On being free or having free stuff 1

Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek were two great 20th century thinkers who argued for freedom. They differed on one point: Popper held freedom to be in itself the highest value; Hayek thought freedom is valuable, indeed essential, because it enables innovation.

Innovation comes from the minds of individuals. A government controlled society in which the individual’s only – and enforced – duty is to serve the collective, does not allow origination. The organized mass is sterile. It cannot invent. That’s why it’s wrong to call socialism, communism, any shade of leftism,”progressive”. A socialist society cannot advance. It can only stagnate.

That’s why Communist China has had to steal new ideas and devices from countries in which free thought and its expression are permitted.

What many people who live in countries that are still comparatively free find attractive about socialism is that it promises “free stuff”. Vote the socialists into power and you will get free school, free health care, free housing, free strawberries with free cream. Well, okay, maybe not the cream. And maybe also not the strawberries. And maybe you will have to share a house. And the health panel will decide whether you may live or must die. And what you’ll be taught will be adherence to doctrine not search for truth. But still – it will all be free. At the time it is dispensed to you, whatever it is, you will not have to pay for it. The rest of your time you’ll be working for it.

Natan Sharansky was born in Soviet Russia and lived the first decades of his life there. He eventually escaped to live in freedom in Israel.

He writes about the torture of the mind in the prison of Communism:

My father, a journalist named Boris Shcharansky, was born in 1904 in Odessa, the cultural and economic center of the Pale of Settlement, where the Russian empire stuck most Jews. He studied in the Jewish Commercial Gymnasium, because most other gymnasiums accepted very few Jews, if any. By the time he was 16, he had already lived through the Czarist Regime with its anti-Semitic restrictions, the “February” Socialist Revolution, the “October” Bolshevik Revolution, and the years of civil war when power in Odessa seesawed back and forth from faction to faction, as hunger, pogroms, and destruction decimated the population.

When the Soviets finally emerged from the chaos, therefore, my father was hopeful. The Communists promised that a new life of full equality was dawning, without Pales of Settlement, without education restrictions, and, most important, with equal opportunities for all. Who wouldn’t want that? … [He]  was excited about building a world of social justice and equality closer to his home. …

Lucky for him, Odessa was emerging as a center for a new cultural medium—cinema. As silent Charlie Chaplin-type movies started evolving into more scripted sketches, my father put his storytelling talents to work. …

Of course, to succeed in his career as a screenwriter, he had to follow certain rules. His scripts, like every other work of art, had to follow the script of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, seeing the world through the lens of class struggle and class exploitation. As Karl Marx argued, and the Bolsheviks now decreed, “the history of all hitherto-existing societies is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight”.

Thankfully, in its final stage of class struggle, following Karl Marx’s teaching, the proletariat had seized power from its masters, establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat who would build a classless society of equals. So-called bourgeois freedoms, minor matters like civil liberties and human rights, were nothing more than facades for exploiting others. The old world and its retrograde values had to be destroyed in order to bring forth social justice. Today, such a singular vision might be called Critical Class Theory—or maybe The 1917 Project.

Everything had to serve Communist ideology: every institution, every medium, every art form. Lenin particularly appreciated the propaganda potential of movies, declaring, “Cinema for us is the most important of the arts.” So while all creative artists had to subordinate plot, character, and complexity to advancing the Bolshevik political agenda, movie-makers endured extra scrutiny. The term “politically-correct“, which is popular today, emerged in the late 1920s, to describe the need to correct certain deviants’ thought to fit the Communist Party Line. Any positive characters with bourgeois origins had to eventually check their privilege, condemn their past as oppressors, and publicly take responsibility for their sins.

At first, True Believers who championed the Revolution’s noble aims easily accepted these restrictions. But as the Red Terror grew … the number of True Believers kept shrinking …

I was born … in 1948. My father had fought as a soldier in the Red Army in World War II for four years, and had returned a hero. … (Our] family which had lost so many friends and relatives in the Holocaust, then watched so many friends suffer during Josef Stalin’s political and anti-Semitic purges …

Every day, my father went to work [as a journalist] …  seeking interesting stories. But, when it came to writing them up, his imagination had to shrink, his mouth had to be wired shut, his hand had to clamp tight, as he produced what the Party required. He knew the handicapped journalism he created was not true journalism, the art that resulted was not true art, the thoughts triggered were not real thoughts and the conversations surrounding it all were not real conversations. Yet my father remained a storyteller at heart—and now he had an audience—my older brother by two years and me.

When my father came home from work, he could leave the suffocating grey false universe he helped to create behind, and welcome his beloved family into a full-color world. From the time we were very young, he would tell us stories on three levels—explaining to us what the author said, what the author wished to say, and what the author could not say. When we started, from a very young age, our ritual of weekly outings to the movies, he would recreate the movie for us on the way home, filling in what the screenwriter probably wanted to write, and explain what he could not write. …

No [professional writer] was ever quite sure what would be permitted or not, what red line they might cross tomorrow; what “macro-aggression” or “micro-aggression” they might suddenly be found guilty of committing. To be a man of letters in a sea of fear was to worry about drowning constantly. …

Looking back at the history of Soviet literature, it’s hard to find any of the thousands of writers [who conformed] … who wrote anything worth reading or remembering. Their books, published on a massive scale—often selling millions—simply disappeared. … Eventually, their lies consumed both the characters and their authors, leaving nothing behind.

By contrast, the works that lasted defied Stalinist orthodoxies in the service of truths, both immediate and internal. Stalin killed some of these honest writers, like the poet Osip Mandelstam. Some killed themselves, like the poet Marina Tsvetaeva. Some lived daily with the fear of arrest, or under the shadow of purges, like Anna Akhmatova. Some, like the novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, accepted the fact that their books would go unpublished in Russia—his classic The Master and Margarita didn’t see the light of day for decades. Others, like Boris Pasternak, who smuggled Dr. Zhivago to the West, sought readers elsewhere and paid the price back home ….

By my generation there were few True Believers left. Your field of vision had to be very narrow indeed to still see the crumbling society around us as some kind of Communist paradise.

I spent my high school years as an academic grind, drowning in problem sets, working around the clock to amass five out of fives in mathematics and physics. Because I knew that I had to follow a very specific script to get the character reference I needed from the local Komsomol authorities, I also spouted the right slogans, participated in the right youth activities, and sang the right songs. Yet even after I fulfilled my young dreams and made it to MFTI—Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the Soviet equivalent of MIT—the scrutiny continued. We math and science students had to keep paying lip service to the Soviet gods, like everyone else. We kept taking tests on Marxist doctrine every semester, even when studying at the postdoctoral level. …

Our professors subtly encouraged us to brush such annoyances aside. We were the elite, they kept telling us, racing toward a golden future. It was all worth it. I was luxuriating in the sanctuary of science, an asylum protected from the daily insanity the Soviets imposed on nearly everyone else. I decided that the deeper I was into my scientific career, the less stressful this double life would be.

It was a comforting illusion—until I read Andrei Sakharov’s manifesto.

Sakharov was our role model, the number one Soviet scientist sitting at the peak of the pyramid each of us was trying to climb so single-mindedly. In May 1968, this celebrity scientist circulated a ten-thousand-word manifesto that unleashed a wrecking ball which smashed my complacent life. “Intellectual freedom is essential to human society,” Sakharov declared. Bravely denouncing Soviet thought-control, he mocked “the ossified dogmatism of a bureaucratic oligarchy and its favorite weapon, ideological censorship.”

Sakharov warned that Soviet science was imperiled without “the search for truth”. … At the time, there were few who could understand the depths of this critique. The Soviet Union wasn’t just relying on its scientific wizards to develop nuclear weapons; we now know that the research ran in tandem with an elaborate spying operation that stole as many of America’s atomic secrets as it could.

