The Beginning of the End

In May 1942, the Japanese navy and a scratch American force fought the Battle of the Coral Sea.  At the time, the most optimistic Allied assessment called it a draw.  In hindsight, it was the beginning of the end for Japan.  Forced (as they saw it) to commit to land campaigns against both Port Moresby and Guadalcanal, they lost both, and that was the end of the Empire’s ability to project power in the South Pacific.  Three more brutal years of war would follow, but the outcome was never in doubt.

Similarly, the USSR was through from the minute Nikita Khrushchev finished his “secret speech” in 1956.  At the time, most Soviet-watchers thought the USSR was finally getting it together, eliminating Stalin’s worst excesses, tightening their control abroad, and getting set to take over the world.  To be fair, it looked that way — the Russians shocked the world a year later with Sputnik 1, and communist insurgencies were gaining ground everywhere (including a Communist country right off America’s coast in 1959.  But the Soviets were toast for all that, because Khrushchev’s speech made it obvious to anyone who was really paying attention that cults of personality, gulags, and all the rest were a feature, not a bug, of Communist governments.  Though Marx’s dharma heirs kept confidently predicting that the capitalist system would collapse any minute now under the weight of its contradictions, in practice the commies collapsed under the weight of theirs.

The interesting thing for us is what happened to the American Left after the “secret speech.”  Orthodox Marxism was dead, but no “intellectual” has ever admitted he was wrong about anything, so they went all-in — overnight — on “cultural Marxism.”  The Frankfurt School was a fringe group in the Thirties and Forties; by the end of the Fifties, though, every goodthinker in every Western university had at least thumbed a copy of Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization.  The Left went from nattering on about “forces of production” and “the dictatorship of the proletariat” to “the return of the repressed” and “anal-retentive compulsion” in the blink of an eye.

From there, it was just a short hop to Postmodernism and all the rest.  Once you’ve convinced yourself of the fundamental metaphysical Truth that there’s no such thing as fundamental metaphysical Truth — that everything up to and including gravity is “just a social construction” — it’s child’s play to argue that bearded dudes built like linebackers and hung like racehorses should be able to go weewee next to young girls.

(Yeah yeah, I know, almost nobody has heard of this stuff.  Freud was laughed out of real life long, long ago, but he’s very much alive in the ivory tower.  That “intersectionality” nonsense is the “logical” extension of the basic premises of the Frankfurt School, and the Frankfurt School ranked Freud just below Marx himself in their pantheon.  You’ll never hear this in school, of course, for the same reason fish don’t notice water).

As the Z Man points out today, the Left has just had another one of those “beginning of the end” moments. Of course they’re already circling the wagons, UFO-cult style, but just like their fathers and grandfathers after Khrushchev’s speech, a lot of Lefties have just received a mortal blow.  They can’t give up their Leftism, of course, but they really truly did believe, with all their hearts and souls, that Trump was going to prison for treason.  There’s no coming back from that.  Like the overnight transformation of the Old Left into the New Left in 1956, so the New Left will be forced to become the New New Left.  Just like the last time, it’ll happen with blinding speed — a year from now, we’ll be talking as if whatever new lunacy they decide on has been the immutable truth forever, while the old stuff will never be heard from again.

It beats my pair of jacks as to what the new idiocy will be — if I could predict it, I’d fleece those fools for all they’re worth — but I know one thing: If I were one of those aforementioned linebacker-built, racehorse-hung dudes who likes to hang out in the girls’ room, I’d be tucking it back into my pants right now.  You people were the avatars of the old lunacy, so they’ll have to unperson you with NKVD-like ruthlessness.

Comments are open – speculate away!

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9 thoughts on “The Beginning of the End

  1. MBlanc46

    1956 was also the year of the repression of the Hungarian rebellion. That was a big blow to the CPs in the West. Yet the only person I ever knew was a CPUSA member (we just thought she was a Hyde Park liberal; we didn’t know she was a Party member until her memorial service turned out to be a Party shindig) was a Hungarian immigrant. She managed to process the brutal reality of the Soviet Union. Our Leftists will be able to process of the explosion of the Russia hoax. I’m skeptical that it will cause them to miss more than a beat or two. Some of them will keep banging away on it for the remaining one + years of Trump’s term. It wouldn’t surprise me if President Harris or President O’Rourke or President Sanders will go after Trump when he’s out of office just to show that they were right after all. The Russia hioax is just a sideshow, in any case. Their real strategy us to import more nonwhites until they can impose one-party rule. No need to abandon identity grievance. It’s taken them almost to the finish line.

  2. WOPR

    I have no idea because I am unable to think like a lunatic. I would almost hazard they’ll delve into the realm of magic (Harry Potter is all they know) in some fusion of Lefty beliefs and mysticism. But, it is so outrageous I can’t convince myself of it.

