In part 4 of this series, I discussed the post-WWII turn embrace of The Managed State. This was a logical outgrowth of the progressive ideology of c. 1910, heavily colored by two world wars and a great depression. It was largely chastened liberals, but there were plenty of old blood Republicans in there as well. Regardless of party, they were basically Statists, and so had more in common with each other than they did the millions of people they believed they were called to ‘manage.’
I did not dwell on the mechanisms of that management too much, and I won’t elaborate at length here, but I do need to touch on that again, as it is highly relevant to this post.
Remember, in c. 1910, the tools by which the Managers could manage were limited. What they needed was a way to reach all of the people at the same time. Newspapers were about all they had, and these were highly local. Nor could it be assured that everyone even in a given community would absorb what was being offered. As technology proceeded, this would change, and in the 1960s and 1970s, these changes were accelerating. In many respects, the culmination of this is visible today with the rise of social media, wherein a handful of Managers can basically ensure that only what they want to be seen is seen, and nearly everyone sees it (and they will know which ones haven’t!).
In c. 1910, the only other mechanism they imagined could do such heavy lifting were schools. But, schooling was not broadly compulsory and was highly decentralized. Reversing this situation was one of their urgent goals. I haven’t the time to dwell on this, but these quotes from a foremost educator of the time will suffice for now:
We are apt to look at the school from an individualistic standpoint, as something between teacher and pupil, or between teacher and parent. [….] What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy. All that society has accomplished for itself is put, through the agency of the school, at the disposal of its future members. All its better thoughts of itself it hopes to realize through the new possibilities thus opened to its future self. Here individualism and socialism are at one.
A society is a number of people held together because they are working along common lines, in a common spirit, and with reference to common aims. The common needs and aims demand a growing interchange of thought and growing unity of sympathetic feeling. The radical reason that the present school cannot organize itself as a natural social unit is because just this element of common and productive activity is absent. [emphasis added]
John Dewey, in an essay called “The School and Social Progress,” published in 1900. Yes, this is the same John Dewey who spoke at length on Darwinism and ethics, etc. Oh, you didn’t know that? Ah, well, you can be quite sure he didn’t incorporate any of those beliefs into his outlook on education! RIGHT? You know, the guy who basically founded the modern public education system?????
Anyway. My point is that Darwinism infuses every aspect of leftist ideology, even if it isn’t surfaced explicitly or remembered today.
The critical role that the education system had for managing Mass Man was recognized long after John Dewey and other founders of education (eg, Thorndike) did their work. In part 4, I mentioned Julian Huxley and linked to his comments on education, without much elaboration. If you still haven’t read it, you ought to now. Setting aside his overall view that the education system should be orientated towards perfecting society, note what he says about using it to cultivate new ‘managers’:
The increasing complexity of modern societies demands an increasing number of men and women of great ability and high competence to run them. It should be a prime duty of our educationalists to meet this demand. For this, genetics and education must join hands.
In other words, ‘we’ should be breeding for Philip Dru, Administrator. It wouldn’t surprise me if my readers had no idea who Julian Huxley was and the impact he had (or recognize the name of Dru). You should check Huxley out, and then consider how he might have implemented ideas such as:
…it is up to us to reverse the process and to plan a society which will favour the increase instead of the decrease of man’s desirable genetic capacities for intelligence and imagination, empathy and co-operation, and a sense of discipline and duty.
To bottom line it, in the 1950s and the 1960s, a full scale effort was under way to transform the school system into a tool for social engineering. At the present time, I think we have to say that they have nearly won the day. Nearly; but that is another post.
But events would alter the flow of this trend. The Vietnam war and the hippie generation inserted chaos into this orderly program. A distrust for institutions was bred and fanned into flames, even on the left; or, we might even say, especially on the left. Over a period of about 20 years, there was a disconnect between the liberals who had concluded that their best course forward was through implementing Statism and those who, for a time, intensely distrusted the State. But this divergence would dissolve. The example of Bill Ayers, who went from blowing up things to taking a role as a college professor is representative of this transition.
