I love George Orwell. But I can never forget that he was a Socialist, which meant that, when the chips were down, he was cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Here he is, in The Road to Wigan Pier, discussing the typical Left-wing attitude of his time toward the British Empire:
Every left-wing ‘intellectual’ is, as a matter of course, an anti-imperialist. He claims to be outside the empire-racket as automatically and self-righteously as he claims to be outside the class-racket… [but] in the last resort, the only important question is. Do you want the British Empire to hold together or do you want it to disintegrate? And at the bottom of his heart no Englishman…does want it to disintegrate. For, apart from any other consideration, the high standard of life we enjoy in England depends upon our keeping a tight hold on the Empire, particularly the tropical portions of it such as India and Africa. Under the capitalist system, in order that England may live in comparative comfort, a hundred million Indians must live on the verge of starvation–an evil state of affairs, but you acquiesce in it every time you step into a taxi or eat a plate of strawberries and cream.
The alternative is to throw the Empire overboard and reduce England to a cold and unimportant little island where we should all have to work very hard and live mainly on herrings and potatoes. That is the very last thing that any left-winger wants. Yet the left-winger continues to feel that he has no moral responsibility for imperialism. He is perfectly ready to accept the products of Empire and to save his soul by sneering at the people who hold the Empire together.
And yet, Orwell thought “[social] class-breaking,” as he called it, not only could happen, but would happen — that his fellow Englishmen, Left and Right, would choose a herrings-and-potatoes life, if only they were sufficiently informed about social conditions in the Raj!
Karl Marx was far less sanguine, and far more sanguinary: He knew that social classes would never break without Revolution, and that the Revolution would produce, of necessity, a new type of human being — one that is perfectly content with herrings and potatoes so long as no peasant in Hyderabad ever goes to bed hungry.
Marx got the diagnosis right. His prescription was wrong, because human beings don’t work like that (and there is no such thing as Spirit, History, and the rest of the Capital Letter Stuff that is Marx’s real philosophy). But he nailed the fact that conflicts between social classes are the drivers of history, small-h. Looking to Marx for political insight is like going to one of those bird mask-wearing medieval plague doctors to treat your head cold. He’ll spot the problem straight off, but he’ll want to bleed you and make you wear a poultice of sheep rectum or something to cure it.
Bad guys, in other words, get things right all the time. Adolf Hitler well understood liberal democracy’s hedonism problem, and here again, Orwell said it best:
Hitler…knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life…. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.
Like Marx, Hitler got the diagnosis right, but his prescription was equally barmy. His (and Himmler’s) big idea for the post-victory Reich was a network of autobahns linking what were essentially medieval castle towns all across the former USSR. The Waffen-SS was designed specifically for the role of warrior-peasants farming the Ukraine. Think of the Teutonic Knights, but with tanks and jet aircraft — that’s what the Wehrbauern were supposed to be. Like Orwell with his English Socialists, the Nazi leadership seemed to believe that the proper National Socialist consciousness would prompt people to give up the comforts of a globe-spanning slave empire to go dig in the dirt in the ass end of Lithuania.
The question for us is: Have our modern day bad guys gotten it right this time?
Soros et al seem to believe — and lots of folk in Our Thing seem to concur, if comment sections are any guide — that modern techno-feudalism has produced a new kind of human being. Bread and circuses couldn’t keep the Roman plebs suppressed for ever, this line of belief goes, but Augustus et al didn’t have iCrap. The carrot of constant ego-validation on Facebook, combined with Facebook’s constant suppression of badthink, has produced a proletariat too fat, lazy, and stupid to do anything other than “work” just enough to keep consuming. We social media-sotted “workers” are like the Capitalists in Lenin’s famous quote, except that instead of selling the ropes by which we will be hanged, we buy the chains by which we will be forever enslaved.
I don’t buy it, and as proof, I give you the “Antifa” themselves. I’ve written about this before, many times, but if you haven’t been on campus recently (or at all), I really can’t convey to you just how nice everything is. I stand by my hyperbole, because it’s really not too much of an exaggeration:
There is no nicer, safer, cushier existence than that found on a college campus. There never has been, not once, not in all human history. The great Ozymandias would trade half his empire for an air conditioned dorm room and all-you-can-eat sushi at the student union; he’d trade the other half for a MacBook Pro and free wifi.
I’m a middle aged, upper-middle-class White guy. I live a life chock full of “privilege.” But I’d trade it all to be a 19 year old college kid again, because thanks to student loans, an on-demand culture that caters to students exclusively, and the continuing stupidity of upper-middle-class parents, 19 year old college kids live way better than I do. Half the cars on campus are nicer than mine, the other half are way nicer, and the kids all carry about my month’s paycheck’s worth of stuff just on their persons. iPhones, Mac Books, top of the line fashion, $200 Ugg boots, $300 watches that don’t even tell time…. But hell, I’d trade all that just for the sheer, glorious irresponsibility of it all. College kids know nothing, because they’re required to know nothing; do nothing, because they can’t be made to do anything. Failed the exam? Just go nag the professor until he changes your grade, and if he won’t, keep nagging up the chain — someone will change it, because the customer is always right (and if all else fails, by definition you’ve got at least one Victim Card to play). It’s heaven.
And yet, these are the most miserable critters in captivity. They have everything, they’re required to do nothing…. and they’re out rioting in the streets, because President Trump’s tweets make them feel bad. They’ve got their own fucking pronouns, for Christ’s sake, that they can change at will. If anyone should be Soros’s New Soviet Persyns, it’s these kids. If iCrap can’t keep them happy, then there’s something wrong with the iCrap-and-iCircuses view of society.
We’d do well to figure out what it is. Western Civ depends on it.Loading Likes...