Friday, April 13, 2018

When a Lefty Comes to Visit

We have a friend of Lady Marjorie visiting next week: a really nice guy, but a lefty from way back.

The question is: what is the one thing I should communicate to this guy?

I think that the one thing would be my brilliant notion that the whole of left's world view is found in the justification of the left's revolutionary praxis.

My idea is that every new generation of well-born lefties, starting not later than son-of-a-lawyer Marx and son-of-a-businessman Engels, is looking for a reason, a justification, for revolution.

But how? What can justify bloody revolution, or at least "peaceful protest," accusing visiting conservatives of "hate speech" and condemning them to the seventh hell of racism, sexism, and homophobia?

The answer came to me while reading a center-left history of the 19th century, The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi. Polanyi wrote that, once the working class in England had got the vote in the latter decades of the 19th century, they stopped rioting and demonstrating. Now, they understood, with the vote, they were inside the system, and the political system was paying attention to their political agenda. No need to take to the streets.

Do you see the point here? If you are a traditionally marginalized group, but you have the vote, then you don't need to riot in the streets, because politicians are interested in serving your interests to get your vote. In that case, there is no need  for "activism" and "peaceful protest," enacting a proposed revolution. The politicians will take care of everything.

Oh no! What will the activists do then, poor things? The answer is simple. They will find a group that is still outside the system, and do activism and peaceful protest on its behalf. That is what the Frankfurt School realized back in the 1920s, when they recast Marxism as a movement not just to bring about a perfect world for workers, but for women and minorities. Thank goodness! The millennarian movement of the left could continue!

And so it goes. After blacks and women, Latinos. And gays, and transgender, and any gender non-binary. But the problem is that, even with transgenders, the left is getting its agenda through; that's because the average western citizen  is really not  that interested in politics. If someone feels aggrieved, maybe they have a point.

So who  is left, outside the system? The answer is right before our eyes. Illegal immigrants and Muslims! Brilliant!

So that is what all the peaceful protesting and activism is about today.

But you can see that there is a bit of a problem where illegal immigrants are concerned. They take jobs away from the white working class, and lower the wages of everyone. Oh yeah! The working class! Whatever happened to those guys?

Well we know. Liberals did a number on the white working class back in the 1970s by showing, in Archie Bunker, that they were all racist, sexist bigots. Thanks Norman Lear!

The question for us normals and deplorables is: do we just fold like we did for workers, for women, for minorities, for gays, for transgenders. Or do we cry Enough?

That is the great question of our time, and that is what I will try to explore with my lefty visitor.

And the bigger question, after 200 years of attending to the grievances of just about everyone -- except fundamentalist Christians -- is it not time to say that the western world has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it listens, through normal political channels, to the grievances of the people. And the problem is really the activists that think that anything in this world can by solved by political power.

Is it not time to admit that the whole question of "activism" is more about the need for well-born lefties to explore the meaning of life, the universe, and everything -- for themselves -- and that the "little darlings" they constantly throw in our faces are doing just fine.

Except that the "little darlings" are not in such great shape these days: white working class dying of despair, women reporting less happiness than back in the 1950s.

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