About that fundamental transformation 1

… of America into a Marxist racist hell.

Freedom Forum posted this video, and they say this about it:

Identity politics has taken over the Democrat Party. It is the filter by which virtually every Progressive views life. Black Lives Matter personifies the movement in stark terms. What’s more, this ideology has taken root in the Deep State, influencing every aspect of our government. In this segment, Tucker Carlson interviews Christopher Rufo, Contributing Editor for the City Journal, whose journalistic discoveries have caused him to declare this an “existential threat” to America. Tucker calls it “a grotesque project”. There can little doubt that this serious threat we now face took root in Deep State during the 8 years of Obama, the one who promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America”.  Listen and see for yourself.

Posted under Marxism, Race, revolution, Subversion, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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Now for a US slave state? 1

[A] Marxist agenda … has been for decades and is continuing to this day to be jammed down the throats of America’s students. Hitherto unsuspecting parents are waking up, though, especially during this time of online instruction during the coronavirus crisis. They are seeing, sometimes for the first time, what their children are being taught—and many are furious. The more questions the parents are asking, the more the school boards are resorting to deception and obfuscation … Parents increasingly are attending school board meetings and demanding answers.

So Clare Lopez writes at GOPUSA.

Are parents waking up to what is happening in the schools? The indoctrination has been going on for at least two generations. Aren’t the parents themselves products of it?

More believably, Lopez writes: “The explosion of lawless rioting on American streets”, which is happening now, “was only a matter of time.”

She recalls that –

Sixty-two years ago, former FBI agent W. Cleon Skousen wrote The Naked Communist to warn Americans about how communists planned to destroy our system from within, not by means of sudden revolution as envisioned by Karl Marx, but through a version of Italian communist Antonio Gramsci’s “cultural Marxism”. … It has been a “long march through the institutions” that has brought us to the brink of catastrophe—and much of it began in our schools.

Chapter 13 of Skousen’s book lists 45 goals of communism in America. Number 17 reads: “Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of the teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.”

And so they did. While American parents were busy working to sustain their families … their children were at schools with teachers and textbooks that taught them to hate America …  and the remarkable individuals who built this country on the principles of the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution … and more. …

She asks –

So, how did this happen?

The plot to destroy Western Civilization was hatched in Moscow shortly after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and implemented through the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University (later simply, The Frankfurt School). John Dewey, Herbert Marcuse, and others brought socialist concepts of “progressivism” to U.S. schools through the National Education Association. … [In] came the indoctrination of critical race theory, identity grievance, and the angry psychobabble of “victimhood”.

Textbooks like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (1980) and A Young People’s History of the United States (2007) that are used across the U.S. from middle school through university, distort the true historical record and paint America as irredeemably oppressive, racist, and unjust.

Zinn’s purpose was –

… class warfare that pits identity and minority groups against one another, rejects American exceptionalism, abandons free market capitalism, and goads impressionable students to anger, despair, and hopelessness about their own country. …

Until along comes a period of forced idleness and isolation, restless discontents locked in their homes over fear of a new variety of flu, and before long they erupt in riots. It is the moment for the thoroughly indoctrinated would-be “destroyers of our system from within” to progress into violent insurrection.

Decades of such indoctrination have wreaked the havoc we see today on our streets: crazed mobs attack police, assault private citizens and business owners, vandalize property federal and private alike, tear down statues without even knowing whom they represent …

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement even has a national organization called Black Lives Matter at School (BLMS), whose signature objective is the mandatory injection of Black History and Ethnic Studies into U.S. school curricula. A project of the Movement4BlackLives (whose horrifically antisemitic, racist 2016 Program is now archived online), BLMS offers an online Curriculum Resource Guide based on the BLM’s guiding principles and other materials that promote the three African-American Marxist women who founded BLM, “queer and transgender affirming”, “globalism”,  and “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure”. BLMS has the endorsement of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the U.S.

In California, a proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), which is among other things both antisemitic and anti-Israel, has been under consideration and revision for more than a year. But even as the revision process grinds on, a group calling itself Save CA Ethnic Studies reportedly is attempting an end-run around the system to hoodwink individual district school boards in CA to vote on a previously criticized and rejected version of the curriculum (sometimes without even being shown the original draft). More than a dozen CA school boards so far have adopted resolutions in support of that earlier proposed ethnic studies curriculum.

