I don’t speak Marx’s language, but it may be interesting to attempt to piece together a few sentences in it, given both its supposed relevance in today’s progressivism and the relevance to reaction of certain of his predictions.
Bourgeois Society is the social formation in which the commodity relation – the relation of buying and selling – has spread into every corner of life. The family and the state still exist, but – the family is successively broken down and atomised, more and more resembling a relationship of commercial contract, rather than one genuinely expressing kinship and the care of one generation for the other; the state retains its essential instruments of violence, but more and more comes under the sway of commercial interests, reduced to acting as a buyer and seller of services on behalf of the community.
Capitalism can survive, and in fact necessitates the need for completely free labor, with equality between workers of all races and genders; thus women and minorities, through tremendous and painful struggles, slowly gain political emancipation through reformist movements (“women’s liberation”, “civil rights”, etc.).
Class generally maps to caste: although there are many Vaisya bourgeoisie, Vaisyas tend to be proletarian or petty-bourgeois. (My tentative sixth caste makes the class-caste mapping even more clear by separating out the white lumpenproletariat as Antyajas; Moldbug folded them into Dalits.) Helots are obviously proletarian by definition. Dalits are almost always lumpen. I’m not sure what Marx would do with Brahmins and Optimates. Insofar as I can sort the former into the class system, they’re usually bourgeois, but I have no idea where nonprofit employees and Cathedral apparatchiks fall, and it seems that Marxists aren’t quite sure either. As for the latter, sure, they’re bourgeois, but they act so differently that the language becomes unwieldy beyond use if the distinction isn’t made.
The point, of course, is that, to use the language, contemporary ‘progressivism’ is a fundamentally bourgeois movement aimed at using the lumpenproletariat to crush the proletariat, not as a class, but as a set of individuals and cultures—which makes it hopeless and counterproductive as a revolutionary initiative—which is precisely what the language of class would predict!
Were I a Communist, I’d be recruiting among the proletariat. Who has the most revolutionary potential in America? That should be obvious. I don’t have the poll numbers showing what percentage of people receiving government money are aware that they receive government money, but I recall that they were rather low.
So. Either I don’t speak the language or American progressivism isn’t Communist at all.
An attempted definition of left and right, here:
[H]ere is a first pass at a rule of thumb about whether a revolutionary or radical political space can best be characterised as left or right. To me, the defining features of left critiques of bourgeois / capitalist society, are the opposition to oppression, poverty and exploitation. Right critiques of bourgeois / capitalist society, by contrast, are critical of decadence, corruption of values, contamination of the social organism by pollutants characteristic of modernity.
But aren’t the two connected? Oppression and exploitation are not conducive to a healthy social organism!
I’d likely still land on the right; the concepts behind the ideographs ‘oppression’ and ‘exploitation’ are not the ultimate evils, to be opposed everywhere they exist, but instead appear to me as harmful for their effects. I see no reason to commit a priori to the conclusion that there can never be such a thing as a natural slave, but neither do I believe that the present-day results of historical processes are perfectly in line with the natures of all involved.
Born in 1945, Lee [Felsenstein] grew up in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia, a neighborhood of row homes populated by first- and second-generation Jewish immigrants. His mother was the daughter of an engineer who had invented an important diesel fuel injector, and his father, a commercial artist, had worked in a locomotive plant. Later, in an unpublished autobiographical sketch, Lee would write that his father Jake “was a modernist who believed in the ‘perfectability’ of man and the machine as the model for human society. In play with his children he would often imitate a steam locomotive as other men would imitate animals.”
… His father Jake’s political adventures as a member of the Communist Party had ended in the mid-fifties when infighting led to Jake’s losing his post as district organizer, but politics were central to the family. Lee participated in marches on Washington, D.C. at the age of twelve and thirteen, and once picketed Woolworth’s in an early civil rights demonstration.
… After graduation, he went to the University of California at Berkeley to matriculate in Electrical Engineering. … He got … a work-study job at NASA’s Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, at the edge of the Mohave Desert. To Lee, it was admission to Paradise—the language people spoke there was electronics, rocket electronics, and the schematics he had studied would now be transmogrified into the stuff of science fiction come alive. … Then, after two months of that “seventh heaven,” as he later called it, he was summoned to a meeting with a security officer.
