in America, beating conservatives with chains. It’s OK with leftists, including Obama and Clinton, because they name themselves Antifa. It’s hard to believe it’s really happening.


One by one, the post-Obama Democratic party is breaking down all civilized norms in America. That’s understandable. They are being led by professional activists, following the cultural Marxist playbook of identity politics. It is a well published, albeit ignored playbook, which Obama learned at the American Socialist conferences he attended, taught in Chicago as a paid agitator and law school lecturer, and instituted from the White House.


We’re following the leftist blueprint for destruction. Their weapon of choice is to set the races at each other’s throats. Obama stoked racial grievances leading to race riots and a mass shooting of cops, cynically using the corpses of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Social justice warrior’s grievance studies departments, racial quotas and attacks on white privilege daily rub race relations raw.


Community organizers purposely inflame grievances into societal breakdown. They get money by shaking down corporations with accusations of racism (now add sexism and homophobia). They take over public schools and texts that teach kids to hate America. When they get enough power, they corrupt and subvert our institutions—IRS, FBI, DOJ. They delegitimize the constitutional safeguards against tyranny of the mob, such as the electoral college.


The left is tearing America apart on purpose, because they want a revolution. It’s normal for them.


What is not normal is for regular Democrats, once sincere liberals, to follow their leaders down into the sewer of cultural Marxism, pretending it doesn’t smell. Once normal Democrat politicians, journalists, Hollywood and sports celebrities are leading a revolting break down of civility and decency.


In each and every case, normal, decent Democrats choose not to look. If forced by too many headlines to notice the odious behavior, they justify it.

The stench of their hypocrisy is in all our nostrils.

In the case of the Covington boys, their own high school and bishop in Kentucky — people who knew the boys and their milieu and should have assumed their decency absent overwhelming evidence to the contrary — automatically and swiftly joined the accusers of the innocent boys.


Liberal Catholic and Christian clergy have long been turning a blind eye to the intense bigotry of Democrats against their own religions. Liberal Jews are tolerating their party’s anti-semitism, since it is integral to identity politics and multiculturalism. This seems freakish, but it is all too human. 

Liberals cannot admit what is in front of their eyes: conservatives represent traditionally liberal values. Conservatives are the party of inclusiveness, in which we are all Americans, colorblind and equal, while their identity politics is something foreign to America that encourages hatred of whites and men, pitting race against race and women against men. Conservatives want to raise people up, and their party wants people to be dysfunctional victims, seething masses of self-destructive grievance, envy, and revenge.


None of this is subtle or confusing. It’s just impossible for liberals to admit. The price of being honest is too high.


Everyone they know is liberal. Their spouses, their children, their relatives, their neighbors, their bosses, their colleagues. Liberals don’t tolerate dissent.


Dissent, and you will be treated like the Covington boys. …


Liberals have no escape from their party’s embrace of hate. For a liberal to criticize Democrat’s hatefulness towards whites, men, Jews, Christians, Catholics — it can’t be done. It would destroy a liberal’s career, perhaps his or her marriage, in an instant. Dissent is punished swiftly and ruthlessly by liberals. Apple’s black, female vice president of diversity and inclusion was fired after six months in her new position (she was a 20-year veteran at Apple, on the leadership team expanding retail worldwide). Her crime? She said twelve white men from diverse backgrounds with different life experiences and perspectives also provide “diversity”.


All of this is impossible for liberals to face. Their own betrayal of American values, their hypocrisy, the danger of dissent—all are awful things to admit. So they don’t admit them. Instead, they double down on denial and displacement. They tell themselves Republicans are truly evil and must be destroyed. They insist they are the party of love.


Liberals aren’t uneasy that the two freshmen congresswomen from Muslim districts are anti-Semites. Their papers simply don’t report on it. Instead, they scream over and over that President Trump is KKK, ignoring his stellar record of helping blacks with jobs and safe neighborhoods and school choice and incarceration reform, his healing words that color doesn’t matter, and we are all American.


Tearing the country apart with false accusations of racism is bad for America, but for the individual liberal, it is totally safe. It is required. It is good.


