Every now and then one runs across a very good, thoughtful and even intellectually courageous Quora submission. This is one of them.
Two thoughts came to mind while reading this splendid piece. First, a few on the left are beginning to catch a glimpse behind the curtain. Recall that many Western communists in the 30’s and 40’s defected because they felt as if they simply were trapped on a treadmill of lies and self-contradiction.
We are beginning to see this now among at least a few on the left. A Few younger people are peering behind the curtain. What they discover are the same sorts of scabrous, self-aggrandising people associated with earlier iterations of the left who employed rhetoric purely with the intention of securing and remaining in power.
I also was reminded of something I read in Barbara Branden’s bio of Ayn Rand. Rand left the Soviet Union after it became apparent that she, as a bourgeois, college-educated Soviet citizen, would be enlisted throughout her life solely to work in an auxiliary role, consigned despite, her gifts, to menial tasks to serve the needs of the vanguard (working) class.
That is precisely what a few whites and principled people of color are realizing. A relative mentioned to me recently that this topic even comes up in the Showtime series White Lotus, which satirizes white privilege, guilt and all the other sundry pathologies allegedly bound up in Western culture.
Many affluent and middle-class whites are beginning to perceive that citizenship in the future will mean assuming middling jobs – support roles to serve what the elite class regards as vanguard groups, namely, people of color.
Indeed, I think that we will begin to see a growing number of middle-class whites foregoing college entirely in favor of trade-school, knowing full well that college, even elite colleges, no longer will afford aspiring whites upward mobility. This country will come more and more to resemble the post- Russian revolutionary world that faced Rand and other products of bourgeois backgrounds.
Two things are worth pointing out about the imminent passing of the Liz Cheney media phenomenon. First, she is the type of elite that our Founders, namely, Jefferson, warned us about: The sort of person who, once ensconced in the capital city court culture, acquires most or all of the affectations and vices of the very governing elites he or she previously had sworn to oppose.
This has always been a temptation for newcomers to Washington, even those who start out as brash conservative or populist firebrands. Indeed, two of the most reviled anti-Establishmebr figures in American nation politics, Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater, both yielded to these temptations. And why wouldn’t they?After years of assiduously seeking and holding onto power in the capital of the most powerful and influential nation on earth, men and women expect a return on such a long investment and, even more, r-e-s-p-e-c-t from their peers.
They have rubbed elbows with colleagues, mostly liberals, who are lionized after retirement or death, by the court (i.e., Mainstream) media. How can they help but envy that? They’re politicians, after all.
Many conservatives from former presidents to sitting Supreme Court justices have yearned for some measure of hagiographic treatment – an acknowledgement within elite quarters that they have “grown in office” and, in the course of which, acquired a measure of the intellectual depth and gravitas afforded their more (in the opinion of elite media) deserving liberal counterparts.
Recall that the late Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Nixon appointee and the graduate of night law school, embraced affirmation action dogma, apparently with the intention of brandishing his intellectual bona fide.
But again, they’re only human.
Yet, in many cases, this grudging respect or tempered adulation, however it is expressed, is invariably extracted at a price. And in Cheney’s case, she can virtually rest assured that the media will consume and digest her, disregarding every bit that can’t be extracted to their advantage.
She will be briefly hailed as a thoughtful and courageous GOP maverick, perhaps invited as a speaker at the 2024 Democratic Party Convention, and then tossed aside and forgotten until, some 30 years from now, when she’s afforded a limousine ride from her assisted living facility to the Kennedy Presidential Library to receive a “Profiles in Courage” Award presented by some distant Kennedy descendant.
Of course, that is what our elite class and their media enables do: They enlist and rehabilitate for temporary political expediency conservative political leaders whom they have previously reviled as reactionary, if not racist.
In the poem “Die Lösung,” written after the East German Communist state’s brutal suppression of the June 17, 1953 Workers Uprising, playwright Bertholdt Becht pointed out the remarkable fact that the regime actually distributed leaflets stating that “the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and [that they] could only win it back by increased work quotas.” Brecht then employed this brilliant rhetorical punch, phrased as a question, which struck at the very heart of this autocratic, self-serving regime: “Would it not in that case be simpler for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”
Reflect on this for moment: The U.S. Democratic Party is proceeding with a remarkably similar objective firmly in mind. It realizes that its path to permanent power – that is to say, vanguard party status not all that different from the East German Socialist Unity (i.e., Communist Party) – lies in demographic replacement of current voters with immigrants, overwhelmingly illegal immigrants. And here is the really frightening part: It very likely will achieve its goal.