The message was clear for us. Sakharov helped us realize that the Soviet restrictions on free thought ran deep. You not only have to control your political opinions, but every interaction with your colleagues, every new insight, has to be checked and rechecked, for fear of ideological implications that could destroy a career in this world where even entire fields of inquiry were cancelled for being politically incorrect. Soviet scientists spent so much time looking over their shoulders and in their rear-view mirrors that they could not plunge ahead and catch up with their Western peers.

Long before most others, Sakharov saw in the Soviet scientific community the equivalent of the literary mediocrity we all saw in Soviet Realism. … Life in a dictatorship offers two choices: either you overcome your fear and stand for truth, or you remain a slave to fear, no matter how fancy your titles, no matter how big your dacha.

Natan Sharansky made the decision to stand for truth.

He applied to emigrate to Israel.

As a result of both decisions, he was jailed for nine years.

Once I had done it, once I was no longer afraid, I realized what it was to be free …

And that was why, during nine years in prison, when the KGB would try tempting me to restore my freedom and even my life by returning to the life I once had, it was easy to say “no”. …

Over the last three decades in freedom, I have noticed that … the feeling of release from the fear … is universal across cultures. This understanding prompted the Town Square Test I use to distinguish between free societies and fear societies: Can you express your individual views loudly, in public, without fear of being punished legally, formally, in any way? If yes, you live in a free society; if not, you’re in a fear society.

[Today] nearly two-thirds of Americans report self-censoring about politics at least occasionally … despite the magnificent constitutional protections for free thought and expression enshrined in the Bill of Rights

To preserve our integrity and our souls, the quality of our political debate and the creativity so essential to our cultural life, we need … a test [that] asks: In the democratic society in which you live, can you express your individual views loudly, in public and in private, on social media and at rallies, without fear of being shamed, excommunicated, or cancelled?

A lot of American voters – even if not as many as the socialist Democratic Party claimed in order to seize power –  recently voted against freedom. They voted for the political party that promised free stuff. And already masters of the social media, most of them politically correct social justice warriors, refuse to let opinions they disagree with be expressed on their forums. Free speech is deeply unpopular with the Leftists now in power in America. Freedom itself is not valued. Those “magnificent constitutional protections for free thought and expression enshrined in the Bill of Rights” are being swept aside.

You will not be free – and the stuff you get from government won’t be free either.

Anything that costs you your freedom, costs too much.

Marxism versus morality 2

On the left, the concept of objective truth is increasingly deemed a form of white supremacy.

From time to time, staunchly and admirably conservative Dennis Prager writes in defense of what he (along with many others) likes to call “Judeo-Christian” values. We generally reject the term for reasons we give here. But we accept its use in the article below because he gives it a definition which makes it palatable to reason.

He writes at the Daily Signal:

All of my life, I have said that the left’s moral compass is broken. And all of my life, I was wrong.

Why I was wrong explains both the left and the moral crisis we are in better than almost any other explanation.

I was wrong because in order to have a broken moral compass, you need to have a moral compass to begin with. But the left doesn’t have one.

This is not meant as an attack. It is a description of reality. The left regularly acknowledges that it doesn’t think in terms of good and evil. Most of us are so used to thinking in those terms—what we call “Judeo-Christian”—that it is very difficult for us to divide the world in any other way.

But since Karl Marx, the left (not liberalism; the two are different) has always divided the world, and, therefore, human actions, in ways other than good and evil. The left, in Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous words, has always operated “beyond good and evil.”

It all began with Marx, who divided the world by economic class—worker and owner or exploited and exploiter. To Marx and to Marxism, there is no such thing as a good or an evil that transcends class. Good is defined as what is good for the working class; evil is what is bad for the working class.

Therefore, to Marxists, there is no such thing as a universal good or a universal evil. …

By which is meant that –

Whether an act is good or evil has nothing to do with who committed the act—rich or poor, male or female, religious or secular, member of one’s nation or of another nation. Stealing and murder are morally wrong, no matter who stole or who murdered.

That is not the case for Marx and the left.

As Marx put it in “Das Kapital”:

Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and the cultural development thereby determined. We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an eternal, ultimate, and forever immutable moral law.

Fifty-three years later, Marx’s foremost disciple, Vladimir Lenin, architect of the Russian Revolution, proclaimed:

We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. … We do not believe in an eternal morality. … We repudiate all morality derived from non-human (i.e. God) and non-class concepts.[Address to the Third Congress of the Russian Young Communist League, Oct. 2, 1920.]

As professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith, director of Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions, wrote in 1957:

For Marxism there is no reason … for not killing or torturing or exploiting a human person if his liquidation or torture or slave labor will advance the historical process.

This is how Marx’s ideological heirs, today’s leftists, view the world—with one important difference: Morality is not determined only by class, but by race, power, and sex as well.

In Left-think, racism is wrong – as it is in reason. But only for some people, not for all – a position reason rejects.

It is left-wing dogma that a black person cannot be a racist. Only whites can be racist. And, indeed, all whites are racist.

It is increasingly a left-wing position that when blacks loot, they are only taking what they deserve, or, as the looters often put it, looted goods are “reparations”. A Black Lives Matter organizer in Chicago, Ariel Atkins, recently put it this way:

I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store because that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes. That is reparations. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.[Chicago Tribune, Aug. 17, 2020.]

Another non-moral left-wing compass concerns power. Just as right and wrong are determined by class (worker and owner/rich and poor) and race (white and people of color), good and evil are also determined by power (the strong and the weak).

Power is wrong – unless of course it is in the hands of the Left.

That’s why leftists protest and riot whenever a confrontation between a police officer and a black person ends with the death of an unarmed black person. … The death is automatically deemed murder.

And causes the world over are right or wrong according to that criterion:

That explains much of the left’s hatred for two countries in particular—America and Israel. America is wrong when it does almost anything in the world that involves weaker countries—assassinates the most important Iranian terrorist, builds a wall between itself and Mexico, opposes unlimited immigration. It is wrong because it is much stronger than those other countries.

The left’s antipathy to Israel derives from both the power compass and the race compass. Because Israel is so much stronger than the Palestinians and because Israelis are classified as white (despite the fact that more than half of all Israelis are not white), the left deems Israel wrong.

So, when Israel justifiably attacks Gaza for raining rockets over Israel, the world’s left vehemently attacks Israel—because it is so much stronger than the people of Gaza and because whites have attacked people of color.

In Left-think, rape is wrong – as it is in reason – but only for some people.

When a woman accuses a man of sexually harassing or raping her, the left’s reaction is not, “Let us try to determine the truth as best we can.” It is, “Believe women.” One must automatically “believe women” …

Unless, as we have seen lately, the accusation is brought against a leading Democrat, such as Joe Biden, the Left’s candidate for the presidency. In his case the woman must not be believed.

… because, on the left, it is not only morality that doesn’t transcend race, power, class or sex; truth doesn’t either.

Posted under Ethics, Israel, Leftism, Marxism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, September 27, 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!

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the FAIREST of us all? 5

The defeat suffered by the far-left Labour Party in a recent general election in Britain was so decisive, it forces left-wing parties on both sides of the Atlantic to reconsider their policies, and encourages conservatives to hope it is symptomatic of a decline and fall of the Left everywhere.

When we were in the grip of that wild hope, an article in Areo by Helen Pluckrose and James A. Lindsay titled The Left is Having an Identity Crisis drew our close attention.

