I’m no longer surprised when someone takes offense when I say something like “communism has been driving the culture for a hundred years.”
I have been called insane and worse for saying that, and incidentally for saying that the Earth is not overpopulated, we have no way of telling the real population count worldwide, because even in the US counting is a bureaucratic mess, and that it is my opinion — though hard to substantiate — that the population is in fact already falling. I’ve been saying both of those for 20 years.
All I can say is that I’m getting less push back on both now. People actually in touch with the culture have started suspecting the same thing and being vocal about it 5 years ago or so. I’m not the only thinker on the right (the thinkers on the left are something else and quite approve of what they see happening) to think that Western Culture is dying of a fatal wound inflicted around WWI. I’m even less the only one looking at what is actually happening in the world, from economics to the relations between nations and smelling a rat on population. Most of the people already ringing the bell on population though have more than my gut feeling/sense of the culture as representative of how many people, understanding of how the rest of the world does censuses. A lot of them are scientists, in command of things like “water consumption in Africa” or “the actual population density in x or y.” I see them, occasionally, pop their heads above the maelstrom of the culture, only to be shouted down by those who are teaching our kids that humans are a plague upon the Earth.
No, I don’t have the links. As I said, I see them pop up, here and there. But they’re still very countercultural, and get shouted down. I just note “I’m no longer the lone voice in the desert” and carry on. I also note that these outbreaks are getting more frequent and that if you get scientists who are not invested leftist ideologues in private, all of them snort at the UN population ideas.
I’m particularly not surprised when it comes from a commenter who 9 times out of ten comes here to misunderstand what I wrote or otherwise try to cause dissension.
I don’t mind trouble makers. As some of you know, all I do is step in and go “stop fighting each other.” I do mind people who willfully or otherwise misunderstand, and always misunderstand to rebuke and reproach from a position of their assumed superiority. Which is part of my issue with “our betters” in the culture, btw.
I’ll note in passing that Heinlein, then a convinced democrat and honestly a socialist, thought that the democrats had become fully dominated by communists by WWII. You don’t need to have his insider view of the Democrats to understand the same, if you look at the gyrations of the American left before and after Hitler and Stalin broke their pact.
Now, were most democrats communists? Please. Most of them were rather traditional people in traditional communities who would spit on a communist faster than listen to him. On the other hand they were listening to communists without knowing, swallowing communism in bite size without realizing it, being led down the garden path.
I didn’t say the communists were openly ruling the country. I said that for a hundred years, secretly, they were in full control of our cultural institutions. (And not just ours. Europe– Never mind.)
“But Sarah, World War 2 is not 100 years ago.” Of course it’s not. It’s 75. But the ideas of Marx were driving the culture long before that.
I know this because I don’t read what people say about how they feel about communism. I read their output in fiction, in news, in thought instead.
And because I grew up in another country which was in many ways in the past, I read American cultural output at least 30 and sometimes more years older than I. British too.
Hell, some of my favorite writers from childhood had their heads full of rats. MORE full of rats than Heinlein when he was a socialist. Heinlein at least always had a firm grasp on the nature of humans, so even while he approved (at least I think so, I haven’t correlated the publication date) of socialism and Unions, his depiction in Starman Jones is exactly the kind of bureaucratic hell one would expect.
Most writers weren’t as grounded as Heinlein, and Heinlein had the distinct of advantage of, while working in an intellectual field, having grown up poor and done a lot of things to “root, hog or die” along the way. It’s almost inevitable that the biggest crop of nonsense comes from authors who were more intellectual/intellectually minded from the beginning.
To begin with, let’s establish our terms: Communism — this is me, buster, and the first squawk about how means of production and their different handling makes a big difference gets a baseball bat — is a more severe form of socialism, and the socialist’s ultimate goal and dream. Yeah yeah “but socialists let you retain ownership of the means of production”: define means, define production, define ownership. When you still have the field but the feds tell you it’s a wet land and you can’t farm it or build on it, is it still yours? When you still have the cows but you have to shoot them on the government command to prevent flatulence, are they still yours? I’m not in the mood for the semantics they taught you in school, buster, and I have a baseball bat.
Both philosophies come from Marxism, a crazy and flawed prophecy based vaguely on economics and history but infused with the vision of a grifter who never did anything useful with his life, despite holding himself very high in intellect, and who died in 18… 83 I think. Around there somewhere.
Marxism maintains a lot of crazy crap, starting with the idea that if you regulate everything suddenly, automagically, the state will wither and there will be paradise while soup rains from the sky.