Even so, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson has summoned the gargantuan fortitude to call out this strategy. And, predictably, all facets of left, particularly its agit/prop organs (i.e., Mainstream Media, Silicon Valley and unofficial censorship bureaus) are baying for cancelation of Carlson’s program.
Speaking as an avid Star Trek fan, I’m reminded of the Borg collective’s awakening and perfervid activity in response to anything it perceives as a threat to its vital functioning. And make no mistake: While at this point Carlson is little more than David battling Goliath, he has laid bare the Democrats’ paramount operating strategy: demographic replacement.
And let’s consider all of this alongside all the other advantages that the Democrats also have now secured. Not unlike the East German Communist Party in the decades following the suppression of its workers, the party has drawn close, horrifyingly close, to its ultimate goal of controlling the narrative through its command of all the major sources of cultural power: Mainstream Media, Silicon Valley, Big Entertainment, most of the federal bureaucracy and, even more alarming, the national security apparatus.
The Democratic Party is now even poised to squelch all forms of dissent, largely by applying the labels “Racist!” and “White Supremacist!” to them.
Underscoring the extent to which the party controls the narrative and displays many of the traits of a vanguard party, its leaders now openly extol a future in which this will be achieved – when states are transformed from red to purple and eventually to solidly and reliably blue states. Its objectives are hiding in plain sight and its operatives even feel confident enough to express this aspiration publicly, albeit in slightly veiled form.
As Carlson stresses, the party’s no longer interested in winning over voters through conventional rhetorical appeals, which have distinguished party politics in this country for more than two centuries, but rather, in unmistakable East German regime style, stacking the electoral deck unscrupulously and in ways that virtually guarantee their political hegemony for generations to come.
The Democratic Party now harbors such unbridled contempt for U.S. voters that it now has set about replacing them with an electorate of its own. And it is so caught up in it sense of entitlement and historical inevitability that it can’t even brook one lone political commentator who has summoned the temerity to call them out on it.
That is why Democratic Party should be regarded for what it is: a throughly corrupt, proto-totalitarian party, one that deserves nothing but our searing, undying contempt.
I’ve mentioned political columnist Andrew Sullivan a time or two before in this forum. He is no red-state sympathizer, and he undoubtedly would struggle with many of the hardened deplorable views I espouse frequently in this forum.
Even so, as a student and devotee of famed conservative philosopher Michael Oakshott, he frequently marshals – quite eloquently and brilliantly, in most cases – a stirring defense of those timeless things that have sustained our civilization for more than two millennia.
This most recent contribution, in which he discusses his ambivalence regarding the direction of his contemporary Catholic faith is especially appropriate for the Easter weekend – at least, I think so.
Reading this, for some reason, I couldn’t help but be reminded of philosopher Martin Heidegger’s characterization of human existence as a clearing of sorts. It relates somewhat closely to my own views about how we have used technology, language, writing and math to sculpt out across eons an understanding of our place within existence.
One integral expression of this, the Christian faith, notably in its Catholic form, has taken a rather severe thrashing in the last couple of decades. And, as Sullivan stresses, the pandemic has only exacerbated this challenge.
As he contends, we may come to regret the toll that these endless challenges have taken on the practice of the Christian faith within the last generation, especially in terms of what may have been irretrievably lost.
Anyway, I found this to be one of Sullivan’s more exceptional recent pieces.
The incomparable Victor Hanson Davis weighs in again on the deeply disturbing trend of rising intolerance of whites.
He raises a point, one that has always fascinated me, about how rhetoric, particularly political forms of it, are subject to endless mutation. And as he stresses, one of the most disturbing examples of this is reflected in the increasing use of the term “whiteness” among liberal and progressives to describe the underlying pathology with American society.
Until recently, the common term was white privilege, though it ultimately proved inadequate in the face of everyday reality. After all, as Hanson observes, it’s simply untenable to argue that “a white Dayton, Ohio tire-changer is innately blessed in a way an unfortunate Eric Holder or Jay-Z purportedly is not.” So, consequently, white privilege has given way simply to “whiteness,” which, needless to say, evokes disturbing parallels to “Jewishness,” of which the Nazis made such ready use in the years leading up to their seizure of power.
Plenty of ordinary people, certainly when engaged in private discourse with family and friends, readily discern the genocidal implications of this rhetoric.
Yet, there are legions of whites, even those from comparatively stereotypical “deplorable” socioeconomic backgrounds, who remain insouciant in the face of this of this rhetoric and the horrifying effects it likely will produce over the next few generations.