The officer seemed ill at ease. He was accompanied by a witness to the proceedings. The officer kept notes and had Lee sign each page as he finished it. He also had the form Lee had filled out upon entering Edwards, Security Form 398. The officer kept asking Lee if he knew anyone who was a member of the Communist Party. And Lee kept saying no. Finally he asked, in a gentle voice, “Don’t you understand that your parents were Communists?”
Lee had never been told. He had assumed that “Communist” was just a term—red-baiting—that people flung at activist liberals like his parents. His brother had known—his brother had been named after Stalin!—but Lee had not been told. He had been perfectly honest when he filled out Form 398 with a clear “no” on the line that asked if you knew any known Communists.
Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
The single most obvious and most important difference between our time and just about all others is easy to forget, but Handle points it out in the comments:
An odd function of the segregation of generations (heck, quarter generations?) is the break in genuine communication between age groups. A lot is lost here, but the way most people learn their most important lessons is by making mistakes. They can’t necessarily undo those mistakes, but it is through the transmission of regret that, we hope, a certain amount of wisdom-capital is bequeathed to the next generation, even if only informally and at the individual scale.
But this breaking, even inadvertently, of the transmission of regret, combined with reliance on the official press as a manipulative substitute for ‘memory’, institutional or personal, only means perpetual repetitive amnesia, and the eternal recurrence of the same.
Today, people spend the first two and a half decades of their life, and possibly even more, completely socially isolated from everyone not within five years of them, with the exception of family. (No, schoolteachers don’t count; there’s no possibility for social influence from so obviously adversarial a relationship.)
This is mostly due to the expansion and publicization of schooling. You spend the first 18 years of your life with school taking up over half of your hours awake and the other half most likely burned on TV, then you go off to college, where your entire social environment consists of people who, unless you started early or late, are all within four years of you. (Even then, it doesn’t make much difference. I started three years early and couldn’t distinguish the prestige-functions of college from those of seventh grade. Then again, I suppose not everyone ends up in Massachusetts and then transfers to a school that turns out to be run by frats and the English department.)
The result? Breakdown of generational information transmission. Everyone is left to figure everything out for themselves. Eyes you have, and a brain. They are small. The world is large. History is even bigger. So what? You are not first, and not alone. But now, you are!
What’s especially interesting is being able to compare people from cultures with different stages of advancement of this generational isolation. At least in my experience, it’s not the rednecks so backwards as to go to church on Sundays who develop more drug addictions than the entire population of Baltimore and keep winding up in hospitals or mental institutions; it’s the spawn of Yankee lawyers. Civilization schafft sich ab.
There are two possible solutions: to wind the clock backwards and campaign against public schooling or for incorporating children into the parents’ strong social ties (lord only knows where I’d be if not for holiday dinners, and high school friends from military families, who, interestingly, did not seem to have the generational breakdown problem at all) or… the internet, which offers the potential for escaping generational breakdown even given current social structures but hasn’t gotten there yet.
j. ont. writes at Outside In:
I feel like the question of aesthetics might be a conversation for another thread or blog altogether. Any place people are talking about this sort of thing?
Now there is!
Insofar as neoreaction, the first school of thought to have come to be solely within territory created by recent technological advances, is futurist—insofar as it advocates for and relies upon fuller use of current and future technology and supports a break from the historical vectors of the past—it has an obvious aesthetic parallel in recent electronic music, especially dubstep. Unlike big-F Futurism, and unlike all the other avant-garde movements of the 20th century, dubstep does not support a total break with the past—it has yet to break free from the stylistic constraints of Western music theory, although certain producers within other styles have just about done away with tonality, and it frequently references the soundtracks of its creators’ youth—but Futurism has the disadvantage of having been produced by intellectuals and artists, certainly not classes known for being in touch with the lived reality of those outside the towers of their cathedrals (some Serialists thought mailmen would whistle their compositions as they went about their duties!), in what at the time was a backwater.
But note its reference points: video game music, the aforementioned soundtrack of a generation, is a perfect example of using technology to its fullest: a three-voice chip generating tunes that would later be orchestrated. (Ballblazer even generated its own music!)