Despite the hiatus, all of the old ideological strands continued to turn and twist and progress. In particular, Marxism. There was a short moment when liberals despised Marxism. This moment ended with the death of JFK and the embarrassment of McCarthy (you probably didn’t know that he was a Democrat). The moment faded thanks to the occupying of our educational institutions by folks like The Frankfurt School, among many others.
Not that I want to focus on the Frankfurt School at all, but when looking for a link to direct the reader to, I looked at the Wiki page, and of course I see the ‘cultural Marxism’ dismissed as a conspiracy theory which, of course, is racist.
By now, if you haven’t noticed that the Left trends towards treating all dissenters as racists by definition, then I can’t help you. Actually, why the Left treats all dissenters as racists (and worse) is precisely the subject of this very post. But what I would like to say is that I am not at all invoking a ‘conspiracy.’ There is no conspiracy. There is just people who believe a certain way teaching others what they believe, and all of them together acting on their beliefs. Liberals are too lazy to investigate the actual facts of such things. Still, they recognize that if the claims are true, those facts undermine their position, so its better to marginalize both the facts and the people by labeling the people bringing out those facts as ‘conspiracy theorists.’
This, like calling everyone who disagrees a racist, is nothing more than a conditioning tactic. The goal is to obtain compliance and silence. The goal is to punish you so that you won’t dare speak about such things again. Whether or not those things are true or not makes no difference to them. NONE.
Don’t fall for it.
Anyway, the thing is that the Marxist ideology penetrated and diffused itself in American society in a number of ways through a number of important and unimportant actors, because, as I described in part 2, unlike fascism, which was very much a ‘left-wing’ phenomena, Marxism was never repudiated, and this despite killing 10 times more people than fascists managed to slay.
Marxism is an all-encompassing worldview, in which it is understood that it cannot work unless every system is integrated into it and everyone participates. This idea, that ‘every system is integrated’ and it won’t work unless ‘everyone participates,’ is virtually identical to ‘intersectionality.’ In fact, intersectionality is just warmed over Marxism.
Historically speaking, intersectionality manifested via ‘black feminism.’ Since the Left has never been able to dispose of Marxism once and for all, it was inevitable that Marxism would re-surface, and, on the face of it, our first inclination might be to discount its more recent impetus. (This would be most unwise, given that groups like Antifa embrace both Marxism and intersectionality and see violence as a live option for furthering their agendas.)
Unfortunately, intersectionality has brought out some of the absolute worst parts of the leftist ideology. Intersectionality brought to the forefront ‘identity politics.’ To be clear, ‘identity politics’ has always been a part of leftist ideology, in particular, but not only, because of its Marxist soul. But this particular unfolding brought with it a reduction of the human being into different ‘identities,’ and, as such, can be expected to bear the bitter fruit that always accompanies dehumanizing ideologies, given enough time.
To the intersectionalist, the aspects of our humanity that are most important are also the parts that are most superficial. To them, what really matters is your skin color. Or your genitalia. Or how you use your genitalia. A few decades ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was proclaiming,
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Today, the left couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the content of one’s character, and only care about people’s skin color and whether or not they have a penis or a vagina. Then, based on a calculation that only they themselves are the ones permitted to make, certain arrangements of these transient features of humanity warrant ‘victim status,’ while others reek (merely by virtue of their declaration) of evil, despicable, privilege.
While the general consensus is that white Christian male conservatives belong permanently to the ‘evil’ category, who belongs in the ‘victim’ category shifts at their sole discretion. At the present moment, the most recent victims, gays and feminists, are slowly but surely being displaced by the trans. I confess that I find myself giggling when I hear gays and feminists complaining about all the vitriol they receive because they take issue with the trans movement. It was not too long ago that they were happy to pour vitriol on those who rejected the gay agenda and feminist ideologies. Now, the shoe is on the other foot.
This shifting trend is due to the fact that these people have otherwise meaningless lives. If they don’t have a victim to protect, they feel useless. So, once a group is lifted out of victimhood status, their ‘job’ security requires creating a new victim group.
Rinse and repeat, over and over, no matter how silly and strained. I suppose after the trans folks will come the ‘furries.’ Dunno. I have trouble imagining what comes after that. That something will come after that, I have no doubt.
