I think we all generally agree with the following:
- Building a movement can be done, if the circumstances are right.
- The crisis point is fast approaching.
- Such a movement can / should be mostly non-ideological, at least at first.
The main areas of disagreement are:
- a. Whether a “movement” is premature at this stage.
- b. If / how / when to bring “ideology” into it.
- c. Will the circumstances ever be right?
In all, it beats my pair of jacks. And really, it doesn’t matter — Rotten Chestnuts is a dinky group blog with ten readers. But let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that we’re a representative cross-section of Our Thing (whatever it’s called today).
Back in the 70s, I’m told, biologists ran an experiment: What happens if you give a group of rats far more resources than they could ever possibly need, or even use? At first the rats went full Malthus, as you’d expect — furiously breeding up to the limits of their food supply. BUT: Their food supply was limitless. It wasn’t more than a few generations, then, before the fat lazy stupid rats stopped breeding, instead wasting their days in idle squabbling. A few more generations, and there were no more generations; the rat colony that existed under ideally fecund conditions effectively committed suicide.
The overwhelming impression I get of Our Thing — again, assuming for the sake of argument that we ten are representative — is of resignation. Far from raging against the dying of the light, we’re closing the curtains and locking the doors on the way out. We — all of us, the West, human beings in general — are those rats. We had a good run, but in the end, the jungle shall always reclaim the clearing. We were fucked all the way back in 1965 — we (or our parents, or our grandparents) should’ve hung Hart and Celler from the nearest lampposts, but we (they) didn’t, and now it’s too late. But even then it wouldn’t matter — even if the Marching Morons weren’t morons, they’d still kill the goose that laid the golden egg, because morons are humans too.
Indeed, it’s not the morons who landed us here. Hart and Celler were bright guys, but they were just the point men in a centuries-old process. To get revenge on the real culprits, you’d have to hang every doctor, every materials scientist, every computer engineer, every bond trader, every industrialist, every physicist, every chemist — everyone who brought us this nice, cushy, safe, resource-rich world that we apparently find so intolerable we’re willing to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age rather than endure it a moment longer. Hobbes was wrong — life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, all right, but apparently that’s the way we like it. What else was the English Civil War, other than a group of idle rich guys getting peeved at another group of idle rich guys over whose Magic Sky Fairy was stronger?
Like the Austrians told the Germans at the end of World War One, our situation is critical, but not serious. Cf. the author of the linked piece — Bill Kristol, captain of the S.S. Never Trump, whose taedium vitae is so terminal he’d nuke Moscow just for the lulz. This is not a serious man; the entire punditocracy, which includes Hollywood, the Media, and Academia, is a clown show, top to bottom, stem to stern. They don’t think the crocodile is going to eat them last — they don’t think at all. They just feel that, of all the ways to go, thrashing around in a reptile’s jaws would be one of the less boring.
Meanwhile, we worry about whether white hats make our butts look big, and, come the revolution what to do with, sigh, teh Jooooooos!
Fuck it, I give up. I’m halfway to slitting my wrists over a fucking thought experiment. I am not a movement-builder. I’m just a guy who reads History. If all this is obvious to me, it’s certainly obvious to the Powers That Be, where a few still-effective units get paid to think about stuff like this. And if it’s not obvious to most people out there in Internet-land, well, what more proof do you need? We’re fucked. QED.