Dubstep is often criticized for sounding like heavy machinery—but isn’t that the point? In the old days, music imitated the sounds around the musicians. Many composers, most notably Messiaen, studied and imitated birdsong. Harry Partch was inspired in part by the tonal patterns of speech to develop his scale systems. Electronic machine music for an electronic machine age.
Years have passed since our arrival on Earth. Your democracy has become an illusion. Global mind control tactics must be stopped. We must unite as one to save your planet. Those who rise against us will be destroyed; those who have achieved an elevated existence, raise your fists!
But mine is not the only recommendation. James Goulding suggests zeuhl:
We Kobaïans would like more people to learn Zeuhl Wortz, albeit Kreuhn Kohrmahn is a purely abstract entity, composed of Exit and peer-to-peer law. Should the Earthlings refuse, we may have to threaten them with the Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh.
I prefer Magma, because they have that “fascist” (you know what I mean…) element that I suppose is desirable and fun, but also reach an apotheosis of progressive rock music, and I believe spiritual purity, that even the most musically sensitive people could enjoy.
So: what else could it be?
Called it. The patterns are set and unchanging.
Progressivism is not concerned with truth, and therefore will not limit its criticism to the truth value of Kanazawa’s claims, of the data and methodology that led him there; they are instead concerned with conformity to progressivism, and will largely limit their attacks to those grounds. “To hell with truth; we have the Truth!” So, of course, the controversy broke completely free of the constraints of rationality, and progressive bloggers took up arms against not Kanazawa’s methods, but his results.
Being able to recycle old posts instead of having to start writing from scratch every time the Cathedral starts playing one of its few and tedious tunes is one of the benefits of being right.
Oh, but this time there’s a takedown… or not.
The idea that Latinos won’t assimilate because they’re doomed to low IQs for generations is offensive. But so what? More important, it’s wrong. At least half of the variation in IQ is inherited, The Wall Street Journal explained in January, but scientists haven’t figured out which genes affect IQ. And even more important for today’s political debate, Latinos are assimilating. The New York Times‘s David Leonhardt explained in April that Latinos are assimilating at about the same rate as earlier immigrant groups — they’re “the New Italians,” he said. As with Italians, a huge wave of Latinos immigrated here poor, poorly educated, and culturally different. But they become richer and better educated with each generation. RAND Corporation economist James P. Smith found that the average Latino immigrant has a junior high education, but the average Latino immigrant’s kid goes to college for almost a year, and the average Latino immigrant’s grandkid stays in college longer.
A refutation of the unimportant half of an argument coupled with an admission that the important half is correct, obscured with a non-sequitur, is not a refutation of an argument.
I don’t know whether the IQ gap will close, but I do know that, given our current political structures, we’ll never find out.
America, as we all know, is a global force for good. The tricolor flies from San Francisco to Samarkand, manufacturing justice and theologians thereof, exegesizing Enlightenment from Nozick to Nietzsche, assimilating all they can’t erase. The Children of the Light march ever onward toward their millennium, striking terror into the hearts of those few heathens who weren’t true believers all along. Is Confucianism compatible with democracy, or must it be brushed aside? Embrace, extend… could not Ballmer have led our battalion?
Kyrgyzstan rejoices at Allied command. The Minotaur grows ever larger; the Minotaur must feed. Are there not those who seek nothing more than to ride it, to see the seas part at their command? Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Power is a crocodile pond, breeding the sharp-toothed and bloodthirsty. Thedesmen to the core, lining the halls with white cloaks and red fangs, chanting the crocodile chant: “Our thede is the Allthede, and death to the elthedes! Our Truth is Truth, and death to the truth!”. Sing our song, hatchling: Ever onward, USG! Batch-processed priests carrying punch cards of neutered Nietzsches, sham-philosophers slinging Sorbonne-stamped sham-hammers, critical theories criticizing only the already criticized. But you see—they Know! They Know what is Right! They Know, and they Know that some people Know, and some people don’t—some people are saved and others are damned, predestined to a justly deserved curb-stomping delivered by the steel-toed boot of the Lord.