Across the country, however, including in private secondary schools like Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Sidwell Friends, school systems are pronouncing support for the Marxist BLM agenda as they come under pressure to include materials on “institutionalized racism” in their curricula. In public school systems in New York City, Wake County, NC, the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and others, hard leftist school boards are kowtowing to the belligerent demands of Black Student Youth groups and others.

And the Democratic National Committee (DNC) – the governing body of the Democratic Party – is adopting the agenda of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Whether or not Joe Biden, the Democrats’ senile candidate for the presidency, is for doing so is irrelevant. He is no longer in a mental state to know what he is for. The Democrats chose him because they expect that he’ll seem a safe familiar old pol for enough of the electorate to feel comfy voting for.  The less mind of his own he has, from their point of view, the better. In his zombie state he will be easily manipulated, a mere conduit for the political will of the Radicals Behind The Curtain (RBTCs).

The old guard of the Party are being used, and they don’t seem to realize it. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are blithely acquiescing in the RBTC’s plan because they imagine it will get them back into power, after which they will call the tune. Otherwise, if not out of gullibility, why would someone like Nancy Pelosi, a rich-from-capitalism white woman, let the self-declared Marxists of BLM, and the “squad” of Communists and Muslims, who are against whites and capitalists call their instructions from back there? Is it that she imagines herself to be the leader of a Communist “transformed” America? Do the old pols all see themselves as the Nomenklatura, all powerful, super-rich, lording it over a slave society?

Can an assemblage of the bitter, the gulled, the violent and the murderous win an election in America? Come to power to establish a Communist racist state?

When the best president America has ever had can be voted back to save the nation from these hellish legions?

The answer must be NO!

To arms, citizens! 11

What are conservatives looking to, to stop the Marxist revolution now underway in America?

In what are we putting our hope and trust to save us from the national calamity that has not just begun but is gathering force and pace?

The November election.

We cling to the hope that Donald Trump will be re-elected to the presidency, both the House and the Senate will achieve Republican majorities, and then – hey presto! – the Left, its black-masked militant cohorts, its murderous thugs, it screaming mobs, its nasty leaders in Congress, its billionaire funders, its powerful propaganda media, the public schools and the universities teaching that the federal republic of America is too immoral to be allowed to continue, the governors and mayors authorizing insurgency, will give in, and all the revolutionary activity will subside like a spent summer storm.

They won’t. It won’t. If the Left loses the election, the mobs, the leaders, the funders, the media, the Marxist theorists, the little Stalins and Maos of the states and the cities will intensify their violent aggression.

If they win, the free republic of America will be finished, over, lost.

Either way, the election will not save us.

We have vaguely expected that a magic document we call “The Durham Report” will be published soon, and it will produce such facts, such accusations, such proofs of perfidy and corruption in the Obama administration that inevitably justice will be done, the guilty men and women who plotted a coup d’état against President Trump will go to prison covered with shame, and lo! law and order, constitutionality, safety and freedom will be restored.

It won’t. If this rumored report ever appears, it is unlikely to do so before the election; if it does appear before the election, it is unlikely to indict the guilty; if it does indict the guilty, they are unlikely to be brought to trial; if they are brought to trial, they are unlikely to be found guilty; if they are found guilty, they are unlikely to go to prison. Even if our hopes are rewarded, and before November the plotters are charged, tried, and condemned to long terms of imprisonment, it will not give the Leftist revolutionaries a moment’s pause.

Can we do anything to save our country and ourselves?

Mark Tapson writes at Front Page:

It is time for American patriots to turn the tide against the hateful race agitators, the masked anarchists, and the Marxist subversives terrorizing our nation and wreaking a destructive, “fundamental transformation” of the United States. That includes not just the demonic foot soldiers of the mob itself, but their enablers in academia, the news media, the entertainment arena, and political office.

It’s not enough anymore for our side to share snarky social media memes ridiculing social justice snowflakes; the time for joking about this cultural upheaval is over, because the other side has taken it very, very seriously for half a century, and those snowflakes are now waging a scorched-earth policy against every American institution and value.