Wanting to torture, beat and murder the Catholic boys from Covington High carries no penalty in their social circles. Showing those boys respect even though they are right to life? That’s dangerous. Really dangerous.


It’s easy to keep liberal blinders on. Limit your reading to the propaganda press, so you will not learn any disturbing information. Read the New York Times and listen to NPR, and “poof”—all the potential cognitive dissonance is gone.


To stay in the fold, liberals are being forced to jettison liberalism. They have already jettisoned American values. No more Bill of Rights. No patriotism allowed. No common sense on borders. No Martin Luther King’s dream of colorblind fairness. No equality before the law. No respect for a two- party system.


Adopting fascism is entirely comfortable. Everyone they know is doing it. They’re the good people. Everyone they know says so.
 
 

In fact, those “liberals” have not been liberal for a very long time, if ever they were. They are Democrats. The Democratic Party supported slavery, segregation, secession and the KKK, and now it supports infanticide. One of the two major political parties of America, commanding roughly half the votes of the American people, has become the Party of Death!

A number of professors (particularly foolish types generally speaking) question whether the human race should continue to exist – and mostly argue that it should not. (See here, here, here and here.) Whether they are Democrats or not, whether they are all on the Left or not, we don’t know, but they certainly aren’t conservatives.

Allah has a Pope and Marx is his prophet 1

It is plainly a thing that needs explanation, why the Left, doctrinally anti-religion, insistent on women’s liberation, vehemently against homophobia, is in alliance with Islam. How can you be against religion yet for Islam? For women’s equality and at the same time for women’s subjugation? Against homophobia but unconcerned that gays are bound hand and foot and flung to their death from the top of tall buildings?

The Left does not explain why. It does not entertain the question.

And here’s another thing that needs explanation. Why are the heads of the Christian churches looking on impassively while Christians of many denominations are being slaughtered and enslaved by Islam in the Middle East and North Africa, to such an extent that the Christian communities of what was once the vast empire of the eastern Roman church are being wiped out of existence?

The Catholic author William Kilpatrick writes at Lifesite:

Ever since the Second Vatican Council, Church leaders have presented a smiley-faced version of Islam which emphasizes the commonalities with Catholicism and leaves out the alarming elements.

Over the last six years, the chief proponent of this bowdlerized view of Islam has been Pope Francis. He has reassured Christians that Islam is opposed to violence, advised Muslim migrants to find comfort in the Koran, and has portrayed terrorists as betrayers of true Islam.

More significantly, he has become perhaps the world’s foremost spokesman for an open-borders, let-everyone-in policy toward immigration. Seemingly indifferent to the increasingly dangerous situation created by jihad-minded Muslims in Europe, Francis has encouraged a welcoming attitude toward all while scolding opponents of mass migration as fearful and xenophobic.

In short, Pope Francis has acted as an advocate for Islam. He has portrayed it as a religion of peace, the moral equivalent of Catholicism, and a force for good. A number of people, however, now feel that the pope has seriously misled Christians about the nature and goals of Islam and Islamic immigration. …

The combination of high Muslim birth rates, mass Muslim migration, and European concessions to Islam’s blasphemy laws has set Europe on a course toward Islamization. Islamization, in turn, will spell dhimmitude for Christians. As the Islamic influence grows, Christians will be subject to increasing restrictions on the practice of their faith, perhaps even to the point of persecution. It’s possible that Christianity in Europe will be exterminated.

The pope has done much to promote the cause of Islam – so much so that he has been praised by Islamic leaders for his defense of their faith. The questions that then arise are these: Is Francis aware of the possibility that Islam will become dominant in Europe? Is he aware that this may spell the end of European Christianity? And if he is aware, does he care?

For a long time, I thought that Francis was simply naïve regarding Islam. His counterfactual statements about Islam and his Pollyannaish view of mass Muslim migration must, I thought, be the result either of blissful ignorance or of bad advice from “experts,” or a combination of both.