The title is ironic, intentionally or not, because the Left has been primarily concerned with “identity” ever since Karl Marx drew rigid lines between the classes of the Western world. Your identity in the Marxian view was defined by your class. You were either bourgeois which was bad because you supported the status quo, or you were proletarian which was good because you were destined to make violent revolution. (In his personal life Marx was a social snob, always putting his wife’s aristocratic name and title on his visiting card.) When the proletariats of Europe disappointed the Left after the Second World War, becoming well-off, indistinguishable in their outlook from the bourgeoisie and plainly uninterested in making revolution, a New Left arose with a revised ethic of identity. Henceforth it was the Lumpenproletariat, a vagabond underclass that Marx had despised, that must play the revolutionary role. Their class, the “unemployed and unemployable” (as Herbert Marcuse wrote) was augmented by les misérables of the Third World (Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”) and others who were powerless and exploited by the bourgeois patriarchy; notably women and the sexually deviant, and even (sotto voce why not?) felons. These “sections” of society would unite under the red banner of socialist revolution, which no longer had to be violent. Instead the Left would advance to power by taking control over the institutions of the Western democracies – or where that proved impossible, by discrediting them. The author of the plan, Antonio Gramsci, described it as “the long march through the institutions”.The sections, united in purpose throughout the world, would get the levers of power in their hands and then change our world that has evolved over millennia, our world of many nation-states, of European and male supremacy, of capitalism and private ownership and unequal wealth, into One World of material equality and moral beauty.

In this drama, your identity according to the categories of the New Left is what matters about you. You are black, female, homosexual, or in the nostalgia of the theorists a worker, so you are expected to take part in, or at least assist, the long march. You are expected to be on the Left.

And now the Left itself is having a crisis of identity? What is it about its Leftness that is troubling it?

Pluckrose and Lindsay, who declare themselves to be liberal and not socialist or “identitarian”, reflect on what is happening in and to the Left in Britain and America, and set about defining, diagnosing, and prescribing a cure for the problem:

The Left is in crisis. We no longer present a cohesive movement, and we no longer form coherent political parties. We are a fractured and ill-defined mess, our goals are diffuse and scattered, and we are hemorrhaging supporters from what should be our base—the working class, liberals, and racial and sexual minorities. It is not clear that left-wing parties and movements are currently listening to that base or have its best interests at heart.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent British election, which was disastrous for the left. Labour lost key seats, including in areas that have voted left for close to a century, and experienced its worst drubbing in four decades. An outright majority was won by surely the least credible Tory Prime Minister in living memory.

That’s Boris Johnson they’re talking about. A man who was born to be Prime Minister of England, very possibly a good one. He has sworn to take Britain out of the European Union which is  a corrupt and undemocratic political darling of the Left, so of course the Left abominates him. To persons on the Left, he is almost as bad as our great President Trump.

It seems uncomfortably likely that this disaster is soon to be mirrored in the US by the re-election of Donald Trump for a second term, despite the fact that the American public has had four years—beginning with his 2015 campaign—to notice how manifestly unfit he is to be the leader of the western world. The pressing questions at the moment are, what’s going on? and what, if anything, can we do to stop it?

They do some quite credible analysis of what’s going wrong on their side:

Let’s start with what isn’t going to work. It simply will not do to blame these electoral results on the idea that the majority of the population is ignorant, hateful, or unaware of their own best interests. This is the attitude—made popular throughout the educated left by a growing commitment to elitism and critical theories—that got us into this mess in the first place. This attitude is particularly worrying because it leads leftist activists to double down on exactly those things that are killing the left.

If left-leaning parties around the world hope to have any future electoral success, they need to ditch both elitism and identity-based theory and develop some self-awareness. They need to start listening to the people they are supposed to represent so that they can understand what people actually want from a left-wing party. Only in this way can the left heal its fractures and form a strong and principled movement, with political parties that the general public can trust and respect.

The policies of left-wing parties need to come from the people—not represent revolutionary ideologies most do not share or appreciate having imposed upon them for their own good. The public will not stand for this—nor should they. It is absolutely right to reject the social engineering projects of theorists, activists, and the privileged elite who, like self-appointed philosopher kings, want to order society according to their ideological vision of how things should be rather than how they are or realistically could be.

People who reject the ideologues’ vision are not all racist, sexist, and xenophobic bigots or radical capitalist absolutists. Liberals and working people, who form an overlapping majority, generally have strong opinions on what will make their lives better and society fairer, and they are increasingly deciding that right-wing parties are closer to providing this. Barely electable as those might be, that’s still miles better than being totally unelectable. This is a point our left-wing parties seem utterly unable to grasp—as our elections keep demonstrating. This calls for humility and introspection from the left, rather than doubling down and denigrating the masses for their wrongthink.

Ah, yes. It seems that whenever the workers are given a chance to express their political preference, they choose wicked but rewarding capitalist conservatism over morally beautiful but materially deficient socialism.

But Pluckrose and Lindsay, and probably all Leftists, assume that “most people” really want a left-wing government. One that is not too radical.

So Left-wing parties must strive to keep themselves from becoming too radical. But it’s not easy for them:

Left-wing parties and movements generally have a harder job maintaining consistency and cohesion than conservative ones because of their progressive nature. Progress requires change, moving with the times, and finding new directions. It requires fighting for certain advances and then, when these are achieved, fighting for new ones. Conservatives generally have an easier time with continuity because they seek to conserve aspects of society that they see as good, as well as upholding consistent principles, rooted in consistent moral intuitions of individual responsibility, respect for tradition and authority, cultural cohesion, and family. While differences do exist within conservatism—especially between libertarian fiscal conservatives and religious and/or social conservatives—there are natural limits as to how much principles can change and evolve when they are firmly rooted in the drive to conserve.

Progressives, on the other hand, are always trying to move forward and address new injustices and inequalities. The drive to progress necessarily manifests in many different directions at the same time and these can even contradict each other. One good example of this is the vitriolic conflict between the radical feminists, whose rejection of gender is rooted in an adaptation of Marxist class struggle, and the self-ID trans activists, whose conception of gender is rooted in postmodern queer theory. These groups are both decidedly left-wing and yet they do not agree.

Another such conflict came to light when Goldsmith University’s Feminist Society endorsed the Islamic Society’s protests against communist feminist, Maryam Namazie, due to her criticism of Islamism. For progressives to make progress, their competing aims therefore need to be balanced within a consistent ethical framework—a liberal framework—that can prevent the left from repeatedly fracturing because of incompatible aims and conceptions of the world.

… [There is a] current deadlock between the three main elements of the left [which are]: the radical (or socialist), identitarian (“Social Justice”), and liberal left. She argues that the  liberal left must strongly champion liberalism, as an overarching principle by which the valid concerns of the other strands of the left can be judged. Neither socialism nor identity politics can win back the voters who have gone over to the right because most people support regulated capitalism and universal principles of fairness and reciprocity, regardless of identity. This is perfectly compatible with profound concern about the disadvantages people face because of their class, race, sex, or sexuality.

The socialists—who prioritise the material realities of economic and class issues—and the identitarians—with their myopic and obsessive focus on race, gender, and sexuality as social constructs perpetuated in language—cannot easily cooperate with each other, without a broader framework that is neither socialist nor identitarian. The left needs to focus on both economic and identity issues. … [R]ight now most people want a combination of center-left economics and center-right stability. We can achieve this by restoring liberalism to the heart of left-wing politics and rejecting the lure of illiberal alternatives.

Liberalism, in its essence, seeks incremental reform to address social injustices, and it does so on the level of the individual and the universal. That is, liberalism seeks to produce a society in which every individual has access, in principle, to everything society has to offer, regardless of economic background, race, gender or sexuality. Liberalism is not (as its socialist and Social Justice critics claim) a belief that society has already achieved that aim and a corresponding denial of any continuing disadvantages caused by economic inequalities or prejudice.

On the contrary, by insisting on the rights of the individual and universal principles of non-discrimination we can oppose the barriers impeding any social group. This is the approach taken by the Civil Rights Movement, liberal feminism, and gay pride—with great success. … Critics of liberalism are right to warn us that focusing only on the individual and the universal can lead us to overlook issues disadvantaging specific groups. But we can address these criticisms most effectively by appealing to a broader liberal framework, not by attempting to overthrow it.

We have moved into a new stage of history. The battles the left fought over the past half-century have largely been won. We cannot go back to focusing on miners’ rights and trade unions, or on securing equal pay for women, outlawing racial discrimination, or legalizing homosexuality: we have won those wars. In fact, much of the right supports these advances now too.

