Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Think of Liberals as Trapped Rats

The political situation in the US would be obvious if the ruling class of educated liberals weren't so determined to deny it.

The whole progressive project of class politics and race politics and identity politics, and liberals running the place as their administrative fiefdom, is dissolving in chaos, and liberals are having to resort to more and more desperate measures in order to keep their troops in the front line. They need to silence their critics because the news is getting worse and worse for the liberal project.

And hey, why not bump up Social Security benefit payments to keep the racket going for one more election cycle?

You can get the feel of this by checking out any embattled ruling class in its last days. The Nazis would be a good start. It means saying black is white, that our troops are merely experiencing a setback, that the old totemic texts are as good as ever to explain life, the universe, and everything.

Greg Gutfeld of FoxNews has a piece bemoaning this mess. After Orlando, why do half of us insist the problem is gun control and the other half terrorism? Why would half of us insist that "a black person, or a gay person, or a fat white male, see a terror attack differently?" We are divided on who deserves to be punished: liberals blamed Republicans and Christians and guns for Orlando. We are "divorcing cause from effect" by pretending that Christians or guns caused Orlando.

Of course, Gutfeld doesn't make the obvious judgment, which I make in my American Thinker piece today. The liberal world view is collapsing around its progressive ears but the liberal file closers are still busily whacking their troops into line and successfully maintaining ideological discipline.

And they will do that until the troops finally break and run. Because their whole world view is based on errors compounded by conceit irradiated by lies. And every year that passes requires them to compound the lies in order to keep their troops in the trenches. But the truth is that the troops probably won't break and run until the mobs start looting the supermarkets because the checks have stopped coming.

I've just about finished The Condition of Postmodernity by Brit lefty David Harvey. It's really been an education for me in lefty self-delusion. Every economic problem is blown up into an outrage and a fundamental flaw of capitalism; every liberal intervention is reported as saving capitalism from itself. And the biggest conceit is the idea that political action can significantly change anything. It is astonishing, really, three hundred years after Hume said you can't infer cause and effect from two events, that our lefty friends are blandly assuming that political program B solves the problem of capitalist exploitation A, because it's obvious and needs no justification. Again and again.

I'm in the middle of a 90 minute YouTube of a colloquium between lefty Terry Eagleton and righty Sir Roger Scruton. Towards the end a South Asian girl gets up and spouts what her teachers told her about colonialism and cultural hegemony. Scruton obviously was prepared because he told her how amazed the Brits were when their apparatchiks discovered Bengali culture in the 18th century and set about studying it and preserving its texts which were getting lost. These colonialists were enthralled by Bengali ancient culture, something they had never known. Well, said Terry Eagleton, you have a point, but it is outrageously tendentious. Because racism, sexism, exploitation, colonialism.

OK, Terry. Good point. But the problem with the left is that almost everything it asserts, while having a grain of truth, is outrageously tendentious. It assumes, again and again, that everything bad is due to structural contradictions of capitalism and everything good is due to left-wing modifications of capitalism. I get it. The point is to keep the faithful on-side, to feed them some pablum to make sure they keep the faith, and to mumble through the responses so that your own doubts are repressed.

But the problem is that the thinkers and the leaders get to believe their own lies. For instance, David Harvey reports all the radical revolts of the last 200 years as noble working-class fights for freedom and justice, from the 1830s machine-wreckings and rick-burnings to the 1848 revolutions to the 1877 US railroad strike or the 1980s UK coal strike.

Maybe the struggles of the workers are an arc of justice without precedent in human history. But you can also understand them less heroically merely as people reacting violently to a sudden reverse in their economic prospects. Workers do not riot when they are being recruited to staff a new plant. They riot when their highly-paid artisan skills get replaced by machines, when their employer tries to reduce wages during a business downturn or tries to retrain the workers when their skills no longer serve, or makes lame efforts to make the workforce more "efficient" in response to market forces. Yet the left has developed shibboleths to explain everything as exploitation and market failure, from capital accumulation to overaccumulation to socially necessary labor to immiseration to speed-up to de-skilling to union-busting. But the lefties ignore the useful knowledge that is staring them in the face. People hate to face up to losses, and they blame everyone else instead. Then they start to get mad. Then they get desperate.

Let us remember, every moment, that these geniuses are telling us that the social and economic innovations that have taken humans from $3 per day to $100 per day in 200 years are a murrain and a nightmare, and ought to be replaced with the good old recipe of ruling-class power and expertise.

What, you wonder, will these trapped liberal rats do next? Abolish the First and Second Amendments? To stop the peasants from talking back and fighting back?

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