The Left Must Always Be Resisting

After the failures of the Paris Riots of '68, the collapse of the USSR's socialist economy, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the spectacle of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the reign of both Thatcher and Reagan, the left was at a loss, to say the least.  To quote Mao and Roger Kimball, the long march through the institutions had to begin.

Recognizing the judgment of these historical events, the Marxist left knew that it would have to change strategies.  Instead of attacking the republic's economic structure head on, leftists would flank it by obliterating any notion of truth, coherence, goodness, and other Western ideals, even beauty.  The left retreated deep inside academia and deep inside cultish, paralyzing theories of radical relativity: deconstruction and postmodernism.  It is a strategy of mutually assured destruction: if we can't have it our way, no one gets it his way, either.

It worked: cancel culture has hounded many into silence.  Gripped by the new relativity and the prohibitions against celebrating Western culture, a professor in Michigan recently confessed that she won't claim that any writing or photo is "beautiful" because such assertions are acts of Western violence.  In the arts, such cynical energy has been percolating in our culture for 100 years[1] but has recently emerged to spread everywhere.  Literary critic Myra Jehlen was taken aback in 1980s to find that her job was now reduced to the following: "strip away the lie and expose the liar" (Jehlen 1987, 5).  At that point, the grand masters, such as Hemingway, Emerson, Thoreau, and Shakespeare, were all being frog-walked off the dead-white-male plank.  The attack on Western culture generally, and men of European descent specifically, was underway.

Classic beauty has been under attack for over 100 years, since the early 20th century.  Photo of Giovanni Battista Lombardi (1823–1880)'s "Nymph."  Photo printed here with permission of Bruno Bordoni.  See also Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" (Marcel Duchamp, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).  The cynical attack on beauty and Western culture in the art world is now embraced by the left as it corrodes the dignity and importance of Western art, thought, and culture.

The left needs crimes, bad news, and demoralization, even when problems aren't there.  Jussie Smollett had to make it up!  The left needs to be the hero in an imagined, righteous narrative where leftists endlessly expose the crime and the criminal, with a raised fist in the air.  It's a dangerous and hollow psychology of denigration and mayhem.  As Marxist Terry Eagleton put it, "the true image of the future is the failure of the present" (Eagleton 2011, p. 79).

Via Stonetoss, reprinted with permission.

With the old economic attack failing, Marxism turned to a new approach.  The assumption is still that capitalism must be destroyed, but this time, the indictment is over cultural crimes against the environment, against people "of color," and against women (the list has gotten longer).  Old Marxism could attack all of Western culture on the "systemic" economic front.  This new approach was fragmented until it was yoked together with "intersectionality."  Translation: Everyone is equally oppressed by capitalism.  Like any revolution, they still needed a spark, and along came George Floyd. Then we had cities burning, statues torn down, the institutions of law and jurisprudence mocked, riots, looting, etc.  Much of this took place in the summer of love at the urging of Pelosi, Harris, and other female leaders such as the mayor of Baltimore, who provided rioters "space to destroy," and the A.G. of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, who noted, "Yes, America is burning, but that's how forests grow."

This is fuel for the left.  During the riots of May 2020, one recalls Don Lemon on CNN declaring that violence is patriotic:

Our country was started because, the Boston Tea Party. Rioting. So do not get it twisted and think this is something that has never happened before and this is so terrible and these savages and all of that. This is how this country was started.

Violence and rebellion have been "normalized" by the left.  The idea that the country's political and social DNA is oppositional at its core ignores the peace, stability, and individual responsibility at the heart of the Constitution.  With the Declaration, the country declared a principled opposition and rebellion.  The Constitution set the course for normalcy.

We are always being tested and retested to see if we accept every new progressive idea, every new variant of COVID, mask type, lockdown restriction, every baseless trial, raid, indictment or impeachment, every new gender definition, every new take on sexual deviance ("minor-attracted person" is now coming forward), speech and language mandates, drag queen reading hour, gun restrictions, gas stove restrictions, E.V. car mandates, every massive taxation and redistribution scheme, every new end-of-the-world theory on climate or race, etc.

Via Branco, reprinted with permission.

Since this initial phase has been primarily a war fought in the linguistic arena, there's always a new word du jour identifying an evil culprit to fight, to be outraged about: "privilege," "homophobia," "Islamophobia," "xenophobia," "transphobia," "TERF," "patriarchy," "imperialism," "colonialism," "the (white, straight) man," "phallocentric," "logocentric," "Anthropocene," "me too," "hierarchical," "whiteness," "ableism," "ageism," and many more.  It never stops for two reasons.  Firstly, they never know which one of the attacks will have traction.  Secondly, they believe that the sheer volume of accusations bolsters the credibility of their charges.

Previously, these antics were tolerated on the margin, and in the main, dismissed as grad school nonsense emanating from English departments.  However, the virus jumped the laboratory safeguards, and these energies have made deep inroads into all of culture.

One of the weird characteristics of those who declare themselves "in the resistance" is that they do so even when they control all branches of government, plus the press, academic institutions, intel agencies, corporations, and social media.  If you're in control, running the whole show, how does that make you feel you are in, or need to be in, the "resistance"?  Seems contradictory, odd, and Orwellian as hell.  It is easy to understand, however, when one understands "resistance psychology."  Since the fist in the air gesture is about bringing down The Man, you can never be The Man.  As Kimball put it in The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America, "[t]he behavior of the `revolutionaries' of the counterculture consistently exhibited that most common of bourgeois passions, anti-bourgeois animus ... expressed, as always, safely within the swaddling clothes of bourgeois security."  As Allan Bloom remarked in The Closing of the American Mind, "'the bourgeois' need to feel that he is not bourgeois" (9).  Even when you're in charge, even if you're The Man, the fist must remain thrust in the air.  Mao, Stain, Castro — all kept wearing revolutionary, military garb after they were in charge.

So why all this focus on tearing things down?  If people can be subdued and demoralized; if we can get them to stop believing and hoping, stop longing for beauty, then, to quote John Lennon, there will be nothing to kill or die for.  And further, to quote the WEF, you will own nothing and be happy.

We fall apart gradually, then suddenly.

[1] See Peter Quigley's The Forbidden Subject (2019, White Horse Press) for a full discussion of this incident, p. 185–87.

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