Sorry no update lately. A few quick thoughts on The Z Man’s foray into the Nazi briar patch:
Just as “Nazi” used to mean something real and obvious, so too did “Marxist.” But just as the Left throws “Nazi” around to mean “anything I don’t like,” so the Right does with “Marxist.” Of course, this is partly the Left’s own fault, as they themselves throw St. Karl’s name around a lot — your required Intro to Studies class at any college in America is nothing but Marxy Marx and the Funky Bunch, for instance.
But there’s never been a viable Marxist movement in America. You’d be forgiven for thinking there was if you only read “Progressive” history — which is to say, all academic history written since about 1950 — but it’s wrong. There are many groaning shelves’ worth of books about labor organizing in the Gilded Age, for example, but
- a) that’s about as far as it ever got, and
- b) it wasn’t that far, and
- c) when you actually look at their evidence, it’s all Judean People’s Front vs. People’s Front of Judea-type tempests in teapots.
In fact, that’s still the burning question for Labor History, lo these many decades later — why was there no viable Marxist movement in America? (And yes, “Labor History” is a thing, and yes, it’s as insufferable as it sounds). The answer, of course, is “because Americans, lacking 1500 years of feudal tradition, don’t think of themselves in class categories,” but that must be wrong, because Marx. So round and round it goes, the only practical effects being: C. Wright Mills‘ books still get on required reading lists in college history classes, and there are some grumpy old men named “Melsor” out there. The guys who originally pushed this stuff were the “Old Left,” and they’re deader than disco.
The “New Left,” as everyone knows, were the Sixties radicals. They talked a lot about Marx, too, but their real inspiration was Herbert Marcuse, who said you could screw your way to Enlightenment (and liberate the proles in the process). Since that required a lot of force — human biology being what it is, and Leftists being the losers they are — the New Left was also all-in on Mao’s style. They were, if anything, even more economically illiterate than the Old Left (if such a thing be possible), but they didn’t care; they just knew they had to say “Marx” every now and again to keep up their street cred.
Which brings us to the PoMo Left, a.k.a. the Social Justice Warriors. Their avatar is Barack Obama, who, as the Z Man points out, probably can’t even spell “Marx.” They’re just old-school Calvinists cosplaying as Bolsheviks — somewhere, somehow, Wrongfans are having Wrongfun, and that must not be tolerated. And if they get to live like Ottoman pashas in the process, well, vanguard of the proletariat and all that. There’s no such thing as a Fact, everything’s a Social Construction, nobody’s different from anybody and everyone’s the best at everything, and if you say different, we’ll ruin your life.
Karl Marx has the blood of millions on his hands, but he never said anything that stupid. Blaming him for SJWs is like blaming the first ape to bash another ape with a rock for ICBMs.