  3. WOPR

    As an aside, Japanese strategy and thinking was a baffling mess during the war. They really wanted the grand battle where their fleet would crush the US Navy and they would be able to achieve a political settlement. Yet, they continuously refused total commitment when necessary.

    For instance, they had every chance at Guadalcanal to defeat the landing. Instead they danced around and got caught in a battle of attrition. That probably lost them more ships than if that had driven a fleet straight to the island and parked it there pounding away. Even the second rate Jap army could have won had they landed on top of the Marines.

    1. Pickle Rick

      They did shred the covering fleet at Savo Island. Since I’m not only a historian, but a veteran of the First Marine Division, the situation was much more complex than just “parking a fleet” off Guadalcanal. Losing four fleet carriers at Midway and getting the other two’s air groups shredded at the Coral Sea changed the strategic picture.

      I’d call the modern leftist analogy to the Japanese “end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end” at Guadalcanal and New Guinea to be their version of what the Japanese called “victory disease”. They’ve won almost everything, politically and culturally, since 1945. They got too full of hubris and the Brexit/Trump result shocked them beyond reasoning. The Japanese response was to double down on bushido.

      1. MBlanc46

        Midway really did change everything. The Japs couldn’t replace the ships and the planes and the pilots the way we could and they knew it.

      2. Severian Post author

        I agree that the Left suffer from “victory disease” — I wrote somewhere on here that the election of Bill Clinton, all the way back in 1992, was one of those seeming victories that turned out to be a defeat, in that Clinton didn’t bring Utopia like they were certain he would and they didn’t know what to do with themselves afterward. Ever since Kennedy, the Left have made their candidates into secular messiahs, and they’re always shocked and disoriented to discover that The Revolution has been postponed yet again.*

        I don’t want to stretch the analogy too far, though. The Left will no doubt double down on their version of bushido in the short term — like the man said, SJWs always double down — but in the long term, I argue, they’re holed below the waterline. It’s especially interesting as we’re going into an election year. So many of these goofs really did think they’d be going up against…. Mike Pence, I guess, or whoever survived the Great Russia Treason Trial of 2019. They really did think 2020 would be a walkover because #OrangeManBad would be in jail.

        If I’m right, look for the signal in the noise. “The noise” being their inevitable doubling down on “Barr covered it up!” etc. The signal will be shifting to the new kind of lunacy, whatever that will be. As I said, I have no idea where they go from here — not being a barking lunatic myself, I can’t predict what a barking lunatic will do. But whatever they switch to, I bet they’ll start tossing the zaniest crazies of the old dispensation overboard, even as they yell even louder in favor of Kamala Harris, AOC, and the rest of them.

        If history is any guide, we’ll know within two years at the outside. The Old Left of 1956 — the guys that did CPUSA summer schools, that organized in factories and fields, that used the words “dialectical materialism” unironically — became, by 1962, the New Left, the goofy college kids who just wanted to freak out the squares. Events move much faster now.

        *Anyone want to go back through some old newspapers and test this thesis re: Jimmy Carter? I haven’t, and I could be wrong, but I’d bet good money you could find outlets like NPR, The Nation, etc., having splooshing orgasms over that buck-toothed imbecile, too.

        1. Pickle Rick

          Oh, I’d consider the Left has been in the business of making their politicians into Jesus since Lincoln was deified in 1865. That time, their revolution succeeded, but they found out that once they had freed the slaves with a bayonet, they had no idea what to do with them when Utopia didn’t spontaneously arrive across the South.
          I’d consider the strategic planning and tactics of the defeated Confederacy in the period of military occupation and “Reconstruction” to be a useful guide for our own political warfare.

  4. MBlanc46

    Social constructionism does eventually butt up against the thing in itself. (We get doses of reality from the biologists almost weekly. How long will that be allowed?) There will doubtless be some change on the ideational front, if only because the newest Leader has to add his/her name to the pantheon. Marx to Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Xi Jinping Thought, etc. More importantly, as you point out, their victories never lead to paradise on Earth. To borrow a phrase from Heartiste, their rationalization hamsters have to work overtime. I’m as certain as I am that my name is Monsieur Blanc that multicultural (read nonwhite) America will fall far short of paradise also. (My money is on hellhole.) What happens next, I also know not. Doubtless heads will roll (at least metaphorically) as they search for the betrayers of the Revolution. It matters little to me because I won’t be there. You apparently have a few more decades ahead of you than I have, so to you it’s a question with a potentially knowable answer. If by some chance we should meet in Hades in about 2050, please let me know how things stand.

    1. Severian Post author

      That’s one upside to Our Thing — it’ll be fun finally meeting each other, either in the reeducation camp or in Hades. Be sure to wear your white Boss cap.

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