So far, not much to make us feel irresistibly compelled to argue.

But next they explain what liberalism means to them:

We have new battles to fight. These include combating climate change, securing our place on the world stage and within the global economy, and fostering a cohesive multiculturalism, free from moral relativism and enforced conformity. The left now finds itself pulled in many directions at once. This is the source of its profound identity crisis.

The intractability of the problem facing the left was made abundantly clear by the recent UK election. Constituencies such as Grimsby and Blyth voted Conservative after decades of being staunchly Labour. As Aditya Chakrabortty points out, this is largely due to changes in working class political identity:

While the party bigwigs threw their weight about, the mines and the manufacturers, the steel and the shipbuilding were snuffed out. With them went the culture of Labourism: the bolshy union stewards, the self-organised societies, most of the local newspapers. Practically any institution that might incubate a working-class provincial political identity was bulldozed.

Workers have other concerns now, and it seems they did not feel that Labour was addressing them. In areas that were long-term Labour strongholds—and which have now turned Tory—a majority of working people also voted Leave in the Brexit referendum. This points to a deep and fundamental rift that cannot easily be ignored—and some of the responses to this division highlight many of the same issues that triggered working-class support for Leave in the first place.

[Jeremy] Corbyn’s Labour Party was torn between honoring the wishes of the many working people who wanted to leave the European Union and those of its liberal and cosmopolitan supporters, who strongly supported Remain. After dithering on the issue for a couple of years, Labour finally compromised by calling for a second referendum, a solution that, by calling Mulligan on the results of the first Brexit referendum, seems not to have mollified its working class base in the least. Since then, a YouGov survey found that Labour voters were more likely to think the next Labour leader needed to be more centrist and that the general population overwhelmingly did not care for identity politics, at least in the realm of gender.

The Economist has described Labour as out of touch with the working class, particularly in the north. …

While the issue of Brexit is far more complicated than a simple left-right divide, it highlights a profound disconnect between the old, class-conscious left and the new identity-conscious (read: identity-obsessed) left. By attempting to satisfy both of them at the same time, Labour is tearing itself apart. We can also see this in the anti-Semitism that now plagues the party, which is a consequence of attempting to come to terms with postcolonial guilt by acknowledging Britain’s role in the current tensions across the Muslim world. As a result, Labour often supports conservative Muslims over liberal ones, and condones—or actively endorses—the sexism, homophobia, and antisemitism that comes along with that position, leaving British Jews in a very vulnerable position. These deep inconsistencies have led many centrist and liberal voters in the UK to believe that the Tories better represent their interests than can Labour.

These political challenges are not confined to the UK. In the US, the Democratic Party is flailing, as it attempts to satisfy both its economic and identitarian wings, in the run-up to the 2020 elections. While the majority of the left and center—and a significant part of the right—hope that a reasonable, electable presidential candidate will emerge from within the Democratic Party, they’re forced to stare wild-eyed as the vast majority of the current and past hopefuls catalogue their pronouns in their Twitter bios and declare that “the future is female” and “the future is intersectional”.

Meanwhile, the activist base—the only ones interested in these displays—write articles fixated on the identity politics surrounding these candidates. Joe Biden is just one more old, white man who needs to step aside (even though he has tremendous support among black Americans, as does that other old white man, Bernie Sanders, who is polling in second place). If you don’t support Elizabeth Warren, even as she panders endlessly to the far-left fringe, it’s because you’ve bought into systemic misogyny (or condone Trump’s allegedly racist mockery of her as “Pocahontas”). Pete Buttigieg, who would be America’s first openly gay president if he were elected, isn’t gay enough. He may be married to a man but, we’re told, he isn’t really gay because he’s straight-passing and not a queer activist. …

Note of possible relevance: Pete Buttigieg’s father, Joseph Buttigieg, translated into English the works of no less a Communist Superhero than Antonio Gramsci himself.

This leaves left-wing parties in a quandary. They need to move with the times but are currently unsure where those times are going.

“The times”, aka History, is seen by theLeft as an agent with a purposeful will. It – not human thought and action – shapes events. Human beings are the tools of History – though its ultimate purpose is their perfection. A Marxian thesis which still lingers with the Left.

Marx believed his envisioned revolution was inevitable – though also in need of action by the “revolutionary class”.

A contemporary Labour MP, Jess Phillips, believes the working class needs a Labour government, even if it is not revolutionary. She writes in the Guardian:

The truth is, there are corners of our party that have become too intolerant of challenge and debate. The truth is, there is a clique who don’t care if our appeal has narrowed, as long as they have control of the institutions and ideas of the party.

We’ve all got to discover the courage to ask the difficult questions about the future of our party and the future of the working-class communities who need a Labour government. Because the alternative is that the working-class voters who, in despair, lent the Tories their votes on Thursday, never take them back.

It is time for the left to acknowledge this wake-up call. If the election of Donald Trump in the US and the catastrophic collapse of Labour in the UK haven’t made it obvious that we have a problem, it is unclear what will. The left cannot continue to try to impose a set of ideological values held by only a tiny minority of the left-leaning public and then blame that public for not electing a left-wing government. While trying to find its footing in today’s society and address the injustices and concerns of most of its natural base, the left has fallen into the trap of listening to noisy ideologues rather than average liberal and leftist working people. How much more evidence do we need that this does not work? When will we start listening to what people overwhelmingly want—a society that meets their material needs and feels fair and ethical? When will the left commit to being liberal again?

We ask: for what do “working class communities need a Labour government”? If the (somewhat) right-wing governments elected in the United States and Britain meet their material needs – and in the US at present the Trump administration is amply doing so – and if that seems “fair and ethical” to the voters, what can a reformed right-shifted left-wing government do for them? Can such a government, with redistributionist welfare policies designed by “noisy ideologues” to achieve fairness as an ethical ideal, meet material needs more amply?  No. That’s the whole point. Planned economies do not work. Equality of wealth, equality of power, equality of talent, equality of achievement, all that is meant by “social justice”, will never be brought about by History, nor can it be made to happen by ideologues, whether noisily by revolution or silently by their gaining control of the institutions of democracies.

The Left is failing because Leftism as such, whether “liberal” in the contemporary sense (“combating climate change, securing our place on the world stage and within the global economy, and fostering a cohesive multiculturalism … meeting material needs and feeling fair and ethical”), or uncompromisingly socialist, or defiantly “identitarian”, cannot succeed.

The law, by treating all sane adults equally, may sometimes be “fair”; but nature will not be, nor History, nor any political party.

Tell them (reprise) 3

The United Socialist States of America?

Is it really possible that the United States of America will vote to become a socialist country? Is the Democratic Party now irredeemably a socialist party? If so, does it as such have a real chance of winning the House, the Senate and the Presidency?

Victor David Hanson writes at Townhall:

A recent Harris poll showed that about half of so-called millennials would like to live in a socialist country. …

But they have no idea what socialism is. Professor Hanson gives several reason why millennials are attracted to what they think it is, including this:

Schools and colleges have replaced the empirical study of economics, history and politics with race, class and gender indoctrination.

Few young activists … know the 20th century history of … Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, Soviet Union strongman Joseph Stalin and Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong [who] each killed millions of their own people.

Today’s students romanticize Che Guevara and Fidel Castro because they are clueless about their bloody careers. The Castro government for over a half-century was responsible for the murders of thousands of Cubans and Latin Americans in efforts to solidify Cuban “socialism” throughout Latin America.

When our schools and colleges do not teach unbiased economics and history, then millions of youth have no idea why the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan became wealthy and stable by embracing free-market capitalism and constitutional government. Few learn why naturally rich nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela — or entire regions such as Central America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia — have traditionally lagged far behind due to years of destructive central planning, socialist economics and coerced communist government.

The handmaiden of failed socialist regimes has always been ignorance of the past and present. And that is never truer than among today’s American college-degreed (but otherwise economically and historically illiterate) youth.

