Earlier this week, I shared this facebook post from my friend Robert Bidinotto on Instapundit. (Link goes to Robert’s thrillers on Amazon.)
A BRIEF, OPTIMISTIC THOUGHT ABOUT CULTURAL CHANGE.
I have heard a great deal of despair lately about the state of our culture. Reading self-defined “cultural conservatives” (such as Rod Dreher) wailing that “all is lost,” it is easy to give in to pessimism.
Such pessimism seems warranted if you define the cultural battlefield in terms of *existing institutions.* After all, evidence of decadence and decline is pervasive within our political, economic, educational, entertainment, and social institutions. Most have become captives or accomplices of the left-nihilists.
But is that really the battlefield? History reveals to me different lessons. Such as: how a Renaissance and Enlightenment can emerge from the tribalism and mysticism of the Dark Ages, in which all institutions were hopelessly corrupt and coercive. Or how America itself could emerge from the historic swamp of universal despotism.We can learn from our enemies, too.
The so-called “Frankfurt School” started as a mere school of thought — a bunch of Marxist professors in Germany. Ditto, the Fabian Socialists in the UK. We should study how they accomplished what they did, and take notes.We also should take lessons from what the military calls “asymmetrical warfare”: how a small group of insurgents can fight a much larger, better equipped and supplied force to a stalemate — and even eventually beat them. (Study George Washington and Francis Marion, for examples.)
No, I’m not being literal; I’m arguing that the military analogy applies to the cultural battlefield, too: the battle over ideas and values.But creating new ideas, arguments, perspectives, and inspiring *visions* is not a numbers game. The creators of new ideas are always few, and usually solitary. Yet those few can eventually serve as navigators for an entire society. It was that truth that led Percy Shelley to say that “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
The same can be said of an influential religious leader, philosopher, or narrative artist: think Jesus, Aristotle, Homer.
Throughout history, these visionaries have been the de facto “asymmetrical culture warriors” of the world.Today, would-be asymmetrical culture warriors have access to technology, even at the individual level, that those earlier purveyors of ideas and values couldn’t have dreamed of — technological innovations that the military would call “force multipliers.”
So, rather than gnash our teeth at the reach of mainstream- and social-media giants, or the influence of big corporations, schools, and governmental bodies, we “outsiders” can use technology to “hit them where they ain’t” — to spread our ideas and values in new forms, among receptive target audiences.
This is way too big a topic for a Facebook post. But those of you with individualist perspectives in our collectivist era — especially, those of you in the storytelling arts — ought to think creatively about this. Above all, remember the unstoppable power of a captivating idea or perspective — and the fact that it takes only a single creative visionary to give it life in the world.Robert Bidinotto, Facebook
If you haven’t come across this quote in your feeds, I encourage to read it now, and pay attention. He’s right even if he doesn’t go far enough in some directions.
Look, I’m always amazed when people tell me that I’m so optimistic about our country and the future. Not only because I’m by nature depressive, and only maintain equanimity and ability to function because I trained myself from about age 8 to look at facts and not follow my feelings (which either stood me in really good stead this last year, or made me despair because people insisted on running around with their heads on fire and giving up their civil liberties. It’s one of the other.)
But in this case I’m not actually optimistic. What we see happening is a case of a faction that hates not only the country but every single American, seizing power over the backs of our broken or suborned institutions, and then using that power to impose clear and obvious insanity on the country.
We’ve seen this before. When Germany went howling into insanity is probably the clearest parallel. First, because despite their insistent they’re totes anti-fash, the current afflictions are trying to play the fascist playbook to the hilt, from the economic system of corporations, taken over and commandeered by the government, to the “superior race” which in the words out of their lips are those who tan, but in point of fact is the same old shite of “whites who adhere to party lines.” But then again, Hitler was not of the subrace he claimed to idolize (I believe in Man in the High Castle, one of the lines was “As blond as Hitler wished he were) and these paler than milk people claim that black people are the superior race mostly as a means to convince them to allow themselves to be ruled. In one case and the other, they’re all full of the rankest shit, and merely trying to divide and conquer.
There are other parallels, but they are not as obvious, because frankly both Russia and China — where the insane regimes lasted longer — were used to insane, autocratic leaders… and even as China devolved to the most obvious fascism, and Russia to whatever the hell they are — I think the corporate form of fascism — the most clear characteristics are “insane and autocratic.”
Cuba, once an “island paradise” takes its governmental ideas from Spain, which ultimately means “from Rome.” Which means they ultimately believe that “good families” should rule. It just so happens this particular “family” is out of its mind insane. I suspect things will work themselves out there, sooner rather than later, because frankly they’ve been papering over the cracks of insanity with tourist money. And considering that the “civilized world” is taking a turn on the insane carousel, they must be hurting more than usual now.