Indeed, reading Hanson’s account earlier this morning, I was invariably reminded of a family of especially rabid “yellow-dog Democrats” in my native Northwest Alabama hometown who incongruently remain committed evangelical Christians but who still eagerly regurgitate whatever tripe their ancestral party puts in front of them.
They still hold maniacally to this identity even today as their region’s economy, largely as a result of their party’s neoliberal policies, has undergone headlong decline.
Northwest Alabama, once one of the country’s most obstinate bastions of yellow-dog Democratic sentiment, now stands as one of the reddest of red GOP bastions in the country, even as this family still waves the blue flags of dissent on social media. One even embarked on a pathetically obscene Trump rant a few months ago, invoking the f-bomb multiple times.
They are proverbial Kool-Aid drinkers. Will they ever be awakened to what is unfolding.
When their grandchildren are singled out some day in public places and beaten senseless merely for bearing white skin, they likely will still be eagerly, even perfervidly, propagating ther party’s line.
But then, some people, irrespective of political conviction, will never yield to reality, especially when the truth proves too painful to accept.
I wrote a piece along very similar lines weeks ago, only this writer has said it much better.
In terms of the Supreme Court, we have witnessed a fascinating playing out over the past two centuries. In many respects the heightened prestige of the court and, even more significant and troubling, our increasing reliance on it, speaks volumes about the breakdown of American federalism. In many notable respects the court has come to redress the ineffiencies of the legislative branch, which the Founders envisioned as serving as the principal, if not sole, source of domestic policy making.
However, the legislature simply is ill-equipped to serve a federal system this vastly extended and, frankly, unwieldy and increasingly inefficient. Yet, as this columnist stresses, political and cultural divisions in this federal union are now so acute that the Supreme Court has to be extremely judicious about the issues it adjudicates, lest it destroys its remaining reservoirs of legitimacy.
The consequence has been increasing judicial branch impasse. And this raises the question: What element of federal power is capable of resolving what ultimately could prove to be an existential black swan crisis, one that even may involve the viability of the Federal Union?
This characteristically trenchant observation by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the late Lutheran theologian and martyr of Nazism, speaks to a egregious failing of of modern society, certainly the way it is expressed today in the digital age.
Simultaneously inspired and troubled by what I have witnessed over the past two generations, I have spent the last few years developing a concept I have come to call the “Networked Human Exoskeleton.”
I argue that not only human progress but also humanity itself sprang from a networking phenomenon that started with simple forms of technology (e.g., clubs and cutting tools) the effects of which over a long stretch of time were augmented by rudimentary language, followed much later by writing and mathematics.
Over many millennia the fusion of these four concepts not only shaped our hominin forebears into fully developed human beings but also enclosed our species into a kind of cocoon – an increasingly dense network that sustains and protects us but from which we are unable to escape. For several reasons, I settled on the term networked exoskeleton to convey the sense of ensconcement that characterizes our species. While some of it is quite tangible and reflected in the technology that we use, much of it is incorporeal in nature, though all of these elements are fused together to provide our species with the protection that corporeal exoskeletons provide crustaceans and insects.
Yet, by its very nature it is like no other exoskeleton on earth – a remarkable achievement that sets us apart from every other species on the planet. It’s growth within the past seven decades following the end of the Second World War has been nothing short of astonishing. We now inhabit an exoskeleton that extends it conceptual reach into the deepest reaches of our planet’s oceans and even beyond our solar system.
Yet, our exoskeleton, despite its age and enormous complexity, essentially is no different from the survival strategy of any other species in the sense that it represents only an improvisation across a very long stretch of time. Like every other evolutionary strategy on earth, our networked exoskeleton is only approximately rather than ideally suited to our species’ needs. Indeed there may come a day decades, centuries or millennia from now in which the evolutionary strategy embodied in our exoskeleton runs into an effective brick wall.
As I have expressed a few times in this forum, we very well may be fast approaching such as impasse. For many millennia, human beings were governed by overarching narratives supplied by myth and religion or a mixture of the two.
However, within the last few centuries, largely through rapid advances in scientific knowledge, these over-arching narratives have undergone steady erosion, perhaps most aptly embodied in Nietzsche’s observation about our having killed God. Consequently, society is now ignorant of a great many moral and ethical insights that were regarded as essential to the functioning of a healthy society only a few decades ago.
The Bonhoeffer quote above adequately expresses this unsavory fact of contemporary reality better than most others. All the more troubling to me and many others is the fact that so many moral and ethical appeals are now lost within a network that has now become so vastly extended and multifaceted. Indeed, it leads one to wonder if humanity will ever succeed in developing anything resembling a new over-arching narrative.