What then do we do? …

First and foremost, get off our knees. … Free American citizens do not bow and scrape before any man, any mob, any tyrannical ideology. Forget trying to placate and to reason with the leftist mob; neither is possible. Simply resist and fight. If you give the left an inch, they will take mile after mile after mile. Do not give them that inch.

Speak the truth fearlessly, every day and everywhere, and never apologize for it. Teach your children the truth, and demonstrate to them what courage and integrity look like by standing up for it. Speaking of your kids: take them out of public schools (and even many private schools) at the earliest possible opportunity and commit, no matter the sacrifice, to homeschooling them – or you will lose them in the indoctrination mills of the left.

Do not kowtow to the power-lust of petty Democrat despots like governors Gretchen Whitmer, Andrew Cuomo, or Gavin Newsom, whose coronavirus strategy is to release felons from prison and allow mass, violent protests while cracking down on law-abiding citizens for singing in church. Commit to civil disobedience against their unreasonable dictates – and to uncivil disobedience if it comes to that.

Take a leaf from the Left’s playbook and community-organize. Organize to flood your representatives, local and national, with emails and calls demanding they take immediate, concrete actions to protect our heritage, defend the police, and enforce law and order. For that matter, take another leaf from the leftist playbook and pack their offices with noisy protesters who refuse to leave until our demands are met. Those demands are to stop hamstringing law enforcement and start protecting the community’s citizens, businesses, and monuments. Show up armed, if your state allows open-carry. Support law enforcement and other first responders in word and deed. Tell every cop you know and see that Blue Lives Matter and you respect and appreciate them for putting their lives on the line.

To trace our way back to some measure of sanity, civility, and security in America, the collectivist, racist, divisive mentality of identity politics that has spread like a cancer in this country must be eradicated. Reject this ideology wherever it rears its ugly head. Push back against your children’s teachers and administrators when it is taught in the schools. Call it out in the workplace, consequences be damned; silence and keeping your head down will no longer save you. Reject the ideology when you make your shopping choices. When corporations send you emails notifying you of the steps they’re taking to help achieve “racial justice,” email back and ask them how their virtue-signaling on behalf of anti-Semitic, black supremacist communists like Black Lives Matter helps ease racial tensions. Boycott and down-vote any entertainment featuring elitist celebrities who loudly proclaim their contempt for this country and for the people who love it. Boycott the NBA and protest their racial division outside their arenas at game time. Boycott the NFL, especially the Super Bowl. Boycott Nike and its hate-mongering spokesman Colin Kaepernick.

The time for smug complacency about our side “having all the guns” is over, unless we’re willing to actually use those guns in defense of our country and our freedoms, and not just our homes. If you are a gun owner (and if not, why aren’t you?), hone your skills and, as my friend the columnist Kurt Schlichter always advises, stock up on ammunition. Create networks of friends, relatives, and neighbors you trust and formulate a multi-stage plan for having each other’s backs in various scenarios in which the shit hits the fan – because if the mob hasn’t reached your neighborhood yet, don’t assume they’re not coming. When the lily-white, nose-pierced assistant professors of Antifa in their skinny jeans are confronted by organized resistance, they wet themselves.

Don’t sit back and expect this communist takeover of the United States to fizzle out; it will not. Don’t expect the current madness to ensure a Trump landslide in November, either; in fact, what you can expect is massive Democrat voter fraud, and if Trump survives that, there will be violent resistance surpassing anything we’ve seen so far. So the time to act is now.

It’s probable that the revolutionaries are not taking the November election seriously anyway; that they regard all the old white political traditions such as elections as empty rituals, their results of no importance, carrying no consequences. Which explains why they have put up a dummy as their candidate, a senile leftover from the Obama days, allowed to burble whatever nonsense oozes out of his poor old addled brain.

We must fight now. By all necessary means.

Antifa and the suicide of nations 2

Those innumerable politicians, historians, journalists, television pundits and other opinion-dealers who allowed the Left to get away with the claim that fascism is the opposite of communism – despite their knowing better – made a devastating mistake. Because of it, new generations learning that fascism is bad logically assume that ergo communism is good

Communism and fascism are collectivist and aim to be totalitarian. Communism is fascist.

What is not fascist is freedom. Only freedom. Freedom includes the free market, which communists prefer to call capitalism, to them a pejorative term.