Of course, my giggling is only an initial reaction. Its one of those things where it would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous. We must not forget that for the people who believe they are the righteous rescuers of victims, there is nothing they aren’t above doing for the sake of the ‘helpless’ vulnerable. At the same moment some new group becomes Victim Numero Uno, the evil oppressors remain, forever more, 100% grade-A Nazis. And what do you do with Nazis? Anything you want, that’s what. Because they deserve it!
The despicable upshot of this entire paradigm is that it is the intersectionals who are the actual racists, sexists, and bigots. It is they who only see fellow humans in the context of what color skin they have or what genitalia someone has. Them. Not Christian white males, Republicans, or conservatives. IT IS THEM.
This is a tragic development within leftist ideology. Unfortunately, while there certainly seem to be some liberals waking up to the danger, it does not seem they have the numbers, or the courage, to do something about it.
It is with great sadness that I report that this horrific element of modern leftism is not the only horrific addition thanks to intersectionality. The reduction of humans into the least important aspects of humanity is a huge problem, giving rise to ‘identity politics’ and all sorts of absurd wickedness. But, the other element of intersectionality, which it more directly borrows from Marxism is, like Marxism itself–and for the exact same reasons–a profound threat to freedom and liberty and civilization itself.
To explain, let me return to the case of Martin Luther King Jr..
Here is a guy who was confronting real, genuine racism. The Civil Rights movement prevailed. By the 1980s, precious little remained of overt racism. In fact, it was so hard to find real racism, that leftists had to resort to accusing politicians of ‘dog whistling.’ No one was being racist, damn it, but their entire political strategy relied on resisting racists. It was generally the case that people really were beginning to judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, and today, it is even more that way. It would be that way even more if the intersectionals didn’t insist on viewing things in terms of race.
Remember, only dogs hear dog whistles. The only people who hear ‘racist’ dog whistles are liberals. This post is a partial explanation for why that is the case.
Since they could not find many actual racists, but still needed a purpose in life, they bumped it up to the ‘system.’
So, it wasn’t the people who were racist, it was the system.
Ah, but now here was the great twist, from their point of view. You now had a new way to regard people as racists. You didn’t have to agree that they system was racist, per se. All that was necessary was that you disagreed with their proposed changes to the system. Since THEY regarded the system as racist, by mere virtue of the fact that you disagreed with their proposed changes, you are a racist.
Lest the reader misunderstand, its not just about racism. As far as the intersectionalist is concerned, everything intersects. So, we could just as easily talk about how the ‘system’ is oppressive to gays, or women (if they are ‘approved’ women), etc., so that if you disagree with their proposed changes you instantly become a bigot, but we’ll just continue on the vein of race for this post.
Here is a concrete example.
Let’s say that you disagree with raising the minimum wage, or even having one at all. There are many straightforward economic arguments against the minimum wage. For example: it is bad for businesses, it is bad for the economy, its bad for the workers themselves, and its even bad for the people who supposedly benefit from it.
But, the intersectionalist perceives that the minimum wage will most directly benefit black people. Thus, if you oppose the minimum wage, even if for reasons for nothing to do whatsoever with race, YOU ARE A RACIST.
You can find plenty of examples of this exact progression within leftist propaganda regarding the minimum wage, but I gave it only as an example. To the intersectionalist, EVERY aspect of the system requires the solutions that INTERSECTIONALISTS propose, and if you disagree with ANY of those solutions, you MUST BE a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, etc, etc, because who could defend an oppressive system? I MEAN WHO COULD?!?!?!
Now, don’t get me wrong, here.
I am a libertarian constitutionalist, and one of the reasons why is because I quite agree with the idea that the ‘system’ is oppressive. I would go further and argue that all systems are oppressive. I am keenly aware of how things like building codes, regulations, and yes, even the minimum wage, all make it extraordinarily difficult for the average person to advance themselves, and even more so the ‘disadvantaged.’ It is always the rich who are able to navigate these waters. Hence, why Amazon–owned by a liberal–paid $0 in Federal taxes this year.