What can be done to counter the propaganda of the Left which is winning so many with its false promises?

The offering is parceled so prettily: economic equality, guaranteed jobs, free health care, free education. But take off the wrapping, and the contents are poverty, dreariness, staleness,  hopelessness at best, agony and violent death at worst.

Here is our answer, taken almost verbatim from the article titled Tell Them (under Pages in our margin), first posted in mid October 2016, shortly before the election that fortunately brought Donald Trump to the presidency:

Why do millions of Americans “think” that economic equality is morally desirable?

Why are tens of millions content to live on state support without attempting to improve their standard of living by their own efforts?

Why do millions of university students in America admire intellectuals who hate America, such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and make an icon out of the sadistic mass-murderer Che Guevara?

Why? Because they’ve been told to. They’ve been told that good people do and “think” these things. They want to be good. They believe what they’ve been taught.

The same answer applies to: Why Muslim women believe they must put up with being sexually mutilated and enslaved to men. Why multitudes the world over believe that there was a nation called Palestinians who were driven off their land by aggressive usurping Jews. Why Christians believe that a man who died long ago lives on as one part of a three-part god. Why Muslims and Christians imagine that when you are dead you are still alive in another place. Why Jews believe that their benign and omnipotent God has some unknowable but just purpose in having six million of them enslaved, starved, tortured and murdered by Nazis.

They believe these things because they were taught them. All this was drummed into them. They were raised to know that that is how it ought to be. 

Few if any ideas are easy to spread. To get an idea accepted by large numbers of people takes patience, persistence, conviction, tireless energy on the part of those who want to spread it. The idea need not make good sense, be reasonable, come with proofs that it will work as its advocates say it will. It doesn’t even have to appeal strongly to the emotions. It just needs to become what “everybody” accepts.

If you want your idea to prevail over others, this is what it takes. First the conviction that it is right and everyone should know it. Next, a decision to spread it. Then energy, persistence, patience – and eventually force.

What made Christianity catch on? It wasn’t the life-style – poor, austere, hard, humble. Even the promise of eternal life was not a reliable recommendation as anyone’s eternity could as easily be endless agony as endless bliss (it was and is a 50-50 tossup). The theology was so hard to make sense of that the Church itself to this day has not settled it. And the morality it demanded was against human nature. So what made it succeed? Energy, persistence, patience, indoctrination, force.

See how long it took. From the time St Paul invented “Jesus Christ” to the time the emperor of Rome (Constantine) accepted the new god and the doctrines that had accreted to him, thus making it fashionable to be Christian (just a few decades before force was applied and it became compulsory), nearly three hundred years had passed. Three hundred years of persistent, patient, energetic proselytizing. Even then, it was not securely implanted in the minds of the subjects. One Emperor – Julian – came along and actually tried to reverse the trend by suppressing Christianity and re-instating paganism. He didn’t have enough time. He died in battle, his successors went back to favoring Christianity, and the Emperor Theodosius decreed that Christianity was to be the religion of the state. With him the final phase of force arrived.

Marxist Communism took less time to get a real grip on the minds of multitudes. Means of communications had speeded up considerably between the 4th and the 19th centuries, but still it took half a century (if one arbitrarily dates it from the first publication of Marx’s Das Kapital in 1867 to the success of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917). And still the same method had to be employed: energetic, patient, persistent proselytizingMuch repetition was required. The fever of enthusiasm had to be caught by two generations of intellectuals before the infection became a pandemic. Then came force. 

The creed must become the norm. So pervasive must the doctrine be that anybody who does not subscribe to it wholeheartedly will appear egregious; an oddball, a rebel, a danger to everyone else and even to himself. The orthodoxy must be accepted without question as good, so anyone who opposes it is ipso facto a bad person.

By the late 20th century communications had become even faster, so the New Left, rising in 1968, could achieve the peaks of power in Europe in less than thirty years, and  in America in forty years. It started as a weak revolutionary movement which brought nothing good with it to Western Europe and America, but much that was bad: recreational drugs, AIDS, and terrorism as self-expression. New Leftists complained that they had too much freedom, too much choice, that tolerance of their politics was repressive. And this irrational case was widely accepted, even while, on the other side of the iron curtain, a young man burnt himself to death to protest against the lack of freedom, choice, and tolerance.

The New Left movement was ignorant, blind, puerile, unreasonable, sadistic – yet it became, it has become, the prevailing belief-system of the greater part of the Western world, and at present in almost all “free” countries the standard ideology (or religion) of the state, no matter what political party is in power. How?

The plan was made. The plan was put into execution. Gramsci supplied the phrase for the overall strategy: “The Long March through the Institutions”.   It wasn’t enough that the New Leftists should protest, should threaten and carry out violent attacks, should shout and write and display their slogans. They must take over the institutions of power, everyone of them: the smallest citizens’ groupings – such as library committees – were not too small. But none were too big. Town councils had to be infiltrated and eventually dominated; then newspapers, radio and TV channels; boards of education very importantly; the schools, the universities; the civil service; the law courts; a major political party; then the country’s legislative body, and eventually the pinnacles of power, prime ministerships, presidencies. Police forces and the military were formidable challenges. The tactic was first to discredit them and pressure them from outside by means of public opinion guided by the converted press; then to infiltrate them; finally bend them from within to conform to the doctrine and advance the cause.

Meanwhile books, films, articles, lessons, lectures, systems of reward, prizes must all promote the cause. It took decades, but it succeeded. Even in America now there have been at least two generations raised on New Left doctrine through schools, universities, books, films, the press, and TV.

How otherwise could the free Western world, whose policies and armies opposed the oppressing, enslaving Communist Eastern world, have been successfully converted to the very doctrine that oppressed, enslaved, tortured and mass murdered? It didn’t take reason. It didn’t take persuasion. The idea was no more innately and manifestly true and good than the idea of Christianity. But as in the case of spreading Christianity –  that weird, obscure, muddled, sorrowful, other-worldly new religion – it took conviction, decision, planning, energy, persistence, repetition, on the part of its missionaries. And finally force.

Only Leftist doctrine – government control of the economy, government provision of welfare, confiscatory and punitive taxation – is politically correct now in America. Collectivist thinking is the norm. Good people vote left. (When, in 2008, a Californian woman came upon a stall set up on a main street to canvass votes for the Republican presidential candidate John McCain, she called the police, and was astonished to learn that to solicit public support for the anti-collectivist Republican Party was not illegal.) Again, as with Christianity, the allegiance to the doctrine has little or nothing to do with its ideas. Most adherents could not explain what the ideas are. But they know that good people find them good, that good people vote for them. And that is all they need to know. Who doesn’t want to think of himself as a good person?

But the question of how did this become the case has not been fully answered. There is another aspect to the story. In order for one doctrine to succeed, it is necessary for other, counter doctrines to fail.

And the success of Leftism now – would it have happened if the conservative Right had been paying attention? Remember that old saying that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance”? Well, the Right was not being vigilant. It didn’t bother to argue against political correctness. It disregarded the cynical shenanigans going on in the United Nations as if it were nothing but a zoo housing many clamorous beasts who were safely confined and could in no way threaten American life, liberty or happiness. If it was made to feel now and then the bullying, deceitful, sly, sometimes violent tactics of the Left, it shrugged them off. Conservatives went on being civil and preferring honesty when the world’s mood had changed to favoring lies and abuse. They put their confidence in the fact that America had been founded as the political embodiment of the idea of personal freedom; had demonstrated to the world – forever, they believed – that freedom brought prosperity and might and stunning innovation. They assumed that the rightness of individual liberty, the capitalist system, and government by the people had been established forever. So strong and free a country could afford to be tolerant. Let some wild, immature, misguided persons preach despotism (Communism, Socialism, Progressivism, Greenism, whatever), the system was strong enough to be hospitable to alien ideas, and to allow dissent or even rebellion. Tested, it would prove itself inviolable. It could not only withstand opposition, it could absorb it and dissolve it. No special effort was required. American history was on the side of those who would defend freedom and the Constitution. The separation of powers would protect them. The free press would dilute propaganda. Open enquiry in the academies would ensure that all points of view were argued and the most rational, the most humane, would persuade serious scholars. But they were wrong.

