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The Left Cannot Be Trusted: Part 4,567 of a Continuing Series

Contemporary leftism is Gramscian in form, but Marcusean in substance. That is, it uses its advancing control over the traditional institutions of society to repress those people most loyal to traditional social institutions as such. Intentionally "moderate," anodyne language is employed by those in positions of power, but a progressive's moderation is always contingent upon bare political necessity, progressivism having no logical stopping point. As I have said before, one of the most vexing characteristics of a rank-and-file progressive is his willingness to accept and regurgitate these lies until such time as they are no longer politically necessary, and failing even to acknowledge that this has taken place.

To take a mundane recent example, he believes on Tuesday that Barack Obama is furious about what happened at the IRS, trusting in his sincerity when he says that all Americans should be outraged, but he believes on Wednesday that the agency was guilty of nothing more than "bad customer service" and that nothing of especial political importance happened. Because we all know how furious American Presidents tend to get about the bad service and "flawed processes" of federal bureaucracies. How many angry press conferences did Bill Clinton have on the terrible service rendered by the Department of Energy? I would estimate at least fifty, but I could be mistaken. Perhaps others could correct my recollection.

Perhaps in no area of American politics is the left's bad faith with respect to ultimate motives more obvious than in the debate over gun control (or, if you please, the debate over whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution contains any serious, enforceable content). The reasons not to trust the left on this issue are legion, beginning with the fact that they generally have no idea what they're talking about, and routinely make fools of themselves. For the purposes of a short blog post, though, it should suffice to say that when liberal elementary school administrators are engaging in a dress rehearsal for confiscation of firearms, complete with photographs and fingerprints--and doing so with the openly expressed purpose of indoctrinating children and acculturating them to the confiscation of guns as good and necessary--then their protestations of "reasonable" limited goals, which were already thin and implausible, become actually hilarious. (It is fitting that the lure on offer to the children at the school is a raffle ticket for Some Free Stuff.)

Now, this is only one administrator, but of course stories about anti-gun hysteria are in no short supply nowadays, nor are instances of leftist politicians broaching the possibility of gun confiscation. The basic point here comes with a hat tip to Randian blogger Billy Beck--that the fatal defect of the republican form of government is that it cannot stand the realization by evil men that democracy is a natural market for lies.

Comments (18)

Speaking of Gramsci and Marcuse, is there but little doubt that Cultural Marxism is the dominant ideology of our time?


Get rid of Cultural Marxism and at least a good amount of our problems would go away.

I have always thought the term "Cultural Marxism" is too ill-defined, but people constantly return to it to describe something like the dominant mode of thought in the humanities since the great unraveling took place in our halls of learning. Whenever I hear the term, it always reminds me of my days as a student in Indianapolis.

What struck me then is what irks me now, which is the dishonesty. My professors, not particularly low or bad people on the whole, lacked the necessary probity, or maybe just the courage, to say openly what everyone with eyes to see already knew, which is that they were Marxists. What is weirder is the umbrage they took at the suggestion. I used the phrase "Cultural Marxism" on a course evaluation for one of the professors of Religious Studies there--if there is such a thing as Cultural Marxism, surely contemporary department of Religious Studies exemplify it. Anyway, the professor resented me for it, and never took any pains to hide the fact, grumbling about my use of the "epithet" to another professor, who mentioned it to me merely because he thought the whole thing was funny. What was odd was that the bookshelf in this Religious Studies professor's office contained one text after the next with titles such as "The Marx Reader," etc. His materials, analytical methods, and everything else were obviously Marxist in form. But for whatever reason it was important to him that no one identify him as a Marxist. This is a diseased frame of mind.

One of his friends, incidentally the best instructor of history I ever had, once handed me a text on the French Revolution, in response to a request for a good primer (I had just purchased Schama's Citizens, but was looking for something drier). After wrinkling his nose at the mention of Schama's work, he handed me a somewhat smaller text and said, quote, "Well, here's the standard Marxist history." It was clear that as far as he was concerned the "standard" text was necessarily a "Marxist" one. But he also took exception to the suggestion that he was himself a Marxist of any kind, going somewhat out of his way to ridicule conservatives who saw Marxism "everywhere," apparently unaware that as a student I literally was seeing it everywhere.

