No, it’s not ignorance of history, despite what wildly overrated old fossils like Camille Paglia say. You can “know” all the history ever written, but you won’t learn a damn thing if you keep shoving it into the same tired old boxes. See, for example, the wildly overrated old fossil Camille Paglia:
“While I believe that boom-and-bust capitalism is inherently Darwinian and requires moderate regulation for the long-term greater good,” she says, “I insist that capitalism has produced the glorious emancipation of women.” They can now “support themselves and live on their own, and no longer must humiliatingly depend on father or husband.”
That’s exactly backasswards, sugar tits. Oh, capitalism “emancipated” women, all right. But that’s BAD. Nothing makes me want to take a long, hard second look at Marxism — or radical Islam — more than capitalism’s emancipation of women.
“Capitalism” is the bastard child of the Enlightenment, which was a gross error based on Western culture’s oldest, most comprehensively refuted, yet most enduring myth: That Man is the “rational animal.” Life would be so much better, everyone from Aristotle to Rousseau argued, if people simply carried on their affairs rationally. Someone like David Hume might’ve had the good grace to squirm a bit if he were forced to attend a service at one of Revolutionary France’s “Temples of Reason,” but neither he nor any of the other Enlightened could’ve objected.
Nor could any “capitalist.” All the hooey about “freedom” that has grown barnacle-like on the word “capitalism” is exactly that — hooey, eyewash, propaganda against the police-state thuggery that Marxism so obviously entails, and Marxists so fervently embraced. Stripped of all that, “capitalism” is nothing less than the Cult of Reason in action: purely rational actors, trading on objective information — information, that is, stripped of its human element. Faith, hope, charity, culture, blood and soil… none of that matters to the bottom line, so all of it has to go. To the “capitalist,” women are just labor-units and consumption-units… grossly under-utilized ones, in fact, and there’s your “emancipation of women.” Ladies, now you too are free to toil in cubicles 50 hours a week, to buy stuff that no one could possibly need…
… except that “free” isn’t quite the right word, is it? “Required” is much closer. “The Economy” needs you to make partner at the law firm, gals, and to do that it needs you to take out that hundred large in student loans, to sacrifice your prime childbearing years, to forego marriage completely, if we’re being honest. Just like it needs you to pop out that one designer, turkey-baster kid at age 40, so that there’ll be a few little consumer-units to keep the day cares (and colleges!) in business until those autistic, benzo-addicted consumer-units get around to making partner and popping one out on their own…
Other than the fact that the NKVD are all volunteers these days — check your Twitter feed! — what, exactly, is the difference between life under “capitalism” and life in a Worker’s Paradise? You, ladies — certainly including Prof. Paglia — are no more “free” to reject iCrap than Stalin’s slaves were to not use the equally-shoddy, broken-in-three-months products of Soviet industry. “Capitalism” is as antithetical to real human life than Communism ever was.
Given all that, “Socialism” seems like a decent deal.
Not only that, but “Socialism” — as it’s taught in schools, the way college kids understand it — offers not just an alternative, but a meaningful alternative. What does “capitalism” offer? If you were tempted to mutter any iteration of “freedom,” I want you to re-read the last few paragraphs fifteen more times. Then I want you to go rent a room in the nearest college town, and spend a weekend wandering around. Freedom? College kids are the freest people on earth. The entire ecosystem is devoted to them. They can watch, eat, drink, pierce, insert, or have inserted, anything, anywhere, at any time. No kink, quirk, or hang-up is so bizarre that you can’t find at least one other enthusiastic participant near you in a five-minute trawl through your smartphone.
The very word “choice” is meaningless to college kids, because things are defined by their opposites and they’ve never had anything but limitless choice. Want to know why I retired from teaching college? There were lots of reasons, of course, but by far the biggest one was this: Any time I tried to enforce the rules — stuff like “due dates” and “proper use of apostrophes” — I’d get students flooding my office hours who weren’t just mad, but bewildered. It didn’t take too many incoherently angry freshmen demanding that I change any and all class policies at their whim for me to realize that I was the first person who had ever, in their entire lives, told them “no.”
In a world like that — which is the world of pretty much every young American, from sea to shining sea — what could the word “freedom” possibly mean?
Socialism offers an identity, a goal, a sense of purpose. Sure, it’s a pointless identity and an impossible goal, but they don’t know that. How could they? Their entire “education,” K-thru-PhD, has been designed specifically to avoid them knowing it. The only other option they see is the status quo, which to them is: Take out the loans to get the degree in order to get the job, which you have to have to pay off the loans that got you the degree that got you the job. Someone like Greta Thunberg is a hero to them because she’s for something, anything, that isn’t that.
If we’re ever to get off the Internet and into the real world, Our Thing must realize how desperately hungry for purpose our young people are. They’re wrestling with a deep, pervasive nihilism, and as we know, whoever accepts nihilism always — always — flees to the biggest, most all-encompassing collectivism on offer. Right now that “Socialism,” however you want to define it. But it doesn’t have to be.
Take a page from the gamers. Set up “fetch quests,” mini-games, that kind of thing — objective statistics, complete with badges of rank. It sounds silly, but it works. Look at how the kids on the Left are killing themselves — sometimes literally killing themselves — to prove who’s the #Wokest. There’s tremendous energy there, tremendous vitality. Give them a purpose — and a way to show others they’re working towards it — and they’ll do anything you want. The Socialists understand this. Why can’t we?