Soeren Kern writes at Gatestone:

In the United States, Antifa’s ideology, tactics and goals, far from being novel, are borrowed almost entirely from Antifa groups in Europe, where so-called anti-fascist groups, in one form or another, have been active, almost without interruption, for a century.

Antifa can be described as a transnational insurgency movement that endeavors, often with extreme violence, to subvert liberal democracy, with the aim of replacing global capitalism with [global] communism. Antifa’s stated long-term objective, both in America and abroad, is to establish a communist world order. In the United States, Antifa’s immediate aim is to bring about the demise of the Trump administration. …

A common tactic used by Antifa in the United States and Europe is to employ extreme violence and destruction of public and private property to goad the police into a reaction, which then “proves” Antifa’s claim that the government is “fascist”. …

Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, in a special report on left-wing extremism, noted:

Antifa’s fight against right-wing extremists is a smokescreen. The real goal remains the “bourgeois-democratic state”, which, in the reading of left-wing extremists, accepts and promotes “fascism” as a possible form of rule and therefore does not fight it sufficiently. Ultimately, it is argued, “fascism” is rooted in the social and political structures of “capitalism”. Accordingly, left-wing extremists, in their “antifascist” activities, focus above all on the elimination of the “capitalist system”.

… In an essay, What Antifa and the Original Fascists Have In Common, Antony Mueller, a German professor of economics who currently teaches in Brazil, described how Antifa’s militant anti-capitalism masquerading as anti-fascism reveals its own fascism:

After the left has pocketed the concept of liberalism and turned the word into the opposite of its original meaning, the Antifa-movement uses a false terminology to hide its true agenda. While calling themselves “antifascist”  and declaring fascism the enemy, the Antifa itself is a foremost fascist movement. The members of Antifa are not opponents to fascism but themselves its genuine representatives. Communism, Socialism and Fascism are united by the common band of anti-capitalism and anti-liberalism. The Antifa movement is a fascist movement. The enemy of this movement is not fascism but liberty, peace and prosperity.

The modern Antifa movement derives its name from a group called Antifaschistische Aktion, founded in May 1932 by Stalinist leaders of the Communist Party of Germany. The group was established to fight fascists, a term the party used to describe all of the other pro-capitalist political parties in Germany. The primary objective of Antifaschistische Aktion was to abolish capitalism, according to a detailed history of the group. …

During the post-war period, Germany’s Antifa movement reappeared in various manifestations, including the radical student protest movement of the 1960s, and the leftist insurgency groups that were active throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, was a Marxist urban guerrilla group that carried out assassinations, bombings and kidnappings aimed at bringing revolution to West Germany, which the group characterized as a fascist holdover of the Nazi era. Over the course of three decades, the RAF murdered more than 30 people and injured over 200.

After the collapse of the communist government in East Germany in 1989-90, it was discovered that the RAF had been given training, shelter, and supplies by the Stasi, the secret police of the former communist regime.

It was “discovered” much earlier than that. My book, Hitler’s Children: the Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang*, first published in 1977, reveals that fact.

John Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, described the group’s tactics, which are similar to those used by Antifa today:

The goal of their terrorist campaign was to trigger an aggressive response from the government, which group members believed would spark a broader revolutionary movement.

RAF founder Ulrike Meinhof explained the relationship between violent left-wing extremism and the police: “The guy in uniform is a pig, not a human being. That means we don’t have to talk to him and it is wrong to talk to these people at all. And of course, you can shoot.”

Antifa and the RAF shared the same aim – Marxist totalitarianism. Ulrike Meinhof’s daughter, the journalist Bettina Röhl, sees “the modern Antifa” as “a continuation of the Red Army Faction”. She thinks “the main difference is that, unlike the RAF, Antifa’s members are afraid to reveal their identities”. But there are more important differences than that. The RAF never became a mass movement as Antifa has become. They were a small group – only a few dozen active members – and they used terrorist tactics: kidnapping and murdering individuals as “representatives” of the state or the “military-industrial complex” or capitalism; and putting time-bombs in department stores, a newspaper’s offices, a police station. Antifa (as Bettina Röhl rightly points out) threatens violence and attacks against politicians and police officers. But the movement has not (as yet) kidnapped or killed any of them. On the other hand, its riots have rocked a nation, while the RAF never managed to lead a riot though they would no doubt have liked to.

