Though the extent of domestic terrorism in the 1960s and 70s is, of course, whitewashed by the Media, the fact remains that America doesn’t really have an “underground” tradition. That’s because our radicals don’t mess around with the underground — they simply co-opt existing political parties. You’ll never see Andrew Jackson called “the American Pugachev,” for example, but that’s pretty much what he was, and what he would’ve been anywhere else. Carl Schurz fled Germany one step ahead of the police, only to become the ideologist of the so-called “Liberal Republicans,” as radical a crew as you’d find in the mid-19th century (after a stint as a general in the Civil War). Barack Obama, of course, was an honest-to-God communist back in his days, who hung out with the actual revolutionary terrorists you’ll never read about in History class.
That being the case, we Americans are painfully deficient in underground fieldcraft. Compare and contrast: That “Unite the Right” mess in Charlottesville, which got a bunch of people discredited (and imprisoned!) and basically killed any hope of a viable “dissident” party; vs. the success of the Bolsheviks, who had Okhrana agents high in their ranks (including, it’s increasingly clear, Comrade Stalin). Now, obviously no one is seriously advocating revolution here — all of this is just a series of observations about History. Indeed, we all assume that anyone actually advocating real-world action is a Fed (that’s the one piece of fieldcraft we’ve got). But there’s a lot of room between “mainstream politics” and “hello, fellow dissidents!”, and that wide open space is perfect for grifters, scammers, and frauds.
I’m not going to speculate here on which one is which. For one thing, I’m about as offline as it’s possible for someone interested in dissident “politics” to be. The comments on Z Man’s piece about carnies are utterly inside-baseball to me. I neither know nor care, for example, what “TRS” is. What does interest me, though, is the psychological progression of even the most mildly successful dissident. From the comments:
What I’ve noticed about the leading dissidents in this culture war is that they all promote the cause first, and themselves second. The grifters have that the other way around.
A good observation, that, but I wonder how it holds up historically. Because as everyone who has studied these things even briefly knows, no one hates The People more than their self-proclaimed vanguard. It’s the revolutionary’s dilemma, and that should probably be capitalized — The Revolutionary’s Dilemma — because just as every successful demagogue quickly becomes contemptuous of those swayed by his demagoguery, so every successful ideologist soon comes to hate the idiots who can’t understand The Theory, and so keep doing counterrevolutionary things.
This feeds the Revolutionary’s self-regard. As Z Man points out, all con men instinctively feel themselves to be a combination of avenging angel and persecuted victim. The rubes deserve to get hustled — since, after all, the Big Con rests on the victim’s own greed — and therefore those who try to stop con men from hustling are trying to stop cosmic justice from being done. So it is with successful revolutionaries. The People being dumb, greedy, shortsighted opportunists — in short, Reactionaries — they deserve whatever punishment the Revolutionary decrees for them, since they’re too stupid to get with the program.
One suspects that happened with some of the more obvious grifters. Why not sell the rubes brain juice and comic books, when they — the rubes — seem so eager to buy anything that doesn’t have the Mainstream Media seal of approval?
The only way to keep would-be grifters in line is in person. Guys like Lenin and Hitler learned about Revolution in the hardest school. When you’re surrounded by guys like Trotsky and Himmler — some of the coldest, most ruthless sumbitches ever to draw breath — you learn real fast or end up dead. Revolution is a contact sport. No harm, no foul….
…and that applies equally in reverse: No foul, no harm. Everyone who comments on dissident blogs is certain that if he’s ever outed, it’s the end of the world — his employer will fire him, his bank will cancel his accounts, his ISP will kick him off the Internet. And yet, so many of the massively online people in Our Thing have no problem getting PayPal to handle their transactions, or Blogger to host their blogs. The penalties for thoughtcrime are harsh indeed, and yet, some of the biggest thought criminals are unpunished….
Either way, we’ll never know, because we never see each other. That’s the way it has always worked in America. Talkers don’t do, and doers don’t talk. Clown show oppressors like the Okhrana never got that, which is why even their successful infiltrations were, in the end, counterproductive — the only way to turn talkers into doers is to make talking itself a political crime. In America, we let the talkers talk all they want, all the while co-opting the few doers who make themselves known. Given the Revolutionary’s Dilemma, it’s not hard — since their own success makes them prone to despising the suckers anyway, just give them a little nudge. No one’s around to call them on it — that’s what comment moderation’s for.Loading Likes...