Kindergarten Marxists

One question that has repeatedly been asked vis-à-vis the Honduran situation (it doesn't seem quite fraught enough to be termed a "crisis") is why so many members of the Western elite, governmental and otherwise, insist on backing Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, despite any number of reasons not to.

A quick recap: Mel Zelaya, evidently acting out of a form of Chavez-worship, attempted to carry out a referendum that would allow him to run for another term as president. Honduras, like many other Latin countries, has endured the malignant phenomenon of the "president-for-life", which the U.S., partially excepting FDR, has been spared, and has taken legal steps to prevent any repetition. In the case of Honduras, this amounts to a ban on second presidential terms. It's one term and out (Mexico has a similar law).

It was this constitutional provision that Zelaya was attempting to sidestep through his referendum, which he insisted on carrying out despite his being forbidden to do so by both the Supreme Court and the Congress. Having had enough, the court and legislature, both dominated by Zelaya's own Liberal party, ousted him (legally) and had him arrested and deported (not so legally).

Zelaya has spent the time since trying to sneak back, attempting to land at the country's major airport, a stunt curtailed by an alert armed forces, then by gathering a mob at the Nicaragua-Honduras border, presumably with the intention of marching on Tegucigalpa. But no provision had been made for either food or water, and the crowd at last dispersed.

Finally Zelaya succeeded in slipping into the country to hole up in the Brazilian embassy, where he has passed the last few weeks sending out dispatches condemning attempts by imaginary Israeli commandos to zap him with some sort of mind-ray.

Zelaya has obtained seemingly endless support through all this. Favorable responses from trash like Chavez, Raul Castro, and Danny Ortega come as no surprise. But it doesn't end there. Despite the legality of his overthrow, sustained support has appeared from the EU, United Nations, and surprisingly, the U.S. The administration has called for his reinstatement, and Hillary Clinton's State Department has gone so far as to declare that it will not recognize the perfectly legitimate upcoming presidential election, which Zelaya legally could not have taken part in anyway. Zelaya is a would-be tyrant, a thief (a current investigation has discovered millions in government funds missing), and, if the mind-ray story is any indication, probably unbalanced as well. All the same, the support pours in. In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that it's outside backing alone that has kept the entire imbroglio alive.

The behavior of outside elites may be obnoxious, and may be infuriating, what it is not, is mysterious. No other response should have been expected. It all goes back to the type of compulsive leftists that populate Western elites in this fallen epoch. As a corollary to O‘Sullivan's First Law, it could be stated as, "Anyone who is not a convinced conservative will gravitate toward some form of kindergarten Marxism." That's the case with much of the current leadership in the U.S. and Europe today. They are not communists per se, they are not serious revolutionaries either. They are people with a kind of Classics Illustrated notion of Marxism who believe that the shallow, limited exposure to Leftist thinking they received in college provides them with an identity, a mission, and an entrée into a kind of secret Masonry of world-changers and rebels. This is reality as both the Dear Leader and Hillary! live it, along with most of their aides, czars, and disciples.

This last notion, of a secret, closed cabal of great minds working together behind the scenes, emerges directly from a concept derived from Leninism -- the revolutionary vanguard. Lenin realized early that nothing in classic Marxist fashion could be made of the proletariat, most of whom were even more conservative than the aristos and capitalists. So he conjured up a new oppressed class out of the intelligentsia, a synthetic Russian "class" consisting of educated middle and upper-class youths with no gainful employment and lots of time on their hands. This "class" would act as the "vanguard", the advance force that would drag the proletariat into a revolutionary paradise whether they wanted it or not. Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, and Zinoviev typified the Russian vanguard. They disappeared during the purges of the 30s.

The myth of the vanguard retains potency in the 21st century due to the fact that, like the Russian proletariat, no sane working person in the Western world wishes to accept a Marxist state, leaving the task to an elite consisting of "liberal" politicians, advanced-degree academics, and media hustlers. What we have today among left-of-center leaders is a kind of watered-down, 3.2 beer version of the impulse that drove the Russian revos. It's expressed not in midnight meetings, assassinations of various dukes, and gratuitous acts of violence but in open adoration for Fidel Castro, a love affair that has continued for half a century (this fixation has not yet been transferred to Raul, but that will come). A somewhat lower level of admiration was expressed for the Sandinistas, in particular Danny Ortega, at one time during the mid-80s quite the rock star. One story that stuck in my mind from that era concerns a Washington Post reporter who acted as a cheerleader for the Sandinista regime for almost its entire duration. "For the first time," she was once quoted as saying, "people our age are running a country." It was later revealed that she was at the time sleeping with a leading Sandinista functionary. (I'm not absolutely certain of this reporter's name, but if it's the person I'm thinking of, she's still working for the paper.)

We've seen it most recently in Chavezism, with such figures as Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, and Patrick Kennedy genuflecting before His Thugitude with no visible sense of irony. Without the Marxist trappings, Chavez, of course, would be simply another caudillo, brutalizing the opposition, fomenting wars, and driving Venezuela into the poorhouse.

Some of this feeling slops over, almost despite himself, onto Mel Zelaya. Incompetent, loutish, and half-crazy though he may be, he remains one of the lefty elite, fully deserving the same admiration and support given to Fidel, and Danny, and Hugo. (And before them, to Mao, Ho, and Uncle Joe.) He's part of the vanguard. A member of the revolutionary fraternity set to drag an unbelieving and stubborn world into the Marxist desert whether they like it or not. So Mel Zelaya is protected, encouraged, and favored, despite all evidence that his own party won't have him, that the Honduran people loathe him, and that his followers are little more than bandits.

On the other hand, we have Columbia's Alvaro Uribe, a truly heroic figure who not only rocked both the cocaine lords and the FARC back on their heels, but at the same time succeeded in reforming one of Latin America's most notoriously corrupt states. Yet Uribe cannot even get a pro-forma trade treaty through the U.S. Congress. Because he is not on the team. Not an undergrad crypto-Red like so many others. Uribe wants a stable republic in the conventional sense. Which makes him, in the elite's eyes, the Latin George W. Bush, and that's the end of it.

Mel Zelaya will be allowed to slink back to his ranch after the upcoming elections. Little will be heard from him after that. (After all, who needs a revolutionary named "Mel"?) He is neither charismatic enough, popular enough, nor important enough for any of his First-World sponsors to go to the wall for him, any more than they went to the wall for Van Jones or Yosi Sergant (now busted to private). But the whole affair underlines an undeniable, if less than enthralling truth. Much of the West today is being governed by what amounts to cultists. People who believe in a hermetic form of politics, who think they have secret knowledge, who comprise a closed elite with an agenda at odds with much of the people they pretend to serve. They are truly unlike the rest of us, and need to be watched every second.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.