And so it goes. But as far as a sane country descending howling into authoritarian madness, Germany in the 20th century is the closest parallel.
Of course, the idiots driving this train — if they understand the example they’re following, and I’m divided on that, because I think half of them are following China, without realizing that China ended up following Germany — don’t realize the system works in China — sort of. There are already cracks — because China is China. They see the absolute power and they want that. They want that so badly. They can taste that. And (possibly un)like Winnie the Pooh’s shit eating brother, they think they’re building an empire of a thousand years. Oh, wait, so did Winnie the Xi’s model.
Well, his model might have done enough damage for a thousand years, including allowing the idiot Marxists to set themselves up in “opposition” (to the rhetoric, not really most of the practice), blame “nationalism” for the long war of the 20th century, and go stomping into universities, preaching hate of nation, hate of culture and ultimately hate of self to the fractured youth of the 20th century west.
And they created more obvious and in your face damage, in the removal from our midst of probably six million people (or more) and all they could have done and created.
But in point of fact their brief, horrific reign was barely over a decade. And that was in Germany, where most people might not have supported them, but the bizarre eugenics idea was ascendant (in the US too. In fact, all over the world) as well as — it was an industrial era thing — the idea that the future was bigger and bigger governments controlling everything down to the most minute and personal of decisions. In other words, as much as Germany in general did not revere Hitler (partly because he was a parvenu) the ideas being proclaimed from the command tower (as it were) were in fact in accord with the kitchen table ideas.
However, unless you were either exquisitely indoctrinated in school, or you are being a mobi because your bosses were, the ideas of our very woke and completely insane minority are not in any way shape or form in congruence with what’s in the minds of your average American.
In fact, even though our media did their best to hide the fact that the implosion of communism was as bad and revealed as terrible a devastation as the implosion of fascism, you truly don’t hear anyone on the street thinking that the USSR was paradise, or that China is the place to live. You do hear the power-hungry talking about how efficient and great at development they are, but only the power hungry. The idea of crumbling buildings and ongoing genocide has percolated to street level, and what came out during Covidiocy did their image no favors.
In point of fact, in the face of unprecedented — what can only be called psychological warfare — against our own people and heavy propagandizing and demonizing of all enemies intensifying during the Obama years and going off the charts in 2020, not only did the American people not vote for Obama’s “chosen successor” but they voted for Trump in such massive numbers in 2020 that the left were forced to fraud openly and in your face.
Their ideas are insane, and frankly everyone knows it. Even those who were propagandized in college, might mouth the pieties for the sake of jobs and advancement, but they know it’s outright crazy. Their belief in woke religion and branch covidian dogma is in fact of the same order as the decaying nobility of France claiming to believe in Catholicism, while rutting around like insane rabbits, and generally professing atheism in private.
You see, part of the problem is that the left is trying to impose on us a “back to the past” philosophy. At some level, through the fog they’ve tried to cast on history, they know the ideal time for communism (and note that ideal still didn’t make it work) was the early 20th century. They lust particularly after the early 20th century in America. That’s what they’re trying to recreate, and why they reflexively open the borders.
What they want is the masses of immigrants, assimilated into the leftist machine via their unions and kept in the plantation for the next 40 years, because the left brought the money, while the left also controlled the minds of the so called robber barons with the idea they were more ethical and helped the common man, and so ended up in control of those fortunes in various trusts and foundations.
They understand, dimly, through the thickness of granite around their skulls, that to do this they need large cities, ruled by implacable mayors; they need vast masses of dispossessed and ghettoized new immigrants who don’t actually speak the language; they need massive companies that are the source of all employment, against which unions at least pretend to protect the hapless workers, they need a controlled press singing the praises of “Mr. Roosevelt” and his “jobs program.”
They need in fact the early 20th century.
The problem is that we’re not in the early 20th century and that their efforts to replicate it range from “might work, but not the way you expect” to completely out there cargo cult insane.
So, yeah, they can create vast masses of dispossessed and ghettoized workers…. for a time. And as long as the taps of welfare flow freely. Which I expect will close or become irrelevant sooner rather than later. Because frankly, all cash money will become irrelevant at the rate they’re burning through it to try to create a false 1930. And they can break all small businesses in America, hanging over the store to Walmart and Amazon with their supplies from China. For a time at least.
It’s just they don’t follow that to the next step, because they bought into the ridiculous monetary theory that you can create endless fiat money with no actual connection to…. anything, and it will retain its value. Because in breaking the back of the ways people earn money here, it means people will not have jobs. Not even make work ones. It also means ultimately China starves, because Americans are no longer buying cheap shit by the truckload (in fact, though not mentioned, I expect China is already being pinched hard enough to squeal.)
