Yesterday, late in the day (we had vent cleaners, a process that unexpectedly took something like 7 hours, and I was trying to prevent stupid cats from running out to tangle with coyotes and wild turkeys) I finally sat down to read my compadre’s Dave Freer’s blog post.
It was about many things — okay, it was mostly about manure, because you can take the monkey out of the jungle, but… — but in the middle of it he mentioned something about CNN’s CEO admitting they’re in trouble and saying they need to hire more center and center-right reporters.
I thought the Monkey was seeing things — you know, manure has dangerous fumes — so I checked it. And son of a borg, he was right.
For a moment, for just a moment, I felt as though the ground shifted under my feet. It wasn’t big or strong, mind, more like a couple of earthquakes I lived through that were so small they barely registered in the richter scale.
The thing is, as with a lot of those, there’s a good chance they’re foreshocks.
I should explain for those of you who arrived late — didn’t you read the schedule? Is that popcorn? Do you have enough for everyone? — why this is such a shocking event.
For as long as I’ve been alive — probably longer — the intellectual/publishing/arts/administrative/and lately most managerial establishments have been solidly left. So solidly left that when a company was in trouble you could count on the roll left. The process went something like this: get in serious trouble through alienating your audience, roll left, die.
The roll left didn’t save the institutions. Maybe management was so stupid as to think it would save them. But I doubt it. If they got any statistics — it’s iffy. Most fields that have fallen to the left treat statistics like magic incantations, and look at them as though they were thing that can augur success if treated right. It’s a process akin to reading the future in the entrails of the sacred goose. And in some of the fields in advanced stage of leftist necrosis like publishing, they prefer not to get them at all because they might show bad things — they knew they were competing with all the other media and all the other similar institutions for the eyeballs of 1/4 of the population. (Particularly in the last fifteen years when the other eyeballs have got some place else to go.)
What the roll left did, though, was make sure all the managers and everyone with fiduciary capacity was on record as being “one of the good people” i.e. a member in good standing of the left wing. Which meant that when their institutions died, they got other jobs. I’ve followed a particularly lefty magazine editor through four magazines killed, and always falling upward into bigger jobs.
Because that’s how it worked. For almost 100 years, the left has been safely in charge of the “heights of culture” and cultural institutions and safely indoctrinating anyone graduating from college in the soft sciences into believing that Marxism is as scientific as the poor deranged founder believed. (Even though no one who has seen it in action up close and personal thinks it is more scientific than Elizabethan views of the cosmos.)
That meant the key to personal upward mobility in any of the soft fields, was to display your badge of leftism as loudly as possible and the more loudly you displayed it, the farther you got. (Which by the way explains what has made most of our field unreadable.)
So imagine my shock when CNN can in public make noises about hiring center and right of center reporters.
We know they won’t be center and right of center. I mean when you’re looking from the extreme left, the things that look like center are kind of funny. (Remember when they thought that George W. Bush and Romney — ROMNEY — were far right? Good times, good times.) I mean, even Fox that imagined bastion of right wing isn’t right wing. Well, right now, by backing Trump they’re kind of European right wing, but not American. For that matter, by being American right-wing — ie “the government is not the boss of me. I am the boss of me” — I am invisible to their radar and when they call me “right wing” they mean the European soil-and-blood right wing, which is almost hilarious. In a bitter-laugh sort of way.
BUT the fact that they’d consider looking at any reporters to the right of Lenin — hey, Pat, have you applied? — and that they’d announce that in public is a seismic shift of global proportions.
So, what happened?
Part of it is time. There seems to be a clock tolling the maximum time of socialist regimes upon this Earth. If they go total balls to the wall communist that seems to be 70 years. No one knows if the socialist insanity would have about the same maximum half life if it didn’t get help from the parts of the economy not yet taken over and from well meaning sympathizers (our government) in other countries. However, throughout most of Europe the wheels are coming off the various degrees of socialist insanity. (“No time to have another drink, the lights are going out.”)
Time is their enemy because of that leftist necrosis I mentioned, above. Why? Because leftism is a religious cult that often (though not always) runs counter to reality.
What do I mean by that? Aren’t leftists — or to call them by their proper name, socialists of various stripes — as competent as other people?
Sure. Sometimes more competent. And in the beginning years of socialism, a lot of them were the brightest of their kind. Which is why so many of those bright young things, in the turn of the twentieth century, got pushed up the ladder very quickly.
