Lenin was Right

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and embrace bolshevism.

Marxist theory says it’s historically inevitable that the Proletariat will eventually rise up and overthrow class society.  Lenin’s great insight was that the Proletariat will never achieve the necessary “revolutionary consciousness” to do this on their own.  Thus the need for a “vanguard party” of professional revolutionaries who will instill that consciousness in the masses as it leads them.  That insight, utter ruthlessness, and Satan’s own luck propelled him to the dictatorship of what would become the world’s only other space-faring superpower.

Naturally we “conservatives” (or whatever we are these days) reject this talk of “the masses.” They’re not an inert blob of fungible nobodies, to be acted upon by Their Betters. They are our fellow citizens, and representative government depends on their vote counting just as much as yours, or mine, or Lenin’s…..

Except that representative government also rests on legitimacy. That’s what the whole “social contract” deal was about back in high school civics (back when high schools taught real subjects). We, the citizens, exchange certain of our natural rights for the protection of the state. That exchange gives the state’s acts legitimacy…. IF the state fulfils its part of the contract. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Thomas Jefferson supposedly said*, and it’s that vigilance which makes sure the contract stays valid. An informed and engaged citizenry by its nature constantly reaffirms the social contract, which constantly re-legitimizes the government. Through our vigilance we know the state is acting on our behalf and in accordance with our will.

But that no longer applies. It can’t. Look at any one of Hillary Clinton’s scandals. See how deep the rabbit hole goes. See how many people are involved, friends and supposed enemies alike. Given that both political parties, the vast majority of Wall Street, and all of academia and the media are colluding, there’s simply no way the citizenry can plausibly claim to be in any way, shape, or manner informed about the actions of their government. Were it not for some Russian-backed shit-stirrers and some truly Romanov-esque hubristic incompetence, we’d never have heard about any of this. Hillary would be cruising to victory and doing finger flexibility exercises to hold off the Parkinson’s tremors long enough to push The Button.

In a representative republic, where there is no consent of the governed, there is no legitimacy. As the governed cannot possibly consent….

Lenin was right. Without a dedicated revolutionary vanguard, the masses can’t hope to effect meaningful change. The only question is, is Trump that vanguard? We’d better hope so.

Another Theory on Trump

[Nate Winchester guest post]

No, American politics is now merely a MacGuffin, an important-sounding but ultimately inconsequential and disposable plot device for holding interest in the Hero’s Journey.

Ultimately the only thing that matters is the Hero itself. – The MacGuffinization of American Politics by Ace of Spades

In fact, “rebellious and loyal underdog” would describe roughly every protagonist of a billion-dollar series from the last 3-4 decades. While individual protagonists may have certain distinct pieces of window-dressing (setting, color scheme, facial hair) that appeal to particular demographics, they are all essentially interchangeable. –Rethinking the Heroine (The Persona) by the Rev

Thus, Donald Trump.

Because REGARDLESS of whether you actually agree with the interpretation or not, one thing that cannot be denied is that Donald Trump’s campaign this year has worked very hard to paint a picture of him as “rebellious and loyal underdog” (well, loyal to the voters and America). And why not? Consciously or not, he has realized that for the public, politics is now just the reality version of the stories of whichever game or movie has become a hit in America. And as the media et al gang up on him, they demonstrate and prove this idea of him as the “rebellious and loyal underdog” again and again. Ironically if they wanted to stop Trump, the best move for the media to have done would have been to treat him completely normal, deflating the image of him as “blockbuster hero” and letting reality intrude upon the voters’ impression.

Is it the only reason for his success this campaign? Of course not, if you gather a large enough group of voters onto your side the reasons are going to be varied. But stories are important to humans, and a chance to live out your favorite story – even by close proxy as a voter – is going to be extremely tempting to anyone.

I’ll leave it to the comments to discuss what this bodes for the future.

Blind Men Metaphors

(Guest post by Nate Winchester)

As Severian loves to say, “the Internet makes ‘spergs of us all.” Mostly because the global reach of the thing means we’re lacking in the common cultural contexts we normally have when communicating. Part of it is that we can become very ossified in our thinking. Since the Internet gives us the ability to find hundreds who agree with us (no matter how outrageous the idea), it just compounds this as there’s no need to consider new things unless we really really want to.

