For modern conservatives, a question looms large: Has cultural Marxism or post-modernism done more damage to society? Canada’s Jordan Peterson claims the latter, while Paul Gottfried — one of America’s most most serious paleo-conservative intellectuals, says the opposite. On this week’s episode of ‘The San Francisco Review of Books on Sunday,’ Gottfried explains why he thinks that cultural Marxism is far more serious than post-modernism and what this means not only for America, but Western Civilization.
The ‘day for freedom’ saw thousands demonstrate on Whitehall in London in favour of freedom of speech. Led by Tommy Robinson, it was supported by UKIP, For Britian, Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad.
Some interesting observations from Troy Southgate on why the Left fails through co-optation, and why the Western world is drifting leftward culturally even as state-capitalism is tightening its grip.
“The concluding paragraph in ‘Cultures of Post-War British Fascism’ (Routledge, 2015), by John E. Richardson of Loughborough University, in a piece titled ´Cultural Marxism and the British National Party: Towards a Transnational Discourse´, is a sinister reminder of the crass naivety and inverted fascism of those who control political and historical discourse within modern academia. Personally, I do not even accept that ´Cultural Marxism´ exists, because whilst the Frankfurt School has clearly played a major role in the perceived subversion of traditional values and institutions, it has actively de-railed and co-opted Marxism to the extent that such concepts have been totally nullified and, thus, enabled the globalist establishment to facilitate its on-going policy of political, social and financial control.
Kudos to Chris Hedges. This is as good an analysis as I would ever expect from someone on the Left. This is a fairly straightforward Marxist analysis within a social democratic ideological framework. But he knows who the real enemy is.
By Chris Hedges
We are, I believe, at a turning point in history. I see a glimmer, the tiniest wee glimmer, of the ‘End of Socialism’. So what is socialism? At its core, it’s a religion of theft. And its God is ‘The State’. So what’s ‘The State’? Well, the state is a murderous organised criminal gang, aided and abetted by its intellectual bodyguards who get their cut by masking this criminality
Like Sean, I have some level of respect for Peter Tatchell. However, these troubling statements of his indicate what I have always said, i.e. that any ideological system, no matter how much it may seem to represent “good causes,” can be twisted towards state-centric and authoritarian ends. Additionally, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that when former outgroups become powerful they tend to replicate many of the same authoritarian power systems that they previously opposed. Instead of having school kids salute the flag and read the Bible every morning, Peter Tatchell instead wants kids to pledge allegiance to the new state legitimating ideology of democratic, egalitarian, multicultural diversity.
What is most regrettable is that so many anarchists and libertarians (the majority of whom are cultural leftists) cannot see this for what it is. This is the same problem that early anarchists warned about with regard to Marxism and state-socialism, and the same problem that has generally plagued modern revolutionary movements since at least the time of Jacobin France, i.e. “Meet the new boss. He’s the same as the old boss.” Plenty of people who really ought to know better simply regard anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, anti-xenophobia, etc. as such good causes that they cannot see this rising new form of authoritarianism for what it is.
What kind of opposition do anarchists and libertarians think they will be able to offer against the system in a few decades, perhaps sooner, when the old, rural, white people who comprise the Republicans’ constituency die off, and “conservatism” begins to look a lot like today’s Clinton Democrats and “liberalism” begins to look like today’s university administrations? Regrettably, the Left seems to be in a permanent war with the Western culture of the 1950s, a culture that is long since dead. Any serious critique of statism, capitalism, or imperialism in 21st century Western societies must necessarily include a critique of the emerging ideological paradigm of the ruling class, i.e. what I call totalitarian humanism as espoused by what Joel Kotkin calls the New Clerisy.
By Sean Gabb
Ludwig von Mises Centre
I have some respect for Peter Tatchell. He campaigned against the anti-homosexual laws before this was a safe thing to do. He has shown courage on other issues. This being said, I am troubled by his latest set of recommendations. Writing on the 8th January 2018 for The Friends of Europe blog, he declares that “equal rights are not enough.” It is not enough for people to be treated equally before the law. It is also necessary for children to be brainwashed into agreeing with him. He says:
To combat intolerance and bullying, education against all prejudice – including racism, misogyny, disablism, xenophobia, ageism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – should be a stand-alone compulsory subject in every school. Equality and diversity lessons should start from the first year of primary level onwards, with no opt-outs for private or faith schools and no right for parents to withdraw their children.