Now, however, I have my doubts. The catalyst for these doubts is Francis’s approach to the current sex-abuse crisis. I originally supposed that he was naïve about this, too: perhaps he didn’t realize the full extent of the problem or the full extent of the cover-ups, or perhaps he wasn’t aware of the numerous lavender networks in seminaries, in dioceses, and in the Vatican itself. But in light of recent revelations, it no longer seems possible to give him the benefit of the doubt. In several cases, he not only knew of the crimes and cover-ups, but took steps to protect and/or promote those involved. Francis seems determined to push through a revolution in doctrine and morals – what he calls “a radical paradigm shift” – and it doesn’t seem to matter that the men he has chosen to help him achieve his goals are the ones most deeply implicated in the scandals. By all accounts, Pope Francis is a “hands-on” pope who knows exactly what he wants, carefully calculates his moves, and leaves little to chance.

Why, then, should we suppose Francis is completely naïve about the extent of the threat from Islam and from Islamic immigration? It’s difficult to imagine that he isn’t fully aware of the widespread persecution of Christians in Muslim lands. And it’s just as difficult to think that he’s ignorant of the Islamic crime wave on his own doorstep – the escalating incidence of rape, riots, and terrorist attacks in Europe. Does he really believe that such things have nothing to do with Islam?

Unless one assumes that Francis is ignorant of history and out of touch with current events, one must entertain the possibility that – to repeat a favorite slogan of his – he wants to “make a mess” in Europe.

But why? Why risk the damage to the Church that would surely follow on the Islamization of Europe? Doesn’t Francis care about the Church? Increasingly, it seems that he does not. …

This is from Francis himself speaking at a conference on Church closings:

“The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy … should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the times that invites us to reflection and requires us to adapt.”

Translation: Francis is not particularly concerned about church closings. Perhaps he even thinks of them as a blessing, i.e., a necessary end to the old order of things that will clear the way for the construction of the new order.

What is this new order? In many respects, it resembles the new world order envisioned by politicians and academics on the left. Like them, Francis has a dim view of national borders and national sovereignty, and, like them, he has an almost unquestioning belief in the benefits of international institutions. One gets the impression that Francis would be quite content to let the U.N. run the world, despite the fact that the U.N. is increasingly run by leftists and Islamists. For example, Francis has praised the U.N.’s Global Compact for Migration because he believes that immigration should be governed globally rather than by individual nations.

How does this relate to Christianity and Islam? Just as Francis seems to favor a one-world government, he also seems to be drawn by the vision of a one-world religion. He hasn’t said so in so many words, but he has given several indications that he envisions an eventual blending of religions. …

One way to achieve this unity in diversity is by deemphasizing doctrine. Doctrinal differences are, after all, the main dividing line between different faiths. Thus, by downplaying the importance of doctrine – something he has done fairly consistently throughout his papacy – it’s probable that Francis hopes to smooth the path to interreligious harmony. Just as Francis disapproves of borders between nations, it’s quite likely that he looks upon borders between religions as artificial and unnecessarily divisive. …

But a religion must have a doctrine. The doctrine is the religion. What is a religion if not its doctrine?

Francis frequently shows signs of indifferentism – i.e., the belief that all religions are of equal value.

If this is the case, then Pope Francis probably has no desire to convert the Muslims streaming into Europe. …

Exactly what, then, does he have in mind by encouraging mass migration into Europe? One possibility … is that he envisions a kind of multicultural blending of religions. But in order for this to happen, it would be necessary for the respective faiths to dilute their doctrinal positions. Pope Francis seems quite willing to do this on the Catholic side. …

But what about fundamentalist Muslims? A harmonious world religion dedicated to humanitarian ends would require not only a watering-down of Christianity, but also a considerable moderation of Islam. …

[He claims] that Islam is already – and always has been – a moderate and peaceful faith. Most notably, he asserted … that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”. …

For decades now, global leaders have been assuring us that Islam means peace, that violence has nothing to do with Islam, and that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. …

Francis seems to have little anxiety about the Islamization of Europe. Indeed, as evidenced by his encouragement of mass migration, he seems to have no objection to Islamization.