The graduate students, of course, were much worse, because they knew exactly what they had to do, which was to outdo one another in their zeal. It cannot be credibly maintained that they were not powerfully influenced by this environment. I've seen it up close more times than I can count. Liberals can do all the tap-dancing they wish on the subject, but there is just no refuting what a man sees with his own two eyes every day for years on end. All the back-and-forth in the Chronicles of Higher Education between liberals and conservatives is so much hand-waving, and the liberals know it (even if the conservatives seem not to).

This lack of honesty--with oneself, one's students, with the world at large--is something one cannot but encounter in the humanities these days, and it infects everything it touches. Even STEM students encounter such heavy doses of it in their core humanities work that years later the impact on their minds is still in evidence.

What you say here Sage makes me think of several passages in Whittaker Chambers's Witness. For example, he talks about his time on the staff at Time and how he would attend the writers' union meetings. Given his background, he was immediately able to see that the Communists in the group were leading everyone else by the nose. All the liberals would vote just as the Communists wanted to. Finally in one meeting he stood up and said this outright and was basically laughed out of court. Moreover, he encountered huge resentment. One young woman at the meeting came up to him and indignantly said, "How dare you accuse us of being Communists?" He tried to explain that he was saying that they were being manipulated by the Communist members, not that they were per se Communists, but this of course didn't make her any happier.

He also says that he realized eventually that the Roosevelt and then the Truman administration did not act upon his revelations, which he made to a high government official as long ago as 1939, partly because they suddenly realized that there wasn't a huge amount of ideological distance between themselves as New Deal liberals and the Communist agents among them. Hence they felt uncomfortable uncovering and punishing those Communist agents.

On the other hand, I am a little surprised that the Marxist label was considered an insult by your professors. I know at Vanderbilt English dept. in the early 90's people would chatter openly about Marxist literary theory. It was just another brand. Someone might or might not split hairs about whether he subscribed to it, but it was considered entirely respectable. But I'm guessing what you encountered was another case of, "We can say it but you can't." _They_ can say that they want to overturn all this and that in society, _they_ can say they are "into Marxist theory" or what-not, but if we say it and mean it as a _criticism_, then we are insulting, straw-manning, fear-mongering etc.

If y'all will forgive the threadjack, I was recently convinced to get my hands on this book:


I've barely dipped into it. It's a tough slough so far. Do any of you academics have an opinion on it?

The bona fide far-left is actually a bugbear in the United States; its immense political and cultural influence is just a fantasy fabricated from right-wing demagogues, a vestige of the Cold War. The actual far-left is quite pathetic; they are just mostly teenagers and young adults who congregate in cyberspace dives such as RevLeft; Stormfront actually has more active members indicating the greater popularity of white nationalism. BTW, would the elites really subscribe to Marxism where their business interests and assets are subordinated to the state?

I haven't met anyone in real life nor have I heard anyone in the "liberal media" talk about the desirability of a vanguard party, revolution, or state-ownership of property, or discuss the injustices of American imperialism. Most leftist people are actually liberals who advocate tepid social or economic reforms such as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, a higher cap on the Social Security tax, and lower military spending.

I did not take any general classes with a Marxist bias (my professors who taught introductory US government and an upper division political science were neutral) although someone's office in the Psych building did have a flag of the Hammer and Sickle.

And once again I go back to my Civil War Professor who flat-out said that he's only in favor of voting as long as you don't vote Republican (I'm putting my conversation in a nutshell here, but trust me - there's no way for me to have misheard that).

Okay, TECHNICALLY not him - the student he was having a conversation with and agreeing with. He did, however, say that pro-life people who were single issue voters (me), people who only supported Romney to get Obama out of office (me), and people who supported the NRA (me) were idiots (I don't remember if he used that word, but the word he did use was equally unflattering).

He wasn't a bad teacher either, for whatever that's worth, extreme ant-Southern sentiment aside.

I could honestly and seriously say that the Pokémon episodes I downloaded on file sharing websites and watched during college were a more intensive form of socialist indoctrination and propaganda than my classes. The Pokémon Centers with the Nurse Joys and Pokémon gyms are free to use and presumably funded by the government and public property, although the gym leader has custodial responsibility for the gym, most likely on the behalf of the government.

I watched Pokémon and I could say socialism isn't bad. ;-)

BTW, would the elites really subscribe to Marxism where their business interests and assets are subordinated to the state?

