As we’ve noted, universalism works well in a revolutionary situation, but the hate it generates — no matter how well “otherized” — tends to come back and bite you. That’s because hate is not an abstract emotion. It has to be released every now and again onto something tangible…. but every time you let it off the chain, the harder it is to leash it back up. The end result is paranoia — a steep “purity spiral” that ends in chaos.
There are lots of examples. To stick with Communists for a second, you’ve got the full catalog of Stalinist and especially Maoist paranoia. Wreckers, capitalist-roaders, Right-deviationists, Left-deviationists, trade unionists, syndicalists, anarchists, Trotskyists, Bukharin, Plekhanov, Liu Shaoqi, Tito, the Gang of Four…. in short, Emmanuel Goldstein.* There’s no coming back once you start down this road — it took a few decades, but the USSR was toast after Khruschhev’s “secret speech” in 1956; Maoism after the Cultural Revolution (which was, in part, a direct reaction to the secret speech).
In case you haven’t taken a Communist History course lately — a history of Communism, I mean, not history taught by Communists, which is every history class, K-thru-PhD — you can just look around at the local nuthouse, a.k.a. any campus in America. They start with this stuff in elementary school now. Privilege. Making up your own pronouns. Cis-anything. No one is so #Woke that a rival can’t get #Woker at your expense. Remember: The first guy to stop clapping after Dear Leader gets done speaking is hauled out back and shot.
The apotheosis of this is the “rape culture” that exists on American college campuses… and absolutely nowhere else. Rotherham? Not a rape culture. Hollywood? Not a rape culture. But some drunk college guy accidentally calls his professor “Miss” instead of “your wingless golden dragonkin-ness”? That’s practically the Red Army in Prussia. Women are more socially attuned than men; therefore, they are more paranoid than men. A mostly male society (like the aforementioned Red Army) might eventually reach a weary compromise over not ratting each other out to the Authorities. A mostly female society never will. And since we’re all required to be chicks now wherever our schoolmarms have influence — which is pretty much everywhere — you get the steepening purity spiral we’re in now. Our Cultural Revolution started about the same time as Mao’s… and, I fear, will have to get much bloodier than Mao’s before it stops.
But it will stop. It has to. Ask the Chinese. Look at their solution — that’s at least part of the way to do “imagined community” right.