…. These lessons should be subject to annual examination, ensuring that both pupils and teachers take these lessons seriously; otherwise they won’t. A pupil’s equality grades should be recorded and declared when applying for higher education and jobs, as it is in the interests of everyone to have universities and workplaces without prejudice.
To see what Peter means, let us take a number of issues:
- Whether the various races are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;
- Whether the sexes are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;
- Whether sex outside an exclusive relationship with a person of the opposite sex is right or advisable;
- Whether changing sex, with present levels of technology, is advisable;
- Whether mass-immigration is good for a host community.
I could mention other issues, but these will do. No side in any of them is self-evidently true. The truth of each side must therefore be a matter of argument. In all cases, argument either way rests on assumptions that are themselves matters of argument. For the authorities to classify one side in any of these issues as “hate” is as much an abuse of power as criminalising particular views about the Nature of Christ or the sources of religious knowledge. Let attacks on life and property be punished according to law. But let any opinion stand or fall by the appropriate evidence.
Soon there will be articles in the press discussing the serious and imminent dangers posed by African-American white supremacists. “Clayton Bigsby is not just a fictional character!”
By Gabriela Resto-Montero
The footage from Aug. 12 is shocking.
Five white men surround a young black man curled in the fetal position and beat him with sticks. Some of them back off when another unidentified man in a white tank top and red hat jumps in to continue attacking 20-year-old DeAndre Harris, who is writhing on the ground in the entrance to a Charlottesville, Virginia, parking lot.
Along with footage and images of a car plowing into a crowd of demonstrators and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, the video of Harris’ beating defined the violence that gripped the nation that day when white nationalists descended on the college town. Harris, who had been counterprotesting the “Unite the Right” rally, was left with a broken wrist and eight stitches in his head.
The clashes in Charlottesville catalyzed the American public’s reckoning with the budding white nationalist movement, which had accelerated after Donald Trump’s election. Afterward, the wave of public shaming of the violence in Charlottesville led at least one “Unite the Right” marcher to insist his participation in the rally was misinterpreted as racist. Others who attended quickly lost their jobs after online campaigns exposed them.
But the eventual identification of the man in the white tank top and red hat shook many: He was revealed to be a 33-year-old Puerto Rican resident of Georgia, originally from the Bronx. “I’m the only brown Klans member I ever met,” Alex Michael Ramos joked in a Facebook Live video before he turned himself into police Aug. 28. The Facebook post has since been taken down.
But Ramos wasn’t the only “Unite the Right” marcher with a Hispanic background.
Prominent neocon Max Boot moves leftward. In the early 2000s, I predicted that eventually “conservatism” in the USA would look like today’s Democratic Party, and that “liberalism” would look like the present academic left/SJWs. This seems to be the direction in which things are increasingly heading.
Boot says nothing in this article that is particularly insightful. What great epiphanies has he had? That many cops are assholes (duh)? That blacks, poor people, and other disadvantaged folks are more likely to be victims of police brutality than country clubbers (duh)? That some white folks stereotype black folks as criminals and ne’er do wells (duh)? That some men commit sex crimes against women, among other crimes (duh)? That some men (and others) engage in rude, boorish, or inappropriate behavior (duh)?
None of this has anything to do with the critique of totalitarian humanism. That workers are exploited does not legitimize Communism. That the Israel Lobby has too much influence over US foreign policy does not legitimize neo-Nazism. That Islamist extremists engage in terrorism does not legitimize US imperialism or Boot’s own neocon foreign policy outlook. Boot sounds like a guy who has realized that the stock value of “cultural conservatism” is declining, and is looking leftward for a more lucrative gig.
By Max Boot
In college — this was in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the University of California, Berkeley — I used to be one of those smart-alecky young conservatives who would scoff at the notion of “white male privilege” and claim that anyone propagating such concepts was guilty of “political correctness.” As a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union, I felt it was ridiculous to expect me to atone for the sins of slavery and segregation, to say nothing of the household drudgery and workplace discrimination suffered by women. I wasn’t racist or sexist. (Or so I thought.) I hadn’t discriminated against anyone. (Or so I thought.) My ancestors were not slave owners or lynchers; they were more likely victims of the pogroms.
I saw America as a land of opportunity, not a bastion of racism or sexism. I didn’t even think that I was a “white” person — the catchall category that has been extended to include everyone from a Mayflower descendant to a recently arrived illegal immigrant from Ireland. I was a newcomer to America who was eager to assimilate into this wondrous new society, and I saw its many merits while blinding myself to its dark side.
By A. Barton Hinkle
That dull roar you heard a few days ago? It came from the countless gasps of horror when The Washington Post reported that the Centers for Disease Control had discouraged the use of certain words.
According to The Post, policy analysts were told not to use seven particular terms: fetus, transgender, vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, evidence-based, and science-based. This led to stern editorials about “thought control, Trump-style,” warnings that the directive was an “attack on science,” and so on. Having the government tell people which words they may and may not use is doubleplusungood, was the widespread consensus.
And of course it is. But to borrow from Kipling, “you need not stop work to inform us; we knew it ten seasons before.” Those exercised over the news about the CDC are coming rather late to the party.
What’s more, the backstory may be less dramatic than the initial alarms about the dark night of fascism spreading across the land. Apparently career staff, not political appointees, suggested eschewing the seven dirty words so as to avoid inflaming conservative members of Congress who would be voting on CDC funding.
Yet you can’t blame people for thinking the administration was checking off box No. 1 on the “How to Impose a Dictatorship in 10 Easy Steps” worksheet. After all, the Trump administration has, in the grand tradition of Soviet censors, been erasing references to climate change and global warming from government websites almost since it entered office.
So why should the Trump administration be any different? It’s hardly the first to declare certain words off-limits, and it won’t be the last.
Guffaws erupted across the country in 2000 when the Clinton administration announced that it no longer would refer to outlaw regimes as rogue states. “We are now calling these states ‘states of concern,'” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said.
The Obama administration likewise was extremely skittish about linking terrorism to radical Islam, going so far as to refer to the Fort Hood shooting as an act of “workplace violence” and to purge FBI materials that were deemed Islamophobic.
California has adopted legislation that, under rare circumstances, could lead to jail time for anyone who uses the wrong pronoun when referring to a transgender person.
But when it comes to Orwellian efforts to erase politically incorrect terms, politicians can’t hold a candle to the nation’s colleges and universities.
The problem I see with the line of argumentation that’s being made in this piece is the implicit assumption that because right-wing authoritarians actually exist (duh?) and that many representatives of the centrist establishment are scumbags (duh?), that left-wing authoritarianism does not exist, or is somehow not problematic.
By Sean McElwee
The pundit class has remained deeply in touch with the goings on at various college campuses while remaining blind to the rise of white nationalist authoritarianism. Weeks after an explosive New Yorker investigation on the rise of white nationalism under Trump, Jonathan Chait in New York magazine warned of a movement that “regards the delegitimization of dissent as a first-order goal.” He wasn’t referring to white supremacists, but rather, political correctness:
The upsurge of political correctness is not just greasy-kid stuff, and it’s not just a bunch of weird, unfortunate events that somehow keep happening over and over. It’s the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism.
Even after Trump won the presidency, pundits have remained inordinately focused on the goings-on at college campuses across the country. The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart and Conor Friedersdorf and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at CNN and have all written breathless op-eds about the perceived threat of campus politics. Slate’s Jacob Weisberg took a much-needed break from crushing a union drive to lament the “left-wing authoritarians” on our country’s campuses. Indeed, rather than systematic voter disenfranchisement and widespread racism, “political correctness” and “identity politics” have frequently been pointed to as the culprit in Clinton’s 2016 loss. According to a recent poll from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, “71 percent of Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have.” Political correctness, we’re told, is the real bigotry.
It’s interesting how the left/right divide is increasingly taking place across conventional ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic boundaries. My guess is that as the techno-oligarchs and new clerisy increasingly become the dominant faction of the ruling class and the state, the Anti/SJW/neo-Communist configuration will attempt to piggyback on them for the purpose of using the state to advance their own objectives. At that point, they will be de facto “conservatives” (defenders of the status quo) while the “true left” (radicals, revolutionaries, oppositionists) will be all those who are under attack by these elements (i.e. the core demographics I identified some years ago).
Yvette Felarca a BAMN leader, associated with Antifa, targeted and attacked Amber, a transgender woman, BECAUSE she is transgender and does not fit into the box that they want her to be in. That is a hate crime.