So we end up trying to use metaphors or inverted examinations to break people out of their locked modes of thinking. Philmon posted one of these yesterday. Ideally, “Oh the measurement of time is arbitrary.” would lead to the realization that maybe we can be over-certain in our conclusions and should practice more humility. (I haven’t read Briggs’ book yet, but I do follow his blog and that’s why I’m recommending it.) Instead we see an example of the OTHER problem with folks nowadays: When you manage to break free their minds to consider a new idea, they then run as hard as possible in the new direction. Instead of taking a moment to realize the broader picture of how things work in the world, Philmon’s friend apparently embraced a “what’s even reality” mindset.

I wish we could figure out better metaphors. Take the blind men and the elephant story. Fundamentally it’s a metaphor about the problem of knowledge in human life and society, designed to try and break people out of their “I know everything” mental frame. The problem is, those who end up grasping it, then will take on an annoying, “nobody knows nothing” stance. If you’ve argued with people on the internet long enough, you’ve probably seen this. You’ll catch someone in an error, then if you ever get them around to admitting it you’ll end up with a reply of “well we’re all just blind men” as code for “I may be wrong, but so are you.”

The problem is – in the metaphor the blind men are wrong. But when dealing with the knowledge problem in life, actual people are usually right.

This is where I think the most interesting and frustrating thing about this election year has originated from. Since I know politics distracts and tangents people, I’m going to use my go-to metaphor of ice cream*. Let’s say a town is voting on 1 of 4 flavors to come to the town (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and butterscotch). If you really talk to and listen to people, you’ll rarely find them hating an ice cream. Some might really dislike one flavor, but mostly they’ll acknowledge they like any of the flavors, but flavor N is just their most favorite flavor. But as the election heats up, people will grow frustrated as discussions reach an impasse (since how can you argue flavor?) and so accusations will fly of things like “you just hate _ flavor!” Now imagine coalitions started to form. Maybe the butterscotch people realize they don’t have a large enough voting bloc, but most of them have chocolate as their second favorite, so those folks join with the chocolate voting bloc. Then you’ll start seeing the accusations from the chocoholics of “you don’t like chocolate enough” or “you want vanilla to win” even though the butterscotties freely admit it just wasn’t their first pick for flavor.

Thus the fun of the election. Eventually you realize a lot of people are right to an extent, and often in agreement with each other. Sometime they just have different beliefs on what’s a priority to focus on. Or sometimes it is complete ignorance on a set of data. Sometimes both sides are ignorant about something the other side knows very well. Then instead of being blind men compiling our data together to get the complete picture of the elephant, we become blind men yelling at the others for not “seeing” what we see.

It’s been an entertaining year. Should be even more entertaining watching how everything shakes out over the next half-decade.

*Who here would like to see an ongoing RC series of “ice-cream politics/life”?

Time Doesn’t Exist – and other Sophist nonsense

So I sawtime this on Facebook.

It’s very deep, of course.

The argument goes like this:  Time doesn’t exist because the units we use to measure it can’t be found in nature. (They can, actually, we may get to that later).

But of course, this is absurd.  The same logic could be used to argue that distance doesn’t exist because centimeters are a social construct, or that mass doesn’t exist because grams are a social construct.

The fact that 3:02 PM on a Tuesday is just a social construct doesn’t mean that time doesn’t exist.  This is an important distinction.  Failing to make the distinction leads to all sorts of logical folly.

In a conversation with Severian a while back, we noted that sophists started this whole deal (or more accurately, perhaps, popularized and formalized it) where we confuse the words we use for things for the things themselves.

I commented on the photo, basically saying what I just wrote above, adding “trust me, time exists.”

To which my friend replied, “we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.”

Now I know he’s intelligent enough to understand what I’m saying and just wasn’t following at the time and was not interested in trying, so I just dropped it.  But it was clear he was stuck on the language of the photo posted and saw what the truth in it is — and went with the conclusion.  I wasn’t arguing the facts stated in the post.  I was arguing with the two conclusions, that 1) Time doesn’t exist, and 2) that time as a social construct makes us slaves to it.  Time, that is.  The thing that doesn’t exist.

My immediate thought was “we’ll have to agree to disagree”.  By “we’ll” I assume he means “we will”, which means starting at some point in time and going forward.  In time.  Which doesn’t exist.

If time doesn’t exist, then not only is there no future, there is no now.  And if there is no “now”, there is no “is”.  So I, who apparently do not exist in the first place, just “proved” that nothing exists.  Which is a tall order if you parse that sentence at all.

I recall a story from Zen Buddhism that basically went like so:

The master asks the student some koan (I forget what it was), and days later the student comes back and proudly answers that nothing exists.  The master then slaps him across the face and asks, “then what was that?”

