Why Do Intellectuals STILL Favor Marxism?
The idea that institutions can remedy the defects of societies, that national progress is the consequence of the improvement of institutions and governments, and that social changes can be effected by decrees—this idea, I say, is still generally accepted. It was the starting-point of the French Revolution, and the social theories of the present day are based upon it. The most continuous experience has been unsuccessful in shaking this grave delusion. —Gustave Le Bon
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. —Karl Marx (unwittingly describing the future of his own system)
Way, way back in ancient times, in the 1930s, many of the western cultural elite (who were mostly Democrats in the USA, which is usually the case with American cultural elites) were in love with Joseph Stalin. By some estimates he had killed some ten million Soviet citizens even before Adolf Hitler ever came to power, and some ten million more afterwards; but by many on the political left he was considered to be some kind of rock star who could do no wrong. The left-leaning media of course downplayed the genocidal atrocities of the Soviet Union, or just plain ignored them; and when Hitler came to power and began flexing his political muscles Stalin was hailed by the left as the only great leader of Europe who sincerely desired and worked for peace. Churchill, on the other hand, was reviled as a warmonger.
The communists, socialists, and fellow travelers were rather dumbfounded when Stalin suddenly signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler shortly before WW2 erupted (the pact with the secret deal for dividing up Poland between the two expansionist nations); this woke up some western Marxists, but not the majority of them. Most of them clung to the idea of Marxism and mandatory equality being the way of the future, and the only way to eliminate injustice and unnecessary misery from this world.
In fact leftists in the west continued drooling over Stalin until Mao came along—he was less obviously sociopathic, even though he wound up killing more people than Hitler and Stalin combined. After Stalin’s atrocities became too obviously egregious the leftists conveniently considered Mao to be the rock star and ignored and/or denied his atrocities. The case of Mao fanboys in the 1950s and 60s is similar to Noam Chomsky’s flat denial in the 70s of reports that the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia were torturing and killing people by the hundreds of thousands, and eventually by the millions. Chomsky insisted that the eye witnesses who managed to escape from Cambodia were greatly exaggerating. Of course good Marxists would never do such a thing. Only right-wingers could be that evil.
Then as now, the western leftist elite, including academics, care more for their romanticized ideals than for actual reality, and consider leftist political systems to be the only good political systems. School children in America hear plenty about how evil Adolf Hitler was, but many of them have no idea who Stalin was, or Mao either, not to mention Pol Pot. At least one poll has shown that many young people today who have heard of Stalin actually believe him to have been a hero. Communism allegedly killed a hundred million people in the 20th century, yet it is still considered by many to be better than free-market capitalism, let alone Fascism.
Despite a century of genocidal fiascos and failed economies, an infatuation for Marx’s bastard daughter, i.e. Frankfurt School brand neo-Marxism, better known as Progressivism or Social Justice, is very much in fashion, and now threatens to take over America’s so-called Democratic Party. This new mutation of Marxism, sometimes called cultural Marxism, puts little emphasis on class and the workers’ control of the means of production (in fact it’s pretty much turned against the working class), but puts great emphasis on emancipatory politics, identity politics, victim culture, brown loathing of whites, liberal white loathing of whites, disdain for Christianity, the traditional family, and traditional values in general, a mania for militant feminism and gay and transgender rights, and pervasive political correctness taboos trying to become the new universal moral code, enforced by public shaming, censorship, smear campaigns, repressive legislation, and economic persecution. Postmodernism and critical theory are employed as powerful tools for invalidating just about every aspect of western civilization. Have effete intellectuals learned nothing? How can they not see that socialism has always failed thus far, and just doesn’t work?
At least the “paleo” Marxists had the mitigating circumstance of not having a century of failure, totalitarian dictatorships, and genocide as evidence that their efforts would ultimately be in vain; but the new generation of Marxists seem to think, or rather feel, that softening and feminizing the whole mess, and denying the validity of objective rationality, is bound to be an improvement on the older version, and certainly on traditional western liberalism. Feminizing Marxism, castrating it, and removing 50% of its rationality will fix it somehow, supposedly—and to make sure, they add to the stew postmodern denials of the existence of empirical reality and also intersectional identity politics to keep everyone tribalistic and hostile to at least one outgroup living in the same society. That will straighten things out, right? What could possibly go wrong? Even many of the west’s presumed intelligentsia appear to believe Marxism 2.0 is a wonderful idea.
Let’s just set aside the professional entertainers’ and journalists’ (or rather propagandists’) insistence upon politically correct cultural Marxism, as too many of them are decadents with the moral integrity of alley cats (although they may be opposed to the killing of mice and birds), and quite a few of them are just plain dumb and irrational. Still, academia, including people with doctorates in legitimate fields of study—let alone Gender Studies, Queer Studies, Social Justice, etc.—take the new mutation of Marxism very seriously. In fact they may take it seriously enough to be hysterically fanatical about it.