Either because he truly believes the false narrative that Islam is a religion of peace, or because he believes that the self-fulfilling prophecy strategy will create a more moderate Islam, Francis seems to be at peace with the fact that Islam is spreading rapidly.

Whatever he has in mind, it seems that Pope Francis is betting against the odds. …

Whether Francis has been misinformed about Islam or whether he has adopted a strategy of misinformation, he is taking a huge gamble – not only with his own life, but with the lives of millions. When the religion of Muhammad meets the religion of indifferentism, which seems more likely to prevail?

As the “one world religion” must have a doctrine, what would Pope Francis have it be? The only hint we have is in what we know of his own beliefs. The beliefs he holds not at all indifferently: the Liberation Theology that Communist Catholic priests preached in his native Latin America – but was cooked up and fed to them by the Soviet Union.

The Catholic part of Liberation Theology is less evident – if evident at all – than the Communist part.

Whether to Communism or Islam or both, Christianity is losing, and may be on its way to being lost – dissolved perhaps in a “world religion”.

We are not sorry to see a religion lose its grip on sad human gullibility, but we get no satisfaction from the victory of the temporary alliance of Islam and the Left over Christianity. Of the three religions – Christianity, Islam, Communism – Christianity has been the least dreadful in recent times.

Antifa: the fascist insurrection 4

Antifa is a revolutionary Marxist/anarchist militia movement that seeks to bring down the United States by means of violence and intimidation.

Those are the opening words of a new booklet, Antifa: A Growing Fascist Threat, published by The David Horowitz Freedom Center. Most of the content can be found online at Discover the Networks. All our quotations in this post come from that source.

Because Antifa is a movement with no centralized leadership, its constituents typically group themselves into autonomous local cells. Some of these cells meet only sporadically to strategize and plan future activities, while others meet as frequently as several times each week. Antifa activists communicate and recruit mostly through social media, using Facebook as their principal forum for organizing protests.

The movement is in alliance with – or swelled by – a dozen or so groups which similarly characterize themselves as “anti-fascist”.

By “fascist” they mean any person, organization, business, creed, movement, system, faction, party, institution that they don’t like because, they allege, he, she, it and/or they are “white supremacists” like the Nazis and the KKK.

They would have it believed that their motivation is idealist, utopian, selfless, supremely moral. They claim to be champions of “the oppressed” whom they identify primarily as “the poor, the black, and the brown”. (Video footage of Antifa riots indicate that the majority of its members are white. Some of their associated groups are predominantly or exclusively black. One such is the Black Panthers.) The oppression, they say, takes the form of “capitalism”, “materialism”, “colonialism”, “imperialism”, “racism”, “sexism”. Of these crimes they accuse all conservatives, Republicans, property-owners, bankers, retailers, patriots, the police, the military, and above all President Trump and the United States. One of their slogans, shouted at a rally in Berkeley, California, in August 2017, was: “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at All!”

The authors of the Antifa booklet declare, with reason, that the motivation is also “base criminal desires, and thrill seeking”.

Their protests against oppression take the form of violent attacks and rioting in the streets, parks, and public square. They attack people marked as their enemies with brass knuckles, poles, chains, clubs, rocks, knives, pepper spray, Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs, bottles of urine, and guns; and the property of their enemies with clubs, rocks, “chunks of pavement”, and fire. They have not yet killed anyone, but many of their victims have needed to be hospitalized. They know they are breaking the law, and that they can get away with it.

When Antifa activists participate in street demonstrations, they often employ a tactic known as “black bloc”, whereby they dress entirely in black and cover their faces with black masks or scarves, so as to make it nearly impossible for victims, witnesses, or law-enforcement personnel to identify any particular individual who has committed an act of vandalism, arson, theft, or assault. As the Antifa website CrimethInc.com explains, “When everyone in a group looks the same, it is difficult for the police or others to tell who did what.” Longtime Antifa activist Scott Crow confirms that the masks allows the activists to “become anonymous”, and thus “able to move more freely and do what we need to do, whether it is illegal or not.”

Who funds the insurgent rioters? Are they motivated at all by expectation of being paid?

