Monday, May 23, 2016

Bathrooms and Gramsci and Thermidor

I got in a lot of trouble with the commenters at American Thinker last week when I wrote that Trump is Thermidor, meaning that he represents the inevitable reaction after the virtual reign of terror by the SJWs during the Obama administration.

I think that the commenters' main problem was the reluctance to equate Trump with dictator.

Now here's a piece in the American Spectator about the transgender bathroom debacle and Antonio Gramsci's march through the institutions. What is going on here? Ralph Benko answers:
The left is advancing a cultural revolution of radical egalitarianism, creating a new cultural hegemony of which the Great Bathroom War of 2016 is but the most recent element.
Conservatives don't have a clue about how to counter this, Benko writes. Instead of arguing about the danger of rape in the bathroom, we should argue from the innocence of modesty.

Well, yes. But I think that Benko is missing the point and that my argument, from Crane Brinton and his Anatomy of Revolution is the right one. The point is that a march through the institutions culminating in a real or a virtual reign of terror and virtue is something that ordinary people hate. They don't want to be bullied and reeducated and have their lives turned upside down and made to mouth words they don't believe in. And sooner or later they react against the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, the Red Guards, the SJWs. They may not react with violence, but the fact is that, as Brinton writes, a reign of terror and virtue puts society into an impossible stress that cannot go on forever.

My analysis of the Obama years follows those that point to the collapse of the Democratic Party everywhere outside the White House. Congress? Republican. States? Majority of Republican Governors and Republican legislatures. Rebellion by the GOP primary voters. I read today that there are a lot of GOP primary voters that didn't vote in the general in 2012.

In other words, ordinary Americans are rebelling against the Gramscian march through the institutions and the totalitarian SJW virtual reign of terror in which you will be made to care about the left's agenda or you will pay the price. But they are not talking about it, because you are not allowed to talk in SJW America.

The problem with a reign of terror is that you don't end up back at the status quo ante. That was the problem with Napoleon. The Directory and Napoleon ended the reign of terror and Made France Great Again. But Napoleon also lost the Second Hundred Years War against the Brits and France has never been the terror of Europe since.

So I don't think that the Gramscians will go on marching through the institutions forever. For one thing, lefties tend to hollow out and destroy the institutions that they invade. That's because humans are social animals first, not political animals, and institutions have a social purpose before they have a political purpose.

But I do think, following Ralph Benko, that a Return to Modesty is part of the solution. Oh yeah, there's a book by that name, by Wendy Shalit. Here she gets to make her point in The New York Times!

Every woman I know is defined by her love and her modesty. Oh yes, women can be pretty immodest when they are looking for a mate. But otherwise they define themselves by their loves, their modesty, and their privacy. That is why it was not evil oil companies, but women, that led the migration to the suburbs. Women do not like to raise their children in the city, not unless they are total rich bitches that can afford nannies and car service and so on. Ordinary woman want to retire to a quiet place to bear and raise their children. And then they want to plant a garden. What an idea!

Honestly, I don't have a clue how this is going to work out, but I do think that women are going to redefine culture and politics to provide more privacy and more safety in a way that lets women live out their lives in a more feminine rather than feminist way. To me, the whole "rape culture" flap is related to this. Women don't like a sexual free-for-all, and no wonder, because it licenses boys to use them and abuse them. But the left has no real answer to the brutalities of the sexual revolution, because we are all supposed to be liberated from our bigoted bourgeois patriarchal culture. No more fathers demanding to know "what are your intentions!" So the lefty future has to replace the culture of modesty with a politics of legalisms in Affirmative Consent. Which is madness.

But there is no way back. Whatever happens now, it will be stumbling over the tangle of 20th century themes, from marriage, to abortion, to careers, to work/life balance, to the LGBT diversion, to the excruciating regulation of everything by big government. And above all it will have to deal with the Jacobin narrowness of the politics-is-everything left.

In other words, it ain't gonna be pretty.

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