Karl Marx was right about a lot of things, actually — class conflict being the biggest. He was even right about the “law of increasing immiseration,” for a certain value of “immiseration” — it’s spiritual, not material. The Frankfurt School saw this (scroll down at the link); that’s one of the reasons they asserted that capitalism makes you crazy. That was the Frankfurt Schoolers’ recurring nightmare, that the kind of “state capitalism” Lenin warned about would forestall the Revolution forever.
Which is hilarious if you think about it, because it’s the Left who are all in on State Capitalism these days, and the guys in Our Thing — the “Right,” for lack of a better term — who insist on the spiritual necessity of revolution.
Turns out Marx was right about that, too: First time as tragedy, second as farce.
The problem with any all-encompassing social theory, though, is that it assumes present trends will continue. Karl Marx was born in 1818 — just three years after Waterloo. The Industrial Revolution was still in its infancy, so the “proletariat” really was being immiserated at an ever-increasing rate. The great event of Marx’s early adulthood was the Year of Revolutions,1848. It doesn’t wash the blood of millions off his hands, but it’s at least understandable that he thought world events really were breaking his way. By the time of his death (1883) it was clear that a lot of his ideas were, if not fully wrong, then at least in need of serious modification… but by that time “Marxism” had very little to do with Karl Marx.
That’s where there’s room for hope, comrades. And we need it, because present trends are looking very, very bad for us.
Starting from the top: All previous political commentary assumed that the State has some hard limits. The least-contentious definition of “sovereignty,” for instance, is “monopoly on the legitimate use of force,” which implies that the ruled can always resort to illegitimate force against their rulers. This seems to be the default assumption in Our Thing, too — the “molon labe, motherfuckers!” crowd clearly see themselves as the Wolverines from Red Dawn, taking the battle to Incitatus Ocasio-Cortez and the few lickspittles in the security forces that will follow her. They point to the success of Afghani goatherds against our troops…
… but they never acknowledge that our troops are 10,000 miles away from home, fighting under rules of engagement that make Johnson’s Vietnam ROE look like a how-to guide for the Waffen-SS. And they certainly never acknowledge the reason our ROE are so restrictive:
That’s the fundamental limit on state power. Had the British generals in Boston been able to get the word out in time and actually catch the rebels at Lexington and Concord, there’d have been no American Revolution. If King Charles had been on Twitter and got the word about the London arsenals before Parliament did, the English Civil War would’ve been over before it started. Pretty much every single Roman civil war can be traced back to some commander out in the boonies with too much time on his hands. Put the Emperor on Skype, and we’d still be sacrificing to the Cult of Divine Augustus.
Our guys in Trashcanistan know that every single thing they do is potentially on the net, live, in real time. See, for example, Obama watching the “get bin Laden” mission. He had the technical capacity to call it off almost to the minute the choppers crashed. How long does it take a scrambled electronic signal to reach Islamabad from DC? That’s your window for independent action.
Now apply that to the United States. If the government wanted to blast me for wrongthink, how much time would I have? How long does it take for the computer to see I’ve hit “publish” on this little screed, identify a drone asset in the vicinity, and relay the order? Five seconds? Ten? Then calculate the flight time of the cruise missile from wherever it was launched. That’s my lifespan, should the State decree it so. Maybe six, seven minutes, would you say?
How many dronings do you think it’ll take to cow the populace? Molon labe indeed. Remember, the government’s spin can go out in real time, too. Sure, sure, they can convene a blue ribbon commission to “investigate” just why I was that I got droned. They can even “punish” someone for icing a US citizen without due process. In the meantime, though, the video of my house getting blown to smithereens is on every computer in the entire world, instantly. How’s that going to work out, Wolverines? “Gosh, it turns out it was all a great big misunderstanding. I’m sure we can trust Space Command not to do it again.”
That’s if present trends continue, of course. So long as nothing happens to the communications infrastructure, we’re pretty much screwed.Loading Likes...