Read the original Italian version of this post here.
It’s good to see there are still some serious thinkers on the Left.
By di Roberto Vivaldelli
The paranoia of recent times imposed by liberal public opinion is marking the political debate, from the United States to the Old Continent, including Italy.
This Smith guy sounds like a weenie and a crybaby, although I’m not a huge fan of Sargon’s centrist “conservative libertarianism,” either.
By Andy Ngo
Sparks flew at the 2017 MythCon conference on Saturday when British YouTuber and cultural critic Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, exchanged verbal blows and jabs with his interviewer, Thomas Smith, an atheist and skeptic podcast host. The heated exchange on intersectional feminism, social justice activism and Black Lives Matter was marred by insults which frequently bled into Smith yelling at the audience. The tumultuous debate culminated in Smith storming off the stage after repeatedly accusing Sargon of holding misogynistic and racist views. Tensions continued to mount even after the conference, resulting in security removing angry attendees from the venue.
“Atheism plus” meets “atheism minus”
Held at the Pabst Theatre in downtown Milwaukee and organized by Mythicist Milwaukee, a secular and free inquiry group, the conference was surrounded in controversy weeks leading up to the event. Activists and feminists on social media took issue with the speaker lineup bringing to the forefront the growing chasm in the secular community between social justice humanism, sometimes branded as “atheism plus,” and a more libertarian or classical liberal skepticism. The event featured several atheist speakers of the latter-kind, including feminism critic Sargon and fellow video bloggers Gregory Fluhrer aka Armoured Skeptic and June Lapine aka Shoe0nHead.
I think I would take the opinion of a guy who was wounded fighting with the anarchist militias in Spain over our present day “anti-fascists.”
The Left as it should be.
In many ways it is defamatory of the historic Left to refer to the trash that passes for “leftism” today as actual “leftism.” Today’s “left” consists of two basic wings. One is the mainstream Democratic Party center-left. This “left” is rooted in late 19th/early 20th century “progressivism” (i.e. the public administration state and scientism). Let’s not forget that it was these folks that brought about such “genius” ideas as eugenics and Prohibition. It’s historic figures are Woodrow Wilson (of WW1, Red Scare, Jim Crow, and labor suppression fame), Franklin D. Roosevelt (who placed Japanese-Americans in concentration camps), Harry Truman (incinerator of cities), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War). Fuck all that. The “radical left” of today consists of “identity politics” (tribalism), “no platforming” (mob action against unpopular people), and a Church lady-like phobia that someone, somewhere might be saying bad words or promoting bad ideas. Precisely the same characteristics that are traditionally identified with right-wing authoritarian states and movements. To concede the label of “left” to these cretins is really to dishonor the legacy and achievements of the historic Left.
The antiwar Left in the US is essentially non-existent with the exception of a handful of individuals, groups, and outlets such as Medea Benjamin, Counterpunch, the Greens, the old guard commie anti-imperialists, and journalists associated with foreign media outlets. The labor Left barely exists. Union membership is at an all-time low. The economic Left amounts to little more than “single payer health care.” The civil liberties Left seems to be very marginal. The “left” today is basically technocratic centrist progressivism and neoliberal economics in the mainstream, environmentalism and veganism, and these “left-fascist” tendencies on the margins.“Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”– Ennio Flaiano.
We very much need a “new New Left” in the spirit of folks like Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, and Hunter S. Thompson, i..e a party of outlaws and heretics, not do-gooders.
By Ryan Blacketter
I occasionally despair of the loss of the 1960s rebellious left in American life. Many 60s writers refused a total allegiance to their politics. They found singular voices through dissonance, ambiguity, and contradiction—as individuals often do. It’s not surprising that Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and Hunter S. Thompson explored free expression on so many of their pages.
What made these authors so attractive was their willingness to embrace ideology only so far. They kept plenty of room in their minds to pursue other beliefs. Also, they rejected certain ideas on the left, as they saw fit—and without drastic consequence. Outside of extreme cases, the 60s alternative culture allowed for such diversity of thought.
Dave Rubin is interviewed by Tom Woods. Listen here.
