This is not a post devoted to examining whether a revolution is a good idea, or even if it is a better idea than not having one (which it sometimes is, even when it’s not a good idea.)
Instead it is devoted to examining the illusions about revolution that reign in our society in large part because the Marxists believe them. And part of the reason they believe them is that it is part of their ur-myth, the idea that at the end of history you find communism, kind of like at the end of the rainbow you find a pot of gold, or more like at the end of times you find the worldwide caliphate.
Anyone doubting that Marxism is a religion need only take a close look at its myths about history and its eschatology. I grant you some of these are extra-Marx and grown by some of the stranger branches of Marxism (Feminism As She Is Practiced, for instance) but they still tend to feed back and influence the whole. Part of this, of course, is due to the fact that Marxism in its stranger branches dominates entertainment and that stories you read/watch as fiction if even mildly convincing ones over time get lodged in a place of your brain that says “I lived through this, so it has to be true.) The other part is that Marxism as practiced in this 21st century of our Lord is a “No Crazy Shall Go Unheard” (as long as they are against Western Civilization) type of ideology. And the reason for that is to be found in their myths.
This mythology pervades everything, and many people who think they’re staunch anti-communists have swallowed all or parts of it, hook, line, sinker and sometimes line and rod too. (Look at the precious poppet who came over to quote Marxists at us, while under the impression he was anti-Soviet. If he ever grows a brain, that will be one he’ll look back at ruefully.)
It is very important for us to realize where the myth comes in, what it is, and where it’s influencing our own thought, so that we can fix it. Or more likely, the way things are going, so we don’t make stupid assumptions about the crash and know what to do when it comes.
Right now the myths of Marxism/Feminism/Anti-Capitalism, most of them unexamined and not explicitly believed in the awake mind, except in college students/professors, go something like this:
In the beginning there was communism. Society was without form or shape (unless you believe it was a matriarchy, which worshipped the great goddess) except that everyone was equal (which clearly is a violation of all we know in nature and about our closest cousins. Which is why this is religion) and there was no king, no nobleman, no hierarchy.
What property there was got shared by all alike, so everyone got what they needed. There was no famine and no need. (This also does violate everything we know from pre-historic burials. Again, what is your point? It’s religion.)
This dovetails very well with the expectations in our mind, because it’s an echo of the Garden of Eden which, in some form, has been a myth in most religions and most civilizations. Perhaps the need to believe in this “we were once perfect then fell” is inherent in the construction of the human brain.
Perhaps it is a racial memory of acquiring sentience with all its complications or perhaps, more simply, it is “logical” because it reproduces our personal experience. We were once infants, who got our needs met without work or strife, and then life got complex.
For whatever reason this is one of those myths which while – at least in the Marxist version – patently false, yet occupies a niche called “sounds reasonable” in our brain.
So, in the beginning there was the perfect state, but some people weren’t happy with paradise. Now, Marxism differs from other religions in that it changes the time when the fall took place from as far back as pre-history to as recently as the Industrial Revolution. (This amuses me greatly since in any Marxist society, it’s the past that keeps changing. That was, btw, how I got my first doubts about Marxism – no, I wasn’t born knowing – by realizing that even in the same book, their views of events kept changing.)
The feminists have perhaps the most coherent description of the fall – poisonous, in that it makes them hate half the human race – but coherent. Men weren’t happy with paradise – their fable goes – because they weren’t on top. So they displaced the paradise women had wrought with their highly hierarchical and violent society, and that’s why there won’t be paradise again till we can have a world that’s all women. (In the back of my mind, I always see the women who feel a need to believe this as the very well dressed, shrinking violets of my elementary school years, who shrank in a corner, looking in horror at the little boys chasing each other and fighting. They never grew up, not fully, and men are violent and mean and have COOOTIES. – My reaction to the boys’ violent games usually meant I came home with torn dresses and my hair in a mess and mom had a hissy fit, until she gave up and started cutting down my brother’s clothes for me, including the leather knee and elbow patches.)
Then comes the description of the fall that goes that before settling and agriculture we were all healthy wealthy and wise – pardon me, I mean, of course we were all happy communitarians – but then we became sedentary and—
Do I need to tell you it’s poppycock? I probably do, since right now even serious anthropological journals buy into this. However, for the record, if that’s true it’s the first time a model that made humans more unhealthy and short lived supplanted a better model. It is, that is, highly unlikely. And besides, I’m sort of used to this myth because it’s a projection backwards of the Marxist’s favorite poppycock.
This is where in the middle ages, in an agriculture society, in the communitarian VILLAGE – this is believed by EVERYONE who hasn’t lived in a village – everyone was happy and shared and stuff. Then came the …. Cue scary music – machines and capitalism, and the disposed farmers (who, in EVERY COUNTRY, not just England, where this did happen to an extent – but only an extent. I wonder if unbiased research would see this as a reaction to flight to the city, rather than the cause of it – were dispossessed by their evil landlords ENCLOSING the common) who had to go to the city and work in inhumane conditions, upteen hours a day, till they all died, which is why the industrial revolution spread across the world, and…
I got nothing. I particularly got nothing because for the love of babies, the industrial revolution is still spreading. I saw part of it in my own childhood, and let me tell you, the only people who think life in the villages was better than in the cities, and that peasants were happier working the fields are people who have never done any agricultural work or lived in a traditional village.