It has got all sorts of refinements added to it over the last hundred years. You see, it is typical of the squid to let out a cloud of ink when you’re about to catch it. In the same way, when Marxism fails, its followers immediately come up with another just-so story as to why it would have been proven right “if only.” (It absolutely follows When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger, by the way.) The last major patch applied to the crumbling software was the Gramscian one, which explains why workers in the West haven’t arisen to seize the means of production. You see, it’s all race and whatever based. No, it doesn’t make a wit of sense, but good Lord, neither did Marxism. What it is is a way of placing the left’s hopes for workers uprising on our “little brown brothers.” No, that’s not what they say. It’s all blah blah colonialism and oppression. But what it boils down to is “other races are naturally socialist/communist” and we must now count on them to lead us to the great progressive future.
This is part of the reason they’re denying Venezuela is a disaster of socialism and screaming US interference even harder than usual. It’s also the root of all the crazy “check your privilege.” the intersectionalism insanity and sundry other bits of ways to avoid thinking on the left. And it’s been driving way longer than people who are not in their circles realize. In the early two thousands or late nineties, someone attempted to pillory me in the letter columns of Analog for having a story in which if history had been different the Chinese would be Capitalist. I didn’t understand how any human being could believe culture is genetic and race-tied. Even I didn’t believe any thinking human being would swallow Gramsci whole and make it part of their worldview without realizing this made their worldview a racist swamp.
So, I’m not going to take communism apart in detail, because in detail there is a lot of squid ink and ways they obscure when they’re about to be caught. Also, I have real work to write, stuff I get paid for.
I’m going to stick to the generalities: Marxists, in general believe that government is best held by “enlightened” or “progressive” (they might have been in the 30s) people who can lead us to that paradise where government will automagically wither away. They discount the ability of individual people to choose their fate and how they spend their money. They might or might not wish for international control — that was almost exclusively a Soviet thing, disguising its expansionism under a cloak of “one world government” — and they might or might not openly call for the abolition of money. They do absolutely think that pretty much any economic (or often otherwise) activity should be regulated/legislated/controlled by the government. And by “government” you’re to understand a government of like minded Marxists. Most of them believe they’re “caring” or “kinder” or just filled with revolutionary zeal for “the poor downtrodden masses.” None of them I’ve ever met even knows what poor downtrodden masses are, and almost all feel that in a just world their own intellect would be worshiped and they’d be in charge.
This I oppose to “right wing” which is only, really, the right wing in the US. In Europe it tends to be a disagreement on who “the best people” are with the right holding on to hereditary and religious markers of the best people as opposed to ideological (which has made them very easy to infiltrate by the Marxists, so now most of them are Marxists, but without atheism and with a head nod to “all the best families.”) In fact both systems, Marxism and the European right can be and often are startlingly similar. But at least the European right doesn’t wish to deliver their own people bound to their foes, and sometimes one supports/votes on very small differences indeed. The choice often isn’t between cake and death but between slow poison or fast one. Always vote for the slow one.
For a while the right in the US went the way of the right in Europe. When the left controlled all the cultural apparatus and moved the Overton window so that anything non-socialist or Marxist, or which had different assumptions about history and the future was unspeakable without being ridiculed or causing its speaker to be destroyed in public, a consensus emerged that communism would — of course — ultimately win. It was the future and so much more efficient than sloppy capitalism. Therefore we can slow it/make it less totalitarian and brutal, but that’s all. A lot of the older Republicans, possibly including Romney is still stuck there. McCain LIVED there: “You’re going to eat us, but I say eat us slower.”
In many ways I’ve spoken in defense of these people, not because they’re not despicable, but because they grew up in this ethos and find it difficult to adjust. Humans need a vision of what comes after their time. And their vision is of the Marxist future. They thought communism would win in the end, while still being opposed to the brutal tactics, etc. to achieve it. (Note that they don’t dispute a communist future, if non-brutal would be a good thing. They sort of assume it. Which is bizarre and wrong, but it’s what they grew up with.) In a way standing between your people and the system you think will inevitably win is a position of great courage. These people were and are the fighters at Ragnarok fighting the battle they already believe lost. The fact they don’t take well to having the narrative they’ve held onto punctured merely makes them human.
Note I don’t say I want them in power. Only that their issues are understandable. I feel sorry for them and think great evil results when they’re in control, and they should be kept away from any power real or imagined. But they do have courage. And I understand how they got where they are. So I don’t hate them. I just don’t want them in control of anything.
So, what does all this have to do with 100 years of cultural dominance?
This post is already incredibly long. However, I have a plan to re-read again my formative science fiction. Most of which is from the thirties and on. (90 years. Science fiction. How hard are you going to quibble?)