But those were the days when socialism was scientific. Psychology, you see, would get quantified and become a hard science. And then nothing would remain between government and the creation of a better race of men, one that would live in harmony with socialist principles in an Earth where we’d study war no more.
Mind you, the creation of that socialist race, that harmonic humanity that would live in joy in communal prosperity, would require killing vast numbers of people: as George Watson shows in The Lost Literature of Socialism, even such luminaries of both socialism and our field as H. G. Wells believed that attaining this socialist utopia required eugenic genocide and the destruction of everyone who didn’t fall in line with it. (To give him credit, H. G. Wells didn’t want to do it along the lines of race. And speaking of it being better to read the artists without knowing the craziness they believed, H. G. Wells and Jack London were what I read when most people read picture books. Ah, well.)
The problem is that psychology never became scientific, and meanwhile genetics did. Sure, sure, we still have idiots who believe we can breed men like cattle, but they’re not anyone who has actually LOOKED at the genetics of humanity, which are far more complex than cattle genetics (possibly because it now seems possible, instead of homo sap overcoming the competing human species, it loved them to death. I.e. it absorbed them genetically) and in which traits you’d never think of as linked ARE in fact linked. And then there’s epigenetics. Trust me. I have friends who study this stuff, and I try to listen to them for as long as I can keep my head from hurting. It’s not very long.
What this means in practical fact is that socialism hard or soft has broken over 100 million eggs and so far not an omelet in sight.
And so, as the “scientific” side of socialism started to visibly fail, it became important to hire not for competence or intelligence (as was done in the days when they were convinced that the future was inevitably theirs) but for one quality only: belief in the shibboleths of the left. And the more those failed, the more the quality of people who believed in it changed. Oh, they aren’t stupid. Not exactly. At least MOST OF THEM aren’t. But they are those who are willing to believe or fake belief in a murderous/freedom depriving path to a supposed utopia that never comes. Weirdly — coff — those attributes don’t relate well with functioning in a sane way in the real world. (I know. You could knock me down with a feather!)
Which means sooner or later socialist necrosis sets in.
But the problem with socialism is that it destroys the idea of freedom and personal responsibility, usually early, usually in the schools. So in the absence of innovative technology and alternate channels, when socialism fails the society/field/profession just… dies.
Thank heavens for the sons of Martha, and their innovative technology and the internet and all that.
Which brings us to where we are. This is not the beginning of the end — I think — of the left’s cultural dominance in Western society. But it’s starting to look like hte end of the beginning.
Remember though there is a lot of money, a lot of power on their side now. While portraying the right as on the side of the rich, they’ve been recruiting the rich and entrenching their privilege for almost 100 years.
It’s not going to be easy and simple. But there are sudden cracks in the perfect lie presented by all the public outlets. There are… dissonant notes in the music of the socialist pied piper who has been piping us to our death in soft, slow notes.
I don’t think those cracks will show to those not obsessed by politics for 20 years or so, but who knows? I could be wrong. And sometimes, in a preference cascade, where falsification of preference has taken place (and at least in publishing the problem has been that you couldn’t tell them anything but what they wanted to hear and have a career. So they were/still are completely unprepared for the indie revolution when it hit them), can be startlingly fast, a tsunami where things change in the blink of an eye.
It could happen here. The thing to remember is that it’s unlikely to happen in favor of liberty. Liberty is hard. Self responsibility more so. (Take guns. Yesterday idiots accused me of being ammosexual. To anyone who knows me, that’s insanity. I hate shooting for the same reason I hate driving: because I’m not very coordinated and my eyes are funny and I’m afraid of flubbing. But as with driving, if I want to live as a free human being, there is no alternative. I must be responsible for my locomotion and my self-defense. And that’s all.)
So in the confusion that follows a seismic movement, it’s easy for another form of socialism to sell itself. Socialism, only now with more blood-and-soil! The government is not your mommy. It is now your daddy. Surrender yourself to the government.
Arguably that form is even more short lived, though they DO tend to have snazzier uniforms.
It is important in the maelstrom building, to remember your principles, and to keep your head. Schadenfreude will be rife (Really, did you bring enough popcorn for everyone?) but Schadenfreude is not a philosophical or political theory.
Remember the vision of the founders. Hold on to that. Statists of various stripes will come out of the woodwork to offer you the easy way out and the snake oil.
But in the end we win, they lose. Things will just be really choppy on the way there.
Stay the course.