August 13, 2007
The Left's Lust for Revolutionary TransformationBy James Lewis
"Everything must be different!" or "Alles muss anders sein!" was a slogan of the Nazi Party. It is also the heart's desire of every Leftist since Karl Marx. Nazism was a deeply revolutionary creed, a fact that is always denied by the Left; but it's true. Hitler and his criminal gang hated the rich, the capitalists, the Jews, the Christian Churches, and "the System". They went through their Leftist phase early in life, and then went on to discover Aryan racial purity as their beau ideal. (As a swarthy Italian, Mussolini preferred to appeal to ancient Roman imperial glory).
Nazism was hatched in the same little intellectual cafes as a myriad of Leftwing ideologies, like social-democracy, anarchism, the Socialist Workers' Party, Trotskyism, Proudhonism, the lot. Peter Viereck writing in 1941 saw fascism's origins clearly. In the back streets of European cities you can still find the local anarchist or Leninist storefront, with old guys wearing 1900 laborer's caps and big mustaches, and fierce revolutionary posters of Lenin tacked on the walls. You can also find them in Berkeley, California.
"Everything must be different!" is the core psychology of Leftism, and has little to do with reasoned political beliefs. Most Marxists in the English Departments of America have never read Karl Marx's giant tome, Das Kapital, which parades as a work of economics and history, but is in fact a ponderous update of the Prussian philosopher Friedrich Hegel, who is even more unreadable than Marx. Instead of going to the fount of all Marxist wisdom, our academic "Marxists" have read the 1848 Communist Manisfesto and some hero-worshipping Leftist magazines. They are what Lenin, with magnificent disdain, called "vulgar Marxists" -- that is, proletarian dupes who just don't understand the deep philosophical roots of the real thing.
There are only a few ideas in Das Kapital. One is that human history is driven by class struggle between the rich and the poor, a wild oversimplification of history's rich and colorful tapestry. The other idea, borrowed from Hegel and flipped upside-down, is that the inevitable culmination of History in a state of Paradise is a material and this-worldly society, the condition of universal Communism, instead of an other-worldly condition, as Hegel predicted. Hegel believed that the Prussian State was a model of Paradise to Come. But since Marx was a "scientific" materialist, his version of history was called "dialectical materialism."
The final idea in Das Kapital is that economic profit (called "surplus value") belongs only to the workers, and not to the providers of entrepreneurial capital, nor to entrepreneurs who start and run businesses, nor to the inventors and developers who build intellectual capital all the way from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. Naturally, the radical Left gets to control what the workers produce. That's it. There's nothing else; it's a huge and ponderous rationalization of the impulse to overthrow whatever exists.
At bottom, the key political idea of Marxism is "Alles muss anders sein!" --- Everything must be different. The workers are supposed to be the revolutionary engine of Marxism, but of course they must follow the "guidance" of the Party, which is the intellectual vanguard of the proletariat --- the Party ruling elite, who are inevitably the same gang of parasites who were hatched in the same backstreet cafes in which Lenin and Hitler learned their craft. If the workers and peasants don't follow orders they must die or be sent to Siberia, as a logical matter of policy. It's all for the good of mankind. Naturally the real beneficiaries are the Leftist apparatchiks, who happily end up stealing anything the workers produce.
The craving that "Everyhing must be different!" begins in personal psychology, and then becomes articulated in political beliefs. That's why the same people can turn into anarchists or Nazis, Communists, or today, Post-Modernists, Deconstructionists, Radical Feminists, Socialists, Hillary followers, Islamo-fascists, you name it. It is why the ACLU chooses the worst criminals to defend; they secretly adore criminals, who are the ultimate rebels against society.
In teenagers the spirit of rebellion is perfectly normal, but it has its pathological extreme in what the psychiatric manual calls "oppositional personality disorder." The most psychologically acute philosopher in Western history, Friedrich Nietzche, called this oppositional personality syndrome the "reveral of values," and attributed it to Christianity (and its roots in Judaism two millenia ago). Christianity does tell us that "the poor shall inherit the earth," but like any other two-millenium religious phenomenon, it also includes far, far more than that. The wish that Everything must be different! is not limited to any faith or race, but is part of the human condition, to one degree or another. It's a normal part of growing up for most people.
But in some people it goes to murderous extremes -- such as the young Adolf Schickelgruber in Vienna, or the exiled Vladimir Ilyich Lenin not far away in Zurich. A young Cambodian named Pol Pot learned his version of Everything must be different! in Jean-Paul Sartre's Paris, was recruited as a promising candidate by the Soviet KGB, and then went back to Cambodia to kill three million people -- to create Paradise on Earth back home. Again. It's a predictable career path on the Left. Hugo Chavez today may follow the same logic as his model Fidel Castro.