From reading early twentieth century books my understanding is that Marx’s system of thought had penetrated the intelligentsia thoroughly before even WWI. WWI smashed the hierarchies of belief in the entrenched systems of power in Europe, and allowed Marxism to fill the gaps more and more. I remember reading (while pursuing a rabbit hole — yes, my name used to be Alice) about the publishing industry in GB and how it became increasingly “progressive” after WWI. Note this was said with approval. That they were actively searching out books that supported progressive ideals.
I have been having a weird drug interaction that acted like ADHD and dementia combined, so this reading has been delayed. However I’d started at some time with The Green Man of Socialism (Obviously Occasio Cortez’s mate in the wild) which is mostly a national kind of socialism, probably prevalent from WWI to WWII (note that Marx himself was largely a national socialist, and the nationalism he believed in was British.) which changed it to international socialism. Which in practical fact was Soviet nationalism projected abroad. (And is now largely Russian nationalism projected abroad.)
I can tell you that books from WWI on are full of the idea that money is inherently unjust as a means of trade, that somehow capitalism brings about war and death, that “there should be a more equitable system” etc. Periodicals of the time are more explicit on the idea of “world peace” through some kind of unity; the idea that the bright young things who believe in redistribution and “easing the burden of the little man” or whatever they call it, are right, etc.
You find it even in such relatively innocuous writers are Agatha Christie (whose horse sense, like Heinlein often save her from the grosser errors.)
Rex Stout? Avowedly anti-communist, while advocating for one-world-government, education as a way of convincing the young of the progressive future (redistribution via high taxes, etc.), believing every single canard the leftist press brought up against more right leaning politicians (many of which we now know to be wholly invented) etc. Was he a communist? One assumes he wasn’t. His detective is a creature of excess and very human. But the principles he was advocating and his throw away lines contributed to the increase of leftist fog in the culture. (Partly why the gatekeepers allowed him to flourish. Not saying he was untalented. Note despite his politics giving me a sour stomach, he’s still one of my favorite writers. But the establishment in publishing, while unable to MAKE you could bury you. As I and others know.)
We’ll leave aside Heinlein’s early folly. It’s hard to underestimate how much WWII convinced people that force could remake culture for good. I’ll just note he gave up that insanity after his tour of the world. And he riled the left up often enough even before that one can only trust “a storyteller’s true instincts.” They still hate him as one hates an apostate.
Let’s instead go with Clifford Simak. A middle-class journalist from the heartland. So involved in the culture on two fronts.
I don’t revile Mr. Simak who was one of my favorite writers before Heinlein became one. In fact my brother was surprised second son wasn’t named Clifford. (He would be but husband put foot down hard.)
Recently I had the opportunity to send 4 of his books to a friend who hadn’t read them, and I envied him a little reading them for the first time. At the same time I felt forced to explain that I didn’t think Simak was a communist — and I had Jerry Pournelle’s words he wasn’t — but reading him my friend would encounter many of the ideas that make the left today insane: one world government; government as only and always a force for good; the need to defeat religion and other “remnants” of the past; the advisability of abolishing money. Even, past that, the ideas that always follow (because inherent in that world vision) that humans are naturally evil and need to be controlled, etc. (But government somehow escapes this.)
Despite these ideas — which Jerry assured me were just middle brow when these books were being written — Simak has touches of humanity and of love for individuals. Like Rex Stout he’s worth reading.
But as decent people who consciously would tell you they were anti-communists, they were still “another brick in the wall.”
Was there a conspiracy to move the world left? I don’t know. Arguably Russians have only ever been good at ONE thing: propaganda and corruption of other cultures. From time immemorial. And there are records of the Soviet Union paying off/subsidizing A LOT of leftist groups/causes, many of which would be shocked to know they were being manipulated.
But how much of it was that, and how much merely people who had been disillusioned with tradition and whose world had exploded in the industrial revolution and its echoes seizing a new prophecy and a new vision, particularly one designed to appeal to intellectuals with little experience of the everyday working world, and an unwarranted good opinion of themselves?
That society had gone to mass-production of everything including news, art and entertainment would only facilitate that kind of group-think.
Just as our current distributed forms of communication undermine it.
Has the culture been in the hands of increasingly more communist Marxists for almost a 100 years (some sectors more)? A-yup.
What does it matter now? Well, the squid is still letting out ink, but it’s in a little tank and the rest of us can see what it’s doing and see it very clearly. This is where the worm turns. Let’s hope its turning belies history and doesn’t leave blood as well as ink in the water. But changing so many infected minds quickly enough to avoid that is going to be… tricky.
And a man who argues that people said they were anti-communist, in defiance of these people’s cultural period just might be hagridden. And wearing an overcoat of self-righteousness.
Let’s end the masquerade, so everyone knows where they stand.