During the height of the Cold War, the expatriate Russian novelist and sage Alexander Solzhenitsyn observed that free speech, so widely affirmed as a sacred pillar of Western society, now essentially amounts to a dead letter because in a vastly extended and multifaceted consumer society such as ours, dissident speech has been rendered effectively meaningless.
So much has changed in the four-plus decades since Solzhenitzyn offered that observation. Indeed, due to advances in digital technology our network is now so vast and complex that all manner of philosophical and political appeals, even those issued with moral and ethical contexts, have been rendered effectively meaningless.
Consequently, Bonhoeffer’s warning about the propects of morality winning out in the face of rank stupidity seem more cogent and prophetic than ever before in history.
Why is it that so much of what is written today in the victimhood genre strikes me and many others as parody?
One of the most notable examples of late is a screed in The Nation written by a person of color who describes how he has ensconced himself within a dense web of material and technological comforts while anticipating the day, the dreaded day, when he reluctantly will have to emerge from this cocoon to confront once again all the indignities of white society.
Incidentally, he refers to this cocoon as his “whiteness-free castle.”
Hell, forget the parody and consider for a moment the irony bound up in all of this. But then, I doubt that he perceives any irony at at all – the fact that virtually all of the contemporary comforts in which he has enveloped himself all these months were achieved by the very civilization that he so obviously despises.
It’s also worth mentioning that this writer also possesses a singular educational pedigree, having graduated with a B.A. and J.D. from the educational institution that most embodies historic whiteness: Harvard.
Well, let’s just hope that the screen door, invented in 1887 by an Iowan named Elizabeth C Harger, presumably of European extraction, and, for that matter, refined over the past century and mass produced and marketed within a global economic system regarded as one of many crowning achievements of Western civilization doesn’t hit him in the ass on his to way to his first post-covid outing.
I’ve spent the last view decades engaged in a strange intellectual pursuit: studying the conditions that gave rise to the totalitarian dystopias of the 20th centuries.
As as the first discernible fissures set into the foundations of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 80’s, I undertook a rather assiduous study of the factors that ultimately contributed to the collapse of Soviet communism. I became an avid reader of the International Section of the New York Times, which provided superb coverage of all the subtle ways that rot was setting into this conquered domain, particularly within the Soviet Union’s imperial crown jewel, East Germany.
I complemented this with deep reading of a wide range of books dealing with how both forms of totalitarianism, Communism and Nazism, became rooted in Central and Eastern Europe in the first place.
I was also treated to a knock-on effect, because this reading yielded remarkable insight into how both of these systems invariably required bogeymen, essentially the manufacturing of existential threats, which supplied these regimes with the two essential and invaluable tools, which not only served to create a perpetual siege mentality among the masses but also provided the regimes with an effective strategy for diverting public scrutiny away from their manifold shortcomings and failures.
Indeed, this proved to be one of the major insights driven home to me via all this reading: that all ideologies require stategies that afford a means of both focus and deflection, and that is why bogeymen have proven such valuable tool.
Small wonder why I am simultaneously fascinated and repelled by the rhetoric of wokism, which evinces many, of not most, of the traits of incipient totalitarianism. But then, wokism, like all hard ideologies, is inherently weak, because it demands a radical departure from real-life realities.
Given this fact, it’s not surprising at all that one especially scabrous polemicist of wokism, Damon Young, seems to be employing language smacking of the same rhetoric that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Kulaks in the Soviet Union and millions of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
It’s horrifying, to say the least, and should be regarded as a wake-up call – a deeply troubling portent of the dystopia that awaits the Western world, at least, what remains of it. But I wonder: How many of us not only are willing to acknowledge this rhetoric for what it is – genocidal speech – but also to speak out against it?
That remains one of the most vital questions as we move into the second quarter of what is shaping up to be a very troubled century.
Mainstream media’s conspicuous silence in the aftermath of Biden’s very conspicuous fall on the steps leading to Air Force One is one of the many reasons reason why I will NEVER be lectured ever again by any liberal about anything.
If you’re old enough, you recall the unrelenting fun that SNL made of Republican President Gerald Ford’s repeated stumbles.
More recently, #AmericaPravda spared no effort to analyze anything and everything associated with Trump’s presumed physical and mental decline. But that is not surprising because Mainstream Media are Establishment media. They have been in service to a narrative since at least the FDR presidency and arguably earlier.
Whatever the case, American liberalism is nothing but a sick self-parody now days, evidence of this empire’s precipitous decline on all fronts, which is significantly of liberalism’s making. #LateAmerika #BrezhnevRedux