One organization that can be definitively identified as a funder of the Antifa movement is the Alliance For Global Justice (AfGJ), which was founded in 1998 by members of the Nicaragua Network, an organization that had been created nineteen years earlier to support the Marxist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. AfGJ serves as the fiscal sponsor of Refuse Fascism, a constituent organization of the Antifa movement.

Describing itself as an “anti-capitalist”, “anti-imperialist”, “people’s think tank” whose activities include “a whole lot of organizing”, AfGJ seeks to train young activists to build a “unified grassroots movement” capable of creating “a socially, ecologically and economically just world” that offers “alternatives” to the “domination of governments, global financial institutions, and multinational corporations which denigrate the world’s peoples and devastate ecosystems”.

In its ongoing “struggle for liberation from Empire,” AfGJ denounces “neoliberal economics”, “corporate globalization”, and “privatization”, contending that “a just society is oriented toward meeting the needs … of its own people, not toward creating vast inequality and mega-profits for those at the top at the expense of the many”. To combat “the concentration of wealth and power [that] is the root cause of oppression,” says AfGJ, there must be a “fundamental change in international and national conditions that disempower people, create [economic and political] disparities, poison the earth, and plunder its resources”. By AfGJ’s reckoning, it is government’s duty to satisfy “the right of people to shelter, sufficient food, medical care, education, employment, [and] leisure”, and to dismantle societal “structures that distribute wealth in ways that deny anyone those basic rights”. 

And who funds AfGJ?

AfGJ over the years has received funding from a number of left-wing philanthropies, including George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation …

… which is also one of George Soros’s organizations. He is the would-be paymaster of universal chaos.

Among the other “left-wing philanthropies” on the list are the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund.

The Bank of America’s charitable arm supports an anti-capitalist movement? 

Apparently, yes. 

There are mayors of cities where Antifa riots have done harm to people and property, and certain police chiefs, who – perhaps out of sympathy with the insurrectionists – have looked on and let them do their vicious damage. This happened at Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, and at Berkeley on August 27, 2017.

The mainstream media do not want to criticize Antifa.

Over the course of several months in 2017, conservative political commentator/comedian Steven Crowder’s cohort, “Not Gay Jared”, infiltrated an Antifa group and shot a large amount of video while undercover, resulting in a goldmine of damning evidence showing that Antifa is an unwavering supporter of violence. … Local police in Utah were in on Crowder’s infiltration of Antifa, and Jared happily gave them all the footage that he captured as evidence. Crowder then tried to hand over his undercover exposé to members of the local and national media, including ABC News’s Nightline, and they all turned down his offer. “We were delivering a story to local and national news on a silver platter, which included infiltration, violence, and exposing the roots of a national domestic terrorist organization and no one even wanted to give it a glimpse?” Crowder said incredulously.  

And the worst is yet to come.

There is clearly overwhelming evidence that there are growing ties between U.S. radicals and the Islamic State [ISIS], as well as several [ISIS] offshoots and splinter groups.

Ties between three key leaders of the Oakland [anarchist] group met in Hamburg with a leader of the AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and the AQIM [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb] … The leader from AQAP is an Egyptian-born male who is known to be in charge of finances and recruiting for the group. There is evidence from informants that he is helping the Oakland group acquire the weapons they are seeking, primarily bomb making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses. 

One of the men from Oakland traveled to Syria to meet with ISIS; the purpose was for training in tactics, but was thought to be primarily a bonding visit to discuss possible massive disruptive attacks in the U.S. While in Hamburg, several of the Oakland-based criminals were photographed throwing Molotov cocktails and wielding iron bars, which have been their weapons of choice, though they are almost certainly on the verge of upping the caliber of their weaponry for use in the U.S. Despite having their faces covered by masks, they were positively identified…. Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam. 

The authors of the Discover the Networks booklet on Antifa rightly conclude:

In the final analysis, it can accurately be said that the Antifa communists and anarchists who so passionately denounce fascism, are quite literally fascists themselves.

Most importantly, they are terrorist traitors intent on starting a bloody revolution. 

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