In their complacency, conservatives did not even notice the Long March. They could not mark its stations of success. Even now there are deluded Republicans who have not absorbed the fact that most Americans like collectivism; that they don’t object to electoral fraud; that they accept a failing economy; that many would rather live on government handouts than become rich; that being rich has become a morally bad thing; that it’s okay for foreign powers to develop weapons that can kill vast numbers of Americans; that the press does not report what is happening in the world but only what it wants to happen; that courts of law are willing to prefer foreign law to the Constitution; that it doesn’t matter if American representatives abroad are attacked and murdered; that freedom has become a term worthy only of contempt; that American history is a trail of shame; that a cruel religion – Islam – is being allowed to seep through the body politic, and is protected and advanced by the government itself.

But now millions of conservatives are waking up and are asking, how did this happen? It happened because people patiently, energetically, persistently planned it and made it happen.

What can we do about it, they ask themselves and each other.

What they have to do about it is change the minds of the people. First they must be sure that they want the free republic the founders established; that they want to maintain free markets; that they don’t want a welfare state; that they do want to preserve national defenses; that they want indoctrination in the schools to stop; that they want to forbid the application of foreign law; that they do not want to go on funding an institution – the UN – that consistently works against their interests. Then they must decide that their political philosophy is right, uniquely right, and must be implemented at any and all costs. Then they must start teaching it. With energy, persistence, patience and fiery enthusiasm. It will take time. But that is the only way. Teach, preach, argue, use every method that works. Give up the idea that it’s better to be gentlemanly than to sink to using the methods of the opposition; that if you do as they do you will have betrayed the very values that you are fighting for. So let them win? No! They have made the fight low and dirty. Get down in the dirt and fight it.

How badly does the conservative right want to win and hold on to power in America? How important is it to them that they should?

If it is as important to you, Conservatives, as it needs to be, tell the voters, tell the children that the free market is the only means of creating general prosperity, and why. Tell them that central planning of an economy cannot work, and why. Tell them why competition is good for everyone, producers and consumers alike.

Tell them what profit is and why it is essential for ensuring abundance.

Tell them that only where people are free can there be discovery and innovation, improvement in everyone’s daily life, better technology, the advance of civilization. Explain why. Show them the proofs of history.

Tell them the truth about life in the Third World. Not politically correct sentimental drivel, but the actual awful facts about life in most other countries.

Tell them why impartial judgment is the only means to justice; why all sane adult citizens must be treated equally by the law; why people must be judged by their actions, not their intentions or feelings.

Tell them why government should be kept small and its powers limited. Tell them what the essential tasks of government are: protection of the nation, of the individual, of liberty, of the rule of law itself. And why governments should not be allowed more power and money than it needs to fulfill its few essential functions.

Shout down the shouters. Tell Muslims what is wrong with their creed and why American secularism is better. Don’t allow them to build a protective wall around themselves to shut out criticism of their absurd and savage beliefs.

Tolerate only the tolerant and tolerable.

It will take time. Start now. Tell them.

 

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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Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists 1

The people who were to lead the Russian revolution in 1917 called themselves Social-Democrats.

Here’s an extract from an essay by the Leader of the leaders, V. I. Lenin, written in 1897 when he was in exile. It is titled The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats: 

The object of the practical activities of the Social-Democrats is, as is well known, to lead the class struggle of the proletariat and to organize that struggle in both its manifestations: socialist (the fight against the capitalist class aimed at destroying the class system and organizing socialist society), and democratic (the fight against absolutism aimed at winning political liberty in Russia and democratizing the political and social system of Russia). We said as is well known. And indeed, from the very moment they appeared as a separate social-revolutionary trend, the Russian Social-Democrats have always quite definitely indicated this object of their activities, have always emphasized the dual manifestation and content of the class struggle of the proletariat and have always insisted on the inseparable connection between their socialist and democratic tasks — a connection clearly expressed in the name they have adopted.

As is well known, when the Revolution had been accomplished in 1917, and Lenin was supreme dictator, there was no political liberty for the Russian people. No liberty at all.

Stella Morabito wrote (March 2016) at The Federalist (in an essay chiefly recalling the execution by Joseph Stalin of his faithful friend and follower, Nikolai Bukharin):

[Socialism is] a system in which suspicion and the smell of treason tend to hang in the air. … This is the case whether you call it by any other name, whether communism, utopianism, or collectivism. Oh, go ahead and slap some lipstick on that pig and call it “democratic” socialism or “progressivism” or “communitarianism”. 

Lenin and his gang all started out calling themselves socialists. Social democrats, to be exact. So the fact remains: the path of socialism is ultimately paved with coercion, censorship, and, yes, terror.* Does stating this make me an alarmist? No. It makes me a realist.

Socialism demands that we place blind trust in whomever takes the reins of power to distribute society’s goods and services. …

Socialism also has a way of producing bloated bureaucracies that in turn produce ever greater scarcity. Along the way, this produces ever more corruption and cronyism. Censorship puts down deep roots because dissent cannot be tolerated or the system would collapse. Those are all prime ingredients for a closed society and surveillance state. …

And for gulags, torture, mock trials and executions.

We are … witnessing a new trendiness for all things socialist and communist among college youth. They sport T-shirts featuring the image of nauseatingly murderous tyrants like Che Guevara.

Thanks to the popularity of the avuncular Bernie Sanders, coupled with an astonishing ignorance of history, millennials have fast become trusty mouthpieces for socialism. This is ironic, because socialism has a way of redistributing power away from the “99 percent” and puts it into the hands of the few central planners—a teensy fraction of 1 percent — at the top.

And Bernie Sanders is forever sniping at “the 1%” – “millionaires and billionaires”, “the rich”, ie. Lenin’s “capitalist class” – when he himself is a millionaire.

Then what? …  There’s an indisputable correlation between big government and terror that keeps turning up throughout history. …

We need to remember that, when soft socialism with its siren song of “equality” is left to its own devices, it takes ever more rigid forms. The political hubris of “progressives” who know better than you and me — and with such utter certainty — always leads to central control, corruption, cronyism, censorship, and abject conformity.

The more than 100 million victims of communism shows just how slippery a slope socialism is. Any person of goodwill who is familiar with the history and realities of socialism would do everything possible to avoid going down that minefield of a road.

How is it possible that young Americans can emerge from long established universities with degrees in history, political science, economics, international relations, and not know what happened to the millions of victims of socialism?

Or if they do know, and maintain that their socialist revolution would be different, bringing equal happiness for all, what possible reason can they produce for saying so? They don’t, of course. They cannot.

Because socialist economics do not, cannot work.

Because no one will study for years to become a doctor when he/she/ze is going to be paid the same as a janitor who doesn’t have to study at all.

Because when everyone’s been given equal pay with nice freshly printed banknotes, their money goes chasing too few goods, or none at all.

Because no one is going to make and sell goods if he cannot make a good living out of doing so.

Because state ownership of the means of production means Venezuela under Maduro. Because the state cannot know what goods to produce, how many, at what price. Because only the market sends the messages, the signals, that provide that information. As Hayek teaches the student of economics. If he/she/ze is  allowed to read his works in the universities. But they are not.

They are allowed to read Marx.

We doubt that many of the democratic socialists emerging from the academies actually ever bothered to read Marx for themselves. Their professors told them what he said was right and good. Told them that democratic socialism was the happy future of mankind.

That is the faith, and they keep it.

 

 

*Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky all explicitly advocated the use of terrorism. See The Soviet Union and Terrorism by Roberta Goren, ed. Jillian Becker, Introduction by Robert Conquest, George Allen & Unwin, London 1984.