What most conservatives don't understand is that the Left has reincarnated itself since the Soviet Union died. Conservatives think that obviously false beliefs should change; but that's not the way it works. Oppositional psychology is still at the core of the Left, and the mere crashing of the Soviet Empire and Maoist China hasn't changed a thing. The human condition is not that susceptible to reason or evidence. Oppositional personality just mutates and breaks out in other ways, like some insidious virus.
Marx thought that class struggle was the engine of history, but "deconstructionism," postmodernism, and the like have now generalized the class struggle to include race, class and gender, plus post-colonial revenge against the West, anti-rationalism, anti-scientific and anti-technology hatred, multiculturalism, militant Gays, transsexual gender benders, radical feminism, Afrocentrism, anti-Americanism, "man-boy lovers," the cultural assault against the traditional family, anti-Zionism, militant atheism, and all the other rabble-rousing "isms" of the Left. The key to all these movements is just one basic craving, that Everything must be different!
Inside the Left there is always a huge civil war, because Leftists fiercely compete with each other to be "more radical than thou." It's a big ego game. The wildest radical argument tends to get the biggest applause, so that the Left as a whole always edges closer and closer to the totalitarian extreme. At the heart of every fervent liberal is Uncle Joe Stalin, because "ordinary people" will never do what they are supposed to do. They don't follow orders from the Enlightened.
As a result of the competition to be more and more radical, things get so weird that the Left must always exercise censorship to shut out critical voices. Stalin decided what the science of genetics would be in the Soviet Union, leading to yet more disastrous harvest seasons in the midst of general famine. He just knew in his Great Man's mind that new varieties of potatoes, and new human beings, could be created by environmental manipulation. Unfortunately that's not true. But during Stalin's time, that idea drove both "science" and agricultural practice in the USSR. Those ideas are so weird that they can only thrive in an environment of intimidation and censorship.
That is why we have Politically Correct censorship on America's university campuses. Too many people know they just can't submit their weird beliefs to skeptical analysis. PC censorship is the logical outcome of all those people telling skeptics and unbelievers to just shut up!
So the Marxist-Leninists hated the Anarchists, who hated the Trotskyites, who hated the Socialist Workers. In those little backstreet cafes in European cities the fights were mostly verbal, but whenever the Left took real power, the first order of business was always to kill, imprison, or forcibly convert one's enemies on the Left. This was not revolutionary madness; it was a matter of deliberate policy. Lenin's Bolsheviks killed the Russian Social Democrats, just as Hitler's SS purged the SA (which included many homosexuals), in order to purify the one true faith and centralize control.
When Hillary Clinton presented her case to the Kos Kids last week, she trotted out an argument familiar to the Left: How pragmatic do you have to be to take power? The Kossicles are purists; they want to impeach Bush and some may fantasize about putting Dick Cheney up against a brick wall with a firing squad. But after a lifetime in politics, Hillary has drifted from being a young "idealistic" radical to a more pragmatic stance. Today she is happy to take money from corporate lobbyists, as long as she decides how to spend it.
As a Wellesley student Hillary Rodham was a fervent admirer of Saul Alinsky, who taught her his Rules for Radicals. The constant agitprop of today's establishment media goes back to Saul Alinsky's little book, the little Bible of the Boomer Left.
Alinsky basically taught the modern Left how to change the whole culture. That is why the New Conservative Media are such a threat to the Boomer Left: Conservatives are people who never fell for the liberal media narrative, and who were therefore shut out of the mainstream media. The New Left of the Sixties lived with the pleasant illusion of having won the culture war, before it found out that most Americans just never went along in their own minds. Now normal folks are speaking out in their own media, and it just freaks out our socialist Ruling Class.
Oppositional personality syndrome explains a lot. When Yasser Arafat was asked who his personal hero was, he answered with a broad smile, "Mao Zedong!" That should have told us everything we needed to know. The Palestinian movement never builds anything, because its overriding impulse is to destroy, not to build. That famous Hamas-TV Mickey Mouse character didn't teach little kids to build a wonderful new Palestine, but only to kill Jews. Islamic Fascism is therefore just another revolutionary creed, with radically different beliefs from atheistic Marxism, but driven by exactly the same craving that Everything must be different!
That is why the Soviet-Nazi pact of 1939 was a natural alliance. It is why Islamic Fascists in London get along so well with the Socialist Worker's Party in the Respect coalition, fronted by "Gorgeous George" Galloway in the British Parliament.
A radical's beliefs are only on the surface. It is the personal psychology that is always the same, and it always hankers to break down whatever humanity has built to date.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/