In sum, the RAF was more lethal than Antifa, but less politically effective.

Western governments are finding Antifa a major nuisance, a contributing cause of widespread civil unrest and what can even be called insurrection in America.

The Federal Republic of [West] Germany did not perceive the RAF as an insurrectionist threat. The government treated arrested leaders and members of the gang as the criminals they were. They were brought to trial, sentenced and imprisoned. The leaders committed suicide in prison – in such a manner as to indicate to their followers that they should claim they’d been  murdered. That, they hoped, would provide “proof” of the “fascist” nature of the state, and cause such an outcry that it would spark a revolution. But the country remained unmoved by the deaths except perhaps to heave a collective sigh of relief that the pests were gone.

Germany, now including the former Communist “Democratic Republic”, has changed since those days, and much for the worse. Its so-called “conservative” government is now well over on the Left, as are almost all the “conservative” parties of Europe.

Proof of its leftward drift is provided by Bettina Röhl, as Soeren Kern reports:

In a June 2020 essay published by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, [Bettina] Röhl … drew attention to the fact that Antifa is not only officially tolerated, but is being paid by the German government to fight the far right:

The flourishing left-wing radicalism in the West, which brutally strikes at the opening of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, at every G-20 summit or every year on May 1 in Berlin, has achieved the highest level of establishment in the state, not least thanks to the support by quite a few MPs from political parties, journalists and relevant experts.

MP Renate Künast (Greens) recently complained in the Bundestag that Antifa groups had not been adequately funded by the state in recent decades. She was concerned that “NGOs and Antifa groups do not [meaning should notalways have to struggle to raise money and can only conclude short-term employment contracts from year to year.”  There was applause for this from Alliance 90/The Greens, from the left and from SPD deputies.

What can it mean if a state pays a rebel movement to destroy it? That apparently is what the German government is doing, or has done, and is being urged by some elected political leaders to do again more generously. We learn that the “conservative” dominated Bundestag  – not just lunatic-fringe Green and Alliance 90 members, not just the socialist deputies – has been (however “inadequately”!), funding Antifa.  

Do the Germans want to commit national suicide? Is their government trying to get the deed done in such a manner as to inspire all the nations of the West to do it too?

On the face of it the idea seems preposterous, impossible, absurd.

But Germany has already brought in its replacement population from the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East. It finances Antifa. Where Germany goes, there goes the EU. What Europe does, Britain and Canada do too.

Will America alone resist the rising red revolution?

 

Jillian Becker   June 19, 2020

 

*Click on the ad for Hitler’s Children in our margin.

Investors in revolution 1

The excellence of President’s Trump’s agenda for America is proved by the intensity of violence his totalitarian enemies are using against it. 

Many now are the rioting arsonists, shooters, smashers, looters, destroyers the totalitarian movements have gathered and mobilized. Fewer, but all too numerous, are the successful capitalists who provide the activists with money for their anti-capitalist campaigns.

Project Veritas secretly filmed interviews with organizers of the terrorist organization RefuseFa, an Antifa twin aiming at Communist revolution in the US. They say what they intend and why, and reveal two sources of their funding:

 

Advancing menace 15

The American Left, to our joy, is dashing itself to pieces on the rocks of its own nonsense.

But the biggest strongest menace will continue to advance from the Left. From the farthest Left. From Communist China. 

In addition to its inimical trade practices – which President Trump is actively combating – China uses multifarious means against us.

The johnny-come-lately to the Democratic line-up of presidential candidates, former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, shills for China. We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that his billions have been augmented by generous emoluments from the Chinese communist regime.

China indoctrinates Americans through our own educational institutions and undermines our scientific and technological superiority with our own inventions and discoveries.

Professor Walter Williams writes at Townhall:

Charles Lieber, former chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, was arrested earlier this year on accusations that he made a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement about work he did for a program run by the Chinese government that seeks to lure American talent to China. He was paid $50,000 a month and up to $158,000 in living expenses for his work, which involved cultivating young teachers and students, according to court documents. According to the Department of Justice, Lieber helped China “cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security“.

