"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, August 15, 2020

America The Land Of The Gullible–Why Socialism Still Has Appeal

America is riven by a deep political divide.  The positions of the Left and the Right have never been more hardened or inflexible.  Every year, political pollsters report, the mistrust of one for the other increases. Yet rather than lament the passing of an earlier age of civility and respect, today’s partisans of the Left are more than happy to see that naïve, ingenuous, and morally flaccid time disappear into the mist. 

 Only now, they say, have Americans come to their senses, been woke to the fundamental systemic corruption of American capitalism  and the racism, sexism, greed, and homophobia that it has spawned.  Compromise was nothing less than capitulation to the excesses of capitalism, and the narcissistic, arrogant dismissal of the restive, righteous proletariat and its ultimate destiny.  Civility was giving insidious, virulent anti-social forces a pass.  Respect was but a bourgeois cover for racial and class hostility. 

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Finally in this second decade of the 21st century the scrim and pretty embroidery of American life has been torn away and burned.  Self-secure, fat and happy white manipulators have been given notice.  Coarse, ill-bred, crude and irredeemable rednecks have been called out for their physical brutality and emotional retardation.  The religious faithful have been cited for their intellectual ignorance and assumptions of salvation – the fanciful, impossible, fairyland imaginings of an ancient white huckster.  Only a cleansing of such bourgeois excrescences, the destruction of the capitalist society which permits them, and the restitution of a principled, secular, social order will suffice.

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That, of course, is the meme of the radical progressives in America today, a political agenda no different from that of the Bolsheviks of 1917, the Communists of 1945 and the Soviets until 1989.  The exponents of Marxism and Leninism were perfectly clear about their radical intent.  Reform was not in their lexicon.  Only a complete razing of the free market, capitalist, democratic system would enable Communist revolutionaries to build a complete new, distinct, and honorable society based on equal distribution of rights, wealth, influence, and power.  

Stalin was the most well-known European example of the authoritarian nature of Communism – a strict, uncompromising rule thought necessary to eliminate any ignorant, recidivist dissent – but Pol Pot of Cambodia raised it to even more visible heights.  Pol Pot declared Year Zero, and forced all urban Cambodians to relocate in the rural areas.  These forced marches, closely following Mao Zedong’s ideas of a universal, rural proletariat, were even more brutal.  There was to be nothing left of the urban bourgeoisie, its institutions, or its people.

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As much as the progressive Left denies any such assumptions, and frames its reformist agenda in socially moderate terms, the goal is the same – an inversion of American principles of individualism, enterprise, freedom, and ambition, recasting them as counter-revolutionary, backward, and dark.  It is because of such arrogant individualism, greed, and personal ambition, they say, that the less fortunate have been trampled on, that non-white, non-straight, other-abled Americans have been oppressed and marginalized.  

While these progressives have said that they are simply addressing social ills and proposing measures to rectify them, their perspective is far more fundamental and all-encompassing.  Only the revolutionary destruction of the capitalist system – removing the rot and putrescence at the heart of America – will these persistent problems ever go away.  The reason why these issues are still infecting American society is because governments and civil movements have been desultory, timid, and selective – too little, too late.

The American people, gullible to the core, have bought this lofty agenda.  Of course racism, sexism, homophobia, and the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity are problems in the country, they say; and while some have looked askance at the summary dismissal of traditional values, institutions, and purposes, most have conceded that only a strong, determined, and coherent effort can get the job done. They have not looked, or idealistically refused to look beyond the slogans, the memes, the banners, and the speeches to see that taken as a comprehensive whole, the progressive agenda intends nothing less than complete reversal of American principles and values.

Education needs to be reformed, say activists, to assure that rather than focusing on privileged aspirations, it should concentrate on addressing social ills.  Students should not be promoted based on academic proficiency alone but on their reformist principles, an indoctrination so complete that all students will never look back or question their legitimacy. 

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The core principle of equal opportunity needs to be shelved.  Those individuals who have suffered inordinately from white, capitalist supremacy need to be moved to the head of the line, first to receive benefits, first to benefit from the privileges that only whites have enjoyed.  Affirmative action is but a shadow of what is needed today.  The country’s social policies must themselves be inverted.  Whites must go to the back of the bus, the end of the line, down into the deepest mine.

The economic system, now geared to favor the wealthy, must be realigned to the needs of the poor.  Enterprise, ambition, intelligence and creativity – the hallmarks of American economic and financial ingenuity – need to be quieted and ignored.  Free speech is simply idolatry and capitalist fiction.  Speech is no different from work and it must be properly and correctly aligned to social ends. Just as Marx and Lenin refused such individualistic talents in favor of the inherent wisdom of the proletariat, so American progressives see the same end in sight.

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Not only should a multi-cultural society be respected and supported, immigration however illegal must be encouraged.  Open borders will end white majority rule far quicker than natural fertility. 

Of course there is strong and vocal opposition to this caterwauling.  Donald Trump has the support of a significant minority of American voters, conservatives who are determined to reject and repeal the programs and policies that radical progressives have instituted.  The President has been loud and clear about his intent to lead the counter-revolution, to expose liberal cant and posturing for what it is, and to defiantly push forward measures that will consolidate the capitalist, individualist, fundamentalist principles that have characterized the country since its inception. 

Young voters have been almost universally Democratic or progressive for decades.  The legacy of adolescent and young adult idealism is political liberalism and it will always be so.  The young have, by nature, proclivity, and sensitivity to social pressure, always voted in lockstep for a progressive agenda; and they can be forgiven for their unbridled enthusiasm for the idealistic, morally-sounding, calls for love, compassion, and community; but what about older Americans who have had the benefit of the perspective of history and an uncompromising look at the failures of socialism and a recognition of private, capitalistic enterprise since cowrie shells and barter?   They have seen the universal appeal of religion and its own principles of individual salvation and redemption.  They have seen how empires have been built, grown, and expanded; and how territorialism and expansionism were not only the keys to expanding civilization but a predictable expression of human nature. 

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How could such otherwise intelligent, savvy, worldly, and experienced Americans fall for political chicanery? Duped and saddled, lined up and marching to orders?   Concluding that the ineluctable human  desire to be included, to be recognized and valued, is not enough to explain the inflexibility and the emotionalism.   Many researchers have tried to explain the phenomenon of the true believer and the conspiracy theorist citing references to sociology, psychology, natural selection, and willing suspension of disbelief; but none have been entirely convincing.

We are left now, before the 2020 election with a consistently divided body politic. While it is easy to understand American conservatism – after all it is based on a desire to ‘conserve’ the familiar and the tried and true, the foundational legacy of the Republic, the known and tested – it is harder to fathom American progressivism based, it seems on Utopianism and failed idealism. 

So be it.  Even in the few days remaining before the election (80) positions will be harden, heads will shake, and bile will rise.  Nothing new say some historians who said that they have seen it all before – idealism, vituperation, and the chaotic mess that is American politics.  Yet this time it all seems different, and certainly more consequential.

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