Confusing language for reality gets us in a lot of trouble, quickly, especially when we start substituting reality for language — which is the direct opposite of what language does.  Reality is reality, language is the abstract.  It doesn’t mean reality is abstract.

It gets us into lots of trouble in all sorts of subject areas.  And politicians, the main consumers of sophistry, use this to great advantage, every day.

As far as the “slave” thing goes … the social construct of 3:02 PM on a Tuesday was created so we, who are by nature social beasts, can better cooperate with each other. If anything, we are slaves to our nature.  But that should come as no surprise.  Everything is.

More specifically, we are really slaves to agreements – but agreements are necessary for social behavior whether it’s “you must do this by such and such time or I will have you flogged” or “if you do this by such and such time I will pay you … something.”  The nature of the first “agreement”, of course, is coercive and immoral.

But if time doesn’t exist, then morality certainly doesn’t exist.  We can find no physical evidence of it in nature, right?  So who cares?  I digress.

The same thing is being done with gender right now.  In nature, humans are male or female (there are a few biological aberrations, but everyone by and large is one or the other).  Now, there are certain personality traits we associate more with one gender or another, and we have taken to some standardized ways of expressing ourselves accordingly.

But what have our modern sophists done?  They have taken these expressions, this “language”, and substituted them back into the reality of gender, claiming that gender is just a social construct.  But no, it is the expressions that are social constructs.  Gender remains what it always has been.  But the sophists insist that it is not.

What this boils down to is a war on society.  The assumption is that social constructs are arbitrary and therefore worthless.

But “worth” is also a social construct.

So I guess I can officially opt out of this conversation.

*note: 3:02 PM on a Tuesday does, in fact, exist.  It just had no name.  The name is an abstract.  The point in time is a reality.

Bottle Blondes and Gamma Males

Ace of Spades is rage-splooging at “MeAgain Kelly” again.

Funny.  This is the same guy who couldn’t white knight hard and fast enough for her back in the days…. the days, that is, when he thought he was thiiiiis close to being invited as a regular guest on a Fox panel show and maybe, just maybe, Megyn Kelly might actually talk to him!  Squeeee!

So let’s see:  You, Ace, really thought that this woman

11-22-megyn-kelly-sg-cropped-proto-custom_28was some kind of hard-hitting crusader for truth, justice, and the American way?  Really, dude?

hqdefaultYou know, actually, that sounds about right, coming from the guy who thought Trump would win Idaho because of all the racists and Marco Rubio was the savior of the Republic, and who is now trying hard to play #NeverHillary warrior after having spent all summer turning his once-popular blog into the leading Trump-bashing vanity site on the internet (when he bothers to post, that is, instead of letting a small army of anonymous co-bloggers go off about chess and gardening and pets and shit for days at a time).

I swear, as much as “socio-sexual rank” is the biggest spergout this side of Dungeons and Dragons,  Vox Day’s description of the gamma male explains a lot of blogger behavior:

Gamma: The introspective, the unusual, the unattractive, and all too often the bitter. Gammas are often intelligent, usually unsuccessful with women, and not uncommonly all but invisible to them, the gamma alternates between placing women on pedestals and hating the entire sex. This mostly depends upon whether an attractive woman happened to notice his existence or not that day. Too introspective for their own good, gammas are the men who obsess over individual women for extended periods of time and supply the ranks of stalkers, psycho-jealous ex-boyfriends, and the authors of excruciatingly romantic rhyming doggerel. In the unlikely event they are at the party, they are probably in the corner muttering darkly about the behavior of everyone else there… sometimes to themselves. Gammas tend to have have a worship/hate relationship with women, the current direction of which is directly tied to their present situation. However, they are sexual rejects, not social rejects.

Tell me that isn’t Ace to a T, vis a vis Megyn / MeAgain Kelly.  “Milady’s honor has been soiled…. that selfish bitch!”

Out here in the real world, dude, nobody gives a shit about the personal failings of some tv bobblehead who no doubt casting-couched her way to the top and probably has to have her cue cards spelt funneticklee.  There are other ways to enjoy the decline of Western Civilization than catty junior-high shit, y’all.