Starbucks infects itself with the lethal blight of Soros 1

Businesses should hear this as a cautionary tale.

Judicial Watch reports:

When private companies close thousands of stores for an afternoon to conduct anti-bias training it usually doesn’t affect American taxpayers, but in Starbucks’ case it does. In addition to approximately $400,000 in U.S. government contracts, the global coffeehouse chain has received millions of dollars from Uncle Sam for a coffee yield improvement project in Colombia, records uncovered by Judicial Watch show.

Additionally, the anti-bias curriculum that was recently forced upon 175,000 employees was designed by a nonprofit that’s largely funded by leftwing billionaire George Soros.

The group’s (Perception Institute) leadership has close ties to Democratic party politics, including Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration, Judicial Watch’s investigation found.

The special training was called to order after a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called police on two black men who sat in the store without buying anything. The men were eventually arrested for trespassing and the race card was quickly played.

They sat in a Starbucks for hours without buying anything, occupying space reserved for customers.  They demanded to use the restroom. They were several times requested to buy something or leave before the police were called. Doing this, the manager was acting in accordance with company policy – but was scapegoated once “the race card was played”.

Because if you are black you have an unalienable right to make free use of other people’s property?

Starbucks responded by closing 8,000 stores in the U.S. for four hours “to come together for a conversation and learning session on racial bias”.

Watch that word “conservation”. It has become very popular with theLeft. It means encounters in which you shut up and listen to them.

The goal, according to the company, was to take a foundational step in renewing Starbucks as a place where all people feel welcome. “Starbucks partners shared life experiences, heard from others, listened to experts on bias and racial anxiety, reflecting on the realities of bias in our society and talking about how all of us can work together to create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong,” the company wrote in a statement. A national newspaper described it as a “dramatic move toward racial reconciliation”.

Actually everyone had to watch propaganda videos that did not deal with the incident, but were made to impress on the audience that blacks feel they are victims of whites.

Here’s one of them:

Why? What was it really all about?

At the helm of this so-called racial reconciliation was the Perception Institute, which lists Soros’ Open Society Foundation among its major supporters. The group’s executive director, Alexis McGill-Johnson, co-founded the Democrat marketing firm Brand Architects and is a former board chair for Planned Parenthood.

She was also the political director for Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and executive director of Citizen Change, a nonprofit founded by rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs. Perception Institute’s director of research, Rachel Godsil, was “the convener for the Obama campaign’s Urban and Metropolitan Policy Committee” and an advisor to Obama’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) transition team. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Godsil chair of the city’s Rent Guidelines Board.

Years ago, Judicial Watch obtained documents exposing de Blasio’s dark past as an active supporter of a brutal communist regime well known as one of Latin America’s worst human rights abusers.

The Perception Institute’s research advisor, DeAngelo Bester, is a renowned leftist who served as a project manager with the National People’s Action, an  Alinskyite community-organizing group dedicated to progressive social change and economic and racial justice.

Besides advising the nonprofit that helped conduct Starbucks’ racial sensitivity training Bester is executive director of the Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, a Chicago nonprofit founded by a group of unemployed and formerly incarcerated black workers. In 2015 the group co-sponsored a Black Lives Matter protest at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention along with the Malcom X Grassroots Movement, the International Socialist Organization and similar leftwing groups. A few years ago, the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice received a $250,000 grant from Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

Soros dedicates monstrous sums of money to spread his radical globalist agenda by funding liberal media outlets, supporting leftwing politicians, advocating for open borders, fomenting public discord and influencing academic institutions.

In the United States Soros groups have pushed a radical agenda that includes promoting an open border with Mexico and fighting immigration enforcement efforts, fomenting racial disharmony by funding anti-capitalist black separationist organizations, financing the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups involved in the Ferguson Missouri riots, weakening the integrity of the nation’s electoral systems, opposing U.S. counterterrorism efforts and eroding 2nd Amendment protections.

He has also funded a liberal think-tank headed by former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the scandal-ridden activist group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), so corrupt that Congress banned it from receiving federal funding.

Then comes this from Townhall:

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it is closing 150 of its U.S. stores in the next year, three times as many as the chain normally closes in that time period.

“While certain demand headwinds are transitory, and some of our cost increases are appropriate investments for the future, our recent performance does not reflect the potential of our exceptional brand and is not acceptable,” Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

In May, Starbucks closed all of its more than 8,000 U.S. stores for an afternoon so that their employees could participate in “racial bias training” following an incident in Philadelphia in which a store employee called the police on two black men who were arrested for trespassing. Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw reportedly acknowledged that the incident “had an impact” on the low same-store sales growth rate of 1 percent expected for the quarter beginning next month.

“In this last quarter, we had an unplanned initiative related to the incident in Philadelphia that culminated in closing stores,” Johnson said on a call from the Oppenheimer Consumer Conference, according to CNN. …

Outgoing Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz acknowledged at the time that the racial bias training closures would cost “tens of millions” but that he saw the closures as an investment in Starbucks employees.

Oh yes. Tens of millions. Worth paying for the approval of the Far Left.

And the company will venture further for that approval. Into the Fetish Fields of the “Resistance”. Though of course it doesn’t put it that way. It says it will “improve its food options and shift from sugary drinks to  ‘lean into more plant-based beverages’.”

Love the commerce-talk!

“We’re putting more of our energy into that afternoon day part and the portfolio of beverages that are offsetting some of the declines we’re seeing in Frappuccino beverages,” Johnson said.

Translation: Not coffee so much as more veggies and veggie drinks.

And so – we expect – more store closures.

The slow suicide of a hugely successful capitalist enterprise.

A victory for Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, and George Soros.

The hubris and incoherence of the Left 14

The sheer incoherence of the Left must surely sink it eventually!

Feminists who claimed for decades to be fighting for women’s “liberation” defend the absolute subjugation of Muslim women. In their thousands, wearing silly pink baby hats, they bob about  Linda Sarsour, a Muslima in a hijab, cheering her every lying word as she tells them how much better for women Islam is than the Constitution of the USA.

Americans who worked passionately for years to keep the teaching of religion – Christianity in particular – out of public schools, are now letting Islam be taught in them. And not just allowing it but insisting on it. And what is being taught is not even the truth about that horrible religion. We would not object if the truth were being told. No; what the children get is a false, prettified version written by deceitful proselytizing Muslims. A supremacist, totalitarian, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, murderous, savagely cruel ideology is presented to young scholars as a kindly, gentle thing, full of good-will and brotherly love.

And this happened:

So, after being maligned and threatened, Councilman Tom Harrison retracted his objection to Islam being included in the school curriculum, apologized, and groveled.

The idea of the separation of church and state does not exist in Islam. And it will no longer apply in all public schools in the United States, despite the First Amendment of the Constitution. At least, not when it comes to Islam. Islam, a blood-thirsty intolerant creed, is excepted.

Tolerance. Inclusiveness. Diversity. Buzzwords of the Left. Yet Leftists passionately support the intolerance, exclusiveness, and dogmatism that characterize Islam. They ignore its doctrine  that everyone in the world must become Muslim or suffer dire consequences, including murder.

What the Left has never understood, not for a moment since the New Left prophets such as Herbert Marcuse changed the category of persons they declared themselves to be the champions and saviors of  – substituting Lumpenproletarians, convicted felons, hoboes, women, Third Worlders for Karl Marx’s romanticized workers – is that they are patronizing the subjects of their crusade. They are the most extreme of social snobs.

They claim to be acting out of compassion, but there is an awful lot of condescension in their compassion, and an awful lot of vanity in their condescension.

Very few of them ever leave their comfortable quarters in the schools or parliaments or penthouses or manors or leafy suburbs where they write their books, speeches and op-eds, to visit the unsafe regions of the world where the folks they have made their Cause actually struggle to survive. They know almost nothing about them, and do not want to know. How shocked would they be to learn that the most rabid hatred of other races, religions, tribes, or mere skin color, is to be found there, among the “oppressed”, the “deprived”, the “wretched of the earth”?