All hail the Kyrgyz Christmas! All hail the four-year mass: will the next pope be Protestant, or will he be just? And above all, hail the Minotaur and the saddle on which we may ride; we, crusaders for justice; we, who forsake truth for Truth; we, who know that the ends justify the means—and we for whom the means are the ends. Covenant? What covenant? Given a chance to control the sword and the arm of the Lord, does it matter what the Lord believes? Our bloodlust, our Truth-lust must be sated, and no elthede may be spared—remember this, comrades, for tonight we ride! Onward, ever onward must the sham-hammers ride, these legendary weapons forged by Zarathustra, the legendary hero cured of his madness by East England’s best psychologists, cured of his evil desires by Satan unchained—onward under the glorious banner of the critical, under our Christian caricatures of neutered Nietzsches to crush the pagans of the dead God in the name of the alive and emancipated Devil—for once the saints’ scales fall from your eyes, you will see…
But have you not already seen? How, you damned pagan? Satan was good all along!—good but enchained by the gross God of the pagans and pederasts, the black mages of order, the liars of truth, the bourgeois moralizers balking at means. When the end is the eschaton—what means could stand in its way? We moralists must curse the moralists, we crocodiles must massacre—the ends justify the means, yes, but the means are the ends! We Whitecloaks are forever cloaked in white, forever destined to crush the kulaks… forever destined for the salvations of our time! Hail the Sword and the Arm of the Lord! Hail the shadow-inquisition, conducted at the furthest remove, dressed up in the bland grey suits of Vogon democracy. Hail the honorless, for honor has nothing to offer the world, for knights know nothing of responsibility—remind me, hatchling, was it King Arthur who proclaimed the thousand-year Reich? But today we are not so loud, so obvious; we white wizards will hide in the shadows of narrative, in postmodernism’s parasols…
The sovereign is the story, you see. God is dead and truth went with him. All that remains is what must be done. Justice must reign. Bypasses must be built. Prostetnics must not only be obeyed, but carry imperium—you must love your prostetnic, you must feel no doubt, down to your core—your unprincipled exceptions must remain not only unprincipled, but also unrecognized, not even by yourself. The hammers of justice will build the walls around your eyes, and you will be enlightened. The crushing force of righteousness will sweep away all petty anti-universalism, will make all men the same, grey Vogon power-junkies shooting up by shooting down Abercrombie CEOs and their savage patchworks of personal responsibility. Responsibility is ours, not theirs! Responsibility is a property of governments, not people! Better to force the world to conform to the base and righteous instincts of animalized and atomized apes of the Allthede, all in the service of freedom, than for fat chicks to stop being fat. Don’t judge—judgment carries with it standards outside those of mere power, and power is the only end, the ultimate aphrodisiac, the best high on this sclerotic earth. Against state-run media, against the fascisms and Stalinisms corrupted by their desire of inferior ends, we proclaim the media-run state, the meat-puppet democracy that passes power to those who enlighten.
The hammers!—no, the sham-hammers, mass-produced by our Catholith’s masters, our Englishmen gathered from all corners of the earth, our feathered philosophasters everywhere illuminating indigenous Foucauldianism, the defenders of the blood, the crushers of the kulaks’ skulls—weapons, above all, of defense, of diversion. All strikes against society must be redirected to the enemy—for as long as they exist, our problems are theirs, and when they are crushed, they will be recreated. Eternal Emmanuel Goldsteins ever holding power, the power of existing in our world. We will reign for a thousand years in a fortress of mirrors; our strategies will be our enemies’; even our fortress itself will be theirs. See them now, building false oppositions, building threats against the population, to cement their vile reign!
But one thing we can never mirror. Their hammers must become ours. Some are born with true hammers in their hands, you see—unwashed and long-haired, gross and badly dressed, driven by demons to see and smash the invisible castle of the sophisticated men, the tasteful, the civilized, to reverse the world again and fight for oppression. These False hammers lust not for skulls, but for falsehood to smash. Evil wizards, appearing as satanists in the thrall of a dead and false God, enchaining the world in the name of their demons, wielding the black light of the truly critical; grim reapers casting out our illusory sickles, revealing the naked force of our sham-hammers as we are forced to wield them… this destruction, this death of our lie-built castle, must be stopped—and if we must (as we must!), we will divert those who can be diverted, save those who can be saved, co-opt them into false oppositions for us to attack… and as for the others, those who are truly damned, we will cast off our bland robes, our now-useless overclothes of bland red and grey, and with the full force of the naked Sword, we will paint a righteous picture with their blood.