Rubin talks about how the Left has become a totalitarian monolith, while conservatives and libertarians are now the free speech/diversity of ideas camp. I’d argue that this is because the Left is an ascendant force, and the Right is shrinking demographically, culturally, and generationally. The groups who are out of power are usually the ones who are the most pro-freedom. During the period between the 1950s and 1980s, it was the Left that tended to be the pro-freedom forces. That started to change with the ascendancy of neoliberalism in the 1990s, and the rise of PC on the Left during the same period.
Dave Rubin, host of the hugely successful Rubin Report, alienated former colleagues (e.g., at The Young Turks Network, where he had been an on-air host) when he openly disapproved of what he saw as an authoritarian, anti-free-speech drift among the Left. Today his YouTube channel has nearly 567,000 subscribers and his show reaches an enormous audience.
Totalitarian humanism is only the latest manifestation of a more traditional enemy. Ultimately, our enemy is not any one ideology but the state itself, as Albert Jay Nock pointed out.
By Sean Gabb
Last month, I wrote a defence of Charlie Elphicke, my Member of Parliament. He had been suspended from the Conservative Party while the Police investigated him for an alleged sexual assault. He has still not been arrested or charged. He has still not been told the nature of the complaint against him. It may be that he is about to be unmasked as a serial sex-murderer. More likely, the sinister clowns who direct law enforcement in this country have found nothing that even they regard as an assault worth prosecuting. But, if the former of these possibilities might embarrass me, the general reflections I made on his case stand by themselves. What I wish now to do is to elaborate on these reflections.
I begin by granting that ideologies are in themselves important. They are sets of propositions about the world that are true or false in much the same way as a scientific hypothesis is true or false. They are true or false regardless of what motives people may have for adopting them. This being granted, every person is born with a set of dispositions that draws him to accepting a particular ideology. Some of us are born with a dislike of pushing others around. This will not invariably make us into free market libertarians. But it will incline us to less intrusive formulations of whatever ideology is accepted. There are liberal Catholics and liberal Moslems. There have even been liberal Marxists. Others are born with a will to dominate. These will gather round the most fashionable intolerant ideology on offer.
Last month, I used the examples of Calvinism and Cultural Marxism. These were and are legitimising ideologies. Each has different formal propositions. Each has different enemies. Each has different effects on the character. But their essential function, so far as they can be made hegemonic, is to justify the gaining and use of power by an authoritarian élite – or by “The Puritans.”
If you want to see this case made at greater length, I refer you to my earlier essay. The case briefly stated, I turn to what may follow from it.
This is to suggest that direct argument with the Puritans is of limited value. Our own Puritans are Cultural Marxists for reasons other than the truth or falsehood of Cultural Marxism. Because its surface claims about treating people as individuals, and not being rude to them, are broadly in line with public opinion, it is an ideal legitimising ideology. If our Puritans had, after about 1970, taken up traditional Calvinism, or Orthodox Marxism-Leninism, or National Socialism, they would have got nowhere. The social liberalism of the previous two decades would have rolled straight over them. Instead, there was the combination, in Britain and America, of a large cohort of those inclined to Puritanism and an ideology, or set of ideologies, that could be shaped into a powerful legitimising ideology. It may be that the universe as a whole is locked into a rigid scheme of cause and effect. In this case, what happened was inevitable. But looking only at those parts of the universe we can understand and control, I think there was an element of contingency here. We are where we are because of a largely accidental discovery by the Puritans of a legitimising ideology that worked for them.
I challenge any politically correct type among our readers to explain how this situation differs from the kind of inquisition one might expect to take place under a communist, fascist, or theocratic regime.
Lindsay Shepherd (Grad Student at Wilfrid Laurier University) joins Dave to discuss her free speech battle after coming under attack by University officials for presenting her class with a video of a Jordan Peterson lecture. *Subscribe to The Rubin Report: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c… Hear Lindsay’s audio recording of her meeting with university officials in this video.
Brendan O’Neill (Editor of Spiked Online) joins Dave to discuss issues surrounding the threat to free speech, free speech in relation to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, how the left has abandoned liberalism and shifted towards identity politics, the lefts movement against working class people, the hypocrisy of Antifa, finding allies on the right, and more.
Brendan O’Neill (Editor of Spiked Online) joins Dave to discuss why he defines himself as a ‘Marxist Libertarian,’ his views on the pursuit of happiness, self censorship in the U.S., the issue with Bill of Rights only existing in writing and not in the hearts of Americans, the debate surrounding tearing down monuments, and more.