“An Extremely Complex Offense”

I follow a certain pro football team. (N.b. to spergs: I’m keeping it vague, though it’s obvious which team I’m referring to, because I want to focus on the thought process, not the virtues and defects of the personalities involved). This offseason, my team wasted an obscene amount of money bringing in a free agent quarterback who, through seven games, is pretty much the worst starter in the league. Now, this team has other obvious deficiencies as well, but the fact remains that this quarterback simply struggles to make plays — give him a clean pocket and an open receiver and he still misses the throw more often than not. He seems incapable of reading a defense, his decision-making is very charitably described as questionable, and even the slightest pressure in the pocket gets him freaking out like Trigglypuff.

The excuse routinely offered for this level of play is that our head coach’s offense is “extremely complex.” Thus a new starter has to pick it all up, get in sync with all his receivers, etc. That’s what I want to focus on.

This team is a league-wide joke for its dumpster fire of a quarterback situation, and has been for most of its existence. In the past three years — Coach Extremely Complex’s entire tenure — approximately 47 guys have attempted a pass, and only the punter has a decent completion percentage. But here’s the thing: This team made the playoffs last year, despite having three games started — and won! — by guys just off the couch. That’s one third of the win total, accomplished by guys with at most two weeks to prepare to play the most demanding position in professional sports, in the league’s most infamously complex offense. Oh, and the other 6 wins were picked up by guys with only a handful of career starts between them, one of whom was an offseason acquisition.

Which seems to indicate one of three things:

1) Those four guys who won games, including the two just-off-the-couch guys, are the most brilliant quarterbacks in the league; or
2) The current QB is a moron of epic proportions; or
3) The coach dumbed down his extremely complex system enough for one offseason acquisition, one guy with half a year’s tenure, and two guys straight off the couch to pick it up and win with it.

Or, of course, some combo of the three, but either way, an obvious solution suggests itself: Dumb down the system for the $72 Million Dollar Man.

But that’s just the thing: The team broadcast far and wide that it was bringing in Mr. $72 Million specifically to run Extremely Complex’s extremely complex offense.

Ponder that for a sec. Experience suggests that your team wins despite the Extremely Complex offense, not because of it. You won 9 games last year with castoffs and retreads, including not one but two guys who got cut by the Cleveland fucking Browns and two other guys who didn’t even achieve that level of professional competence. Would’t it be better to dumb down the system, roll with any one of the previously-successful retreads and/or one of the many QBs you drafted over the years, and spend most of that $72 million on all the other glaring holes? A marginal quarterback with better receivers and a stronger offensive line is a marginally better quarterback, which means a marginally better record, which in this case means 10 or 11 wins, another division title, and another playoff berth. Instead, you’ve got a worse quarterback taking up way more money and none of the holes fixed.

It’s the complexity fetish. In our grotesquely over-credentialed society, we mistake complexity for competence. The whole of academia, and 95% of the punditocracy, earn their denarii by pushing the most outlandishly counterintuitive ideas their addled little brains can conceive, because that’s the “smart take.” Plain ol’ competence is boring, and therefore somehow dumb… beats my pair of jacks, but tell me it isn’t true. You can find me at the bar, drinking heavily as Mr. $72 Million overthrows yet another wide-open receiver en route to putting up 130 yards passing on 50 attempts.

The Revolution Will Not (Yet) be Televised

I think it was Tocqueville who first said it, but whoever, it’s true: Revolutions only start when the Middle Class realizes its inevitable downward trajectory.

We’re not there yet. So long as there’s cheap credit, I don’t know if we’ll ever get there (since, of course, if there’s no longer cheap credit, it won’t be just the Middle Class burning things in the street). As it stands, there’s still an out for most members of the Middle Class, or at least for their kids: Get a government job.

You can live like royalty as a parasite on the Parasite State. I had this lesson driven home to me back in grad school, when I considered getting a summer job as a letter carrier. I lived in one of those college towns that has a handful of full-time residents, and the political economy to match — all the townies took their summers off, too, so getting mail delivered was actually a bit of an ordeal. So I went down to apply….

…and was told, in so many words, fuhgetabouttit; call back when you’re a disabled transgendered Latino lesbian with a veterans’ preference. Which sucked almost as much as the realization I had just afterwards: “Wait a minute, take a look at that salary, divide by hours, carry the two, cosine, square root…. holy shit, throw in the bennies and I could make more — way, waaay more — as a letter carrier than I’d make in my first 5-10 years in a tenure track job.”