However, I have this stupid idea that if you feel yourself suffocated by 100 pounds of bricks on your chest, the only sensible solution is to remove the bricks. The intersectionalist (and liberals in general) believe we need to add another 100 pounds–administered by them, of course, cuz they’re the experts. They’ll do it right! For disagreeing… I’m a racist.
Or, to put it differently, if regulation is so burdensome so as to make it difficult for an average person to start a business, let alone a poor person, and thus lift themselves out of poverty by hard work, while at the same time, the rich are able to pay people full time to understand the regulations and follow them to a ‘T’, I have the stupid idea that perhaps the best solution is to radically reduce the amount of regulation, so that we can ALL play. To the intersectionalist (and liberals in general), what we need is MORE REGULATIONS. And if you disagree… YOU MUST HATE POOR PEOPLE; and blacks are the most poor in our country, thus, YOU ARE A RACIST.
For the intersectionalist, if you tug at a string on your right sleeve, you threaten to unravel your left sleeve. Since all parts touch each other, and all parts are oppressive, and only they can reverse the oppression, if you stand in their way, you are an oppressor.
This explain so much about what is happening today that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The examples are legion.
For example, there was this absurdity not too long ago where signs warning that buildings were not built to withstand earthquakes were actually racist. Worse than that…
The policy “exacerbates a long history of systemic and structural betrayals of trust and policies of displacement, demolition, and dispossession predicated on classism, racism, and white supremacy,” the group said.
That’s right, ‘white supremacy.’ Look at that list again. Do you see the ‘intersections’?
Who can forget that math is racist?
Why, just the other day, I saw a quadratic equation making a black person sit at the back of the bus. The horror.
The examples of these things are everywhere and have been around for a long time.
Of more recent vintage is AoC’s ‘green new deal.’
Not surprisingly, the GND, which ostensibly was about saving the planet from climate change, is jammed packed with all sorts of various social programs. You know, because “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and disability leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all members of our society” OBVIOUSLY is related to lowering global temperatures. Oh yea, and, racism.
Setting aside the utter lack of any ability to think critically that this mindset exhibits and the complete moral darkness it illustrates, the fact is that taking control of an entire society’s system in order to (allegedly) address disparities, which the Green New Deal and progressivism more generally reflects, is not novel. It is not something that has been left untried.
It was tried. It has been tried. It is being tried.
And literally hundreds of millions of people died and are dying.
God save us from the intersectionalists, America’s last, true racists and the world’s next full blown communist overlords.
It is worth saying at this point that in my experience, the degree in which someone is a ‘good liberal‘ seems to correlate with how absurd they find the intersectionalist’s conclusion that if you oppose their policies, you are de facto racists, bigots, etc. While that is a credit to them as individuals, their ‘moderation’ does not matter in the wider scheme of things. First of all, they still accept almost all of the core premises that I’ve laid out in my series so far and second of all, they seem to accept completely the intersectionalist’s assumption that every element of the ‘system’ is oppressing some victim group, somewhere. That is to say, you’re rarely going to find one of them contemplating something like the minimum wage, or housing, or anything, without reference to race, class, etc. They appear to be completely unable to view any issue in merely human terms.
The ONE thing they will give you is that if you happen to disagree with them, you are not necessarily a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc, etc, etc, etc.
Isn’t that generous of them? You are not necessarily those things. But, Republicans in general, or conservatives in general…. you see how this is going to play out.
In short, while the ‘good liberal’ pulls back from denouncing every dissenter as a racist bigot, they tend to accept and even embrace the rest of the package. Although, as I mentioned above (eg, re: the TERFs) and in my post about the ‘good liberals,’ things are getting so crazy that even they are rethinking things.
Nonetheless, their creeping doubt about the progressive paradigm and their OH SO GENEROUS estimation that you MIGHT not be a racist, is not going to be any kind of robust check and balance on the kinds of abuses (nay, horrors) we can expect to be unleashed if their fellow travelers achieve the power they seek. Remember, to the rest of them, we’re all just fascists. And its ok to punch a fascist. Or shoot him, if you can get away with it.
I am reminded of the immortal words of C.S. Lewis:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”