Back in the 19th century, Marxism billed itself as science. That was its appeal — 19th century science, especially physics and Darwinian biology, was destroying the old certainties. You even had guys like Ernst Mach — a heavyweight scientist, for whom the speed of sound is named — arguing that ideas themselves evolve organically, much like organisms do. The old world was dead; the old certainties were gone; what could be over the horizon? Karl Marx pretended to know, with scientific certainty (yes, even back then they “fucking loved science”).
In a world where every day brought news of another of life’s certainties being overthrown by some egghead in a lab, Marxists’ dogmatic certainty kept them grounded. That’s why so many confused young people were Marxists. As Orwell observed back in the 1930s,
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
Marx said there is nothing but stuff in the world. Material possessions. Marx said that the old certainties were all lies, designed to keep The People from demanding more stuff. Rejigger life’s material arrangements, he said, and we shall have social Utopia, just as the fruit-juice drinkers etc. shall, by rejiggering their biochemical arrangements, have physical utopia.
Then a funny thing happened: World War II. We won, and all of a sudden an unimaginable level of material prosperity was available to everyone. Nobody has involuntarily gone to bed hungry in America since about 1957, and it was soon obvious that Orwell’s Socialist dream of the 1930s was the Capitalist reality of the 1960s — those Wigan Pier miners all had clothes, shoes, three hots and a cot, and the National ‘Ealf….
…. and they still weren’t happy, any more than the Baby Boomers were, though warm and safe and full and secure on their local college campus. But instead of concluding from all this that man does not live on bread (and socialized “healthcare”) alone — because that would entail that their parents had been right all along — they concluded that Racism was the cause of all their badfeelz. How can you enjoy yourself, even with free love and righteous bud, while poor Negroes aren’t voting in Mississippi? So they engineered the Great Magic Party Switch of 1964, passed the Civil Rights Act, and a funny thing happened: They still weren’t happy. Must be Vietnam. So they ended that….
…..and they still weren’t happy, just as they weren’t happy with second-wave Feminism, New Age spirituality, gay rights, animal rights, fruit-juice drinking, nudism, sandal-wearing…
The problem with all these things is: There’s no certainty. No end state. At least in the old, horrible, racist-sexist-homophobic-whatever world of a century ago, you knew what you were, and had your place in the world. Here’s Orwell again, on the “radicals” of the interwar years:
The first thing that must strike any outside observer is that
Socialism, in its developed form is a theory confined entirely to the middle classes. The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years’ time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting.
We all know who those prim little men with white-collar jobs and cushy social positions are: The professors, the race hustlers and poverty pimps, the flunkies of the Big Government Uniparty, who preach the wonders of Diversity from behind the ramparts of the whitest, tightest gated community they can find. Focus on the others, the youthful snob-Bolsheviks. Do they sound familiar?
A Marxist student group at Swarthmore College disbanded itself earlier this year after realizing that its members were too rich and too white to be real commies.
According to screenshots confidentially provided to Campus Reform by an individual with access to the group’s private Facebook page, the demise of the Swarthmore Anti-Capitalist Collective (SACC) came in the wake of a farewell letter from a member who had decided the group could never be an effective proponent of “unproblematized anticapitalist politics” due to its “history of abuse, racism, and even classism.”
“From my understanding SACC disbanded because they realized the makeup and tactics of their group was at odds with their espoused principles,” Swarthmore Conservative Society President Gilbert Guerra told Campus Reform. “Their main support base was middle-upper class white kids who enjoy jogging.” . . .
Arguing that “low-income people of color should never be an afterthought in a group whose politics supposedly focus on their liberation,” the author [of the letter disbanding the group] then went on to accuse SACC of having a “history of abuse, racism, and even classism that was never adequately addressed or recognized despite constantly being brought up as an issue.”
“A history of abuse, racism, and even classism” is just a list of buzzwords. The badfeelz must be coming from somewhere, because it certainly can’t be us! We’re the good ones. We’re against racism, “classism” (whatever that can possibly mean in a country where our poor people drop dead from diabetes and obesity-induced coronaries), general whatever-ism. Like Marlon Brando said in that old movie: What are you rebelling against? What have you got?
This is the end-state of Postmodernism, which has been the reigning dogma on campus since the late 80s. As Stephen R.C. Hicks points out, Postmodernism is the only way to hold on to faith in Socialism in the face of logic, math, history, experience, and common sense. And that’s fine for professors and Uniparty flunkies — they have a place in the world. But what about the kids?
They’re told for a fact that there’s no such thing as a fact. They’re told that everything is relative, that anything and everything is a “social construction.” In other words, Social Justice seems to provide an explanation for why teenagers feel so alienated from everyone and everything. There’s Reality — that’s just how life is, circa ages 12-19 — and there’s Social Justice, and since Social Justice allows you to blame someone, anyone, for your problems, it’s no surprise they embrace it. You’re unattractive to the opposite sex? Must be patriarchy. But wait, you’re not so sure you even want to be attractive to the opposite sex? Oh, you’re asexual. But wait, you’ve got a good friend who feels the same way. Maybe you’re homosexual? Or transsexual? Whatever it is, Society made you that way. It can’t be “just the way kids are,” because that’s biology, which is Racist.
The problem is, people crave certainty. Kids — above all — want to know their place in the world. All the behaviors we used to call “being a teenager” are about finding that place. Parents, teachers, scoutmasters, Little League coaches, etc., exist primarily to provide safe venues for “rebellion.” It’s a process of differential diagnosis — “I’m not this [nerd, skater, jock, etc.], so I must be that [scout, cheerleader, goth, whatever].” Done right, the teenager learns the hard-but-not-permanently-damaging way that the old certainties exist for a reason, and that Mom and Dad were basically right about most things (adjusted for changing times).
Social Justice short circuits all that. To be an SJW, you are required to believe, simultaneously, with fanatical zeal, that
- Everyone is exactly what xzhey claim xzhey are, immutably, forever; and
- That can change without warning, in an instant, because everything is a “social construction.”
Is it any wonder they’re so screwed up?
Soon enough the snob-Bolsheviks like the ex-members of Swarthmore’s Commie Cosplay Club are going to cotton to the fact that Social Justice is a dead end. What seemed so certain in high school (or even junior high) is revealed in college to be just one more pose, one more deception, one more mask for the ideopathic “injustice” that must be the cause of all your problems. There is certainty in the Dark Side….
…which is why the Dark Side will win. Today’s SJW is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer.