Building an Imagined Community, Part 2

“Universalism” — the idea that we’re all exploited proletarians together, comrade — works great for social control in a revolutionary situation.  Sure, sure, people are going to pursue their own individual vendettas, but even that has a legitimating effect for the regime — murdering someone for “counterrevolutionary crimes” acknowledges that “the revolution,” which means “the ruling junta,” is the ultimate source of authority.  Best of all, once the initial violence dies down, you’ve got a whole group of people — the apparatchiks — who owe everything to the new universalist order and thus are the most loyal drones/snitches you’ll ever have.

The problem, though, is hatred.

Not hate in itself, of course; commies love that.  No truer, nor more vicious, judgment has ever been passed on Socialism than Henry Hazlett’s one-sentence summary:

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others.

Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects — his laziness, incompetence, improvidence or stupidity. Never believe in the honesty or disinterestedness of anyone who disagrees with you.

This basic hatred is the heart of Marxism. This is its animating force. You can throw away the dialectical materialism, the Hegelian framework, the technical jargon, the “scientific” analysis, and millions of pretentious words, and you still have the core: the implacable hatred and envy that are the raison d’etre for all the rest.

See also: Any SJW.  There’s nothing to them but hate.  The problem, from an imagined community standpoint, is that such indiscriminate hate fairly obviously contradicts the fundamental premise of utopian universalism, that we’re all brothers under the skin (Soviet propaganda used to bang constantly on the plight of the poor American Negro under Jim Crow, for instance).  You’ve got to direct the hate, to channel it; you’ve got to train people to hate on command.  It’s not something all of us can rise to.  Again, see any SJW — it took many, many years of very expensive training (called “the American educational system, K-thru-B.A.”) to make them like that.

Worse: Even if you succeed, you fail, since the kind of guy who can hate on command is also the kind of guy who ends up a minor Party functionary, i.e. an apparatchik.  Again, imagine rule by SJWs.  Not just the clowns on the Supreme Court or in Congress; i mean rule.  As in, every single person who has any authority over you, from the supermarket checkout lady on down, is a blue-haired nose-ringer who grills you ruthlessly for badthought before maybe, kinda sorta, and always grudgingly, allowing you to go about your daily business.  That’s life under New Soviet Men.  Is it any wonder that everyone in Russia was constantly drunk off his ass?

A much better method is to Otherize the hate.  “The Other,” Postcolonial Studies’ main term d’art (literary French for “question-begging crap”), is the group against which “we” define “ourselves.”  It’s the main reason WPAE (White People Are Evil) — “we” make “them” into “the Other,” which somehow justifies everything “we” do to “them.”  The Postcolonial Studies people are, of course, all Marxists, and insofar as you can decipher their gobbledygook it’s a good example of the technique.  But, really, you don’t have to go read Fanon or Spivak or Said or any of the other Froggy Incomprehensibles; all you’ve got to do is look at an SJW Twitter feed.  They clearly regard us as an alien life form, to be thought-reformed or eliminated as convenience dictates.  They’ve “Otherized” us so efficiently, Lord Curzon must be getting wood in the afterlife.

So long as you don’t think to closely about this — so long as you’re preoccupied with loyalty oaths and May Day parades and buying black market rice so you don’t have to eat your cat (or your neighbor) — it works pretty well.  It’s the reason all the folks in shithole countries curse America, even as they’re fleeing America-ward from their shitholes as fast as their feet will carry them.  It’s also why all the Workers’ Paradises had to have huge fences and border guards and gulags to keep the Workers in Paradise — it’s hard to keep hating The Other if you can see them for yourself, and if that happened, the hate upon which the whole system depended would naturally turn inwards, onto the apparat.  Keep the hatred simmering, but keep the steam wafting the other way.

This isn’t the ideal way of doing things, obviously, but it has some real short-term advantages… and who, in The Current Year, is capable of thinking past the weekend?  The hatred will land on the apparat eventually — see “Soviet Union, current nonexistence of” — but three quarters of a century is a pretty good run.  It’s about the current American life expectancy, and for a people who can’t think past the weekend, posterity — such as it is with sub-replacement-level fertility — is a meaningless abstraction.

If I were a betting man, then, I’d wager on the Democratic Party getting back to that Old Time Marxist Religion here very shortly.  They’ll have to get the American-born Blacks back onside — a tough sell after 50 years’ worth of Critical Race Theory — but, all evidence to the contrary, Maxine Waters et al ain’t stupid.  Joe Crowley was next in line for Nancy Pelosi’s seat, and he lost to a Recent-American.  Continuing loyalty to identity politics will mean the end of their identities as politicians, and they won’t be having that.  Bernie Sanders had the right idea: Dust off the Eugene V. Debs playbook and run a few sweeps Left.  Most of the Democratic Old Guard remembers the 1980s, when right-wing nativist maniac Ted Cruz would’ve been right at home in their party.  Recast themselves as the People’s Champions, decry the foreign parasites swarming over the border to take The Workers’ jobs, and there you go.

Their rank-and-file are increasingly unhinged SJW lunatics, but cf. what happened to Bernie Sanders in 2016 — the real wire-pullers are old white dudes who still have Che Guevara shirts from the 1970s hanging in their closets.  Sanders himself is too old (and too damaged goods) to run in 2020, but I’d keep an eye out for a “dynamic young labor leader” to start making headlines here pretty soon.  They’ll probably make him Black, of course, or even Hispanic — got to throw a bone to the envelope-stuffers — but he’ll be as Establishment as the best of them (Harvard, Yale Law, with some tenuous connection to a Rust Belt industry).

Or, you know, maybe they’ll go full retard.  I’ve been way more wrong than right with my predictions.  All I know is, there’s a better way than this….

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3 thoughts on “Building an Imagined Community, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Let's Review 98: Living at the Zenith of America - American Digest

  2. Cynyr

    “They’ll probably make him Black … but he’ll be as Establishment as the best of them (Harvard, Yale Law, with some tenuous connection to a Rust Belt industry). -see Obama, Barack H.

    I enjoyed this essay. (I got here from Vanderleun) I’ll read more.

    1. Severian Post author


      Obama was in a lot of ways a trial run for this kind of thing. An inadvertent trial run, as they were still all-in on multi-culti back in 2008. They really did think that a black-skinned, but otherwise lily-white, nonentity like Obama would weld the coalition together for the foreseeable future. Instead, all it did was angry up the Ethnics: “if that honky-acting mofo can be president, then what’s stopping us real etc.”

      They need to find themselves a guy who looks like Barack Obama and talks like Eugene Debs.

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