They also don’t get that these are not the Italian and Irish immigrants of the early 20th century, who paid the cost of a mansion for their ticket here, and then had to stay even when the economy went into depression.
The people coming over the Southern border, these days, are coming for the free education and free healthcare, and free everything they have been promised. And they will melt over the border again, like snow in June when the economy goes sour. It happened — unreported — under Obama. And twice as fast if it comes to a butcher’s bill (and I’m very afraid it will. Because we need our institutions back, and the crazy cultists won’t let go.)
They can’t fully control the press. Sure, the control they have was enough to sell the covidiocy, and part of it, honestly, was that Trump went along with it. I still don’t even understand why, but it was obviously a weak psychological point and he caved.
But that’s because for a century people have trusted storm warnings, disease warnings and other seemingly non-political emissions from central government.
That is breaking down now, and I expect the plan of the left to make Americans stop working and all live on welfare and buy Chinese crap to fall apart in the next six months. Already, the reaction to this latest “stimulus” was not, like the reaction to the first “oh, thank you, we needed this,” but more “You son of a bitch, what I want is my life back.” Oh, yeah, the usual hold outs, but not nearly as many, because people are starting to realize this is all a sham. Look, you can’t drive across several states without seeing that with the unequal enforcement, if this were a true plague we’d ALL be dead. And because of the mask idiocy of the airlines, we’re all driving a lot more, and cars are almost impossible to rent.
Because word still gets out. Even with the social media stomping all over. As Robert Bidinotto points out above, we’re not in the early twentieth century. The technology and resources at our disposal are much easier.
In the 20th century if you wanted to start your newspaper, you needed a lot of money. And if you didn’t want to give it away for free, you needed people to trust you enough to subscribe. And you needed to pay reporters to get the facts on the ground, which was a lot more expensive, because both transportation and person to person communication were.
Right now my morning “howdy” includes talking to people around the world. And sure, they’re doing their best to shut down all those channels, but I don’t think they can.
More importantly, just like to try to force us to love Obama and vote for Hillary they burned most of their “star power” and what remained of Hollywood’s glitz, to bring about the Covidiocy and try to do every other thing in their program, they burned people’s trust in schools, traditional publishers (mostly because bookstores are closed), the news (this will become more obvious as people perceive the size of the con, and they are starting to), government anything, elections, our institutions and are in the process of burning the trust in the new tech conglomerates. Oh, yeah, and big cities are pouring out and I doubt they’ll come back. And the new tech trying to be hegemonic is really cute, too. Because, you know, this tech that the conglomerates are built on is something that gives an ephemeral advantage, but likely to change as the tech is superseeded. They’re no more permanent than IBM’s vaunting supremacy.
Now yeah, sure, it’s probably going to get really bad, because they are destroying some institutions that are absolutely needed. It’s particularly going to be tough in spots, and some spots will inevitably surprise us. And there will be a butcher’s bill, both from their idiot over reach and from resistance to it. And don’t get me started on what already-wounded China and Russia will get up to while we’re unseating the idiots.
The entire world is about to get another lesson on “insane regimes, and why encouraging insanity in your institutions in the hope they’ll eat you last is bad, ‘mkay?”
So, no. I’m not an optimist.
But on the other hand, everything is proceeding as I’ve been saying for over a decade, just accelerated due to the branch covidian cult. The institutions are going to collapse, as I told you they would.
Which is why we need to build over, under and around.
Sure, it’s hard not to get discouraged, because even best case scenario, things are going to get weird and confusing, and even a very short upheaval that destroys all the corrupted institutions means I’ll spend what I can anticipate as the rest of my life rebuilding. As will the rest of us. That’s fine. We don’t choose the time we live in, and in many ways I’ve been blessed and got to see amazing things. And I doubt rebuilding will be any worse than the life most people had throughout the end of the 19th century in the west, or still have in most of the world. (Heck our 19th century was better than most of the world now.)
But the ravens crying “nevermore” and “We’re going down forever” aren’t helping.
They might not be on the other side, but they functionally are.
The left would love nothing better than for all of us to plunge into depression, shut up, and stop fighting back.
So ignore the ravens. We have our work cut out for us, and no mistake.
Go write, make, create and build. Get ready to hold up the world on your shoulders when the institutions break. It’s really close now. Get ready to rebuild.
Though I understand Atlas’ disposition to shrug, shrugging would actually enable the left idiocy to last longer Sure, don’t support them. But build your own thing and hold on.
What rests on your shoulders is liberty and the future of humanity.