So yes, there is a privileged white patriarchy consumed with moral vanity. But it is not to be found on the conservative Right. Here no one cares what color a person’s skin is. We do not think with our skins.

The privileged white patriarchy is to be found where ill-informed women march in pink baby hats. Where self-righteous students scream out their opinions against citizens’ ownership of guns. Where George Soros signs his checks.

What is free-market capitalism? 47

This post was born as a comment by our economist reader and contributor, Don L. He expanded it into an article. 

It is addressed to the average American who earns, banks, invests, and pays taxes, but might confess that he doesn’t really understand “the dismal science” (as the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle called Economics). Free-market capitalism is the only system that benefits everybody, and the only economists who were right about this were those of the Austrian School (of which the best known members are, probably, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek). The article points the way to finding out what free-market capitalism really is. 

The possibly surprising point the author makes is that the United States is not really the free-market capitalist country it is purported to be …  

**

There’s a tactic employed in the field of Economics, and other corrupted fields of study/“professionalism” (history, law, meteorology/climate, education/compulsory schooling, etc.) that I label the “3rd-Party Authority Justification & Deflection Tactic”.  The tactic invokes authority to implement a plan and the ability to escape blame when it fails: “We relied on the experts.” And, the experts (unjustified) sell their name and authority (the “Top 500”, the “Leading” or the “Council of Advisers”, etc.) for grants, subsidies, a new regulation or a tit-for-tat pay raise. Being right is subordinated to the reward from political benefactors: “We support the Senators program”; which, as all unconstitutional social plans do, inevitably fails with tragic consequences.

It must be understood that in the US of A it is estimated that from 53% to 60% of ALL economists are employed directly by government (split approx. 60/40 percent by federal and state respectively) with another 20% plus estimated to be employed in positions dependent on government support. Upton Sinclair said it best: “It is hard to get a man to understand a thing when his job depends on his not understanding it.”  (Do you think there might be a “favor government” over human beings bias in the profession? DUH)

The challenge stands: The Austrian economist Robert Murphy challenged the icon of leftist economics, Paul Krugman, to debate. The inducement was a prize of $100K to be given to a food bank in NYC if Krugman merely showed up …he has refused. Consider, he refused to just put in an appearance and thereby denied a food bank, the hungry, a windfall of $100K of needed funds/foodstuffs. So much for social justice; even primary leftist cause takes a back seat to being exposed as a fraud. He’s a fraudulent coward!

A debate on what the political economic policy should be has never happened. Indeed, every measure is taken to insure that economics qua economics is never ever exposed to the general public. Mainstream economics is as fake as mainstream news. It is a fraud, sham, scam and lie. What is shoved down our throats as economics is singularly and only government central planning of the economy. Economics qua economics is a descriptive social science requiring thinking. IT IS NOT pretend hard science employing mathematical-modeling of historic, static, limited point-in-time data toward predicting (crystal ball) the future for unconstitutional, politicized, social engineering.

The world has been brought, through ideologically-designed compulsory schooling , to unquestionably believe the lie that the economy is so large and complex that only experts can manage it. Yes, the economy is large and complex … SO? How does “manage it by experts”  follow? IT DOESN’T.

In fact it was at the end of the 19th and into the 20th century that the answers to all the significant questions about economics, after 500 years of scholarship, were finally answered. And, the paramount finding was the irrefutable fact that an economy cannot and ought not be managed at all; by anyone whether “expert” or not.

These findings, however, did not and do not sit well with the rulers … implementation requires  stripping them of their power over the people: He who has the gold makes the rules. Well, simultaneous with the revelations of real economics, the opportunist and clownish son of a noted economist, admittedly fabricated a politician-pleasing economic theory, out of thin air (like the phony money monetary policies he backed – the FED). The sophomoric son was John Maynard Keynes and his ludicrous and wholly incomprehensible theory was presented in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

Keynes’s theory has been totally destroyed, yet it persists because it justifies – absolute nonsensical and proven tragically wrong – government intervention in the economy: social engineering. Marx – also a failed thinker with a failed tragic theory – and Keynes have done more to destroy lives, wealth and natural resources than any other two men. They provided the “3rd-Party Authority Justification & Deflection Tactic” cover, employed by governments around the world, behind which rulers could hide as they engineer “social justice” – i.e. control and manipulate their populations. Like here in the good ol’ US of A.

Incidentally, the supposed icon of Free-Markets, Milton Friedman, was NOT!  In fact, Friedman naively supported the worst and most deleterious of the government interventions, thereby negating his promotion of free enterprise (curiously not free-markets): monetary manipulation (inflation) for the benefit of government – not the governed!

Austrian economics, for those who do not know, is the only school of economics that does NOT incorporate any notion of government intervention in the economy – ALL OTHERS DO! Austrian Econ is the only school that advances Free-Market Capitalism; which mirrors, coincidentally, the Founder’s principles of individual sovereignty and government by the consent of the governed.

It is the only school that has been proven correct, 100% of the time, in projections and warnings for more than 100 years. Name one economist from any other school that has ever been right. That was rhetorical as one cannot find any other school of economics that has ever been correct …PERIOD. All they offer is the fake cover for fraudulent banking schemes that benefit politicians and their cadres of sycophants.

If you don’t know what free-market capitalism IS, you can be made to believe it is the economic system in America when it isn’t; and, IT ISN’T!

If you don’t know what free-market capitalism IS, you can be made to believe it is the cause of all manner of horrific and immoral human tragedy when it isn’t; and, IT ISN’T!

If you do not know what centralized fractional reserve banking is then you have to begin to ask yourself: “How have I been made to not care about my own best interests?” Why? Because centralized fractional reserve banking IS the fascistic political economic system of the united States of America NOT Free-Market Capitalism! It was enacted as law in 1913. It replaced Free-Market Capitalism with what can only be described as Centrally-Planned “Debtism” (dollars do not represent wealth but, rather, DEBT). You may know it’s intended-to-deceive name: The FED – not a federal government entity. How is it you have never been taught this?

Economic tragedies cannot be blamed on an economic system that does not exist. Every economic turn down in America’s history is directly and demonstrably the fault of government intervention in the economy; specifically, monetary manipulation by the FED. And, not one bit of it is FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM! So, why is it blamed? Well, the planners aren’t going to blame themselves … are they?

If life, liberty and prosperity are inextricably linked to the economy and there can be no exercise of rights, unalienable or otherwise, without economic freedom, how is it over 95% of Americans, including bankers and top CEOs, do not know what centralized fractional reserve banking is or does – to their detriment.

NOTE: Centralized fractional reserve banking IS the system by which purchasing power (wealth) is stripped from those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder and transferred to those already up the ladder and standing on the roof: currency inflation is the FED’s ONLY function.

It is time that every citizen fulfilled his duty to give INFORMED consent. First, each individual must take the time to discover Free-Market Capitalism – Austrian economics. Once done, the informed citizen will never be Lulled, Gulled & Dulled by duplicitous and/or dangerously ignorant career-politicians, their army of cronies and their deceptive 3rd-Party Authority Justification & Deflection Tactic ever again … GUARANTEED!

Here’s some further “discover” info:

Keynes The Man by Murray N. Rothbard

Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts by Hunter Lewis

A Free-Market Monetary System and The Pretense of Knowledge by F. A. Hayek

Recovering Economics by Harry C. Veryser

The Red Prussian by Leopold Schwarzschild

QUICK INTRODUCTION TO AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS:

Why Austrian Economics Matters by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr

What is Austrian Economics? — The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises

Liberty and Property by Ludwig von Mises

 

Don L     April 5, 2018

(For more books that will aid discovery in the field of of Economics, please see The Atheist Conservative’s (starter) reading list, under Pages in the margin.)

Posted under Economics by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 5, 2018

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