Now, a few caveats apply. A tenure track job, in case you don’t know, looks like a decent bit of scratch on paper — 40-60K, depending on where you go, and of course the chance of guaranteed lifetime employment for no further work. But it’s also about an 80 hour a week gig, when you factor in grading, endless “university service,” committee work, directing dissertations, advising students, etc., not to mention your own research (publish or perish). You can’t make that kind of dough out of the gate as a letter carrier, but — short work hours, decent bennies, an even easier set of job duties than preaching Marxism at hungover undergrads, and of course once you’re on that G pay scale, guaranteed lifetime employment, all for the low low price of some union dues and a pledge to vote Democrat forever (and bring three or four of your deceased relatives to the polls with you). So, you know, the same deal as getting tenure. Being a quasi-numerate sort of guy, I’d rather work 20 hours a week for $1K than 80 hours a week for $2K. And that’s just delivering mail! Imagine what a “diversity outreach coordinator,” GS-15, pulls down.

That’s what I’m telling my kids to shoot for. Of course, I’m also teaching them to stash every penny away, learn survival skills, and get ready to bug out to a less insane country when the shit starts coming down the road at a decent clip, but I’m paranoid that way. Most bourgeoisie aren’t, but hey, that’s their lookout. They still know that getting a government job will keep the wolf from the door a few years longer, and until that doesn’t apply anymore, the revolution will not be televised.

The Majesty of Royalty

Nicholas II, Charles I, Louis XVI… pick your deposed monarch. If you look at history with a jaundiced eye, you have to wonder: how did ANY of these guys survive as long as they did?

When asked “why was so-and-so deposed?,” different groups give different answers. Historians start looking for “root causes” — Charles I didn’t accept the new commercial ethos of the Puritan middle class; Nicholas II tried to rule as an autocrat through an all-but-medieval bureaucracy, etc. History Channel specials focus on personalities — that Richard III sure was a bastard, wasn’t he?

But forget about all that for a sec, and just focus on the situation. People actually fought for these guys, even though slitting, say, Henry VI’s throat would’ve been the easiest thing in the world. The lords who did all these loons’ heavy lifting on the battlefield could’ve crowned themselves king with — at worst — no more of a fight than the civil war they were already fighting on behalf of their drooling halfwit king. Why didn’t they?

It’s the culture, stupid. Think of English Bob’s “why not shoot a President?” speech in that great old Western Unforgiven: “At the mere sight of royalty, one’s hand would shake as if palsied!” One doesn’t kill a king because…. one doesn’t kill a king, even if that means meekly going to the chopping block or into exile like so many Howards before.

Your rebel lord, in other words, is just some guy. The peasants may hold him in awe, but his fellow aristocrats don’t — peers maneuvering to ruin each other was the national sport of every court in the Middle Ages, in their brief breaks between trying to kill each other on the battlefield. Very few kings got shanked, even when it was in everyone’s obvious best interest (e.g. the Hundred Years’ War, which would’ve been about 75 years shorter if someone had just slipped Jean II some tainted snails).

This is a lesson our wannabe-aristocrats in the political elite should ponder. As the Z Man points out re: Hillary Clinton, she’s not in it for the ego-stroke; she’s in it for the money. But the Clintons are arrivistes, the 21st century equivalent of hustling rubes from the sticks who bought their patents of nobility from an addled old monarch who found them almost as useful as they were amusing. While being a titled court jester suits Bill just fine — he’s a poonhound who only cares about droit de siegneur — Hillary’s got a hole in her soul that no amount of money will ever fill. She certainly thinks she’s in it for the money, as she has understandably confused money with security and above all prestige… but she’s wrong, as she will find out to her great dismay should she win the Presidency. Even if the King is a drooling halfwit, he’s still the King, and she’s not, and never will be. We can only hope she doesn’t set the world ablaze trying to avoid that lesson.

Or the related lesson, which is that once the Majesty of Royalty is revealed to be a “social construction” — ponder that deliciously postmodern phrase for a sec — deposing monarchs gets to be something of a habit. Look at all those Roman emperors who barely had time to slip on the purple toga before getting shanked by their Praetorian guard. Wilhelm II was ousted in favor of some lawyers; a grubby bald professor-wannabe had the last Czar killed almost as an afterthought; El Sleazo Caudillo del Momento always gets it from some playboy junior officer who can barely zip his own pants.

Legitimacy is built on symbols. The process takes decades, if not centuries. But it’s gone in an instant.

If It were True…

Being a natural contrarian, I like to play little what-if games in my head.  And when everyone keeps telling me that a matter of opinion is actually a matter of fact, those what-if games go into overdrive.  So:  Everyone keeps telling me that the election is over; Hillary’s only dilemma now is whether to pull her starters, or run up the score.  If that were true….