It’s not just Harvard professors. Newly found court records reveal that Emory University neuroscientist Li Xiao-Jiang was fired in late 2019 after being charged with lying about his own ties to China. Li was part of the same Chinese program as Lieber. A jury found a University of California, Los Angeles, professor guilty of exporting stolen U.S. military technology to China. Newsweek reported that he was convicted June 26 on 18 federal charges. Meanwhile, NBC reported that federal prosecutors say that University of Texas professor Bo Mao attempted to steal U.S. technology by using his position as a professor to obtain access to protected circuitry and then handing it over to the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei.

China is steadily building up its military power.

And even that is not all or the worst of it. China harms the world without firing a single missile. Because it is a badly governed country, it can do nothing effective about epidemics of disease that break out among its own vast population and spread over every inhabited continent – as is happening now with the coronavirus.

Communist government – cruel and oppressive though it is – is not even efficient government. Marxism, collectivism, socialism, communism – call it what you will – is too often spoken of, written about, thought of as ensuring security. At the price of freedom, yes. Given that choice, many, it is said, would choose security over freedom.

Nothing could be plainer now than that Communism does not guarantee security.

To the contrary. All it guarantees is enslavement, poverty, sorrow, sickness and mass death.

Revolution? 4

Is America in the throes of a revolution? Are we sliding unstoppably into totalitarian communism?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

Some conservatives, rejoicing that impeachment turned into yet another of #TheResistance’s political train wrecks and that President Trump is likely to be reelected by a bigger margin than in 2016, expect that a chastened ruling class will return to respecting the rest of us. They are mistaken.

Trump’s reelection, by itself, cannot protect us. The ruling class’s intolerance of the 2016 election’s results was intolerance of us.

Nor was their intolerance so much a choice as it was the expression of its growing sense of its own separate identity, of power and of entitlement to power. The halfhearted defenses with which the offensives of the ruling class have been met already advertise the fact that it need not and will not accept the outcome of any presidential election it does not win. Trump notwithstanding, this class will rule henceforth as it has in the past three years. So long as its hold on American institutions continues to grow, and they retain millions of clients, elections won’t really matter.

Our country is in a state of revolution, irreversibly, because society’s most influential people have retreated into moral autarchy, …

Autarchy, or autocracy, is rule by a dictator. Has any Democrat proclaimed a desire for a dictator, or to be a dictator? If so, we missed it. The Democrats want absolute power in their own hands, but have’t yet wished up a Stalin or a Mao. It’s highly likely that Bernie Sanders would like to be an American Stalin, but has he admitted it?

Besides which, there is not a single Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States who could run a poll in Iowa, let alone the country. 

Moral autarchy? Not sure what that means. But okay, let’s accept the term in order to follow the writer’s argument.

… have seceded from America’s constitutional order, and because they browbeat their socio-political adversaries instead of trying to persuade them. Theirs is not a choice that can be reversed. It is a change in the character of millions of people.

Does character change? Does the character of a people – a nation – change? What characterizes any nation must by definition be what does not change about it. For a country to change its character it would have to have its population replaced by a different population – as is happening rapidly in Sweden, France, Spain, and Germany.  The Democrats seem to like the idea of America becoming more “Hispanic” than “Anglo”, but it hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

There has been a change in America over the last 70 years or so. It is not a change of character. In all their variety, Americans are recognizably the same as they were 100 years ago. What has changed in America are ideas about values and morals, about what matters and what doesn’t.

And that is what the article under discussion is really about.

The sooner conservatives realize that the Republic established between 1776 and 1789—the America we knew and loved—cannot return, the more fruitfully we will be able to manage the revolution’s clear and present challenges to ourselves. How are we to deal with a ruling class that insists on ruling—elections and generally applicable rules notwithstanding—because it regards us as lesser beings?

The resistance that reached its public peaks in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment imbroglio should have left no doubt about the socio-political arbitrariness that flows from the ruling class’s moral autarchy, about the socio-political power of the ruling class we’re forced to confront, or of its immediate threat to our freedom of speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate’s impeachment trial, was as clear an example as any of that moral autarchy and its grip on institutions.