I haven't met anyone in real life nor have I heard anyone in the "liberal media" talk about the desirability of a vanguard party, revolution, or state-ownership of property, or discuss the injustices of American imperialism.

That's probably because you are missing the point, a couple of different ways. First, college professors are, by and large, NOT the rich capitalists who will lose out in a revolution which allocated property to the state - they are ALREADY employed by the state at state institutions (private colleges mostly being partially or wholly subsidized by the state for these purposes). Secondly, Sage's point - which really comes out in Lydia's comment about English criticism, is process Marxism, not economic Marxism: The philosophic and epistemic underpinnings for what constitutes a valid critique, based on a Marxist understanding of man and history, not (usually) based on a Marxist understanding of economics, though that often lurks in the background invisible but affecting things, like a black hole.

Paul, I did some coursework in modern philosophy with one of Kolakowski's proteges, and attempted to slog through Currents myself, out of a misplaced sense of obligation. I never did finish it, though, and haven't returned to it since.

I went to a NAM-dominant university, and ethnic activists who are allied with the political left often grousing about some ethnic-specific agitprop are ubiquitous. I do not consider these people to be "Marxists", though, as I believe that genuine Marxist thought, especially when the current cultural environment is so hostile or indifferent towards it, requires the capacity for independent synthesis and analysis (that is not significantly influenced by the "liberal media" or conservative culture) to arrive at contrary conclusions about how political institutions operate. A basic knowledge of psychometrics and HBD would lead one to deduce that NAMs at my university do not possess the cognitive power to be an actual Marxist; the average SAT score is around 1000, and among the NAMs it is lower. I discovered some literature by people who professed to be Marxists, and I was quite impressed with their knowledge of economics, political philosophy, and history and how they applied their erudition in their analysis to historical and contemporary events. It was a different flavor of the socially permissive leftist that permeated the environment of my university, but I could only encounter such intellectual stimulation in solitary lucubration, not among my peers who are not interest in politics.

As incredulous as it may sound, to reiterate, I have not encountered a Marxist agenda in the curriculum in college. Perhaps that is because I was a STEM major who through chance manage to avoid the courses taught by vocal Marxists (and my STEM professors who lean-left are not Marxists). Maybe I might have had "Marxist" instruction, but to argue that case, one must equivocate the term "Marxist".

Yes, there is a nuance between "process Marxism" and "economic Marxism", but one cannot seriously regard "process Marxism" to be a burgeoning force but a paper tiger. Practicing, academic "process Marxists" are part of the intellectual "bourgeoisie" (to use Marxist lexicon) who have leftist sympathies and perhaps revolutionary fantasies but resign themselves to academic pontification since they realize, either subconsciously or consciously, that a real revolution would never come to fruition in the United States. They know that the founding fathers domestically defeated them two centuries ago (but constructing the political institutions of the US to subvert democratic impulses of the masses), and two decades ago internationally as the Soviet Union fell under the pressure of an encumbering arms race against the US. Process Marxists are just an insular clique, with no more political power than the assembly of students who gathered to play Magic: the Gathering at the student union of my university.

I recall P.J. O'Rourke encountering the liberal protective stupidity you describe in his story on his trip to Russia:

"'What Leftists?' said the Leftists."

Paul Gottfried calls the multi-culti, pomo left not cultural Marxists but "post-Marxists." They retain certain elements of Marxism, having been steeped in it, but are not true Marxists. His "Liberalism" trilogy is well worth reading on this subject.

would the elites really subscribe to Marxism where their business interests and assets are subordinated to the state?

If the elite could say in practical terms l'etat c'est moi, it would not concern them much.

You can't trust the left. But you can't trust the right either.

Surely we're well past 4,567 by now.


You can't trust the left. But you can't trust the right either.

I beg to differ. It's true that you can never trust the right. However, you can trust the left to enthusiastically do the most wicked, perverse, and opposed-to-reality-and-common-sense thing possible in any given situation.


I beg to differ. It's true that you can never trust the right. However, you can trust the left to enthusiastically do the most wicked, perverse, and opposed-to-reality-and-common-sense thing possible in any given situation.

No doubt. The problem I have is you can also trust the right to shrug their shoulders and accommodate this far too often.

Maybe I should say the formal leadership of the right. How many times have we seen 'the right' sell out to the left? Or turn out to have been part of the left all along?

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