…well, for one, I’d expect you could fit your average Trump rally in a gas station bathroom.  Americans don’t like a loser, and Trump has lost so badly that the WaPo says even Georgia (speaking of running up the score) might go Democrat this year.  But as the Z Man points out, that’s not true — Trump’s rallies are still yuuuge, and even the media toadies have to admit it.  Hmmm.

But hey, maybe those rallies are just the die-hard remnant, the no-hopers, the Götterdämmerungers who see two umlauts in Götterdämmerung and think that’s so fuckin’ metal, they just gotta check it out.  You know, gap-toothed hillbillies who have grabbed a pussy or two in their time, of either the blood-relative or farm-animal variety.  Maybe Hillary is too classy a dame to rub it in, but we know the media are shameless — I’d expect pictures of every Trump rally, of whatever size, to be nothing but Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.

And as every college football fan knows, the fourth quarters of blowouts are also auditions.  That’s when you let the hotshot sophomores get in a few snaps against someone other than the scout team.  Politics is no different.  If it were a blowout, I’d expect a whole bunch of thumbsucking op-eds about “setting the priorities for Hillary’s first hundred days” by earnest young bootlickers trying to score an administration job.  I don’t read the Media, so somebody clue me in — lots of those every day now, am I right?

And speaking of losers, you’d think the rats would be abandoning ship right about now.  Maybe Trump’s senior people will commit seppuku with him, since Hillary is certain to sic the IRS on them (if not the FBI or a drone), but what about all the junior-level folks?  Hillary has wars to start; she can’t be bothered with going after every lowly footsoldier from the Trump campaign.  Certainly lots of these folks are Nuremberging up right about now?  “I was just following orders, comrade, but I know lots of dirt; let’s cut a deal.”

As I say, I don’t read the Media.  Maybe all this is happening, and I’m living in my own little bubble out here.  Five Regular Readers, you wanna clue me in?

“The Most Useful Room in the House is the Toilet”

I’m hardly the first guy to point out that Liberals are, at heart, curdled Romantics. But it’s worth re-emphasizing, as it sheds some light on their peculiar psychology as they get crazier and crazier this election season.

Romanticism celebrated individualism and the beauty of nature. It rejected the present and looked to the past, especially the medieval and epic past, for inspiration. It was a rejection of Enlightenment universalism and the mechanization of life that was just over the horizon in the nascent Industrial Revolution.

Fast forward fifty years, and Romanticism is untenable. The machines won. The new artistic movements, then — aestheticism, Decadence, the whole dog’s breakfast called “Modernism”— had to reject the entire past in favor of abstraction. “Art for art’s sake,” was this movement’s motto.

Théophile Gautier didn’t actually say “art for art’s sake,” but it’s an accurate summary of his position. Beauty, Gautier said, is useless — if it has practical value, then it fulfills a need, which beauty by definition doesn’t do:

There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man’s needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the toilet.

See what I mean about “curdled Romantics?” The Liberal considers himself a fearless individualist, fighting the twin forces of Conformity and Capitalism on behalf of his fellow man. But…. his fellow man is disgusting. His fellow man is a money-grubbing philistine — les bourgeois, Gautier would say, which is literary French for “redneck.” Like as not, your average Liberal’s fellow man spent most of high school shoving him in a locker. Hence Liberals’ well-known tic of loving The People but hating people. What can you do?

There are only two options when the souls you’ve set out to save turn your stomach. You can embrace the gutter, which was the preferred method of the old-school Commies. They pretended there was nothing more to life than bread, shoes, and shit — give the prole three hots, a cot, and a toilet, and he’s got everything he will ever need. This is why pictures of female Bolsheviks can be used to terrify small children — stone-faced creatures with bowl haircuts, wearing shapeless sacks and clodhopper shoes, always ready with a pamphlet about birth control but rarely in contact with soap.

The other method, which was Gautier’s method, and the SJW’s, is to aestheticize your disgust. For Gautier, the only true art was useless. The SJWs fetishize useless people. They love trannies, for instance, because they’re so elaborately, determinedly bizarre. SJW’s love “victims” because “victims” have nothing else in the world to do but come up with ever-weirder iterations of their pathologies. Like Gautier’s true art, they’re completely useless — by design.

And, of course, there’s still the off-chance that one of them will be sufficiently revolting to epater les bourgeois, which was Gautier’s other goal in life. And as there are fewer and fewer bourgeois left to skewer — thanks to the success of Liberal policies — that becomes ever more important.

Ain’t art grand?