As longer-time readers no doubt recall, I liken Karl Marx to one of those bird-masked medieval Plague doctors — he sees the pathology clearly, indeed far faster and better than anyone else, but his proposed “cure” is far likelier to kill you than the actual disease. Worse, what makes Marx’s cure especially lethal is what ends up making his diagnosis essentially right: It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The proletariat is achieving class consciousness, all right — look no further than the GameStop “short squeeze” for proof. But the only reason the proles are achieving class consciousness is because the “capitalists” forced them to, just like Marx said they would. The Elite and the Bureaucracy (usually, but not always, a distinction without a difference) finally achieved class consciousness through the combination of NAFTA and the Louvre Accords. Starting around 1990, then, the Elite self-consciously embraced their role as rootless, stateless, jet-setting parasites (with the wannabe-Elites in the Media, academia, and the bureaucracies signing up for tours of duty as fart-catchers, both to bask in reflected glory and in hopes of being promoted).
In short, our “Capitalists” — really, “financial-ists” or “spreadsheet gangsters,” since they don’t actually make anything, they just bust out existing firms via debt manipulation — behave exactly as Marx described factory owners behaving all the way back in the First Industrial Revolution.
In my naivete, I used to think Marx’s ranting was hyperbole. I cited the example of Andrew Carnegie — a real bastard in his youth, who went on to be one of the world’s great philanthropists. That’s human behavior, I said, as opposed to the bloodthirsty caricature of Marx’s fantasies…. but I was wrong, comrades. Carnegie happily would’ve sold his fellow Americans down the river, just as Bezos, Gates, and the rest of the pirates-in-neckties are happily selling us down the river now. Only two things prevented it back then: one structural, one cultural.
The structural one is simply technology, and therefore uninteresting. Britain’s “free traders” — you know, the Jardine-Matheson types who started the Opium Wars for fun and profit — would’ve happily outsourced Britain’s entire industrial base to China if they hadn’t been hampered by wind speed. By the time this was technically feasible — which is about 1860, if you’re keeping score — simple inertia had taken over. They didn’t retool until they had to, at which point instant communications and modern ships… well, you know the rest. Like I said, it’s vital, but boring.
The cultural one is much more interesting. You might be tempted to say, as I did, that Jardine and Matheson were always on the lookout for #1, of course, but were sincere British patriots for all that, just as Carnegie for all his faults was an authentic American. I doubt it, comrades. I sincerely doubt it. What kept these guys in check wasn’t patriotism, or even culture. Rather, it was fear.
Back in the 19th century, you see, even the Robber Barons had to exist in roughly the same world as the Dirt People. Though they tried as hard as humanly possible to insulate themselves from the Dirt World — go ahead and google up “Newport, Rhode Island in the Gilded Age” — their society was such that they still rubbed shoulders, often literally, with Dirt People on a daily basis. Just to stick with a theme, those Newport summer mansions required a battalion of live-in servants. You can only be so disparaging to the Deplorables when they literally share a roof with you.
So, too, with the rest of their lives. Back in “the City,” you could take your private carriage from Astor Place to dinner at Delmonico’s, but there was simply no way to police even your own neighborhood, let alone the streets of Manhattan, to the standards Cloud World demands today. And while the owner and chief-of-staff at Delmonico’s (etc.) was undoubtedly too much of a lickspittle to worry about, there were always waiters and busboys and cooks and janitors and kitchen staff… filthy, just-off-the-boat Irish and Italians and Germans, most likely. In short: Then as now, New York was a huge city, population-wise, but tiny geographically — the infamous “Five Points” slum, grittily portrayed in Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York, was in Lower Manhattan.
Here’s the Wiki map. Scroll out just one click, and note that you’re just a few blocks from the financial district. The worst of the worst Deplorables, in other words, were within walking distance of Wall Street.
Nowadays, of course, the situation is much changed. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the Ivy League, but I was there, and I can assure you that (though they of course didn’t know it) I was pretty much the first Dirt Person any of those folks had ever met in their entire lives. Even the carefully curated “Diversity” is diverse in the sense that they represent a slightly different part of Manhattan, or maybe Beverly Hills or an off-stretch of Back Bay. Even the strivers’ kids from Flyover Country were, in effect, a separate caste — there aren’t too many Andover Prep-type academies in, say, Indiana, but the total-immersion SAT-prep lifestyle that type of parent arranges for their sprogs means that even the few educated at “public” schools lived as a Brahmin caste growing up. Kevin Williamson isn’t the exception among kids like this — the whole system, “enriched” pre-K thru Ivy League, is designed to produce exactly this kind of person.
In other words, thanks to modern technology and total institutional control, the “capitalist” class has made itself class-aware. And since they don’t know anyone who even knows anyone who knows a Dirt Person, what do they care? They’ll do without a second’s hesitation stuff Carnegie, Jardine, et al wouldn’t have dared in a million years, because while Carnegie, Jardine, et al actually lived with Dirt People who could murder them in their beds, the intersectional genderfluid Elite of Globohomo is entirely physically safe…
….they think. Finally, comrades, it’s that assumption of complete physical safety which has finally succeeded in pounding class consciousness into the heads of the proles. We’re all Gamers now, it seems, since the Hedge Funders have announced that, like their buddy in the White House, they’re going to do whatever the fuck they want, and what are you gonna do about it, peon?
It remains to be seen what else Karl Marx might’ve been right about… but whatever it might be, at this rate it surely won’t be long in coming.Loading Likes...