Pursuant to Senate rules, Senator Rand Paul sent a written question through Roberts to House Manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding the extent of collaboration between Schiff’s staffer Sean Misko and his longtime fellow partisan, CIA officer Eric Ciaramella in starting the charges that led to impeachment. Roberts, having read the question to himself, declared: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The chief justice of the United States, freedom of speech’s guardian-in-chief, gave no reason for declining to read Paul’s question. The question was relevant to the proceedings. It violated no laws, no regulations. The names of the two persons were known to every member of the House and Senate, as well as to everyone around the globe who had followed news reports over the previous months. But the Democratic Party had been campaigning to drive from public discussion that this impeachment stemmed from the partisan collaboration between a CIA officer and a Democratic staffer.

“Collaboration” is the polite term for it; “conspiracy” the more accurate one.

Accordingly, the mainstream media had informally but totally banned discussion of this fact, supremely relevant but supremely embarrassing to Schiff in particular and to Democrats in general. Now, Paul was asking Schiff officially to comment on the relationship. Schiff could have explained it, or refused to explain it. But Roberts saved him the embarrassment and trouble—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spared senators the problem of voting on a challenge to Roberts’s  ruling. The curtain of official concealment, what the Mafia calls the omertà, remained intact. Why no reason?

Just as no dog wags his tail without a reason, neither did Roberts wag his without reason. Neither the laws of the United States nor the rules of the Senate told the presiding officer to suppress the senator’s question. Why was Roberts pleased to please those he pleased and to displease those he displeased? In short, why did this impartial presiding officer act as a man partial to one side against the other?

This professional judge could hardly have been impressed by the ruling class’s chosen instrument, Adam Schiff, or by Schiff’s superior regard for legal procedure. Since Schiff’s prosecution featured hiding the identity of the original accuser—after promising to feature his testimony—and since it featured secret depositions, blocked any cross-examination of its own witnesses, and prevented the defense from calling any of their own, it would have been strange if Chief Justice Roberts’s bias was a professional one.

Is it possible that Roberts favored the substance of the ruling class claim that neither President Trump nor any of his defenders have any right to focus public attention on the Biden family’s use of public office to obtain money in exchange for influence? That, after all, is what Washington is largely about. Could Roberts also love corruption so much as to help conceal it? No.

Roberts’s professional and ethical instincts incline him the other way. Nevertheless, he sustained the ruling class’s arbitrariness. Whose side did he take? His dinner companions’ side? The media’s? His wife’s? Roberts’s behavior—contrary as it was to his profession, to his morals, and to his political provenance—shows how great is the ruling class’s centripetal force.

The sad but inescapable consequence of this force is that conservatives have no choice but to follow the partisan logic of revolution—fully conscious of the danger that partisanship can make us as ridiculously dishonest as Adam Schiff or CNN’s talking heads, into rank-pullers like John Roberts, and into profiteers as much as any member of the Biden family.

Do conservatives have no choice but to go along with “the revolution”, with the abandonment of the values that inspired the Constitution, with corruption as a matter of indisputable but unchangeable fact?

The writer then seems to change his mind. He suggests there is a choice:

And yet, revolution is war, the proximate objective of which is to hurt the other side until it loses the capacity and the will to do us harm. That means treating institutions and people from the standpoint of our own adversarial interest: controlling what we can either for our own use or for bargaining purposes, discrediting and abandoning what we cannot take from our enemies.

Opposing them by the means they choose, the weapons they use? That – so the writer suggests – is our best recourse?

Unlike our enemies, our ultimate objective is, as Lincoln said, “peace among ourselves and with all nations”. But what kind of peace we may get depends on the extent to which we may compel our enemies to leave us in peace. And for that, we must do unto them more and before they do unto us.

Which is true? Do we have no choice but to join “the revolution” – a change from a free open society of self-reliant individuals into a government-controlled, race and sex obsessed, doom prophesying, totally organized community? Or are we still in control of our destiny? And if we fight our revolutionary enemy, must it be with their weapons, or ours? On their terms, or ours?

We do not see that there has been a revolution – though the Obama administration tried to make one. We do not think the only way to save America from totalitarian one-party rule is by following the rules laid down by the Gramsci-Alinsky school of sedition and the Cloward-Piven blueprint for chaos. (See here and here and here and here.)

By great good luck we have President Trump leading us in another direction, showing us another way, prioritizing better (characteristic) values: freedom, individual enterprise, innovation, industry, competence, patriotism, strength, ambition, self-confidence, prosperity. For a few more years at least. During which the Left revolutionaries may, in the fury of their frustration, stamp themselves into the ground.

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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