There are certainly many reasons for this phenomenon, some of them unthinkably complicated and most of them bad. One reason for neo-Marxism’s popularity among “liberals” is that in its updated form Marxism is rather camouflaged—that is, probably most of the people now endorsing some form of crypto-Marxism are blissfully (or hysterically) unaware of the fact that they are indeed endorsing a form of Marxism. The formulators of the new version of the system, those who knew what they were doing anyhow, realized that old-school Marxism earned for itself a well-deserved horrible reputation in the west, and later in parts of the east also; and so they avoided the stigma by calling it something else—like Social Justice. This camouflage has been very effective, largely because although many of the underlying ideas and tactics remain the same, the new Marxism has a different set of enemies and has adapted to a whole new environment. Also much of the jargon has changed, to mutate the old dialectic beyond all recognition to the common Progressive. Pretty much only Antifa and some avowed socialists in the USA still openly endorse Marxism explicitly, plus a few academics who even by recent standards remain on the radical fringe. Hell, Antifa demonstrators go to the extent of brandishing flags of the failed Soviet Union while burning flags of the United States.
|(This is satire, I hope.)|
Another reason why so many of the new left are clueless with regard to the Marxist origins of their new belief system is that much of the leftist Weltanschauung was quietly inoculated into western culture by machinations of the late Soviet Union and those who saw eye to eye with it. (Anyone curious or skeptical of clandestine Marxist/Soviet attempts to soften up and destabilize western society would do well to look up “Yuri Bezmenov” on YouTube.) So it is ironic that the momentum of Soviet efforts made several decades ago are finally bearing bitter fruit after the Marxist USSR has ceased to exist. Soviet Russia collapsed as a result of the same ideology it was trying to promote everywhere else. The Frankfurt School also was making similar disguised efforts to create a fertile field for Communism in the west without the masses noticing what was happening.
But this still doesn’t explain the Progressive academics who presumably would know something of the origins of their own professed faith. After all, they are supposed to be scholars, and unusually intelligent. Many of them really are.
One grim theory which is taken as a given in some circles, and which is described in withering detail by Kevin MacDonald in his book The Culture of Critique, is that progressive Social Justice, political correctness, intersectional feminism, aggressive gay and trans activism, multiculturalism, etc., are the products of a conspiracy of wealthy influential Jews, for the purpose of weakening and destabilizing western society, ostensibly for the sake of minimizing the odds of future genocidal antisemitism. (Why these Jewish fellows don’t consider just stopping the behaviors that have caused the goyim to hate and massacre them almost everywhere they have lived for millennia is a rather obvious question, but one that I have no intention of investigating here.) A more extreme version of this theory is that “the Jews” are attempting to weaken western society to the point that a Jewish economic and political master race will rule over a demoralized mongrel race of light brown peasants—hence the Jews’ decades-long endorsement of non-European immigration into European cultures. They allegedly are pursuing these aims through control of the media, political and economic influence, and of course dominant positions in academia. But assuming that this theory is true, and Dr. MacDonald provides a veritable onslaught of evidence that it is, at least to some degree, then it would only explain why some of the Jews themselves favor cultural Marxism in the west. For the gentiles passionately endorsing political correctness and the rest, it would still seem to be a case of knowing not what they do. For the most part they would fit into the clueless oafs (Lenin’s “useful idiots”) category already mentioned.
One odd theory I have encountered is that academics endorse Marxism, crypto or otherwise, out of envy and spite. According to this theory they figure they are not highly paid enough, or not respected enough in society, and resent Philistine barbarian capitalist businessmen (and athletes and show business people) raking in many times as much wealth as them and becoming economic rock stars. Thus they demand redistribution of wealth and “equity” to punish the unworthy more than to uplift the downtrodden. Jordan Peterson seems to come close to this theory when he states that the hallmarks of the new left are resentment, deceit, and arrogance.
This idea is plausible, maybe…but my best guess as to why so many intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals cling to cultural Marxism, Social Justice, and political correctness hysteria is that the stark reality of the human predicament, including the limitations of our animal human nature, is too messy and lacking in idealism and theoretical elegance. The cold, hard truth is not particularly beautiful or esthetic. It’s not emotionally satisfying to a feelings-oriented ideologue, much less particularly uplifting. Academic scholars in the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences departments of ivory towers in particular don’t want to see their own species, and themselves, as mere hominid primates, essentially a species of upgraded ape, enslaved to animal limitations including not only sweating, belching, shitting, and inevitably dying but, yes, animal instincts as well. And for those of you who are unaware of the weighty burden of animal instincts under which we human beings labor, consider every emotion that people universally experience, just for starters. But cataloguing human instincts is a topic for some other time.
Intellectual theorists with soft hands, clean fingernails, and psychotherapists prefer something more ivory-tower-like; they want an elegant theory, preferably utopian, regardless of its realistic practical value, or rather its lack of it. Academic systematologists who look out and down upon the dirty masses cherish a fundamental idea of the perfectibility of the human race, if only by subjecting them to a perfected progressive social system with equality and social justice for all (whatever that’s supposed to mean). To accept the bleak, brutal fact that we are foolish animals who are doomed to living foolish, animalistic, often unhappy and unjust lives is just too much for idealists to bear. To accept things as they are is barbarously right-wing, perhaps even fascistic.
Hence the cultural Marxist postmodern rejection of inherent human nature and empirical truth in general. Progressives may dismiss, or even try to silence and ban, whatever seems unsavory or inimical to the idealized system, even if it is fairly obvious objective truth. Complicating matters is the new left’s adoption of a stereotypically feminine mentality, which considers subjective feelings to be more important than objective facts. (One of the most obvious examples of this is the Progressives’ insistence that the statement “Boys don’t have a pee-pee like girls do” is violent, offensive hate speech.) It seems to be taken for granted by many on the emotional, heart-oriented left that any unpleasant statement must be false; or if it is undeniably true, then it should be rejected anyhow. Is justice in an unrealistic theory better than semi-justice in reality? Are beautiful falsehoods better than ugly truths? Otherwise, it would seem that academics who whole-heartedly endorse neo-Marxism (or whatever they choose to call it) would be simply stupid or irrational—or, more precisely, lacking an ounce of common sense. But it may be that many of them consider common sense to be a tool of white patriarchal oppression.
What other possible reason could there be for well educated, presumably very intelligent people still favoring Marxism in the 21st century? It’s certainly not all of the radical left’s success stories! There’s not a single one that I can think of offhand. It’s just goddam strange, is what it is. Paradoxical, even.
|(I didn't make this myself. I just found it.)|