Yes, the conditions in the early factories were horrible. They were just good enough – and the pay was just good enough – to attract peasants from the fields. And that’s where it is – they offered what they needed to, to be better than an existence as a peasant – and yes, peasant children worked too, sometimes from toddlerhood.
The reason Marxism embedded this idea of the industrial revolution as being forced on an otherwise ideal system is that he was an ideological descendant of the romantics, that sickly eighteenth century poetic/artistic sect who believed that the past was always better than the future. You know, they liked tombs and ancient graveyards, adored cottages, and had a highly poetic idea of the Middle Ages. The best thing they did was collect folk tales. The worst was, like most intellectuals, drinking their own ink.
Anyway, we can’t even blame him too much, unlike his followers he hadn’t seen the same industrial revolution sweep other countries like India and China.
So… That is the general myth of Marxism’s paradise and fall. Their myth of redemption centers on the concept of revolution, as crucial to them as the Flight From Egypt is to Judaism, or the Resurrection to Christianity.
The redemption myth of communism goes something like this: one day the oppressed peasants are oppressed beyond endurance, and they rise, and kill all their masters, and then – then, you get back the paradise before the (depending on the branch of the church) men took over/greedy agriculturalists settled/evil capitalists forced workers to move to the city en mass and work in their revolting machines.
Come the revolution – and make no mistake, even in Portugal, when Marxists said “Come the Revolution” they weren’t talking about that thing that happened once a month, but this Ur-revolution that brought back paradise – we shall all share and share alike, and the girls will sing songs as they weave wreaths for mayday… or something.
(It’s hard to evade the suspicions that at the back of all this were Odds gone seriously wrong and dreaming a society where they would be, if not on top, at least accepted. Since most of us have absolutely no taste for business [some of us had to learn] or unremitting labor, this sort of “like the lilly of the valley” existence sounds appealing. Few realize it’s also impossible and if it were – Thank G-d I grew up in a village and KNOW – it would be a dreadful existence.)
Because of this, in movie and novel and even in supposedly serious historical work, Marxist myths about revolutions have permeated society and made us believe a bunch of things that just ain’t so.
1- When society collapses, revolution happens and communism results. This has never happened. Not once. Even in Russia, what happened was the take over of power by people who had placed themselves to take it. Russia was in chaos and had a weak leader (which I think is what gave them this bright idea) but the takeover happened because the communists were placed to take it. They were in no way the peasants or the wretched of the Earth, but educated men with the backing of foreign powers.
2- Revolution happens when conditions become unbearable. (Or as someone said in comments, when people miss three meals in a row.) Poppycock. If this were true, North Korea would have revolted long ago, Zimbabwe would have been up in arms, and … It’s not true. As far as we can tell, revolution happens when the middle class gets tired. Which means there must be a middle class of course. In France, in England (several times) in the US, in… Every time someone rises it’s the middle class, who are missing no meals, but who are seeing their lifestyle slip and their kids’ futures diminished. You do get something – sometimes – when the main populace has missed one meal or so every other day, but what you get is the sporadic, leaderless spasms of Greece right now.
3- When revolution happens communism results. This is also not true in almost any case – not even Russia, since the “no true Scotsman” fallacy informs us that wasn’t real communism. What tends to result is strong man “he rode in on a white horse” government. In an instance – here (and perhaps in the revolt of the Barons against John Lackland, but I don’t know enough of that time) – it results in a relatively more representative system that sort of works (this excludes France which while relatively – I think – better than the Ancien Regime, has never QUITE worked.) (Yeah, I know, it’s an awful way to bet.) What NEVER happens is a return to the communitarian paradise they were sure was once there. (Probably because as Phil Dick said of sanity [paraphrasing, since I remember only the Portuguese] “It is thinner than the edge on a knife, sharper than a guard dog’s tooth, more elusive than a ghost. Perhaps it doesn’t exist. Perhaps it is a ghost.” In this case, for sure it is a ghost, a mirage, something that only devout people could believe, in defiance of all evidence.)
It’s important to know that these myths about revolutions are wrong, because right now the Marxists are trying to collapse worldwide society in the firm belief that revolution will happen and their paradise will result.
And the rest of us need to stay awake and aware, so we can counter what inevitably results from collapse.
We might not be able to stop the collapse. It might (MIGHT) even be in our best interests to speed it up. BUT we must stand ready to take the reigns when it all crashes, and we MUST not let them pick the man 0n the white horse, and shove his “enlightened” rule down our throats. You know what always results from it (Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao) and we can’t allow it to happen.
Liberty to the extent it has existed (rarely) in history has always rested on the shoulders of a very slim minority. We’re not any worse placed than our ancestors. And we must at least try to avert the tide of death and poverty heading for us.
Do it for the children.
UPDATE: I have blogged Human Wave over at Mad Genius Club.